Chill Out: Syria Isn't Iraq

Obama's action in Syria will be swift, and we won't have to talk about when we'll bring our troops home.

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President Barack Obama pauses speals about college financial aid at Henninger High School on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in Syracuse, N.Y. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
President Barack Obama told CNN the alleged chemical attack is "very troublesome."

For everyone out there accusing the president of following in George W's footsteps, you're wrong. Syria ain't no Iraq.

Although there are similarities, there are many more differences. None of our allies seem to disagree with responding in a forceful way against the Bashar Assad regime's violent treatment of its own people; even France backs us on this one. And we not only found weapons of mass destruction, we found chemical weapons of mass destruction being used.

In Iraq we put boots on the ground, but the president is clear that's not a goal of his and has calmed our allies'  fears of such. Unlike G.W., Obama is not lying to the American people, Congress and the world about weapons of mass destruction. Unlike G.W., he's not going to lead the charge and rush in like the calvalry; nor should he. And unlike G.W., he has the hindsight available from seeing Iraq and how our intervention completely spun out of control. And the president, seeking truth and not lies, and not able to have the approval needed by the U.N., will go another route by trying to find a justification for his actions within international law. And you will not see or hear Secretary of State John Kerry stand before the U.N. touting imagined and non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

So much like the White House and the president, I too dismiss comparisons with Obama and Syria to that of Bush and Iraq. And also unlike G.W., this president faces a Congress that tries to block or question every idea he has, every move he has made and tries to make. They did it with Egypt. They did it with Libya. And now, they're doing it with Syria. The party of no is also a party of no cooperation. 

[See a collection of political cartoons on Syria.]

And neither are the American people enamored with the idea, so say the polls, which show weak support at best for an intervention of any kind in Syria. But what other choice does President Obama have? With the newest information that we have, technical evidence that Syria massacred rebels with chemical weapons, how can he turn his back?

But there is one thing I can say for sure. This president, as he did with the killing of Osama bin Laden and with the knowledge of leaks through people like Snowden, won't be showing the world his hand once a decision is made. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said our forces are ready to go. And if that's the case, with the president as Commander in Chief, we can also be assured, as we saw with Libya, it will be swift, succinct and we won't have to talk about when we'll bring our troops home two decades from now.

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