Nightly News   |  August 28, 2013

Russia blocks action against Syria at UN

As the world has watched devastating images of the dead in Syria, the drumbeat for the US to take action is growing louder. But questions remain as to what a military strike against Syria would accomplish for President Obama. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> first, the rumblings in this city about a possible military attack against syria as early as this week over its use of chemical weapons . tonight the pentagon says the u.s. military is ready to attack but in an interview this evening president obama says he has not made a decision to order a military strike . and new pressure on the president. the speaker of the house is demanding he make the case for any military action against syria . we want to begin our coverage with nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell in our washington newsroom. andrea, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, lester. diplomacy came to a dead end add the united nations when the russians again blocked any action against syria . but tonight the president faces a new political challenge as you mentioned from the republican speaker of the house , asking how a military strike serves america's national security ? tonight mr. obama spoke to judy woodruff and gwen about how close he is to taking military action .

>> first of all, i've not made a decision. i have gotten options from our military, and had extensive xugss buy the national security team. we are consulting with our allies, with the international community , and, you know, i have no interest in any kind of open-ended conflict in syria , but we do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they're held accountable.

>> reporter: the president's chief partner against assad, british prime minister david cameron called a special session of parliament tomorrow to justify retaliating against the regime.

>> we have to confront something that a war crime , something that is a crime against humanity.

>> reporter: despite the devastating images of dead men, women and children that have shocked the world and u.s. claims of hard intelligence, even today a week later the syrian ambassador to the u.n. accused the rebels of gassing government troops.

>> dozens of syrian soldiers are treated currently in hospitals due to this abuse of chemical agent by the terrorist armed groups operating in the countryside of damascus.

>> reporter: the warships are ready, targets chosen, limited cruise missile strikes and the regime in command and control , but questions tonight from some experts about what a imt willed strike without a broader strat yi would accomplish for the president.

>> when you're using military power you ought to know what is the political purpose you're trying to achieve. and if it's to stop chemical attacks, a limited military strike won't do it art as for congress, the white house will brief key members tomorrow but claims the president does not need their rival and it's clear from objections tonight the president is likely to face a political fire storm over syria . lester.