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article imageKerry: Time to retire 'slam dunk' from national security lexicon

By Michael Krebs     Sep 1, 2013 in Politics
Speaking on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted the term "slam dunk" be retired from the national security lexicon.
As the Obama administration prepares congress and the American public for the prospect of a military attack on the Syrian government, US Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday to reiterate the White House's case for action against the Assad regime.
President Obama has stressed the need for a military response to the purported use of chemical weapons by the Assad government. On Saturday the White House stated its intention to take its case to congress.
On "Meet The Press," Kerry announced that tissue samples obtained by first responders in Syria revealed that sarin gas had been used against civilian populations. However, it is unclear which side in the bloody Syrian civil war is responsible for releasing the gas.
NBC's David Gregory pressed Kerry on this question.
"This is a sarin gas attack, perpetrated by the Assad regime, this is a slam dunk case that he did it," Gregory asked, according to Politico's recount of the exchange.
"The word 'slam dunk' should be retired from the American national security issues," Kerry said, preferring instead the "high confidence" characterization. "We are saying that the high confidence that the intelligence community has expressed and the case that I laid out the other day is growing stronger by the day. We know where this attack came from. We know exactly where it went. We know what happened exactly afterwards."
The Obama administration will have to make its case to congress; meanwhile, according to a recent NBC News poll, 50 percent of the American people are opposed to military action against Syria.
More about John kerry, Syria, Syrian civil war, Civil War, sarin
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