Obama on Syria: 'I have not made a decision'
President Barack Obama said Wednesday he is still deciding how to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
"I have not made a decision," he told the "PBS News Hour” in his most extensive comments since the Aug. 21 attack in the outskirts of Damascus.
As a growing group of lawmakers call on him to explain his reasoning for an eventual strike, Obama made the case that the United States must protect its "core self-interest" and respond to the use of chemical weapons.
"I think it's important that if, we make a choice to have repercussions for the use of chemical weapons, then the Assad regime, which is involved in a civil war, trying to protect itself, will have received a pretty strong signal, that in fact, it better not do it again," Obama said.
While that "doesn’t solve all the problems inside of Syria, and, you know, it doesn’t, obviously end the death of innocent civilians inside of Syria," it would be a necessary response to the large-scale use of chemical weapons against civilians, he said. Eventually, though, he still hopes for a political transition in Syria.
"When you start talking about chemical weapons in a country that has the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the world, where over time, their control over chemical weapons may erode, where they’re allied to known terrorist organizations that, in the past, have targeted the United States, then there is a prospect, a possibility, in which chemical weapons that can have devastating effects could be directed at us," he said. "And we want to make sure that that does not happen."