The president said has made up his mind that military action is required in Syria. And in a major surprise, he says he will seek permission from Congress to do it. Officials say that decision took him less than 24 hours to make.
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Only 10 years ago, the French were derided in Washington political circles for their rejection of plans to invade Iraq. Now the so-called "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" are standing by the U.S. on Syria — while the country's closest European ally, Britain, has rejected military action.
A quarter century ago, Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group investigated chemical attacks against civilians in Iraq, and says recent images from Syria bring back the "horrible events" of Saddam Hussein's regime.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., had sent a letter to President Obama urging him to seek congressional approval before any military action against Syria. Surprisingly, on Saturday, Obama agreed. Cole talks about what comes next.
Lawmakers from both parties in the House and Senate are praising President Obama for seeking their authorization for any military action in Syria. Still, Congress isn't even scheduled to return to Washington until Sept. 9. And how might they vote? It's "kind of a gamble" says NPR congressional reporter Ailsa Chang.
President Obama said Saturday he believes the United States should take military action against Syria, in response to last week's deadly chemical weapons attack. But in an about-face, Obama has decided to first seek a vote in Congress authorizing a military strike. It's a gamble. While approval from Congress would strengthen the president's hand, he could also suffer a stinging rebuke from lawmakers, much as British Prime Minister David Cameron did.
At the White House Saturday, Obama spoke about the possibility of a U.S. strike against Syria in response to the regime's alleged use of chemical weapons. While he said the U.S. should take military action, Obama said he would seek congressional authorization first.
President Obama, speaking from the Rose Garden, said he'd decided to use military force against Syria, but was also seeking congressional authorization for the action.
Analysts say the case for military intervention in Syria lacks a legal basis, yet the White House argues it might be the right thing to do. While there may not be legal precedent under international law, it wouldn't be the first time the U.S. has taken military action on humanitarian grounds.