In his first major decision since joining the Senate, Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey voted “present” on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations vote to authorize military force in Syria.
The committee voted 10-7 in favor of the measure with Markey the only senator to not vote either way.
Markey released a statement Wednesday about his vote. The Malden Democrat said he’s undecided as to how he’ll vote when the measure comes before the full Senate:
“Before casting such a monumental vote, I need to review all of the relevant classified materials relating to this matter before I make a decision as important as authorizing the use of military force. The people of Massachusetts expect their representatives to have analyzed all of the facts prior to making a decision of this magnitude.
“I am concerned about the unintended consequences of a U.S. military attack on Syria and the potential that such a strike could lead, over time, to the entanglement of our brave service men and women in an intractable Syrian civil war.
“The resolution as currently drafted contains language that could be interpreted as expanding the scope of the U.S. military action beyond merely the degradation and deterrence of Assad’s chemical weapons capability.
“The current version of the resolution goes beyond the President’s objective of responding to the use of chemical weapons to call for a broader U.S. political and military strategy in Syria that includes expanded support for various opposition groups, efforts to limit support for the Syrian regime from the Government of Iran and activities to isolate terrorist groups in Syria.
“Although some of these may be desirable objectives, as written they could result in deeper U.S. military involvement in a country inflamed by sectarian violence.
“In the days to come, I will further examine the classified intelligence information and consult with experts before deciding how I will vote on the final resolution when it is considered on the Senate floor,” he said.
Markey’s opponent in the Senate election, Gabriel Gomez, went on Twitter to criticize the senator’s vote.
“Markey votes present..embarrassing, at least have the fortitude and courage to vote yes or no. Not a time to dither,” Gomez Tweeted.
What do you think about Markey’s “present” vote on using military force in Syria? Where do you stand on the issue of military force in Syria?