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September 6, 2013

Tierney, challengers weigh options on Syria

Congressman John Tierney says he is undecided about whether to support or oppose U.S. military action in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons there. And he’s not alone.

Likely challengers in the 6th District election next year seemed equally undecided this week.

Tierney, the nine-term Salem Democrat whose 6th Massachusetts District includes all of Cape Ann, refused requests for an interview on Tuesday and Wednesday, but issued a statement saying, “There is justifiable concern and horror being expressed throughout the world about the deaths said to have been caused by the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and I join others in finding this deeply troubling.”

The statement said he was “pleased,” however, that President Obama had sought congressional authorization for use force in Syria.

“Between now and the anticipated vote on the question, I will continue to assess the relevant facts as well as the strategic objectives, costs, duration, and ramifications of any military action so as to make an informed decision,” Tierney said.

Seth Moulton of Marblehead, a former Marine who served four tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine and was a special assistant to Gen. David Petraeus, issued a statement saying he would be “paying close attention to the case the administration makes to the American people before coming to my own conclusion about what I believe is the best course of action.

“If it is clear that the Assad regime used weapons of mass destruction against its own people,” said Moulton, who is mounting a challenge to Tierney in the 2014 race. “The world must hold him accountable. But we must also be extremely careful not to get dragged into another long-term engagement in the Middle East.”

In an interview yesterday, Moulton said he does not have access to classified information about the chemical attack in Syria or the country’s military options, so he could not say how he might vote.

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