Obama: It Took “Courage” to Let Assad Gas His Own People
In an interview with Jack Schlossberg last week, former President Barack Obama said that he showed a tremendous amount of courage when he allowed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to gas his own people without facing any punishment for the genocide.
On the evening he was to accept the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award, Obama was asked about the most difficult choices he had to make while occupying the White House.
“Well, the hardest issue that I dealt with was always sending out young men and women into harm’s way – our troops,” Obama said. “But I actually think that the issue that required the most political courage was the decision not to bomb Syria after the chemical weapons use had been publicized, and rather to negotiate them removing chemical weapons from Syria.
“Now, we know subsequently that some remained, so it was an imperfect solution,” he admitted. “But what we also know is that 99 percent of huge chemical weapons stockpiled were removed without us having to fire a shot.”
You may remember the incident in 2012 where Obama warned Assad: Once the dictator used chemical weapons on his people, there would be no turning back.
“We have been very clear to the Assad regime that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” Obama said at the time. “That would change my calculus; that would change my equation.”
It was likely no coincidence that Obama used this bizarre example of political courage only a few short weeks after President Trump bombed the hell out of a Syrian airfield in response to Assad’s latest chemical attack. In the interview, Obama argued that using military force against the regime would have been the easy choice.
“As president, what you discover is that you generally get praised for taking military action and you’re often criticized for not doing so,” he said. “And it wasn’t a slam dunk, but I thought it made sense for a variety of reasons for us to see if we could actually try to eliminate the prospect of large-scale chemical weapons use rather than the political expedience of a one-time shot.”
Uh-huh. You have to wonder if the children who were gassed to death in the recent Syrian strike would feel the same way about Obama’s decision. Their grieving mothers are surely thankful that Obama managed to negotiate “99 percent” of the chemical weapons out of their country.
But when you’re talking about a president who saw Iran as an ally and Israel as an enemy; Trayvon Martin as a hero and police as villains; private enterprise as destructive and government as the One True Answer – it’s not surprising that he would confuse cowardice for courage.