Longboat Key rep Vern Buchanan answers tough questions about Syria

10:55 PM, Sep 14, 2013   |    comments
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LONGBOAT KEY, Florida -- Longboat Key Republican Representative Vern Buchanan organized a town hall meeting Saturday morning at the University of South Florida's Sarasota-Manatee campus to discuss the White House's interest in military action against Syria.

"I have received thousands of phone calls in the last couple weeks from my constituents who are concerned about what is happening with the national government's talks of attacking Syria," said Representative Buchanan.

About 100 people filled the room asking questions.

"Who is the threat? Syria or Iran?" said one man.

Some Manatee County residents were confused and needed clarification, while others were there only to comment and share their opinion.

Army veteran Anthony Hardie encouraged Buchanan to oppose a unilateral strike against Syria.

"We need to have a coalition of partners, not just the U.S. going it alone; we don't think that might makes right," said former Staff Sgt. Hardie.

He said if the U.S. does use military action against Syria, the chemical weapons the U.S. is after need to be destroyed safely.

"I served six tours overseas, two of those were combat tours, and when I served in the Gulf War I suffered severe chemical weapon damage," said Hardie.  "I have permanent lung and neurological issues now."

Buchanan said he was pleased President Barack Obama took time to allow Congress to weigh in on the issues with Syria.

"I have to give the president some credit, he pushed the pause button and said 'let's let congress and the American people weigh in.'"

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