THE LATEST: Kerry said he and President Obama believe it’s important to talk with U.S. citizens, Congress and the administration about what to do in Syria. He advised that people read for themselves the evidence from thousands of sources about the chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. He said some of what they know will only be released to Congress, so some things they know they can’t talk about publicly.
What do we know about Syria?
He said the Assad regime has the largest chemical weapons program in the Middle East and that it has used them “multiple times this year” on a smaller scale and against its own people. He said that the regime was trying to rid the Damascus suburbs of opposition and had been frustrated trying to do that. He said we know where the rockets were launched from, where they landed, and when.
He said we also know the extent of the horrors through social media reports. He then provided vivid, upsetting verbal images of what happened. More than 400 of the over 1,000 civilians who died in the attack were children.
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“This is what Assad did to his own people,” Kerry said, then going into the aftermath effects.
What are we going to do about it?
He said the question is no longer what we know, but what we are going to do about it. He took us through a history of leaders who didn’t act in the face of situations like this. He pointed to World War I and the world’s decision never to use chemical weapons again. He said it matters that we’re working internationally to rid the world of the worst weapons.
He said the world wants to know that the U.S. will do what it says. He said the world wants to know if Syria will get away with it and maybe other countries can get away with it too. He said what we do matters to our own security.
“What is the risk of doing nothing?” he asked.
He said if we don’t do something about it, there will be no end from a string of others who also believe they can do whatever they want even if the world says no. Kerry says this is about every dictator who thinks about whether to use chemical weapons. Will they remember that Assad was stopped or that the world stood aside?
No decision on Syria yet
He said our concern about Syria is about our role and interests in the world.
He emphasized that the Obama administration believes in the United Nations, but as Secretary General Ban-ki Moon, the UN Investigation won’t confirm who used the chemical weapons. They will only affirm that chemical weapons were used. He said by the UN’s mandate, it can’t tell us anything we don’t already know or galvanize the world to act as it should.
He said they will keep talking to our allies and the American people. President Obama will ensure that we make our own decisions on our own timeline,” he said.
He said after a decade of conflict, he knows the American people are tired of it. He said longing for peace doesn’t necessarily bring it about. He said the decision about Syria won’t involve “boots on the ground,” be open ended or assume responsibility for a civil war that’s under way. He said it will be a limited, tailored response to ensure that the use of chemical weapons is held accountable. He also said the solution won’t resemble Afghanistan or Libya.
So in short, no decision has been made yet.
PREVIOUSLY: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is about to address the nation regarding the situation on Syria again. NBC News reports that President Barack Obama is pushing for the nation to strike Syria even though British Prime Minister David Cameron’s resolution for a strike on Syria was rejected by the British Parliament. Even in the U.S., President Obama faces opposition from lawmakers, although France is still ready to move against Syria.
NBC conducts poll on Syria situation
NBC News released a poll today which found that about 80 percent of Americans want President Obama to seek Congressional approval before striking Syria for its apparent use of chemical weapons. The poll also suggested that more Americans are in favor of a limited strike like the use of cruise missiles from U.S. Navy ships located in the Mediterranean Sea. However, about half of all Americans who participated in the poll are opposed to any attack on Syria.