Goshen News, Goshen, IN

August 31, 2013

Donnelly states case for intervention in Syrian civil war


— GOSHEN — During a visit to the Goshen VA Outpatient Clinic Friday, U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly spoke about the situation in Syria.

“It’s an extraordinarily serious situation,” the Granger resident said. “I was on a call with the White House earlier this afternoon on this topic. It’s one of those situations where there are no good choices. What we are trying is to make sure the Syrian government is not in a position to attack their own citizens again.

“There is clear evidence that the Syrian government has killed more than 1,400 of its own citizens with the most painful dangerous, toxic, chemical weapons you can imagine. Over 400 of the people killed were children and what we’re trying to ensure is that this does not happen again.”

Donnelly said the government is working with allies.

“We are working with our friends in the region and around the world to come up with an appropriate response to indicate to their government that there will be significant pain to them, significant damage to them, if they ever try this again against their citizens,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly laid out Syria’s transgressions.

“The illegal act under international law was what Syria did to their citizens. What we are simply doing is, as we have agreed with other nations in the past, to prevent countries from using chemical weapons — we all promised not to use them — and what we are trying to do is to protect the citizens of Syria from the viciousness and chemical weapons of their own government.

“I should also emphasize that the responses that I have talked about with others do not in any way, shape, or form, include American soldiers. That is not part of the discussion. Nobody wants to be having to plan these kind of things but you look and say what are the alternatives to the Syrian government killing not 1,400 next time, but 14,000?”

Donnelly was in the area Friday to tour VA clinics. The senator praised the medical professionals at the VA Outpatient Clinic.

“Goshen is extraordinarily blessed to have this facility and I was very honored to be part of it when we opened the doors,” he said. “The medical professionals here have worked tirelessly to provide the very best care and treat our veterans with incredible respect and dignity. They are our heroes and are getting the best medical care that is possible right here. I just wanted to come by and thank everybody who works here for being on the front line.”