Michael Rubin: Bush’s Shadow Hangs Over Obama in Syria

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Almost two years after the Syrian uprising began, President Bashar Assad’s reign appears shakier than ever. Rebels are closing in on Damascus. This month, the United States and 100 other countries recognized the opposition as Syria’s legitimate government. For humanitarian and national security reasons, America will be better off with Assad gone.
Assad was no bulwark against Islamic radicalism. Though he opposed extremist elements at home, he supported them abroad, helping Al Qaeda terrorists infiltrate Iraq. He also enabled a lifeline to Hezbollah, a group whose targeting of Americans and global reach rivals that of Al Qaeda.
While American officials worry that Assad will use chemical weapons, many forget that had the Israelis not destroyed his nuclear facility in 2007, he might now be brandishing a deadlier arsenal.
That regime change will likely come without any U.S. military commitment should not be a source of White House pride, however. As an eyewitness and Pentagon participant in both Iraq pre-war planning and postwar reconstructing, I see the Obama team replicating Bush administration mistakes one by one.
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