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September 8, 2013

Politicians, activist react to Syria question

PLATTSBURGH — Political leaders and citizens alike are reacting to the crisis in Syria and the possibility of American intervention.

This weekend, the situation was on the minds of many in the North Country.

‘UNDECIDED’

After touring the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery in Lake Placid on Friday, Sen. Charles E. Schumer fielded questions about the upcoming Congressional debate on Syria.

Schumer (D-New York City) said President Barack Obama’s question of action and response to lawmakers will be discussed next week.

“I’m undecided,” he said, outlining two sides of the dilemma.

On one side, he said, “chemical weapons are terrible. To just shrug our shoulders is a bad thing.”

On the other side, he said, “Americans are saying, ‘Enough — let’s pay attention to America.’”

The people here, he assessed, want Congress to focus on job creation and the national economy.

Schumer said both he and Congressman Bill Owens, who was also in Lake Placid, would look to a “very narrow” act of intervention, if any.

But America, as the strongest global power, cannot wholly sit by and allow Syria’s president to deploy and kill with chemical weapons, the senator said.

There are several proposals offering various types of response being drafted by members of Congress, he explained of the review process underway ahead of debate.

“It’s always difficult,” Schumer said, “because I want to focus on America. The way to thread the needle is to allow only very narrow action.”

Asked whether the fact that other global superpowers are warning the United States to stay out of Syria has any impact on his decision, Schumer said that neither China nor Russia has backed any United Nations effort at diplomacy.

Both countries have said they would veto any U.N. Security Council actions proposed against Syria.

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