McCain: Syria strikes must have ‘lasting impact’

MESA, Ariz. -- Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Tuesday that any strike against Syria in the wake of the suspected use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad must have a "lasting impact" on the ground in the conflict-torn nation. 

McCain: US credibility low in Mideast due to Obama's Syria response 0:37

Speaking to reporters after an event about immigration reform, McCain said any response must eliminate the air assets of the Syrian military and take out Assad's command and control capabilities -- both of which the senator asserted “could be done easily.”

“The important part of this whole situation is, is this just going to be just a retaliatory strike that has no lasting impact or something that changes the momentum on the ground in Syria?” he said.

McCain also pushed for the United States and its allies to provide weapons to “the resistance on the ground.”

Saying he was briefed by NSA advisers two days ago about the latest in Syria, McCain lambasted a recent report that said action against the Assad regime could come as soon as Thursday, saying it is “remarkable that kind of information would be leaked.”

McCain returned to the U.S. yesterday after a foreign trip to Asia.