WASHINGTON -- Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Friday pressed Congress to back a resolution authorizing military action in Syria and called on world leaders to show some "courage" on the matter.
"I urge Congress to vote 'yes' on the resolution authorizing a military response to Bashar Assad’s illegal and immoral use of chemical weapons to murder more than one thousand innocent people," Albright said in a statement. "The United States and the world community either have the courage to establish and enforce standards of civilized conduct or they do not."
Albright, who first served as U.N. Ambassador and then Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton, said a limited military strike in Syria has its risks, but the risks of "complacency and inaction" are greater. She warned that the "dangers of this world will only deepen" if those carrying out gross violations are immune from consequences.
"The belief that the United States can insulate itself from peril by standing aside or by waiting for others to act is an illusion mocked by the lessons of history," she said. "Assad has gambled that he can get away with slaughtering his own people by barbaric means; that is a gamble he cannot be allowed to win."
Albright added that while there are "many complex issues" associated with the Syrian civil war, the vote on the resolution pending before Congress "is not one of them."
The Senate is expected to begin debate next week on a resolution in support of President Barack Obama carrying out limited strikes against the Assad regime. The administration insists it has evidence that Assad has killed more than 1,400 citizens with chemical weapons and top officials have spent the week briefing members of Congress on the details, but many lawmakers are still undecided on whether to support military action. Obama is also struggling to win over the international community.