Congress is preparing to debate and vote on whether to authorize the President to launch a military strike against Syria for its use of chemical weapons against its own citizens.  All five members of West Virginia’s Congressional delegation have made comments about the Syrian situation and several are on the record with definitive positions.  Here’s where they stand.

–West Virginia 3rd District Congressman Nick Rahall supports a military strike.  The Democrat said in an interview on Metronews Talkline, “It has to be a surgical strike.  It has to be a penetrating strike at sites of high value from which this chemical warfare was launched. It has to be very limited in scope with no boots on the ground.”

Rahall adds that since the President stated last year that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” U.S. credibility is at stake.  The U.S. must demonstrate that it will back up its words with actions.

–2nd District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito opposes military action, but with a caveat.  The Republican said on Talkline that she would remain in opposition, unless the Administration could use supporting intelligence to convince her otherwise.

“I’ve been in Congress for a long enough time to know that just because the intelligence says it’s so on first blush, I’m not sure we’re all going to accept that without the deep detail that I think we need to have and that the President should bring to Congress,” Capito said.

–David McKinley, the Republican 1st District Congressman, is on record against a limited military strike.  “We’re not the police enforcement of the world,” McKinley said on Talkline.  “I think the President has other tools in his toolbox and he should use those things.”

McKinley added that after 12 years in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans are war weary.


–On the Senate side, Democrat Joe Manchin is hesitant about a strike, but he has not yet reached a final decision.  “Whether we take control and jump in there, it just makes more of an adversarial relationship with the Arab world,” Manchin told Metronews.  “I would be very reluctant to do that.”

However, Manchin added that he will keep an open mind, saying he wants to “have all the facts and intelligence available to me before the Senate begins debate on the authorization of force.”

Senator Jay Rockefeller has said the least so far of any member of the delegation.   The Democrat did, however, issue a statement Tuesday through spokesman Andrew Beckner saying the Senator is “reviewing the information provided by the White House and plans to attend classified briefings of the Senate Intelligence Committee this week.”

Beckner went on to say that Rockefeller “believes that any vote to authorize the use of force must be based on careful consideration of all the facts, as well as a full vetting of the accuracy of the underlying intelligence.”

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  • Tag

    Let me get this straight. Obama want to retaliate and kill people because they killed people? I agree with Charles Krauthammer, just send Assad a text. It's much less expensive.

  • Rich

    Shelley sure didn't give such a "reflective answer" when she blindly supported President Bush on his hunt for the unfound weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Has she learned a lesson in foreign policy, or is she taking this belief because it's a Democratic president, or is she voting with her finger in the wind to gauge where the public thinks she should be on this issue?

    • Mac

      It's because the president is a (D), but it doesn't matter to me why she's voting that way since it's the right call.

  • Shadow

    Since we are not sure who released the poison gas, how can we pick sides? The answer: someone who is in support of the Muslim Brotherhood to take over the Middle East. Now who would that be? The answer: Our Muslim President! The Muslim Brotherhood failed in Egypt because the people don't want Shariah Law. Assad has been winning his Civil War so why would he do it? Our Military are not a bunch of Mercenaries. They are Patriots and are not to be used to support a President's desires. We have no National Interest in the Civil War in Syria. We have lived with them for a long time, why now? Our Military personnel are not the policemen of the war!

  • kensgirl

    "Now let me be clear--I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied U.N. resolutions, thwarted U.N. inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

    "He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
    But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history."

    BHO - 2002

    In 2007 Obama asserted that American troops should be withdrawn from Iraq even if that would result in genocide:

    "Well, look, if that's the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now--where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife--which we haven't done," Mr. Obama told the AP. "We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven't done. Those of us who care about Darfur don't think it would be a good idea."

    BHO - 2007

    Have we not learned our lessons about getting involved in Middle Eastern Civil Wars?

    • bulldog95

      Now we cant go and use someones own words against them, thats just crazy. I notice how the drones like td and hiphop havent chimed in on this comment. typical

    • WVU 74

      Excellent post. BHO should read it.

  • Wowbagger


    You know, I just can't help remembering those WMDs that George Bush just couldn't seem to find in Iraq!

    My personal view is we should let Allah sort this one out and concentrate our attention on energy independence for North America. This is a lot closer than most realize!

  • David

    I still struggle to understand how military action will improve circumstances for the Syrian people, but I also understand that if the world community collectively says, "Use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated", and chemical weapons 'are' used, then some action must be taken.
    Have you folks seen the images of the people against whom these attacks were made? The images are horrifying. And, if we consider ourselves to be good people, then we must try to prevent or discourage future use of these weapons.

    • Mac

      At what cost? I've heard the plan is to take out Syria's air force so the troops have no air support. That will only serve to extend the conflict and cause even more death. Also consider that Russia is supplying the Syrians. Can anyone say Korea??

  • ShinnstonGuy

    Since we have now had three Hoppy commentary's on Syria, there isn't a whole lot more to add. I think we all know each other's opinion, unless we are going to now bash our Congressional delegation. That being said, I would like to point out that I find it quite irritating that we can afford to fire all these missiles but we can't afford to pay our Defense employees a full year's work. How does this latest conflict work with sequestration? Are we going to cut someone's college loan to pay for more Tomahawks?

  • TD

    Only one issue here, do we enforce our long stated position that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated or not? It doesn't matter one bit which side wins in Syria to any of us. Neither is friendly with the US or ever will be and any money spent influencing that war is an outright waste.

    If Obama does not act we set the precedent for increased use of chemical weapons amongst the poor nations from now on. What would those consequences mean? That is the question our representatives have to answer.

