WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican John McCain is now the first U.S. senator to call for airstrikes against Syria.
Speaking on the Senate floor today, McCain said President Barack Obama has taken too soft a stand against President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) and his brutal crackdown on his own people.
McCain said Syria's neighbors will step in, with or without the United States. He said the U.S. has a moral and strategic obligation to force out Assad and his loyalists. And he said, "The only realistic way to do so is with foreign air power."
Last month, McCain told CBS that the U.S. should find ways to help Syrians without putting American "boots on the ground." He spoke of options including medical care and technical assistance.
But today, he declared that it's time to step up militarily, and that the U.S. should lead the effort with direct military action.