ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – As Secretary of State John Kerry pushed for a military response in Syria Capitol Hill Tuesday, in Illinois Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, both expressed either dismay or hesitancy about the plan.

In a letter, Shimkus said, “I am not convinced that a limited strike against Syria at this time is warranted.”

The Collinsville Republican said he believes the evidence that suggests Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. But he says his gut tells him a strike on Syria could “do more harm than good” and lead to a wider Middle East war.

“It’s a civil war in a sovereign country which we really have little or no relationships with,” Shimkus told KMOX. “[A military strike] would destabilize the region, and empower even al-Qaeda, Hezbollah to get stronger positions in Syria.”

Shimkus’ hesitancy mimicked that of Durbin, a Democrat.

“I take it very seriously that the language be as precise as possible when it comes to this whole question of expanding this mission into something much larger,” Dick Durbin said Tuesday at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

He said he is concerned the U.S. might engage in “a new level of warfare.”

Durbin also expressed concerns that Congress might be authorizing a new authority not only for this president, but a future president.

Secretary of State Kerry responded by saying there is no hidden agenda and the U.S. is trying to live up to its obligation to respond to the use of chemical weapons.

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