Obama in weekly address: Syria won't be another Iraq or Afghanistan
September 7th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
12 months ago

Obama in weekly address: Syria won't be another Iraq or Afghanistan

(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."


Filed under: President Obama • Syria
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    Won't be another Iraq or Afghanistan? Maybe that is why the republican domestic terrorists are reluctant to sign on. They want a place where we can be at war for another decade.

    September 7, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  2. onlyfacts

    Ok, so we're not putting our troops in the middle of somebody else's war. Are we putting our missiles in the middle of somebody else's kids bedroom? We always end up killing more innocent people than the original "evil doer" killed. Can Obama tell us this won't happen this time, while sleeps with HIS family in HIS safe comfortable house?

    September 7, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  3. ED1

    Our want to be leader has given more Countries to laugh at us again with the never ending moving Red Line.

    Just like Obamacare we don't want it stay out of other Countries Wars and fix this Country.

    September 7, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  4. ED1

    If Obama wants to go to War in Kerry's own words he doesn't need Congress approval but the he wouldn't have anyone to blame.

    Obama needs to stop trying to be a tough guy everybody in the World knows he's not kind of like Carter.

    September 7, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  5. Ron2

    "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."

    Because he can assure us that Countries like Russia and allies of Syria will not strike the US dragging us into war. Are Americans really this stupid? Apparently, they are.

    September 7, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. Joan

    The media should stop politicizing this whole issue so much and just dwelling on the negatives. What has happened since the President began these steps? Assad has not used gas on his people once since this started as this would be easy to prove now since he is in the world's spotlight. If he does, then the international community would see how horrible he is, that he lied and he should be held accountable. His hands are now tied on this one. Second, the President's opposition kept calling for months for him to actually put boots on the ground and be more forceful in Syria. So now by going to Congress he is calling their bluff and if they vote his limited attacks down, then they take the responsibility. He can honestly say he tried but as a democratic country he is bound by their wishes. The President is a very shrewd politician and you can be sure he did think this through very carefully. If nothing happens and Assad continues using gas and gets more vicious, the President can say "I told you so".

    September 7, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. JasonQuick

    Precisely, it will be more like LIBYA.

    September 7, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  8. Alex

    Oh just like Afghanistan and Iraq weren't another Vietnam? History is doomed to repeat itself. So is stupidity.

    September 7, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Evergreen

    Yes, Mr. President the country is war-weary. Afganistan, Iraq, and the constant beckering in Congress has exhausted us. The US and UN must make this Russia's problem.

    September 7, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  10. don in albuquerque

    Sorry, Mr. President. But with all the lying, and misspoken statements, I have heard from both sides in the last two or three Presidents I have to ask myself if I would buy a used care from anybody in Washington DC. Answer-maybe not.

    September 7, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. michael

    I have more confidence in this invasion, not becoming an Iraq or Afganistan, because President Obama said so! But, if we had an repuglican president WORLD WAR III would have already started against, Iran, Syria, N Korea with less provocation! I hope Americans are not stupid to believe the repuglican war hawks now acting like anti-war activist! These are the same guy who almost bankrupted our nation feeding defense contactors and dragging on wars in Iraq and Afganistan! On the other hand President Obama did invade Libya, did what he said he would do, in less than 2 months, and it cost American taxpayers not even 1 billion dollars and no American lives! YEA, I HAVE MORE CONFIDENCE IN PRESIDENT OBAMA!

    September 7, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. jpmichigan

    Obama can not make these assertions that Syria will not be another Iraq or Afghanistan, for no ones knows what Iran and Russia will do. NO ONE CAN! It is pure/simple speculation. Why does a nation have to pay for ones mistakes. Obama and only Obama set the red line, which was made a year ago. Does the killing of innocent children matter only if chemical weapons were used? What is wrong with having 100% reliable proof by waiting for the UN results? Didn't inadequate intel info fooled us once? Let the international community through the UN handle this, like they did in Bosnia?

    September 7, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. robertlbarnard

    Obama is justifying a war on Syria talking about "international order" and the "ashes" of WWII. The UN was constructed by the leaders who knew first hand the grave stakes and destruction of a World War. It would seem with their substantial experiences provides insight regarding restraint. Something our dear leaders are forgetting.

    September 7, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Tampa Tim

    Now that the republican war machine is going to vote against any military intervention in Syria, does this mean that the defense industry and arms manufacturers will stop contributing to their campaigns?

    September 7, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. jamie

    Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me. USA STAY OUT SYRIA PERIOD

    September 7, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Thomas

    We Americans have changed thanks to GW Bush and the Iraq war.

    I hope all the displaced Syrian refuges are placed in Texas .

    September 7, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  17. Tigas

    Credibility...
    "you can keep your current doctor..."
    "The NSA does not spy on American citizens..."
    "When I am elected I will cut the national debt in half..."
    "The IRS did not target groups..."

    Why worry about your integrity when you don't have it. Come on... What is one more lie. The lemmings are still following you. Show that "flexibility" that you flaunted. Our al-Qaeda allies need help!

    September 7, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Cephus

    Who ever gassed the helpless children have to pay for it, actions have consequences.

    September 7, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Tom1940

    The very sad fact is, the President cannot foresee how use of Cruise Missiles in Syria will turn out. Iran and others have promised "retaliation", which is? That makes this "unforeseen consequences" factors go through the roof. The Administration has not made it's case for supporting the Presidents request on the Syrian Question, and the Congress should turn it down.

    September 7, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. ST

    Folks, be sensible. It will not be like Iraq or Afghanistan. If he will not employ the troops in Syria, what will Syria be fighting with? Is this very difficult for anyone to understand? Those who are arguing, do it by thinkingfirst and not for the sake of arguing only.

    September 7, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. onlyfacts

    I am 100% against any strike or war, but I also realize my level of detailed intel on the subject is about 2%. I am also thankful we don't have a trigger happy president who is trying to do the best thing based on his intel. So many of you Obama haters think you are experts with all the answers. Turn off Fox "news" and learn something!

    September 7, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. jamie

    War is war no matter where on this earth it is at Obama. STAY OUT OF SYRIA PERIOD OBAMA.

    September 7, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. ST

    @Tom 1940
    Are you all that scared of Iran retaliation? That should not worry. If they will do it, they will be answered in a way which they will never forget forever. US has the best army on earth and you should be proud of it. Keep your fingers crossed, each and everything will be taken of.

    September 7, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. G

    republicans want something bigger-bigger-bigger .and no means no

    September 7, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. NameFrank Deery

    Well, Obama turned "a blind eye" in favor of
    fundraising and procratinating two years ago when any diplomatic or economic sanctions
    might have worked to wake Assad up. Now,
    After much hem-hawing and bungled, stupid statements(red lines), Obama's precious "image" is on the line. He, our most inept President, will screw this up, too.

    In 1982, Assad's father decimated Hama, an Islamic Brotherhood city, with bombs and poison gas attacks. Reagan did nothing-as he did when Saddam Hussein used chemicals against Iranians and Kurds in the
    1980's. Thus, Bush's concern about Iraq, backed by Bill Clinton at that time! Reseach!

    Assad is from a minority Islamic sect (Alawite)ruling a Suuni majority. This is a civil war among Islamists, sixth century tribes struggling into today. If Obama, raised in part by Muslum paramours, does not know this, where is the CIA? NSA? FBI? Obama?

    Golfing!

    September 7, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
1 2