UNF professor discusses U.S. action in Syria

President: U.S. military should take action in Syria


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – President Barack Obama says the United States should take military action in Syria, but wants approval from Congress first.

Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry followed the president's call for action with evidence.

In an afternoon speech, Kerry detailed what U.S. officials have learned about samples collected by U.N. inspectors after the chemical weapons attack.

"I can share with you today that blood and hair samples that have come to us through an appropriate chain of custody from east Damascus, from first responders, has tested positive for signatures of sarin, "Kerry said.

Channel 4 spoke with a local political science professor earlier today about the dangers of these chemical weapons.

"One of the questions that has to be asked is whether or not military action could destroy those stock piles which are probably deeply down under in the ground and dispersed throughout the country," said Professor David Schwam-Baird.

The UNF political science professor said it's important to know that these weapons are hardly ever used and that there's an interest in the international community to make sure they're not used.

Schwam-Baird said this is just one of the factors that led the president to announce his desire to take military action in Syria.

Kerry backed that desire, adding that the U.S. has evidence of sarin gas being used. He said that Assad using these weapons against his own people is one of the factors that led President Obama to announce Saturday his desire to take military action in Syria.

"We know that the regime ordered this attack, we know they prepared for it," said Kerry. "We know where the rockets came from, we know where they landed. We know the damage that was done afterwards. We've seen the horrific scenes all over the social media, we have evidence of it in other ways, and we know that the regime tried to cover up afterwards, so the case is really an overwhelming case."

Schwam-Baird said unfortunately the U.S. doesn't have many viable options on how to tackle this international issue. He added that there aren't a lot of good possibilities on how the U.S. can handle the situation in Syria right now, but said the U.S. and it's allies will definitely want to avoid a government collapse.

"Agree to have Assad go into exile, not have the regime fall, but have the regime become more inclusive without Assad at the top so there's no total collapse of government," said Schwam-Baird. "If there's a total collapse then you have total chaos, and no way of knowing who's going to end up on top."

Schwam-Baird  said not only are there consequences with taking action in Syria, but not taking action could also bring even bigger consequences, like sending Assad the wrong message.