Yesterday, Congressman Brian Higgins participated in a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on potential U.S. military intervention in Syria. Higgins asserted claims American credibility is dependent on following through on threats of military intervention are misleading and false.
In his remarks, Higgins said, in part, "There's an issue I want to address, which has been referenced here and throughout this debate and it's that America's credibility is on the line in Syria. That America's credibility is on the line in Syria. Really? Not the America that I know. Not my America."
The full transcript of Higgins' remarks is below:
"Let me say this at the outset: The situation in Syria is that of a national civil war. It is sectarian and it's ethnic. This is not about freedom and democracy. There is no social contract, there is no preamble, there is no unifying vision for what Syria wants to become. This is a fight about control. A brutal dictator -Assad - and his militias and an opposition whose best fighters are al Qaeda and Islamic extremists bent on creating an Islamist state in Syria. So there is no good military option for the United States.
"But there's an issue I want to address, which has been referenced here and throughout this debate and it's that America's credibility is on the line in Syria. That America's credibility is on the line in Syria. Really? Not the America that I know. Not my America. The international community of 194 countries, an international community, but for Turkey and France, that says 'Yes, we agree with you, the United States, that Assad is a toxic murderer, go get him, just don't ask us to participate.' So the United States will enter another regional civil war for the third time in the past decade, essentially alone, again.
"The Arab League - 22 member states in the Arab world - whose strategic interests are tied to the stability of the region. Their response to Assad's murderous ways are convoluted and weak - pathetically weak - and you're telling me that America's credibility is on the line in Syria?
"The Arab-Muslim world, a civilization of 250 million people, who have been in a destructive war with one another, Shia and Sunni, about who is the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad's political and spiritual leadership since 632 - the 7th century. The Arab-Muslim community is a population of 250 million people, one half of which are under the age of 25. So Shia and Sunni are involved in the sectarian conflict against each other without any regard for the future of the children in that community. And America's credibility is on the line.
"Finally, the American people. The American people are sick and tired of war. Afghanistan and Iraq is as violent and as backward as it's ever been. $2 trillion, 6,668 American lives lost. Tens of thousands of young men and women coming back to this country both physically and mentally destroyed. America is underachieving. What the American people want is a strong, prosperous America. Richard Haass just wrote the book 'Foreign Policy Starts at Home.' We have to build nations, not in Afghanistan, not in Iraq, not nation build in those nations, but nation build right here at home, investing in the American people and the American economy. There are no good options for the United States here.
"I heard a spokesman from the White House say today that 'Why are the people opposed? "Well it's complicated." ' That's insulting. That is insulting. The American people are way ahead of Washington on this issue. They don't want a war in another part of the country that we cannot win, that we cannot litigate toward a successful end. They want to nation build in America.
"So I just think it's important we say that. American credibility is not on the line. We are the greatest nation in the history of the world. We have demonstrated greater generosity to the international community to the rest of the world than they will ever respond to us. So let's stop this nonsense about America's credibility on the line in Syria."