North Floridians React to Obama’s Speech on Syria

By , and on September 11th, 2013

President Barack Obama addressed the nation Tuesday night about the chemical weapons attack in Syria on Aug. 21.

Obama opened his speech detailing how the chemical attack violated the basic rules of war.

He said he knows the Assad regime is responsible for the attack, which killed thousands of people, including hundreds of children. As a result of the attack, Obama said he is prepared to act and take a stand against the use of chemical weapons by launching a targeted military strike at Syria.

This strike, Obama said, is warranted because Syria threatens America’s national security. Obama addressed some of the questions he has been asked by congressmen and civilians alike. He said America has to send a message to Syria that no other nation could deliver.

Obama said he has seen encouraging signs between Russia and Syria in terms of getting Assad to give up his chemical weapons, but it’s too early to tell if these plans will succeed.

He said he asked Congress to postpone the vote on whether or not to use military force on Syria. In his closing remarks, he addressed the need for America to react.

It was expected for Obama’s speech to give the American people strong, moral reasons for sending a message to Syria.

Some North Floridians felt Obama accomplished this goal and was effective, while others remain unsatisfied with a potential strike.

Congressman Ted Yoho, R-Fla., said before the speech that if Obama was to act without a national threat, it would be an act of aggression and the beginning of a war. He finds it would be unconstitutional if the U.S. were to use military action on Syria.

I do not see a direct threat to the U.S. from this internal civil war in Syria, and I find it deplorable that they’ve killed over 110,000 people.  Fourteen hundred to 2,000 people have been killed with chemical weapons. I think that’s reprehensible. But, if you put it in perspective, there’s 2,000 people killed there and there’s 108,000 killed with conventional weapons. To me, they’re both just as despicable, and it should come to an end. I cannot, will not nor shall I support intervention on this conflict.

Brian Moore is president of the NatureCoast Coalition for Peace and Justice, an anti-war organization. He said Tuesday he believes Obama would still want to go to war even if he does get the votes from Congress or if Russia isn’t able to cooperate with Syria:

I think President Obama is going the wrong way, and he’s not directing and leading the people correctly.

Omar Zeineladbin, a junior at the University of Florida, was born in Syria and left for the United States with his parents when he was 9 months old. He said Obama gave a strong statement during his speech:

I really do understand that the average American has grown tired of war. We’ve had Iraq, Afghanistan and so on.  However, Syria’s not like any of these. The proposed attack by the Obama administration is specified to be limited in time and scope with no boots on the ground. We have to realize that Syria has become a threat to the United States and its allies. The United States needs to send a clear message to not only Syria but other nations that acts like these will not go unpunished.

Kenneth Wald, a distinguished professor of political science at UF, said Obama is the best political communicator the American people have seen since Ronald Regan:

It was a good speech. I thought he was affective in the way he used comments from letter writers, in his connecting this commitment to his past objection to the use of force – in a number of ways.

Richard Conley, an associate professor of political science at UF, said Obama’s speech wasn’t enough. He said he thinks it’s a little too late for military action because the Russians have more leverage with Syria than the U.S.:

The timing of this speech simply couldn’t come, I think, at a worse time. Tomorrow is September the 11. Twelve years ago we had the horrible attacks in New York and Washington. It’s the year anniversary of Benghazi. There appears to be a cover up of some variety – how deep we still don’t know. The timing of all of this is very, very bad for the president. I think also the fact that this is now 20-something days after the actual chemical weapons were used allegedly by Assaud.

Adam Gerstenfeld contributed reporting.

Twitter was alive Tuesday with American reactions to President Barack Obama’s speech on his possible strike in Syria. They included many tweets from those in and around Gainesville.


This entry was posted in National and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

More Stories in National

Brian Williams arrives on the red carpet of the White House Correspondents Dinner on May 9, 2009.

Poynter Ethicist Says Brian William’s Story Undermines Journalism Credibility

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams’ credibility is questioned after claiming he was in a helicopter hit by an RPG. Williams says that he was actually in the following aircraft that was not hit.

Christoper Stidham, 21, fills up his Nissan Hardbody Tuesday at the BP at 931 W. University Ave.

National Average Gas Prices Fall Below $3 Per Gallon

Gainesville gas has fallen under $3 per gallon, keeping with average gas prices across the U.S. This is the first time in four years that national gas prices have dipped below $3.


Retired Journalist Reflects On Captivity And Recent ISIS Actions

In response to recent Islamic State actions, Terry Anderson, a University of Florida adjunct professor, reflected on being held hostage in Lebanon for six years and how negotiations with terrorists have changed.

CDC Confirms First Ebola Case In The US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first case of Ebola in the United States. The man diagnosed with the virus was traveling from Liberia to Dallas.

Locals Protest Keystone XL Pipeline Construction

The protest was part of a national campaign by Credo.

Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments