“I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage”

President Obama:

Good afternoon, everybody.  Ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in Syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century.  Yesterday the United States presented a powerful case that the Syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people.

Our intelligence shows the Assad regime and its forces preparing to use chemical weapons, launching rockets in the highly populated suburbs of Damascus, and acknowledging that a chemical weapons attack took place.  And all of this corroborates what the world can plainly see — hospitals overflowing with victims; terrible images of the dead.  All told, well over 1,000 people were murdered.  Several hundred of them were children — young girls and boys gassed to death by their own government.

This attack is an assault on human dignity.  It also presents a serious danger to our national security.  It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.  It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.  It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.

In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted.

Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets.  This would not be an open-ended intervention.  We would not put boots on the ground.  Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope.  But I’m confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out.

Our military has positioned assets in the region.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose.  Moreover, the Chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now.  And I’m prepared to give that order.

But having made my decision as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I’m also mindful that I’m the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.  I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  And that’s why I’ve made a second decision:  I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress.

Over the last several days, we’ve heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard.  I absolutely agree. So this morning, I spoke with all four congressional leaders, and they’ve agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as Congress comes back into session.

In the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with the information they need to understand what happened in Syria and why it has such profound implications for America’s national security.  And all of us should be accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote.

I’m confident in the case our government has made without waiting for U.N. inspectors.  I’m comfortable going forward without the approval of a United Nations Security Council that, so far, has been completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold Assad accountable.  As a consequence, many people have advised against taking this decision to Congress, and undoubtedly, they were impacted by what we saw happen in the United Kingdom this week when the Parliament of our closest ally failed to pass a resolution with a similar goal, even as the Prime Minister supported taking action.

Yet, while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective.  We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual.  And this morning, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell agreed that this is the right thing to do for our democracy.

A country faces few decisions as grave as using military force, even when that force is limited.  I respect the views of those who call for caution, particularly as our country emerges from a time of war that I was elected in part to end.  But if we really do want to turn away from taking appropriate action in the face of such an unspeakable outrage, then we just acknowledge the costs of doing nothing.

Here’s my question for every member of Congress and every member of the global community:  What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?  What’s the purpose of the international system that we’ve built if a prohibition on the use of chemical weapons that has been agreed to by the governments of 98 percent of the world’s people and approved overwhelmingly by the Congress of the United States is not enforced?

Make no mistake — this has implications beyond chemical warfare.  If we won’t enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules?  To governments who would choose to build nuclear arms?  To terrorist who would spread biological weapons?  To armies who carry out genocide?

We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us.

So just as I will take this case to Congress, I will also deliver this message to the world.  While the U.N. investigation has some time to report on its findings, we will insist that an atrocity committed with chemical weapons is not simply investigated, it must be confronted.

I don’t expect every nation to agree with the decision we have made.  Privately we’ve heard many expressions of support from our friends.  But I will ask those who care about the writ of the international community to stand publicly behind our action.

And finally, let me say this to the American people:  I know well that we are weary of war.  We’ve ended one war in Iraq.  We’re ending another in Afghanistan.  And the American people have the good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in Syria with our military.  In that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences, and the hopes of the Arab Spring have unleashed forces of change that are going to take many years to resolve.  And that’s why we’re not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else’s war.

Instead, we’ll continue to support the Syrian people through our pressure on the Assad regime, our commitment to the opposition, our care for the displaced, and our pursuit of a political resolution that achieves a government that respects the dignity of its people.

But we are the United States of America, and we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus.  Out of the ashes of world war, we built an international order and enforced the rules that gave it meaning.  And we did so because we believe that the rights of individuals to live in peace and dignity depends on the responsibilities of nations.  We aren’t perfect, but this nation more than any other has been willing to meet those responsibilities.

So to all members of Congress of both parties, I ask you to take this vote for our national security.  I am looking forward to the debate.  And in doing so, I ask you, members of Congress, to consider that some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment.

Ultimately, this is not about who occupies this office at any given time; it’s about who we are as a country.  I believe that the people’s representatives must be invested in what America does abroad, and now is the time to show the world that America keeps our commitments.  We do what we say.  And we lead with the belief that right makes might — not the other way around.

We all know there are no easy options.  But I wasn’t elected to avoid hard decisions.  And neither were the members of the House and the Senate.  I’ve told you what I believe, that our security and our values demand that we cannot turn away from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons.  And our democracy is stronger when the President and the people’s representatives stand together.

I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage.  Today I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together as one nation.

Thanks very much.


138 Responses to ““I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage””

  1. 1 Allison
    August 31, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    The BEST President ever!

  2. 4 Jessica
    August 31, 2013 at 3:29 pm


  3. August 31, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    OMG, now know how the Aussies feel.

    Christmas in August, yay!

  4. 9 utaustinliberal
    August 31, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    So proud to call Barack Obama ——> President of the United States.

    • August 31, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Right now, Assad may be breathing a sigh of relief that there’s no immediate action.

