President Barack Obama announced from the White House grounds Saturday that the U.S. should take military action against Syria, but said he would wait long enough to first seek congressional approval.
Citing “the worst chemical weapon attack of the 21st century” and insisting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government was to blame for “what the world can plainly see,” namely that over 1,400 people lie dead in Syria after a chemical attack, Obama said U.S. assets were in place to attack.
The president said the strike order, however, was not “time sensitive,” and the attack could occur any time in the near future, leaving room for Congress to open up a debate on the action.
“I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress,” Obama declared.
He followed by asserting, “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.”
He also said he was “looking forward to the debate.”
Notable among the president’s comments was his insistence the U.S. “would not put boots on the ground.”
Obama further said he was “confident” in the case for action his government has made even without a corroborating report from United Nations inspectors and “comfortable” going forward without the approval of the U.N. Security Council.
The president then left the podium, deliberately avoiding questions as a reporter called out, asking if Obama would still launch a strike even if Congress refused approval.
Obama did not answer.
Thirty minutes after making the announcement of pending military action, Obama left the White House for the golf course at Fort Belvoir in Virginia with Vice President Biden and trip director Marvin Nicholson. Nicholson is a frequent golfing partner with the president.