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updated: 8/31/2013 3:05 PM

Obama seeking congressional OK for Syria action

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  • President Barack Obama stands with Vice President Joe Biden as he makes a statement about Syria in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. Obama said he has decided that the United States should take military action against Syria in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack, and said he will seek congressional authorization for the use of force.

      President Barack Obama stands with Vice President Joe Biden as he makes a statement about Syria in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. Obama said he has decided that the United States should take military action against Syria in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack, and said he will seek congressional authorization for the use of force.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Delaying what had appeared to be an imminent strike, President Barack Obama abruptly announced Saturday he will seek congressional approval before launching any military action meant to punish Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons in an attack that killed hundreds.

With Navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea ready to strike, Obama said he had decided the United States should take military action, but also determined "our country will be better off" if Congress renders its own opinion.

At the same time, he challenged lawmakers to consider "what message will we send to a dictator" if he is allowed to killed hundreds of children with chemical weapons without suffering any retaliation.

Lawmakers will return to session on Sept. 9.

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