During a press briefing on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest admitted that not only has Assad’s regime in Syria crossed the “red line” that President Obama put forth against Syria in 2012, but that they also “crossed every line” he could think of, and more. Just over four years ago, President Obama issued a chemical weapons “red line” in Syria, threatening that if the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were to use chemical weapons against his own people as the country was involved in a deep civil war, that the United States would use force against the Middle Eastern regime. Four years later, Syria has been blamed for using chemical weapons and they country is still involved in a civil war that has resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. The Obama Administration has failed to act on the imposed “red line,” though the White House admitted today that Syria has gone far, far beyond it.
When asked by a reporter about the current situation in Syria, Earnest said that under President Obama the United States has been at “the front of the effort to find a diplomatic solution to the situation.” He added that the United States “has provided more humanitarian assistance through bilateral channels than any other country in the world.”
“President Obama has been making smart, strategic decisions that protect carefully U.S. interest in the region and around that world,” he said.”That said, I think every American and every human being is deeply troubled by the violence and innocent loss of life that we see inside of Syria. It’s heartbreaking. It’s tragic when you see a government commit atrocities against its own people using the military might of the state. That is a failed government. That is a failed state.”
The reporter responded saying that the efforts aren’t being disputed, but that those efforts “have failed.” She asked “is there no other alternative?”
Earnest “vigorously disputed” negative comments being said about the Administration’s fight against ISIL, touting that they have had success in “rolling back ISIL and reducing their capacity to harm the United States or our interests, either in the region or around the world.”
He then commented on the Administration’s efforts towards coming to a “diplomatic solution” for the problem inside of Syria that “we haven’t seen as much progress as we would like.”
“There are innocent Syrian men, women, and children that have died as a result of it,” Earnest said, admitting that civilians are continuing to be murdered at the hands of the government.
“Ultimately that cause, is the willingness of the Assad regime to use the military might of the state against his own people and the willingness of the Russians to intervene on his behalf to prop him up, even though they themselves claim that they’re concerned about that chaos-fueling extremism that could have consequences back in their home country.”
Earnest continued pointing the finger at Russia, blaming them for making any sort of diplomatic solution in Syria “harder to reach.”
The reporter went back to the original point, telling Earnest “you use words in here repeatedly like ‘atrocities,’ I mean you just said today that innocent people are being ‘slaughtered in the streets.'”
“Have we gotten to a point now where there really aren’t any ‘red lines’ anymore?” she asked, adding that Americans are watching the horrible events unfold in Syria and thinking that “humanity as a whole should be better than this.”
“Well I think the Assad regime has demonstrated that they’ve crossed all the lines in pursuit of their goals,” Earnest replied. “Those goals apparently include depraved tactics like trying to starve innocent civilians into submission, bombing hospitals and playgrounds, targeting them.”
“They do cross just about every line that I can think of,” he continued. “And frankly, they cross lines I hadn’t previously thought of.”
“The idea that you would target a playground, and bomb kids, hoping that you would the convince people to give up because you killed their kids?” he asked, pointing out all of the horrible acts being done by the Syrian government that are going unpunished, despite the implementation of the “red line.”
When asked what the White House would say to families begging for help Earnest said, “The United States is playing a leading role in providing financial assistance. The United States is providing a leading role in trying to negotiate a kind of cessation of hostilities that would allow for the provision of humanitarian assistance. The United States is playing a leading role in trying to facilitate a conversation about resolving the political situation inside of Syria so we can bring the violence to an end, and we could put new leadership in Syria that actually reflects the will of the Syrian people.”
He went on again to tout the Administration’s military efforts in pushing back against ISIL, but added that “we have not accomplished our goal so far.”