Senator Brown Reacts To Syria Crisis

By
Regina Donizetti

Dateline
Updated Fri, Sep 13, 2013 5:37 pm

Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown says he is feeling better about the situation in Syria.

He says the United States should think carefully before sending military strikes or troops anywhere.

"I will not support sending troops to Syria. I'm still looking at what we do based on what happens with this Russian proposal," he said.

He does not think the Senate needs to vote yet on authorizing the use of force because the decision is too serious.

"I don't support sending our people in harm's way unless we're prepared, they're well equipped--I know they're prepared, the military--and we have a very specific goal in mind with an end point," Brown said. "And I don't know that we have that in Syria yet, but the Russian proposal--the UN proposal--could get us there."

Brown says that caution is necessary when dealing with the Russians. But he thinks that Russia and Iran believe the chemical weapons need to be removed and destroyed.

"The Russians and Iranians have to understand, and I think they do, that if someone else in Syria gets their hands on chemical weapons that they could be turned on Iran or Russia," he said.

Brown says he is hopeful that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov can reach agreements.

"I think if the Russian proposal works, then something has to be done. It won't be a military strike. I don't want to do the military strike," Brown said. "If I had to vote today, I'd lean against that."

But he says he wants to wait and see what happens in the next two weeks.

"It's too important to rush to judgment when there's so many different things happening all at the same time," he said.

He thinks Americans are still weary of war, despite Obama's convincing speech Tuesday. He says most of them would rather rebuild their own country than damage and then rebuild another.

He says his constituents are concerned because of the betrayal they felt with the government's actions during the war in Iraq. But Brown says this situation is different because the damage in Syria is already done. He believes it is up to Obama to prove that to the American people.

Brown also spoke of his continued urge for Congress to pass his legislation in order to protect Ohio's steel workers and businesses. He is concerned with the threat of unfair and illegal trade practices from countries like China that hurt them.

"That's my job to fight for fair trade, not free trade agreements, but fair trade, to stand up to China on currency, to say no when countries don’t play by the rules when they try to sell steel into the United States," Brown said.

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