One unnamed high Obama Administration source, attempting to erase, or at least blur, the "red line" was quoting in the Times as saying:
"If he drops sarin [gas] on his own people, what's that got to do with us?"
This is known as the Lucky Lindy theory of geopolitics.
Obama (nor anyone else) is eager to get involved in another Middle Eastern war, but his own off-the-cuff language may have put the United States into a diplomatic, military and/or legal box.
Then there are the enemies foreign and domestic.
CBS reporter Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation," said Greg Hicks, a 22-year foreign service diplomat who was the highest-ranking U.S. official in Libya after the strike has told Congressional investigators:
"I thought it was a terrorist attack from the get-go. I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning.
CBS News reminds us on its website that the very morning the U.N. Ambassador was racing from Sunday show to Sunday show to claim the attack was a spontaneous demonstration that got out of hand, "President of Libya Mohammed al-Magariaf, said his government had 'no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined.'"
Al-Magariaf said that on "Face the Nation" moments before Amb. Rice came on to flatly contradict him.
Why? Because Obama was in the midst of a Presidential campaign and did not want to give Republicans a chance to say that all of his attempts to avoid the Bushian phrase "war on terror" had emboldened the terrorists to attack the U.S. compound in Libya.
NBC reported only a week after Obama's inauguration in 2009 that the "War on Terror Phrase [was] Fading" in new Administration. Obama was using snappy language like: "The enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism" even back then.
This second term is off to a very, very rocky start and the Ship of State is tippy because of the incompetence of Obama's own people.