During a press conference on Friday John Kerry claimed that the country found out that the Syrian regime carefully prepared for days to launch a chemical weapons attack which took lives of more that 1400 citizens, including at least 426 children.
Kerry made clear that the United States was preparing for a military response to the Assad’s attack, despite the Britain’s decision to stay away from any strikes on the Assad government.
“Its findings are as clear as they are compelling,” Kerry said of the report. “I’m not asking you to take my word for it, read for yourself.”
“We know that for three days before the attack, the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons personnel were on the ground in the area, making preparations,” he added.
The intelligence also found out that the preparations for the attack included putting on gas masks.
“This is what Assad did to his own people,” Kerry said. If the US and world allowed “a thug and a murderer like Bashar al-Assad” to get away with gassing his own people, he added, “there will be no end to the test of our resolve and the dangers that will flow from those others who believe that they can do as they will.”
“We do assess that [Assad] is the decision-maker, and that he’s ultimately in charge of deployment,” a senior administration official said in a conference call with reporters on Friday afternoon.
“Our intelligence community has carefully reviewed and re-reviewed the information regarding this attack,” Kerry announced on Friday. “It has done so more than mindful of the Iraq experience, and we will not repeat that moment.”
Later in the day the U.S. president spoke to reporters at the White House, emphasizing that he had not made any decisions about what actions the U.S. will take against the Syrian government, admitting that he is considering a “limited narrow act.”
“We’re not considering any open ended commitment,” Obama said. “We’re not considering any boots on the ground approach.”
“We are looking at the possibility of a limited, narrow act that would help make sure that not only Syria but others around the world understand that the international community cares about maintaining this chemical weapons ban,” he said.
“I have not made a final decision about various actions that might be taken to help enforce that norm, but as I’ve already said, I have had my military and our team look at a wide range of options. We have consulted with allies. We’ve consulted with Congress.”
According to The Huffington Post, President Obama assured reporters that many people, including himself, are “war weary.”
“There is a certain weariness, given Afghanistan. There is a certain suspicion of any military action post-Iraq,” Obama said, adding that he appreciated the skepticism.
“It’s important for us to recognize that when over a thousand people are killed, including hundreds of innocent children, through the use of a weapon that 98 or 99 percent of humanity says should not be used even in war, and there is no action, then we’re sending a signal … that is a danger to our national security.”