King: ‘No good option’ for Syrian response

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said Friday that the Obama administration should be taking a cautious approach toward the situation in Syria after the White House said it has some evidence of a chemical attack.

King said in an interview on Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital” that he is not yet “convinced” that Syrian President Bashar Assad crossed President Obama’s red line of using chemical weapons.

“We got to be sure that it really is the regime and not the opposition that is planting evidence in order to draw us in,” King said. “These are very serious consequences."

The news from the White House that it believes two chemical attacks took place in Syria has prompted new calls from many lawmakers for the U.S. to take military action in Syria.

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While there is a general consensus among most that something should be done, such as arming the rebels or establishing a no-fly zone, there is concern about how far the U.S. should get involved and what happens after the Assad regime falls.

No lawmakers, for instance, say that the U.S. military should be putting “boots on the ground” in Syria.

“There are so many different options, and I can tell you there’s no good option, at least that I’ve seen," King said.

There are concerns about providing arms to the rebels because there is no unified opposition, and some of the rebel groups are affiliated with al Qaeda.

King said he was concerned about the arms falling into the wrong hands, even if they were given to vetted opposition groups as some are calling.

"We’ve already had the experience in Afghanistan of arming the opposition and then having those arms used against us five or 10 years later,” he said. “What I’m hearing is that the opposition is armed and they’re getting arms from other people. They don’t necessarily have to get arms from us.”

If the U.S. verifies that Assad has used chemical weapons, however, King said there’s also a concern about doing nothing and emboldening Assad.

“But I think if you’re going to draw a red line, you’d better be sure it’s crossed before you start doing anything significant,” he said. “The other problem is… the opposition wins and the country fragments. Then who’s going to get control of those chemical weapons?”