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tv   News  Al Jazeera  August 26, 2013 2:00pm-3:01pm EDT

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hello. we are coming to you live from the al jazeera studios in new york city. at this hour, all eyes on washington and the state department. that's because secretary of state john ker seset to make a remark on the situation in in syria. his comments come after u.n. investigators completed an inspection of chemical weapons attacks today in and around damascus. the u.n. saying investigators interviewing survivors and doctors and collecting samples before returning to their hotel, but not until after there was a sniper that forced them at one point in time to rey treat. we go to washington.
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bring us up-to-date. >> reporter: all along in the five days since that chemical attack and the horrific images out of syria to television and computer screens worldwide, the administration from the president down stress any option or retaliation exercised must be of an inter national nature. of we know that john kerry had at least two dozen phone calls with his counterparts around the region and world including the syrian foreign minister on saturday. he spoke with the 4 french and the foreign ministers from a number of gulf states. the united states doesn't want to go this alone and britain has come out foursquare behind some punishment. noy matter how you want to phrase tfrance has a strong statement and germany, the
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united states and its allies want to broaden the coalition as wide as possible and you will hear him speak to that. >> is there a sense the white house will telegraph their punches or what they may not do. no boots on the ground? >> that has been ruled out by the president spokesman late last week. these im images have become a game changer. the presidenta a year ago this month set down his redline and said if the regime were to deploy chemical weapons it would cross a redline, emapplyin implying there would be serious consequences. and in a small form that was crossed. this is of a different magnitude
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all together. the administration feels not only does the united states government, but governments feel there is credibility at stake. we heard chuck haguele say the military is ready. if you look at the comments over the course of the last three days it is remarkable. the president said this is a core national secure concern and security interests were at stake. and late friday night as the images continued to stream in susan rice in a harsh comment toward the regime accused them are potentially lie figure they didn't immediately was the word she said, ayou lou the u.n. inspect are ares on on the ground to see what happened.
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what was the response of the administration? too late. and they added they think there is the doubt the assad regime is responsible. why is it too late? because the regime had continued to shell the area degrading any eviden evidence that might be compiled. there was a three hour national security meeting. over the course of the last 48 hours it has become an expectation there will be some sort of military action and most people when you look at the fact the navy added firepower to the eastern mediterranean it be in the nature of cruise missiles. >> stand by. john has been has been following the diplomatic events
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overseas. is the coalition of the willing in this case slowly starting to take form? >> it does seem to be. that's how they do things these days. you hear from world powers who are calling for action, something to be done and something to be done really quite quickly. you might say the drums are war are beating. when it comes to diplomacy it is all in the language. i.e.i think we might see something happen before many thought it might originally happen. the president met with cameron at the weekend and had a 40 minute telephone conversation. of at the end of thaty we heard from are the french foreign minister who is talking about the only option he doesn't invissage is the option to do nothing at all. he heard from the british foreign secretary who says he
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doesn't think there is a need to go to the u.n. security council. and the turks, turkey is a key countriy because it straddles the western europe part of the world with the muslim world into the middle middle east into africa. turkeyy is key into these decisions and the foreign minister is talking about his willingness to join a coal fission the u.n. fails. we you saw the security council unable to make a key decision on on the key day because the the russians and chinese blocked the language. and the 20 inspectors fired at today are there ata the behest of the secretary general and can only investigate whether there was any use of chemical weapons at all. they cannot aportion blai. the syrian government holds all the cards. that brings us back to president
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obama and will take the lead if anything happens, when it happens. unlike other recent u.s. presidents, he will know he has a lo lot of backing on his side, britain, france, turkey. >> and russia is not on board. i want to play a sound bite from the russian foreign minister who said military intervention against the assad regime, using his word, would be extremely dangerous. >> we had this moment before in iraq and libya and not a case of military inter fearence or intervention resulted in things improving and life standards improving or stabilization in case. the recentlyion is destabilized in an unprecedented way. >> so, john, he is, of course
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referring to the build up to the war in iraq saying here we go again. your reaction? the russians have a complicated relationship with syria. they have a lot of business deals on the table and that's why when it comes to the security council they block anything the other france, britain and the united states want to do because russia always sides with them. it's worth bearing in mind there is a precedent for this. if you go back to 1998, president clinton had a president with saddam hussein and the inspections of his chemical weapons and wepons of mass destruction and there was desert storm, desert fox and it was a four day cruise missile attack. many are points to that as what will happen this time around if the president and allies have
