In a dramatic shift in tone, the Obama administration is talking in uncompromising terms about Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons, suggesting that the president has already decided to take military action of some kind.
Secretary of State John Kerry today raised the stakes, calling the killing of women and children with chemical weapons a “moral obscenity.” He said the evidence of their use was “undeniable” and must have “consequences.” Among the military options being considered are surgical strikes using aircraft or cruise missiles.
If so, President Obama is risking an outcome that he has tried hard to avoid for many months: enmeshing himself in Syria’s civil war, and effectively dragging America into a new war even as he winds down the decadelong conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Nonetheless, the president appears to believe that his credibility is at risk over the “red line” he drew a year ago. Despite Assad’s apparent concession by allowing in U.N. inspectors, administration officials say the evidence is too “corrupted” by now.
Via Michael Hirsh.