Five days after an attack that claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians in a Damascus suburb, the United States is declaring that the Assad regime did indeed use chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.
Though United Nations inspectors have not been able to investigate the attack in full, U.S. officials seem to have enough information to confirm responsibility and the weapon used in the attack that killed 355 people, according to Doctors Without Borders.
Secretary of State John Kerry was the first administration official to speak openly about the attack since President Obama and his top national security advisers met in an emergency session Saturday. Speaking from the State Department on Monday, Kerry said the Assad regime's suspected chemical-weapons use last week "defies any code of morality."
"The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity," Kerry told reporters. "By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable."
Now, the question shifts from whether the U.S. will use force against the Assad regime to when it will use force. Indeed, the U.S. is in talks with its allies, including France and the U.K., on what sort of force it will use. According to several reports, a cruise-missile launch from the sea is the leading option. Whatever Washington decides, it is clear that the U.S. will act, at least according to Kerry.