Obama Repackages His Message on Syria by speaking live from the White House on the eve of the 12th anniversary of 9/11, President Barack Obama addressed the nation for over 15 minutes to discuss the fast moving developments.
“Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the oppressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war. Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America’s worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement, but I have resisted calls for military action because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The president said he is prepared to launch limited strikes on Syria for their use of chemical weapons.
But the incident on August 21st where Assad used chemical weapons on his own people was a game-changer. Obama gave graphic details of the events that unfolded that day. He asked Americans to watch the gruesome intelligence video that shows fathers grasping their dying children and rows of dead bodies lined up on the ground before they make up their minds.
“Moreover, we know the Assad regime was responsible. In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighborhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces. Shortly after those rockets landed, the gas spread, and hospitals filled with the dying and the wounded.”
The president responded directly to questions asked by people saying that after Irag and Afghanistan there’s little wonder people are skeptical. Of the concern about a limited strike being a slippery-slope that could get out of control, Obama said, “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria.” He said it would not be an “open-ended” engagement.
As for criticism that a limited strike on Syria would only be a “pin prick” that wouldn’t change anything. Obama said, “the US doesn’t do pin pricks.” A military strike by the US would make Assad think twice before using chemical weapons again. Obama addressed the concern that Syria might retaliate against the United States by saying Assad doesn’t have the capability to do so. He said Assad has no interest in taking on the US.
The president outlined the need for the US to lead when tyrants break international law and threaten national security. Obama said he asked Congress to delay a vote on military action, due to the positive signs on Tuesday by Russia, Syria and the international community on getting Assad to turn over his WMD stocks.
“It’s too early to tell whether or not this offer will succeed,” said Obama.
“The burdens of leadership are often heavy,” said the president, but failure to act would be a mistake. “Condemnations are simply not enough.” “Our ideals and principles and national security are at stake in Syria,” concluded the president.