US: Must be Accountability for Syria Chemical Weapons Attack
August 26, 2013
STATE DEPARTMENT — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Syria's government is trying to destroy evidence of what he says is its use of chemical weapons against civilian targets near the capital last week. Kerry says there "must be accountability" for those responsible for the deaths of more than 300 people.
Kerry says what has happened in Syria "should shock the conscience of the world."
"The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity," he said. "By any standard it is inexcusable. And despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable."
Syria's government denies any involvement in last Wednesday's apparent chemical weapons attack. Russia's foreign ministry says the attack could have been carried out by opponents of embattled President Bashar al-Assad so as to provoke international action against him.
Kerry dismissed that, saying Syria's government maintains custody of the country's chemical weapons, has the capacity to deliver them with rockets, and is determined to clear its opponents from areas attacked. He told reporters at the State Department that the Obama administration's understanding of what has happened "is grounded in facts, informed by conscience, and guided by common sense."
"Anyone who could claim that an attack of this staggering scale could be contrived or fabricated needs to check their conscience and their own moral compass," he said. "What is before us today is real. And it is compelling."
Earlier Monday, U.N. inspectors visited the site of the attack in a Damascus suburb, meeting with victims as well as doctors at a makeshift hospital. They also took samples from the area and said they would return Tuesday. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the inspectors' mission could deter future use of chemical weapons in Syria.
"The whole world should be concerned about any threat or use of chemical weapons, and that is why the world is watching Syria," he said.
Kerry says Syria's decision to allow those inspections is "too late to be credible," accusing Syria of trying to destroy evidence by bombing the area since Wednesday's attack.
Kerry says President Obama is in close touch with allies, discussions that raise the prospect of military action. He says Obama "will be making an informed decision about how to respond to this indiscriminate use of chemical weapons." The United States has not ruled out any military options except for U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.
"Make no mistake. President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people," he said. "Nothing today is more serious and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny."
Secretary Kerry continues telephone diplomacy with allies in Britain, France and Canada, as well as discussions with Russia and several of Syria's neighbors in the Middle East.
accountability (n) 責任
indiscriminate (a) 無差別的
obscenity (n) 可憎的事，令人深惡痛絕的事
inexcusable (a) 不可寬恕的，難以原諒的
equivocation (n) 含糊其辭，推諉的話語
manufacture (v) 捏造，編造
美國國務卿克理(John Kerry)指出，敘利亞政府正試圖毀滅證據 (destroy evidence of . . .)，除去以平民為攻擊目標，使用化學武器 (chemical weapons) 的證據。他認為這殺害超過三百人的責任 (accountability)一定要追究：「對平民百姓無差別的屠殺、濫殺 (indiscriminate slaughter)，戕害婦女、小孩和無辜的第三者 (bystanders；編按：本字通譯為「旁觀者」，但此新聞脈絡中指沒有維護特定政治力量而受到波及的無辜平民百姓)，這在道德上是令人髮指、深惡痛絕的事 (obscenity)，以任何標準來看 (by any standard) 都無法開脫其罪 (inexcusable)。有心人編撰 (manufacture) 了再多的藉口和推諉之詞 (equivocations) 都無法否認。」
