Politics and Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Ties that Bind Obama to Bush

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Outbreaks of violence in Syria have been concentrated in the Western part of the country. Image by FreedomHouse

The Case for War in Syria

Meanwhile, Obama is working against the backdrop of a drawn out military conflict in Iraq which yielded no smoking gun for the alleged weapons of mass destruction. Many leaders today are pushing back for more proof before committing American military force.

The case for going to war is not that strong, in any event,”said Representative Justin Amash (R-Michigan) at a September 3, 2013 town hall meeting, according to the Grand Rapids Press. “I don’t think the American people are ready to go to war based on circumstantial evidence.

Does the President’s Party Matter?

While Bush and Obama faced similar situations in the Middle East and each came to the conclusion military force was needed, one important distinction must be made between the two men. One president was Republican while the other is a Democrat.

That party affiliation may be responsible, in part, with how Congress has responded to each president’s course of action.

Case in point is the Wednesday, September 4th vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to approve a resolution to authorize U.S. military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The vote was 10-7 with five Republicans voting no.

Traditionally, Republicans tend to be more supportive of military spending and international peace-keeping efforts while Democrats often focus more on domestic policy. If it had been a Republican president requesting support, one must wonder whether that would have influenced the vote of members such as Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) who previously advocated for the U.S. to address the situation in Syria.

WMD Threat: Obama and Bush Common Ground

Party differences aside, both Obama and Bush share a common bond, and how they deal with the perceived threat from weapons of mass destruction will likely help define how history judges their presidencies. We already know the outcome under Bush, but the American people must wait until Congress returns from recess on September 9, 2013 before finding out how the Syrian situation will further unfold under Obama.

Resources:

Ahmed, Saeed. Syria possible strike: Get up to speed in 20 questions. (2013). CNN. Accessed September 6, 2013. 

The Guardian. Full text of Colin Powell’s Speech to the United Nations. (2003). Accessed September 6, 2013. 

The GuardianFull text: Bush’s speech at White House. (2003). Accessed September 6, 2013. 

Whitehouse.govStatement by the President on Syria. (2013). Accessed September 6, 2013. 

PWHCE. Coalition of the WillingAccessed September 6, 2013.

Vande Bunte, Matt. Amash: West Michigan ‘extremely one-sided’ on Syria. (2013). The Grand Rapids Press. Accessed September 6, 2013. 

Bhatti, Jabeen. World leaders wary of supporting Syrian airstrike. (2013). USA Today. Accessed September 6, 2013. 

Washington Post. Post-ABC Poll: Syria. (2013). Accessed September 6, 2013.

Pew Research Center. Public Attitudes Toward the War in Iraq: 2003-2008. (2008). Accessed September 6, 2013.

O’Keefe, Ed. Breaking down the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Syria vote. The Washington Post. Accessed September 6, 2013. 

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