After days of dodging the press over Syria, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio finally responded with a public statement over his views once it was noted by the news media.
Here it is:
The United States has significant national interests at stake in the
conflict in Syria. First, Assad is a close ally and supporter of the
Iranian regime. He has allowed Syria to be used as a staging ground and
way station for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and al Qaeda. Second,
an unstable Syria threatens to become the premier operational area in
the world from which jihadis can train, plan and carry out attacks
against our allies in the region including Israel and even the United
That is why at the outset of this conflict more than two years ago, I
argued that the United States should identify non-jihadist groups in
Syria and help train and equip them so that they could not only topple
Asaad, but also be the best organized, trained and armed group on the
ground in a post-Assad Syria.
Instead, the President chose to lead from behind. The result is that
the best funded and armed groups in Syria today are Assad's
Iranian-backed killers, Hezbollah fighters aligned with Assad, and
rebels with links to al Qaeda.
President Obama's inaction is why we are now left with an an
emboldened war criminal in power in Syria, willing to use chemical
weapons against innocent civilians. And it leaves us with a chaotic
situation in much of Syria that is becoming like pre-9/11 Afghanistan,
the premier operational area in the world for foreign jihadist fighters.
Because the President failed to act in the right way at the right
time, we are now left with no good options. Failing to act would further
embolden Assad and his Iranian sponsors, leaving the impression that
America is feckless and impotent. And a limited attack would do nothing
to change the dynamics of the conflict, but could trigger a broader and
even more dangerous conflict in the region.
Given those harsh realities, if the President concludes that military
action is warranted, instead of having administration officials leak
details to the press, he must clearly lay out to Congress and the
American people why this is in our national interest, what the goals of
this action are, and how the military action he is taking would achieve
I am deeply concerned that so far he has failed to do this. Military
action, taken simply to save face, is not a wise use of force. My advice
is to either lay out a comprehensive plan using all of the tools at our
disposable that stands a reasonable chance of allowing the moderate
opposition to remove Assad and replace him with a stable secular
government. Or, at this point, simply focus our resources on helping our
allies in the region protect themselves from the threat they and we
will increasingly face from an unstable Syria.