White House’s McDonough argues chemical weapon prohibition has benefited troops

September 8, 2013

Correction: A previous version of this post misspelled the White House chief of staff's first name. It is Denis. 

In pressing the case for military intervention in Syria on the Sunday morning political talk shows, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough argued that a ban on the use of chemical weapons has benefited American troops.

"As a result of that prohibition, our troops have not faced that chemical weapon since World War One," McDonough said on "Fox News Sunday." "It has a very direct consequence for our men and women.”

Critics of military intervention, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R), have argued that military intervention should only be taken when the country has been attacked or American interests are at stake.

The White House appeared to be making the argument that the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens in late August would fulfill that requirement. McDonough described the attack as being on "a scale and scope we have not seen in nearly three decades."

In multiple appearances Sunday morning, McDonough challenged lawmakers to watch recently released videos of Syrian citizens suffering from the alleged attack before coming to a decision on whether to authorize the use of military force in Syria. Congress reconvenes on Monday and will begin debating the issue this week.

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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