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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/23/2013 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

What is a 'red line' anyway?

As UN inspectors remain stalled in Damascus, just miles away from where as many as 1,300 people were killed in a sarin gas attack by Assad forces, President Obama if faced with a tough decision, and is calling for more time.

President Obama has previously said the use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a 'red line' with his administration. What that really means remains to be known.

President Obama has previously said the use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a 'red line' with his administration. What that really means remains to be known.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/23/2013 (11 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Syria, Assad, Sarin, poison, gas, Obama, intervention, red line


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - President Obama is on a bus tour of the U.S. to talk to students about the high cost of tuition. In the wake of Wednesday's poison gas attack, that tour is becoming cover as Obama looks for an excuse to hedge his bets on Syria.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest claimed that Obama was appalled and horrified, but that Obama wasn't prepared to do anything at this instant. Earnest said, "as we're weighing these domestic policy decisions, and as we're weighing these foreign policy decisions, the president puts the interest of the United States of America first. And I think the fact that we are doing this bus tour is an indication that the president has his priorities straight".

That's how Obama dodged the question on Syria -by saying nothing.

Obama has painted himself into a corner and thanks to the brutality of the Assad regime and the extremism of some rebel factions, he finds himself in a no-win situation.

The use of chemical weapons represented a "red line" according to the President's own statements on Syria. Syria has repeatedly crossed that line. Obama has done nothing. Naturally, this damages U.S. credibility. American promises to "do something" are just empty words.

Obama's position is understandable. Nobody wants to do anything to build up Christian and Israel-hating militant Muslims. The easiest solution, which is to arm the Syrian rebels is also dangerous because brigades of militant, fundamentalist Muslims, have folded into the Free Syrian Army. Many of these units have ties to al Qaeda.

There is no guarantee these people would not receive U.S.  aid shipments and later deploy those weapons against the U.S. and her allies.

Likewise, other intervention options are equally unsavory. A no-fly zone, which is the most likely option, would be an intense, expensive, long-term operation.   Troops on the ground would be even more so, and would result in American casualties.

For now, international officials, and the President are hedging their bets, calling for patience and calm as inspectors attempt to ascertain what really happened in Damascus earlier this week. However, these are absurd political delaying tactics because we all know what happened.

Hundreds of bodies, including many children, bundled in white sheets for burial with no other obvious signs of trauma are telling. The people were gassed to death, and there is no question of the fact. Assad's forces likely used rockets to deliver the lethal attacks.

For the world to hesitate even in the face of this shows Assad, Hezbollah, Iran, Russia and China that they can behave belligerently, even savagely, and the world will pause while it finds a good excuse to do nothing. While war is always an unsavory option, it is sometimes necessary and those who would commit atrocities should know that the international community stands ready to intervene swiftly against evil.

For now, the message sent by Obama and the rest of the world is encouraging for Assad and his cronies. It's also crushing for the thousands of innocent people he will soon murder because the rest of the world refuses to act. The situation is eerily similar to the allied refusal to bomb the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

It is understood that any intervention will bring risk and expense, and adds the complication that a hostile government could replace Assad's regime after the collapse. However, without U.S. and western intervention, we also assure that whatever government comes to power in Syria, it will not be beholden to America or the west, and may actually be quite upset that we did not respond in the hour of need.

Nobody wants conflict and war. We all want a peaceful resolution. However, Assad has pushed all his chips across the table by openly using weapons of mass destruction against his own people. Now Obama must call, or fold in disgrace.

Thousands of innocents are waiting on you, Mr. President.

Enjoy your bus tour.

---


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