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Illinois Congressional Delegation Split On Syria

By aaroncynic in News on Sep 5, 2013 3:30PM

Senators Kirk and Durbin. Credit: Sen. Kirk's Flickr

While President Obama continues to drum up support for a military strike in Syria this week, much of the Illinois Congressional delegation remains undecided as to how the United States should proceed. On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations committee voted 10 - 7 in favor of a limited military strike that would last no more than 90 days and involve no American ground troops. As the nation waits for a full vote on whether or not the U.S. will attack the country in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons next week, many Illinois lawmakers are still mulling the issue.

The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday three of 18 Illinois’ House members were in favor of intervention and three were opposed, with the rest still undecided or reserving comment at the time. In the Senate, both Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk are in favor of a military strike against Syria. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Durbin, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, voted in favor yesterday, saying:

“When it comes to the use of weapons of mass destruction, particularly chemical weapons, the United States must take a strong position and try to lead the world down a civilized path to avoid the use of these weapons in the future.”

Illinois Republican Rep Adam Kinzinger also supports the strike. Kinzinger told CBS2 yesterday just “because Americans are fatigued with war, that should not be a reason to do nothing.” Meanwhile, Rep. John Shimkus and Rep. Rodney Davis are opposed to military action. Shimkus, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who supported the war in Afghanistan told the Tribune:

“Until I see evidence of a real threat against the United States or our allies or unless the international community reaches a consensus and leads, I am not convinced that a limited strike against Syria at this time is warranted.”

Most Illinois lawmakers however, are still weighing the matter. Congressman Mike Quigley told the Daily Herald he was “keeping his options open” while waiting for more information, adding ”we haven't punished everyone who has used chemical weapons.” A spokesperson for Rep. Aaron Schock told the Peoria Journal Star he was still reviewing Obama’s plan, and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos said though the use of chemical weapons is “an act that should not be tolerated and deserves a response. Many questions remain before we can determine the most appropriate course of action.”