Collins and Michaud say they oppose U.S. strike against Syria

Just minutes before President Barack Obama addressed the nation on Syria U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R- Maine, said she could not support a Senate resolution authorizing U.S. military action in the civil war-torn nation.

Susan Collins
Associated Press

Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington last week, before she went to a closed-door briefing on Syria.

Moments later, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, joined in saying he would oppose a unilateral strike by the U.S.

"I have many concerns about deepening U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict because our country could find itself slowly entangled in an increasingly dangerous and protracted civil war," Collins said in a prepared statement. "I don’t think U.S. involvement would end with just one military strike."

Earlier Tuesday, a group of prominent Maine Republicans, including the assistant minority leader in the state's House of Representatives, is urging U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to vote against any military action in Syria.

"Syria is caught up in a dangerous civil war, and while events unfolding in that region are undeniably tragic, the use of military force by the United States will not improve the situation," the group of 108 wrote in a letter to Collins on Monday.

"There are no “good” sides in this conflict. President Obama’s current plan to intervene in Syria will do little to improve the circumstances of the Syrian people. A merely symbolic show of force, which could have unforeseen consequences that ripple across the region and the world, is not the answer. There are no good outcomes foreseen in any such action," the letter said.

Collins and a group of Senate Republicans met with Obama on Tuesday afternoon, according to her spokesman in Washington, Kevin Kelley. It is likely Obama made his final pitch for GOP support in the Senate.

Rep. Alex Willette, R-Mapleton, the Maine House assistant minority leader, is the highest ranking signatory. Willette, who was in Washington on Tuesday on other business, said he earlier sent a personal letter to the state's entire Congressional delegation.

A missile strike against Syria may be "symbolic," Willette said via cellphone Tuesday. "But I just think it would have some consequences that would ripple across that region and it isn't good for American foreign policy."

Collins, a bellwether as the U.S. Senate's leading GOP moderate, told reporters Monday evening that she was "leaning against" the resolution despite spending three hours at Vice President Joe Biden's home Sunday night with a group of fellow Senate Republicans discussing the Syria issue. Obama joined the group for an hour.

In her statement Tuesday evening Collins was clear she opposed the president's plan and instead focus on diplomacy, including considering a plan offered by Russia to have Syria turn over it's chemical weapons stockpile to the international community.

"It certainly is preferable to launching a military strike on a country that has not attacked us," Collins said.  "The United States' goal should be to get the chemical stockpiles out of Syria so that the Assad regime can no longer use them to harm or kill innocent civilians."

The group of Maine Republicans that signed the letter urging Collins to oppose a military strike  included a number of current and former state lawmakers as well as Maine Republican Party officials and candidates for office.

The letter was drafted by state Senate District 20 candidate Eric Brakey, a New Gloucester Republican. According to Brakey, the letter has been signed by 48 or two-thirds of the Maine Republican State Committee.

In a written statement, Brakey echoed Willette's concern.

"A merely symbolic show of force, which could have unforeseen consequences that ripple across the region and the world, is not the answer," he said.

Other signers include state Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls; state Rep. Jeff Timberlake, R-Turner; Rep. Dale Crafts, R-Lisbon; and Rep. Gary Knight, R-Livermore Falls.

Prominent Maine Democrats were also saying they were in opposition to the strike Tuesday, including U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine. 

Michaud, a Democratic candidate for governor in Maine in 2014, said he spent the last week evaluating the situation and decided it was not in the best interests of the U.S. to strike Syria.

“I do not believe the case has been made for a unilateral military solution to the crisis in Syria and, at this time, I would vote ‘no’ on a congressional resolution that authorizes such force," Michaud said in a prepared statement also issued moments before Obama's address.

"Based on the information I’ve now had a chance to see, I am not convinced that we should take military action. In addition, I have heard from thousands of Mainers who have told me they do not want to get embroiled in another war in the Middle East," Michaud said.

Information from the Washington Post was used in this report.

sthistle@sunjournal.com

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Comments

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Hilarious

If this was not a matter of life and death for hundreds of thousands of people it would be funny. People who were dead set against going to war in Syria yesterday are now mad that we are not going to war and Putin is getting the credit. Never mind that there is a real possibility that Putin and Obama had a meeting of minds at the conference last week. That would really upset the cart. There is no guarantee that this will change much for the people of Syria. The war will go on but this country has little to gain by getting involved before they are thoroughly sick of killing each other. The international community is probably correct in their assessment.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Oppose U.S. strike against Syria ?

