News / USA

Obama Appeals for Military Strike On Syria

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during his news conference at the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during his news conference at the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6, 2013.
Kent Klein
President Barack Obama has called on the American people to support his proposal to launch military strikes on Syria. The president’s plan faces widespread opposition among lawmakers and the American public.

In his weekly Internet and radio address Saturday, President Obama made the case that Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack on its own citizens last month cannot be ignored.

The president said the United States must act.

“Failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again; that they would fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us, and it would send a horrible signal to other nations that there would be no consequences for their use of these weapons.  All of which would pose a serious threat to our national security,” he said.

Obama faces an uphill battle.  Most recent public opinion polls show that more than half of the American people oppose U.S. military action in Syria.  The president said he understands their concern.

“I know that the American people are weary after a decade of war, even as the war in Iraq has ended, and the war in Afghanistan is winding down.  That is why we are not putting our troops in the middle of somebody else’s war.  But we are the United States of America.  We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we have seen out of Syria,” he said.

Watch President Obama's weekly address:

Obama also sought to calm fears that missile strikes on Syria would lead to a prolonged U.S. military commitment there.

“This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan.  There would be no American boots on the ground.  Any action we take would be limited, both in time and scope - designed to deter the Syrian government from gassing its own people again and degrade its ability to do so,” said the president.

One week ago, the president announced that he would seek congressional authorization for the strikes when lawmakers return to Washington from their summer recess in the coming week.  Support for the president's request appears stronger in the Senate than in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives - where the measure might be defeated. 

Obama will make a rare nationally-televised evening address to the nation on Tuesday, again setting out his goals and reasons for proposed military action.

The president returned late Friday from a trip to Stockholm and the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.  While there, Obama lobbied for support among other world leaders and he made numerous telephone calls to U.S. lawmakers back home.

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Comment Sorting
by: Mark from: California
September 08, 2013 6:04 AM
Obama has a kind heart well intentioned all the time. What he might not comprehend is that dynamics in the middle east are not so simple. There is a very real chance that the gasings might have been perpetrated by rebels, ex military just to elicit a response from Obama and America.

In dire circumstances, this is not beyond the perpetrators, and their circumstances are beyond dire.

Long ago did we intervene in Iraq's chemical attacks upon Iran? No. Should we have then? No. Due to complications far beyond our influence ( obvious ). Same as present where the complicated mess of the Syrian revolution is indeed beyond our ability to influence a good outcome, far beyond.

Were the good intentions of helping the Arab Spring returning good results of any use to America or Egyptians? I have serious doubts, the situation in Egypt is a comparable mess far from democracy, since despite the obvious distaste for the (evil) Muslim Brotherhood, they were duly elected, and there was a coup. And even if the Muslim Brotherhood is rendered illegal in Egypt you can bet there is the foundation for more foment, more instability even if there is another ?free election in Egypt in the near term. As much as I dislike the Muslim Brotherhood ( and I do ) the remain a force to be reckoned with.

Assad is hardly a good guy, but fomenting further instability in Arabia and Syria specifically is not going to have good results. Egypt is a real lesson to learn from, and it remains a mess on precipice of further "revolution" is all one might call it.

Once Assad is deposed ( or if ) we have no clue what comes next. Does Hamas take over Syria? If that were to transpire you might have a hellish situation. Can you prevent a take over of Syria by either Hamas or Al Queda? Fat chance. We'd have little to no control over the outcome, even if we wish we might. And if either came to power in Syria - either Hamas or Al Queda or allies under other names, we'd have caused a terrible mess to grow to incomprehensible magnitude of hellishness.

Those who died in the tragic gasings, suffered a terrible hellish tortured death. If indeed Syrian Rebels perpetrated this, and we make a boo boo, thinking it was Assad, we have no idea what might transpire from our actions, we have no idea as to whether we might elicit a better hope for Syrians and better government by bombing Assad to oblivion.

Personally I think Assad is a thuggish evil despot, but had, till his own version of the Arab Spring occurred, had some modest control over Syrian society. Now should he be deposed, do we have any real idea of what might transpire after Assad? Despite implicit claims to the contrary, despite the DVD of terrible victims, I contend we have no real idea what might happen after Assad. And no justification to foment further froth in this nightmarish mess.

I realize the idealism behind the good intentions here ( truly Obama is a great President ) but the realization of the nightmarish complexity of Arabia should give pause to further ratcheting up the intensity of what one hopes to do good, but really really might end up making a nightmarish mess, into unthinkable contagion, an out of control chaos beyond the unspeakable tragedy we observe presently ( including the 100k Syrians killed in conventional warfare ).

and this AP wire article does summarize some salient points, obvious to anyone who has deeper comprehension of the centuries long strife between Shia and Sunnies which will not be solved by 2 days of sorties, of planes and missiles... ( if it ends at that )

The good heart of Obama, remains of kind intentions. I hope he might realize the incomprehensible nuances here are just that, and intractable to boot.

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