WASHINGTON — Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Iraq War veteran, said Friday in an e-letter to her constituents that she won’t support open-ended use of force in Syria.
“This has been a challenging week in Washington as Congress tries to deal with this crisis,” she wrote. “The Assad regime has committed wholesale massacre of their own citizens. In addition to its civil war, Syria is undergoing a humanitarian crisis with innocent civilians caught in the conflict between the rebels and the Assad dictatorship. It is absolutely wrong for any country to use chemical weapons, which kill indiscriminately and have been banned under the Geneva Convention for decades.
“As I consider the situation in Syria, I hold paramount our country’s national security and interests.
“Under current conditions, I believe that our nation should not be placing American servicemen and women to serve on the ground in Syria in any capacity. I will not support an open-ended use of force without clear end goals. I want to know whether our allies in NATO and the Arab League who are calling for U.S. intervention will themselves commit resources and actively participate in any action.
“The United States is a world leader but we cannot bear the burden of opposing the Assad regime on our own.
“In the days ahead, I will be demanding answers to these tough questions. Our nation has a duty to honor our military men and women by not committing them to serve in harm’s way without a clear objective and full understanding of the costs we are asking them to pay on our behalf.
“It’s military families like mine that are the first to bleed when our nation makes this kind of commitment. It is my obligation to make sure our government honors our troops’ willingness to sacrifice when we make such a decision.”
As a result of her helicopter being shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, Duckworth lost both legs and partial use of one arm while serving in Iraq. She was awarded the Purple Heart.