Left goes nuts after Trump blames Obama for Syrian chemical attack on civilians
Following the gas attack on a town in Syria's northern Idib province that killed at least 11 civilians – most of them children – President Trump issued a statement saying the attack was a "consequence" of President Obama's failure to follow through on his 2012 "red line" threat of striking Syria if Syria used chemical weapons again.
Obama was spared total humiliation when he backed off his threat as Russia volunteered to remove all Syrian chemical weapons from Syria's control.
Since 2012, there have been dozens of chemical attacks carried out by the Syrian air force.
President Trump responded with this statement: "Today's chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world. 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 attack."
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reacted, "While we continue to monitor the terrible situation, it is clear that this is how Bashar al-Assad operates: with brutal, unabashed barbarism. Those who defend and support him, including Russia and Iran, should have no illusions about Assad or his intentions. Anyone who uses chemical weapons to attack his own people shows a fundamental disregard for human decency and must be held accountable."
Mohammed Rasoul, the head of a Syrian ambulance service, told the BBC that first responders found people choking in the streets.
"Our team is still there, moving patients from one place to another because of overcrowded hospitals," he said. "I am speaking to my team and they are doing fine, but the situation over there is very bad and most of those who are suffering are children."
The media center published footage of medical workers appearing to intubate an unresponsive man stripped down to his underwear and hooking up a little girl foaming at the mouth to a ventilator.
There was no comment from the government in Damascus or any international agency in the immediate aftermath of the attack.
It was the third claim of a chemical attack in just over a week in Syria. The previous two were reported in Hama province, in an area not far from Khan Sheikhoun, the site of Tuesday's alleged attack.
As has been the pattern after these attacks, Syrian or Russian planes proceeded to bomb hospitals in the area, immensely complicating the treatment of victims.
It is unknown exactly what kind of gas was used in the attack. Assad's chemical of choice in the past has been chlorine. But observers on the ground are saying it is likely that there was more than one chemical used in the attack – possibly also sarin gas, which affects the nervous system and not just breathing.
So is Trump right in blaming Obama? The left points to Trump tweets in 2013 that cautioned Obama about bombing Syria.
AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA – IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2013
But that tweet was posted almost a year after Russia saved Obama from having to completely walk back his "red line" threat. By then, bombing Assad's forces made little sense unless the U.S. was willing to go all in for the rebels – something almost everyone believed would facilitate a showdown with the Russians.
Obama's failure to follow through on his threat is dramatic evidence of what happens when a U.S. president puts his enormous power and prestige on the line in threatening military action if a red line is crossed. Assad crossed that line in 2012, and he got away scot-free. As a consequence of Obama's failure, Assad continued to use chemical weapons against rebel-sympathizing civilians.
No better illustration of what happens when a president loses credibility can be found in recent history.
The left can wail and howl all they want. Trump is absolutely, 100% correct. The chemical attack this week is a direct result of President Obama's appalling weakness in the face of clear and unmistakable violations of international law and common decency. Every one of those casualties in Idib province owes his suffering to the former American president.
And Trump was right to call him out for it.