    • bulldog95

      And here I thought we were lecturted about the US for to long has been telling other countries how to act, that we dictated to other countries...

      pot meet keetle

    • wirerowe

      TD I was not aware of that documented long standing policy. If that is the case then that would be the only acceptable reason for taking action. Otherwise it makes absolutely no sense and in either case for the reasons David Staton points out it is a very risky venture.

      • TD

        Geneva treaty we signed in 1925 and went into affect in 1928 along with 133 other nations. The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, is an International treaty prohibiting the use of chemical and biological weapons.

        I'm not all in on this, just a matter of whether we stand behind our stated position or not.

  • Hillbilly

    And the final result of all of this? $6 a gallon gasoline.

    • Medman

      If this occurred 5 years ago, they would say that Bush and Cheney were profiting from the oil prices. Today, the President has absolutely no control on the price of oil. That is true because Biden said it was.

    • CaptainQ

      Be careful what you wish for, Hillbilly.

      That could STILL happen even if we have total peace in the Middle East!

  • Hillbilly

    I like Shelley's answer.. Not quickly believing our so-called Intelligence. She really has learned from Bush about Iraq. Vote Shelley for Senate.

  • Jim N Charleston


    It doesn't matter where they stand. The deals they cut with the Chief 44 or their party dictate how they'll vote.

    Lets face it, they're like high priced hookers with voting power and their pimp is the party they belong to. If the dems like Mojo get out of line too much, Barry will get a coat hanger out and burn his initials in Joey just like in the street. Same goes with Dave & Shelly. Johnny may appear to be an ignorant boob just like Barry, but like Barry, he's a pimp for his party and he'll keep his hoes in check.

  • Pragmatic

    Why should Congress be a tool in bailing out a long standing failure of presidential leadership? Obama has screwed up big time and finds himself alone – a victim of his own creation. If, as he states, he does not need Congress to launch a strike based on the War Powers Act, then why this circus? The Brits say no way, the Germans the same. Even Putin says be certain of the facts. Most would say, after years of miscalculations, the unintended consequences are the ones that come home to roost. Obama has not made the case for action, thus Congress should oppose allowing Obama to think through the whys and why not’s. Should he elect to strike (against a no Congressional vote) the door is open to test the Constitutional issue of who controls the decision for going to war – the Executive or Congress.

    • Mac

      My biggest question in all this is, "Why isn't the president more active in seeking international action?"

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, is it just me or does it seem like all of our Congressional delegation's reactions to the Syrian crisis are somewhat painted by their political party affiliations?

    Rahall is solidly behind the President, in sharp contrast to his decidedly 'anti-Obama' stance during his 2012 reelection campaign. Manchin is being Manchin, doing his often repeated political 'moonwalk' until he'll eventually decided to support the President's ideas (no matter what they happen to be). And why Rockefeller is 'hiding' his support for Obama on this issue now that he is retiring (* cough * afraid to lose against Shelley * cough *) is a complete mystery.

    Speaking of Shelley and David, both of them oppose action in Syria. No surprise here since they (as members of the GOP) pretty much oppose ANYTHING Obama or the Democrats support. Capito had better be careful with her caveat though, because Bush II did have 'supporting intelligence' data (later proved to be incorrect) when he instigated military action against Iraq in 2003. I have a feeling since Obama appears to want to attack Syria badly, somehow he'll FIND a way to produce/manufacture/create 'evidence' to support his position.

    Bottom line Hoppy, no surprises with our WV delegation. Though we can all sympathize with the fate of the Syrian people, does America truly want to take military action against yet another Arab nation and risk all of the negative repercussions it would cause America worldwide? From a more practical standpoint, can America really FINANCIALLY afford to participate in another 'police action,' especially since THIS time we'd have even less worldwide support than we had with Afghanistan and Iraq? As I said here before, Obama asking for Congressional approval on Syria is a brilliant political move that will produce him and the Democrats with plenty of 'political cover' no matter what the final vote is. Personally, I believe our President and Congress needs to devote MORE attention to the upcoming Federal Budget battle than to fighting Syria. Of course, our lawmakers in Washington won't concern themselves with the budget UNTIL the deadline gets closer (the end of this month).

    God help us all.

    • Mac

      Yes and no. Absolutely with Rahall and McKinley. They're both yes men to their party. This is a good thing on Syria with McKinley.

      The others are all playing politics. I really get the feeling Jay is against any action but won't say so publicly. That's just a feeling, I don't have any insight or inside information. It just makes sense. Why else would he not say ANYTHING?

      Shelly is going to vote no, regardless of any intelligence. Frankly the whole idea is without intelligence, no matter what information they have. (It's a stupid idea) So I'm glad she'll vote party lines.

      Annnnd Manchin is in the toaster, waffling. Joe, pull your head out of your aspirations and vote for what's right.

      Oh, and if you guys I curious, my voter card has a (D) on it. Party shouldn't matter, we need to stay out of Syria.

  • Medman

    What we need to do is wait about two weeks, warn them and allow enough time for Syria to hide the weapons, then lob a couple of bombs into the desert and call it good. If there are any problems, he can blame the Rs for delaying the decision or play the race card or blame Bush.

  • David Stanton

    Lobbing a few missiles into Syria at targets of questionable value will only serve to unite disparate Arab groups and rally them against the USA. There will be a parade of photos showing collateral damage of children, women, and innocent elderly people. The hoped-for strong message to Assad will backfire in anti-American sentiment. It will be a terrorist recruiting event. I hope the WV delegation votes no.

    • Charlie

      How many innocents will we kill protesting the killing of 1,500 with chemicals.

    • Hillbilly

      Exactly - they might bomb a lot of their own people and say our bombs did that.