Obama Promises ‘Broader’ Syria Strategy

The president's language seemed design to win the support of hawks like John McCain, and he asked for quick congressional approval of military action

  • Share
  • Read Later
AFP / Getty Images

US President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Syria during a meeting with members of Congress at the White House in Washington, DC, September 3, 2013.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday promised a “broader” strategy in Syria while asking for quick congressional approval of military action.

In language that seemed designed to win over hawks who have pushed for a stronger response, like Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Obama said his game plan would go beyond a simple military response to Bashar Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons in an attack that killed hundreds last month.

“It is something limited. It is something proportional. It will degrade Assad’s capabilities,” Obama told reporters ahead of a White House meeting with congressional leaders. “At the same time, we have a broader strategy that will allow us to upgrade the capabilities of the opposition and allow Syria to ultimately free itself.”

McCain, who met with Obama Monday, has used the same “upgrade” and “degrade” language, and Obama’s parroting of his former rival underscores just how much he needs McCain to bring along other Republicans. The administration has resisted calls to arm rebel factions.

Obama, who announced last weekend that he’ll seek congressional approval for the military response he wants to mount, asked Congress to vote on the issue promptly, and predicted the kind of success on Capitol Hill that has so often eluded him with Republicans in control of the House.

“We are going to be asking for hearings and a prompt vote,” he said. Asked if he’s confident lawmakers will support him, Obama responded, “I am.”

And he reassured Congress — and the American people — that taking action in Syria will not lead to extended wars like those started by former President George W. Bush.

“This is not Iraq, this is not Afghanistan,” Obama said. “This is a limited proportional step that will send a message not only to the Assad regime, but to other countries that may be interested in testing some of these international norms, that there are consequences.”

26 comments
Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

 VLADIMIR PUTIN: "As for the position of our American colleagues and friends who claim that government forces have used weapons of mass destruction, in this case chemical weapons, and that they have evidence thereof: let them present it to UN inspectors and the Security Council. Claims that proof exists, but that it is classified and cannot be shown to anyone are beneath criticism." http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/5912

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria should not be kept secret - Lavrov 

The evidence produced by Washington for Moscow of the Syrian regime allegedly using chemical weapons is not concrete and has not convinced Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. He added that a 'regime of secrecy' by the West is unacceptable with regard to Syria and the use of chemical weapons there. Information sharing is a must.

"If there truly is top secret information available, the veil should be lifted. This is a question of war and peace. To continue this game of secrecy is simply inappropriate." 
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_09_02/Evidence-of-chemical-weapons-use-in-Syria-should-not-be-kept-secret-Lavrov-8781/

wasimabbas1214
wasimabbas1214

@TIME ask stupid Obama that one side fighting rebels in Afghanistan other side supporting in Syria Marg bar amreeca

therealdude
therealdude

Does anyone else think it's really stupid that we're fighting militant muslims in Afghan and all over the world but suddenly we're going to help them in Syria? Have we lost our damn minds? If we lift one finger to help the rebels in Syria then by rights we should to leave Afghanistan right now.

statingtheobvious2025
statingtheobvious2025

Americans have had their heads in the sand too long!  Perhaps now they will realize that everything that has happened in the world/middle east since 911 is part of a much broader plan.  It's called the One World Government.  Step One:  Topple the dictators. Step Two:  Get control of the oil.  Step Three:  Bring the world to the brink of war.  Step Four:  Offer a new form of world leadership to save the day!  Sounds a lot like a James Bond Film doesn't it?   The only thing that can stop it is the people.  Wake up America...

columbare1
columbare1

No matter who wins in Syria they will hate us more than each other.   So it is a no win situation for us .   Just let these crazies kill each other using whatever means at their disposal.   And let us stay out of this civil and religious war.      But and if we are drawn in then let us completely destroy Syria much as we did in Iraq as a lesson to those who would try to do the same.    And the message will go out call in the Americans and we reduce your country to rubble.

RudyHaugeneder
RudyHaugeneder

America is broke. So America is getting ready to fight as mercenaries to avoid bankruptcy. Nothing more. Nothing less.

If the extreme Wahhabi Sunni Muslims ruling Saudi Arabia and UAE and Qatar, etc. hadn't been so hell-bent on violently overthrowing Assad because of his Alawite Shi'ite religion in Syria, there wouldn't be seven million displaced Sunni Syrians camping around Sunni countries looking for a free meal and place to find a UN tent.

But they were hell-bent and armed some radical rebels who turned the peaceful protests of two years ago into a Sectarian war the Saudi and their allies wanted, and resulted in America today getting ready to fight in a civil war the United States has no business participating in --  unless the oil-rich Arabs said they would cash in their vast billions of US treasuries if the United States wouldn't join fight to kill Assad and his Shia sect; something that would cause government bankruptcy.  America, being the debt-riddled nation it is, kissed the whet Saudi bum and will soon attack.

America the once powerful relegated to being bum kissers and cheap mercenaries.  Who would have ever thunk it, Mr. Obama. Who would have thought it possible?

Apostate
Apostate

This is disastrous - but it seems our ruling elite is incapable of learning any lessons from our Iraq and Afghan adventures.

In addition to our economic fragility (to riot in understatement) and our military overstretch (to say nothing of our misuse of said military) there is this point: the Islamofascists among the rebels would, if we helped them win, quickly become the paramount faction and then where would we be?

suleqaa
suleqaa

@TIME Oh,give them more chemical weapons so they can kill morecivilians&justlike d future generations will suffer birth defects&cancer

firmsoil
firmsoil

The white house politician who is asking to go to war with Syrian dictator Assad regime over chemical weapons use voted against the very same in case of Iraqi dictator Saddam while he was in congress.

This is why people do not trust politicians.

Solutionprovida
Solutionprovida

@TIME So the UK Public stopping PM backing Obama going in last Sun was the right thing to do then.There you go! No thanks said to UK Public

ClintHoward5
ClintHoward5

@TIME Tell me again why we are supporting Islamist radicals in Syria?

Apostate
Apostate

@RudyHaugeneder You raise interesting points - I note the mainstream media isn't raising them, which is typical.