'This Week' Transcript: Secretary of State John Kerry

PHOTO: John Kerry makes a statement about Syria

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday morning, Sept. 1, 2013 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Good morning. And welcome to This Week.

Stunner: the commander in chief decides to strike Syria.


BARAK OBAMA,PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We cannot turn around from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Then drops this surprise.


OBAMA: I'm asking Congress to send a message to the world.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Will Congress approve an attack? What if they don't? And what are the risks of delay?

As the world waits, we're live with Terry Moran in the Middle East, Christiane Amanpour from London.



KERRY: This is evidence, these are facts.


STEPHANOPOULOS: I'll go one on one with the man who made America's case to the world, Secretary of State John Kerry.

Plus, Martha Raddatz and our team of experts are here to break down the global and military consequences of the president's decision.

And our powerhouse roundtable weighs in on the politics of war and all the fallout at home. It's all right here this Sunday morning.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, a special edition of This Week with George Stephanopoulos: Crisis in Syria starts now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello, again. When President Obama took to the Rose Garden Saturday afternoon, his first words had been telegraphed for days.


OBAMA: I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Then came the twist. The president's top military adviser, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said there was no need to attack now.


OBAMA: The chairman indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time sensitive. It will be effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now. And I'm prepared to give that order.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Only after Congress votes.


OBAMA: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress.

For the last several days, we have heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard. I absolutely agree.


STEPHANOPOULOS: It is a high-stakes bet. And this morning, we're going examine the consequences with Secretary of State John Kerry and our team of experts and correspondents here in the studio and around the world.

We start at the White House with ABC's Jon Karl.

And Jon, this didn't just surprise us, the president kept his team in the dark until late Friday.

JON KARL, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It sure did. George, this was a total reversal for the president. Until late Friday, this was an idea not under consideration. None of his senior advisers were pushing for congressional authorization. It was not the direction they were pushing the president. But he decided, especially after that vote in Britain, that this was the direction he had to go.

And take a look at the photo in the situation room before the president announced the decision on Saturday. As you can see, some very grim faces all around. There were serious concerns expressed by his national security team, concerns chief among them that Congress could vote no on his request for authorization.

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