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."