White House: ‘Common-sense test’ holds Assad responsible

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says a “common-sense test” shows that the Syrian government is responsible for a chemical weapons attack last month, and it demands a U.S. military response.

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough (mihk-DUHN’-uh) says the administration lacks the “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” that skeptical Americans are seeking, but that “this is not a court of law.” He says “intelligence does not work that way.”

The U.S., citing intelligence reports, says the nerve agent sarin was used in an Aug. 21 attack outside Damascus, and that 1,429 people died, including 426 children.

McDonough appeared on five TV news shows today as the White House continues its campaign to convince Americans of the need for a military response.

President Barack Obama has scheduled six network interviews tomorrow and a speech to the nation on Tuesday.

Obama faces a tough audience on Capitol Hill. A survey by The Associated Press finds that House members who have staked out positions are either opposed to or leaning against Obama’s plan for a military strike by more than a 6-1 margin.

The survey found nearly half of the 433-member House and a third of the 100-member Senate remain undecided.

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