Manchin will not support Syria action

WASHINGTON D.C. – A U.S. Senator from West Virginia will not support U.S. military action in Syria.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., released a statement Thursday afternoon explaining his position and the amount of information he sought to make sure he had a clear picture of the situation.

Manchin had scheduled a press conference by phone with reporters from the state for Thursday afternoon, but canceled with representatives in his office saying it could be rescheduled soon.

The decision to use U.S. military force is one of the most serious decisions Manchin has ever made.

”Over the past few weeks I have heard the concerns from thousands of West Virginians on the situation in Syria,” he said. ”This past week, I have attended hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, which I am a member, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committees, of which I am not a member, to hear Secretaries Hagel and Kerry, and Gen. Dempsey testify.”

Manchin has attended classified briefings by the administration and has met with national security and foreign policy experts from the leading think tanks and universities around the country.

”I have spoken with current and former military and administration officials,” he said. ”I sought out as much information as possible, so I could be sure that I had a complete understanding of the situation in Syria and our strategic plan.

“Given the case that has been presented to me, I believe that a military strike against Syria at this time is the wrong course of action. In good conscience, I cannot support the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s resolution and will be working with my colleagues and the administration to develop other options. I believe that we must exhaust all diplomatic options and have a comprehensive plan for international involvement before we act.”