Today, Congressman Dent (PA-15) opposed an amendment to a short-term government funding bill that would provide arms and training to “moderate” Syrian rebel forces known as the Free Syrian Army.

Congressman Dent’s Statement:

“There may have been a time when, in 2011 or 2012, arming Syrian moderates would have been possible with a reasonable chance for success. That time has likely passed.

Too many questions remain today that cannot be answered to my satisfaction. How will we effectively vet the opposition forces? How will we ensure that arms delivered will not be sold to ISIS forces or used against already persecuted people in the region, such as the Syrian Christians? In my opinion, the Administration has not provided reasonable answers to these key questions.

ISIS is antithetical to American and civilized ideas of justice, equality and decency. They have demonstrated this fact with their barbaric beheadings of Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff and of British aid worker David Haines.

ISIS needs to be rooted out and destroyed, but to do so we need a comprehensive plan. What was proposed today was only a partial plan.

Everyone is familiar with the saying ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t.’ It certainly fits the notion of our being able to reliably identify and arm Syrian ‘moderates.’ With that in mind, I believe that if we err – it should be on the side of caution.”

[Congressman Dent serves as the Vice-chair of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House’s Appropriations Committee.]

CONTACT: Shawn Millan (610) 770-3490