Action In Syria Following Chemical Weapons Revelations: Will the U.S. Go to War?
On Monday afternoon, John Kerry announced that the U.S. had "evidence" that Syria had used chemical weapons to attack its own citizens. Someone would be held accountable, he promised, and a diplomatic response is underway. The question isn't whether there will be a military response, it's when.
Sounding a little familiar? Yeah, to us too. The Russian Foreign Ministry immediately hit back, comparing the diplomatic situation to what preceded the Iraq War. Then, too, the U.S. was "certain" that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. Troops entered Iraq in response. Later, it emerged an intelligence failure had sorely "misrepresented the threat from Iraq," and Hussein no longer had any weapons of mass destruction.
A brand-new Reuters/Ipsos poll found that less than one in ten Americans supports military action in Syria, perhaps because of the fallout after the Iraq invasion. Even Congress, which has a pretty poor 15 percent approval rating, is more popular than that.
After Kerry made remarks hinting towards military action in Syria, stocks tumbled to a session low, dropping by as much as 65 points.
Meanwhile, the UN has said that it's not too late to find real evidence of the alleged chemical attack. Though there are widespread fears that any traces of culpability will have disappeared by now — the attack was last week— the U.N. has stated that it is "confident" it will be able to find proof one way or another.
Over in the U.K., David Cameron & co. are trying to figure out their own response. Cameron has cut short a family holiday — as had Kerry, for today's press conference — and his deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, has cancelled a visit to Afghanistan. On Wednesday, the country's leaders will hold a council meeting to decide if they'll back up the U.S. if it comes to military action — as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Washington Post is calling Kerry's press conference a "war speech." "That’s not a speech you give if you’re thinking about whether or not to strike," wrote the Post 's foreign-affairs correspondent. "That’s a speech you give if you’ve already decided to strike and are building a case, a coalition and an action plan. Judging by Kerry’s comments, it’s just a matter of time."
Mother Jones has pointed out that a military "punishment" won't be effective, or possible. If the U.S. does take military action against Syria, it wrote, then the country is committing itself to a war.
You can watch Kerry's full speech here:
And here's some of Twitter's response: