For now, any U.S. military strike on Syria is on hold. The President has asked Congress to delay a vote to authorize an attack.
But Monday night, President Barack Obama spoke directly to the American people during a 15 minute nationally televised address. The speech comes at a time when Syria has agreed to turn over all of its chemical weapons to the international community.
During his remarks, the President made his case for why he thinks the U.S should strike.
He said, “The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade the regime’s ability to use them and make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.”
The President assured the public his goal was not to overthrow Bashar Al Assad. “I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force. We learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next.” The President went on to say, “But a targeted strike can make Assad and any other dictator think twice about using chemical weapons.”
Mr. Obama made his case by laying out evidence of the August attack saying the regime of Bashar Al-Assad was responsible. “The images from this massacre are sickening. Men, women, children lying in rows killed by poison gas, others foaming at the mouth gasping for breath.”
But as the President made his case for military action, a potential alternative emerged. Syria agreed to the Russian plan to turn over its chemical weapons. “Any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments, but this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force,” Obama said during his speech.
He promised not to put troops on the ground in an open ended war like the ones in Afghanistan and Iraq.