Monday, August 26, 2013

'Moral Obscenity' — Secretary of State John Kerry Slams 'Undeniable' Syria Chemical Weapons Atrocities; U.S. Prepares Options for Military Intervention

There have been numerous allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria over past year, but for some reason or another, the administration is ramping up the bellicose rhetoric in preparation for some kind of armed response. I can't help but think this is insincere (at least on President Obama's part) and that airstrikes and other military actions would serve as a classic "diversionary war" scenario designed to lift the president's horrifically sagging public approval ratings.

Listen to tough-talking John "Ditch-My-War-Medals" Kerry in this State Department press conference below.

And at the Wall Street Journal, "U.S., Citing 'Moral Obscenity' in Syria, Weighs Response: Kerry Calls Attacks 'Undeniable'; U.N. Reaches Attack Site After U.S. Issued Caution Over Mission":

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians is a "moral obscenity," delivering the clearest indication yet that the Obama administration is preparing to attack President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

In a forceful statement delivered in Washington, Mr. Kerry called the attacks "undeniable" and said the administration has developed conclusive evidence that chemical weapons were used last week in the suburbs of Damascus, killing hundreds of civilians. Syria's delays in allowing international monitors to reach alleged attack sites implies its guilt, he said, adding that the U.S. and its allies are "actively consulting" on how to respond.

"Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people," he said. "Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny."

Mr. Kerry's remarks represented the administration's opening statement as it contemplates military action, likely to consist of cruise-missile strikes on Syrian targets. A senior defense official said the strikes under consideration would be conducted from ships in the eastern Mediterranean using long-range missiles, without using manned aircraft.

"You do not need basing. You do not need overflight. You don't need to worry about air defenses," the official said. The goal of the strikes, the official said, would be to "deter and degrade" Mr. Assad's capabilities to prevent him from using chemical weapons again.

Mr. Kerry's statement came as United Nations inspectors faced gunfire from unidentified snipers as they set out to investigate reports of the chemical-weapons attack in a Damascus suburb.

The U.N. team turned back, but later in the day made it to Mouadhamiya, where one of the suspected chemical-weapons attacks took place. The team visited two hospitals, interviewed survivors and doctors, and collected samples, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement Monday.
Well, by themselves, I doubt cruise-missile strikes will enough to achieve U.S. objectives, so in one way or another Americans should expect a major escalation of the U.S. military presence in Syria.

More at the link, in any case (via Memeorandum).