Washington: Finding few takers at home and abroad for punitive military strikes against Syria, President Barack Obama today sought to assure war weary Americans that an intervention would not be like Iraq and Afghanistan.
"What we're talking about is not an open-ended intervention. This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan," Obama said in his weekly address Saturday making a case for limited and targeted military action against the Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons.
"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," he said.
Obama spoke as his aides made frantic efforts to muster popular support and win over lawmakers from both his own Democratic and opposition Republicans opposed to Obama's plan, making Congressional approval fairly uncertain.
Asserting that the alleged use of sarin gas by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime was a threat to US national security, as well as an affront to international law, Obama said failing to respond to such actions poses a "serious threat to our" national security.
"Failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again," he said.
They "would fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us, and it would send a horrible signal to other nations that there would be no consequences for their use of these weapons," Obama said. "All of which would pose a serious threat to our national security."
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."
Many lawmakers are saying their constituents are overwhelmingly against US action in Syria. Public opinion polls show more Americans oppose military strikes than support them.