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decided it is necessary to retaliate in this way against the syrians for what is an alleged chemicalla attack that many believe was carried out by the syrian government. >> stand by as we continue to watch and wait for word from u.s. secretary of state john kerry concerning the situation in syria. we want to turn to david jackson, who has been watching the events concerning syria from beirut. what are they saying there and what are they expecting there? >> reporter: wree we showed the headline that is drums of war. there will be a limited military strike that will take place into syria. they are well aware of the fact there is american military positioned offshore and british military and naval ships offshore. they are expecting something
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along the desert fox lines mentioned a moment ago, that there would be some cruise missile attacks that would go into syria itself. the other thing being looked at is a lot of people trying to find information about what happens when they do these united nations inspections in damascus. they said they had a productive day today and people want to know what that means. they know they are going to a different location tomorrow morning and they are very, very concerned about getting some form of confirmation a chemical attack took place at all. everybody here thinking of it as a foregone conclusion that the united states and other european nations will do some form of military strike. they are expecting word from the generals meeting in jordan not far from here, discussing this very thing. of a lot of information expected to be funneled out from these
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events and they are frankly hoping john kerry might have something to say about it. people are hanging on every word here to try to find out any information they can from the inspectors on the ground. they do not expect any form of an attack to take place by the inspectors are in syria. everybody looking at the fact they would have to leave the country before anything would be conplateed at all. >> you are a veteran of many wars. if we learned anything from iraq is that countries prey pair for that surgical strike and they go underground and wait for the attacks to be over and go back out and do what they aring to to do as they are concerned that is what will happenna. >> reporter: they certainly do do that. when they talk about pinpoint strikes like that, a cruise
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missile launch, if you wanted to stretcha a point, you could say if the inspectors are stilly in the nation it could be accomplished because the strikes are so militar illy directed at targets and -- at military targets there is no chance any civilians would be harmed or very few. they are almad at runways, airports and military locations used by the syrians and this is likely if it goes in that direction. once the drums beat this hard in a particular direction like this is, it's unusual to find something does not happen. there is no question we are parenough along that everybody expects to see something occur over the next several days or a week. >> david jackson joining us live, thank you very much. if you saw moments ago as we
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took that shot from the state department, you saw a reporter holding upa a pad. that is washington's crudest form of communication what we thought was going to happen at 2:00 is not going to happen at 2:00, is now going to happen at 2:30. that's when we expect secretary of state john kerry to address the situation. we will take a break. more news coming up. ç]
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>> i'm del walters joining you from the al jazeera studio. we are watching developments coming out of washington. there are two events we are keeping an eye on. to the left, the state department where secretary of state john ker seabout to make a statement -- john kerry is about to make a statement on the situation in syria. it am cans after inspectors made an inspect in and around damascus but not before coming under sniper fire. they have returned to their hotel and are safe. the u.n. says its investigators visited two hospitals and interviewed witnesses, survivors and hospitals and collected
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samples before they returned to their hotel. now to the image on your right. the that is the white house and where the president will award the medal of honor. the carter is said to have saved his fellow soldiers in 2009. of he will just be the fifth living soldier to receive the award for actions in the wars in iraq and afghanistan. it is the most pr prestejious military award in the country. all eye on the state department as we await the department on the situation in syria. we have tim crockett from atlanta. he is the president of pioneer consulting group and a former member of the uk special forces team. thank you for being with us today. >> thank you. >> what should we expect secretary of state kerry to say
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today? >> given his recent visits throughout the region, probably looking to gain some sort of level of response or support from the country around. i suspect he will give us information on the out come of the meetings and the level of support these countries governments may be willing to lend to the potential of a response given the attacks. >> you were a member of the coalition of the boots on the ground. you are ready to stand by and go into these situation when given the order. how bis of a difference does it make when there is an international coalition lining up behind you? >> it will depend on what is the response and seen tropes or
