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David Jackson, USA TODAY 8:21 a.m. EDT May 6, 2013
On Aug. 20 of last year, President Obama popped into the White House press room to take some questions -- and uttered a term that may well hang over the rest of his second term.
Asked in August about reports that Syria may be prepared to use chemical weapons against rebels, Obama said:
"We have been very clear to the (Bashar 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."
There appears to be ample wiggle room to be very cautious based on his change comments. I am unclear whether Obama's recent comments amount to a more forcible position.
Third, how certain is the current evidence? Are we 100% certain that Assad's troops used the chemical weapons? Did Assad actually give that order or were renegade troops involved? Are we certain that the weapons weren't used by rebels?
President Obama stated in his PBS interview Aug 27, 2013 “Nobody disputes --
or hardly anybody disputes
-- that chemical weapons were used on a large scale in Syria against civilian populations,” the president said. “We have looked at all the evidence, and we do not believe the opposition possessed … chemical weapons of that sort.”
There must be NO doubt. This has far too much similarity to the Iraq WMD fiasco.
Fifth, as speculated by many far wiser than me, what would be the reaction to US military action? Would Russia attack our warships in the Mediterranean? Would Hezbollah go all hell-out against Israel? Would Iran unleash terror on our homeland, go crazy with their nuke program, or close the straits of Hormuz? Would Iraq further destabilize?
Humility and great caution must prevail in these troubled times.