      But Obama has put Assad’s foot in a bear trap. Instead of giving him an immediate war, Obama has given Assad a situation where he cannot control things. His fate now rests with a fickle U.S. Congress who may or may not vote war. It is in their mind his fate rests. Right now it looks like a “no” but if he does not refrain from further atrocities, then the “no” becomes a quick yes, giving Obama full authority to wage war. And further atrocities just may change Parliament’s mind as well. But can he? Or contol others who want to do so?

      But Assad cannot extricate himself from the trap: he cannot make the warships go away, and any effort to do so brings about an even wider war. Right now the objective is not regime change per se: but if he tries to make a move, it becomes regime change immediately.

      In the mean time, Obama can simply continue preparations and monitor events in Syria even more closely with his warships in place, listening in on encrypted radio traffic, using sensors and satellites and covert operators to monitor the Syrian army’s movements.

      But if Assad was that shrewd he wouldn’t be in the situation like what Khadaffi or Osama was in: biting off more than he could chew, hunched inside a fortified house waiting for the end that will inevitably come. Indeed, things would be normal in Damascus: people walking around on a sunny Saturday afternoon shopping and visiting. Assad himself could go to a villa and enjoy the sunshine. Shrewd, and legitimate power can go outside and on vacation even during crisis. Lincoln had a summer home outside Washington when the weather got too hot. FDR could go to Warm Springs. Obama can take Michelle out to dinner. But Assad can no longer trust that even his own locals won’t turn on him if given an opportunity. And now the world has turned on him.

      And he may fear that more than ships at sea. If he acts on that fear, then he makes the other trap close shut on him.

      • 16 jacquelineoboomer
        August 31, 2013 at 4:09 pm

        Well done!

      • 17 yardarm756
        August 31, 2013 at 4:12 pm

        Bravo Zulu!

      • August 31, 2013 at 6:54 pm

        Exactly my thinking too. PBO certainly used this opportunity to position s ever closer to Assad’s doorstep without any blowback. And we can stay there indefinitely. Like you said Assad’s spooked right now not knowing what comes next. How will he continue to fight his bloody civil war now with US stalking his shadow?

  5. 19 MightyPamela
    August 31, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I’m grateful to Chipsticks and all of TOD for the intelligent bringing in of facts and support. I have been waiting for the text, and here it is. Man blessings and big hugs all around. We do indeed live in interesting, and powerful times.

  6. 21 Nena20409
    August 31, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    To Sir, With Love

    http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_detailpage&v=ZaJ5rGajk7A#t=4

  7. 23 Linda
    August 31, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    comment on other site from ” HOMEY”

    “he prez just invented a new chess move BAGGERMATE enjoy it baggers “

  8. August 31, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    I posted this at the beginning of the previous thread, but got no response, so am trying again (in response to Lib_Lib’s tweet about the end of the imperial presidency).

    A cooling off period, hopefully for Assad as well.

    All eyes will be on Congress.
    – will they return next week or dither as they have done since they’ve been in session?
    – the MSM will have a circus to entertain them, while the President is doing the actual International work next week at the G20

    It’s about time the shoe is on the other foot, and the spotlight is on the people and its representatives in Congress. The MSM has made it all about themselves and POTUS (in a negative way).

    Chips stated it perfectly on the last thread:


    The MSM was wrong (OMG, Obama acting without Congress) because all they do these days is speculate. Maybe they’ll actually get some work done that doesn’t rely on speculation.

    Let’s turn the focus to the congressional circus, shall we?

  9. 27 Ladyhawke
    August 31, 2013 at 3:49 pm


    President Obama

    We all know there are no easy options. But I wasn’t elected to avoid hard decisions. And neither were the members of the House and the Senate.

  10. August 31, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    The media has their next shiny object to pursue:

  11. 30 Don
    August 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Actually President Obama just upped the pressure on Congress and Assad, Assad knows that President Obama is itching to take his ass out. And Congress doesn’t want any parts of voting for or against a war.

  12. 31 carolyn
    August 31, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    We all talk about his chess skills and long game. This plan allows the President to work among world leaders…..ALL of them, and eventually tighten the noose around Syria and isolate them. I think this is part of his long plan.
    He will be with the Nordic group this week, and will undoubtedly get them to work with us. Then he’ll be at the G20…..more than Putin will be there. As always, his timing is impeccable.
    On a much previous thread I said that yesterday I woke up with a calm feeling about the Syria situation and the President’s decision, after churning for a week. My confidence in President Obama was justified, once again. He is ahead of all of us! As Bob would say…..”Trust Barack; he’s earned it.”

  13. 32 hopefruit2
    August 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm

  14. 34 Mellesia Barnett
    August 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

  15. 35 yardarm756
    August 31, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Oopps time to get up.

  16. 36 Mellesia Barnett
    August 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm

  17. 38 a night owl
    August 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    President Obama has the most exquisitely calibrated internal calculator of anyone I’ve ever seen. He takes a multitude of threads that factor into a decision, assigns each one the appropriate weight, and comes out with an optimal course of action. It’s a wonder to behold.

  18. 41 closerange
    August 31, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    What’s up with Jeff Gauvin (@JeffersonObama)? He seems to be having a meltdown over PBO’s decision to go to Congress. Very unusual for him.

