U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday that military action against the Middle Eastern country is “ready to go.” The declaration of readiness from the Defense Secretary came within hours of Secretary of State John Kerry's declaration that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did indeed release chemical weapons on their citizens.
“We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take,” Hagel said.
Now, President Obama must weigh his options as to whether to bring the United States into yet another foreign offensive. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Obama not to repeat the mistakes of the former President Bush. Lavrov said the U.S. and its allies are on a “slippery slope” to military intervention in Syria that will have “extremely dangerous” consequences for the region.
That stern warning came only days after Russia had urged Syria to come clean and allow United Nations' inspectors to investigate the attack. On Sunday, a U.N. inspection team was attacked by sniper fire when they attempted to probe into the alleged attack.
“The U.S. is preparing for action, with President Barack Obama phoning international allies in the United Kingdom and France over the weekend and the White House reached out to top members of Congress. Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron called Parliament into session to discuss possible military action,” reports the U.S. News.
Widely circulated videos and pictures showed bodies being tagged, bagged and lined up awaiting burial. Hundreds, possibly thousands, including women and children, were killed via a chemical weapons release, an attack in which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has continued to strenuously deny.
Hagel is confident however that the evidence will show that the Syrian government is responsible for the assault, one that has come at a climax point of a two-year civil war raging inside of Syria between the government and coalition forces.
“I think the intelligence will conclude that it wasn't the rebels who used it and there'll probably be pretty good intelligence to show that the Syria government was responsible,” Hagel said. “But we'll wait and determine what the facts and the intelligence bear out.”
The U.S. has moved missile-capable warships into firing range of Syria. According to the L.A. Times, "four U.S. guided-missile destroyers — the Ramage, the Gravely, the Barry and the Mahan — are now in the eastern Mediterranean, each carrying up to 90 cruise missiles."
About 60 percent of Americans oppose military intervention in Syria, according to the most recent poll, with just 9 percent supporting it.
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