The Washington Times - September 9, 2013, 09:31AM

A key White House aide said Monday that even a limited U.S. military strike on Syria will send a strong message to President Bashar Assad that he cannot use chemical weapons on his people with impunity.

Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, told MSNBC that any strike would have “significant consequences on Assad and affect his calculuses going forward.”

SEE RELATED: More than half of Americans say no to military action in Syria, polls show

“The United States military does not do pinpricks,” he said on the “Morning Rundown With Chuck Todd.”

He said various sanctions and diplomacy with the Assad regime have proved ineffective and that Congress and the international community need to support stronger measures.

But polls show that the American public and lawmakers in both parties are not eager to get involved in the Syrian conflict, citing recent strains on the U.S. military and the 2003 intervention in Iraq that was staked on what critics say was dubious evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Rhodes said comparisons with former President George W. Bush’s push for war in Iraq are misleading.

“Here there’s no doubt that Assad has huge stockpiles of chemical weapons. … The question is: What are we going to do about it?” he said.