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KERRY ON SYRIA: 'If you don't do it, you send a message of impunity'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The United States has yet to strike Syria with a military response - and that message will be clear to America's adversaries, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry argues. Evidence proving that the Bashar al-Assad regime used chemical weapons on its own civilian population is reason enough, he says. \"Each day that goes by, this case is even stronger,\" Kerry said, urging action.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - \"If you don\'t do it, you send a message of impunity,\" Kerry said. Iran, North Korea, and Hezbollah \"will look at the United States and say \'Nothing means anything\' -- that\'s what\'s at stake here,\" he said.
 
The Obama administration is urging Congress to support the president\'s call. The immediacy of the situation has been strengthened after recent tests found signatures of sarin gas in blood and hair samples collected from the Damascus site of an alleged chemical weapons attack.

According to Kerry, the samples were collected separately from a United Nations investigation into the August 21 attack. Syria has denied using chemical weapons on its citizens, and has sought to blame the rebels currently trying to topple the Bashar regime.

In response, the Arab League issued a statement blaming the Syrian government for the attack.

The U.N. says to urge caution, saying that world leaders should wait until their investigators determine whether chemical weapons were used.
"The U.N. mission is uniquely capable of establishing in an impartial and credible manner the facts of any use of chemical weapons,\" Martin Nesirky, spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said at a news conference.

When will the results be ready? The U.N. won\'t give a timeline, Nesirky said as "it is being done as fast as it is possible to do within the scientific constraints.\" Samples will be delivered to laboratories tomorrow.

When completed, the U.N. will only say whether chemical weapons were used -- not who was responsible.

U.S. military action at first appeared imminent - until this past weekend, when President Obama announced he would first seek lawmakers\' approval.

Making a last-minute decision last week to seek congressional authorization before any military action, senior administration officials told reporters.

\"While I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective,\" Obama said. The 1973 War Powers Act technically allows him to strike without such approval.

Lawmakers officially come back from recess on September 9.

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