We all know about the Obama administration’s “red lines.” In August 2012, the president drew a red line in the sand with respect to Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its civilian population. In a recording that preserves his warning for posterity, he said:
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]
Here is the video:
A year later, the Assad regime launched an attack on rebel forces using sarin, a deadly nerve gas. As many as 1,729 citizens were killed, of which an estimated 51 were rebel fighters. Obama’s response? He denied setting a red line, insisting:
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.
Regardless of Obama’s waffling, the Syrian leadership went unpunished for its inhumane acts of aggression.
The simple fact is Obama is not a wartime leader. He lacks the intestinal fortitude to make good on his threats. One critic of the president, retired U.S. Army Col. Ralph Peters, went so far as to call him “a terrified little man in a great big job he can’t do.” That may be a cruel characterization of the leader of the free world, but Obama has done little to persuade otherwise.
That includes his most recent red line. This time, the American people can rest assured the line will be not crossed. The line was drawn by Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, who said on Friday, “I think that’s a red line for everybody here, no boots on the ground.”
The declaration sends an unsubtle message to ISIS. “Go ahead and invade and pillage cities,” it seems to say. “Take refuge among citizens, killing those you find it expedient to eradicate. Take over their homes. Commandeer their hospitals and schools. Nothing that you do can provoke the ‘coalition’ into a fight.”
Shorter Kerry/Obama: “We surrender.”
Obama has spoken at length recently about this strategy for defeating ISIS in Syria. His administration spokesmen are now claiming that they’ve had a strategy all along and that it is to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS. But that is not a strategy, it is an end. How the president plans to achieve that objective remains murky, especially now that he has affirmed that he will not engage the enemy directly under any circumstances.
- Did Obama’s ‘red line’ invite Putin’s power play?
- Red lines Obama, Democrats never draw in the sand
- Obama: ‘I never set a red line’ for Syria
- Tripping on his own red line?
- Report: 11 commercial jetliners secured by Libyan terrorists weeks before 9/11
- Picture of the Day: ISIS tries to ‘degrade and destroy’ Obama through photo war
- Col. Ralph Peters: Obama ‘a terrified little man in a great big job he can’t do’ (Video)