President Obama outlined his case for military action in Syria in his weekly address Saturday ahead of a major speech he will deliver on Syria next week.
“We are the United States of America. We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen out of Syria,” Obama said.
“Failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again, that they would fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us and it would send a horrible signal to other nations that there would be no consequences for their use of these weapons,” he said.
Obama’s weekly address focused on Syria one week after he said he would go to Congress to receive authorization to use force.
Since then, a number of lawmakers have lined up against authorizing military action, and many others are still on the fence.
In his address, Obama tried to rebut the arguments being made against intervening.
He said that military action in Syria would not be an “open-ended intervention.”
“This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan,” he said, repeating a sound bite he’d used this past week.
“There would be no American boots on the ground,” he added. “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 is set to address the nation from the White House on Tuesday to try to sell the public on the need for military action in Syria. Public opinion polls and a flood of calls to congressional offices have shown public opinion is against intervention.
Many lawmakers have cited their constituents in their opposition to voting for military strikes in Syria.
The president noted the public sentiment in his address Saturday.
“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,” he said. “That’s why we’re not putting our troops in the middle of somebody else’s war.
“We can’t ignore chemical weapons attacks like this one – even if they happen halfway around the world,” he said.
The Senate is preparing for a vote on Syria authorization on Wednesday, after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution allowing 90 days of military action this week.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday that the House would take up a Syria resolution in the next two weeks.