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Since Syria has burst into the national forefront in recent weeks, potential 2016 candidates for both parties have offered their opinions regarding whether the United States should enter this conflict and commit our resources.

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This isn’t a complete list since most of them have not offered a public statement. If you find any more potential candidates opining on Syria, leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to this story.

Ted Cruz:

The Lone Star State conservative said Monday that America shouldn’t intervene in Syria in the wake of a deadly chemical weapons attack in the country last week.

“The United States Armed Forces doesn’t exist to be a policeman for the world and I certainly hope the reaction isn’t lobbing some cruise missiles in to disagree with Assad’s murderous actions,” Cruz said on Fox News.

“The focus should be the only justifiable reason for U.S. military forces to be engaged is to protect our national security and sadly, that has been the missing variable from this administration’s approach from the beginning as they allowed Assad to slaughter over 100,000 of his people,” he added.

Joe Biden:

“The president believes and I believe that those who use chemical weapons against defenseless men, women and children should and must be held accountable,” Biden said.

He gave no hints about what “accountable” means in terms of U.S. actions, but his comments came amidst increasing rhetoric aimed at Syrian leaders from White House officials.

Biden cast the use of chemical weapons in Syria as a national security problem for the United States.

“National security is strengthened when we hold accountable those who violate international norms that are the foundation of global security, and ultimately, American security,” he said. “And there is no doubt that an essential international norm has been violated. Chemical weapons have been used.”

Rand Paul:

“Even if you believe we should arm Islamic fighters in Syria, shouldn’t, at the very least, Congress vote on the matter?” Sen. Paul asked of the crowd. “The Constitution is very clear. Congress is to declare war, not the president.”

“Nevertheless, President Obama is moving ahead with plans to get involved in the Syrian civil war, without the authorization of Congress,” he said.

“Last week I was told by the administration, you know what their goal is in Syria? To fight to a stalemate,” Mr. Paul said. “I’ve told them I’m not sending my kids or your kids or any American soldiers to fight for stalemate. When we fight, we fight to win, we fight for American principles, we fight for the American flag and we come home after we win.”

“For our country’s sake, certainly for our soldiers’ sake—for the sake of every veteran who ever donned a uniform and fought for this country—America’s mission should always be to keep the peace, not police the world,” Sen. Paul said.

There are many other potential candidates but I was unable to find them addressing the topic of Syria. If you find any stories, please post in the comments.

Update

Some updates per the comments section.

Rick Santorum:

“…Syria is a situation where you have a dictator there who was the closest ally to Iran. One could argue that at the time that a revolution was beginning to start there. This was an opportunity to make sure the United States engaged and was able to equip, support and do what we could do to help those who wanted to overthrow Assad, whose values were consistent with our values that could be an ally going forward. That would have been one way to address this issue. What the president did was nothing. He decided to stand aside after some horrible things that Assad was accused of came to light. The President distanced himself from Assad even more and decided to on balance support the rebels. Unfortunately, by then since we did not engage at all with the rebel forces, what happened was al Qaeda…has become the dominant player in the rebel forces. We now have no side. There’s no side for us to cheer for.”

“… I don’t have any doubt they [chemical weapons] were used. I’m not too sure we know with certainty which side was using them. And it wouldn’t be a surprise to me that both sides were using them or that the radical Islamists are using them. Because these are folks whose watch word is terrorism. There’s nothing that strikes more terror then weapons of mass destruction, particularly chemical and biological weapons. While I agree with Secretary Kerry – it is very clear that chemical weapons were used. The idea that we need to be punishing Assad and doing things to tip the balance in favor of al Qaeda who are running the rebel forces to me is a very questionable tactic of itself….”

Marco Rubio: (a little outdated from April of this year but at that time he called for Assad’s removal)

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, has been critical of the Obama administration for not acting sooner. Back in April Rubio was calling for an end to “passive engagement” with Syria after early reports that chemical weapons had been used.

“It is in the vital national security interest of our nation to see Assad’s removal,” Rubio said in April.

Keep ’em coming.

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