The White House said it was trying to confirm the reports independently from this week’s attack.
Lugar said on MSNBC Thursday, “The president is going to have to deal with Congress on these issues. The ‘red line’ ... means going to war. Essentially, the president said there would be enormous consequences. He needs to start outlining what would be involved. This is very dangerous because we may be aiding people who will use the arms against us and our allies.”
Lugar said that during his 2012 visit to Russia, he urged them to “draw up a plan to capture the chemical weapons in Syria” with the United States. With Lugar out of the Senate and Russian President Vladimir Putin saber-rattling against U.S. interests, there is a leadership void, a dramatic shift from the Nunn-Lugar era. More worrisome are the 2014 Olympics in that neighborhood at Sochi on the Black Sea.
This atrocity poses a test for President Obama. He faces a similar scenario President Bill Clinton did during the genocide in Rwanda and Serbia. Clinton did not act in Rwanda, and eventually bombed Serbia into submission at the behest of Rep. Frank McCloskey of Indiana.
The U.S. public has little appetite for another ground excursion in a Middle Eastern country. But bombing runways and stockpiles, no fly zones, and special ops taking out WMD should be on the president’s table for a swift decision.
Inaction could reward us with a Pandora’s Box.
Brian Howey publishes at www.howeypolitics.com. Find him on Twitter @hwypol.