Lord West on Syria and UK military action
28 August 2013 Last updated at 08:36 BST
Momentum appears to be building for military action against Syria, with the British and American governments continuing to argue their case for a response to deter the use of chemical weapons.
No decisions have been taken, but it is thought contingency plans will be discussed in London on Wednesday by ministers and military chiefs on the National Security Council, in advance of Thursday's recall of Parliament.
Admiral Lord West, the former First Sea Lord who was also a member of Gordon Brown's government, told the Today programme's Evan Davis that the UK should be cautious.
He said: "An attack is extremely dangerous. You cannot predict what will happen."
He added it was important to question whether an attack would "actually further our or global security, or will it help the wellbeing of the Syrian people".
"You need to know very clearly what it's aimed at doing," he said, referring to the aim of international intervention.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday 28 August 2013.