On the eve of the 9-11 anniversary, President Obama laid out an emotional case for a new military action. During the majority of his 17-minute speech from the East Room of the White House, the President tried to address the concerns of opponents to a Syria strike. President Obama argued that although Syria poses no direct threat to the United States, a military response to the use of chemical weapons is in our “national interest.” He said that our nation has an “exceptional” responsibility to punish nations that use weapons of mass destruction, and he asserted that we “know” the Assad regime was behind the attacks.
In addition to laying out his reasons for military action, President Obama made an emotion appeal to those who oppose the strike. He invoked the Holocaust and World War I, and said, “What kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas and we choose to look the other way?” However, the President did call on Congress to postpone a vote on military action, in light of a possible diplomatic resolution.
Despite his best efforts, it's unlikely that the President swayed many opinions in his favor. Reviews from lawmakers after the speech were as wide-ranging as they were before the address. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “The president justly made clear tonight that the threat of military action remains on the table.” And, Senator Chuck Grassley said, “I don't think the case for military action has been made.”
As our nation commemorates the somber day that nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives, we must consider the fact that we're still at war more than a decade later. Regardless of whether diplomatic efforts in Syria are successful, many continue to ask whether we should be starting yet another war.