Today President Obama met with Congressional leaders to discuss the situation in Syria.
“We have high confidence that Syria used, in an indiscriminate fashion, chemical weapons that killed thousands of people, including over 400 children, and in direct violation of the international norm against using chemical weapons,” President Obama explained. “That poses a serious national security threat to the United States and to the region, and as a consequence, Assad and Syria needs to be held accountable.”
I've made a decision that America should take action. But I also believe that we will be much more effective, we will be stronger, if we take action together as one nation. And so this gives us an opportunity not only to present the evidence to all of the leading members of Congress and their various foreign policy committees as to why we have high confidence that chemical weapons were used and that Assad used them, but it also gives us an opportunity to discuss why it's so important that he be held to account.
President Obama said he is asking Congress for hearings and a vote on taking military action, and emphasized that the plan developed by the Joint Chiefs does not involve boots on the ground:
This is a limited, proportional step that will send a clear message not only to the Assad regime, but also to other countries that may be interested in testing some of these international norms, that there are consequences. It gives us the ability to degrade Assad’s capabilities when it comes to chemical weapons. It also fits into a broader strategy that we have to make sure that we can bring about over time the kind of strengthening of the opposition and the diplomatic and economic and political pressure required so that ultimately we have a transition that can bring peace and stability not only to Syria but to the region.
- Watch: President Obama makes a statement on Syria from the Rose Garden
- Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013