Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09), currently traveling to the Middle East to evaluate the situation in Syria, Afghanistan, and Egypt as part of his duties as Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, issued this statement following the President's address on Syria:
"There are no good actors in the Syrian civil war, and the United States must be very careful not to become entangled in this internal conflict.
"However, we should all be concerned by Syria's substantial stockpile of chemical weapons and the risk these weapons could fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, or Hamas and used to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.
"Under the Constitution, the responsibility to declare war rests with Congress, and I will not support an open-ended or ambiguous plan. The President needs to present Congress with a clear objective for military action which protects the American people and innocent Syrian civilians.
"While I am currently overseas meeting with key U.S. allies , I stand ready to cancel my plans and return to Washington at once should the President decide to call Congress into session prior to September 9th. In the meantime, I will use this trip to gather additional information to assist Congress in making an informed decision."
While en route to the Middle East, Congressman Pittenger will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss Japan's continuing support of U.S. efforts to combat radical Islamic terrorists. If not called back to Washington, Congressman Pittenger will meet next week with the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, travel to Cairo to meet with Egypt's military leadership, and discuss the crisis in Syria with NATO leadership.