Deja vu. News media quote unnamed "senior officials" arguing for war. Then a Saddam-hating former embezzler was taken seriously when he said Saddam was pursuing weapons, now we have the word of rebels fighting Assad and Israelis who hate Assad that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons. Good thing the IDF is such a credible source of information. Otherwise Kerry might have to call up the heart-eating rebel guy and take his word for it.
Junk intelligence is followed by tough guy threats - then it was "48 hours to leave Iraq", now it's "red lines" and punishing Assad for using chemical weapons. Threats that must be followed up or you look weak. Peace, though, must come with the abdication of the one in power - Saddam had to flee, and President Obama insists that Assad must step aside as a condition for peace talks. Then as now, those beating the drums of war aren't telling us how they're going to handle the situation after the kinetic thingamajig has worked it's magic.
I said "half" the mistakes, because there are of course differences between the soon-to-be-war on Syria and the war on Iraq. Biden isn't the recently retired CEO of a major contractor standing to make many billions in no-bid contracts from the war. Mr. Obama probably isn't planning on setting up a torture program or sending in a hundred thousand ground troops. Assad, unlike Saddam, really is currently "killing his own people" with military strikes and police state tactics.
Other differences: those familiar with the history of the region could have told you in 2002 that deposing Saddam was likely to result in a tribal/sectarian civil war that would cost far more lives than simply leaving Saddam in power. But with Syria, that war is already taking place. We know, because the United States has supported the rebels and the rebellion - and the violence - might have ended without that support. But what happens when Assad is finally deposed by a Predator drone or killed in the streets like Gaddafi? We haven't been arming the dirty hippie faction in Syria, but the
Mujahideen Al Qaeda. So President Hillary or President Michelle could be right back with the air craft carriers and drones in 5, 10 or 15 years to fight the old enemy of our enemy that is now the next enemy. It's a vicious cycle, which the Pentagon has taken decades to perfect.
Oh, and one other thing: Bush got
U.N. and Congressional approval for his war. Obama has already forgone the U.N., and now claims that he will "give Congress a voice" - is he not merciful? It's just a formality, since the President claims he can act without Congress, bypassing cumbersome red tape like the War Powers Act. But after the junk intelligence, lack of post-strike plans, and ignoring international law, there's still one question that stands out in the sea of unanswered questions:
Why hasn't President Obama been threatening to strike at anyone who uses chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war, but only the Assad government?
Edits: vicious, not viscous, and Bush's attempt to get support for Iraq failed in both the General Assembly and at the Security Council; misremembered the latter.