LAST YEAR, President Obama established the use of chemical weapons by Syria as a “red line” for US military involvement in that country’s civil war. But before reaching any conclusions now, it’s important to know all the facts — and to recognize that involvement in the Syrian conflict can take many forms, not necessarily including troops.
American military action in another Middle Eastern country, even for limited purposes, should not rest on any automatic trigger, or on the fear that anything but an instantaneous response would blur the red line. It should come only after serious debate. In the case of Syria, there are no easy options. The use of chemical weapons should trigger greater US involvement, because it would violate every norm of civilized nations. But policy still must be based on hard proof and a realistic assessment of the options.