KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The line of speakers formed almost instantly at a town hall meeting hosted by Representative Emanuel Cleaver Thursday night.
The overwhelming viewpoint of those in attendance became clear almost as quickly: the United States should not use military force in Syria.
Opposition to striking back at the Assad regime for what the U.S. government said was a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 people came from across the political spectrum at the event, hosted by the powerful Democratic congressman.
“If we shoot a ‘shot over the bow’ and aren't willing to finish the battle, we're worse off than we started,” said one attendee.
“How can we afford another military action?” asked another. “There is no cost benefit to American interest.”
Speaker after speaker took the microphone to express their view that Cleaver should continue to oppose a military strike of any kind in Syria, bucking the wishes of a president with whom he is usually closely allied.
“I'm not sure that it makes senses for us to engage in Syria primarily because we're ignorant in the Middle East," Cleaver told 41 Action News on Sunday. "We make dumb decisions.”
Only a small minority of speakers gave the congressman any reason to change his view on Thursday night.
Among the few in favor of authorizing a strike, several Syrian-Americans said they don’t take the decision to bomb their other homeland lightly.
“I'm not a fan of bombing my country. I'm not a fan of striking cruise missiles at my country,” one said. “I don't call this war against Syria. This is war against the Assad regime.”
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