Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, was in Washington, D.C., this week for a House committee on foreign affairs hearing on the situation in Syria.
Those participating in the Sept. 4 hearing included Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
In testimony, Higgins said, in part, "The situation in Syria is that of a national civil war, an ethnic and sectarian conflict that America cannot solve and should not try to. This is not a fight for freedom and democracy. There is no democracy movement in Syria. There is no unifying vision or social contract, not a constitution or even a preamble, of what Syria wants to become. This is nothing more than a fight for control between two sectarian factions. ... This is a conflict between a brutal and murderous dictator and an opposition represented by Al Qaeda affiliates and Islamic extremists bent on creating an Islamist state in Syria.
"The lesson in Syria, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, is that civil wars have to be fought internally, and that political reconciliation can only come from within. It cannot be imposed by outside influences. We know this from our own history.
"After spending $2 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan ... the loss of 6,668 American lives and physical and mental damage to tens of thousands more young Americans, Iraq is as violent today as anytime in modern history and Afghanistan is as poor and corrupt as it's always been. The American people are sick and tired of war. It's time to nation build in America and invest in the growth of the American economy."
Higgins, a member of the House committees on foreign affairs and homeland security, has been outspoken in his opposition to U.S. military intervention in Syria.