WASHINGTON (AP) - 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.
Following the speech Rep. Sean Duffy released the following statement:
“Following tonight's speech, I have moved from 'no' to 'hell no!' The President's foreign policy stance on Syria has been completely incoherent and his comments tonight did not change that. He failed to make the case to the American people that he has a plan-- let alone one that will work. Americans are not buying it and neither am I."
Prior to the speech, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin said she opposes unilateral military action in Syria because "the use of chemical weapons is a global atrocity and it demands a global response."
Baldwin spoke against a military strike Tuesday in a Senate floor speech.
The Democrat says she does not support getting the U.S. military in the middle of a brutal, years-long civil war. She says that won't strengthen America's national security.
President Barack Obama asked Congress to authorize a military strike on Syria after intelligence reports that the Assad's government used chemical weapons against its own people.
Syria has since accepted a proposal from Russia, its most powerful ally, to give up its chemical weapons stockpile.