US President Barack Obama, addressing the nation on action against Syria, said that a key vote on whether or not to take action against the country would be postponed while they explored new avenues of diplomatic action in the light of Syria’s new commitments to put their stock of chemical weapons under international control and sign an international treaty prohibiting the use of chemical weapons in warfare.
Obama justified his decision to engage in limited strikes against Syria, saying that although he only planned limited and controlled strikes, it would send a strong message to dictators like Assad, that the US would not tolerate the use of chemical weapons.
He added that the US had tried to use diplomatic means for two years, from santions to dialogue, but Assad had gone ahead and used chemical weapons anyway”.
He also replied to a number of criticisms and questions that he had received on Syria, including the fact that this could lead to a slippery slope of war, and that the US needed to stop acting like the world policemen.
“Syria does not have the capability to strike us”, he said. But added that he would only sanction limited strikes and “would not put any US boots on the ground”. He added that it was the real and imminent threat of US action against Syria, that had prompted it agree to diplomatic measures.
“When with modest effort and risk we can stop children from being gassed to death … I believe we should act”, he said, adding that there was no point of the US being the most powerful country in the world if it chose to look the other way when innocent people were being gassed to death.
The President also surprisingly did not make any reference to the 12th year anniversary of the 11 September attacks in New York.
The reactions to Obama’s speech on Twitter, were not very encouraging however.
Here are some of them:
Because of Russian proposal, President asks Congress to delay #Syria vote (he was unlikely to win) while new diplomatic efforts pursued
— West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport) September 11, 2013
How Americans can believe a man who says he won’t put boots on the ground in #Syria when he put them on the ground in Libya is beyond me.
— Michael Forian (@Forian) September 11, 2013
Does it bother anyone else that the basic Obama message to dictators is: When you slaughter your people, don’t use gas.
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) September 11, 2013
Pres. Obama’s decision to put off Congressional vote on Syria spares him the political blow of defeat he appeared headed to suffer.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) September 11, 2013