Obama tells nation that Syria is 'not another Iraq or Afghanistan'

WASHINGTON Sat Sep 7, 2013 1:00pm EDT

1 of 2. U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media during a news conference at the G20 summit in St.Petersburg September 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told his war-weary country on Saturday that America needs to use limited military force in Syria to deter future chemical weapons attacks, but said he did not want to enter into another costly and protracted war.

"This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan," Obama said in his weekly radio and internet address, previewing arguments he will make in a nationally televised address on Tuesday.

"Any action we take would be limited, both in time and scope - designed to deter the Syrian government from gassing its own people again and degrade its ability to do so," Obama said.

A week ago, Obama said he felt limited strikes in Syria were needed, but added he wanted to ask Congress to authorize the use of military force.

Neither Democratic nor Republican lawmakers have been enthused about the prospect, partly because Americans strongly oppose getting involved in another Middle Eastern conflict.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Tuesday said 56 percent of Americans believed the United States should not intervene, while only 19 percent supported action.

"I know that the American people are weary after a decade of war, even as the war in Iraq has ended, and the war in Afghanistan is winding down. That's why we're not putting our troops in the middle of somebody else's war," Obama said in his recorded address.

Obama and his top officials plan an intensive lobbying effort on Capitol Hill next week, scheduling meetings with undecided lawmakers.

Obama said failing to respond to the August 21 attack that Washington blames on President Bashar al-Assad's government and that killed hundreds of children and more than 1,400 people in total, would threaten U.S. national security by increasing the chance of future chemical attacks from the Syrian government, terrorist groups, or other nations.

"We are the United States of America. We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we've seen out of Syria," he said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (41)
spagester wrote:
We’ve heard this all before. Bush didn’t turn a “blind eye” to the atrocities in Iraq an he’s been demonized ever since.

In America there can never be a true winner. We see things mostly though the lens our favorite party gives to us to look through.

Sep 07, 2013 6:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
tpvero wrote:
It is rather sad to see Mr O. take this ridiculous position. He is not only making us all look bad, he is destroying all the hope he told us we should have if we put him in office. Now I am hoping he just doesn’t spit up all over himself. It is not bad enough that he has coerced some countries into joining him that are only paying him lip service for some deal they promised, but then there are the other vultures like Canada, Australia and Britain who follow the war wagons to pick up bits of business here and there. I can not figure out what France is doing except that their leader is as silly and inexperienced at war as Mr Obama is. Leaders should not easily sacrifice resources that should be going to the people who pay the taxes. Put Assad in front of a world court if you think he needs to be punished. We need to get back to having trials and forgo the hysterical pronouncements of guilt because-we-say- so.

Sep 07, 2013 6:33am EDT  --  Report as abuse
sithan wrote:
Today, it is common to hear powerful Americans say, “if China is the new Rome, USA is Greece”. So they are proud to be the cradle of civilization. Nobody in USA asks the real Greeks what they think of it . Nobody remembers that the Greece were conquered by the Persians, were later conquered by the Romans, after it conquered by the Turks.

The Greeks had a word to describe the excesses that led Greece to lose their vitality, their independence and even a link to his story: hybris (Greek ὕβρις). The pride that the mighty Americans feel of their “Greek condition”, despising secular curse that befell real Greece, suggests that they are now completely obsessed, dominated by delusions of grandeur, invincibility and immortality caused by the goddess who runs the hybris to people violent and proud.

I know, I know … for Americans I am just an inferior person, ignorant and powerless. I know , I know … nothing I say will be taken seriously. Cassandra is my personal Daimon? I do not know, I ‘m not Greek. But I know I really like the idea of being able to tell the truth and not be heard. In the case of the USA this did not bother me or make me sad.

Sep 07, 2013 6:43am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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