- Associated Press - Thursday, March 8, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. John F. Kerry, chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Thursday that the violent crackdown by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime shouldn’t be tolerated but that the United States and the international community must respond “in a responsible way.”

Mr. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, told the “CBS This Morning” program that there are stark differences between Syria and Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya and that Mr. Assad has stronger air defenses. Asked about U.S. intervention, Mr. Kerry replied, “Is that the right thing to do tomorrow or the next day. I think not.”

Mr. Kerry said Washington “can’t just jump up some morning and say, ‘Let’s go and drop some bombs on Syrian tanks’ “

The senator said he believes that Russia and China gave Mr. Assad “a kind of get-out-of-jail card” when the two countries vetoed a U.N. effort to force him out.