Carney: U.S. trying to meet moral obligation in Syria

While the U.S. has a moral obligation to do something in Syria, all actions must be in the best interest in the American people, the White House said on Wednesday.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to questions during his press briefing on Wednesday about President Barack Obama's Tuesday statement that the U.S. has a moral obligation to take action in Syria. One reporter asked if providing humanitarian aid and engaging in diplomatic relations in Syria met that moral obligation.

"I think that providing humanitarian aid, as we do as the largest provider of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, represents our belief that we here in the United States and other nations around the world have a moral obligation to assist the Syrian people in this terrible time," Carney said. "But I think that, as the President made clear yesterday and has made clear repeatedly over the last several days, we are constantly assessing what other steps we can take or might take, and that has included both stepping up our humanitarian aid and stepping up our assistance to the opposition."

Carney said assessing the situation includes considering military options like the provision of lethal aid. He also said that all decisions must be made in the best interest of the American people and U.S. national security.

"The fact of the matter is in Syria that it is, the President believes, an obligation of ours to act, and that's why we have acted," Carney said. "That's why we have provided more humanitarian aid than any other country. That's why we have led the effort to help stand up the opposition and help the opposition organize itself. It's why we've recognized the Syrian Opposition Coalition, and why we've provided direct assistance to the Supreme Military Council, I believe it's called, of the opposition. And it's why we're assessing other options all the time."

Carney said the administration is deliberating over making the appropriate actions that will ease Syria to a post-Assad future, as opposed to something that might accidentally have the opposite effect.