Obama delays vote to use force in Syria
by David Espo, Associated Press and Julie Pace, Associated Press
September 11, 2013 12:08 AM | 585 views | 3 3 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said in a nationally televised address Tuesday night that recent diplomatic steps offer “the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons” inside Syria without the use of force, but he also insisted the U.S. military will keep the pressure on President Bashar Assad “and be ready to respond” if other measures fail.

Speaking from the East Room of the White House, Obama said he had asked congressional leaders to postpone a vote on legislation he has been seeking to authorize the use of military force against Syria.

Acknowledging the weariness the nation feels after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama said, “America is not the world’s policeman.”

And yet, he added, “When with modest effort and risk we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional.”

“Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria,” he declared.

The speech capped a frenzied 10-day stretch of events that began when he unexpectedly announced he was stepping back from a threatened military strike to first ask Congress to pass legislation authorizing the use of force against Assad.

With public opinion polls consistently showing widespread opposition to American military intervention, the White House has struggled mightily to generate support among lawmakers — liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans alike — who have expressed fears of involvement in yet another war in the Middle East and have questioned whether U.S. national security interests were at stake in Syria. Obama had trouble, as well, building international support for a military attack designed to degrade Assad’s military.

Suddenly, though, events took another unexpected turn this week. First Russia and then Syria reacted positively to a seemingly off-hand remark from Secretary of State John Kerry indicating that the crisis could be defused if Damascus agreed to put its chemical weapons under international control.

The president said he was sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday, and he added, “I will continue my own discussion” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At the same time, he said the United States and its allies would work with Russia and China to present a resolution to the United Nations Security Council “requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons and to ultimately destroy them under international control.”

In a speech that lasted 16 minutes, Obama recounted the events of the deadly chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 that the United States blames on Assad.

“When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until these horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied,” he said.

The president said firmly that Assad’s alleged attack was “not only a violation of international law, it’s also a danger to our security.”

If diplomacy now fails and the United States fails to act, he said, “the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons” and “other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using” it. Over time, he added, U.S. troops could face the threat of chemical warfare, and if fighting escapes Syria’s border, “these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel.”

The president sought to deal methodically with what he said were questions asked by lawmakers and citizens who took the time to write him with their concerns about U.S. military action.

“I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria,” he promised. “I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo.

“This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad’s capabilities.”



Comments
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FROM TEXAS
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September 12, 2013
Comrade Putin is trying help save America he has too many stolen Rumples in the American stock market to see Comrade Obama screw it up. I guess all those morons that voted twice are rethinking that but racism runs deep in voting patterns within the Democrat party. This country will never be seen in the same light on the world stage; welcome back Jimmy Carter the debt ceiling is also going to fall.
anonymous
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September 11, 2013
Can he show is the proof a video isn’t proof how about the NSA spy tapes surely there evidence? Or they are too busy spying on honest Americans to keep up with the bad guys they did misss the Boston bombers!
FROM TEXAS
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September 11, 2013
Yea Bro-Ranger is in a tight spot now even Jimmy Carter is warning him not to just throw missiles at Syria and scatter people’s arms and legs all over the desert. Just think National Communist Broadcasting or NBC would spin this if this was Cowboy Bush Jr. They would say Bush just wants to throw missiles indiscriminately and kill women and children. Putin has Obama where he wants him and Obamas big mouth and Hippie War protester John Kerry have stepped all in it. Did you even think the American leadership could look this stupid not since Jimmy Carter! Ride Bro-Range ride Putin probably has too much money invested in the American stock market and is trying to protect it.
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