I had always thought Barack Obama lacked much of a sense of humor. But now he’s proven me wrong. Because in trying to convert his most egregious moment of pusillanimity into some kind of act of courage, he’s demonstrated himself to be a comedian of the first order.
Obama made the claim in a “conversation” with Jack Schlossberg published in Medium. Schlossberg, who is Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg’s son and therefore John F. Kennedy’s grandson, spoke with Obama as the former president accepted the Kennedys’ “Profile in Courage” award.
Schlossberg asks: “You’re receiving an award for your political courage, which you demonstrated in many different ways. I was wondering which issues you thought during your presidency demanded of you the most courage?”
One of only three Obama mentions is his decision not to enforce his “red line” against Syrian use of chemical weapons and invite the Russians back into Middle East to try to “help.” The episode is obviously disturbing his exalted sense of himself and his presidency, since he absurdly tries to turn it into a moment of glory:
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.
Now, we know subsequently that some remained, so it was an imperfect solution. But what we also know is that 99 percent of huge chemical weapons stockpiled were removed without us having to fire a shot.
The reason it was hard was because, as president, what you discover is that you generally get praised for taking military action, and you’re often criticized for not doing so.
And it wasn’t a slam dunk, but I thought that it made sense for a variety of reasons for us to see if we could actually try to eliminate the prospect of large-scale chemical weapons use rather than the political expedience of a one-time shot.
Right, it wasn’t a slam dunk. The one percent that was left is apparently fully operational, as Syrian President Bashar Assad recently demonstrated. President Trump then took about 45 minutes to act to enforce Obama’s red line, with the result so far that Assad’s chemical weapons have gone back into their canisters.