Duncan says specter of Benghazi hangs over Syria debate

Alexis Levinson | Political Reporter

WASHINGTON — South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan on Wednesday said that the United States should not get involved in Syria until someone is held accountable for the death of four Americans in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last year.

“Benghazi is germane to the discussions on Syria,” Duncan said at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“The American people deserve answers on Benghazi before we move ahead” into a conflict with Syria.

He accused the administration of being willing to devote resources to the Syrian conflict when it was “reluctant to use the same resources at its disposal” to rescue people during the Benghazi attacks.

Duncan said that he believe there was any question that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons to attack the opposition, but that he did not think the United States should get involved when there was “no indication that there’s an imminent threat to the United States.”

The congressman further accused Kerry of abandoning caution because “the power of the executive branch [was] so intoxicating.”

“Congressman, we are acting cautiously,” Kerry shot back. “We are acting so cautiously that the president of the United States was accused of not” taking action.

“We’re talking about people being killed by gas, and you want to go talk about Benghazi and Fast and Furious,” Kerry said.

“We don’t deserve to drag this into another Benghazi discussion, when the real issue is whether the Congress is going to stand up for international norms,” Kerry said, saying the norms against the use of chemical weapons had been broken only twice in recent history: by Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein.

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