Obama ‘proud’ not to bomb Syrian regime
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau at the North Portico of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 10, 2016, for a state dinner. AP PhotoU.S. President Barack Obama does not regret stepping back from his “red line” on the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, saying he was “proud” of the decision.
In an interview published by the Atlantic magazine on March 10, Obama described his decision to step back from planned military strikes, which would have changed the course of Syria’s brutal five-year-old civil war.
“I’m very proud of this moment,” Obama said.
“The overwhelming weight of conventional wisdom and the machinery of our national-security apparatus had gone fairly far,” Obama was quoted as saying.
“The perception was that my credibility was at stake, that America’s credibility was at stake. And so for me to press the pause button at that moment, I knew, would cost me politically.”
Critics argue that Obama’s decision did damage to American credibility that will not be healed quickly or easily.
“The fact that I was able to pull back from the immediate pressures and think through in my own mind what was in America’s interest, not only with respect to Syria but also with respect to our democracy, was as tough a decision as I’ve made - and I believe that ultimately it was the right decision to make.”
Meanwhile, the article also claimed that Obama’s ideas regarding Assad had changed after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) beheaded three American civilians in Syria.
“But by late spring of 2014, after ISIS [ISIL] took the northern-Iraq city of Mosul, he came to believe that U.S. intelligence had failed to appreciate the severity of the threat and the inadequacies of the Iraqi army, and his view shifted. After ISIS beheaded three American civilians in Syria, it became obvious to Obama that defeating the group was of more immediate urgency to the U.S. than overthrowing Bashar al-Assad,” read the article.