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Thu Jan 14, 2016, 02:05 PM

Former US defense chief (Hagel): Obama 'hurt credibility' by not bombing Syria in 2013

Source: The Guardian

Former US defense chief: Obama 'hurt credibility' by not bombing Syria in 2013

Chuck Hagel questions lack of follow-through on promise to bomb Assad regime
over its use of chemical weapons: ‘I’ll let history judge if it was the right decision


David Smith in Washington
Thursday 14 January 2016 15.53 GMT

Barack Obama’s credibility was hurt after he promised to bomb the Syrian regime if it used chemical weapons but then failed to follow through, his then defense secretary has said.

Chuck Hagel said he spent 30 August 2013 preparing Tomahawk cruise missile strikes against Bashar al-Assad, who had unleashed sarin gas on his own people in a Damascus suburb. Obama had said such a move would cross a “red line” – but then, possibly influenced in part by the British parliament’s vote against airstrikes, he ordered his Pentagon chief to abort.

“I think it did hurt the credibility of the president of the United States,” Hagel told the Atlantic Council thinktank in Washington on Wednesday. “When a president of the United States says something, it means something.

“We Americans, I think, kind of take that for granted: ‘Well, the president said this, so what?’ It isn’t that way around the world. When a president of the United States says something, especially about foreign policy or about another leader of another country, that means something, and we have to understand that that means something, and the president and the White House has to understand that means something.”

The decision not to attack did, however, enable a diplomatic deal brokered by Russia in which Assad agreed to surrender his poison gas arsenal and production equipment to international chemical weapons inspectors. Hagel praised the hi-tech US military effort to then destroy the chemical agents.

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Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/14/chuck-hagel-barack-obama-hurt-credibility-pledge-bomb-syria-chemical-weapons

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Reply Former US defense chief (Hagel): Obama 'hurt credibility' by not bombing Syria in 2013 (Original post)
Eugene Jan 2016 OP
EdwardBernays Jan 2016 #1
leveymg Jan 2016 #2

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Thu Jan 14, 2016, 02:11 PM

1. We're making up for it

By bombing Yemen and helping ISIS there.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Thu Jan 14, 2016, 02:56 PM

2. It wasn't clear who ordered that attack. Evidence shows it was an unauthorised launch by a unit

commander. US Signals intelligence officers described frantic, angry telephone calls after the attacks by the Syrian Defense Minister's office to unit commanders trying to determine what had occurred. There is no clear evidence leading back up the the chain of command, and no plausible reports that Assad ordered this to happen.

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