Obama Will Wait for Congress on Syria
He backs idea of military action, but will hold off until vote
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2013 1:06 PM CDT
President Obama stands with Vice President Joe Biden as he makes a statement about Syria in the Rose Garden.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – Hold your fire, troops: President Obama made his strongest case yet for a military strike on Syria today—but he also said he would seek the authority of Congress before launching it, reports AP. Obama made clear in his afternoon press conference that he believes the US must act to punish Bashar al-Assad, but "we should have this debate," he said. Congress will take up the matter when it returns the week of Sept. 9. When Obama wrapped up, a reporter asked the big question: If Congress rejects the idea, would he still order a strike? The president didn't respond.

In the press conference, Obama made his case for action, asserting that Assad clearly gassed his own people. "This attack is an assault on human dignity," he said, as quoted by USA Today. "It also presents a serious danger to our national security." He said the US "cannot turn a blind eye" to what he termed the "worst chemical weapons attack in the 21st century." Earlier today, Vladimir Putin called the US allegations against Assad "utter nonsense."