President Obama’s “red line” on Syria is not quite as straightforward as it has been made out to be.
The president is facing a complicated decision on Syria. With the White House now expressing “very little doubt” that the regime of Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons in an attack Wednesday outside Damascus, some U.S. lawmakers are calling for a military response – or at least an update on what options are being considered.
Today, the office of House Speaker John Boehner asserted that Syria had crossed the “red line” staked out by Obama last year – the use of chemical weapons on its own people.
“The Syrian regime has blatantly crossed President Obama’s red line, the White House has acknowledged, by using chemical weapons on its people,” wrote Boehner communications aide Brendan Buck, calling on Obama to consult with Congress and address the American people if he pursues a response.
“[I]f he chooses to act, the president must explain his decision publicly, clearly and resolutely,” Buck wrote.
The use of chemical weapons, itself, was not exactly Obama’s original “red line,” as he laid it out during a news conference at the White House on Aug. 20, 2012. For purposes of expediency and practicality, media outlets have simplified the “red line” as this: If Syria deployed chemical weapons against its own people; it would have crossed a threshold with the White House.
“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,” the president said a year ago last week. “That would change my calculus. That would change my equation. That date would have effectively been Monday August 20, 2012. And as we have alluded to it was during the very same news conference at the White House with Barack Obama doing the talking.
It is easy when a raging public mainstream media gets a shot at something that a politician said, and then in haste they start stepping all over each other and a comment becomes more than it started out to be.
However, pursuant to earlier writings from this week and a vat full of them in the Archives Section on this site, politicians, given over to maintaining order and warmly caressing power, do at times allow their mouths to embellish real depictions of fact.
Politicians by nature are taught to be positively vague on just about everything they say. The situations are so subtle and vague, we’re sure that is why big huge media outlets employ the little known marvel, known as Fact Checkers.
This is precisely what Barack Obama did this morning from Sweden. During a reception news conference Obama states that he never said anything about that red line; in fact, he without so much as taking a breath stated “I didn’t say it, the world said it…”
According to an ABC News article written by Chris Good it was also unclear what the consequences of crossing that “red line” would be. Obama has cautioned that unilateral action, particularly without a U.N. mandate, may be unwise and could conflict with international law. In keeping with the strategy he used in seeking international cooperation for airstrikes against Libya in 2011, Obama warned in a CNN interview last week that international cooperation is key to military intervention.
Being positively vague is not a deficit. However fabricating elements of the truth is definitely a deficit. Examples just using Barack Obama illuminate how often his words are mixed up. How does an eight minute video tape turn into a spontaneous activity of murder and still nothing resolved by the White House. Of course I am referring to Benghazi, Libya and misleading remarks, people, and talking points; it was in reality an act of terrorism.