It looks like Barack Obama is not feeling as comfortable about instigating war with Syria, as first thought. While he is still saying action needs to be taken, on Saturday he spoke from the Rose Garden and said that he would go to Congress and seek authorization for military action against Syria. This follows Britain voting down military action in Syria and over one hundred congressmen calling on Obama to get authorization for such action.
“In a world of many dangers this menace must be confronted,” Obama said, adding that the attack on civilians “risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on chemical weapons” and “could lead to escalated use of chemical weapons.”
“We should have this debate,” the president said in an announcement in the White House Rose Garden. “I respect the views of those who call for caution.”
The Washington Times reports:
After more than a week of deliberation, Mr. Obama essentially put the onus on Congress to stop him from launching missile strikes against targets of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Lawmakers are not scheduled to return from their August recess until Sept. 9. “I have decided that the U.S. should take military action against Syrian military targets,” Mr. Obama said, adding that he intends such action to be “limited in duration and scope.”
With Vice President Joseph R. Biden at his side, Mr. Obama said, “I’m confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable. We are prepared to strike whenever we choose. It will be effective tomorrow, or next
week, or one month from now. I’m prepared to give that order.”
But he said he has consulted again with congressional leaders Saturday and will wait for lawmakers to vote on military action. The Democratic and Republican leaders of both the House and Senate have agreed to hold a debate and vote on a Syrian military strike, the president said.
“Today I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world,” he said. “The issue is too big for business as usual.”
The announcement appears to delay any U.S. military move for 10 days or more. House GOP Speaker John Boehner and the chamber’s top Republicans immediately issued a joint statement praising Mr. Obama’s decision to consult Congress and saying the House would hold its vote when Congress returns to work.
Republican leaders in the House rightly said, “Under the Constitution, the responsibility to declare war lies with Congress. We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised.”
What they added gives cause for concern. “In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th.”
What measure will they provide? Will it be one of authorization of military action in a country that has not provoked us? This must be answered in light of the fact that Syrian rebels have allegedly said they were the ones that unleashed chemical weapons, not Bashar al-Assad.
Dale Gavlak reported two days ago:
Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.
“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.
Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”
Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.
Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regime’s heartland of Latakia on Syria’s western coast, in purported retaliation.
“They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”
“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.
A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta named ‘J’ agreed. “Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground. They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.
“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” ‘J’ said.
Doctors who treated the chemical weapons attack victims cautioned interviewers to be careful about asking questions regarding who, exactly, was responsible for the deadly assault.
The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders added that health workers aiding 3,600 patients also reported experiencing similar symptoms, including frothing at the mouth, respiratory distress, convulsions and blurry vision. The group has not been able to independently verify the information.
More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government.
The Associated Press adds:
Syrians awoke Saturday to state television broadcasts of tanks, planes and other weapons of war, and troops training, all to a soundtrack of martial music. Assad’s government blames rebels in the Aug. 21 attack, and has threatened retaliation if it is attacked.
Residents of Damascus stocked up on food and other necessities in anticipation of strikes, with no evident sign of panic. One man, 42-year-old Talal Dowayih, said: “I am not afraid from the Western threats to Syria; they created the chemical issue as a pretext for intervention, and they are trying to hit Syria for the sake of Israel.”
In addition to the dead, the U.S. assessment reported that about 3,600 patients “displaying symptoms consistent with nerve agent exposure” were seen at Damascus-area hospitals after the attack. To that, Kerry added that “a senior regime official who knew about the attack confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime, reviewed the impact and actually was afraid they would be discovered.” He added for emphasis: “We know this.”
Right, you know dink! Name the senior official Mr. Kerry! Tell us what actually took place in Benghazi? (Crickets chirping) That’s what I thought. If we can’t trust you to be forthcoming on something that directly effects Americans, how can we trust you on something that doesn’t affect us? I trust the people on the ground there a whole lot more than the lot of the Obama administration.
Though John Kerry has dubbed Assad as a “thug and a murderer,” he apparently doesn’t know what he is talking about. It’s probably from too much sailing.
In his speech it was clear that Obama was attempting to save face.
“I’m confident in the case our government has made,” Obama said.
While he spoke of hospitals overflowing and “terrible images of the dead,” he doesn’t have any evidence that Assad used chemical weapons against his own citizens. In fact, the evidence we have and the reports we are getting actually indicates that the jihadists that Obama supports are the ones responsible for this massacre.
Don’t be surprised if Obama decides to go it alone against Syria, because he definitely does not have the backing of the international community, and I don’t think he has the backing of Congress, despite Nancy Pelosi’s beating the drums of war. He does have a lot of people who stand to make a lot of money on war with Syria though, including State Secretary John Kerry.
Indeed he needs a declaration of war from Congress per the Constitution, but the fact of the matter remains that we should not even be involved.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.