Sen. Dick Durbin said Friday United States involvement in Syria needs to be “carefully thought out” in order to avoid another war.
“I do not want America to engage in another war,” Durbin said.
His statement comes just after White House officials signaled that President Barack Obama is ready for the united States to strike Syria in response to the country using chemical weapons, despite a rebuke from the British Parliament and deep reservations in Congress, NBC News reported.
“If we can do something to to discourage [Bashar al-Assad] from using these chemical weapons without engaging in war, without making a commitment, a long-term commitment for the United States, I’m open.”
Nearly 80 percent of Americans want Obama to get congressional approval before taking military action in Syria, according to an NBC News poll.
Secretary of State John Kerry, appearing to make a case for military action against Syria, said Friday that the U.S. government has "high confidence" that Syria's regime launched a chemical attack that killed 1,429 Syrians, including 426 children, in a Damascus suburb. He spoke of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad as a "thug and a murderer" and described the attack on Syrian civilians as a "crime against humanity."
“I think that the evidence is compelling, that it happened,” Durbin said. “What we do next has to be done very carefully.”
His comments were in line with U.S. congresswoman and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, who said Thursday that she did not favor American military intervention in Syria and urged Middle East nations to find a resolution to the crisis.
Duckworth said Friday, that she will not support the commitment of men and women in uniform without a comprehensive plan for U.S. involvement.
“It's my responsibility as a member of Congress to make sure we don't commit resources, the most precious of which are our men and women in uniform, with no comprehensive plan for our involvement,” Duckworth said in a statement. “Until I feel it's imperative to our national security, I will not support preemptive intervention in Syria.”
Duckworth, who was born in Thailand, was a Black Hawk helicopter pilot in Iraq in 2004 when her chopper was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. She lost both her legs and partial use of one arm. In 2012, she became the first disabled woman to be elected to the House of Representatives.
During a speech that marked the beginning of her trip to Thailand, Duckworth called the Iraq War "a mistake." She also said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had made the international community hesitant to take action against Syria.
“It's military families like mine that are the first to bleed when our nation makes this kind of commitment,” she said Friday. “It's my obligation to make sure our government honors our troops willingness to sacrifice when we make such a decision.”
Durbin also said the war in Iraq exemplifies why action in Syria must be carefully thought out.
“The cost in human lives and the cost in our Treasury and our country were overwhelming. I don’t want to see us back in that situation,” he said.