Hawaii's delegates respond to Obama's plans against Syria

Hanabusa, Gabbard call for a more calculated approach to military action

Published  11:23 AM HST Aug 30, 2013
Syria, neighoring countries
WASHINGTON D.C. -

The Obama administration has not made a decision on a military reaction to Syria's chemical attacks.  But President Obama said Friday the "world has an obligation" to respond.

As he met with Baltic leaders at the White House, President Obama commented that he is nearing a decision about a possible attack on Syria.

"We are looking at a wide range of options," said Obama Friday. "No boots on the ground."

The President met behind closed doors with his national security team, as his administration worked to build public support for action in Syria, publicly releasing a four-page intelligence bulletin.

Click here to see that bulletin.

It says that the Syrian government carefully planned and executed a brutal chemical weapons attack last week which claimed the lives of more than 1,400 people, including more than 400 children.

Map released by the U.S. Government detailing Syria's chemical weapons attack on August 21.

Kerry says that the U.S. has information showing that Syrian soldiers prepared for the attack by putting on gas-masks.

"We know that these were specific instructions," Kerry added. " We know where the rockets were launched from, and at what time. We know where they landed and when."

Getting the support of the U.S. public could be difficult. One new poll, says 50 percent of Americans oppose taking military action in Syria.

Some of Hawaii's congressional delegates are hesitant to condone such military action.

On Thursday Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard sent a letter to President Obama calling for a consultation of Congress before any military action is taken in Syria. The letter, drafted along with several House of Representative colleagues, marks the atrocious nature of the use of chemical weapons, but calls for a more targeted approach.

"Right now, we do not have enough facts about all facets of what is occurring on the ground, the factions involved in this civil war, and what the unintended consequences would be for U.S. military involvement," said Rep. Gabbard in a written statement. "Congressional debate and approval must occur before any U.S. military action is taken, and through this process we need to have a clear-eyed view of our objectives and what the outcomes would be, understanding the impacts in Syria, and those that extend far beyond Syria."

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa released a statement Friday underlining the legal and tactical dilemmas in taken immediate action against Syria.

"As it stands now, U.S. military involvement in Syria lacks a solid legal basis, a clear long-term strategy, and vital international and domestic approval," said Rep. Hanabusa in a written statement. "Though intelligence has been presented by the Obama Administration, I am not convinced that it serves the purpose of justifying military force or other intervention in Syria.  This is an issue that deserves a rigorous and transparent debate about its ends and its means."

She went on to add that the last decade of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrated the consequence of poor planning, a result she does not want to see repeated.

But all indications suggest that President Obama could order a strike against Bashar al Assad's regime.

And that attack could come as soon as Saturday now that the UN weapons team in Syria has finished gathering evidence.

We'll have more from our national correspondents in Washington D.C. plus interview with Hawaii's delegates on KITV 4 News at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.

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