Updated at 11:48 a.m. ET on 8/25
Washington (CNN) – Two key members of congressional foreign affairs panels say they expect the United States to strike Syria following reports of chemical weapons attacks in that country last week, though other lawmakers interviewed Sunday cautioned that unilateral action would be misguided.
"I think we will respond in a surgical way and I hope the president, as soon as we get back to Washington, will ask for authorization from Congress to do something in a very surgical and proportional way. Something that gets their attention, that causes them to understand that we are not going to put up with that kind of activity," Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday."
But Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs panel, said President Barack Obama may not need to wait for congressional authorization.
"Congress needs to be involved but perhaps not initially," Engel said. "Perhaps the president could start and then Congress needs to resolve it and assent to it. We cannot sit still. We've got to move and we've got to move quickly."
Another Democrat, however, said the United States should only intervene militarily in Syria with the backing of an international coalition.
“This has to be an international operation, it can’t be a unilateral American approach,” Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“We can’t let ourselves get into a situation where this becomes a springboard for a general military operation in Syria to try and change the dynamic,” Reed said. “That dynamic is going to be long term, very difficult, and ultimately established by the Syrians, not by foreign powers.”
Rep. Mike McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on CBS he didn’t think Americans “have an appetite to put troops on the ground in Syria.”
The situation in Syria escalated dramatically last week after reports the government there used chemical weapons in civilian areas.
Opposition groups say over a thousand people died in the attack with thousands more affected by the gas.
CNN cannot independently verify the causality claims.
Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister said Sunday that the government will allow United Nations inspectors to visit the site of the alleged attack, but that may be too late.
"If the Syrian government had nothing to hide and wanted to prove to the world that it had not used chemical weapons in this incident, it would have ceased its attacks on the area and granted immediate access to the UN – five days ago. At this juncture, the belated decision by the regime to grant access to the UN team is too late to be credible," a senior Obama administration official said Sunday.
Over 100,000 people are estimated to have perished so far in Syria's civil war.
CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty contributed to this report.
Yet another illegal war by the US? I think not. We're fed up of the hypocrisy.
No less than Assad, Putin is as guilty.
The unhinged Guns Over People Partial Government Shutdown Tea potty don't care about those people in Syria.
They want to hold President Obama and(by extension)America hostage. That's all that they care about.
Thank you USA upfront for striking the crazy dictator Assad
We have become a nation of the blind leading the blind ..Our leaders have become blind because they cannot see beyond the dollar signs ..I say let saudi arabia take care of the problem they have all the money .
God save us from stupid, opportunistic, and very dangerous politicians. The do not know really what's going on in Syria, they sure don't know how to solve it, but they sure do want to ACT. Impatience, ignorance, and opportunism will bring massive grief to Syria and the rest of the World – just like it did in connection with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. Oh, I wish someone had the courage to not act....
By all means, let's attack Syria. Gas prices aren't high enough and my oil stocks and futures aren't making me as rich as I want to be.