The extraordinary irony surrounding President Obama’s Rose Garden message concerning Syria has been largely overlooked.Mr. Obama vehemently critiqued former President George W. Bush’s 2003 war that resulted in the downfall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Saddam Hussein used banned weaponry to murder members of his own citizenry, and committed numerous other crimes against humanity. Obama criticized Bush for his efforts that successfully toppled the illegitimate Iraqi regime.
Along with many others, Obama falsely stated that Bush was, essentially, acting without international approval. Largely ignored was the 49-member “Coalition of the Willing” that joined with the United States in an effort that was a model of international cooperation. In sharp contrast, Mr. Obama has failed to convince even America’s most steadfast ally, the United Kingdom, to provide assistance.
Rewriting history, many in Mr. Obama’s camp alleged that the Bush Administration acted without the support of the rest of the nation. Conveniently forgotten was the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, overwhelmingly supported by Democrats and Republicans. Again in sharp contrast, only after suffering humiliating rejection by both the U.N. and our allies did President Obama mention going to Congress for approval.
Indeed, not only has Mr. Obama failed to win international support, but he faces vehement and potentially armed opposition from Russia, Iran, and possibly China. These powers now act with greater confidence against the West thanks to Obama’s continued defunding of the American military and his pointless concessions to Moscow in the New Start nuclear arms treaty.
Perhaps the most crushing irony of all was the charge that one of the several causes of the Iraqi War of 2003, the necessity of removing banned weapons such as the material used to gas Iraqi civilians, did not exist. Now, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that these forbidden items did exist and were moved to Syria before Coalition forces could intercept them.
Unlike toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime, the rationale for the Iraqi War of 2003, Mr. Obama’s proposed course of action, launching a limited number of cruise missiles at Syria not to depose Bashar al-Assad, and not to totally destroy his military, but to simply express America’s displeasure, seems unfocused.
The Bush toppling of Saddam Hussein opened up a new era both for the Iraqi people and the Middle East as a whole. Scenes of proud citizens holding up “purple fingers” proving they had voted in that nation’s first free election seemed to foretell a potential new breath of freedom for the entire region. But that accomplishment was all but destroyed by Mr. Obama’s premature withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, which, in their absence, has fallen prey to extremists and now sits in Iran’s orbit.
Bashar al-Assad’s use of banned weaponry against his own civilians could not be a more blatant violation of United Nations standards. Yet that organization, which Mr. Obama has often deferred to during his tenure, has completely failed to live up to the tenets of its own charter.