Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican candidate for president, blasted President Barack Obama for not acting against claims that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is attacking his own people with chlorine gas.
"President Obama said Assad must go, but did nothing to make it happen. He said use of chemical weapons is a line Assad must not cross. Assad did, with no consequence," Perry said in an email statement to the media. "Now President Obama is left to argue chlorine gas attacks on the Syrian people are not chemical warfare.
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"There is a great price to be paid when America does not lead, and innocent Syrian civilians are paying that price today."
Perry's comments were in response to Secretary of State John Kerry's claim that he is "absolutely certain" Assad is using chlorine gas on the Syrian people.
"I am absolutely certain, we are certain that the preponderance of those attacks have been carried out by the regime," Kerry said Tuesday, reports The Hill
"It has been significantly documented; it's dropped from airplanes. The opposition isn't flying airplanes or helicopters."
Last month, Obama said during a news conference at Camp David that chlorine gas has not been considered a chemical weapon in the past.
"My commitment was to make sure that Syria was not using chemical weapons and mobilizing the international community to assure that would not happen," Obama said last month. "And in fact, we positioned ourselves to be willing to take military action. The reason we did not was because Assad gave up his chemical weapons. That's not speculation on our part, that in fact has been confirmed by the organization internationally that is charged with eliminating chemical weapons.
"It is true that we've seen reports about the use of chlorine in bombs that had the effect of chemical weapons. Chlorine itself historically has not been listed as a chemical weapon, but when it is used in this fashion can be considered a prohibited use of that particular chemical. And so we're working with the international community to investigate that."
Perry joined the race for president
on June 4 and is now one of a dozen candidates contending for the GOP nomination.
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