Thursday, December 18, 2014

Obama’s red line rhetoric on Syria twists into little red lie


President Obama apparently has taken a temporary break from blaming George W. Bush and the GOP.

Now he’s pointing the finger at us ... and the world (pretty much everyone except himself).

President Obama apparently has taken a temporary break from blaming George W. Bush and the GOP.

Now he’s pointing the finger at us ... and the world (pretty much everyone except himself).

Pushed to the brink of war by his own ill-conceived and arrogant rhetoric, Obama this week attempted to pass the buck while still trying to gin up support for a U.S. strike on Syria. Though the White House has accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons against his people in the Middle Eastern country’s ongoing civil war, the international community and, more importantly, the American public aren’t on board with an attack that could lead to another costly and protracted conflict — particularly one that ultimately could pit us against Iran, Russia and China.

(Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened the United States Thursday, saying, “We believe that the Americans are committing a folly and mistake in Syria and will, accordingly, take the blow and definitely suffer.”)

Obama’s problem? The president challenged Assad last year not to cross the “red line” of chemical warfare. Asked Aug. 20, 2012, about using the U.S. military in Syria, Obama said he had not yet ordered such engagement, but noted, “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. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

Nearly a year to the date of Obama’s comments, Aug. 21, Assad’s regime is said to have launched a chemical attack killing more than 1,400 people including 400 children. The White House and other proponents of a strike say Assad and his government have killed more than 100,000 total. With the Syrian leader thumbing his nose at Obama’s challenge, the president runs the risk of looking weak and toothless if the U.S. doesn’t act.

But wait! Our Nobel Peace Prize-winning commander-in-chief has a solution: Pretend he never gave Assad an ultimatum, thus washing responsibility from his hands.

“I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line,” Obama petulantly said Wednesday in Stockholm, adding, “My credibility’s not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress’s credibility is on the line.”

In other words: It’s not my fault.

Obama’s counterproductive backpedaling does more than give the appearance of cowardice in the face of dire consequences for our country and  the world, it also suggests the president doesn’t view himself as a symbol of America on the international stage — rather he’s something else (presumably something set above reproach and criticism).

This is America’s problem, after all. Not his.

But should we expect anything else? Five years into his presidency, Obama has deftly managed to absolve himself of any blame related to the still-sour economy. He’s continued to paint himself as an outsider at the mercy of the Washington establishment, unable to accomplish his goals to better America because of Republican obstructionists.

And, for whatever reason, voters are buying it.

(They apparently forget the “successful” implementation of such Obama hallmark policies as the Affordable Care Act, auto bailout, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), as well as the appointment of two liberal judges to the U.S. Supreme Court, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the countless end-runs around Congress using such government bodies as the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce his unpopular programs. Oh, yeah. And then there’s his re-election.)

Now Obama wants us to forget his red line.

It’s our line now. And whatever happens — or doesn’t happen — in Syria is now our fault. It’s Congress’ fault. It’s the world’s fault.

Anybody but Obama.

— Tommy Felts,

managing editor

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