Obama: Not bombing Syria took ‘political courage’

Obama: Not bombing Syria took ‘political courage’
© Getty Images

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden to debate for first time as front-runner John Kerry: Play based on Mueller report is 'an act of public service' Obama photographed alongside Clooney on boat in Italy MORE says it took “political courage” not to bomb Syria following the use of chemical weapons there. 

The remarks came from an interview about political courage Obama did with Jack Schlossberg, the grandson of President John F. Kennedy who helped award Obama a Profile in Courage award earlier this month. 

“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,” he said in the Medium interview published Monday.

“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 having to fire a shot.”

His decision contrasts with President Trump's, who ordered airstrikes on a Syrian airfield last month, after reports that forces loyal to President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on civilians, including children.

ADVERTISEMENT

Obama said that as president, he discovered “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 expenditure of a one-time shot.”

Obama in 2012 warned Assad that using chemical weapons would cross “a red line” with the U.S.

The United Nations Security Council in September 2013 voted to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, starting a removal process that ended in 2014.