Paul Ryan opposes Obama plan on Syria


Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Wednesday he is against President Obama’s plan for a military strike on Syria even after saying last year, he agreed on the same red line.

“I believe the President’s proposed military strike in Syria cannot achieve its stated objectives. In fact, I fear it will make things worse,” the Wisconsin congressman said in a statement.

Ryan’s opposition puts him at odds with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and  and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va). The number one and number two leaders in the House both said they will vote to support the use of force in Syria.

Ryan’s statement today also arguably puts him at odds with himself. During the October 2012 vice-presidential debate, Ryan told ABC’s Martha Raddatz that he and GOP nominee Mitt Romney agreed with Obama’s red line on Syria’s use of chemical weapons, as NBC’s Mark Murray points out. Here’s the exchange per Murray.

RADDATZ: What happens if Assad does not fall, Congressman Ryan? What happens to the region? What happens if he hangs on? What happens if he does?

RYAN: Then Iran keeps their greatest ally in the region. He’s a sponsor of terrorism. He’ll probably continue slaughtering his people. We and the world community will lose our credibility on this. Look, he mentioned the reset…

RADDATZ: So what would Romney-Ryan do about that credibility?

RYAN: Well, we agree with the same red line, actually, they do on chemical weapons, but not putting American troops in, other than to secure those chemical weapons. They’re right about that. But what we should have done earlier is work with those freedom fighters, those dissidents in Syria. We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer.

Ryan’s Wednesday statement went on to say: ”Syria’s civil war isn’t our fight, but we have a stake in the outcome. The best punishment for Assad’s war crimes is for the moderate elements of the opposition to prevail. But the President’s ill-conceived, half-hearted proposal will do little to help. It will make America look weak, when we need to be strong. It will merely curse the past, when we need to protect the future. For all these reasons, I cannot support it.”