Wednesday, May 1, 2013

President Obama shows when it comes to Syria, he's learned from Bush's mistakes

President Obama shows when it comes to Syria, he's learned from Bush's mistakes, President Barack Obama held a press conference yesterday in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the White House, he laid out the Administration's thinking when it comes to the Syrian civil war and it is clear President Obama wants to avoid the mistakes of former President George W. Bush of getting bogged down from a war that cannot be easily unwound. It is easier to get into a war, than to get out of a war.

President Barack Obama was nominated by the Democratic party in 2008, mainly on the strength of his anti-Iraq war positions. In 2003, then-state Senator Barack Obama made a speech that few heard at the time, but today is one of his most famous speeches in which he concluded that the United States should stay out of "dumb wars."

President Obama was the first a question by Fox News White House Correspondent and President of the White House Correspondents' Association, Ed Henry.

"On Syria, you said that the red line was not just about chemical weapons being used but being spread, and it was a game-changer -- it seemed cut and dry. And now your administration seems to be suggesting that line is not clear. Do you risk U.S. credibility if you don't take military action?" asked Ed Henry.

First, in his answer to Ed Henry, the President made clear that the international community needed to be engaged in stopping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

President Obama lais out the strategy for Ed Henry. "In pursuit of that strategy we've organized the international community. We are the largest humanitarian donor. We have worked to strengthen the opposition. We have provided nonlethal assistance to the opposition. We have applied sanctions on Syria. So there are a whole host of steps that we've been taking precisely because, even separate from the chemical weapons issue, what’s happening in Syria is a blemish on the international community generally, and we've got to make sure that we're doing everything we can to protect the Syrian people."

President Obama added that "in that context, what I've also said is that the use of chemical weapons would be a game-changer not simply for the United States but for the international community. And the reason for that is that we have established international law and international norms that say when you use these kinds of weapons you have the potential of killing massive numbers of people in the most inhumane way possible, and the proliferation risks are so significant that we don't want that genie out of the bottle. So when I said that the use of chemical weapons would be a game-changer, that wasn’t unique to -- that wasn’t a position unique to the United States and it shouldn’t have been a surprise."

In reference to the failed effort to find Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq, President Obama obviously did not want to "rush to judgement" and to assure there is a "chain of custody" when it comes to those weapons.

"And what we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria, but we don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them. We don't have a 'chain of custody' that establishes what exactly happened. And when I am making decisions about America’s national security and the potential for taking additional action in response to chemical weapon use, I've got to make sure I've got the facts. That's what the American people would expect," said President Obama, wanting to assure the United States doesn't enter a "dumb war."

This press conference comes not long after the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and from the president's response, it is obvious the mistakes of former President George W. Bush were in the air.

Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions to johnpresta@att.net.

John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.

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