The Magazine

Ineptitude at the Top

How not to be a war president.

Sep 23, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 03 • By FRED BARNES
Widget tooltip
Audio version Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The “red line” reference also touches on the president’s inability to talk in the disciplined language of a commander in chief. At the Pentagon, military professionals “are outraged by the fact that what may happen is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about ‘red lines,’ ’’ according to Gen. Scales.

Surely Obama should know that calling American armed forces “my military,” as if they were his personal Swiss Guard, is bad form. Yet he said it at the White House on August 30 and again at the G-20 meeting a week later. Likewise, he should know that a “shot across the bow” is a warning shot that doesn’t hit anything.

Now Obama harbors the illusion that the gas attack may have turned Tehran against Assad. “Syria’s allies like Iran detest chemical weapons,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “There’s a real aversion to chemical weapons inside of Iran,” he said in the PBS interview.

Expecting help from Iran is naïve. It’s possible only if the mullahs regard Obama as a peacemaker who, lacking the will to bomb Syria, wouldn’t dare attack Iran. Chances are, still another unintended consequence is on its way.

Fred Barnes is an executive editor at The Weekly Standard.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers