Locals respond to President Obama's Syria Announcement
POSTED: Saturday, August 31, 2013 - 10:33pm
UPDATED: Sunday, September 1, 2013 - 8:58pm
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — At a press conference on Saturday, President Barack Obama announced the United States should take military action against the Syrian regime, but wants to seek authorization from Congress first.
President Obama’s announcement comes after a passionate presentation by Secretary of State John Kerry, who accused Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's regime of massacring innocent civilians, including more than 400 children, by gasing them to death using chemical weapons near Damascus.
During his speech on Saturday, the President insisted Syria be held accountable for attacks he called “the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century.”
The President’s statements on Syria sparked a wave of reaction around the world and in the Borderland.
"People are dying for no reason and if the Syrian government is doing it, then something needs to be done, but he should get Congress approval," said Gilbert Martinez.
"It's a good thing that the President is actually asking for Congress. I still think that we need to worry about Afghanistan as our main thing because we should be getting out of there soon,” said Robert Perrault.
Local lawmakers said the attacks on innocent civilians is horrendous and unacceptable, but agreed that American military intervention in Syria is not a decision President Obama should make alone.
"Before the United States enters into hostilities with another country, we must have the consent of the American people, and their representatives sit and serve in Congress to do just that," said Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D), representing the 16th District of Texas. "Make sure that whatever we do, we understand what the consequences are, especially given the fact that we have 33,000 soldiers and their families stationed here at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas."
US Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) agreed and in a statement said, “Before any military action is taken in Syria, the president should call Congress back into session and ask for a vote on the authorization to use force."
As the word spread of the President’s decision, so did thousands of protests across the country.
Many Americans in cities like New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Houston, and Philadelphia argued there's no strong evidence that the Syrian government used those chemical weapons against its people, and that the US should wait until United Nations inspectors complete an investigation of the attacks.
"Before we, you know, make any hard and fast decision, I believe that we should wait for the results of the UN inspection," said Margaret Croslen.
President Obama said American warships in the Mediterranean sea are ready to strike at any time, but he will wait for Congressional leaders to debate and then vote on action after their recess ends September 9th.
In a statement Saturday, Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they will begin a debate on Tuesday for the authorization of military action in Syria.
If US lawmakers ultimately vote “No,” President Obama does have the power to move forward anyway.