Obama is facing an uphill battle. Most Americans say they do not want a war with Syria and Congress is lukewarm on the idea of military intervention. The president would like approval from Congress to move forward – but he doesn’t need it.
Meanwhile, Susan Rice, who is African American, told the New America Foundation Monday that Obama has enough solid evidence to strike Syria and it’s the right course of action.
“There is no denying what happened on August 21. Around 2:30 in the morning, while most of Damascus was still asleep, Assad’s forces loaded warheads filled with deadly chemicals onto rockets and launched them into suburbs controlled or contested by opposition forces,” Rice said. “They unleashed hellish chaos and terror on a massive scale. Innocent civilians were jolted awake, choking on poison. Some never woke up at all. In the end, more than 1,400 were dead—more than 400 of them children.”
“In recent days, we’ve been shocked by the videos from Ghouta and other neighborhoods near Damascus,” Rice added. “As a parent, I cannot look at those pictures—those little children laying on the ground, their eyes glassy, their bodies twitching—and not think of my own two kids. I can only imagine the agony of those parents in Damascus.”
Rice, who also met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Monday, said Assad’s escalating use of chemical weapons threatens the national security of the United States.
“Every time chemical weapons are moved, unloaded, and used on the battlefield, it raises the likelihood that these weapons will fall into the hands of terrorists active in Syria, including Assad’s ally Hezbollah and al Qaeda affiliates,” Rice said. “That prospect puts Americans at risk of chemical attacks targeted at our soldiers and diplomats in the region and even potentially our citizens at home.”
Rice added that Obama has exhausted all diplomatic options and has no choice but to order a military strike against Syria.
“Failing to respond to this outrage also threatens our national security,” Rice said. “Failing to respond means more and more Syrians will die from Assad’s poisonous stockpiles. Failing to respond makes our allies and partners in the region tempting targets of Assad’s future attacks.”
“Failing to respond increases the risk of violence and instability as citizens across the Middle East and North Africa continue to struggle for their universal rights,” she added. “Failing to respond brings us closer to the day when terrorists might gain and use chemical weapons against Americans abroad and at home.”
On Tuesday, Obama will speak from the White House and take his case for attacking Syria directly to the American people.