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assets in the region. it depend on the objective of of the mission. we can't go into the specifics of how limited response may be done but would require some form of accurate intelligence to ensure this response is measured and has some level of impact. >> let me ask the basic question: can the measured response as we are being told might happen, will do that what is needed to be done in syria? >> personally i don't think so. if it is a limited response against the leadership or perhaps the command and control, it will not be enough to tip the balance of power to the rebels. and then you have to ask the question, well, what is going to be the likely response from russia, from iran and then
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again, the question of we still have these chemical weapons in the country. we have to do a lot more to secure those from getting into the wrong hands. >> okay. before you go, i wanted to ask you to stand by as we continue to watch the situation in the state department. i will ask you one more question and that is we had desert fox which was that limited military strike. is it your fear if they don't do more, that the assad regime will wait and watch and wait for everybody to go away and resume business as usual in syria? >> i'm sure what the regime would like. i.e., think we are not likely to see just the limited action and everyone walk away. that could be just sort of the appetizer to a larger and more embroiled action when we have the righty level of support and understanding of what needs to be done. >> i want to thank you for being with us. of i want you to -- i want to ask you to stand by.
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we are going to go back to that other big event unfolding in washington at this hour, the medal of honor ceremoniyy unfolding at the white house. there appears to be a moment of silence as the president is preparing to address the situation. he will award the medal of honor to ty carter. >> increase our faith, renew our hope that our life can be marked by virtue other honor and patriotism as we ask and pray in your holy nama, amen. >> carter is said to have saved his fellow soldiers during a taitalla ban attack in 2009. here is the president. >> i should say welcome back. many of you joined us earlier this year when we presented the medal of honor to clint romashea in the same battle as today. he could not be here.
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he is engaged this week in a causa that is close to all of our hearts and that is ending homelessly among our veterans. we are honored to welcome back some of the men who fought that day, members of black knight troop and the gold star families of those who gave their lives that day. as these soldiers and families will tell you, they are a family forged in battle and loss and love. so today is something of a reunion. we come together again with gratitude and pride to bestow the medal of honor on a second member of this family, staff sergeant ty carter. we are joined by many distinguished guests and we welcome you all. i want to focus on our most distinguished guests more than
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40 members of ty's family. your parents, mark, paulaa and step mom barbara. your wife shannon, who you call the ceo of your family. you're a wise man. vitsami have the same arrangement. your children, jaden, madison in her new dress and she was telling me about her new room as we walked over here. and nine month old sierra for whom we will try to make this brief. of we don't know how long the cheerios will last. before they came, ty said he was hoping to take his children around washington to show them the sites and the history. if you want to know what makes our country truliy great, if you want to know what a true american haddie row looks -- hero looks like, you just have to look at your dad. because today he is the site we
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have come to see. your dad inspires us like the big monuments and mey morials do. this is a historic day, the first time in half a century since the vietnam war that we have been able to present the medal of honor to two survivors of the same battle. indeed, when we paid tribute to clint romashea we talked about how and his crew helped others make their escape. the medal to the soldier we honor today is the story of what our troops do for each other. some of you may recall it was not just one of the most remote out posts in afghanistan, it was one of the most vulnerable. in deep ground in a valley,
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surrounded by towering mountains when soldiers like ty arrived they said it was like income a fish bowl, easy tar targets for enemies in the hills above. when morning broke their worst fears became a reality. 53 american soldiers were suddenly surrounded by more than 300 taliban fight ares -- fighters. gunfire, rocket propelled grenadas, sniper fire, mortar. a blitzaard of bullets and steel into when ty one, not once, or twice or a pe a few time, but perhaps 10 times and displayed the essence of true heroism. not to surpass othersa at whatever cost, but to serve
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others at whatever cost. he jumped out of bed and put on his boots and vest and grabbed his gun and ran to re-supply his camrades in the humvee. when they needed more he ran back and blasted the locks off supply rooms and sprinted again, dodging explosions and darting between craters back to the humvee. the ferocious fire forced them inside and five american soldiers including ty and specialist mace found themselves in the humvee, tires flat, peppered with shrapne shrapnel and threatening to break through the armaor and taliban fighters were penetrating. the choice was simple, stay and die or make a run for it. he stepped out into the barrage along with brad larsen he laid
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down fire providing cover for the other three as they dashed. back in that humvee ty and brad held out for hours rolling down the window just a crack, taking a shot over and over, holding the line, preventing the out post from being completely over run. ty would later say we weren't going to surright-hander, we were going to fight to the last round. then they saw him, their buddy stef an on the ground. when the moment was right, ty stepped out again and ran to him applying a towr tourniquet to one of his legs and bandaging his wounds and using a tree branch to splint his ankle.
