President Barack Obama said a potential invasion of Syria is not about his credibility, nor the “red line” comment he made last year with regards to the use of chemical weapons.
President Barack Obama answers a question on Syria during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt after their bilateral meeting in Stockholm, Sept. 4, 2013. (Getty Images)
“I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line,” Obama said Wednesday during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in Stockholm.
He went on to refer to the Chemical Weapons Convention, signed by more than 180 countries and ratified by the U.S. Senate.
“The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty preventing their use even when a country is engaged in war,” Obama said. “Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that in a piece of legislation titled the Syria Accountability Act that some of the horrendous things that are happening on the ground there need to be answered for."
Congress is now debating whether to approve the administration’s call for an attack on Syria after the U.S. government announced it had evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his people, killing 1,429, including 426 children, in an attack last month.
"My credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line," Obama said. "And America and Congress’s credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important."