An Aug. 21 image, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian man mourning over a dead body after an alleged poisonous gas attack by regime forces in Douma, Syria.
(Photo: Media Office Of Douma City, AP)
ATLANTA -- Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday night he supports the plan for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons under international supervision.
Mr. Carter spoke at an event at The Carter Center just prior to President Obama's announcement that he had asked Congress to delay a vote on a military strike in order to explore the diplomatic options.
President Obama Seeks Peaceful Surrender of Syria's Chemical Weapons, Threatens Military Action
The attached video is Mr. Carter's complete, unedited response to a question about Syria. The segment lasts just under seven minutes.
(Please note that a couple of times he said "Obama" when he clearly meant "Assad.")
Here are some excerpts from his comments:
If the vote is No in the Congress, it will not be a catastrophe as far as the credibility of the President or our country is concerned.... because all of us presidents in the past have submitted things that were extremely important to us, maybe even more important than bombing Syria, and we've been rejected by the Congress. So this is just something you have to live with in a democracy.
The United States public is heavily oriented against any military strike. I share that belief. But I'm also concerned about what President Obama can do, now, to bring back his stature and to make sure we have a successful conclusion.
Everybody agrees that chemical weapons were used.... But exactly who gave the orders is still unproven. I don't think there's any doubt that the attack came from areas held by the Syrian regime and went into areas that were occupied by the rebels.
Something needs to be done by the international community, hopefully collectively and cooperatively, to make sure that this never happens again.
Obama is unlikely to get a positive vote in the House or Senate.
I was surprised when he said he was going to take the issue to the Congress. I thought he was ready to launch missiles, but I was pleased that he did go to the Congress, which I think was the right decision.
My own preference is that we join in with Russia, and Great Britain and France and China. I believe we can work cooperatively in saying that "this has happened, we don't know for sure who ordered it, it will never happen again." And to take up Russia's proposal.... that Syria agree to give up their weapons.
I hope that the United States and Russia can work out a deal and Syria will accept it, and there won't be any need for a military strike.
Secretary [of State] Kerry announced a few days [ago] that it would be unbelievably tiny. An unbelievably tiny attack will not bring about any change in Syria. But if we launch a tiny attack.... then no matter what we try to hit, we're going to hit a bunch of people. And as you know, if we kill a few dozen people with our missiles, photographs are going to be on every news medium in the world, and the United States is going to be blamed. And I think it will just make the war go on longer.