After a weekend of reports indicating that the U.S. is considering military action as a response to a devastating chemical weapons attack in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters on Monday the U.S. is still "consider[ing] our response" to the Syrian crisis, indicating with little doubt that there will, in fact, be one: "This international norm cannot be violated without consequences," he said. Any U.S. response, he added, would be "grounded in facts, informed by conscience, and guided by common sense."
In a forceful speech at the State Department, Kerry made it absolutely clear that the U.S. is certain that a chemical weapons attack took place in Syria last week, and that, based on the evidence, the Assad regime was behind it. Kerry promised that the U.S. would release additional evidence addressing those points in the coming days. The attacks, Kerry said, "def[y] any code of morality," calling the action "a moral obscenity...by any standard, it is inexcusable." He added: "there is a clear reason that the world has banned entirely the use of chemical weapons...there is a reason why President Obama has made it such a priority to stop the proliferation of these weapons."
Speaking about the evidence of the attacks -- images and videos of the dead -- Kerry said: "I went back and I watched the videos...one more gut-wrenching time... It is hard to express in words the human suffering they lay out before us." Addressing Russia, perhaps, Kerry said that anyone denying the attacks could occur needed to "check their moral compass."