Edging toward a punitive strike against Syria, President Barack Obama said Friday he is weighing "limited and narrow" action as the administration bluntly accused Bashar Assad's government of launching a chemical weapons attack that killed at least 1,429 people, far more than previous estimates, including more than 400 children.
No "boots on the ground," Obama said, seeking to reassure Americans weary after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With France as his only major public ally, Obama told reporters he has a strong preference for multilateral action. He added, "Frankly, part of the challenge we end up with here is a lot of people think something should be done but nobody wants to do it."
Jaber Alanzi, of Wynnewood, Pa., says two of his friends were tortured to death under the Assad regime. "It's a heartbreaking situation, what's going on in Syria."
Alanzi also has family living near the chemical weapons attack site outside of Damascus.
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"I have a newborn who is two months old. Every time I picture him when I see these pictures. I think it’s time to do something," said Alanzi.
But not all Syrian-Americans want to see the U.S. military intervene.
"I wish I knew the answer, but the answer is not to strike Syria. That’s just going to cause more trouble in Syria," said Gabi Richan, of Northern Liberties.
Mindful of public opinion, Kerry urged Americans to read the four-page assessment for themselves. He referred to Iraq, when Bush administration assurances that weapons of mass destruction were present proved false, and a U.S. invasion led to a long, deadly war. Kerry said this time it will be different.
"We will not repeat that moment," he said.
Citing an imperative to act, the nation's top diplomat said "it is directly related to our credibility and whether countries still believe the United States when it says something. They are watching to see if Syria can get away with it because then maybe they, too, can put the world at greater risk."