embattled (v) 受困的、受挫的
dismiss (v) 駁回、不接受 (說法、想法)
custody (n) 保管
ground (v) 把 . . . 建立在穩固的基礎上
inform (v) 做為 . . . 基礎、特質XXXXX*本字常見的語意是「告知、通知」，結構是 inform someone of something ，類似用法可見第233期Language Tips的討論
敘利亞政府否認與周三的化武攻擊有任何關聯 (involvement in . . .)。俄羅斯外交部則表示，這起攻擊事件可能是由處境困難的 (embattled) 敘國總統阿薩德的反對者 (opponent) 所為，目地是要激起國際社會反阿薩德行動。美國務卿不接受 (dismiss) 這樣的說法：「敘利亞政府手中仍掌握有國內的化學武器 (maintain custody of . . . )，也有裝載火箭炮 (rockets) 施放化武的能力」，歐巴馬執政當局對此事件的認知是「建立在事實的基礎上 (grounded in . . .) ，以良知為基準 (informed by . . .) ，常識為指引。」
staggering (a) 驚人的，難以置信的
contrive (v) 以計謀達成；圖謀
compass (n) 羅盤；指南針
compelling (a) 不得不信的
美國務卿說，「宣稱這樣令人吃驚的 (staggering) 大規模攻擊是陰謀策畫 (contrive) 或是造假的人必須捫心自問，檢視自己的良知 (check their conscience) 和道德羅盤 (moral compass；編按："moral compass"是英文常見詞條，意思是「道德感、道德標準」；其中「指南針、羅盤 (compass)」的概念類似於中文中的「圭臬」，用來比喻作道德判斷的準則和依歸)。
makeshift (a) 臨時代用的
prospect (n) 可能性；前景
Make no mistake. 別誤會了，別會錯意了！XXXXX*因眼前所見可能產生的誤會，用此短語提醒對方不要會錯意，例："Make no mistake. She's my sister, not my girlfriend.""新聞中，克理用這個說法是要強調歐巴馬的立場堅定，外界不要因為美國還沒有採取更積極的行動作為而誤判情勢
heinous (a) 可憎的；極邪惡的XXXXX*注意本字中 "ei" 的發音：
vulnerable (a) 易受傷害的；脆弱的
scrutiny (n) 詳細的檢查，仔細的觀察
美國務卿：「歐巴馬總統的立場是不容懷疑的 (Make no mistake)。對手無寸鐵、脆弱的 (vulnerable) 人民使用這世界上最可憎的 (heinous) 武器是絕對要被究負的。此事件在此時最重要，最需要有更仔細、更嚴格的檢驗 (scrutiny)。」
英文中的情態助動詞，除了表示能力、責任與義務外，也常用來表達對於事件的猜測。新聞中提到俄國外交部對於這化武攻擊的態度時，便是採用了情態助動詞來表示對過去事件的猜測，結構是 could have p.p.
新聞原句是 " Russia's foreign ministry says the attack could have been carried out by opponents of embattled President Bashar al-Assad so as to provoke international action against him.” 「俄羅斯外交部表示，化武攻擊很有可能是阿薩德的反對者所策動的。」句中的動詞部份結合了被動語態 "be carried out" ，所以套用 could have p.p. 的結構後，成了 "could have been carried out"。
留下主要部份並改成主動語態，更清楚看出 could have p.p. 的用法：Opponents of embattled President Bashar al-Assad could have carried out the attack.
針對過去的事件不是很確定的時候，除了用 could have p.p.表示，也可以用 may / might have p.p. 表示。一般而言，may的肯定程度又高於might 和 could。"Did you see her smile? She may have known the truth." 「看到她臉上的微笑沒？她很可能知道了真相。」 弱化一點確定性的話，改寫成 “She might / could have known the truth.” 「她或許知道了真相。」
對過去事情高度確定的、可能性很高的推測，則用 must have p.p. 表示，如 “She must have known the truth.” 「她一定知道了真相。」90年代有一首瑞典樂團Roxette紅遍大街小巷的歌曲，曲名是 "It must have been love." 歌曲主要表達的是過去已經逝去的一段感情，其中兩句歌詞是這樣的："It must have been love, but it's over now." 「當時那一定是愛，但現在已經結束了。」從歌詞中可以看出來，對於過去的推測和現在確定事實之間的差別。愛情在過去不知不覺的時後確實發生過，但現在確實知道時，愛已然結束的無奈。
must / may / might / could have p.p. 都是對過去事件的推測。雖然 must have p.p.的肯定性和可能性很高，但如果是明確的事實陳述，就不需要用情態助動詞了：“She knew the truth.” 「她知道事實了。」
Check your vocabulary!
Fill in the blanks with a word or phrase from the list above. Make necessary changes. After you finish, select the text below to reveal the hidden answers.
1. He answered openly and honestly without hesitation or equivocation.
2. Tourists are more vulnerable to attack, because they do not know which areas of the city to avoid.
3. Troops were accused of indiscriminate killings of civilians.
4. Anyone can make a mistake, but to ignore basic safety regulations is quite inexcusable.
5. They made a makeshift table from boxes.
6. Nobody can imagine what staggering pain she suffered in those years.
7. The judge dismissed most of the police evidence, saying it was clearly fabricated.