WASHINGTON (AP/WGGB) — President Barack Obama says nobody disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria. He says that use violates international law and poses, in his words, a “danger to our security.”
Obama says the world saw thousands of videos, cellphone pictures and social media posts about the damage inflicted by the chemical weapons attack outside Damascus last month.
He says the U.S. knows that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime was responsible. He says Assad’s forces prepared the attack in the days beforehand and that they distributed gas masks to their personnel, then fired rockets into neighborhoods the regime was trying to rid of opposition forces.
Obama spoke in a rare prime-time television address address to the nation Tuesday night from the East Room of the White House.
During his speech he added that he long resisted calls for military action in Syria because he didn’t think force could solve the Syrian civil war. But he says he changed his mind after Syria’s government gassed its own citizens.
He also said the United States cannot be the world’s policeman, but he adds that the nation can save Syrian children from being gassed to death.
Obama noted that it was within the U.S.’ ability to prevent Syrian President Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons again by launching military strikes. Obama also said other nations’ leaders would see the consequences of using such weapons and think twice.
The President said the images and videos of children in pain and dying require the United States to act. He said military strikes on Syria would make Syrian and U.S. children alike safer in the long run.
But Obama conceded it is impossible for the United States to right every wrong.