Op-Ed: Liberal Hypocrisy in Iraq and Syria
Daniel GreenfieldThe writer is a popular New York City based freelance commentator and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He blogs at sultanknish.blogspot.com
In a response with clear echoes to the beginnings of the Iraq War, Obama has refused Syria’s offer to open its chemical weapons sites to United Nations inspectors as coming too late to be credible.
For the worst half of a decade, liberals were either urging us to give the UN inspectors more time in Iraq or demanding to know “Where are the WMDs?” once the war had begun.
The common consensus was Syria; a fellow Baathist regime that also served as the pipeline for the majority of suicide bombers aimed at American soldiers.
But that answer was met with ridicule and contempt from the questioners.
Liberals had found their killer talking point and they were not about to let it go. Not until now.
A decade after the beginning of the Iraq War, Obama is tiptoeing into Syria. The pretext for his unilateral assault on Syria, that has no credible chance of receiving United Nations Security Council approval, will be the protection of civilians against the WMDs that didn’t exist.
Ten years ago, James Clapper, now the Director of National Intelligence, said he was “unquestionably sure” that Saddam’s WMDs had been moved out of Iraq. Top Iraqi generals stated that the WMDs had gone to Syria. But all that fell on deaf ears.
Democratic political opportunism transformed the existence of Iraqi WMDs, once a universally accepted fact brutally testified to by the Halabja massacre of thousands of Kurds, into an absurd lie. Now as Halabja is being recreated in Syria, suddenly a unilateral war for WMDs has become the liberal platform.
In 2002, a minor Chicago politician with a funny name achieved an undeserved level of prominence with a speech declaring we should not attack Iraq because “Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States”, “the Iraqi economy is in shambles” and “the Iraqi military (is) a fraction of its former strength” and advised that instead Saddam “be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.”
When that minor politician came to power, suddenly the dustbin of history that was good enough for Saddam, wasn’t good enough for Qaddafi or for Assad.
As Obama prepares to add a second unilateral regime change war to his Nobel Peace Prize trophy shelf, joining him for their very first war together as cabinet members will be two other prominent doves.
John Kerry’s senate career began with a bang when he traveled to Nicaragua to obstruct President Reagan’s policy of arming the anti-Communist Contra rebels. Now Secretary of State John Kerry is taking part in arming the Free Syrian Army rebel allies of Al Qaeda and pawns of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In his Sandinista days, Senator Kerry had said that America should not subvert its values “by funding terrorism to overthrow governments of other countries”. Since then John Kerry has changed his mind. It turns out that he was only against funding terrorists to overthrow the governments of other countries before he was for it.
Sitting in as Secretary of Defense is Chuck Hagel, who got his job because of his opposition to the Iraq War and attacks on Bush over WMDs, who will now be overseeing a new war over Syrian WMDs.
Three anti-war doves will be leading a war that represents everything that they claimed to stand against.
NBC reported that Obama officials were worried that the legacy of the debate over Iraqi WMDs would harm their efforts to get the United Nations Security Council on board with a Syrian intervention. But the legacy is the cynicism of prominent Democrats like Biden, Pelosi, Gore and Reid, who turned their backs on the WMD consensus and clawed their way to power by undermining a war that they had supported.
Democrats destroyed the credibility of American foreign policy under Bush. Now they expect that time and poor memories will have already washed away everything that they did. And if that fails, then even more cynically they are preparing to blame Bush yet again, this time for the refusal of Russia and China to sign off on their Muslim Brotherhood regime change plan for Syria.
But Russia and China would no more sign off on an invasion of Syria than on an invasion of Iraq.
Obama’s people are relearning what the Bush team learned, that diplomacy will not shift the United Nations Security Council, but instead of blaming the guilty parties, they are perpetuating the same destructive cycle that got them into this mess.
A decade ago, the Democrats decided to turn around and make the Iraq War into a partisan issue for political gain. Their actions severely damaged the credibility of American foreign policy. Now they are setting course for Syrian airspace, confident that the Republicans are too patriotic to do to them what they did to the previous administration.
There is no doubt that Assad has WMDs and that he used them in the Syrian Civil War. But poll after poll shows that the American public is opposed to any attack on Syria and that the international community is mostly unenthusiastic about the prospect of another intervention.
Obama, Kerry and Hagel’s Syrian War is haunted by their destruction of the Iraq War and as Assad deploys his Weapons of Mass Destruction, the question that the doves twittering about soft power in Washington don’t have the courage to ask is how many of those weapons that will either kill civilians or fall into the hands of terrorists came from Saddam Hussein’s secret storehouses in Iraq.
Democrats vociferously opposed any plan to stop the flow of terrorists from Syria into Iraq. Now they are about to fight Assad anyway in support of their own twisted Muslim Brotherhood version of regime change.
The anti-war party has become the war party and in a supreme irony, its cause for a new war is the familiar one of stopping a Baath Party regime from using weapons of mass destruction against civilians.
Everything old is new again and every hypocrisy rises again to become policy. In New Hampshire, Howard Dean is reportedly sniffing around his presidential prospects and in Washington, John Kerry, Chuck Hagel and Barack Obama will begin a war that they were against… before they were for it.
This article appeared in FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com, reprinted by permission of the writer.