President Barack Obama said he's considering a military strike against Syria, and described recent chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian regime as "a challenge to the world" that jeopardize U.S. national security.
President Barack Obama said he’s considering a military strike against Syria, and described recent chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian regime as “a challenge to the world” that jeopardizes U.S. national security.
“We are looking a the possibility of a limited narrow act” against Syria, Obama told reporters Friday after a meeting with Baltic leaders, cautioning that he had ”not made a final decision about various actions that might be taken.”
Syria’s use of chemical weapons last week against a rebel stronghold in a Damascus suburb “threatens our national security interests, by violating well-established international norms against the use of chemical weapons,” Obama said.
Obama stressed the limited nature of any military action. “I repeat, we’re not considering any open-ended commitment, we’re not considering any boots on the ground,” he said.
In a telephone briefing with reporters Friday afternoon, an administration official said: “What we’re contemplating would be a military response that, as I said, is limited and tailored and focused on chemical weapons.”
“We are not contemplating a military effort aimed at regime change,” the official added.
Earlier Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry called the attacks “a crime against humanity,” and argued that a failure to respond would badly damage American credibility, and endanger allies in the regime.
And Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence committee, said: “I agree with Secretary Kerry that the world cannot let such a heinous attack pass without a meaningful response, and I hope the international community will take appropriate action.”
An NBC News poll released Friday found that 50% of respondents support a “limited” military strike on Syria. But the poll also found that 50% of respondents opposed military action.
Additional reporting by Adam Serwer.