When President Obama first spoke of the red line for Syria, he was hoping to appear tough, but I don't think he was trying to do something courageous. It seems this would have been a no brainier. Any country using chemical weapons against another country or their own people would cause nation after nation to rise up in opposition. And now President Obama who is not crazy enough to do a military action alone without some kind of support of the United Nations, sizable number of countries, or at minimum the United States Congress. (Well actually, it seems he would like more support than just the support of the United States Congress. )
To some extent it seems like he is trying to save face. It is as if he has made a lot of big talk about standing up to the school yard bully. When time to confront the bully, he finds himself to be the only one there, everyone else is on the side of playground watching him, expecting him to do what he had said.
So now he is looking for a way out. With congress less likely to vote for action, he will have a way out, but I hope he does not take the stand of, “Hey I wanted to take action but nobody let me.”
Being a leader does not mean people must follow that just makes you a dictator. But being a leader one must be able to say we are going to go in an indicated direction and convince others to go in the same direction.
Why the lack of support?
The size of an attack would become larger than planned as retaliation has to be dealt with.
Attack on Syria could lead to Syria attacking Israel and now we would have to be with Israel in fighting Syria. This could lead to war with Iran and Russia. Well at least this is what is being suggested as a possible consequences.
Some are concerned that it would not have much effect.
Eliminating Assad may not help since it would not be clear who would take over and who their allies would be.
Some seem to be concerned we are being manipulated into action.
It seems like in countries with dictators, removing them leads to chaos. It's better to have the dictator we know, running a secular government, allowing religious freedom and other freedoms for the people, then have a religious zealous government which will want to attack Israel and restricts much of the freedoms many of the people in that country already experience. This is why the woman talking with John McCain asked we do not do this.