December 13, 2013
Obama says 'US is ready to attack,' will seek Congress vote on Syria
President Barack Obama provided an update to the American people about his decisions on how to proceed in Syria amid preparations for a potential military strike. "We are ready to attack," Obama said but explained the final call will be decided by the US Congress.
Just like British Prime Minister David Cameron did seeking for parliamentary approval, US President Barack Obama announced his administration will seek authorization of the use of force from Congress. Obama added he was confident in the evidence the US has gathered about the Syrian government’s responsibility in Damascus deadly attack “without waiting” for the results of the UN-led investigation.
The American leader pointed out he has the “authority to carry our military action without Congress’ vote but stated he believed there should be a debate on the matter. “The United States should know the cost of doing nothing there”, Obama insisted.
In an acknowledgement of protests from US lawmakers and concerns from war-weary Americans, Obama added an important caveat: he wants Congress to approve.
Congress is currently in recess and not scheduled to return to work until Sept. 9."Today I'm asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move as one nation," Obama said.
Obama's decision was a big gamble that he can gain approval from Congress in order to launch a limited strike against Syria to safeguard an international ban on chemical weapons usage, guard US national security interests and protect regional allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel.
"I have long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people," Obama said.
His decision was also a significant shift away from what was perceived to be a strike fairly soon against Syrian targets. He had been prepared to act unilaterally after the British parliament refused to go along with American plans.
Protracted and expensive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have left Americans reluctant to get involved in Middle Eastern conflicts.
Most Americans do not want the United States to intervene in Syria. A poll taken this week showed only 20 percent believe the United States should take action, but that was up from 9 percent last week.
A debate has raged for days in Washington among members of the US Congress over whether, or how quickly, Obama should take action.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell backed the move, which he said Obama had told him about. "The president's role as commander in chief is always strengthened when he enjoys the expressed support of the Congress," said McConnell.
Obama's decision was announced after he met his national security team at the White House. Top aides were to brief senators later in the day and members of the House of Representatives are to receive a classified briefing from administration officials on Sunday.
The objective is to show solid proof that US intelligence officials say shows conclusively that the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad launched a large chemical weapons assault in Damascus suburbs that left among the dead 426 children.