U.S. Rep. Chris Collins (R-New York) called on the president to apologize Sunday.
By Brian Tumulty
Gannett Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Russian President Vladimir Putin "has relegated the United States into a lesser stature'' by proposing that Syria turn over its chemical weapons to international control, Republican Rep. Chris Collins of Clarence said Wednesday.
"What I am saying is, right now the country that's driving the solution is Russia,'' Collins told reporters in a conference call. "It is Russia that has stepped forward with a proposal to eliminate the chemical weapons in Syria.''
The freshman congressman said President Barack Obama "frankly has no real solutions'' and "has vacillated all over the place.''
Collins has been officially undecided whether he will support Obama's request for congressional authorization to intervene militarily in Syria. He is waiting until the president's televised address to the nation tonight before announcing a position.
"The president will have to describe what his military strike will accomplish,'' Collins said.
About 95 percent of the more than 4,000 callers to his congressional offices said they oppose military action, he said.
Collins said the initial classified briefing he received Sept. 1 convinced him that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime had attacked Syrian civilians using chemical weapons.
But Collins said he has not received an adequate explanation of the military goals of a possible U.S. attack on Syria, or of what might happen after an attack.
"The possible military action that has been described so far is not aimed at anything more than knocking out a couple of radar stations and maybe a couple of weapon missile-launching stations,'' he said.