Barack Hussein Obama rose to power by attacking–in a somewhat apocryphal 2002 speech–what he called George Walker Bush’s “dumb war” in Iraq. Let us compare Obama’s approach to Syria with Bush’s in Iraq.
1.Bush in Iraq: Attacked an evil regime isolated for over a decade by both Democrats and Republicans.
Obama in Syria: Wants to attack an evil regime coddled for six years by Democrats and the White House.
2.Bush in Iraq: Attacked after UN inspectors turned away, in violation of Security Council resolutions.
Obama in Syria: Announced plans to attack before any inspections, and in fact opposed UN inspections.
3.Bush in Iraq: Attacked after UN Security Council deadlocked on authorization for use of force.
Obama in Syria: Has not attempted to obtain UN Security Council authorization for use of force.
4.Bush in Iraq: Attacked after building multinational “coalition of the willing” with Britain.
Obama in Syria: Plans to attack without multinational coalition and after British rejection of war.
5.Bush in Iraq: Sought authorization from Congress first, before going to UN or planning any attack.
Obama in Syria: Opposed authorization from Congress until “red line” & attack were already announced.
6.Bush in Iraq: Attacked Iraq as part of War on Terror against Al Qaeda and affiliated groups.
Obama in Syria: Says “War on Terror” is over, is arming Islamist groups allied with Al Qaeda.
7.Bush in Iraq: Clear objectives, including regime change to replace dictatorship with democracy.
Obama in Syria: No clear objectives, formal opposition to any direct effort at regime change.
8.Bush in Iraq: Acted before Saddam Hussein could threaten neighbors or his own people.
Obama in Syria: Acting after Bashar al-Assad has slaughtered 100,000 Syrians, threatened neighbors.
9.Bush in Iraq: Attacked after moving strategic U.S. military assets to the region to protect U.S. allies.
Obama in Syria: Acting after “pivot to Asia,” after military sequester, and despite risks to allies.
10.Bush in Iraq: Gave up golf for the rest of his presidency while U.S. troops still in combat.
Obama in Syria: Went golfing (again) after announcing new Syria policy.
There is one other key difference, sure to be raised by critics: Assad has weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam Hussein was not found to have the WMD he was thought to be stockpiling. But there was no way to know that before the Iraq War. And in Syria, it is possible that some rebel forces possess–and have used–chemical weapons as well. Regardless, Bush comes off best in this comparison with Obama.
“Miss me yet?”