Secretary of State John Kerry had a press conference on Friday to reveal intelligence that evidently proves that the Syrian government is using chemical weapons on innocent civilians. It is difficult not to compare Kerry's performance with that of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, when he famously made the case for the Iraq war in 2003 before the United Nations.
It seems that the highly-publicized teleconference on Thursday night was a "dry run" for today's presser, as today Sen. James Inhofe, a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Kerry "made an aggressive effort to convince lawmakers to support a strike against Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons," as reported by Pete Kasperowicz of The Hill.
On Fox News Friday, Inhofe gave a preview of Kerry's press conference, describing the teleconference Thursday in part,
"It was an hour-and-a-half of John Kerry trying to sell us on the President's program of military intervention in Syria."
Inhofe pointed to the phrase "broad range of options," saying that Americans would hear that phrase "over and over and over again." He said although the phrase was used repeatedly,
"We talked for an hour-and-a-half, and they didn't mention one of the options."
Inhofe said that he was the "only member [on the call] who was opposed to military intervention."
As Gather reported Thursday, Rep. Scott Rigell circulated a letter requesting that President Obama seek congressional approval before America responds to Syria with military force. His letter was signed by 98 Republicans and 18 Democrats. Out of those lawmakers who signed the letter, as listed by the Sun Times, not even one of them was invited to be on the conference call Thursday.
Today CBS News reported,
"Top officials said Mr. Obama's intent to carry out a limited attack Â— 'a shot across the bow' in the president's words Â— means broad international support and congressional authorization are preferred but not necessary." [added emphasis]
The mentality contrasts greatly with comments made previously by President Obama and Joe Biden.
Indeed, Kerry said that their reports include "findings that are as clear as they are compelling." After graphic descriptions of "the defenseless people of Syria" who were killed by chemical weapons, he declared,
"What we choose to do or not do matters in real ways to our security."
Kerry said that history would judge America "harshly" if the use of "weapons of mass destruction" in Syria was ignored. It is interesting that he would use that phrase.
It is not the first time.
In a letter signed by Kerry to President Clinton in 1998,
"We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the US Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
In 2002, Kerry said,
"When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region. I will vote yes because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable."
The question remains, what is the goal of military intervention? Considering White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's previous assurance that "the options that we are considering are not about regime change."
Secretary Kerry did not mention the threat to Israel.
Image Source: Fox News via the Hill (screenshot)