His reluctance to use U.S. military might without ironclad evidence that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons is the prudent approach, especially given that the U.S. invasion of
Nevertheless, speaking softly about his intent has come much too late, after he loosely bought into the rhetoric of Israeli Prime Minister
By talking tough in the early going of the crisis, Obama unwisely put his own credibility, and that of American foreign policy, on the line, now compromised by what seems to be transparent back-tracking from military action of some sort.
Talking now about a "game changer" triggering unspecified "consequences" risks further shaking the confidence of American allies in a U.S. political leadership already diminished by Obama's errant speaking too loudly from the start.
Earlier, in response to the demand for American military intervention in
Aware of growing public dissatisfaction with his performance in the ongoing Syrian crisis, the president made a short-notice appearance yesterday (Tuesday) in the
"In pursuit of that strategy," he said, "we are the largest humanitarian donor, we have worked to strengthen the opposition" and have taken "a whole host of steps ... even separate from the chemical weapons issue," because "what's happening in
That was what he should have limited himself to saying all along. He defended terming the use of chemical weapons in
His statement, he insisted, "wasn't a position unique to
He went on, belatedly perhaps: "When I am making decisions about America's national security and the potential for taking additional action in response to chemical weapon use, I've got to make sure I've got the facts. That's what the American people would expect, and if we end up rushing to judgment without hard, effective evidence, then we can find ourselves in a position where we can't mobilize the international community to support what we do."
He said he told his team it had to "establish with some certainty" what has happened in
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(C) 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc., "Obama Got Ahead of Himself with 'Red Line' Talk on Syria"