The Red Line of Right


Walking Obama Back

Yesterday’s New York Times had one of those “Washington Insider” stories wherein presidential advisers express dismay of pants-peeing proportion that the guy in charge actually said what he felt about a morally troubling issue.  Time to get him back in the box.

Here’s the President’s quote  from an earlier NYT article:

Syria and Chemical Weapons

“We cannot have a situation in which chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people,” Mr. Obama said in response to questions at an impromptu news conference at the White House. “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 weapons moving around or being utilized.”

Our foreign policy uber wonks would have Obama apparently follow  Bill Clinton’s example (and crushingly poor judgement) in refusing to acknowledge that what was happening in Rawanda was genocide.  Clinton administration officials  declined to even use the word “genocide” as they might have to actually do something if they did.

Obama said what he thought and felt but here is how a “senior official” spins it now, “Mr. Obama was thinking of a chemical attack that would cause mass fatalities, not relatively small-scale episodes like those now being investigated, except the “nuance got completely dropped.”

Now we get it.  The occasional use of nerve gas where a dozen or so are killed and injured:  not a big deal.  By that calculus the Boston bombing was not even front page news. But, of course, we apply a different formula for non-US terror casualties.

It must be admitted that this is all muddled by the memory of George W. Bush engaging in a ground war in Iraq over specious claims of weapons of mass destruction.

But if American strategic interests demand our constant involvement in the Middle East to protect our 51st state (Israel) and our dependence on oil, the President should at least feel free to be morally indignant about the actual use of a chemical weapon without his staff swooning in confusion and fear.

After all, a president being honest is a nice thing–every once in a while.



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