  19. August 31, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Have I mentioned recently how much I *hate* the MSM? (dripping with sarcasm, still hate them though I stopped following most of them on Twitter).

    • 58 jacquelineoboomer
      August 31, 2013 at 4:13 pm


      • August 31, 2013 at 4:20 pm

        It just drives me nuts.

        These MSMers think that their *sources* and lobbyists are the ones running the damn show.

        Hope that Chips will repost her “Two Terms” tweet. I forgot to favorite it, and can’t find it now.

        But that’s our response to the MSM, congress critters and emoprogs.

  20. 60 Mellesia Barnett
    August 31, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Andrea Mitchell gets on my last nerves. Just stfu already

    • August 31, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      Just saw Chips’ and BWD’s response to @TobyHarnden re: Mitchell’s comment.

      Andrea Mitchell needs to be at the head of the line of emoprogs to purge at NBC.

      But won’t happen because she’s got the BabaWaWa gravitas thing going on. What despicable speculation, an outright lie.

      The President didn’t look at polls when it *mattered* (during a campaign). He was looking at the global picture and weighing the costs and risks against our Constitutional democracy.

      I hate the media. I hate that they’re against our President regardless of what he does or doesn’t do. A pox on all their houses.

  21. 62 Jovie
    August 31, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    • 63 jacquelineoboomer
      August 31, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      Like the President only thought about the gravity of the situation and considered his options during one walk. Next, the media will be saying his Chief of Staff made the decision, like Nancy decided for Ronnie. GAG.

      • August 31, 2013 at 4:24 pm

        Jeez, I’m always wrong, it seems.

        I really thought the MSM would have focus on the 635 people who will be voting instead of making this all about “how can we obstruct Obama” narrative.

        Has anyone in the MSM mentioned that Congress will be in session for 9 days next month? Doesn’t that seem a little, I don’t know, *irresponsible* to anyone in the MSM?

      • August 31, 2013 at 4:32 pm

        So now they are reading PBO’s mind. Unbelievable!!!

    • 66 Roberta in MN
      August 31, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Really? they must have to talk about something.

  22. August 31, 2013 at 4:19 pm

  23. 84 hopefruit2
    August 31, 2013 at 4:19 pm

  24. 87 yardarm756
    August 31, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    After careful consideration of all the factors, I’ve come to the conclusion that Mark Ginsberg is a gas-bag! And that’s putting it mildly.

  25. 94 hopefruit2
    August 31, 2013 at 4:22 pm

  26. 95 Mellesia Barnett
    August 31, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    • 96 Nena20409
      August 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      Did this president Not Say Loud and Clear that he hadn’t make up his mind? Then he finally told Us what he had decided and some are having a Cow? Sheesh. I am happy with his decision. I am pleased.

  27. 97 utaustinliberal
    August 31, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Don’t you just loooooove the internet? 😆

  28. 100 Nena20409
    August 31, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Nothing like watching grown men and women trying so desperately to spin and end up swallowing their tongues.

    Wow. For months these people have said…..Red Line…..red line, Red Line. Then it was Strike, strike, Strike Syria for weeks now. Then it became, Syria is like Iraq bat poop nonsense. Congress started their drum beat…..Explain yourself, Impeach, this and that.

    Now, their bloated stomachs have been popped and they are deflated and running to find other talking points?

    • 101 jacquelineoboomer
      August 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      Yes, now, apparently they even think the President can’t make a decision inside the White House, but instead must go outdoors and walk, as the only way to clear his head.

      It’s a parallel universe they’re living in …

  29. 102 yardarm756
    August 31, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Tomorrows entertainment.

  30. 129 Byo
    August 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Obama knows that the congress just wants to get on TV, bloviate and sound like experts. They never wanted to make the decision, period.
    He just outsmarted them again.
    You want a debate, have at it!

  31. 130 hopefruit2
    August 31, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I’m beginning to think that it’s not so much that certain people fear that PBO’s intervention with Syria will fail, but that it will be a success, a HUGE success. And apparently, certain factions are a bit “tired” of all these PBO successes. They would like to see him fail (with an “I told you so”) and they have not been able to have that since Jan 2009…

    How else do you explain the puzzling and often contradictory shift in position based on every move PBO makes or every word he utters?

    • 131 jacquelineoboomer
      August 31, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      I think you’ve got it!

      Every damn time they think they’ve set him up to fail, he wins. We are so lucky he is able to get through all this, so masterfully.

    • 132 Nena20409
      August 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Very Simple……Chips had a Cartoonish version earlier today:

      The disease developed and matured on Jan 20, 2009.

      • 133 hopefruit2
        August 31, 2013 at 4:48 pm

        Yes, but they loathe him even more BECAUSE of his competence and many successes (with few or no matching failures) which has been relentlessly on display from Jan 2009 through today – and it bothers them so much that they are beside themselves with rage and contradictory behavior.

  32. August 31, 2013 at 4:41 pm

  33. 136 utaustinliberal
    August 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm

  34. August 31, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Fecal smear douche-pundit on CNN babbling utter falsities. Jesus I hate these fucking people…….If I could only reach through the TV.

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