Kerry: If Assad Gets Away With Chemical Weapons Use, 'Shame on Us'

Secretary of State says real issue is whether Congress will "stand up for international norms."
6:34 | 09/04/13

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Transcript for Kerry: If Assad Gets Away With Chemical Weapons Use, 'Shame on Us'
Some -- we should go to the confirmed in the south Carolina at this time thank you mr. sector. Well thank goodness chairman and you know I can't discuss the possibility US involvement -- civil war without also talking about and -- The administration has a serious credibility issue with American people he -- I answered questions surrounding the terrorist attack and been -- almost a year ago. When you factor in the IRS targeting a conservative groups that -- -- and James Rosen issues fast and furious. And NSA spying programs bottom line is that there's a need for accountability and trust building from the administration. To paraphrase Frederick -- he said I'm not upset over you're not telling me the truth I'm upset because from now on I can't bully. The administration has a credibility issue. In my opinion sectors Kerry and hagel been godsey is germane to the discussions in Syria because. As you stated mr. secretary the road was and is watching -- spots but. After almost a year of not bringing -- wanted justice and in -- they are watch and our response. -- carrier predecessor asked what difference does it make now well this is the difference mr. secretary these issues call into question the accountability of this administration. Its commitment to the personnel on the ground and the judgment that it uses when making these determinations. The American people deserve answers before we move forward talking about military involvement in Syria. Section for your testimony today said this is about accountability -- -- -- The American people deserve answers about -- -- before it for a military involvement is Syria's civil war. This of the picture. You're not -- of sip from Larry might be able to see -- on the screen that there's the picture of Tyrone woods given to me by his father Charles woods and eighty sale. The woods family deserve answers he was killed end Ben Ghazi. America deserves answers before we send another man or woman the caliber of -- woods and -- harm's way especially in another country civil war. Especially when there's no clear indication. That there is an imminent. Threat to the United States. I don't question that chemical weapons were used in Syria -- that a classified briefings. I -- -- that if so where the other signatory countries of the chemical weapons convention -- US beats the drums of war against this regime in Syria. I have spoken to hundreds -- constituents this represents about 300 emails that my office has gotten and not -- Not -- one member in my district in South Carolina are the emails of people that have contact my office say -- this area and -- this regime. To a letter they say. They're not going to Syria don't get involved in their civil war. I spoke to eighth graders about a 158 -- yesterday it. They can't that we should be -- into someone else's civil war where there are no good guys. There are no good guys to get behind here and I can only envision an escalation of this current conflict. The same administration that was finally so quick and -- US and Syria now was reluctant to use the same resources -- its disposal to attempt to rescue. Before brave Americans that profit airline hasn't been -- Mr. Kerry. -- never been one has advocated for anything other than caution when involving US forces in past conflicts the same is true for the president and the vice president. Is the power of the executive branch so intoxicating. That you -- abandoned -- caution and -- for pulling the trigger on a military response so quickly. The reason -- fascinating Ghazi is germane to our discussions on Syria's this. Sector carry. There had been have there been any efforts on the part of the United States directly or indirectly. To provide weapons to the Syrian rebels and that would also include facilitating the transfer of weapons from Libyan rebels to the Syrian rebels. Have there been efforts to. To put weapons in the hands of Syrian -- and rebels and also transfer weapons from Libya to Syria. Have -- been efforts to. To put weapons in the hands of Syrian -- and rebels and also transfer weapons from Libya to Syria. Well let me begin -- says. -- Challenging year proposition. That I've never done a thing except advocated caution. Because I volunteered to fight for my country. And that wasn't. A cautious thing to do when -- did it and mr. -- a second here and I was. In the senate -- I'm gonna finish congressman I am going to finish when I was in the United States senate I supported military action in any number of occasions. Including. Grenada Panama can run -- list of them. And I am not gonna sit here and be told by -- I don't have a sense of what the judgment is with respect to this. We're talking about people being killed. By gas -- you wanna -- talk about -- Ghazi and fast and furious. Adds a little I talk about god Peabody -- Americans lost their lives I have sympathy for the people in Syria. And I don't think there should be a -- -- response but we should act cautiously California act and we are acting cautiously. We are acting so cautiously that the present -- United States. Was accused of not acting because he wanted to have sufficient evidence and he wanted to build the case properly it's been -- opening days. And a congressman ego and environment not Julio back his German point of privilege here this important. I think this is important. I think it is -- In a way that the congressman describes which I think most people in America don't want us to do we don't want to do that that's why the president has said no boots on the ground. This is not about. Getting into Syria's civil war this is about enforcing the principle that people shouldn't be allowed to cast their citizens -- impunity. And if we don't vote to do this Assad will interpret from you that he's free to go and do this any day he wants to. That's what this is about not getting involved in Syria's. Civil war. So let's draw the proper distinction here congressman. We don't deserve to drag this into yet another -- Ghazi discussion when the real issue here is whether or not the congress is gonna stand up for. International norms with respect to dictators. That have only been broken twice. Until -- Hitler. And Sodom Hussein and if we give license to somebody to continue that shame on us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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