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Obama To Ask Congress For Approval On Syria...interesting Development Here.


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The White House walk-and-talk that changed Obama's mind on Syria

By Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent

A stroll around the White House grounds with his top adviser on Friday evening changed President Barack Obama’s mind about getting Congress to sign off on a military strike in Syria, senior White House officials told NBC News.

Obama had been leaning toward attacking Syria without a congressional vote for the past week, the officials said.

Obama was convinced he had the evidence to back up a strike and as a result dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry to make a passionate case for U.S. action. But only hours after Kerry called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "a thug and a murderer" and accused his regime of using chemical weapons to kill 1,429 people, Obama changed his mind as he walked across the South Lawn with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the officials said.

NBC's Chuck Todd describes the political process for seeking congressional authorization for a strike on Syria, and says that the president's decision to wait on Congress is a departure from 30 years of strengthening executive branch power.

Returning from that walk, the president called his advisers in the early evening to inform them of his new decision.

The plan was immediately met with robust resistance from a whiplashed Obama team who had listened to Kerry lay out the administration's strongest case yet for action against Assad. "My friends, it matters here if nothing is done," Kerry had argued. "It matters if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens."

Obama's National Security Council had believed since last weekend that requiring a vote was not even on the table and that “consultation” in the form of congressional briefings and behind-the-scenes conversation was all that would be needed before a strike. One senior official noted that no key leaders in Congress had specifically requested a vote on military intervention.

Officials said that after the president met with national security advisers on Aug. 24, they determined the evidence showed Syria’s Assad regime had used chemical weapons in an attack earlier this month. At that time, the president indicated he was leaning toward a strike.

But a growing number of Congressional members were beginning to question the administration’s strategy by the end of the week. And an NBC News poll released Friday morning showed that nearly 80 percent of Americans agreed that the president should seek approval in advance of taking military action.

Officials said Obama also was influenced by Thursday’s lively debate in the House of Commons, where Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote in Parliament to authorize participation in an allied strike against Syria. Cameron had been a staunch advocate of military action but was chastened in the wake of the vote. “It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action,” Cameron said. “I get that, and the government will act accordingly.”

While Obama's advisers argued Friday night in private that the humiliating defeat for Cameron starkly illustrated the risks of asking for congressional input, the president responded that the vote in Parliament demonstrated exactly why he should seek a vote on this side of the Atlantic, senior officials told NBC News.

And, the president insisted, seeking legislative backing was the approach most consistent with his philosophy. While debate within the administration continued into late Friday, by Saturday morning the senior advisers acquiesced.

Speaking to the nation early Saturday afternoon, Obama said he was “mindful that I'm the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. I've long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

President Obama says the nation should and will take action against the Syrian government, but not without congressional approval. Watch his full speech.

The president also noted, “while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective.”

White House aides said they are fairly confident that Congress will grant them the authority to launch a strike, although they maintain that Obama would be acting within his constitutional authority even if Congress rejects the authorization and Obama orders military intervention.

Congress is not scheduled to return to Washington for debate until Sept. 9. The administration decided not to call them back early due to the Jewish holidays this week, a delay that the Pentagon also signed off on, saying that the wait won’t diminish U.S. military capabilities in the region. There’s an upside to that cooling-off period too, aides said. The delay gives Obama time to make his case to Congress and to keep pushing for international support.

“Here's my question for every member of Congress and every member of the global community,” the president said Saturday. “What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?”

While the United States does not believe it needs military help in a strike, Obama will push allies for political backing when he attends the G20 summit in Russia next week.

Reaction from Congress was mostly positive in the hours after Obama detailed his position. A statement from House Speaker John Boehner other GOP leaders stated: “We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised” and noted Congress would begin debate when they return to Washington. And House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, "President Obama is right that the debate and authorization by Congress for action will make our country and the response in Syria stronger.”

But a key group of Syrian rebels who have been fighting the Assad regime reacted in surprise and anger to the decision.

