One of the problems that Barack Obama has in mounting an attack against the Assad regime is that the gambit violates every argument Barack Obama used against the Bush administration to establish his own anti-war candidacy.
The hypocrisy is so stunning that it infuriates his critics and stuns his supporters.
Deriding the Iraq war was Obama’s signature selling point. He used it to great effect against both Hillary Clinton (who voted for the war) in the Democratic primaries and John McCain in the general election. For the last five years, disparagement of “Iraq” and “Bush” has seemed to intrude into almost every sentence the president utters.
And now? His sudden pro-war stance makes a number of hypocritical assumptions. First, the U.S. president can attack a sovereign nation without authorization from Congress (unlike the Iraq war when George W. Bush obtained authorization from both houses of Congress). Even if Obama gets a no vote, he said that he reserves the right to strike.
Second, Obama assumes that the U.S. must go it alone and attack unilaterally (unlike the coalition of the willing of some 40 nations that joined us in Iraq).
Third, it is unnecessary even to approach the UN (unlike Iraq when the Bush administration desperately sought UN support).
Fourth, the U.S. president must make a judgment call on the likelihood of WMD use, which is grounds ipso facto to go to war (unlike Iraq when the vast majority of the 23 congressionally authorized writs had nothing to do with WMD [e.g., genocide of the Marsh Arabs and Kurds, bounties to suicide bombers, harboring of international terrorists, violations of UN agreements, attempts to kill a former U.S. president, etc.]).
So review for a moment the Old Obama case against the New Obama.
On the perils of going it alone without allies
“Where the stakes are the highest, in the war on terror, we cannot possibly succeed without extraordinary international cooperation. Effective international police actions require the highest degree of intelligence sharing, planning and collaborative enforcement.” (2004)
So far no European or Arab nation has offered military support for our planned effort against Syria.
On the need to obtain UN approval before attacking another country
“You know, if the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it, do we have the coalition to make it work, and, you know, those are considerations that we have to take into account.” (2013)
After misleading the UN in obtaining no-fly-zones for Libya (and then bombing troops on the ground), Obama is not even approaching the UN for a resolution to bomb this time around.