WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has long resisted the pull of U.S. military action in Syria.
He’s held firm even as the death toll in the civil war climbed toward 200,000, the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians, and Islamic State militants gained strength amid the chaos.
Now Obama must decide whether the group’s murder of American journalist James Foley should shift his cautious calculus on Syria.
His military leaders are warning about the necessity of going after the Islamic State inside Syria. But the president also sees the risks that could come with plunging into a country in the midst of its civil war.
Obama has not signaled an immediate change in his posture, but officials have not ruled out a military response.