WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama has delayed possible U.S. military strikes on Syria to allow time for diplomatic work with Russia, China and American allies in forcing Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control.
On Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” Third District Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV) said he thinks the seriousness of the threat of such a U.S. strike forced opened the doors to diplomacy.
“I believe that that threat has been productive, thus far, in moving the scenario from an imminent military strike to a possible, however slight, however unworkable it appears right now, but, nevertheless, at least a door opening to a diplomatic solution,” said Rahall.
For the first time, he noted, the Syrian government is admitting to having chemical weapons while Russia has moved into a negotiating position.
During his Tuesday night address from the White House’s East Room, President Obama made a moral argument for intervention and said the Syrian government’s use of chemicals in an attack that involved civilians on Aug. 21 presented a danger to American security and violated the world’s conscience.
He asked, “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?”
Rahall said the U.S. has a moral obligation to work with all allies in the Middle East region, but also take military action if those diplomatic efforts do not work. “I understand the tremendous opposition to a military strike, but I also believe that we do have a moral compass here as a part of the human race,” said Rahall.
“We have a moral responsibility to enforce what 98 percent of the world has said is illegal and should be wiped off the face of the Earth and that is chemical warfare.”
President Obama said the U.S. military presence would continue in the region to keep pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad and did not rule out a future U.S. military strike.