Former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called for a U.S.-led military strike "to send a signal" to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after reports nearly 60 people were killed in a suspected chemical attack in an opposition-held town by his government.
"I wouldn't mind if we took military action and destroyed something and killed some people who are very close to Assad to send a signal that we will not allow this to happen," Fleischer, who served former President George W. Bush, told Brooke Baldwin on CNN on Tuesday. "I wish Barack Obama had done that when he drew the red line.
"He should have.
"We are indeed living with the consequence of a red line that was erased," he said.
Fifty-eight people, including 11 children, died in the morning attack in the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Residents were left gasping for breath and convulsing in the streets and in overcrowded hospitals in the assault, which was carried out by Sukhoi jets operated by the Russian and Syrian governments.
If confirmed, the attack would be the deadliest chemical attack in four years, the British-based observatory said.
Russian officials have denied any role in the assault.
In 2012, Obama gave the Assad government an ultimatum that using chemical weapons in any way would bring consequences — but they never materialized.
Fleischer told Baldwin any effort to remove Assad must come with a plan to rebuild Syria.
"I'd be careful now about Assad himself in that as we learned in Iraq, you better have a plan in place if you take down the leader of the country," he said. "That would that create more instability in the Middle East."
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