WASHINGTON (September 10, 2013)--President Barack Obama pledged in a nationally-televised speech Tuesday night that he won't deploy ground combat troops or wage a prolonged air campaign against Syria and promised he would not pursue an open-ended military action.
Mr. Obama, in an attempt to bolster flagging support for a possible military strike against President Bashar Assad's government, said he realizes that many Americans are weary of military action after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He said the limitations he was imposing on the potential strike would ensure against the U.S. sliding down a slippery slope into another prolonged war.
Mr. Obama made his remarks as U.S. officials explored whether a Russian proposal to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control might work, and as the administration continued to seek congressional support for an attack.
He asked Congress Tuesday night, however, to postpone a vote while the diplomatic solution is pursued.
U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, whose district includes Fort Hood, said he would vote against authorizing the use of military force.
“My constituents and the majority of Americans have voiced their opposition to the President’s ill-conceived plan for military action in Syria,” he said.
“As a former judge, evidence and facts are crucial to my decision making. I do not see the evidence or facts to justify an act of war against Syria. I believe the President’s decision to attack Syria is not based on defending the security of our nation, but is based on defending his political agenda and his ‘red line,’” he said.
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Weatherford, whose district also includes the Army post, said the administration is in over its head.
“The president’s original plan was to strike Syria, and send a sign to all nations that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. But by stalling for nearly a month while broadcasting our potential strategy to the entire world, the U.S. is now in the weakest possible position,” he said.
“I’ve said from the very beginning that in order for me to support such a strike, the President would first have to define our mission, our exit strategy, and the costs associated. After two briefings from the White House, they still haven’t answered any of these."
“While the atrocities in Syria are unforgivable, their civil war does not present a clear and present threat to the U.S.,” he said.
Mr. Obama said he long resisted calls for military action in Syria because he didn't think force could solve the Syrian civil war, but said he he changed his mind after Syria's government gassed its own citizens on Aug. 21.
Mr. Obama said no one disputes that chemical weapons were used and said thousands of Syrians have died as a result.
He said the images and videos of men, women and children are sickening and demand a response.