Syria: Weighing the Obama Administration's Response

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 4, 2013

Today, Secretary of State John Kerry testified about the Obama Administration's response to the situation in Syria.  In his opening statement before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary Kerry said:

"...As we debate, the world is watching and the world is wondering -- not whether Assad’s regime actually did this. I think that fact is now beyond question. The world is wondering whether the United States of America is going to consent, through silence, to stand aside while this kind of brutality is allowed to happen without consequence.

"In the nearly 100 years since this global commitment against chemical weapons was made, only two tyrants have dared to cross the world’s brightest line. Bashar al-Assad has now become the third. And history, I think everyone here knows, holds nothing but infamy for those criminals -- and history also reserves little sympathy for their enablers. And that is the gravity of this moment. That is really what is at stake in the decision that the Congress faces.

"Syria -- bottom line -- is important to America and our security for many reasons. First, you can’t overlook the danger that these weapons, as you said in the Syria Accountability Act, pose to the Middle East, to our allies, to our friends. You can’t overlook the threat that they face even to the United States ultimately if they fall into the wrong hands or if they are used with impunity. Since President Obama’s policy is that Assad must go, it is not insignificant that to deprive or degrade Assad’s chemical weapons deprives him of a lethal weapon in the ongoing civil war.

"In addition, we have important strategic national security interests -- not just in preventing the proliferation of chemical weapons -- but to avoid the creation of a safe haven or a base of operations for extremists -- al-Nusrah, others -- to use these chemical weapons either against us or against our friends.

"Forcing Assad to change his calculation about his ability to act with impunity can contribute to his realization that he cannot gas or shoot his way out of his predicament.

"Syria is also important because quite simply -- and I can’t say this strongly enough to all of you -- many of you are parents and you know how lessons are learned by children. Many of you at school may have confronted at one point or a time a bully on the block or in the building. I think quite simply, common sense and human experience and reality tell us that the risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting. If we don’t take a stand here today, I guarantee you we are more likely to face far greater risks to our security and a far greater likelihood of conflict that demands our action in the future."

You can read the Secretary's full statement here, or watch his remarks on YouTube.

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Comments

Comments

Carolyn G.
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Texas, USA
September 4, 2013
Mr Kerry, With all due respect, we the American people (your boss) are not interested in going to Syria for any reason. Mr Duncan is correct in that this administration does indeed have a trust issue with the American public. Sincerely, Carolyn Graston American Citizen
Helainous M.
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New York, USA
September 5, 2013
The War Of The Two Obamas - September 5, 2013 by Ben Crystal Then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, who shared the following foreign policy gem with a crowd of redoubtably anti-war Democrats in October 2002: "I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war… What I am opposed to is the attempt…to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals… That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power… The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him… But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors… and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history."
patrick W.
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Maryland, USA
September 5, 2013
What in the world is going on ! I think they need too set up an intervention like they have on TV. All the leaders of the world should invite him too a hotel room a have a psychiatrist waiting for him in the room. Then everyone tell him the good things and bad things his done. Then ask him too get help!
Lynden K.
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California, USA
September 5, 2013
Is there any truth to this statement? Elements within the Free Syrian Army who are al Qaeda/jhadist were trying to creat a false flag event to induce the Obama Administration to act?
patricia g.
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Arizona, USA
September 5, 2013
this comment is in reference to going to WAR with Syria is like the World War ll < Are you Kidding ??? Hitler was killing people & bombing in many Countries . If you want to make sure Assad is using Cemicals on his people then YOU , THE PRESIDENT & any other WAR MONGERS in CONGRESS need to go there personally & check it out !!!! DON"T send any more of OUR BOYS to fight another WAR that is none of OUR BUSINESS !!!!!
Jose L.
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California, USA
September 6, 2013
America is blessed for having a great statesman and patriot in Sec. John Kerry. His superb eloquence in his articulation of the need for America to respond forcefully to Assad's indiscriminate use of banned chemical weapons in Syria against civilian population and the potential strategic geopolitical consequences of action or failure to act has fully convinced me . and my wife that Pres. Obama's proposed course of action is the right option. America must continue to lead the free world as it has time and again in it's history amidst chaos, war and inhumanity or this world would remain indifferent, indecisive and complicit to heinous atrocities and tragedies. This is what separate America from Russia, China and other despotic nations.
Eric B.
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Oregon, USA
September 6, 2013
Secretary Kerry said "If we don’t take a stand here today, I guarantee you we are more likely to face far greater risks to our security and a far greater likelihood of conflict that demands our action in the future." That may very well be correct, however it is the United Nations job to police the world. If the UN doesn't want the job, well then, get rid of it. It is not the United States job, or place, to be the "policeman of the world." And I'll just make the point here that each and every administration has used those exact same words, or similar words, to justify our involvement in each and every armed response the United States has ever committed in my lifetime. I no longer believe it.
Treva C.
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Arizona, USA
September 8, 2013
Do not set up a Military Strike in Syria! Pres Basher Assal has already created 2 million refugees who are living in the countries who are our allies. this is a tremendous burden to them and they are not able to support the refugees. A military strike in Syria would create even more death and more refugees. Why Syria when we did not "morally" support the people in Africa and others? This is a civil war, help the refugees! We have not had a successful war since World War !!, we just leave countries in a mess. Pres Bashar Assal is the Criminal not his people. Send in the Navy Seals and bring him out for a trial, that is the democratic way.
Elizabeth T.
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Virginia, USA
September 9, 2013
If it is so right to stop what is going on in Syria, then why, as usual, is the US going in unsupported by any country in the world? I do not trust the assumptions of the White House either. I was shown an internet video of a Syria eating the liver and heart of the person he had just killed. Since they are Cannibals, why do we really care what they do? There is absolutely a "No Win" war here, but instead the footsteps of WW3. Russia is behind Syria and within rocket distance of the US. According to History, it repeats itself. The US finds one dispute after another in the world to get involved in and never mind the collateral damage in Syria of all the people and places that Assad has hidden all of his weapons. How long does the US think they can keep invading Countries and never experience retaliation? Who made us the World's police? Aren't we fighting an economic war in the US? How long are the citizens of the US supposed to keep silent and wait? I want to know why we don't get up in arms about what is being done to us, most of which is unconstitutional, especially Obamacare. How long, citizenry, how long? Health care is a "States Rights" issue according to the Constitution. Yet we are all lettig the Feds do whatever they want or don't want to do. Obama is already a lame duck because he cannot be re-elected or is he going to be allowed to rewrite that law too?
Shar M.
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California, USA
September 9, 2013
How many more citizens/taxpayers have to tell you, NO to Syrian intervention. It is their action and their decisions that will result in a country of their choice. It will not be us forcing our way of democracy on them that will bring this conflict to a resolution. This is no more than a distraction from the urgent problems we have in our own country, lack of trust in leadership being number 1!! Stop interfering where we are not wanted or needed! You are fooling no one!
shaR M.
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Colorado, USA
September 9, 2013
BHO SHOULD READ THAT AGAIN AND FOLLOW THROUGH WITH HIS OWN GOOD ADVICE!

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