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if you are left with just you one image from that day, let it be that: ty carter bending over, picking up steffan mace, craidaling in his arms and carrying him through the bullets and getting him back to the humvee. ty stepped out again, recovering a radio making contact with the rest of the troop and they came up with a plan. as clint roma she romashea provided cover, and ty returned to the fight with much of the out post on fire with so many wound wounded inside. he stepped out one last time exposing himself to fire and cut down a burning tree and saved the aid station and helped to rally his troop as they fought. they pushed the enemy back and
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our soldiers re-took their camp. now, ty says this award is not mine alone. the battle that day, he will say was one team and one fight and everyone did what we could do to keep each other alive. some of these men are with us again. i have to repeat this because they are among the most highly decorated units of this entire war. 37 army commendation medallas, 27 purple hearts, 18 bronze stars for their valor. 9 silver stars for their gallantry. please stand. [applauding]
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today we also remember once more the 8 extraordinary soldiers who gave their last full measure of devotion. some of whom spent their final moments trying to rescue ty and the others from that humvee and we stand with their familys who remind us how far the heart break ripples. five wives, widows, who honor their husbands. seven boys and girls who honor their dad. a at least 17 parents, mothers and fathers, step moms and step dads, who honor their son. of some 18 siblings who honor their brother. long after this war is over, these families will still need our love and support for years to come. i ask the families to stand and
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be recognized, please. [applauding] >> we continue to watch two events unfolding in had washington at this hour. this is the medal of honor ceremony for ty carter and john kerry set toa address the situation in syria at any moment. we go back to the white sox. >> ty has spoken openly with honesty and eloquence about his
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struggle with post traumatic stress. the flash backs, the nightmares, the anxiety, the heartache that makes it almost impossible to get through a day. he has urged us to remember another soldier who suffered too and lost his own life back home, who we remember today for his service in afghanistan private ed faulkner, junior. at first, like a lot of troop, ty resisted seeking help. with the support of the army and encouragement of his commanders and the love of shannon and the kids, ty got help had. th help. of the ththe pain of that day i think ty understands will never fully go away, but he stands before us as a loving has and devoted father and exemplary
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soldier who even redeployed. he wants to help other troops in their own recovery and it is absolutely criticalla for us to work with brave young men line ty to put an end to any stigma that seeks folks from seeking help. to any of our troops who are veterans who are watching and struggle, look at this man, look at this soldier, this warrior who is as tough as they come and if he can find the courage and strength to not only seek help but to speak out about it, to take care of himself and stay strong, then so can you. so can you. as you summon that strength, our nation needs to keep summoning the commitment and re resource to make sure you have help when you reach out. no one should suffer alone and no one should die waiting for the mental health care they need. that's unacceptable and all of
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us have to do better than we are doing. as ty knows part of the heala suggest facing the sources of pain as we prepare for the reading and citation i will ask you to never forget the difference you made on that day. you helped turn that attack back, soldiers are alive today like brad larsen who said i owe ty my life. because you urged, you had the urge to serve others at whatever cost, so many armeyy families could come home their own sons. because of you, steffan's mother who joins us today is able to say ty brought ste fan to safety. she said he felt at peace and said i am grateful to ty more than words can describe. that's something. god bless you, ty carter and the
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soldiers, all our men and women in uniform and god bless america and i would like to have the citation read. >> the president of the united states of america authorized by act of congress march 3rd, 18y 63 has awarded in the name congress the medal of honor to specialist ty m. carter, united states army for conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of dutiy. specialist ty m. carter distinguished himself by gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty serving asa a scout with
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bravo troop third squadron, 61sticaleralry third brigade team during combat operations against an armed misdemeanor on october 3rd, 2009. on that morning special carter and his camrades awakened to an attack of 300 fighters on all four sides of out post keating, employing concentrated fire from rockle propelled brenade, machine gun, mortars and small arms fire. carter reenforcedda a forward battle position and rab twice through a gauntlet of enemy fire to resupply ammunition and rey mained there to defend the isolated position. armaed with only an m-4 caribbean rifle he placed accurate deadliy fire on the enemy and preventing the position from being over run over the course of several
