Congressman Inglis meets with Syrian President, stands up for missile defense

South Carolina’s fourth district Congressman Bob Inglis has just returned from a Middle East trip in which –he says–the need to bolster missile defense became a clear objective for him.Inglis, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, is against $1.4 billion in Missile Defense Agency cuts…planned Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Inglis says that he was on the Gaza Strip when he got news of the missile launch by North Korea.
He says, “The great concern I have is that this is no time to go wobbly on missile defense and it’s really short-sighted, I believe, for the administration to be cutting missile defense when it’s obvious that this would provide fiscal and technological stimulus.”
The congressman says he is concerned that the move will hurt relations with countries like the Czech republic, cooperate with the U-S on missile shield defense.
“We coaxed them out on the limb, and now the Obama Administration has chopped off the limb,” Inglis says.
Inglis, who also serves on the Science Committee says he has confidence that missile defense technology would work. That has been at issue since the Reagan administration.
During the course of the trip, Inglis joined Democrat Steve Lynch of Massachusetts in a bipartisan mission to Syria, Israel (including Gaza), Morocco and India. The main focus of that leg of the trip, he says was to determine “how do we work with the central bankers, for example, in India and the officials in Morrocco to try to coax Syria into working with us—and of course, Israel is very happy to work with us— to try to interdict this terrorist financing and cut them off from the money is what the goal is.”
Inglis and Lynch met with Syrian President Bashar Assad for over an hour.
He came away with, “just trying to wrap my head around Syria’s fear of Israel. Something that would have never entered my head but for sitting there in Syria, with the president of Syria. Which shows the complexity of the situation. Somehow you gotta get them to have both sides, to stand down some way.”
Inglis says that Syrian and Israeli leaders say they are afraid of each other, something he says is hard to fathom.
In India, both congressmen visited four sites of terrrorist attacks …to thank India for their support of U-S anti-terrorist efforts.