Obama to make case for military strike against Syria


Tuesday night, President Obama will address the nation to make his case for a US strike against Syria, but there's a new twist: Syria may be willing to turn over its chemical weapons.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out this morning shows nearly 60 percent of Americans want their members of Congress to say "NO" to military force in Syria. Just 24 percent believe US military action against Syria is in the best interest of our country.

After weeks of denying responsibility for this attack on civilians, Syria says it's willing to put its chemical weapons under international control.

Secretary of State John Kerry says that's only because the United States is threatening to use force.

"A lot of people say - nothing focuses the people's mind like the threat of a hanging," said Kerry.

Kerry casually floated the plan Monday. Russia seized on it and the Syrians say they're willing to go along.

"All of us are hopeful that this option could be a real solution to this crisis. Yet we must be clear-eyed and ensure it is not a stalling tactic," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

That all has suddenly upended Washington's debate over military action.

"We don't need to prove how quickly we can do this, but how well we can do this," said Sen. Harry Reid (D-Senate Majority Leader.)

Syria's offer complicates President Obama's case as he addresses the nation this evening.

"This could potentially be a significant breakthrough. But we have to be skeptical because this is not how we've seen them operate over the last couple a years," said the president.

Syria's diplomatic gesture makes American military action an even harder sell.

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Indiana) released a statement Tuesday saying she will not vote in favor of the president's request to use military force.

"Even after two classified briefings with Administration officials and today's Committee on Homeland Security hearing on the issue, I simply feel the White House has failed to outline a specific plan for action and success in the context of our national interest," Brooks said in a statement. "I am appalled by the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons on its own people and I support continued humanitarian aid for the victims of this senseless crime. However, after saying that Assad should be removed from power two years ago and setting a 'red line' more than one year ago, President Obama remains woefully unable to demonstrate how his current call for a military strike fits into any broader strategic plan for the United States and its role in an increasingly unstable Middle East region.

"I am not inherently opposed to the use of military force to protect our national interests and I deeply respect the opinions of House leadership and many of my colleagues. However, until we have a clear mission and a meaningful set of objectives, I cannot support the Administration's request."

The president will speak at 9:00 pm Tuesday night. Watch on WTHR Channel 13.1, WTHR.com or the WTHR news app.