Obama Hints at Limited Response

In a televised interview on Wednesday, President Obama said “a shot across the bow” might be the best way to demonstrate to the Syrian regime that the United States and international community will not tolerate further use of chemical weapons. Acting “in a clear and decisive, but very limited way” might send “a pretty strong signal that, in fact, [the Syrian regime] better not do that again,” he told PBS’ NewsHour on Aug. 28 when discussing the option of military strikes. Obama said he had not made a decision on how to respond and he reiterated he does not want the United States drawn into an “open-ended conflict” in Syria. However, use of chemical weapons breaks “international norms and standards of decency” and needs to stop, he said. Building upon Monday’s comments by Secretary of State John Kerry, Obama said the United States had concluded that the Syrian regime employed chemical weapons “on a large-scale” against civilians last week. Also on Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rassmussen said in a statement “any use of such weapons is unacceptable and cannot go unanswered.” He said “those responsible must be held accountable.”