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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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June 12th, 2014
05:03 PM ET

Should U.S. carry out air strikes in Iraq? 2 Iraq vets in Congress split on answer

(CNN) – It is "painful" and "heartbreaking" to see Iraq unravel, say Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, both of whom served in the Iraq War.

Gabbard served in the medical unit during her 2005 deployment, and says she saw daily the "harsh costs of war."

"I thought after the surge, we were there," says Kinzinger. "This is very sad."

But the lawmakers differ on how they think the U.S. should help; Kinzinger supports air strikes, Gabbard does not.

"It's easy to say, let's go in and get the bad guys. But you have a divided country of Sunnis and Shias. The United States goes and takes action there on behalf of the Iraqi government," says Gabbard. "You've got Iran coming in and saying we're going to stand with (Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri) al-Maliki, so now we're aligning ourselves with Iran, and if we do air strikes, becoming de facto air force for them."

"The Iraqi people and the government has asked for the United States' help. What we're saying is, gee, since we don't fully grasp the situation, let the government fall, because that's what's on the eve of happening," said Kinzinger.

"We're seeing what happens when nothing occurs. You're going to have Baghdad, almost the size of the city of Chicago in flames," he said.

For more of our interview with Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Adam Kinzinger, check out the video above.

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