Nearly 200 members of Congress have signed letters insisting that the president submit plans for any military strike in Syria for authorization. Host Scott Simon talks with Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, who has signed one of the letters.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A U.N. inspections team left Syria this morning and that team is making its way back to Europe where it will analyze samples that were collected at the site of a poison gas attack outside of Damascus. In Washington, D.C. the Obama Administration says it is already convinced that Bashar Assad's regime used chemical weapons during that attack, and yesterday the White House released a summary of intelligence that says that more than 1400 civilians were killed by chemical weapons.
To Damascus now, as Syrians prepare for what might be coming. Nada Keuttnen works helping visiting journalists there in Damascus, including several NPR reporters. She joins us over Skype. Nada, thank you very much for being with us.
NADA KEUTTNEN: You are welcome.
SIMON: What's Damascus like today?
KEUTTNEN: It doesn't seem different than two, three, even a week ago. The life is going on. People are a bit may be worried and they're trying to buy extra dry food, expecting that something will happen but nothing is.
Now, let's take a look at what the U.S. military might do in Syria. The Pentagon has prepared military options that would allow the U.S. to launch a punitive strike against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has been at the center of that military planning, even as he visited Asia this past week. NPR's Larry Abramson has been traveling all week with Secretary Hagel. He's had a unique vantage point on those deliberations and joins us now. Larry, thanks for being with us.
The Two-Mile High Veterans Weekend event in Leadville, Colo., will pay special tribute to Leadville native Lance Cpl. Nick Palmer, who was killed in Fallujah in 2004. Host Scott Simon speaks with former State Department adviser and event co-organizer Kael Weston, as well as Nick Palmer's father, Brad Palmer.
The small town of Waldoboro, Maine, boasts two attractions: Moody's Diner, reputed to be one of the oldest in the country, and the Toy Museum. It was founded in 1996 by John Fawcett. Karen Michel paid the museum's founder a visit as she wrapped up her summer vacation.
KAREN MICHEL, BYLINE: The sign says world class museum enjoyed by adults, a Maine vacation delight - open.
While many Americans take time off this weekend, a group of conservative activists are meeting in Florida. Americans for Prosperity, a group that was founded by David and Charles Koch, is holding its annual summit in Orlando. That gathering includes several rising stars among conservatives - Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. But in terms of issues, NPR's Greg Allen reports, one seems to stand above all - stopping Obamacare.
As the Obama administration argues for a military intervention in Syria in response to a chemical attack that it says killed more than 1,400 Syrians, analysts say the case for a strike lacks a legal framework.
President Obama said Friday that the decision to act is part of a U.S. obligation as a world leader to make sure that regimes are held to account if they are found targeting their own people with weapons prohibited by international norms.
"If there's a sense that if nobody's willing to enforce them, then people don't take them seriously," he said Friday.
There's no joke in American sport circles. Soccer is the sport of the future and always will be. Is the future here? Big time soccer finally has a major American television contract, but it's not the L.A. Galaxy, Chicago Fire, San Jose Earthquake, or Columbus Crew. The NBC sports network has started broadcasting a full schedule - should that be schedule - from Britain's premier league. That's Manchester United Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, the Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon and nice to say time for sports.
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SIMON: The U.S. Open full swing. We've seen a curtain call for James Blake, an early exit by Venus Williams, a glitter of greatness from Victoria Duval and Serena Williams star burning bright as ever. For the latest from Blushing Meadows we turn to Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. He joins us from his studios of the Radio Foundation in New York City. Howard, thanks for being with us.
As U.S. forced reportedly prepare to launch a limited military action against the Syrian government, we turn now to a voice who's long made the case that the U.S. must take some action in Syria. Michael Ignatieff is a leading voice for the idea of humanitarian intervention. He helped develop the concept of the responsibility to protect. He is the former leader of Canada's Liberal party and now back on the faculty of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School.
Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 2:25 pm
Without meaning to, I seem to have sparked a "small #chickensh*tstorm," as food writer Michael Ruhlman put it, with my recent post about why you shouldn't wash your raw poultry. The strong, even vituperative responses to the post surprised me. I didn't anticipate that Americans would be quite so passionate about poultry hygiene.
John Lewis is the only person to have spoken at the 1963 March on Washington who is still alive. He was just 23 years old when he addressed the crowd of more than 200,000 at the Lincoln Memorial 50 years ago.
Lewis is a pillar of the civil rights movement. The son of sharecroppers in rural Alabama, he went on to become the president of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and then eventually, a U.S. Congressman from Georgia.
Comedian Mark Malkoff has lived for a week inside of an IKEA store, consumed beverages at 171 Starbucks in Manhattan in less than 24 hours and proved that his kid's Big Wheel bike could beat a New York City bus across 42nd Street.
Kyle Morton can trace his life as a songwriter back to a bug bite. Morton was bitten by a tick as a child, contracting a case of Lyme disease that went undiagnosed for years, even as it wreaked havoc on his body.
Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 12:47 pm
Update At 12:40 p.m. ET:
A spokesman for the U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon says inspectors carried out a wide range of fact finding activity in Syria, but that it will take time to analyze the samples collected on the ground.
Speaking at the United Nations in New York, Martin Nesirky says results from tests would be transmitted to the secretary-general "as soon as the laboratory findings are available." However, he declined to give a timeline.
Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 8:45 am
President Obama's contemplation of a military strike in Syria over its suspected use of chemical weapons has roused at least 170 members of Congress to question the constitutionality of such action, and others to urge caution informed by the quagmire of recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Few congressional voices, however, may be more resonant than those of the more than 100 military veterans in the House and Senate — particularly the 16 who served in the post-Sept. 11 conflicts in the Middle East, in both combat and non-combat roles.