U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power refused to say Monday whether or not a U.S. strike on Syria without the consent of the U.N. would be legal.
"You are representing the U.S. at the United Nations, which has not authorized a strike. Would an American strike on Syria be legal?" NPR host Steve Inskeep asked Power on Monday's "Morning Edition."
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power delivers a speech at the Center for American Progress, Sept. 6, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Power spoke about the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against Syrian civilians. (Getty Images)
In her answer, Power did not directly address the legality of a strike, but said one would be justified.
“If we take military action in this context, it will be a legitimate, necessary and proportionate response to this large-scale and indiscriminate use of chemical weapons by this regime,” Power said. Defending President Barack Obama, she added, "Nobody has tried harder than this administration to work through the security council over two and a half years."
Listen to the exchange, courtesy of Mediaite:
Inkseep pressed Power again.
"So let me just make sure I am clear on this. You are saying something needs to be done, and it is time to go outside the legal system, outside the legal framework, you believe it is right to do something that is just simply not legal?" he asked.
Power, again, declined to discuss the legality of a U.S. strike on Syria without the U.N.'s consent.
“In this case, you have the grave breach of such a critical international norm in terms of the ban on chemical weapons use,” she said. “It is very important that the international community act so as to prevent further use.”
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