Himes 'skeptical' on Syria strikes, hears from constituents

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal told area residents Sunday that they are not sure how they will vote on a resolution that would grant of President Obama approval to strike Syria.

Based on the comments from constituents who filled the Darien Library for a community discussion, area voters are against military action.

More than 400 people crowded into the library Sunday, Sept. 8, for the town-hall-style meeting. Most of those who spoke are hoping that Connecticut's representatives in Washington tell Obama that a Syria military campaign is not what the nation wants.

Anna McGovern, who was raised in Syria, said the people of Syria are being used as “pawns in a proxy war” and she hoped that the nation’s leaders would consider everything before getting the U.S. involved in another war.

“Before you cast a vote to send more of our children and to send innocent lives in Syria to their deaths, weigh, weigh every piece of evidence,” she said. “There should be no doubt. If there’s any doubt, then you should cast a no vote,”

Sandra Eagleman of Stamford wondered if military intervention would really make things better, especially with more people possibly potentially dying.

“When I see these pictures of children who are suffering and dying from the chemical weapons there and my heart opens and I want to help, how is more violence going to help?” she said. “When we helped Iraq, a million Iraqis were killed.”

Other residents worried about America getting involved in a war that would only benefit major corporations and not necessarily the people of the country in question. Some also did not want to take action because of how long it may take to exit.

Though most of the audience stood against taking action, some people did support stepping in.

Ann Lundberg of Ridgefield, who said she was against the U.S. involvement in Vietnam and Afghanistan, supports taking action in Syria to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Lundberg said she sees no political solution until the balance of power changes in Syria.

“If we do not deter the use of chemical weapons and then degrade (Assad’s) capacity that there will never be incentive for him to save his own skin by going to a peaceful table,” she said.

Mike Gilbertie of Westport said Obama has a real opportunity and should work like President George H.W. Bush did and gather a coalition and invade Syria and bring Assad to trial. “You don’t have to guess if he has weapons of mass destruction or not,” Gilbirtie said.

Himes and Blumenthal said they will have plenty to consider and think about prior to the vote. Himes considers himself “very skeptical” about taking action. “I have not made a final decision. I’m keeping my mind open and I’m listening to the experts, but I’m very skeptical of this course of action.”