On October 11, 2012, Ryan said, “We agree with the same red line, actually, they (Obama/Biden) do on chemical weapons.” Today Republicans announced that this red line is what proves Obama is incompetent.
In 2011, Paul Ryan beat the war drums on Syria to the Alexander Hamilton Society. Today, he issued a statement is straddling the fence of indecision, declaring that he needs to hear more reasons why we should do anything. He said, “The President has some work to do to recover from his grave missteps in Syria. He needs to clearly demonstrate that the use of military force would strengthen America’s security. I want to hear his case to Congress and to the American people.”
In the Vice Presidential debate of 2012, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) said he agreed with the Obama administration’s red line, it’s just that he and Romney would have done something about Syria a long time ago- they wouldn’t have waited for the U.N. or Russia like Obama did.
Watch here via a C-SPAN clip (h/t Eamon Javers of CNBC on Twitter @EamonJavers):
Transcript from C-SPAN, my bold:
RYAN: Now, let me say it this way. How would we do things differently? We wouldn’t refer to Bashar Assad as a reformer when he’s killing his own civilians with his Russian-provided weapons. We wouldn’t be outsourcing our foreign policy to the United Nations giving Vladimir Putin veto power over our efforts to try and deal with this issue. He’s vetoed three of them.
Hillary Clinton went to Russia to try and convince them not to do so. They thwarted her efforts. She said they were on the wrong side of history. She was right about that. This is just one more example of how the Russia reset’s not working.
And so where are we? After international pressure mounted, the President Obama said Bashar Assad should go. It’s been over a year. The man has slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people. And more foreign fighters are spilling into this country.
So the longer this has gone on, the more people, groups like Al Qaida are going in. We could have more easily identified the free Syrian army, the freedom fighters, working with our allies, the Turks, the Qataris, the Saudis, had we had a better plan in place to begin with working through our allies. But, no, we waited for Kofi Annan to try and come up with an agreement through the U.N. That bought Bashar Assad time.
We gave Russia veto power over our efforts through the U.N. And meanwhile about 30,000 Syrians are dead.
BIDEN: What would my friend do differently? If you notice, he never answers the question.
RYAN: No, I would — I — we would not be going through the U.N. in all of these things.
BIDEN: Let me — you don’t go through the U.N. We are in the process now — and have been for months — in making sure that help, humanitarian aid, as well as other aid and training is getting to those forces that we believe, the Turks believe, the Jordanians believe, the Saudis believe are the free forces inside of Syria. That is underway.
Our allies were all on the same page, NATO, as well as our Arab allies, in terms of trying to get a settlement. That was their idea. We’re the ones that said, “Enough.” With regard to the reset not working, the fact of the matter is that Russia has a different interest in Syria than we do, and that’s not in our interest.
MODERATOR: What happens if Assad does not fall, Congressman Ryan? What happens to the region? What happens if he hangs on? What happens if he does?
RYAN: Then Iran keeps their greatest ally in the region. He’s a sponsor of terrorism. He’ll probably continue slaughtering his people. We and the world community will lose our credibility on this. Look, he mentioned the reset…
MODERATOR: So what would Romney-Ryan do about that credibility?
RYAN: Well, we agree with the same red line, actually, they do on chemical weapons, but not putting American troops in, other than to secure those chemical weapons. They’re right about that.
But what we should have done earlier is work with those freedom fighters, those dissidents in Syria. We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer. And…
Ryan goes on and on about how they wouldn’t have waited for Russia before doing something, though he won’t articulate what that something is, other than repeating over and over again that they would not have called Assad a “reformer” (PolitiFact was unimpressed with Ryan’s half-truth).
So, Republicans own Vice President was all for the red line until the red line appeared. Now “He also showed terrible judgment by painting himself into a corner with his 2012 “red line” comments on chemical weapons.”
Apparently we can’t have a debate about a serious matter like whether or not to strike Syria without Republicans thinking about how they can get Obama and pretending that the red line they agreed with Obama on but said he wasn’t doing enough about in 2012 is suddenly the Biggest Mistake Ever in the History of Evers.
Republicans might want to try finding their landing spot.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.