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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

April 26, 2013 - 1:33 pm

After members of his administration said the “red line” for Syria and chemical weapons had most likely been crossed, President Obama had to face the cameras to explain his red-line wavering before a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah today.

“What we have right now is an intelligence assessment. And as I said, knowing that potentially chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria doesn’t tell us when they were used, how they were used. Obtaining confirmation and strong evidence, all of those things we have to make sure that we work on with the international community,” Obama said.

The White House has said it wants the UN to launch its own investigation and rely on those findings.

“And I think that, in many ways, a line has been crossed when we see tens of thousands of innocent people being killed by a regime.  But the use of chemical weapons and the dangers that poses to the international community, to neighbors of Syria, the potential for chemical weapons to get into the hands of terrorists — all of those things add increased urgency to what is already a significant security problem and humanitarian problem in the region,” he said.

The death toll is estimated to be more than 70,000.

“So we’re going to be working with countries like Jordan to try to obtain more direct evidence and confirmation of this potential use.  In the meantime, I’ve been very clear publicly, but also privately, that for the Syrian government to utilize chemical weapons on its people crosses a line that will change my calculus and how the United States approaches these issues,” Obama continued.

“So this is not an on or off switch. This is an ongoing challenge that all of us have to be concerned about. And we’re going to be working with the international community and our partners to keep our eyes on what’s happening on the ground, to gather any evidence of potential chemical weapon use and, at the same time, to continue to help with a moderate and inclusive opposition to help bring about the day when the Syrian people can once again focus on living their lives, raising their children, starting businesses, and obtaining basic freedom and human rights.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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Wow! That president has a lot of potentialities! What a crushing position!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, obviously, Obama just needs to tell everyone to 'do what needs to be done', and then go play golf.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Having drawn a line in the sand, Obama is declaring that it isn't "sand" sand, and is vowing to "bring the line to justice"---in civilian court, of course---but only after all the facts are finally in.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"And as I said, knowing that potentially chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria doesn’t tell us when they were used, how they were used."

What's a "potentially chemical weapon"? Is he trying to say that Sarin has any use other than as a weapon? I'm not a chemist but I can't see any non-weapon uses for Sarin in Wikipedia.

As for where the Sarin was used or how it was used, what difference does that make? I don't remember Obama's red line speech saying Syria would only cross the red line if Assad's regime killed more than 5,000 people or only if it was used in specific parts of the country.

Having made those observations, I am NOT saying Obama necessarily ought to act on this unless he or his team can think of a way to respond that doesn't empower the Islamists among the rebels. If he can help only the democratically-minded Western-oriented factions among the rebels, that would make a lot more sense than empowering yet another bunch of Islamists.

In fact, I'd like to see him do SOMETHING that proves he's a man of his word and will not let this Syrian transgression stand. I have no real confidence that he will help the moderate opposition though; his every action seems to be geared toward helping Islam triumph over the infidels (meaning US).

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
President Obama was eyeball to eyeball with himself---and he blinked first.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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