I woke up to a flurry of email news alerts about how the White House says “chemical weapons were used in Syria.”
Chris Matthews is saying that Hagel “has determined that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons, specifically sarin.”
The L.A. Times subject line was “Breaking News: U.S. believes Syria’s Assad has used chemical weapons.”
I preferred the headline from the New York Times which I used as the headline for the post. It’s a little more measured:
WASHINGTON – The White House said on Thursday that American intelligence agencies now assess, with “varying degrees of confidence,” that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, but it said it needed conclusive proof before President Obama would take action.
The disclosure, in letters to Congressional leaders, takes the administration a step closer to acknowledging that President Bashar al-Assad has crossed a red line established by Mr. Obama last summer, when he said the United States would take unspecific action against Syria if there was evidence that chemical weapons had been used.
The White House emphasized that, “given the stakes involved,” the United States still needed “credible and corroborated facts” before deciding on a course of action. The letter, signed by the president’s director of legislative affairs, Miguel E. Rodriguez, said the United States was pressing for a “comprehensive United Nations investigation that can credibly evaluate the evidence and establish what happened.”
Chuck Todd is reporting that the chain of custody is not clear, that we know chemical weapons were used, but that we have an obligation to investigate, so we’re requesting that the U.N. do just that. The president is trying to get the U.N. to confirm the use of chemical weapons before any action is taken, we will not rush to judgment, and wants an international body to investigate before we insert ourselves into a civil war.
Secretary of State John Kerry says there have been two instances of chemical weapons being used, and Secretary of Defense Hagel is saying that U.S. intel says they were used.
Here we go again. Fortunately, this president is more cautious and not looking to get us involved in another war, as opposed to GW Bush’s eagerness to start a fraudulent one.