ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - New Mexico's U.S. senators have taken opposing roles on granting President Obama the authority to attack Syria over its apparent used of chemical weapons in its civil war.
Sen. tom Udall argues military action will make things worse while Sen. Martin Heinrich says the nation can't sit back and do nothing. Both senators are Democrats.
"I think we wouldn't be seeing the progress that we've seen in the last few days if it hadn't been for the credible threat of military force," Heinrich said in a satellite interview Tuesday.
Heinrich says he'll support president Obama's request for limited U.S. military force pointing to evidence chemical weapons were used in last month's attack on hundreds of civilians in Syria.
"If we do nothing, one of the messages that sends every dictator in the world is that this is OK," he said.
But Udall, who gained attention for challenging Secretary of State John Kerry last week, still says military action is wrong.
"The president will make his case to the American people in his speech tonight," Udall said referring to Tuesday's 7 p.m. MDT address to the nation. "I will listen carefully, but unless he has new information I do not believe I will change my mind."
A recent CBS News poll shows 61 percent of Americans polled oppose a U.S. attack on Syria.
On Tuesday a handful of protesters stood outside Heinrich's Albuquerque office.
"As a veteran I must step forward and I must say no to war," Vietnam veteran Suel Jones said. "Otherwise I can't be honest with myself anymore."
Heinrich says he doesn't want to put American troops on the ground.
"It's been very difficult largely because I have some of the same concerns that my constituents have," he said.
Udall says it will take a lot to change his mind.
"No matter what the administration says, this is an act of war, and there's no clear end-game here," he said. "If we were attacked in the same way, you better believe we would see it that way and respond in kind."
Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., said Tuesday he's co-sponsoring a resolution that prohibits the use of funds for the use of force in Syria.
KRQE news 13 had yet to hear from Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Luján Grisham, both D-N.M.
Luján has been asking constituents to contact his office with their thoughts.
Luján Grisham said she's still weighing the issue after hearing from her constituents.
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