Secretary of State John Kerry continued to push for military force against Syria on Sunday, appearing on a series of talk shows to make the case that sarin gas was used by the Assad regime, and that he is sure Congress will support the use of strikes sought by President Obama.
Speaking on "This Week," Kerry predicted that Congress would support a military strike, saying, “We are not going to lose this vote.” Asked what would happen if it didn't receive congressional support, Kerry said he "doesn't contemplate" that.
“I think the interests that we have with respect to potential future confrontation – hopefully not – but the challenge of Iran, the challenges of the region, the challenge of standing up for and standing beside our ally Israel, helping to shore up Jordan,” he said, “I believe Congress will pass it.”
However, Kerry noted, the president has the authority to act on his own and order military strikes anyway.
One of Kerry's key points in his appearances was that the U.S. had intelligence that the nerve gas sarin was used in the Aug. 21 attack, something the U.N. has yet to substantiate.
"In the last 24 hours, we have learned through samples that were provided to the United States, that have now been tested, from first responders in east Damascus, and hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin," he said.
On "Meet the Press," Kerry said
We know where this attack came from. We know exactly where it went. We know what happened afterwards. We know the preparations were being taken before for this attack. We know that people were told to use their gas masks to prepare for the use of a chemical barrage. We also know that after it took place they acknowledged that they had done it and were worried about the consequences and whether the UN inspectors were going to find out. "
"We've seen the horrific scenes all over the social media, and we have evidence of it in other ways, and we know that the regime tried to cover up afterwards, so the case is really an overwhelming case," Kerry added while speaking to CNN's "State of the Union."
As Jim Naureckas at media watchdog FAIR notes, the certainty in Kerry's account of the mysterious attack should prompt skepticism.
McClatchy reports that
Obama's proposed language for congressional approval would authorize the president to use force "as he determines to be necessary and appropriate" in order to "prevent or deter the use or proliferation" of chemical or biological weapons, as well as other "weapons of mass destruction." The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on Syria. The House is sticking to its planned summer schedule and will return next week.
It is clear from this wording that such a resolution would allow nearly everything far beyond the "punitive" few cruise missile strikes against Syrian forces the administration marketed so far. It could easily be used for an outright blockade of Iran or even a "preemptive" strike against Iran's industries in the name of "deterrence" and "protecting" Israel.
Watch the video of Kerry on "This Week" below: