Debate continues over case for military action against Syria

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September 4, 2013, 6:00 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Tracie Potts) - President Obama is overseas Wednesday morning while his team back in the U.S. continues to make the case that military action is necessary, but that it won't last long.

"This is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan," said Obama.

And it's not certain President Obama will get the green light to fire missiles at Syria.

Senator Debbie Stabenow said, "I think we have to look very carefully at some measured response ideally with the international community."

A late-night agreement makes the president's request more specific: no troops on the ground and a 60-day limit on military strikes.

With the public still leery, Wednesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes on whether to authorize action and Secretary of State John Kerry testifies again before skeptical lawmakers.

"The President is not asking you to go to war. He is not asking you to declare war," said Kerry.

Some wonder if a limited strike might prevent the U.S. from helping the opposition.

Senator Bob Corker said, "I don't want what we're doing potentially with military force to move us away from that strategy."

UN Ambassador Susan Rice told NBC even this delay sends the message that America won't tolerate the use of chemical weapons.

Rice said, "If you're Assad or if you're Iran, that's a very important message to hear and not mistake."

Some key Republicans, like House Speaker John Boehner, are backing the president.

Critics here say a limited strike may not be enough, that the goal should be to take President Assad out of power.

Tags: Obama, debate, attack, congress, military, Syria, chemical weapons
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