PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, whatâ€™s happened has been heartbreaking, but 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 theyâ€™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. And we want to make sure that that does not happen.
There is a reason why there is an international norm against chemical weapons. Thereâ€™s a reason why consistently, you know, the rules of war have suggested that the use of chemical weapons violates Geneva Protocols. So theyâ€™re different, and we want to make that they are not loose in a way that ultimately, could affect our security.
And if, in fact, we can take limited, tailored approaches, not getting drawn into a long conflict, not a repetition of, you know, Iraq, which I know a lot of people are worried about â€“ but if we are saying in a clear and decisive but very limited way, we send a shot across the bow saying, stop doing this, that can have a positive impact on our national security over the long term, and may have a positive impact on our national security over the long term and may have a positive impact in the sense that chemical weapons are not used again on innocent civilians.