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LOOKING BACK Obama Indecisive on Syria Intervention Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty

Obama Indecisive on Syria Intervention

In June, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brought a report to the White House detailing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people—two months ahead of the attack that killed up to 1,400 people, by the U.S.’s own estimates. According to the New York Times, the report claimed that if the U.S. ignored Assad’s chemical weapons use, the Syrian leader would take it as a “green light” to carry out even deadlier attacks. President Obama had signed a order in April to arm Syrian rebels, but the arms had not shipped yet, and his advisers left the meeting undecided. One White House adviser summed it up: “We spent so much damn time navel gazing, and that’s the tragedy of it.”

October 23, 2013 7:05 AM