The first cruise missile has yet to fly in the event of a U.S. strike on Syria, and already the president is seeking to pass the buck for painting himself into a corner a year ago and now feeling impelled to make good on the ultimatum he issued. So eager is he to shirk responsibility (once again) that he is attempting to rewrite history.
In a news conference in Sweden this morning he denied threatening to use force against Syria if the Assad regime used chemical weapons on its civilian population.
The Right Scoop provides both video of Obama’s exchange with a reporter and the transcript, both of which follow:
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% 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 entitled the Syria Accountability Act that some of the horrendous things happening on the ground there need to be answered for. So, when I said in a press conference that my calculus about what’s happening in Syria would be altered by the use of 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.
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He takes some liberty with his invocation of the Syria Accountability Act, passed into law in 2003, which doesn’t specifically reference chemical weapons. In fact, Obama cited the Syria Accountability Act for the first time on Tuesday in his request to Congress for authorization to use military force against the Assad regime.
As for his claim that he “didn’t set a red line” for Syria, that is belied by his own words a year earlier. The money portion of the president’s statement begins at 0:32 in the clip that follows. Here is the transcript:
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. [Emphasis added]
It is possible that by us, Obama was referring to the world, though the context doesn’t support it.
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