Oh-oh, here comes another crisis for Obama

When a president assumes office with no executive experience at all and a faculty lounge contempt for the details of management, events have a way of sneaking up on him and creating crises.  Writing in Time, Michael Crowley explains another fine mess Obama has gotten himself into.

For many Americans, Syria’s chemical weapons count as a problem solved. But that’s about to change.

While it was sarin gas that crossed Obama’s red line last summer, this time chlorine is the weapon of choice. Chlorine may be harmless in swimming pools, but it is lethal in concentrated form. Human Rights Watch says there is “strong evidence” of multiple chlorine attacks in Syria last month, with clouds of yellow gas killing 11 people and sickening another 500 with symptoms that can include vomiting, splitting headaches and uncontrollable coughing. Syrian activists say another chlorine attack earlier this week killed a disabled teenager. France’s foreign minister says Syrian forces may have used chlorine 14 times in recent months.

And now the president who said he “will not tolerate” the use of chemical weapons faces another challenge to his red line — one that will again test his credibility, and renew talk of U.S. military action in Syria. (snip)

Washington is still largely in denial about this dilemma. But it won’t be long beore it becomes unavoidable. The trigger will be the results of an investigation underway in Syria by the Organisation to Prohibit Chemical Weapons. But its outcome is predictable. French and Israeli officials have already said they believe the reports, and last week Secretary of State John Kerry said he’s seen “raw data” to the same effect.

The level of incompetence in the presidency may be the worst ever. Certainly not surpassed in the last century. The last faculty lounge president we had, Woodrow Wilson, got us into war after promising to keep us out, and then bungled the peace treaty at Versailles, sowing the seeds for both German and Japanese fascism.

When a president assumes office with no executive experience at all and a faculty lounge contempt for the details of management, events have a way of sneaking up on him and creating crises.  Writing in Time, Michael Crowley explains another fine mess Obama has gotten himself into.

For many Americans, Syria’s chemical weapons count as a problem solved. But that’s about to change.

While it was sarin gas that crossed Obama’s red line last summer, this time chlorine is the weapon of choice. Chlorine may be harmless in swimming pools, but it is lethal in concentrated form. Human Rights Watch says there is “strong evidence” of multiple chlorine attacks in Syria last month, with clouds of yellow gas killing 11 people and sickening another 500 with symptoms that can include vomiting, splitting headaches and uncontrollable coughing. Syrian activists say another chlorine attack earlier this week killed a disabled teenager. France’s foreign minister says Syrian forces may have used chlorine 14 times in recent months.

And now the president who said he “will not tolerate” the use of chemical weapons faces another challenge to his red line — one that will again test his credibility, and renew talk of U.S. military action in Syria. (snip)

Washington is still largely in denial about this dilemma. But it won’t be long beore it becomes unavoidable. The trigger will be the results of an investigation underway in Syria by the Organisation to Prohibit Chemical Weapons. But its outcome is predictable. French and Israeli officials have already said they believe the reports, and last week Secretary of State John Kerry said he’s seen “raw data” to the same effect.

The level of incompetence in the presidency may be the worst ever. Certainly not surpassed in the last century. The last faculty lounge president we had, Woodrow Wilson, got us into war after promising to keep us out, and then bungled the peace treaty at Versailles, sowing the seeds for both German and Japanese fascism.

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