But now he's getting all Rambo about Syria? Obama is so enthused about putting American lives at risk he's not even going to get Congressional approval like Bush did for Iraq.
While using nerve gas against civilians is not a nice thing it appears that we don't even know if the Syrian government approved of the strike.
Thirty months ago when al Qaeda wasn't a key player in the anti-Assad movement it would have been a no brainer to assume that it was the government not the rebels who sprayed nerve gas on civilians. But today the idea that an al Qaeda mole in mid level management took advantage of the command and control confusion in the Syrian military to manufacture an incident is not totally insane.
But even if Assad did order the strike why should the US get involved? It's not like the current rebel movement is all that appealing. Sure many are good Muslims who don't want Sharia law and who would oppose murdering people for the crime of not being Muslim. But based on past history there's a good chance that the mass murdering Islamic fascists will take over the post Assad Syria.
The only reason for limited US involvement would be to send a message that using nerve gas against civilians will be expensive for the user.
A limited strike therefore might be a good idea. Even if the Syrian government wasn't behind the attack they deserve to be punished since any nerve agent used by the rebels would have had to have come from the government.
The basic idea is that a limited strike would punish the Assad regime either for using nerve gas on civilians or for not closely guarding its nerve gas supplies well enough.
If however Obama goes all out for the rebels it'll be hard to not conclude that he likes Muslim extremists. Syria alone is not sufficient evidence but when you throw in Obama's support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, his unwillingness to condemn the Islamists in Libya, and his silence when the Iranians were trying to be free it seems credible that Obama really has no problem with Muslim extremists.