Obama Will Seek Congressional Authorization on Syria

In an announcement from the Rose Garden at the White House, President Obama announced two decisions on Syria. He said in his statement that he has decided the United States should take military action against the regime in Syria for their use of chemical weapons.

After giving a brief outline of the evidence against the Syrian government, President Obama called the attack “an assault on human dignity,” and said it presented a danger to US national security, “It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.”

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He continued that use of chemical weapons must not just be investigated but confronted, “In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted.”

President Obama stated this would not be an open-ended intervention in the conflict in Syria, nor would he include US troops on the ground there. The US operation would be limited in scope and duration. He believes that with limited attacks on regime targets the US could hold them accountable, deter their further use of chemical weapons, and degrade their capacity to carry out their use.

US military assets are already positioned in the region, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs informed the president that the US is ready to strike” whenever we choose.” The chairman also informed the president that the capacity to execute this mission is not time sensitive. It would be effective “tomorrow, next week, or one month from now.” The president is prepared to give that order, but as his press conference continued he announced a second decision.

President Obama said, “Having made my decision as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I’m also mindful that I’m the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that’s why I’ve made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress.”

The president’s full comments are available below.