Updated: Obama to seek approval for military intervention in Syria

President Obama announced that the United States will move forward to authorize military intervention in Syria.

The decision comes after U.S. officials discovered evidence of chemical weapon use by the Assad regime. Obama promised months ago that chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and force US involvement.

“We must acknowledge the costs of doing nothing,” Obama said.

During his speech, the president emphasized that he will not put boots on the ground. He said he does not want to place the U.S. military in the middle of another country’s civil war.

Obama will seek Congressional approval for the attack in lieu of support from the United Nations. According to The New York Times, House Speaker John Boehner has voiced his support for Obama’s strategy. Officials are scheduled to meet with both the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees this week.

Scott Hibbard, a political science professor at DePaul, said it is smart to keep troops out of Syria. Hibbard said a full-blown intervention would trigger a region-wide fight and could possibly increase tension between Israel and Iran. And if the U.S. managed to overthrow the Assad regime, Hibbard said officials would be faced with an entirely different issue.

“With that comes all kinds of responsibility, and now you’re looking at another 10 years of engagement in the region,” Hibbard said.

However, Hibbard believes Obama’s decision is unlikely to create serious change in Syria. Instead of intimidating the Assad regime, he believes it will paint Obama as someone with “weakness and a lack of resolve.” He said it would be more appropriate if the Obama administration continued to perpetuate the status quo and stay out of the conflict.

But above all, Hibbard said the U.S. does not have a clear goal. People have been dying in Syria throughout the entire conflict, he said, and death by chemical weapon is just as unethical as death by gunfire.
“At the end of the day, what do we want to achieve?” Hibbard said.