ABC News reporter Jon Karl questioned White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest about the discrepancy between White House policies in Iraq and Syria, given President Obama's recent authorization of airstrikes in Iraq.
Obama has repeatedly resisted any direct military intervention in Syria, even after the Syrian government crossed the "red line" of chemical weapons he set in Syria.
Obama eventually insisted he had never set a red line at all, saying: "I didn't set a red line–The world set a red line."
"Given that 200,000 or so have been killed in Syria, more than 2 million forced from their homes, how did that not rise to the level of a humanitarian intervention, but this with a significantly smaller number of people involved did?" Karl asked.
Earnest protested that the U.S. has contributed to "a significant humanitarian intervention in Syria," while "not a military intervention."
"The response in Syria has been very robust," Earnest maintained, citing "significant resources" dedicated to aiding the moderate opposition.
Earnest told Karl that the president is "constantly evaluating both of these situations to determine what is the best interest of American national security."
Obama's policies in both countries have been met with rebuke, with retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey calling Obama's airstrikes strategy "muddled thinking" likely inspired by "internal U.S. politics to show we’re doing something."