“Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria."
In a televised speech to the nation on September 10, President Barack Obama presented the case for action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad for using chemical weapons against the Syrian people on August 21 in an attack that left over 1,400 dead, including more than 400 children:
“When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it.”
Mr. Obama urged the American people to support a targeted U.S.-led military strike whose purpose “would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.”
President Obama noted that because of the credible threat of U.S. military action, as well as talks he has held with Russian President Vladimir Putin, there are “some encouraging signs” that a diplomatic solution may be possible to push Assad to give up his chemical weapons. The solution, he said, involves working through the United Nations Security Council and putting forward a resolution “requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons, and to ultimately destroy them under international control:”
“It is too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and 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, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies.”
President Obama said the United States “will continue to rally support from allies from Europe to the Americas – from Asia to the Middle East – who agree on the need for action” in response to the Assad regime’s devastating chemical weapons attack on the Syrian people.
“What kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas, and we choose to look the other way?” said President Obama. “Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria, along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the world’s worst weapons will never be used.”