So our concern is not just about some far off land oceans away. That’s not what this is about. Our concern with the cause of the defenseless people of Syria is about choices that will directly affect our role in the world and our interests in the world. It is also profoundly about who we are. We are the United States of America. We are the country that has tried, not always successfully, but always tried to honor a set of universal values around which we have organized our lives and our aspirations. This crime against conscience, this crime against humanity, this crime against the most fundamental principles of international community, against the norm of the international community, this matters to us. And it matters to who we are. And it matters to leadership and to our credibility in the world. My friends, it matters here if nothing is done. It matters if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens.
Americans need to be told clearly what’s at stake in Syria. And with all due respect to the Administration, it is far more than an international norm about chemical weapons, which sounds like political science. Americans need to care about the conflict in Syria because it is becoming a failed state in the heart of the Middle East; because it is a growth hormone for Al-Qaeda and its terrorist allies; because it is now a regional catastrophe that threatens the very existence of some of our closest friends and allies, who are indispensable to the safety of every American; and because it is the central front of the Iranian regime’s battle to dominate the Middle East. These are the national security interests that we have at stake in Syria. It’s one thing for Americans to hear this from an old member of Congress like me. It’s quite another for them to hear it from their president.