DesJarlais took an impromptu poll on the room. He wanted to know what subject members most wanted an update on. An overwhelming majority affirmed they would like to hear more on the current Syria controversy.
Around 20 minutes were spent on the subject. He completed his presentation with a series of questions and answers before heading to the Cleveland Daily Banner for a more in-depth interview.
Kiwanis members asked questions ranging from DesJarlais’ opinion of the attack to why the president has not yet made a case for an attack.
One Kiwanis member asked how the United States government could afford the attack.
“We are spending more money than we take in if we launch 100 missiles at Syria at $1 million a piece,” the Kiwanis member asked. “How will we finance this?”
DesJarlais said how the attack would be financed would be the tip of the problem.
“Where are we prepared to start and stop?” DesJarlais asked. “How much are we prepared to spend? We don’t need to get into it till we have answers to those questions and we’ve made a better case.”
He listed several current financial issues: the $17 trillion debt, two wars the government has not paid for, budget issues, and a sequester that is currently crippling the military.
“We have our own financial issues and I believe al-Qaida would like nothing more than to get us into another war,” DesJarlais said. “They are in no hurry, they are a patient enemy. They don’t care if it takes 50 years, 100 years to bring us down.”
Kiwanian, and former judge, Andrew Bennett stated the people who would have to pay for the war would not be the same people who benefitted.
DesJarlais said the argument is the government does not want to leave the next generation off worse than it found it.
“Well, that has happened. We have done that,” DesJarlais said. “The workforce participation right now for young people 18-26 is at an all time low.”
He said more of an emphasis is being placed on today’s students to ensure the right education plan is made for them.
“Right now [teachers and schools] are battling a lot of government regulations and bureaucracy. Money being set aside for education is not making its way into the schools,” DesJarlais said. “... We are trying to push a lot of kids into college who either aren’t right for college, or [it is a situation] where there are no jobs for them when they graduate.”
DesJarlais finished by saying the U.S. Congress needs to admit there is a problem, both within the legislative body and the programs in place.