(CNN) – President Barack Obama assured war-weary Americans in his weekly address Saturday that a potential military intervention in Syria wouldn't resemble the unpopular engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Obama and his allies are hurriedly working to muster popular approval for his plan of limited strikes in Syria after they say a chemical weapon attack killed more than a thousand people in August. Lawmakers, who return to Washington next week, have been divided over whether or not to support Obama's plan.
In his address, the president reiterated his assertion that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's use of sarin gas was a threat to U.S. national security, as well as an affront to international law. And he said again that his plan wouldn't mimic the wars of the past decade, which many Americans say were mistakes.
"What we're talking about is not an open-ended intervention. This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan," Obama said, adding later: "I know that the American people are weary after a decade of war, even as the war in Iraq has ended, and the war in Afghanistan is winding down. That's why we're not putting our troops in the middle of somebody else's war."
Passage of Obama's plan for Syria in Congress is far from certain, with many lawmakers saying their constituents are overwhelmingly against U.S. action in the war-torn nation. Public opinion polls show more Americans oppose military strikes than support them.
Without saying whether or not congressional approval was necessary to begin strikes in Syria, Obama stressed Saturday that any action would be more effective if "we act together."
"We are the United States of America," he said. "We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we've seen out of Syria."