President Barack Obama spoke with the American public tonight over the medium of television, internet and radio. His speech took place a few minutes after 9 p.m. EST from inside the White House. The president spoke for a little over 15 minutes.
Mr. Obama began his speech with a brief overview of the history of the conflict in Syria. He said that he resisted any call for military action until the chemical attacks on Aug. 21.
The president stated that he only advocated action against Syria to prevent future attack from happening or the conflict spreading to our allies. He said:
"Let me explain why. If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons....If fighting spills beyond Syria's borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel."
He determined that in this instance that it was right to order military strikes against Syria. The president came to this conclusion after investigation.
President Obama decided in this instance to not commit an action without support of Congress. He stated:
"But I'm also the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possessed the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress. I believe our democracy is stronger when the president acts with the support of Congress, and I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together."
He vowed not to put boots on the ground or have a prolonged strike period like Libya. The president believes that a limited strike will send a message to Assad. Obama believes that it will make the Assad regime think twice about using chemical weapons on civilians in the future. He said:
"My answer is simple. I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo. This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective, deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad’s capabilities. Others have asked whether it’s worth acting if we don’t take out Assad. Now, some members of Congress have said there’s no point in simply doing a pinprick strike in Syria. Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver."
President Obama closed by stating what is likely to happen over the next few days or weeks. The president mentioned the likelihood of a United Nations resolution about the Syrian situation and he asked the Congress to delay the vote on military strikes.
The Obama administration will make more decisions and announcements to the American public and the international community in next few weeks.