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Collins says district 95 percent against Syrian military action

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 September 2013 at 12:00 am

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins said he will listen with an open mind to President Barack Obama’s speech tonight about Syria, but the congressman from Clarence said 4,000 constituents in the 27th District have overwhelmingly told his office they oppose U.S. military involvement.

“The American public is tired of wars,” Collins said this afternoon on a conference call with reporters. “The president will have to work very hard to convince me and the American public the wisdom of a military strike.”

The congressman has conducted an online poll and he said 95 percent of the respondents reported they oppose U.S. military action in Syrian.

Collins is critical of the president’s foreign policy, which the congressman said is in “disarray.” Obama has vacillated on how to handle Syria, Collins said, ultimately allowing Russia to step in and offer to take Syria’s chemical weapons so they could be turned over to international control. Collins said he is “disappointed in the president as the commander in chief.”

“Vladimir Putin rides in on a white horse,” Collins said. “That’s a travesty.”

Collins said Obama has proposed limited military strikes that the congressman said won’t overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad. The missile strikes would just “knock out a few pieces of hardware,” Collins said. Before he comes out against using military force, he wants to hear from the president about his justification for taking that action and what the repercussions could be. But he emphasized Americans are solidly against firing missiles at Syria.

“Everywhere I go people are saying, ‘We don’t want a part of this. This isn’t America’s war.’”

The president is scheduled to speak later today at 9 p.m.