Biden: Chemical weapon use violates 'essential international norm'
August 27th, 2013
04:11 PM ET
1 year ago

Biden: Chemical weapon use violates 'essential international norm'

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden declared Tuesday "there is no doubt" that the Syrian government is responsible for alleged chemical weapons use and that he has been in touch with foreign leaders as the U.S. contemplates a military response.

"There is no doubt that an essential international norm has been violated," he said in Houston at the American Legion National Convention. "No one doubts that innocent men women and children have been the victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria and there is no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: the Syrian regime."

His comments come as U.S. officials are preparing for a potential military strike against Syria following the suspected August 21 chemical weapons attack that killed some 1,300 people near Damascus.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday there was "little doubt" that al-Assad's government was responsible for the chemical weapons use.

"What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defy it defies any code of morality," Kerry said.

United Nations investigators visited that site Monday, but are not tasked with determining who used chemical weapons, only whether or not they were used.

The Russian government has cautioned the U.S. against jumping to conclusions, and Syria's information minister told CNN on Tuesday the U.S. should put their cards on the table.

"If the United States Administrations has proof that we used chemical weapons, than they should present this proof to the rest of the world," Omran al-Zoubi said in an interview with CNN's Frederik Pleitgen. "If they don't have this proof or evidence, then how are they going to stand up to American public opinion and world public opinion and explain why they are attacking Syria."

Biden said Tuesday that he and Obama "believe that those who use chemical weapons against defenseless men women and children should and must be held accountable.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that the Obama administration is not considering whether weapons were used or by whom, but deciding "the question of what's the appropriate response to this clear violation of international norms."


Filed under: Joe Biden • Syria
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. O'drama ya Mama

    Well Russia's concerns are legitimate considering what Bush/Cheney did to mislead the world.

    August 27, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Data Driven

    Dare I say that I agree with Syria's "information minister"? We SHOULD prove it to the world that Syria gassed these people. Last time we took our government's word for it? Iraq.

    Next step? United Nations-led, NOT American-led, coalition of troops to throw Assad into custody at the Hague to try him for war crimes. No more "coalitions of the willing", no more cowboy derring-do.

    August 27, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Assad

    So what you gonna do about it Crazy Joe?!! Flap your lips like Obama has done for two years?!! You don't scare me little man. If you attack me just wait and see what I do with my chemical weapons. I am not your door mat.

    August 27, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    Why we can not involve China and Saudi Arabia? Let them deal with it. First USA poor., on one occasion GOP thugs want to defund Health care–now you want this??? Idddiots.

    August 27, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    If something must be done, then so be it. However, if the US is going to be the "police", i would atleast wait until the UN makes that call, and find someone else to flip the bill. Doubtful that the UN would pay for it, but I believe that would be the smartest approach from my PoV (financially and in world opinion). We still havent paid off OEF/OIF, and dont need more bills.

    August 27, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    PLEASE don't rush into anything simply because the war hawks (McCain) and the chicken hawks (Cheney) are banging the war drum. Unlike the Bush/Cheney lie fiasco, we need to approach this with due diligence and a rational mindset.

    August 27, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. suzisaul

    Just something for you to think about....Biden says there is no doubt. Is there proof? NO!

    Republicans say there is no doubt there is voter fraud....dems are screaming because there is no proof.

    What's the difference? Well, for one, bombing another country could put us at war with Syria, Russia, China, and Iran. No thank you!

    August 27, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Hebrew Scott

    I believe that the UN should make that call. If they want the US to "police" the situation since we are already in the area, so be it, but the UN should fund this effort. From what I can tell, it would make an "exit strategy" much clearer and not in the US's hands to stay, and would be more convienent financially from the other nations to defer the costs.

    August 27, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Heck If it were not for Republcians the Civil RIghts Act would never have passed."

    I'm 100% ecstatic that contemporary Republicans don't have the slightest inkling of just how insulting to minorities that ridiculous historical claptrap is. Please proceed. Why don't you next tell them all about how they're ingrates for not loving Republicans because Lincoln was a Republican? No no...don't pay any attention to the intervening 6 or so decades since the Civil Rights Act and the changes in party affiliation with respect to who supports bigoted, racist "southern strategy" policies and has been running about the country selling BS about "Cadillac driving welfare queens" or ginning up white race resentment over immigration reforms, the "browning" of America, race wars and pseud-militias, the myth of voter fraud being used to enact all sorts of electoral process changes and restrictions on registration and exercising the right to vote all aimed at reducing and deterring minority turnout...no no...pretend none of that happened, because surely none of the minority community in America noticed it.

    August 27, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. Name Uche Agonsi

    If International law is broken what is the international penalty for it. Who nominated Obama the judge & policeman in charge, even before UN confirmation. How many countries have really not violated some international laws. What will Obama response achieve. International law also forbids any country from meddling in the internal problems of another country. Is Obama muscle-flexing not violating International law. The American people dont like this rewardless venture. Mr. President should stay out.

    August 27, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. O'drama ya Mama

    Assad

    So what you gonna do about it Crazy Joe?!! Flap your lips like Obama has done for two years?!! You don't scare me little man. If you attack me just wait and see what I do with my chemical weapons. I am not your door mat.
    August 27, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    ^^^ The NSA just locked on to this guy ova here

    August 27, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    "Fair claims to be a woman, not a man. Fair and I agree on things every once in a while. Fair is constantly looking to "one up" me, but has yet to find the true path, which is to the left."

    Fair is nothing more than a right wing shrill working within the Health insurance industry. Of all the claims Fair makes, being a woman is the least believable.

    August 27, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    NWO at work here!

    August 27, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. James

    So we are going to be drug into another endless senseless war that belongs to someone else.–

    August 27, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |