It’s a common talking point from Republicans that President Obama is “leading from behind” on the discord in Syria. The Washington Post is siding with the GOP.
After a news report in late April that the Syrian government may have used chemical weapons against its own people, Obama was asked during a press conference Tuesday whether the U.S. would intervene given that last year, Obama said use of chemical weapons would constitute a “red line.”
Obama said that the U.S. would first need to determine the “chain of custody” of the weapons. “If we end up rushing to judgment without hard, effective evidence … we can find ourselves in a position where we can’t marshal the international community in support of what we do,” he said.
Editors at the Washington Post on Thursday called Obama’s remarks “weak”:
Can any coherence be found in this? A charitable interpretation might be that Mr. Obama wishes to avoid immediate U.S. intervention but wants to pressure Moscow into changing its position by letting it be known that the alternative is greater U.S. support for the rebels. If so, Mr. Obama is being too clever. His weak and legalistic words about the need to verify a “chain of custody” on any chemical-weapons use and his declaration that even a hard confirmation would lead only to a “rethink [of] the range of options” simply invite further chemical attacks.