It was one of the most horrifying attacks we’ve seen out of the Syrian civil war so far: a nerve gas attack, possibly sarin, killing scores of people.
“We were attacked with four strikes,” said Syrian journalist Hadi Abdullah, who talked to Fox News. “When people went to help, they were choked with the poisoned gas.”
Of course, this wasn’t the first time an attack like this had happened. In 2013, Bashar Assad’s government was accused of using chemical weapons, as well. Yet, in 2012, the Obama administration had said that the use of such weapons of mass destruction would be considered a “red line.”
That red line was crossed and nothing really happened. The Obama administration continued its policy of kind-of-sort-of helping rebel groups of dubious provenance without actually doing anything that would lead to either Assad’s ouster or ensure that Syrian government forces wouldn’t use those weapons again.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer pointed this out in a statement delivered during an off-camera briefing.
“Today’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world,” Spicer said, according to Breitbart.
“These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution. President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a ‘red line’ against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing. The United States stands, with our allies across the globe, to condemn this intolerable act.”
The use of chemical weapons was, indeed, a red line that should have been dealt with long ago, before the Syrian conflict festered into what it has become. While we acknowledge that Syria is a difficult situation, direct action needs to be taken against those who use weapons of mass destruction.
We cannot glean from his initial statements what direction President Donald Trump’s response will go, although, according to The Guardian, he said Wednesday that his “attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much,” and that with a chemical attack that “(y)ou’re now talking about a whole different level.”
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We can only hope that his response isn’t as ineffectual and disingenuous as Barack Obama’s “red line.” Please like and share on Facebook and Twitter if you agree.
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