- The Washington Times - Friday, May 16, 2014

“We’re not going to pin ourselves down,” was Secretary of State John Kerry’s response in London on Thursday to a reporter who asked what the U.S. would do if it were confirmed that the Assad regime recently used chlorine-based chemical weapons in Syria.

Mr. Kerry’s rhetoric while at a “Friends of Syria” meeting, a collection of 11 foreign ministers, was in stark contrast to his position in August 2013, when he said “history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency.”

The Weekly Standard noted on Friday that in September 2013, Mr. Kerry said Assad’s use of chemical weapons was the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” which would require a military strike as punishment.

Faced with growing evidence that the Syrian regime is again using chemical weapons, Mr. Kerry told those the reporter in front of the London 11 on Thursday: “We’re not going to pin ourselves down to a precise time, date, manner of action, but there will be consequences if it were to be proven, including, I might say, things that are way beyond our control and have nothing to do with us. But the International Criminal Court and others are free to hold him accountable. […] So one way or the other, there will be accountability.”

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in April that more than 150,000 people have died since Syria’s civil war began over three years ago. That number includes civilians, rebels and members of the Syrian military, The Associated Press reported.

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