April 25, 2013
“Based on the intelligence that we have, it appears that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against the Syrian people. If true, this is a sad and worrisome development in an ongoing humanitarian crisis. We must work with our partners in the region and the international community to confirm beyond a doubt that chemical weapons were in fact used and, if so, determine who used them and when. The seriousness of the situation dictates a thorough and thoughtful approach.
“If it turns out that chemical weapons were used, it would be the latest atrocity committed by the Assad regime. The civil war in Syria is an enormous humanitarian catastrophe caused by a brutal and desperate regime. But as we consider options to respond to this atrocity, I am not convinced that military action is appropriate at this time. There is no evidence that U.S. military action will achieve anything, except cost American lives and treasure. As we respond, we must remember the lessons we have learned from the war in Iraq.
“We should work with the international community, as well as our allies in the region, to consider the best options to remove Assad from power and promote a regime that has the support of the Syrian people. However, we should be under no illusions that this will be easy. It won’t. We must exercise extreme caution, and we must not assume that the U.S. military can resolve this civil war.
“The Syrian people deserve the right to live free of tyranny and oppression and the United States must continue to be a force for good in the world. I encourage the Administration to take the time necessary to confirm what has taken place and to develop an appropriate response.”