Friday, September 6, 2013

Obama's Red Line in Syria Draws Criticism Left and Right

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President's Remarks from Joint Press Conference with Swedish Prime Minister
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, sir. Have you made up your mind whether to take action against Syria whether or not you have a congressional resolution approved? Is a strike needed in order to preserve your credibility for when you set these sort of red lines? And were you able to enlist the support of the Prime Minister here for support in Syria?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let me unpack the question. First of all, I didn’t set a red line; the world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war.

Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that -- in a piece of legislation titled the Syria Accountability Act -- that some of the horrendous things that are happening on the ground there need to be answered for.

And so when I said in a press conference that my calculus about what’s happening in Syria would be altered by the use of the chemical weapons, which the overwhelming consensus of humanity says is wrong, that wasn’t something I just kind of made up. I didn’t pluck it out of thin air. There’s a reason for it. That’s point number one.

Point number two -- my credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress’s credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important.
And when those videos first broke and you saw images of over 400 children subjected to gas, everybody expressed outrage: How can this happen in this modern world? Well, it happened because a government chose to deploy these deadly weapons on civilian populations. And so the question is, how credible is the international community when it says this is an international norm that has to be observed? The question is, how credible is Congress when it passes a treaty saying we have to forbid the use of chemical weapons?


Well now the president is saying he never used the term red line. He's saying that the world used the term red line. So, it's taken him five years, but finally the guy has learned how to bullshit.
~ David Letterman, via Real Clear Politics

President Obama lied. Syrian kids have died. So is it a Red Line or not?
This President and his minions are rank amateurs. They’ve never looked more inept.
- Melissa Clouthier on Gateway Pundit

He did say it. . . . This President has tried to find a way to blame anybody or everybody for everything. And leadership requires that you stand up, take a position, provide clarity and take responsibility. I can't imagine him saying he didn't draw the red line. But he did draw the red line. We have ears.
. . . There's no question that the leadership, or lack of leadership has driven the country into a cul-de-sac. And that's not a good place to be.
~ Donald Rumsfeld in Fox News Interview with Greta Van Susteren

Ah! See? The red line! You can't use chemicals to kill your own people! You have to do it organically. America and the world want to make sure Assad only uses locally sourced free long range land ordinance.
Oh right, we have to bomb Syria because we're in 7th grade. And the red line that they crossed is actually dick-measuring ribbon.
~ Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, via

So, it doesn't matter. He didn't set the red line. (interruption) It is. It's hilarious, it's absurd, and it typifies exactly what we know. It's a Limbaugh theorem. It is the Limbaugh theorem. (Obama impression) "Well, I didn't do that! You didn't build it! I didn't set the red line; the world did." Believe me, if he could have blamed Bush for it, he would have. But I think even he knew that that might not fly. So blame it on the world.
~ Rush Limbaugh

Obama never should have set a red line in Syria in the first place, and once he did he should simply have found a way to weasel out of it. It's not that hard. Sure, the forever-hawks would have squealed, but they were going to squeal about anything short of Iraq 2.0 no matter what. So who cares what they think?
As near as I can tell, after five years Obama has been entirely captured by the national security establishment. It's a damn shame.
~ Kevin Drum on Mother Jones

What it says to me is that the president gets lost when he doesn't have a teleprompter in front of him, which he obviously didn't last year. It's somewhat mystifying.
Maybe the president needs to go back and look at what he said a year ago,’ but he was very clear. It was not Congress that was drawing a red line. 'I have a red line.’ So I don’t know that he’s necessarily thrown Congress under the bus, but he sure punted the ball to Congress as opposed to go taking the type of leadership that we normally see out of a Commander in Chief.
~ Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia


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