As Secretary of State John Kerry testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, he vowed that authorizing limited strikes because of alleged chemical warfare attacks on children in Syria would not ultimately lead to American “boots on the ground.” Momentum is building and influential Republicans and Democrats are now on board including Sen. John McCain, GOP House Speaker John Boehner and the Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. While Sen. Richard Lugar is admonishing the growing voice of the isolationists within the Republican Party, particularly Rand Paul.

According to a new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News, 66% of Americans do not support intervention, twice as many as were earlier opposed.

For her part, Pelosi is saying that Americans should have access to some of the classified information that is compelling members of both parties to do something. The evidence they are seeing, she says, leaves no doubt that chemical weapons were used to slaughter children. This is a fascinating juncture for a country whose financial problems are forcing across the board cuts, including to the military.

Most Americans don’t follow foreign affairs until they reach the crisis stage. The argument will be made that the U.S. is considering action because of her relationship with Israel. But the Secretary of State said today, he had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has indicated, in the event that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad makes a “miscalculation” involving Israel, Israel is prepared.  Americans need to remember Israel has been wary of this unstable and dangerous neighbor, Bashar al-Assad, for years.  

The question is can the U.S. ignore a moral imperative?