Barack Obama's latest statement with regard to Syrian chemical weapon use indicates that Assad would have to gas more people to get a reaction out of the U.S.
"Horrific as it is when mortars are being fired on civilians and people are being indiscriminately killed, to use potential weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations crosses another line with respect to international norms and international law," Obama told reporters at the White House.
"That is going to be a game changer. We have to act prudently. We have to make these assessments deliberately. But I think all of us ... recognize how we cannot stand by and permit the systematic use of weapons like chemical weapons on civilian populations," he said.
Obama's subtle retreat hangs on the word systematic.
Obama also maintains that we're still in the fact-gathering stage.
The Guardian's Ewen MacAskill writes: " The Obama administration is playing for time, passing responsibility to the United Nations – both to establish whether chemical weapons were used and what action, if necessary, should be taken."
Needless to say, some plans have already been partially implemented. There are U.S. troops in Jordan, and Patriot Missiles in Turkey — indicating that a no-fly zone and possibly a Jordanian-led attempt to secure chemical weapons may be options should intervention occur.
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