Despite a high percentage of Americans who think the U.S. shouldn’t interfere with conflict in Syria, President Obama is said to be weighing a military strike in the wake of chemical attack allegations.
The strikes would be designed to serve as punishment for Syria’s use of the weapons that reportedly killed hundreds, while keeping the United States out of deeper involvement in that country’s civil war, according to senior administration officials.
“We’re actively looking at the various legal angles that would inform a decision,” said an official who spoke about the presidential deliberations on the condition of anonymity. Missile-armed U.S. warships are already positioned in the Mediterranean.
According to the Washington Post, the timing of an attack would probably last no more than two days and involve sea-launched cruise missiles — or, possibly, long-range bombers — striking military targets not directly related to Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.
But, it all depends on three factors: completion of an intelligence report assessing Syrian government culpability in last week’s alleged chemical attack; ongoing consultation with allies and Congress; and determination of a justification under international law.
Secretary of State John Kerry has already announced that the chemical attack was undeniable. And on Monday, the White House press secretary Jay Carney said that “the president and his team are evaluating options with regards to responses to this specific violation of an international norm — the prohibited use of chemical weapons against civilian populations,” refusing to otherwise characterize the objective of potential U.S. action.
Asked about the report that the president’s national security team unanimously agreed military action was necessary, a White House spokesperson said Monday night that they would not comment on internal deliberations.
We’ll keep you updated on the latest.