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hours. with complete disregard for his own safety and in spite of his own wounds, he ran througha a hail of enemy rocket propelledy nenade and fire to help a wounded camrade. specialist carter rendered life extending first aid and carried the soldier to cover. he again maneuvered through enemy fire to check on a fallen soldier and recover the squad's radio. with teammates proviegd covering fire, specialist carter assisted in moving the wounded soldier 100-meters through withering enemy fire to the aid station and before returning to the fight. specialist carter's heroic actions and tactical skill were critical to out post keating, prevening the enemy from capturing the camp and saving
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his soldier's lives. selflessness in aabove and beyond the call of duty reflect great credit upon himself, bravo troop, and the united states army. dwc [applauding] >> we continue to watch two events that are unfolding in washington at this hour. this, of course, being the medal of honor ceremony for staff sergeant ty carter. the screen on your left is is the shot of the state department where any moment now we are expecting secretary of state john kerry to address the
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situation in syria. it should not be long now that the president has finished his remarks. we'll take a break and come right back.
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>> jowng you from the al jazeera stoodios in new york city. you are looking at a picture in the state department where we are waiting word from secretary of state john kerry concerning the on-going crisis in syria that war drums in washington have been beating loudly of late. we go live to a al jazeera mike vicaraand not surprising the state department would wait before the secretary of state
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takes the stage. >> especially given the gravity and what a moving ceremony it was. the camp with a second medal of honor. you are right and put it well before the break, it is a ballet and choreography that ba balanshine would be proud of. we will segue into the statement by john kerry. what will be the nature of the statement? the strongest clue is to be found in many of the public statements and press rey lease releases and whatever option the president chooses has gained steam in the last 48 hours.
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they i have emphasized that this needs to be an inter national effort. we know the uk has spoken out forcefully and behind the idea of punishing assad in some way, shape or form. as has france. we heard from germany. john kerry we are told by the state department, they have let it be known he has had no fewer than a dozen phone calls consulling the syrian foreign minnister and the russian foreign minitter to the gulf states and traditional allies in europe. what will this international coalition look lika absent a u.n. security council mandate. that will not happen with harsh comments out of the kremlin and russian foreign ministry talking about catastrophic consequences
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if they go through with military action. we have the question of congress and the american public and where they stand on any action. congress off on its traditional august break that will stretch into the post labor day period. we heard two senior members of congress back this idea of surgical strikes and cruise missiles were mentioned and the only question is how much consul isitation and that will ignite the debate of many in the republican party. and the tea party saying they need to california forward and consult with congress. the president talk about the resentment in the region when the united states goes it alone or limited allies, a clear reference and the president has refered to this explicitly to the one issue he ran on in 2008, a major issue and that is the
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war in iraq. he promised to wind that down and has done so and he touted it in his reelection bid. no one here is eager to get into military conflict in the middle east and the president cited that again and again. it is a bitter irony to note the president has talked about the false pretenses of war, that there were no weapons of mass destruction as had been warned about in 2003. a bitter eronnie. there are the weapons quite obviously in existence in syria. they have been deployed according to the white house and have crossed the president's redline he laid down one year ago this month. almost as much as the military and policy obligations, a question of credibility. if the west were to lay down this marker and allow assad to get away with this and the ruling ghastly pictures of death
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and suffering that have come out of syria, it'sa a question of credibility for the west. the war drums, you are right over the course of the last 48 hours certainly the national security councily meetings with consulitations with allies over the foan phone are moving toward a military option. navy worships have been moved into place in the mediterranean. >> i want to alert our audience on a few house keeping issues one is why are we watching the screen and that's because we were told secretary of state john kerry would adress the nation on the developments in syria at 2:00 and then told he would speak at 2:30, which brings us to where we are right now, 2:45 as we await his comments on syria. he, you are, are not the only watching and waiting and wondering what is going to happen next, so is the world for that matter.
