Military strike on Syria legitimate: White House

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 10:45

Washington: The US decision to launch a military strike against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria is "legitimate", the White House said on Monday.

"The answer is yes and a legitimate response," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference when asked does US President Barack Obama think it would be legal to launch military strikes in Syria.

"The President believes that congressional authorisation enhances the argument that it`s important in this case, because of the facts based on the assessment given by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, that we can act militarily in a day or a week or a month and have the desired impact that we seek," he said.

"Given that, he felt it was very important to get congressional approval, but he`s also made clear that he believes he has the authority as commander-in-chief and president to take action," Carney said.

"The size and scope of the contemplated military action is small in comparison to...Large-scale, open-ended military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with enormous cost to military families, sacrifice, bravery and courage, and obviously enormous financial costs," he said.

Carney said it is strongly held view that a leader...Who has gone so far as to fire chemical weapons, sarin gas, and gassed his own people to death has long ago "forsaken" any opportunity or credibility he might have to continue to lead his people.

Alleging that Syria under Assad regime is "a client of the Russians", he said the US has not been able to achieve action from the United Nations Security Council.

"It simply cannot be the case that in a circumstance like that, a violation of a prohibition against chemical weapons use should be ignored...With all the consequences of ignoring that," he said.

"So the President is making his case. We obviously have received international support for taking action, and that international support continues to increase.

"The President is very mindful of, and we understand, the weariness about this kind of action in the public and in Congress, and that`s why we`re making the case that we`re making," he said.

Carney alleged that the Russians have not been helpful when it comes to holding the Assad regime accountable for using chemical weapons.

"Heretofore, the Russians have not been at all helpful when it comes to holding Assad accountable for either his use of chemical weapons or his wholesale slaughter of his own people, and certainly the Assad regime has not been cooperative when it comes to UN inspections or acknowledging the fact that they have these (chemical weapons) stockpiles, let alone that they used them," he said.

"So it is precisely because of this very public discussion and presentation of evidence we`re engaged in and because of the accumulating international support for action and the pressure that all of that has brought to bear on Assad and the Russians and others that we are seeing this.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 10:45

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