Candidate Obama versus President Obama on use of U.S. military might

NOW: “The American people, understandably, want us to be focused on the business of rebuilding our economy here and putting people back to work. And I assure you, nobody ends up being more war-weary than me. But what I also believe is that part of our obligation as a leader in the world is making sure that when you have a regime that is willing to use weapons that are prohibited by international norms on their own people, including children, that they are held to account.” — Remarks at meeting with Baltic leaders, Aug. 30, 2013.

ON JUSTIFICATION

THEN: “We may not always have national security issues at stake, but we have moral issues at stake. If we could have intervened effectively in the Holocaust, who among us would say that we had a moral obligation not to go in? … And so I do believe that we have to consider it as part of our interests, our national interests, in intervening where possible.” — Presidential debate, October 2008.

NOW: “This kind of attack is a challenge to the world. We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale. This kind of attack threatens our national security interests by violating well-established international norms against the use of chemical weapons. … If we are saying in a clear and decisive but very limited way, we send a shot across the bow saying, ‘Stop doing this,’ that can have a positive impact on our national security over the long term.” — Remarks at meeting with Baltic leaders, Aug. 30, 2013.

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