Obama on Syria vs. Obama on Iraq

Obama SyriaSen. Barack Obama snatched the 2008 democratic nomination from Sen. Hillary Clinton for many reasons, none more important than Obama’s opposition to the Iraq War.

All of Obama’s major opponents — Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C. and then-Sen. Clinton, D-N.Y. — had voted for authorization for war. Obama, then an Illinois state senator and a candidate for the U.S. Senate gave a speech in October 2002. He called it “a rash war… based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.” Sen. Obama pre-emptively criticized President George W. Bush in 2007 for possibly taking military action against Iran’s suspected nuclear sites — should he do so without congressional approval. Such an action, Obama said then, would be in violation of the Constitution unless the President obtained congressional approval.

Flash forward. March 2011. President Obama joins the French and British in bombing Libya during that country’s civil war. Libya had surrendered its weapons of mass destruction to the Bush administration in early 2004, fearing the same fate as the arrested and jailed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Obama describes the Libyan campaign as “humanitarian,” but also consistent with our “core interests.” He does not go to Congress.

Today, Obama supports military action against the Syrian government because it “crossed a red line” in its civil war by reportedly using chemicals to kill some 1,400 Syrians. Initially, Obama said he had authority to strike without Congress’ approval, and that he did not intend to seek their permission. Time was of the essence, he said. The use of chemicals, says Obama, violates “international norms” requiring intervention — and by the U.S. alone, says Obama, if necessary.

Then the British Parliament, for the first time since 1782, refused to give the prime minister authority for military action. Here, polls find Americans are overwhelmingly against military force in Syria. Obama abruptly announced that he would seek congressional approval — but said he retained the power to act and refused to say whether he’d do so should Congress vote no.

Where was Obama’s concern about chemical weapons during the 2002 debate on military action in Iraq? Obama opposed it despite Saddam’s assumed possession of WMD and his use of chemical weapons on the Iranians and his own people. Of the intelligence community’s assumption that Iraq possessed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons — with the acquisition of nuclear weapons just a matter of time — Obama had no doubt:

“I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein.

He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied U.N. resolutions, thwarted U.N. inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.”

Obama opposed the Iraq War because “even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.” Yet after 9/11, 90 percent of Americans expected a similar attack within 6 months to a year. Apart from using chemicals on his own people, Saddam was shooting at the British and American planes patrolling the “no-fly” areas protecting the Kurds and other ethnic groups; paying $25K to families of homicide bombers; stealing from the Oil-for-Food program; and was in violation of a number of U.N. resolutions to declare what he has done with his WMD and his nuclear program.

Still Obama called Iraq a “dumb war” orchestrated as “the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in (the Bush) administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats.”

Obama also opposed the Iraq War for reasons that seem to apply to a Syrian intervention. “I know that an invasion of Iraq,” he said then, “without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaida.” Wouldn’t striking Syria “fan the flames of the Middle East? And isn’t al-Qaida on the side of the “rebels” — the side we support?

Regime change in Syria, says Obama, is not the goal. Rather, the objective is a “shot across the bow,” designed to dissuade the Syrian government from further use of chemical weapons. U.S. credibility is on trial now that Obama foolishly talked about the “red line,” which, if crossed, would “change his calculus.”

But advisors and experts are, at best, uncertain about whether launching some missiles from an aircraft carrier will have any real effect in Syria. A symbolic strike, which appears to be the President’s intention, could be interpreted by our enemies as weakness. “But,” as then-Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama said on Iraq, “we ought not — we will not — travel down that hellish path blindly.”

One more thing — Syria is a client state. How about we cut to the chase and have the debate we should be having: Whether to go to war against Iran, the world’s leading exporter of terrorism?

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  • adumbrate

    As predictable as the rain….what is most entertaining is to watch all these libs who tore is apart running from their pre- 2003 Iraqi positions – now try to defend Syria as “different”. Kerry soiled himself trying to rationalize the difference in front of the world. Rand Paul’s mind exposed Kerry’s wasteland of thought.

    To the liberal: Every thought is political trickery – like requiring a drivers license to vote is racism – hah? WTF?

  • MrUniteUs1

    It’s not complicated. Congressional members against the use of chemical weapons should vote to support military action. They will be upholding the treaty they ratified in 1992 banning the use of chemical weapons.

    • CaoMoo

      Yeah but lest I remember wrong Syria did not sign a treaty banning Chemical weapons so they are not subject to the treaty and cannot be held to its standards only those who agreed not to use chemical weapons can be held to the treaty they signed.

    • Well Done

      You’re right, mr, it’s not complicated. But you reach the wrong conclusion. With the Wester world’s self-loathing leftists decrying U.S. “imperialism”(TM) and putting forth their usual “hands off [your heinous trouble spot here]” BS, the U.S. MUST leave Syria up to the world to handle. After all,were the U.S. as comfy with a country’s leader as Russia is with Assad, all the usual voices would be urging the U.S. to “control” him. Of course, none of these creeps has word one to say against any country other than the U.S., and Israel. That speaks volumes about their true agenda.

