Obama feels the political pressure to act now that the “red line” he set – government forces in Syria using chemical weapons against rebels and civilians – has been crossed. Britain, France, and Israel already had already cited the use of chemical weapons. Obama is to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin this coming week, and Libya surely will be discussed.
Plus, there’s his philosophical and political disinclination to approach what could be a slippery slope. (Remember the talk about “leading from behind” in Libya – a phrase never uttered by Obama but attributed to an advisor?)
(Reuters also reports that “Washington has quietly taken steps that would make it easier, moving Patriot surface-to-air missiles, war planes and more than 4,000 troops into Jordan, officially as part of an annual exercise in the past week but making clear that the assets could stay on when the wargames are over.”)
Until now, the pattern in public opinion has been clear.
“Polling conducted in recent months suggests that President Barack Obama is bucking public opinion in opting to authorize military aid to the Syrian rebels,” write Mark Blumenthal and Ariel Edwards-Levy in the Huffington Post.