Previously, Heinrich had been noncommittal, saying the original authorization of force would have been too broad.
He made sure to say that the United States cannot become “directly entangled in a civil war that we do not fully understand.”
I know that we are a nation that is not only rightfully weary of war, but also jaded by the dishonest use of cooked intelligence reports that led to terrible mistakes in Iraq. But this is not Iraq and we have a moral obligation to deter Assad and every regime watching him from thinking that they can gas their people with impunity, commit genocide, or employ internationally prohibited weapons.
It is for this reason, and this reason alone, that I will support President Obama’s request for the authorization of use of military force.
In announcing his decision, he cites the briefings he has received over the past eight months as part of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Not all members of Congress receive these same briefings.
Heinrich also said he opposed arming rebels.
Heinrich also linked to a page of videos on the U.S. Senate Select Committee website that show the aftermath of alleged chemical weapons use.
Heinrich acknowledged in his email that the decision might not be popular. Heinrich wrote he knows this decision “will not win me any popularity awards, and some of you may well never forgive me for my decision today.”
New Mexico’s other U.S. Senator, Tom Udall, does not support military action in Syria and has been one of the most outspoken critics of doing so.
President Barack Obama brought the question to Congress whether or not to intervene in the conflict, though not with any “boots on the ground.”