Barack Obama defended his administration’s controversial decision not to attack Syria after they crossed the President’s “red line” and used chemical weapons, adding that it took real “political courage” to NOT attack Bashar al-Assad.
According to an interview released Monday, Obama was discussing the hardest issues he faced during his presidency before accepting the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
"Well, the hardest issue that I dealt with was always sending our young men and women into harm's way, our troops,” said the former President. “But I actually think that the issue that required the most political courage was the decision not to bomb Syria after the chemical weapons use had been publicized, and rather to negotiate them removing chemical weapons from Syria."
Back in 2012, Obama drew a “red line” in the sand with Syria, warning them that the use of chemical or biological weapons would result in strong US retaliatory strike.
"We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," said Obama. "That would change my calculus. That would change my equation."
President Trump was widely praised over his decision to strike Syria following a deadly chemical gas attack, even by former Obama staffers and aides. Trump has publicly criticized his predecessor, saying the current crisis in the Middle East is “a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution.”