WASHINGTON — As pressure grows both domestically and abroad for America to step up its involvement in the Syrian civil war, White House officials scrambled this week to restate their position on what had been called a point of no return: the use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad. Where previously President Barack Obama had said the escalation to chemical warfare would cross a “red line” on the part of the Syrian government, spokesman Jay Carney struggled Wednesday to clarify what he called misunderstood language.
“Indeed, if indeed al-Assad did indeed use these particular chemical weapons on his own civilians–by deed–then he would have crossed the president’s red line…indeed,” Carney said. “However, it would take an entirely different category of weapon of toxic destruction for the Syrian regime to cross the president’s blue line, which is clearly a whole other matter. The blue line is much closer to American intervention.”
Carney added that if the Syrian rebels had deployed chemical weapons, rather than the Assad government, as several groups and at least one U.N. investigator have indicated, then that would constitute a “red double-black-line backcross,” which would change the dynamic completely.
“The president has made clear that he considers chemical weapons a ‘game-changer’ in the Syrian conflict,” Carney said. “But he’s never exactly specified which game we’re playing here. Is it Battleship? Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots? The Game of Life? Chemical weapons definitely would dramatically change the Game of Life…”
Several reporters indicated to Carney that they thought Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots were less of a game, and more of a toy.
“Al-Assad has murdered not-yet-100,000 of his people,” Carney said. “In Rwanda, more than 1 million died and we never mobilized during the 1990s. Of course, Syria has those two strategic resources: oil and a shared border with Israel, so we might get in there at some point. But let’s make this clear–we decide what game we’re playing.”