On MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry weighed in on a disturbing video published by the New York Times of what appear to be Syrian rebels executing soldiers working for the country’s government.
“No,” Kerry said. “In fact, I believe that those men in those videos are disadvantaged by the American response to the chemical weapons use because it in fact empowers the moderate opposition. We all know there are about 11 really bad opposition groups – so-called opposition. They’re not – they’re fighting Assad; they are not part of the opposition that is being supported by our friends and ourselves. That is a moderate opposition. They condemn what has happened today, and they are – and we are busy separating the support we’re giving from any possibility of that support going to these guys.”
Hayes pressed Kerry on “how confident” he was that U.S. intervention in the country could be “quarantined.”
Well, it is being, because there’s a very careful vetting process that’s taking place where people have to come out of Syria and they spend a period of time. They are trained appropriately after being vetted, and then they go back in. And the Turks, the Jordanians, the Qataris, the Saudis, the Emiratis, a lot of people are involved in that process. But there are jihadists who have been attracted to the chaos of Syria.
Now, most importantly, Chris, we’re not remotely talking about getting America involved directly in between any of those forces. The President is not talking about assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war. What the President is trying to do – and what we believe is important to America’s national security interests, and to humanitarian interests, and to the interests of Israel and Jordan and Lebanon and all of our friends in the region – is that you hold Bashar al-Assad responsible for use of chemical weapons, and that you degrade his ability to use them again and deter him from using them again. That’s what’s really important here, and that’s all that we’re talking about in this.