Opposition Activists Claim Chemical Weapons Have Been Used in Syria Almost a Year to the Day After Obama Made "Red Line" Comment


The White House

Almost exactly a year ago today President Obama said, ""We have been very clear to the (Bashar Assad) regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation."

Since making those comments there have been reports that chemical weapons have been used in the conflict in Syria. The most recent of these reports were released earlier today after Syrian opposition activists said that hundreds of people were killed in an apparent chemical weapons attack outside Damascus. The news comes a few days after United Nations inspectors arrived in Syria to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons. Unsurprisingly Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has already criticized Obama for not responding to the reported use of chemical weapons.

While McCain may be wrong about what should be done in Syria he is right to point out that Obama has changed his policy on Syria in light of reports that his own "red line" being crossed.

Unfortunately for Obama the nation's highest ranking military officer and most of the American public don't think further intervention in Syria would be a good idea. Yesterday it was reported that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y) in a letter dated Aug. 19 that rebels in Syria would not support U.S. interests, effectively ruling out military operations in Syria.

However, it is worth remembering that public opinion on intervention does shift when the use of chemical weapons is considered, and there is already some speculation that the heart-wrenching photos of the attack reported today could sway American public opinion on intervention in Syria.

NEXT: American College Student Says She Was Diagnosed With PTSD After Returning From India

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This op-ed lays out some of the same immediate skepticism I’ve had:…..ganda-796/

    1. I agree with being skeptical, but RT isn’t exactly a neutral source.

      1. The Slashdot discussion of this includes a lot of people being skeptical, for various reasons: people in the video don’t seem to display the real symptoms, far too few old people, etc.

      2. Well, Fox News columnists will get something right once in a while, too, and RT has clearly been influenced that channel’s style.

        Seriously, I’m surprised more people, especially progressives, aren’t more skeptical of al-Jazeera, seeing as it’s wholly owned by the Qatari crown, which is obviously in a stronger position to influence coverage than General Electric ever was when it was the majority owner of NBC.

  2. Still not supporting an invasion of Syria.

    *throws bucket of ice water on all warbonerz*

    1. Didn’t…Lyle(?) go join the Jaish al-Ibrahim Lincoln?

      1. Nope, I’m still in America doing my thing.

        Y’all are fools to think I’d be volunteering my services when I can just write letters to my congresswoman.

  3. There’s also speculation that this chemical attack was done BY the opposition.

    Because you don’t know who to believe, you stay the fuck away.

    1. This. That being said, Twitter was filled with pictures of dead corpses last night, many of them children, so yeah, it’s a pretty fucked up situation over there if chemical weapons really were used.

      I’m amazed at the things people are willing to do to each other.

    2. So does the mean the US should intervene to prop up Assad? I mean propping whoever is in charge worked in Egypt.


    Travel warning for Cuba over cholera.

    Anyone willing to chip in to buy Michael Moore a ticket for another visit?

    1. Cuba, where the people aren’t smart enough not to shit in their drinking water.

  5. no one really knows what’s what re: Syria, not who the “rebels” really are, not who used nasty weapons or how many were killed, not anything. Backing the Egyptian military because it seems the least worst option, certainly better than the Brotherhood, is one thing but there is no evidence of a least worse in Syria. At least, not yet. Sometimes, being an observer is a good idea.

  6. Mission accomplished

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.