The Rachel Maddow Show | December 03, 2012
>> the president gave a funny speech where he talked about traveling as a new senator with dick lugar . senator obama had to be told by his hosts to please not touch the tnt. as in please do not touch the explosiv explosives, sir. this speech was full of thing its i had never heard him talk about before. we got some of the funniest stuff coming up in a moment. but there was money very serious moment in the same speech. it appeared to be a serious digression in the middle of this otherwise fairly informal set of remarks from the president. when the president made this digression in the middle of this otherwise informal speech today, his digression made headlines around the world.
>> today i want to make it absolutely clear to assad and those under his command, the world is watching. the use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. and if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable. [ applause ]
>> there will be consequences. what will those consequences be? no one is saying, but everybody who is saying there are consequences are saying it in a way would be a a big deal .
>> this is a redline for the united states . i'm not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people, but suffice it to say we are certainly planning to take action.
>> apparently we are planning to take action. when a conflict has been going on somewhere in the world for a long time, it's sometimes hard to tell when a development in that far-away conflict in that war crosses the line into being a big deal , into being a newsworthy thing for the world. what is maybe happening in syria is one of those things that crosses the line. you can tell by the president and the american secretary of state talked about it today and threatened that the u.s. is going to act in response. i do not know exactly what that means and neither do you, but we're probably not talking about a sternly-worded letter. we're talking about the nerve agents. we're talking about mustard gas . do you remember the doomsday cult back in the mid-'90s that killed 13 people and seriously injured 50 people and temporarily blinded a thousand people? imagine that but with weapons grade disseminated by missile. associated press says that syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surface to surface missiles capable of carrying chemical war heads plus several tons of weapons stored in large drums or in artillery shells. the cause for all the concern right now including the statements from president obama and secretary clinton is the reports from this weekend. reports from this weekend quoting intelligence sources saying there was "heightened activity at some of syria 's chemical weapons sites". raising the prospect that the government might feel like they are losing the war they are fighting with conventional weapons and may be looking to their chemical weapons supplies out of desperation. there's no reason to be alarmist about this going on, but this is also alarming enough now that it makes sense to be paying attention and paying attention closely. and toward that end, i want to highlight one other detail of the story. the last time the international community noticed unusual activity around syria 's chemical weapons site, the last time the world freaked out that maybe the syrians were going to gas their own people, the last time this happened was in july. and in july this is who stood up for the syrian government and said, don't worry t will never happen.
>> any unconventional weapon that the public possess would never be used against civilian or the syrian people during this crisis at any circumstances. no matter how the crisis would evolve, no matter how.
>> that spokesman assuring the world that syria would never use weapons of mass destruction against their own people, that guy, the last government spokesman who said don't worry about this, we won't use them. that guy today defected. fled the country. he's said to be on his way to london. even if you have not been paying attention until now, it is worth understanding why this is now a focus of international concern. and international