BEDFORD – Among New Hampshire’s all-female congressional delegation, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is the lone legislator to voice support for President Barack Obama’s military action plan on Syria.
In fact, Shaheen’s Republican counterpart, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, spoke out Wednesday against the initiative, calling Obama’s plan “incoherent and inconsistent.”
Many members of Shaheen’s own party, including Rep. Carol-Shea Porter (D-NH/CD-1) and Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH/CD-2), have sided with Ayotte, expressing “grave concerns” regarding U.S intervention in the Syrian conflict.
Shaheen, however, said she supports the president’s strategy – though she noted she still has hope for a diplomatic resolution – while speaking to a group of roughly 100 local business leaders at a New England Council luncheon at the Bedford Village Inn Friday.
Shaheen said that her decision to support military engagement in Syria was and remains difficult, though she explained that as a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee she has been privy to a great amount of classified information that led to her stance on the matter.
“I know there’s a lot of concern about the potential for Syria to turn into another Iraq, and the unintended consequence of using military force,” she said, “but it was a decision that I thought in the end was important to address not just the potential use again of chemical weapons by Assad, but also the threat of future use of weapons of mass destruction.
“For any of you who saw the horrible videos and pictures of the people who were gassed by the Assad regime, I know you appreciated that this was a different kind of mass killing, and I understand that people are going to be divided on this question,” Shaheen continued, “but I want you to know that I took that vote after a lot of difficult and careful thought, trying to get as much information as I could and asking as many questions as I could and appreciating that there are no good options in Syria right now.”
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