McCain: Time to provide more help for Syrian rebels

Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-25 18:29:00-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — John McCain says it's "pretty obvious" that the "red line has been crossed."

The Republican senator is referring to what the Obama administration had said was a line Syria's government shouldn't cross by using chemical weapons in the country's civil war. Now that the administration says it has "varying degrees of confidence" that Syria has twice used those weapons, McCain says it's time to do what he's been suggesting for more than two years -- establish a no-fly zone over Syria and give weapons to rebels.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says "something has to be done" -- but that the decision is "up to the commander in chief."

A senior defense official says today's notification from the White House wasn't an "automatic trigger" for policy decisions on the use of military force. The official alluded to past instances of policy decisions that were based on what turned out to be flawed intelligence -- such as the decision by the Bush administration to invade Iraq after concluding that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.