Former Congressman Ron Paul has sharply criticized the Obama administration for “escalating” the war in Syria by sending weapons to foreign-backed militants in the country.
“Today we heard from President Obama that the war in Syria will be escalated. He now has agreed to send weaponry in to assist the rebels. It’s escalation, that’s a proper word, because we’ve already been involved for quite a few months. We’ve been supporting the rebels for probably the past two years, supposedly for humanitarian reasons,” he said in a statement posted on YouTube on Friday.
“But now there is going to be a much more aggressive approach and we’re going to send weapons. There is a few problems with this, first off it’s war. Second thing is presidents are not supposed to start war without permission from the people through a congressional declaration of war,” Paul argued.
He also dismissed claims made by the White House that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against the militants, saying the accusations are ill-founded and resemble the claims made in the run-up to the Iraq war.
“The language is the same. They use the same arguments. Weapons of Mass Destruction, poison gases, hundred people died, [and] the government has done this,” he said. “To me it’s all an excuse.”
President Barack Obama is preparing to impose a no-fly zone inside Syria along with sending weapons to the militants.
The no-fly zone option came one day after White House National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against the foreign-backed militants. Damascus denied the allegations.
On Friday, Rhodes said it would be dramatically more difficult and costly to set up a no-fly zone over Syria than it was in Libya.
U.S. officials said that the decision to arm the militants in Syria had been made weeks ago.
Meanwhile, a majority of Americans are against a military attack against Syria. A poll conducted by Gallup last month showed that 68 percent of Americans said the United States should not take any military action in Syria.
“It’s time for the American people to wake up and let their members of Congress and their senators know: Stop it. Why should you sit back and let the president do these things?” Paul asked.