As Syrian men, women and children – even babies writhed in agony after being exposed to lethal doses of deadly Sarin gas dropped from the sky upon order of President Bashar Assad; the world reacted in horror.
Sickening and heartbreaking images of people dying in the streets, bodies of children stacked in heaps, a father holding his lifeless twin baby girls, their mother also a victim, horrified the world, so angering and moving President Trump that he launched a military response to send the message that such attacks would not be tolerated.
But people might be forgiven if they also reacted with surprise after being led to believe by former President Obama that he had “eliminated” Syria’s chemical weapons cache years ago.
In fact, Obama bragged about it in a tweet dated August 18, 2014.
President Obama on eliminating the Syrian regime’s “most lethal declared chemical weapons.”
In a formal statement issued the same day, President Obama claimed, “an important achievement in our ongoing effort to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction by eliminating Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile.”
Obama was taking credit for a “deal” brokered between Syria and Russia in which Assad agreed to turn over his stockpile of the deadly chemicals for destruction by the U.S. and Russia.
Democrats hailed the deal and Secretary of State John Kerry crowed, “We struck a deal where we got a hundred percent of the chemical weapons out.”
Obama himself bragged, “It turns out we are getting chemical weapons out of Syria without initiating a strike.”
The president was facing growing criticism after he abandoned his strongly worded statement in August 2012 when he warned Assad that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” claiming that “the world” had drawn the line – he had not.
Even when it was reported that Assad again used chemical weapons in 2015 in violation of the agreement, Obama reaffirmed his claim that the stockpile had been destroyed, claiming that the chlorine gas used in them was not “part of the deal.”
The Obama administration stubbornly held its ground in maintaining the fiction with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterating the claim on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“Right now, Bashar al-Assad doesn’t have a declared chemical weapon stockpile,” Earnest said in September 2015.
Obama assured the American people and the world that Syria’s lethal chemical weapons had been destroyed at sea by U.S. civilian and military professionals, but not content with his boasts, he could not help but add that the mission had been completed “several weeks ahead of schedule.”
But this week, a new president reacted with horror at the images of innocent Syrians dying in the streets, apparently the victims of non-existent chemical weapons President Obama claimed to have eliminated from Assad’s arsenal years ago.
And that new president didn’t draw a red line.
Instead, he ordered the total destruction of the instruments of the chemical attack – the military base, the airstrips, the hangars and the aircraft used to deploy the deadline Sarin gas on innocent people.
There was no bragging or bluster, no warnings or threats, no deal-making, no false assertions.
Just the decisive voice of a real leader saying – No. Not on my watch.
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