U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement today on the proposed Senate resolution to authorize the use of military force against the Assad regime in Syria:
“I commend President Obama for seeking congressional approval for military action against the Assad regime in Syria, but I believe the draft resolution that the administration submitted to Congress over the weekend was overly broad and open-ended. Therefore, I welcome the new draft resolution written by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee leadership to ensure any military action taken is both limited in scope and duration, and prevents the use of any U.S. ground forces inside Syria.
“After more than a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our nation has sacrificed enormously in blood and treasure. We cannot afford to become entangled in another sectarian war in the Middle East, which is why I would oppose any resolution that is not limited in scope and duration.
“I have reviewed a substantial amount of intelligence and it is clear that President Assad’s regime used chemical weapons on a broad scale against civilian non-combatants — even children. Assad has willfully committed war crimes against his own people. This is unacceptable and in direct conflict with the United Nations Charter, Geneva Conventions, and other legal obligations prohibiting the use of chemical weapons.
“Ideally there would be international consensus from the United Nations Security Council before taking any action against the Assad regime. But unfortunately, Russia and China have demonstrated an unwillingness to address this issue with any level of seriousness. Despite more than 100,000 people killed in this war, millions displaced and clear evidence of chemical weapons being used, Russia and China have repeatedly vetoed resolutions at the United Nations to hold the Assad regime accountable and will continue to do so.
“We must hold the Assad regime accountable for the use of chemical weapons while ensuring the United States does not get involved in a protracted conflict. I welcome the steps taken in this draft resolution to do so, and I look forward to reviewing the resolution further before voting on it next week.”