Conflict & Tragedy
Obama asks Congress to approve military action against Syria
President Barack Obama has decided the "US should take military action" against Syria but "will seek authorization...in Congress" first.
The president made the remarks in an address from the White House Rose Garden about 2 p.m. Saturday.
"The world watched in horror" as more than 1,000 people were "murdered" by a chemical weapons attack by the Bashar al-Assad regime, the president said. "The menace must be confronted. This attack is an assault on human dignity.
"We are prepared to strike whenever we choose," the president continued. "I'm prepared to give that order."
However, Obama said there will be no boots on the ground invasion and the military strikes will be "limited in scope."
Congress is not scheduled to meet until Sept. 9.
On Friday, Obama, in his own words, said the nation is “war-weary."
Prior to his address Saturday, the president said he is convinced the Syrian government led by President Bashar Assad is responsible for the recent chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 people and that the act must be punished.
“It is not in the national security interests of the United States to ignore clear violations (of) international norm,” Obama said.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the US not to rush into any action.
In his first public comment Saturday on the Syrian situation since a chemical weapons attack Aug. 21, Putin said Obama should assess if an attack would prevent more violence and to consider the civilian death toll, AP said in a story carried by ABC News.
“We have to remember what has happened in the last decades, how many times the United States has been the initiator of armed conflict in different regions of the world,” Putin said. “Did this resolve even one problem?”
Putin also questioned whether it was the Assad government forces that carried out the attack that killed 1,429, including at least 400 children, hinting that rebels may have done it in a bid to spur American involvement.
“While the Syrian army is on the offensive, saying that it is the Syrian government that used chemical weapons is utter nonsense,” Putin said, speaking to reporters in Vladivostok. The event was covered by Interfax, a Russian news agency.
He said he was appealing to the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize, not the man who is president of the United States.
“I would like to address Obama as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate: Before using force in Syria, it would be good to think about future casualties,” Putin said.
Also Saturday, the US ambassador in Moscow delivered the evidence of chemical weapons use to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov.
But Ambassador Michael McFaul’s presentation did not sway the Russian.
He said Russia would look upon US involvement in Syria as “a flagrant violation of international law.”
Putin noted the G-20 Summit to be held next week in St. Petersburg, Russia, would be an excellent opportunity for leaders to discuss the Syrian situation.
“…Why not take advantage of this?” he said.
Meanwhile, BBC News reported Saturday that UN weapons inspectors have left Syria after four days of investigation. They will report their findings to the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons in the Netherlands, the BBC said.
Hear the complete remarks from President Obama on the accompanying video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Opm34xlc_zI Sources: