The spreading of recent photographs from this week’s alleged chemical attacks in Syria will prompt President Obama to take action, David Axelrod said Friday.
“There’s nothing more impactful than film, pictures, images, and those images are searing. Everyone has seen them,” David Axelrod, former senior adviser to Obama and MSNBC contributor, said on Morning Joe. “Plainly, there needs to be action. The question is, what action?”
Opposition groups in Syria accused their country’s government Wednesday of killing as many as 1,300 civilians–many women and children–in a poison-gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus. Since then, images and videos released have depicted victims with symptoms associated with exposure to chemical agents, including foaming at the mouth, convulsing, and constricted pupils.
Obama was elected partly because of his skepticism about the war in Iraq and his belief of not becoming involved with issues of unknown cost, consequences, and duration, said Axelrod, who added the president needs to consider all options before taking action.
“I expect that they will take action, whether it’s the no-fly zone…or surgical strikes, we’ll see,” Axelrod said.
If true, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his people would be a violation of Obama’s previously designated “red line” that he said would prompt unspecified U.S. action. The White House issued a statement Wednesday about deep concern that Syrian civilians were killed in an attack by their own country’s government forces.
“When you’re president of the United States and you have lives under your command, you have to make those decisions with more precision,” Axelrod said.
A poll released last month showed Americans prefer to stay out of the Syrian conflict, a civil war that has been occurring for the past two and a half years.
“I don’t think he’s burdened by the history of Bush,” Axelrod said on the show. “I think he’s burdened by his sense of responsibility here.”