PolitiFact Retracts Positive Rating of Obama's Efforts in Syria

Posted: Apr 06, 2017 3:30 PM
PolitiFact Retracts Positive Rating of Obama's Efforts in Syria

PolitiFact, in a bout of retrospection, is retracting its rating of a statement made by Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014 regarding the Obama administration’s efforts in Syria.

In 2014, Kerry claimed "we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out” of Syria and PolitiFact rated it Mostly True. Given the gas attack in Syria on Tuesday, which killed upwards of 100 people, the fact checkers have now “pulled” the fact check because of “many unanswered questions.”

We don’t know key details about the reported chemical attack in Syria on April 4, 2017, but it raises two clear possibilities: Either Syria never fully complied with its 2013 promise to reveal all of its chemical weapons; or it did, but then converted otherwise non-lethal chemicals to military uses.

One way or another, subsequent events have proved Kerry wrong.

As PolitiFact explains, they were rating Kerry's statement based on the information they had at the time. For instance, at the time, they did not know that Syrian Arab Armed Forces dropped chemical-laden bombs four times between 2014 and 2015. They also didn’t know that Syrian forces used chlorine gas in that period as well.

These new revelations demanded that the fact checkers replace their original rating with a retraction.

Both President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have condemned this week’s Syria gas attack, in part blaming their predecessors for the disaster. Obama, they claim, did more harm than good by making empty threats in his now infamous “red line” speech. 

Seeking to avoid Obama's mistakes, Trump is reportedly considering military action.