Aug. 26, 2013 at 8:11 AM ET
Syria’s reported use of chemical weapons against civilians moves American military closer to intervening, but the Obama administration must act in a precise way that doesn’t alter existing U.S. guidelines, a leading Republican said Monday.
“Certainly, a red line for us has been the use of chemicals against people. That has occurred. We need to obviously respond to that, but I don’t want us to change our overall policy,” said Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Tenn. lawmaker said he spoke with members in the White House Situation Room about their work on the issue Sunday night.
“I think we can get that right without us getting mired in a conflict,” Corker told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie.
The White House on Sunday said there was “very little doubt” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to kill hundreds of civilians last week. President Obama discussed “possible responses by the international community” with British and French allies.
On Monday, a United Nations spokesman said that snipers fired repeatedly at a car carrying a group of weapons inspectors investigating an alleged chemical attack in Damascus.
Corker said that he hopes the administration seeks military funding for U.S. interaction as soon as Congress returns from its month-long recess in early September.
“I do think action is going to occur,” he said.
But any action, he said needs to continue policy current in place that supports moderate opposition forces already on the ground.
“I don’t think our strike ought to be something that tries to alter that dynamic. I think it should be surgical. It should be proportional. It should be in response to what’s happened with the chemicals,” he said. “But the fact is, I don’t want us to get involved in such a way that we change that dynamic on the ground.”