Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the nation this afternoon to make the case for American intervention in Syria.
After dozens of videos hit the web last week that allegedly showed hundreds of victims of a chemical attack in a Damascus suburb, many wondered whether or not the U.S. would finally take an active role in stopping the Assad regime’s attack on its own citizens.
While many Americans have cautioned against entering into yet another military conflict in the Middle East, Sec. Kerry told reporters that war fatigue “does not absolve us of our responsibility” to act when crimes against humanity have been committed.
Well, we know that the Assad regime has the largest chemical weapons programs in the entire Middle East. We know that the regime has used those weapons multiple times this year, and has used them on a smaller scale but still it has used them against its own people, including not very far from where last Wednesday’s attack happened.
We know that the regime was specifically determined to rid the Damascus suburbs of the opposition, and it was frustrated that it hadn’t succeeded in doing so.
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.
And we know that the Syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons.
We know that these were specific instructions.
We know where the rockets were launched from, and at what time. We know where they landed, and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods.
And we know, as does the world, that just 90 minutes later all hell broke loose in the social media. With our own eyes we have seen the thousands of reports from 11 separate sites in the Damascus suburbs. All of them show and report victims with breathing difficulties, people twitching with spasms, coughing, rapid heartbeats, foaming at the mouth, unconsciousness, and death. And we know it was ordinary Syrian citizens who reported all of these horrors.
After detailing American’s reason for intervening in Syria’s explosive civil war, Sec. Kerry attempted to assure the American people that our military’s involvement in the conflict would be limited.
Sec. Kerry explained:
President Obama will ensure that the United States of America makes our own decisions on our own timelines, based on our values and our interests. Now, we know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war. Believe me, I am, too.
But fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility. Just longing for peace does not necessarily bring it about. And history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency, these things we do know.
We also know that we have a president that does what he says that he will do. And he has said, very clearly, that whatever decision he makes in Syria it will bear no resemblance to Afghanistan, Iraq or even Libya. It will not involve any boots on the ground. It will not be open ended. And it will not assume responsibility for a civil war that is already well underway.
Although no timeline has been given for a strike and President Obama has said that he has yet to make a decision about how to proceed, a fifth warship was recently deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and Sec. Kerry’s remarks seem to indicate that we will indeed be forging ahead into yet another military conflict in the Middle East.