When the New York Times gets on Obama's tail, he's in for some tough chewing.
Moving or using large quantities of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and “change my calculus,” the president declared in response to a question at a news conference, to the surprise of some of the advisers who had attended the weekend meetings and wondered where the “red line” came from. With such an evocative phrase, the president had defined his policy in a way some advisers wish they could take back.
Several officials said they recalled no discussion about the “red line” phrase but suspected that it came out of the election-year conversation about Iran and how far to allow its nuclear program to progress before being forced to take action. It was a concept that was “embedded in people’s prefrontal cortex,” one of the officials said.
Within the administration, the debate over what to do continues.
“The problem here is we react so slowly,” said Andrew J. Tabler, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “There have been many well-thought-out plans, but they address a certain context. Then the context changes, we see the situation as rapidly deteriorating, and the recommendations are no longer so finely tuned.”
In otherwords, Obama made threats which seemed to commit the USA to defend the human rights of citizens upon whom Asad might use chemical weapons, then he back tracked and now his administration is trying to distance itself from the comments because they are so incompetent that their words are meaningless once the situation changes.
God help us.