U.S. Considers Military Action Against Syrian President

By: CBS
By: CBS

President Obama is considering a limited military strike on Syria to punish the country's president for using chemical weapons in their civil war.

United Nation inspectors returned to their Damascus hotel after their second visit to the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack had to postponed for security reasons.

The Obama administration isn't waiting for the team's findings. Secretary of State John Kerry says there is undeniable evidence Syrian President Bashar Assad used toxic gas on his own people.

"The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity," said Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry vowed there would be a response from the United States, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says the U.S. forces will be ready to act as soon as President Obama gives the order.

Four U.S. Navy warships are in the eastern Mediterranean ready to launch cruise missiles that would likely strike Syrian military targets.

The White House has been reaching out to members of Congress and NATO allies to build support for action. President Obama has ordered a declassified report to make the case to the American people.

Former Pentagon Advisor Anthony Cordesman says the U.S. also needs to plan for what happens AFTER a potential missile strike.

"It shouldn't be the United States showing it can use force," said former Pentagon advisor Anthony Cordesman. "There's a major humanitarian problem as well, and the United States should act there."

Several allies, including the United Kingdom, France and Turkey have signaled they would back a US led strike against Syria.

The White House says any possible military action would be focused on punishing Assad for using chemical weapons, not ousting him. The president has already ruled out putting U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.


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