"The death will continue in Syria because of the (failure of the) leadership of the United States to act decisively at this point," said Louay Safi, a spokesman for the Syrian National Council. "Obama had the moral responsibility (to) act and

not waiver."

Carrie Dann contributed to this report.

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This is an interesting one for me.

On the one hand, you have a public that is weary of international conflicts and US involvement in them. They are more supportive of air strikes than full military intervention, but there's a hesitancy that Republicans can try to use in opposition to intervening in Syria.

On the other hand, do Republicans want to argue against the heart-breaking pictures of dead children? And with Obama now openly supporting military intervention, the public opinion is going to shift significantly as reluctant Democrats take the administration's side.

Interestingly, I think that Obama is making the argument that was the one Bush could have correctly made - international law prohibits these actions and there needs to be consequences for breaking international law. There was no question that Saddam had violated international rules and laws by dismissing the inspectors.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the public will become slightly more supportive of military action (not sure how supportive, though), but I'm not entirely sure yet how all of this plays out. It's a fascinating situation, politically speaking.

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If Congress doesn't approve he can still go ahead with it anyway like what Clinton did with Serbia. That said, I hope we do not get directly involved in Syria. With Serbia you had clear sides with the one we were against running death camps against Bosniaks while with Syria I doubt anyone knows what the **** is really going on.

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Now President Obama knows what it is like to be President Bush. The job just looked so darned easy while he was campaigning. That is why they always say, the only one who knows how tough a job being President of the United States is, is former Presidents of the United States.

If Obama's heart is really not into this, he has a way out, but if he feels strongly about it, he is going to have to have some cajones. On the former, he can send it to congress, and if they vote it down, he is out, and he can say he tried. On the latter, he avoids congress and does it anyway. With the feelings on military action not being very enthusiastic, he will need some big cajones.

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This is an interesting one for me.

On the one hand, you have a public that is weary of international conflicts and US involvement in them. They are more supportive of air strikes than full military intervention, but there's a hesitancy that Republicans can try to use in opposition to intervening in Syria.

On the other hand, do Republicans want to argue against the heart-breaking pictures of dead children? And with Obama now openly supporting military intervention, the public opinion is going to shift significantly as reluctant Democrats take the administration's side.

Interestingly, I think that Obama is making the argument that was the one Bush could have correctly made - international law prohibits these actions and there needs to be consequences for breaking international law. There was no question that Saddam had violated international rules and laws by dismissing the inspectors.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the public will become slightly more supportive of military action (not sure how supportive, though), but I'm not entirely sure yet how all of this plays out. It's a fascinating situation, politically speaking.

I am curious as to your position on military strikes. You normally are bursting with opinions.

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I am curious as to your position on military strikes. You normally are bursting with opinions.

Don't know enough about it yet. I understand the competing arguments and generally I'm skeptical of interfering with other countries. Syria is not a threat to US national security, I think that much is clear. This is a problem for the international community, though. Syria is doing something that the international community has said it will not tolerate, so the international community has to respond to maintain credibility.

What I do know is this - if military action is justified as enforcing international law then the US cannot be the only or primary country involved. This has to be more of an international operation, similar to the Balkan conflict under Clinton.

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I'm pretty sure that the whole country of Syria could be full of nothing but dead bodies and pictures taken from every angle and my opinion won't change.

Further, I find it hilarious how hypocritical Obama and Biden are now that the shoe is on the other foot. Oh well, all part of keeping the machine well oiled and running huh?

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It's time to stop playing world police. The world survived for millions of years without the US and they'll continue to survive

I honestly don't mind it if there are clear sides, crimes against humanity are being committed (eg. Serbia running death camps against Bosniaks along with frequent massacres), an international coalition is formed, and a plan is formed for so order can be quickly established afterward (something that wasn't done in Libya). Syria, meanwhile, is chaotic with the only clear side being Assad with dozens and maybe hundreds of rebel groups with the strongest ones being Sunni extremists, we don't even know who really launched the latest chemical attacks, there is no international coalition and even NATO is backing out of this, and there is no plan to re-establish order. Intervention here will do nothing but make problems worse in Syria while we have nothing to gain out of it.

