"A failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction and embolden Assad's ally, Iran, which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon or to take a more peaceful path."
President Barack Obama says he long resisted calls for military action in Syria but that the situation changed after Syria's government gassed its own citizens.
Obama on Tuesday used a televised address to the nation to explain his thinking on the ongoing fighting in Syria. He said the use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21 requires the United States to respond with a military strike to deter future use of such weapons.
Obama said no one disputes that chemical weapons were used and said thousands of Syrians have died from them. He said the images and videos of men, women and children are sickening and demand a response.
Obama said, quoting, "We cannot resolve someone else's civil war through force" but said the United States could protect Syrian children.
President Barack Obama says the United States cannot be the world's policeman, but he adds that the nation can save Syrian children from being gassed to death.
Using a rare prime-time television address to the nation, Obama on Tuesday said it was within the U.S.' ability to prevent Syrian President Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons again by launching military strikes. Obama also said other nations' leaders would see the consequences of using such weapons and think twice.
Obama said the images and videos of children in pain and dying require the United States to act. He said military strikes on Syria would make Syrian and U.S. children alike safer in the long run.
But Obama conceded it is impossible for the United States to right every wrong.
President Barack Obama has ordered the U.S. military to maintain its current posture to keep the pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime should diplomacy fail.
In his televised address Tuesday night, the president outlined his plans to respond to the use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb last month that the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 people. Obama says he's working closely with world leaders.
He says he's continuing discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while dispatching Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with his Russian counterpart on Thursday. Obama also says he's speaking with leaders of France and Britain and will work with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the United Nations Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons.
President Barack Obama is pledging that he won't deploy ground combat troops or wage a prolonged air campaign against Syria.
In his speech to the nation Tuesday seeking public support for a possible military strike against President Bashar Assad's government, the president also promised he would not pursue an open-ended military action.
Obama said he realized that many Americans were weary of military action after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said the limitations he was imposing on the potential strike would ensure against the U.S. sliding down a slippery slope into another prolonged war.
Obama made his remarks as U.S. officials explore whether a Russian proposal to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control might work, and as the administration seeks congressional support for an attack.