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Illinois Lawmakers Divided On Military Intervention In Syria

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(CBS) — Illinois lawmakers in Washington are having a hard time making up their minds about the Obama Administration’s proposal to strike out at Syria. CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.


Illinois lawmakers in Washington are having a hard time making up their minds about the Obama Administration’s proposal to strike out at Syria. CBS2’s Mike Parker reports.

President Obama met with lawmakers at the White House, trying to sell them on his plan to conduct a limited military attack on Syria’s Assad regime for its alleged poison gas attack on civilians.

“We will be much more effective,” he told them, “we will be stronger if we take action as one nation.”

Fellow Democrat and Illinoisan, Senator Dick Durbin was there.

But just hours later, during a Senate hearing, Durbin voiced his concerns.

“It comes to this whole question of expanding this mission into something much larger, something that would engage us in a new level of warfare,” the Senator declared.

Count Durbin as undecided. And he’s not alone.

CBS 2 surveyed the Illinois Congressional delegation and we found 15 other lawmakers who, like Durbin, are still on the fence. Chicago’s Mike Quigley is among them.

Said the Democratic lawmaker, “Before we get into an extended arrangement, it’s very important to ask what is our exit strategy.”

Another Illinois Congressman, Republican John Shimkus of Centralia said flat out, he’ll vote no on a military strike. “My gut tells me,” he said, “it will make things worse, not better.”

Who’ll vote yes? So far, only Republican Senator Mark Kirk who supports “narrow authorization for a military strike.”

So will GOP Representative Adam Kinzinger of Channahon. In his words, “because Americans are fatigued with war, that should not be a reason to do nothing.”

Only two Illinois members of Congress declined to talk to us about where they stand: Chicago Democrat Luis Guttierez and Deputy House GOP Whip Peter Roskam, of Wheaton.

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