TODAY   |  August 29, 2013

Obama to brief Congress on Syria plan

The White House is preparing to brief congressional leaders today about their plan regarding Syria, amid growing concern from congressmen that a U.S.-led strike against the al-Assad regime could come at any moment. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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>>> making his case for those possible air strikes in syria . chuck todd is nbc's chief white house correspondent and political director. he's at the white house for us. hey, chuck.

>> reporter: good morning, willie. today the white house is going to brief congressional leaders on syria . this comes amid growing concern in congress that they believe they should have a role in the decision making process about whether the u.s. should strike bashar al assad . meanwhile the president says no decision has been made just yet. and yet he is making the case as to why a shot across the bow against assad is necessary. president obama , who ran for office on ending the iraq and afghanistan wars , now admits he's on the verge of ordering a u.s. military strike against syria . because of the assad regime's use of chemical weapons .

>> i have no interest in any kind of open-ended conflict in syria . but we do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they are held accountable.

>> reporter: and in that interview with pbs the president argued that because the assad regime has ties to terrorist organizations, u.s. national security is at stake.

>> there is a prospect, a possibility, in which chemical weapons that can have devastating effects could be directed at us.

>> reporter: as the new cover of "time" out this morning demonstrates, this a decision the commander in chief of a war weary nation enters reluctantly. and he's not alone. a growing number of members of congress on both sides of the aisle are calling for a vote to authorize a u.s. attack. republican house speaker john boehner has penned a let tore the president filled with 14 pointed questions including, what result is the administration seeking from its response? and what is the intended effect of the potential military strikes? to address those concerns, the white house will brief congressional leaders today. and with u.s. navy ships positioned in the mediterranean ready to strike if ordered, the president is emp hasizing that any u.s. intervention would be minimal.

>> 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.

>> reporter: one goal of the obama administration is to not go it alone in a potential military strike . but they may have to do that, savannah. as we now found out the british parliament is essentially holding up david cameron 's plan to join in with the u.s. to do this. according to senior administration officials here, savannah, whether the uk is in or not, it does not change the u.s. plan.