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The Thumbs Down to Training Syrian Rebel Troops: Palazzo, Thompson Say No to Obama’s Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C.–It was a no vote from two of Mississippi’s DC lawmakers Wednesday on President Obama’s plan to train Syrian rebel troops to fight ISIS, or the Islamic State, on the ground in the Middle East. The vote in the U.S. House was 273 to 156, and crossed party lines.

Rep. Gregg Harper (R-3rd District) voted yes on the matter, according to roll call records.

Thompson had not issued a statement on his reasons for voting no as of Thursday morning.

Palazzo, who recently visited the Middle East, and made statements last week saying he believed the Islamic State was a threat to the region, said he voted no because he believed the resolution was a half-measure that could eventually put Americans in danger from their own weapons.

“As a Marine who has served in this very region of the world, I believe our men and women in uniform deserve a strong, comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIL,” he said. “Today’s vote to provide equipment and training to Syrian rebels is an arbitrary half-measure, and one that won’t work. I cannot support handing weapons to a force unless I am 100% confident that our American soldiers won’t have to face fire from those same weapons in the future.

ISIL is a threat to Americans here at home and to our allies abroad. They are well-organized, well-trained, and well-financed.  I support a U.S. led coalition of international partners to defeat this terrorist group. We need to give our men and women in uniform and military commanders every tool they need to get the job done.  But arming an unknown, un-vetted, and unreliable group of rebels is simply not the right strategy.”

The Senate was expected to take up the measure Thursday.

In the House vote, 159 Republicans and 114 Democrats supported it; 71 Republicans and 85 Democrats were against arming Syrian troops.

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