Obama clarifies: Syria chemical-weapons “ultimatum” more of a “friendly suggestion”

5 May

WASHINGTON–as evidence mounts that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in the country’s civil war, President Obama today clarified that his forceful statement that such use would cross a “red line” was not meant to imply that the United States would actually “take any action whatsoever.”

“People read too much into this red-line thing,” said Obama. “I mean, the bus map is covered in red lines. I have some on my tie. It didn’t mean anything.”

Later, Obama complained that “you people think that just because the President makes an unambiguous statement of American policy, he then is supposed to actually do something.”

Asked if there were circumstances under which he would intervene in the Syrian dispute, Obama thought for a moment, and then said that if he had incontrovertible evidence that the government had attacked the United States mainland with nuclear weapons, then “we would certainly have to think about some kind of response.” An aide later clarified that the President had been speaking about sanctions.

Reactions were generally negative. “This guy is some kind of crazy isolationist,” said Senator Rand Paul.

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