What exactly is Obama's 'red line' in Syria?

Smoke rises from residential buildings due heavy fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government forces in Aleppo, Syria. Smoke rises from residential buildings due heavy fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government forces in Aleppo, Syria. Narciso Contreras/AP

President Obama said that the use of chemical weapons would bring "consequences" to Syria, but with nerve gas bombs already being filled, would the United States act before Bashar al-Assad unleashes them? Can they act?

Last night's NBC News report has greatly heightened fears that the Syrian regime plans to use its most horrific weapons—and soon. The use of chemical weapons was long ago singled out as a sort of final straw, one that would force the international community to step in and end the conflict its way, and by any means necessary. However, it's just not clear what the United States is willing to do, either before or after the bombs fall. In fact, it may already be too late for military action.

One option would be to wipe out the Syrian air force, which has decimated the nation's cities for months, but would be no match for NATO or American planes. Unfortunately, if the NBC report is true, and the nerve gas weapons have already been armed bombing them on the ground would accomplish little. It would simply unleash the gas into the air. Even if they haven't been loaded, it would be nearly impossible to bomb all of Syria's weapons sites, since there are believed to be more than 70 locations, not all of them identified, and some of the weapons were already moved.

Read more at The Atlantic Wire

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