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Obama is doing the exact same thing Democrats FLAMED GW Bush in 2003 for. But of course Obama worshipers / Bush haters are still waiving the pom poms for Obama.

Hypocrisy at it's finest.

Could you point out instances of this happening? All I've experienced has been opposition to this from all sides of the political spectrum.

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Obama is doing the exact same thing Democrats FLAMED GW Bush in 2003 for. But of course Obama worshipers / Bush haters are still waiving the pom poms for Obama.

Hypocrisy at it's finest.

\

once again your retelling of history is hysterically wrong.

Bush and his cronies made the case that Iraq was a THREAT to the US, and that they had weapons and were going to unleash them on the American public. Then they continued that farce by trying to link Saddam and Iraq to 911.

At no point in time has Obama or anyone in his administration came out and said Syria is going to bomb the US. At no point have they said Syria is a threat to the US.

They are making the case that this kind of behavior is not acceptable and should not go unpunished.

There is a very broad and distinct difference between the two......but then again you do not know the difference between socialism and social media.... so we kind of expect that toy fly over your head.

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Obama is doing the exact same thing Democrats FLAMED GW Bush in 2003 for. But of course Obama worshipers / Bush haters are still waiving the pom poms for Obama.

Hypocrisy at it's finest.

Obama is exaggerating the intelligence to argue that Syria has an active nuclear weapons program? Because that's what Bush did with Iraq.

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Right, Iraq was no threat to the US. But neither is Syria.

Oh and Syria using chem weapons on their own people is wrong.

But Saddam did it too... But we had no business doing anything there right? rolleyes.gif

To my knowledge, Obama hasn't said that Syria is a direct threat to the US, let alone accuse them of having an active nuclear weapons program. Bush's justification for the war in Iraq wasn't "look at this terrible person gassing his own people".

I'm not sure that is a sufficient reason for Syria, but at least Obama has not overstated the case the way that Bush did.

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ric

\

once again your retelling of history is hysterically wrong.

Bush and his cronies made the case that Iraq was a THREAT to the US, and that they had weapons and were going to unleash them on the American public. Then they continued that farce by trying to link Saddam and Iraq to 911.

At no point in time has Obama or anyone in his administration came out and said Syria is going to bomb the US. At no point have they said Syria is a threat to the US.

They are making the case that this kind of behavior is not acceptable and should not go unpunished.

There is a very broad and distinct difference between the two......but then again you do not know the difference between socialism and social media.... so we kind of expect that toy fly over your head.

Condoleeza Rice:

The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly Saddam can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.

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To my knowledge, Obama hasn't said that Syria is a direct threat to the US, let alone accuse them of having an active nuclear weapons program. Bush's justification for the war in Iraq wasn't "look at this terrible person gassing his own people".

I'm not sure that is a sufficient reason for Syria, but at least Obama has not overstated the case the way that Bush did.

Check out this irrefutable evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program.

3dDlQVQ.jpg

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Right, Iraq was no threat to the US. But neither is Syria.

Oh and Syria using chem weapons on their own people is wrong.

But Saddam did it too... But we had no business doing anything there right? rolleyes.gif

\

The Original argument for invading Iraq was NOT " saddam is killing his people"... it was that Iraq was nuclear threat.

The whole " saddam is killing his people" was a change in reason once it was found out their original information was wrong.

The 2 are not the same in any stretch of sane imagination.

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Everything Syria has done to justify attacking them Saddam Hussein had done. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Wait, you supported the war in Iraq. Are you saying that Obama SHOULD take military action against Syria because, according to you, it's the same justification? IOW, is your argument that Obama is RIGHT here?

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Everything Syria has done to justify attacking them Saddam Hussein had done. Hypocrisy at its finest.

BUT THAT IS NOT WHY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION PLEADED TO INVADE IRAQ..

The SOLE REASON we invaded Iraq was because they had weapons of mass destruction and were a threat to America...........or so George bush would have you believe.

I know you have proven your stupidity time and time and time again but this is stupid even for you............ and believe me that is an accomplishment

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