Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the use of chemical weapons in attacks on civilians in Syria last week was undeniable and that the Obama administration would hold the Syrian government accountable for a “moral obscenity” that had shocked the world’s conscience.
In some of the administration’s most strident language yet, Mr. Kerry accused the Syrian government of cynically seeking to cover up the use of the weapons, rejected its denial of responsibility for a “cowardly crime.”
Mr. Kerry’s remarks, in a prepared statement he read at the State Department, reinforced the administration’s toughening stance on the Syria conflict, which is now well into its third year, and he suggested that the White House, in consultation with America’s allies, was moving closer to a military response.
“The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity,” Mr. Kerry said.
“By any standard, it is inexcusable,” he went on. “And despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.”
* Though with a flat-lined economy, unlike the go-go economic year of 1998.