Mainers , Wednesday
Civl war is a non - sequiter ( non sequence ) No war is civil esp. when children are being kilt by nerve gas
It's easy to start wars, difficult to stop them . Bush found this out when his historic SECSTATE and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell confronted him with , " What ? No exit strategy ? ," and " What ? No WMD ? " Bush and his bald faced lying National Security Advisor Condi RIce knew and were warned about 9.11 a month before it even happened
You don't have to take my word on this
It's all factual data contained in a report and available on-line to you courtesy of our CIA http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/pdb080601.pdf
Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US Declassified and Approved for Release, 10 April 2004 Their response ? Nothing . Then along came Homeland Security , TSA , denial and obfuscation ( like we needed that ) . The CIA , NSA , DIA , ATF , Customs and Border Patrol and the Federal BI are still around , too . You didn't notice we've been living in a police state since then ?Our military is larger and more expensive than the rest of the world's militaries combined and put together . It's costly . We remain the best , though . Our 500 ship Navy pilots ( male \ female ) can land jets in snowstorms on aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean in the middle of the night . Our Air Force could kill Assad from Kansas City MO by remote control if we wanted them to . They'd fly the drone right in his front window and land it in his lap , they would and could . They should Marines are always first in and take it on the chin . Our Army can take out anyone anywhere anytime and in any weather 24 x 7 x 365 . Our Coasties stop those illegal drugs from ever reaching our shores . Bet you didn't know that , huh ?We have the ability to elect great Presidents when we truly need them . We are blessed this way . One hundred years from now nobody will be talking favorably about Halliburton's Dick Cheney and the one term TX Gov. G " Dub " Bush , the Shearson Lehman Brothers , ENRON ® , the GM ® bankruptcy and the Great Recession they and their greedy fat cat Wall St. cronies brought on . Bush was undoubtedly the worst President since Warren Harding in 1927 . FDR saved this nation after VT's Calvin Cooledge (R) , Herbert Hoover (R) and all the ensuing depression Western historians will still be talking favorably about the funny looking black Hawai'ian orator ( and former US Senator from Illinois ) , President Barack Hussein Obama and his VP former Delaware Senator Joe Biden , their stunning and intelligent wives ( Dr. Biden and Magna Cum Laude Princeton graduate Michelle Obama ) and their darling , well adjusted kids . Mark my words . It's almost the stuff of fiction This President has won the Nobel Peace Prize already . Neither Bush was ever remotely in the running . Jimmy Carter won one , also , yet i'll be the first one to say he was a better President out of office than in with his wife Roselynn and Habitat for Humanity . i worked with him ( and the UN ) as an official election observer in Guatemala once . Read his recent book about the ongoing illegal Israeli apartheid in Palestine . That'll turn your head . Then answer this question , " Have Egypt and Israel gone to war with each other since he was President ? " A : No , thank God . Victory is ours . Blessed are the peace makers for we shall truly inherit the Earth See you in Fryburg @ the fair ? /s Dr. Dosh

Bob White's picture

Maybe the reason they (both

Maybe the reason they (both sides of the fence) would have supported Bush is because at least he new what he was doing. Obama couldn't get his own people to follow him shows his ability to bring people together.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Bob? Bush had no clue what he

Bob? Bush had no clue what he was doing . i worked for him /s Steve

Bob White's picture

Ya kinda like the guy we have

Ya kinda like the guy we have now... He's puts a red line down then he says I never said that then he says its not his credibility on the line if we don't attack its America's credibility that is on the line (gee who is leading us) then its we have to attack then its no we don't have to attack. I don't remember all this foolishness but maybe I forgot some stuff and one other thing when Bush wanted Congress to vote just about everybody voted to attack. I bet your response will be WE WERE LIED TO!!! Well I guess I would say to that is not only should we be upset with our President and Vice President at the time but shouldn't we be as upset with our representative's to give a vote for war and not have all the facts and all the details?

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

HYpocrits

If Bush was in White House they would be jumping over each other to be first in support of any attack.

Bob White's picture

I hope your talking about the

I hope your talking about the Democrats

Steve  Dosh's picture

Jon , You know it ? Daddy

Jon , You know it ? Daddy Warbux ( Dead - Eye Dick Cheney - - Halliburton.com ) ? /s, Steve

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Yep

In a New York minute, the Goopers would be drooling for the kill....

ANTHONY NAZAR's picture

Shhhh. Don't distract her

She's busy walking on top of the fence.

Prediction - it'll never come to a vote - the US, Russians and Syrians will announce an agreement to put them under UN inspectors' control in exchange for (fill in the blank).

I have a feeling this was Hillary to Obama to Kerry to the Russians which will annoy Drudge, Limbaugh and O'Reilly because they aren't in the loop. Hillary was at the WH and I'll bet she wasn't having tea with Mrs. O.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Hahah Tony ! Next thing you

Hahah Tony ! Next thing you know she'll be sitting firmly on it . Hope it's a picket fence :D /s Steve

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