Here in rural Virginia, we switch between Democrats and Republicans, but they all vote for war ... until now. Our recently unseated Congress member, Tom Periello, is rallying humanitarian warriors to bomb nations because we care. His replacement, Robert Hurt, met with a group of constituents on Thursday and indicated that he had "grave, grave concerns" about voting for any attack on Syria.
Hurt said he was inclined to believe that Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack on the 21st and that it was indeed "horrific." "That being said, I have grave concerns about going into Syria," Hurt said at the meeting in his Charlottesville, Va., office, which was attended by constituents from across the political spectrum, many of whom had held a forum the night before (video). Also attending Thursday's meeting were camera crews from NBC Channel 29 and Newsplex Channel 19/16/27.
Hurt said it was "the responsibility of the President and proponents of a war to make a clear and compelling case that it would be in the national security interest of the United States. And I have not seen that."
"We've learned what it means to be in a protracted struggle in the Middle East," he said. He said he had not seen, and would need to see, a clear objective, a way to achieve it, and a plan for getting out again.
Hurt said that during the past two weeks he had heard from many constituents, and that they were "absolutely overwhelmingly" against an attack on Syria.
"How does our going in do anything other than make it worse?" he asked. He also said that he was against half-measures that aren't all-in.
Hurt said that he would have to answer to his constituents and members of the military, and military family members, and be able to look them in the eye and say that the loss of their loved one was "worth it."
Asked if he would move to raise taxes to pay for this war and other recent wars if he voted for this one, Hurt said, "That's an excellent point," and suggested that the greatest threat to national security may be the national debt."
Hurt did not commit to voting No, but rather said he would go to Washington, look at the classified materials, and hear out the war proponents.
But, of course, he is not going to hear that Syria is a threat to the United States or that there is an exit plan or that the war will cost no money.
The Congressman also said that the Constitution required that the House vote on any war. It is to be hoped that if that vote is denied, a majority of members including Hurt will force a vote over the preference of the Speaker and the Democratic Leader.