  • Nancy Murdoch

    Is it just me or is no one else offended by The Arrogant One’s use of children again? Everyone readily agrees chemical weapons are abhorrent…not “aborent” as the anointed one said in Sweden. However, the children killed by bombs and bullets are just as dead. Why are we not calling out the actions of the leaders of North Korea? They starve their children to death, a much longer, painful method of dying.
    I can see no good resolution in Syria. A “shot across the bow” is unlikely to change the actions of Assad and could lead to more deaths of the “children” of Syria. It will likely increase the world’s disdain for an effectual, clueless leader like The Arrogant One.
    And less we forget, Hillary was calling Assad a “reformer” a few years ago. I suggest we remind her of that unfortunate assessment often.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “Is it just me or is no one else offended by The Arrogant One’s use of children again?”

      It’s just code, or a “dog whistle” if you will accept their own jargon, to signal that this is a “good war.”

    • justquitnow

      Then call your representative and tell him not to authorize the strike. Tell him, you don’t see a difference between death by bullet or death by serin gas.

  • Well Done

    “cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair,
    weekend warriors in (the Bush) administration to shove their own
    ideological agendas down our throats.”? What. An. Asz. Whole.

    • Phil McMorrow

      Richard Perle? You’ve got to be kidding. So this is Bush’s fault, as Mr. Perle was a vocal supporter of intevention in Iraq, do I have that right Mr. Obama? By the way, nine months ago to the day, Hillary as your Secretary of State clearly used the term “a red line in the sand.” How’s your memory? Evidently not good at all. In fact it is absent. You are a fraud.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        He’s quoting the article that was quoting the big bummer in the Whitehouse. He called 0’Bama a bunghole.

  • SoCalMike

    Larry usually gets it right.
    He nailed it perfectly here.
    I’m amazed at how little reason and common sense goes into foreign policy debate of course from Democrats but also from Republicans like Hugh Hewitt, John Boenher, Medved and McCain and Graham if you consider them Republicans.

    Larry splits the arrow in the bull’s eye with his last sentence.

  • ziggy zoggy

    Maybe if Obama and his handlers would stop speaking in metaphorical form and use concise English they could come up with cohesive and consistent foreign policies. A”shot across the bow” of Syria because it “crossed a red line” and caused him “to change his calculus?” This article is full of stupid metaphors like those. Every time Obama and his apparatchiks speak, they sound like that.

    Maybe they can come up with some more insipid metaphors to explain why the world doesn’t respect him outside of America?

    • justquitnow

      No wonder you don’t know anything about Obama, you only hear about him through this kind of filter.

      “the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in (the Bush) administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats.”

      This is in quotes…but Obama didn’t say this. He did call it a dumb war though.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “How about we cut to the chase and have the debate we should be having: Whether to go to war against Iran, the world’s leading exporter of terrorism?”

    Precisely. 0’Bama might be starting a huge war that in the end we can win, but the price paid will be exponentially higher thanks again to the left.

  • JVictor

    State Senator, Senator, and President B. Hussein Obama has been consistent with every remark he has made concerning the “leadership” in the Middle East. He has always thrown his support behind anyone or any group that would further destabilize the region and increase the threats against Israel and Christians. He has not faltered once. The question has to be along the lines of, “Why do he and his handlers have such a burning desire to give radical Islam such a strong foothold in the region?”
    Reports are beginning to surface indicating that the radical Islamists will turn their attention away from their “moderate” brothers and start taking out the Christians following whatever action the Obama-led “coalition” does in Syria. This has been going on in Egypt ever since the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted from power by the Egyptian people and military. The MB and the other radical Islamists are blaming the Christians for their troubles. One has to wonder if there is not a bit of collaborative deception going on here because the “moderates” in Egypt are not denouncing the actions of the “radicals” who are raping and burning nuns and burning down churches.
    Emboldened jihadists are preparing for a religious cleansing in the Middle East. Where is the outcry to protect the Christians? If this president and administration provide military “support” for radical Islamists whose charters call for the wiping out of Israel, Jews, and Christians, then they, and we as a nation, are guilty of religious persecution to the nth degree.

  • justquitnow

    “Obama opposed it despite Saddam’s assumed possession of WMD and his use of chemical weapons on the Iranians and his own people.”

    He he used chemical weapons years before…weapons we (USA) helped him acquire…so you’re being a bit disingenuous Larry. It’s not like he gassed the Kurds a month before we went to war. We had weapons inspectors inside of Iraqi at the time….

    It’s been amazing over the last couple of days to see how people against anything Obama is for, no matter how ridiculous. We actually did invade Iraq over WMD that wasn’t there, now we see chemical weapons actually being used and it’s no bother…who cares…let them use whatever. If Obama is against chemical weapons then Larry Elder doesn’t see a problem with them.