September 7th, 2013 13:07 EST
Obama Explains Syria Decision In His Weekly Radio Address
President Barack Obama today used his weekly address to explain his decisions to take military action against Bashar Assad`s regime in Syria for using chemical weapons against its own people and to seek congressional approval for that action.
More than 1,000 innocent people " including hundreds of children " were murdered Aug. 21 in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century, the president said, and the United States has presented a powerful case to the world that the Syrian government was responsible.
This was not only a direct attack on human dignity; it is a serious threat to our national security, " Obama said. There`s a reason governments representing 98 percent of the world`s people have agreed to ban the use of chemical weapons. Not only because they cause death and destruction in the most indiscriminate and inhumane way possible " but because they can also fall into the hands of terrorist groups who wish to do us harm. "
Last weekend, he said, he announced that as commander in chief he had decided the United States should take military action against the Syrian regime. This is not a decision I made lightly, " the president added. Deciding to use military force is the most solemn decision we can make as a nation. "
Obama also explained why he sought authorization from Congress for military action.
As the leader of the world`s oldest constitutional democracy, I also know that our country will be stronger if we act together, and our actions will be more effective, " he said. That`s why I asked members of Congress to debate this issue and vote on authorizing the use of force. "
The president emphasized that the pending military action is not an open-ended intervention. This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan, " he said. 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. "
Obama acknowledged that the American people are weary after a decade of war. That`s why we`re not putting our troops in the middle of somebody else`s war, " he said.
But we are the United States of America, " he added. We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we`ve seen out of Syria. Failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again [and] 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.
That`s why we can`t ignore chemical weapons attacks like this one " even if they happen halfway around the world, " he continued. And that`s why I call on members of Congress from both parties to come together and stand up for the kind of world we want to live in -- the kind of world we want to leave our children and future generations. "
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