President Obama’s Case On Syria

The President makes his case on Syria.  We turn to Congress and you for reaction.

President Barack Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade towards the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, ahead of his daily briefing. (AP)

President Barack Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade towards the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, ahead of his daily briefing. (AP)

And so the President came to the “my fellow Americans” moment last night on Syria.  White House trappings.  Stern appeal.  A wrong has been done.  A wrong that threatens a dark world.  America must raise its might to respond.

But not yet.  First, a stab at diplomacy.  With the Russians.  It was not an easy sell.  Americans have become a tough audience on war, or even its glimmer.  Congress, too.  So where do we stand?

This hour, On Point:  Reaction from you and from a big line-up of members of Congress to President Obama’s call on Syria.

– Tom Ashbrook


David Gergen, senior political analyst and director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. Former Presidential adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. (@david_gergen)

Rep. Eliot Engel, Democratic member of Congress for New York’s 16th District. Ranking minority member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. (@repeliotengel)

Rep. Michael Burgess, Republican member of Congress for Texas’ 26th District. (@michaelcburgess)

Rep. Alan Grayson, Democratic member of Congress for Florida’s 9th District and a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Last week, the New York Times published his op-ed, headlined: “On Syria Vote, Trust, but Verify.” He has started an online petition against intervention in Syria at (@alangrayson)

From Tom’s Reading List

Los Angeles Times: Obama, in speech on Syria, says America can’t ‘look the other way’ — “In a rare prime-time address from the White House, Obama declared that he saw “encouraging signs” in negotiations sparked by an unexpected Russian proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles under international control. But the president also counseled caution, and argued that the U.S. must maintain the threat of an attack to put pressure on the Syrian government.”

New York Magazine: Obama Talked War Tonight, But Lucked Into Peace — “President Obama’s East Room speech tonight was unusual, and probably unique, because it raised throughout the question: Why are you giving this speech? It was originally conceived as an argument for military action in Syria, but then two things happened in quick succession to make that moot. First, public opinion turned from skeptical to wildly hostile, especially among Republicans, killing any chance of passage in the House. Next, John Kerry, or perhaps Albert Brooks, set off an accidental chain of events that relocated the crisis into the diplomatic realm.”

NBC News: Obama will try more diplomacy on Syria but warns US ‘doesn’t do pinpricks’ – “Obama pledged not to send American troops into Syria but warned: ‘The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver.'”


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