House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said this morning on “This Week” that “some action needs to be taken” against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, saying that the red line “can’t be a dotted line.”
The U.S. announced this week that an initial evidence assessment showed that Syria, which is engulfed in a bloody civil war that has left tens of thousands dead, had used a small amount of chemical weapons in the war. Rogers said Sunday that classified information only strengthened the case.
“There is also classified information that we have, that I think strengthens the case that in fact some small amount of chemical weapons have been used over the course of the last two years,” Rogers said on “This Week.” “And – and the problem is, you know the president has laid down the line. He – and it can’t be a dotted line. It can’t be anything other than a red line.”
“I think the options aren’t huge, but some action needs to be taken,” Rogers added. “And if you think about the destabilizing impact. Right now, the chemical weapons have been small in use. If you have a larger use, the refugee and humanitarian crisis that comes from that is huge.”
Intelligence Committee member Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who also joined the “This Week” roundtable Sunday, said the investigation into the use of chemical weapons should be finished and called the implication that the U.S. isn’t doing enough a “mistake.”
“Well the president, and I appreciate his deliberative approach to – to this, you know we’ve had a little problem with going to the U.N. with the idea of weapons of mass destruction before so we certainly want to finish the investigation,” Schakowsky said. “But he said, it’s not an on and off switch, but it is – it has changed his calculation. And of course, he’s looking into all of the options. But, you know to – to imply that maybe we’re not doing enough, or we’re not doing anything, I think is also a mistake.”
Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., added that locating any possible chemical weapons was imperative for the United States, especially given the recent U.S. involvement in Libya.
“Well, we hope he goes a lot faster than he is now. A lot of people are surprised he’s lasted this long,” Ruppersberger said of Syria’s president Bashar Assad. “I agree with Mike on the issue of the chemical weapons. That is severe. We have to know where they are, and we’re very much concerned, when Assad eventually falls, where these chemical weapons are going to go. Just like in Libya. We had a lot of weapons that went to some bad guys. And it’s the same situation here.”
“But you talk about a no-fly zone,” Ruppersberger added about one potential military action. “It’s easy to say it, but Syria is very sophisticated. Libya was not sophisticated. So, we have a lot of issues on the table, and we’ve got to get it right. But, I believe very strongly, we have to do it as a – as a team.”
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