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NYT: Obama’s Syrian Vows Were ‘Off The Cuff’

From the New York Times:

Off-the-Cuff Obama Line Put U.S. in Bind on Syria

By PETER BAKER, MARK LANDLER, DAVID E. SANGER and ANNE BARNARD | May 4, 2013

WASHINGTON — Confronted with evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, President Obama now finds himself in a geopolitical box, his credibility at stake with frustratingly few good options.

The origins of this dilemma can be traced in large part to a weekend last August, when alarming intelligence reports suggested the besieged Syrian government might be preparing to use chemical weapons. After months of keeping a distance from the conflict, Mr. Obama felt he had to become more directly engaged.

In a frenetic series of meetings, the White House devised a 48-hour plan to deter President Bashar al-Assad of Syria by using intermediaries like Russia and Iran to send a message that one official summarized as, “Are you crazy?” But when Mr. Obama emerged to issue the public version of the warning, he went further than many aides realized he would.

Moving or using large quantities of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and “change my calculus,” the president declared in response to a question at a news conference, to the surprise of some of the advisers who had attended the weekend meetings and wondered where the “red line” came from. With such an evocative phrase, the president had defined his policy in a way some advisers wish they could take back.

In other words, Obama has handlers. And he slipped away from them here.

“The idea was to put a chill into the Assad regime without actually trapping the president into any predetermined action,” said one senior official, who, like others, discussed the internal debate on the condition of anonymity. But “what the president said in August was unscripted,” another official said.

Which is why he has to be kept on the Teleprompter at all times.

Mr. Obama was thinking of a chemical attack that would cause mass fatalities, not relatively small-scale episodes like those now being investigated, except the “nuance got completely dropped.” …

Once again we’re all too dumb to understand Obama’s nuance. Instead, we’re supposed to understand that the limited use of weapons of mass destruction is fine with Obama.

But what is the cut off for a small scale episode? A dozen dead? A hundred?

As a result, the president seems to be moving closer to providing lethal assistance to the Syrian rebels, even though he rejected such a policy just months ago. American officials have even discussed with European allies the prospect of airstrikes to take out Syrian air defenses, airplanes and missile delivery systems, if government use of chemical weapons is confirmed.

An Israeli airstrike in Syria on Thursday, apparently targeting advanced missiles bound for the Shiite Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, highlighted the volatile situation. With Syrians already dying by the thousands from conventional weapons, Mr. Obama now confronts the most urgent foreign policy issue of his second term, one in which he must weigh humanitarian impulses against the risk to American lives. After about two years of ineffectual diplomacy, whether or how he chooses to follow through on his warning about chemical weapons could shape his remaining time in office.

The evolution of the “red line” and the nine months that followed underscore the improvisational nature of Mr. Obama’s approach to one of the most vexing crises in the world, all the more striking for a president who relishes precision.

Uh oh. Obama is ‘evolving’ again. But when has Obama ever been precise on anything, ever?

Palpably reluctant to become entangled in another war in the Middle East, and well aware that most Americans oppose military action, the president has deliberately not explained what his “red line” actually is or how it would change his calculus…

Can Obama explain the ‘Obama Doctrine’?

Further complicating the president’s choices is the murky nature of the evidence against Syria, a constant concern because of the lingering memories of mistaken intelligence on Iraq’s weapons a decade ago…

BS. Everyone knows chemical weapons have been used. He can’t blame Bush for this one.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, May 6th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “NYT: Obama’s Syrian Vows Were ‘Off The Cuff’”

  1. Liberals Demise

    One more tick to add to his incompetence colomn.
    OJT has no place in the Whitehouse. Hence……..we must witness this monsters hideous face.


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