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Obama: Syria Changed When Assad Gassed Citizens

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says he long resisted calls for military action in Syria because he didn't think force could solve the Syrian civil war. But he says he changed his mind after Syria's government gassed its own citizens.

Obama on Tuesday used a televised address to the nation to explain his thinking on the ongoing fighting in Syria. He said the use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21 shifted his thinking and that the United States must respond with a military strike to deter future use of such weapons.

Obama said no one disputes that chemical weapons were used and said thousands of Syrians have died from them. He said the images and videos of men, women and children are sickening and demand a response. In his speech, Obama encouraged everyone in Congress, as well as everyone watching, to look at the videos from Syria.

"For nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security," Obama said. He also said emphasized that the United States is not the world's policeman, but something has to be done to prevent children from being gassed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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