The United States should not go it alone against Syria over a chemical weapons attack against civilians, Sen. Jack Reed tells CNN.
Appearing on "The Situation Room" on Monday, Reed, D-R.I., said the United States should take time to build a "coalition of the willing" with Great Britain, France, and others. Members of the Arab League should also be sought out to avoid the appearance of a battle of the West against Islam.
"This is to vindicate a basic rule of international law," Reed said.
Host Wolf Blitzer told Reed his plan would likely take more time than the Obama administration appears to be willing to give.
"Time is important, but doing it right is more important," Reed responded.
Time is needed not only to assemble the appropriate forces, but also to anticipate what the Syrian reaction might be, he said.
"We don't want to assume this one-off action will solve this dilemma," he said. "We have to be prepared if we take action to follow through."
Like others, including Council on Foreign Relations
President Richard Haass, Reed, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, suggested any attack be limited to cruise missiles launched from ships at sea.
Command and control sites should be targeted, he said.
"Simply striking at an airfield and hoping that would symbolically be enough I don't think is adequate planning," Reed said.
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke publically Monday
, saying there is no doubt the Syrian government used chemical weapons on men, women, and children last week. Video of the incident sparked international outrage, including an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.
U.S. intelligence shows that the Syrian government was aware of the attack at the highest levels, and that they made a conscious choice to attack civilians.
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