President Barack Obama continued Friday to deliberate what action to take following a U.S. confirmed report of chemical weapon use by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that left 1,429 Syrians dead.
Obama made brief remarks to pool reporters after a meeting with Baltic presidents, following a public briefing earlier Friday by Secretary of State John Kerry.
"We're not considering any open-ended commitment, we're not considering any boots on the ground approach," Obama said, according to the White House pool report. "A lot of people think something should be done but nobody wants to do it."
Kerry used descriptive language in describing the attacks U.S. intelligence says Assad's regime made August 21 and praised Obama for briefing Congress and the American public on the march up to military action.
"It's important to ask the tough questions and get the tough answers before taking action, not just afterwards," Kerry said. "And I believe as President Obama does, that it is also important to discuss this directly with the American people. That is our responsibility."
Obama acknowledged public sentiment that opposes military intervention, calling the country "war weary" after the prolonged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"It's important for us to recognize that when over a thousand people are killed, including hundreds of innocent children, through the use of a weapon that 98 or 99 percent of humanity says should not be used even in war,"and there is no action, then we're sending a signal; that is a danger to our national security," he said.
House Speaker John Boehner responded to Kerry's remarks asking for continued congressional briefings on the matter but stopped short of explicitly calling on Obama to ask for congressional approval.
"As we have said, if the president believes this information makes a military response imperative, it is his responsibility to explain to Congress and the American people the objectives, strategy and legal basis for any potential action," said Brendan Buck, a Boehner spokesman in a release. "We – and the American people – look forward to more answers from the White House."