President Obama told the nation Tuesday night that he has asked Congress to put the Syria vote on hold, while his administration pursues a possible diplomatic solution.
About 25 students watched the president's speech on a big screen at Lewis and Clark College. But many left the lecture hall with no clearer idea of how the U.S. should proceed in Syria.
Laura Christensen says social media has brought the conflict closer to home - but she is still unsure of the best U.S. response to the atrocities.
"I think this is probably one of the conflicts in the past three or four years I've followed the most, and the one I have the least strong opinion of. Just because I don't really know what would be best. I do think that there needs to be some sort of action taken to reprimand the Assad regime, but I don't know if it's military force," Christensen says.
Obama said he'd hold off on any military action for now, but he still made a case for why a limited strike might be needed. And student Jack Badler says the argument is persuasive.
"The idea that just a targeted strike is something that we maybe have a moral responsibility to, especially after viewing the videos, is a really convincing idea. Something I can see myself thinking a lot more about and supporting," Radler said.
Stephanie Tsingos says that if the president decides the U.S. should intervene, Americans still need to know why it's important to national security.
"He talked a lot about why morally we should care, but he didn't talk about why within the international system it would benefit us to intervene," according to Tsingos.
Tsingos added that getting Russia and China involved in a diplomatic solution might be the most effective strategy of all.
Members of Oregon's congressional delegation are also reacting to the president's speech.
Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley issued a statement saying he agrees with Obama that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. He says the U.S. must not ignore what he described as Syria's "egregious crime." He says the best way to penalize Syria is through international negotiation and diplomacy.
Democratic congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici says she applauds Obama's request to delay a vote on possible military strikes. She says every effort should be made to avoid military action, and that the issue is best addressed by the international community.
This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.