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Syria unmasks Obama’s bluster

After personally laying down a “red line” against the use of chemical weapons in Syria and after Britain, France and Israel confirmed the use of chemical weapons there, President Obama evaded, ducked and erased whatever line he had drawn. He has said that he “doesn’t bluff.” But that is precisely what he has done in Syria, and now with his bluff called, he has only double talk left.

He told reporters Friday: “What we have right now is an intelligence assessment. And as I said, knowing that potentially chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria doesn’t tell us when they were used, how they were used. ...

“And I think that, in many ways, a line has been crossed when we see tens of thousands of innocent people being killed by a regime. ...

“So we’re going to be working with countries like Jordan to try to obtain more direct evidence and confirmation of this potential use. In the meantime, I’ve been very clear publicly, but also privately, that for the Syrian government to utilize chemical weapons on its people crosses a line that will change my calculus and how the United States approaches these issues.”

Translation: Red line? What red line?

The president’s dishonesty and irresoluteness should shake the Israelis and other Mideast allies. If the United States is undependable, then it is every nation for itself.

Unilateral strikes? They’re better than waiting for Obama to act. A regional nuclear arms race? Washington won’t be there to deter one, so any prudent country would want its own arsenal.

No modern president by word and deed (or lack thereof) has done more to invite aggression by our foes. No president has been so cynical in his willingness to bend the facts and backtrack on his own assurances so as to avoid action. Responsible Democrats and Republicans should deplore this behavior and urge the administration to live up to the president’s warning.

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