A world hot spot was the hottest topic at Wednesday’s town hall meeting at the Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce.
The first two questions posed to Eighth District Congressman Austin Scott were about Syria. Several more Syria-related and military queries were scattered throughout the event that featured about three dozen citizens.
Scott, a first-term Republican, made it clear that he believes Syria is not a burning issue for the U.S. He believes President Obama is using the recent chemical attack on civilians there as a distraction from pressing issues at home.
“There are public published reports where this was the sixth or seventh time, depending on which public report you read, that there had been a use of chemical weapons in the country,” Scott said. “So why now? Why is this the ‘red line’ with nine (legislative) days left in our fiscal year.”
The fiscal year for the federal government ends Sept. 30. Before then, Congress must pass a continuing resolution or some other appropriations measure.
“There is a lot that has to be done in the next nine days, and there is no reason that Syria had to be a part of it,” Scott said.
Scott, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, intends to vote against attacking Syria pending hearing additional intelligence reports.
“I’m tired of the U.S. getting involved in other countries’ individual disputes,” he said to a rumbling of support from a majority of the audience. “As sad as what happened (in Syria) is, we can’t physically do it all.”
Scott said he will vote for acting against Syria if there is evidence to show that Syria’s stash of chemical weapons is being given to Hamas or another terrorist organization for potential use against Israel.
“I hope you’ll give me a little leeway there,” Scott said.