- (Photo: Reuters/Lee Celano)
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said Friday Congress should vote against Barack Obama's plan to attack Syria to punish the Bashar al-Assad regime for using chemical weapons because military action would put Christians and others at risk. The president cannot be trusted to remain within the confines of the law, he added.
Perkins explained his position on Obama's proposed armed intervention in Syria during his daily talk show "Washington Watch" on Friday afternoon.
The FRC head told the listeners he was being asked how he would vote if he were in Congress. "I'd vote 'no,'" Perkins said. "I don't think the president has stated clearly the goals and objectives here that would show us what we need to do to get in and get out."
Syrian President Assad is "a bad actor, no questions about it, nobody's defends him," but news reports coming out of Syria say the rebels "are going in and terrorizing and killing and even crucifying… literally… Christians," Perkins added.
"Now, we've seen this repeated over and over again in the Middle East… Egypt …Libya. We've got these dictators, these are bad guys, but they keep a balance and keep in check radical Islamists. But when radical Islamists are in control, they go after everybody, and it's not just Christians who are at risk, it's all non-Muslims who are at risk."
Perkins also blasted Obama for not doing anything to help. "This administration hasn't lifted a finger to help the persecuted Christians or the prisoners of conscience, not just Christians."
Perkins said destabilizing and removing Assad will not provide a solution. Experts, including Christians, say U.S. attack on Syria will make the situation worse, he stated. "They need humanitarian aid. They're suffering, they need help but not military help, not missiles, not bombs." They need food and clothing and temporary housing for refugees, he said.
The second reason why the attack on Syria is not a good idea, according to Perkins, is that Obama has launched "cultural war."
Earlier during the talk show on Friday, Perkins spoke about evangelical Christian Air Force Sergeant Phillip Monk, who was recently relieved of his duties by his new lesbian commander over his stance on homosexual "marriage."
Obama is "pushing his radical social policy on our military," Perkins said. "Our military is in a state of confusion… It's gonna be very difficult for our military to fight any type of foreign war when they are engaged in a cultural war that is being imposed upon them by the president of the United States."
Thirdly, Perkins went on to say, "I don't trust this president… pure and simple." He's had contempt for Congress at every turn, and this notion that military action would be limited… to me, I don't trust this president to work within the confines of the law."
Perkins said he'd advise those in Congress to also vote "no" when Congress returns on Monday.
On Thursday, Perkins said if Obama wants to attack Syria, the money should come out of "Obamacare" or the Affordable Care Act.
Perkins said this while talking to Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, who said the Republican-led House should use the budget and debt ceiling as leverage to strip funding from Affordable Care Act so that the country is on the path to a balanced budget.
"Or you could even take it to the issue of Syria," Perkins remarked. "If the President wants to expend resources in going into Syria, maybe you should have to choose between funding Obamacare and funding a war in Syria, can't do both."
Syria has witnessed a civil war for the past two years between the supporters of President Assad's regime and rebel forces seeking to overthrow his government. More than 100,000 people have died in the unrest.
The White House recently released its "assessment of the Syrian Government's use of chemical weapons," saying it assesses "with high confidence" that President Assad's government carried out a chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21, killing 1,429 people, including at least 426 children.
Syria's Christians, who make up an estimated 10 percent of the country's population of 23 million, are anxious about their safety if the Syrian government is overthrown.
About 10 percent of Syria's population is from the Alawite sect, a Shiite offshoot. About 70 percent of the people are Sunni Muslims. Assad is an Alawite and supported by Iran as well as Lebanon's Hezbollah among other Shi'a groups. On the other hand, the opposition movement includes Islamists, some of who are reportedly affiliated with al Qaeda or receive support from it.
Obama said Tuesday he wanted military strikes against Syria to be "limited, proportional," just enough to degrade Assad's chemical weapons capabilities and let that nation "free itself" from political conflict.
"The key point I want to emphasize to the American people, the military plan that has been developed by our joint chiefs and that I believe is appropriate is proportional, it is limited, it does not involve boots on the ground," Obama said. "This is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan."
Obama also said the attack would "fit into a broader strategy" to support the Syrian opposition. "At the same time, we have a broader strategy that will allow us to upgrade the capabilities of the opposition, allow Syria ultimately to free itself from these kinds of terrible civil wars and death on the ground."
However, in the absence of a clearly laid out agenda for political process in Syria, the outcome of the possible U.S. attack appears to be uncertain.