Congressman Xavier Becerra on Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

August 30, 2013

Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-34), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, released the following statement today on the use of chemical weapons in Syria:

“The use of chemical weapons is immoral and an unmistakably heinous crime under international law. A perpetrator of such a barbarous act must be held accountable, otherwise the civilized world gives license to such crimes against humanity.

What America does in response to the mass killings in Syria depends, for me, on the answer to two questions:

First, do we have compelling, uncontroverted evidence that chemical weapons were used and who was responsible?

Second, absent formal Congressional approval or United Nations authorization, is the proposed response targeted and strategic, aimed at deterring future outlaw behavior?

If the answer is yes to both questions, then I believe the President, after meaningful consultation with Congress, may act in defense of humanity and civilized nations. Inaction in the face of strong evidence of mass killings from the unconscionable use of chemical weapons would be morally irresponsible. But, what would be as wrong and indefensible as inaction would be a response, under these circumstances, that goes beyond legitimately seeking to deter the criminal behavior.

Like all Americans, I am looking for answers, and in particular, for answers to the two crucial questions that I believe determine what America can and should do. President Obama has a tough job and some tough decisions ahead of him. I believe the President, working with our nation’s leaders and best advisers, will do what’s right for America and for the people who believe in what America stands for.”