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we turn to david jackson who has been watching from beirut. your take? >> reporter: well, a lot of interesting questions being raised, del. and we talkedda that history would indicate in this part of the world with the united states and other coalition members once there is a momentum like you feel today, the inevitable out come is there is a military consequence to that and that's perhaps the likeliy direction we are headed. there is a caveat to that from people being raised here. in the past most of that momentum has led to a conflict that was one that was inevitable to an extent in terms of conclusion. this is something where president obama does not want to
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be engaged in any large way with syria. they have ruled out putting troops on the ground and that leads everybody to say if you have pinpoint strikes and they are even effective, then what? what does that ?ee that mean? does it happen over a couple of days and a retreat and cessation of activity and what has been accomplished if anything? does that stop the syrianas from using chemical weapons again? perhaps. does that send a message they can't contemplate such a thing again or does it really become inconsistencie inconsequential? we are only 65-miles from the west of damascus. there is talk about what should
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happen if it turns into a conflict, but it's limited and what would happen. >> let me play the devil's advocate. the bush administration was not only after all was said and done, no wepons of mass destruction were found but they didn't give the u.n. inspectors time to finish their inspections. is there a concern if the united states moves right now to move toward a military strike might be doing the same thing by not allowing the u.n. inspectors time to finish what they started just this morning? >> reporter: that's an interesting question and would have to be a rapid decision in making a strike move forward. the feeling here is there will have to be a couple of days in addition to what we saw today to determine what they do find on the ground there.
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it shouldn't take too long going into hospitals and taking blood samples from the bodies of people who died or people who survived these attacks and determine if serein gas was used. the thinking here is the united stated wait for that to happen, this coalition to wait for that to happen and the results to be revealed and if they move quickly that's not necessarily too fast. i think people want to see, in had this area any way, decisive strike. they believe the chemical weapons have been used. and a cessation of that kind of strike. oa they don't want a protracted long, drawn out warfare situation and won't get that almost certainly. and if it is surgical and quick, the quicker the better. >> tim crockett our security expert standing by. your take on the issue of
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waiting longer to give the united nations inspectors there more time. >> well, given from what we have heard the agent that might have been used, the longer the time goes on, the less reliable any results gleaned from the inspection will lend itself to the argument that they were used and by whom. the longer it goes on, the less reliable that will be. what we are looking at is what sort of response can be used to send a messaga. >> bring in your crystal ball. you we were expecting secretary of state john ker toe speak at 2:00, then 2:30, now it's 2:50. what is going on? >> you can never call when they are going to come out.
