Tags: Barack Obama | Syria | obama | political courage | bomb | syria

Obama: It Took 'Political Courage' Not to Bomb Syria

Image: Obama: It Took 'Political Courage' Not to Bomb Syria
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By Wanda Carruthers   |   Monday, 15 May 2017 04:43 PM

Former President Barack Obama said it took "political courage" not to bomb Syria after he had warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discontinue using chemical weapons against his own people, threatening doing so would be crossing a "red line," the Washington Examiner reported Monday.

Obama spoke about his strategy with the Syrian regime while president in an interview last week with Jack Schlossberg, before receiving the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award. Schlossberg is the grandson of former President John F. Kennedy and member of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Committee.

"We have been very clear to the Assad regime — but also to other players on the ground — that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus; that would change my equation," Obama said in 2012.

Obama never followed through with his threats against Assad, opting to use diplomacy instead after the Syrian president again used chemical weapons against his people. Yet, Assad kept an arsenal of chemical weapons and used them again earlier this year, prompting President Donald Trump to launch a missile attack against a Syrian airfield on April 6.

"When you kill innocent children, innocent babies with a chemical gas that was so lethal — that crossed many, many lines beyond the 'red line,'" Trump said after the attack.

"I actually think that the issue that required the most political courage was the decision not to bomb Syria after the chemical weapons use had been publicized, and rather to negotiate them removing chemical weapons from Syria," Obama told Schlossberg.

"Now, we know subsequently that some remained, so it was an imperfect solution. But, what we also know is that 99 percent of huge chemical weapons stockpiled were removed without us having to fire a shot," he added.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham responded to Obama's comments by tweeting:

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Former President Barack Obama said it took "political courage" not to bomb Syria after he had warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discontinue using chemical weapons against his own people, threatening doing so would be crossing a "red line," the Washington Examiner reported Monday.
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