Washington, Aug 27: As Obama administration officials reacted angrily to reports of a major chemical attack in Syria last week that reportedly killed and wounded more than 3,000 people, US mainstream media cautioned against any precipitate action.
President Barack Obama "will be making an informed decision about how to respond to this indiscriminate use" of chemical weapons, said US Secretary of State John Kerry Monday calling the attack "inexcusable" and "undeniable."
"We know the Syrian regime maintains custody" of such weapons and has the rockets to use them," Kerry said amid speculation about the Obama administration's response.
At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday that Obama was evaluating "a response to the clear use on a mass scale with repugnant results of chemical weapons," adding that "there is very little doubt that the Syrian regime ... used those weapons."
For almost two years, Obama has avoided direct military involvement in Syria's civil war, only escalating aid to rebel fighters in June after suspected smaller-scale chemical weapons attacks by Syrian government forces, CNN noted.
However, last week's attack on a Damascus suburb had obliterated the "red line" Obama set just over a year ago against the use of Syria's chemical weapons stocks, it said.
But cautioning against a hasty response, influential New York Times said "A political agreement is still the best solution to this deadly conflict, and every effort must be made to find one.
"President Obama has resisted demands that he intervene militarily and in force. Though Mr. Assad's use of chemical weapons surely requires a response of some kind, the arguments against deep American involvement remain as compelling as ever," it said.
"The United States can't dictate the outcome in Syria, and it would be foolish to send ground troops in an effort to do so," said the Washington Post. "But by combining military measures with training, weapons supplies and diplomacy, it could exercise considerable influence," it said.Influential political news site Politico also noted that despite mounting evidence that the Assad regime used chemical weapons on his people, many members of Congress still don't see a role for the United States military in Syria.
"A raft of Republican and Democratic lawmakers - including those directly involved in intelligence oversight - think the US would be wise to take a pass on military intervention in the war-torn country," it said.
The administration's options range widely - from sending in ground troops to deploying an air campaign to cripple Assad's resources to humanitarian aid, Politico said. "But at this point, members of Congress seem unconvinced."