Boehner: Military Response In Syria Is Something U.S. 'Needs To Do'


UPDATED: Tuesday September 3, 2013 6:01 PM

President Barack Obama's push for a military strike in Syria is gaining significant momentum Tuesday.

Leaders of both parties in Congress say they're convinced that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, and that the U.S. should respond.
    
Obama met with more than a dozen lawmakers in the White House Cabinet Room to push for what he said would be limited strikes aimed at dismantling Assad's chemical weapons capabilities.
    
Afterward, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that a military response is something the United States "needs to do." He said he would support Obama's call for action, and that he believes his colleagues should do so as well.

"The United States, for our entire history, has stood up for democracy and freedom for people around the world. The use of these weapons have to be responded to, and only the United States has the capability and the capacity to -- to stop Assad and to warn others around the world that this type of behavior is not going to be tolerated," said Boehner.
    
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also said they will support Obama because the U.S. has a compelling national security interest in preventing the use of weapons of mass destruction.
    
But there is still opposition within both parties. A spokesman for Boehner says passage of a resolution supporting military action is an "uphill battle." Dozens of conservative Republicans and several liberal Democrats have come out against intervention.
    
Pelosi said Americans need to hear more of the intelligence on Syria in order to be convinced that a strike is necessary. She says she hopes they will become convinced.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says several key allies in the region strongly support U.S. military action in Syria.
    
Hagel told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and others in the region are key partners in any U.S. action.
    
He said U.S. forces were ready to act whenever President Barack Obama gives the order.

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