The non-erasable ‘red line’

  • Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 1:48 p.m.

In August 2012, President Obama cited chemical weapons as the “red line” that would cause him to consider action against the Syrian government. Now, however, the president insists that the “red line” belongs not to him, but to the world.

“I didn’t set a red line,” Mr. Obama said during a news conference Wednesday in Stockholm. “The world set a red line.”

He continued: “My credibility’s not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress’s credibility is on the line.”

Apparently it’s everybody’s red line now. And everybody’s problem. Though not necessarily the president’s.

Here is what Mr. Obama said back on Aug. 20, 2012: “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

My, my, my.

And now with reports that Assad’s forces killed as many as 1,400 Syrians in a poison-gas attack last month, it seems evident that not merely have “a whole bunch of chemical weapons” been moved around, but that they have been used to deadly purpose.

That’s why the United States is considering military action against Syria, though Secretary of State John Kerry assured a Senate committee on Tuesday that there would be no “troops on the ground,” adding, “President Obama is not asking America to go to war.”

But if launching air strikes on selected targets in Syria isn’t war, it’s the next closest thing to it.

Americans would feel more confident with leaders who say what they mean and mean what they say.

The president is our nation’s commander of chief.

But if he can’t be a straight shooter he should stay out of the fight.

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