Kerry: Syria's Chemical-Weapons Attack "Undeniable"

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 26 2013 3:54 PM

Kerry Says Assad Regime's Chemical-Weapons Attack is "Undeniable"

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

John Kerry on Monday got down to business, declaring that it was "undeniable" that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons in Syria, and promising that the Obama administration will hold the government there accountable for what he called a "moral obscenity." For good measure, the secretary of state called the attacks that claimed the lives of hundreds a "cowardly crime" and blasted the "cynical attempt to cover it up."

Kerry's remarks, not unlike Obama's from last week, didn't specify what, exactly, the United States plans to do, but his words were nonetheless some of the strongest used by the administration to date during the bloody civil war currently unfolding in the Middle East. They also were the latest signal that the discussion has moved from whether to when. The Washington Post with the instant analysis:

Kerry left little doubt that the decision for the United States is not whether to take military action, but when. He also made clear that the United States will not act alone.
Since an emergency meeting on Syria at the White House on Saturday, Kerry has spent much of the last two days on the telephone with allies Britain, France, and Canada, and with other potential partners. It is not clear whether any allies would commit military resources to a bombing campaign, although Britain and France would be most likely to do so. Any action is not likely to be as broad as the 2011 NATO air campaign in Libya, which involved more than a dozen nations.
NATO has long been opposed to any intervention in Syria, but the chemical weapons attack may change the minds of at least some alliance members. It is not clear whether the Obama administration would seek a NATO mandate for any action
Advertisement

You can read Kerry's full remarks here, or watch the video above. Elsewhere in Slate, Fred Kaplan explains the logic—and limits—for the president’s plan of attack.

This post has been updated with additional information.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Amazon Is Launching a Serious Run at Apple and Samsung

Television

Slim Pickings at the Network TV Bazaar

Three talented actresses in three terrible shows.

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

We Could Fix Climate Change for Free. Now There’s Just One Thing Holding Us Back.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 7:03 PM Once Again, a Climate Policy Hearing Descends Into Absurdity
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Jurisprudence
Sept. 17 2014 4:49 PM Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music Is it art or a true threat of violence?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?