Last night President Barack Obama gave a short speech on what’s going on with Syria. If you didn't catch it or if you're not quite sure what it was all about, check out below for some important highlights.
+ Things Changed Because of the Chemical Attack
President Obama said that while America has done humanitarian work for Syrians affected by the civil war, he has resisted a military response. His opinion changed, however, after chemical weapons were used on Syrian civilians. The president says there is no doubt Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is behind the attack. Chemical weapons are condemned by nearly everyone as crimes against humanity.
+ Things Will Get Worse If There Is No Response
President Obama believes that not responding to the chemical attack will make things worse. “If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons,” he said. “As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them.” If that happens, American troops might have to face chemical weapons, and it would also be simpler for terrorists to acquire these weapons.
+ A Targeted Military Strike Would Send a Message
Because of the potential increase of chemical weapons, President Obama believed the best thing to do was have a targeted military strike. “The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use,” he said.
+ It Would Not Be Like Iraq or Afghanistan
President Obama said the proposed military strike in Syria would not be like Iraq or Afghanistan. “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria,” he said. “I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo. This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective, deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad’s capabilities.”
+ There Is Still Hope For Diplomacy
Despite this talk of a strike, there is still hope that peaceful negotiations can happen. There are some “encouraging signs” coming from Syria, with the Assad regime saying that they'd join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which would mean an end to their chemical weapons use. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry will see if things can change through diplomacy, and the president has postponed a vote to use military force.
What are your thoughts on the speech, the situation in Syria and what can be done about it? Let us know below!