KUHNER: Obama’s flimsy red line

Use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime is inconclusive

By Jeffrey T. Kuhner

U.S. military intervention in Syria would be immoral, illegal and treasonous. It would benefit our mortal enemy, al Qaeda, and possibly trigger a wider Mideast war. President Obama is playing with fire. He is dangerously putting his ego above the national interest. Bombing Syria threatens to leave his presidency in tatters.

In August 2012, Mr. Obama publicly drew a “red line” in Syria’s bloody civil war. He vowed that the use of chemical weapons would trigger a muscular U.S. response. Mr. Obama — along with the leaders of Britain and France — claims that Syrian strongman Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against rebel forces outside the capital of Damascus, murdering hundreds of civilians, including women and children. Mr. Obama’s “red line” has supposedly been crossed.

The administration is engaging in war propaganda eerily similar to Iraq. The costs could eventually be as disastrous — or worse. The evidence is flimsy that Mr. Assad’s forces used nerve gas in rebel-held territory. The United Nations inspection team so far has been unable to irrefutably confirm it. According to Associated Press reports, even U.S. intelligence officials are conceding that the links between the chemical weapons attack and the Assad regime are tenuous at best. The reason is obvious: The Syrian dictator has no rational motive to use weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Assad’s forces are winning and the Islamist rebels are on the run. Their supply lines are cut off. They have been fragmented into several isolated pockets of resistance. The rebels cannot win — and they know it. Why would Mr. Assad use chemical weapons knowing that it would trigger widespread international anger and furor? Using conventional weapons, his military has been winning battle after battle. Mr. Assad may be brutal, ruthless and cunning, but he is not stupid.

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