Houston, Texas- 27 August 2013
American Legion handout- Mandatory courtesy
1. SOUNDBITE (English) Joe Biden, US Vice President:
SOT Biden: "There is no doubt that an essential, international norm has been violated. Violated. Chemical weapons have been used. Everyone acknowledges their use. No one doubts that innocent men, women, and children have been the victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria. And there's no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: the Syrian regime. For we know that the Syrian regime are the only ones who have the weapons, have used chemical weapons multiple times in the past, have the means of delivering those weapons, have been determined to wipe out exactly the places that were attacked by chemical weapons. And instead of allowing U. N. inspectors immediate access, the government has repeatedly shelled the sites of the attack and blocked the investigation for five days. President Obama's direction, all of us and his National Security team have been in close touch with our foreign counterparts. The president believes and I believe that those who use chemical weapons against defenseless men, women, and children should and must be held accountable."
US Vice President Joe Biden says there is no doubt that Syrian President Bashar Assad's government is responsible for the heinous use of chemical weapons.
Biden's comments Tuesday make him the highest-ranking U. S. official to say the Syrian regime is the culprit in a large-scale chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21.
"There is no doubt that an essential, international norm has been violated," Biden said in a speech to the American Legion, the nation's largest veterans organization, "No one doubts that innocent men, women, and children have been the victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria. And there's no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: the Syrian regime."
President Barack Obama has said the use of chemical weapons would cross a "red line," suggesting it would trigger U. S. intervention in the bloody, two-year civil war.
And over the past several days, top administration officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Biden, have made it clear that there is now little doubt that the regime used chemical weapons in an attack outside Damascus last week.
U. S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said U. S. military forces stand ready to strike Syria at once if President Barack Obama gives the order, and French President Francois Hollande said France was "ready to punish those who took the heinous decision to gas innocents."