“There was wiggle room [in the letter] about who might have been actually doing it,”
“That letter is a wonderful weasel-worded letter to try to make the president look good and preserve all options. And I don’t mean the option to go to war, I mean the option to not go to war,”
“It’s not clear to me that the administration has figured out what’s in the best American interest after period X…because we’ve been ambivalent about that or because in the president’s statement it says Assad ought to go, then if that’s where you are, what are you prepared to do to see it come about, and if it does come about, then what are you prepared to do?” said Hunter.
“You can arm the rebels, you can have a no-fly zone, you can use air power…we now have a capacity to use air power at relatively low risk. But that still begs the question: then what happens? How do you protect the minority if Assad goes? How do you keep this from becoming a spill-over into what I call a slow-rolling civil war throughout this part of the Middle East,” he said.
“It does not appear that the proverbial Obama administration ‘red line’ has been crossed – yet – because there clearly are some differences about the level of certainty within the U.S. intelligence community over whether regime lethal chemical weapons (CW) use has taken place,”
“Also at issue is whether, if this has occurred, the incident was significant or relatively isolated and minor, as well as whether the level of danger that any such use would be repeated,” said White, now a scholar at the Middle East Institute.