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every day there is a briefing at the state department andev day they tell us it is 1:30 and every day they don't come out until 2:15. we are used to this. the effectiveness of any strike that might be called upon by president obama and britain, france, germany, turky and the whole of the arab league. the french minister is talking about the morale imperital -- moral imperative and not letting any government of the world get away with gassing its people. we don't have conclusive proof yet, but it's clear the world has decided that the regime did carry out the gas attack in the early hours of last wednesday
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morning. whatever is decided and at the moment it decides if the best option may ba a cruise missile attack. it is important for the world to be seen to do something says the french prime minister because then the world loses the right to criticize when something else like this happens. we have seen instances in the balkans and africa where the world has been called on to act and didn't. so i think at the moment this coalition of the willing is getting together. we may very well see some kind of action within the next couple of days or weeks. but it will come down to president obama. he is the one who will have to direct this. he is the one that will have to take the final decision. he has support out in the world. if some kind of attack is what he chooses to do to retallaiate for what the world thinks of
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a chemical weapons attack on its own people from the government of syria. >> as we continue to wait for secretary of state john kerry -- i will put ow hold on. here is secretary of state john kerry. >> for the last several days, president obama and his entire national security team have been reviewing the situation in syria and today i want to provide an update on our efforts as we consider our response to the use of chemical weapons. what we saw in syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. it defies any code of morality. let me be clear. the indiscriminate slaughtering of innocents and killing of women and children is a moral absennity. abobscenity. it is inexcusable and despite
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the excuses some have manufactured, it is undeniable. the meaning of this attack goes beyond the conflict in syria itself. that conflict has brought so much terrible suffering. of this is about the large scale indiscriminate use of weapons the civilized world long ago decide must never beoose be used at all. a conviction shared by countrys who agree on the else. there is a clear reason the world head banned the use of chemical weapons. there is a reason the international community has set a clear standard and why many countries have taken major steps to eradicate these weapons. there is a reason why president obama has made it sucha a priority to stop the proliferation of these weapons and locked them down where they do exist. there is a reason why president
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obama has made clear to the regime that this international norm cannot be violated without consequences. and there is's reason why no matter what you believe about syria, all peoples in all nations who believe in the cause of our common humanity must stand up to assure there is accountability for the use of chemical weapons so it never happens again. last night after speaking with foreign ministers from around the world about the gravity of the situation, i went back and i watched the videos. videos that anybody can watch on social media. of i watched them one more gut wrenching time. it is hard to express in words the human suffering they lay out before us. aas a father i can't get the image out of my head of the man who held up his dead child
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wailing while chaos swirled around him and families dead in their beds withouta a drop of blood or a visible wound. bodies contorting with spasms. of human suffering we can never ignore or forget. anyone who can claim an attack of this staggering scale can be fabricated needs to check their conscience and their own moral compass. what is before us today is real and it is compelling. so i also want to under score while investigators are gathaering additional evidence on the ground, our understanding of what has already happened in syria is grounded in facts, informed by conscience and guided by common sense. the reported number of victims, the reported symptoms of those killed or injured and the first
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hand accounts by those on the ground, these all strongly indicate everything these images already screaming at us is really, that chemical weapons were used in syria. more over, we know that the syrian regime many tains custody -- maintains custody of these chemical weapons and know the seian regime has the capacity to do this with rockets. we know the regime has been determined to clear the opposition from those very places where the attacks took place. and with our own eyes we have, all of us, become witnesses. we have additional information about this attack. and that information is being compiled and reviewed together with our partners and we will provide that information in the days ahead. our sense of basic humanity is offended not only by this cowardliy crime, but also by the
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cynical attempt to cover it up. at every turn the syrian regime failed to coperate with the -- cooperate with the u.n. investigation, using it to stall and stymie the important effort to bring to light what happened in damascus in the dead of nig night. the u.n. investigator will not determine who used these chemical weapons, only whether such weapons were used says moon. of a judgment that is already clear to the world. i spoke on thursday with the syrian foreign minister and made it clear to him if the regime had nothing to hide, then their response should be immediate. immediate transparancy and access. their response needed to be unrestricted and immediate access. failure to permit that, i told
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him, would tell its own story. instead, for five days the syrian regime refused to allow the u.n. investigators access to the site of the attack that would aledgeedly exonerate them. instead it attacked the area further, shelling it and systematically destroying evident. that is not the behavior of a government that has nothing to hide. that is not the actiona of a regime eager to prove to the world it had not used chemical weapons. in fact the regime's belated decision to allow access is too late and too late to be credible. today's reports of the attack on the u.n. investigators with the shelling of these very neighborhoods only weakens the regime's credibility. at the president's direction, vispent many hours over the last few days on the phone with foreign ministers and other le
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leaders. the administration is actively consulting members of congress and we will have conversations in the days ahead. the president has been in close touch with leaders of our key allies and the president will make an informed decision about how to respond to this i indiscriminate use of chemical weapons. make no mistake, president obamaa believes should must be accountability for those whod use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people. nothing today is more serious and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny. thank you. >> you have been listening to secretar secretary of state john kerry. in his words what we saw should is shock the conscience of the world. we want to turn to washington.
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