Ros-Lehtinen Says She 'Leans' Toward Syria Missile Strikes

Sep 4, 2013

South Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen says she's keeping an open mind but, right now, she supports President Obama's plan for limited missile strikes to punish Syria for the use of chemical weapons.

Ros-Lehtinen - the Republican chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa - told Miami Herald editors on Tuesday it’s important that the president is seen keeping his word.

"Send the message to Iran that when we say something we will act is an important one", Ros-Lehtinen said. "Because if we don't act in Syria, I'm leaning more toward Iran being the real problem and the nuclear holocaust that we will be facing."

But Ros-Lehtinen acknowledged that limited strikes, as the president proposes, would send a confused message that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is free to kill his own people as long as he uses bullets and not poison gas.

"I hate to say it but it’s the truth", said Ros-Lehtinen. "This vote is saying to Assad, you can continue to kill your people. but, buddy, just use bullets, don't use gas."

Ros-Lehtinen joins other top Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, and Senators John McCain, and Lindsay Graham in supporting an attack on Syria.

The president said Friday he would ask Congress to approve the missile strikes before moving ahead.