Thank goodness that dreadful Bush administration has come to an end. Otherwise the US would be threatening to militarily intervene in a Muslim country to prevent the development or use of weapons of mass destruction.Except…in yesterday’s talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Obama did threaten just such an intervention. Amid growing concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile and the regime’s willingness to use it, the President made thinly veiled threats against the Assad regime in the event that evidence of chemical weapons use emerges:
But Mr. Obama’s remarks, in which he pointedly left open the possibility that President Assad’s government had used chemical weapons—and all but ruled out Mr. Assad’s assertions that insurgents had used them—were unusually strong in tone.“Once we establish the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game changer,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.
If the US comes out with conclusive evidence that regime forces used chemical weapons against the rebels or civilians, Assad, Iran, Russia and Israel will all be watching to see how the President chooses to back up his threats. We hope President Obama is smart enough to understand the expectations these words now put on the White House. But we have reason for worry: he has a history of sending mixed signals. But Obama may soon have a chance to prove the doubters wrong.Two chances, in fact. After all, Syria isn’t the only country Obama has threatened over its WMD:
Mr. Obama pointedly emphasized his administration’s pledge to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, one of Mr. Netanyahu’s greatest fears.
On the tenth anniversary of Iraq, another American President is threatening the use of force in the Middle East. What’s more, the American public is behind him. A recent Pew poll has just found that 64 percent of Americans—and 62 percent of Democrats—believe preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is more important than avoiding war. Americans may be disillusioned with Iraq, but the Iraq War hasn’t turned them against similar entanglements the way its opponents had hoped it would.