Obama seeks congressional authorization for air strikes on Syria

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Demonstrators in Washington. Germany's backing for intervention would raise the stakes.

Credit:

Paul J. Richards

US President Barack Obama announced Saturday in a Rose Garden address that he intends to seek congressional approval for air strikes on Syria, noting that US forces are ready to launch an attack whenever word is given. 

In the afternoon address, Obama expressed his view that US forces "should take military action against Syrian targets," and appealed to Congress to give their approval to air strikes — considered in the wake of Assad's alleged chemical attack on civilians. 

Read more from GlobalPost: In selling response to Syria, Obama borrows from Bush playbook 

"This attack is an assault on human dignity," said Obama of Assad's alleged chemical assault on his own people, deeming it the worst such attack of the 21st century. "It also presents a serious danger to our national security," he added. 

"We cannot and will not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus," Obama said, noting that the strike would not involve US soldiers within Syria and would be limited in its scope. 

Obama emphasized US readiness to stage an attack on Syria in his address, noting that an attack could come "tomorrow, next week or one month from now," and that he is "prepared to give that order." 

"Some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment," said Obama in the address, with Vice President Joe Biden present. "Today I'm asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are united as one nation."

Congressional leaders have agreed to schedule a debate and a vote on a potential Syrian airstrike when they return on September 9th.