He came close several times. He talked about making "clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use" and that the "targeted strike to achieve a clear objective". He also wanted to make it clear, despite his Secretary of States pronouncements a few days earlier, that "The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks." This is clearly in response to John Kerry telling us that our military response would be "incredibly small". Well, that's perfectly clear! Incredibly small, yet larger than a pin prick. Got it! Moving right along...
Obama made the very emotional case about a murderous tyrant.
...Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening: Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas. Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk. On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits — a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war."
Gosh. Who wouldn't moved by that??
...When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it. Because what happened to those people — to those children — is not only a violation of international law, it’s also a danger to our security. Let me explain why. If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons.
Got that? Assad is a dictator committing atrocities, killing children with poison gas, committing crimes against humanity we will not tolerate, so, we must not fail to act.
Enter Vladimir Putin, who takes an offhand remark by Sec State Kerry, and comes riding over the hill, like the cavalry in a John Wayne western, to save Obama from his own careless talk. Yesterday's truth: Assad is evil, kills children and must die. Today's truth: We can negotiate with him, with our friend Putin, even if that keeps a dictator committing atrocities, killing children with poison gas, committing crimes against humanity, in power.
Obama "acted stupidly" by declaring a red line in Syria that he either had not thought through the consequences or was not prepared to back up, or both. Historically, the words and warnings of the Leader of the Free World carry a lot of weight. But then, historically, American presidents didn't make threats they were not prepared to back up.
And now, Vladimir Putin has rescued the impotent Obama from his toothless threats, and the only cost was a further erosion of American prestige in the world, and a guaranteed safe haven for a murderous tyrant who commits atrocities by gassing children to death.
Any way we can nominate this guy for a second Peace Prize?
Cross posted at Proof Positive