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Obama’s 'red line' on Syria: An Iraq-like 'slam dunk' moment? (+video)

President Obama said a 'red line' would be crossed if the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against rebels. Might that propel the US into war, as those elusive 'weapons of mass destruction' did in Iraq?

Obama: Syria's use of chemical weapos crosses redline
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For President Obama, the Syrian regime’s possible use of chemical weapons brings with it a political dilemma that can be summed up in two words: “Slam dunk.”

That was what then-CIA director George Tenet told the Bush White House about Iraq’s alleged possession of “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD).

It was a phrase Mr. Tenet came to regret, asserting that others in the administration twisted its intended use – that building public support for a US-led invasion of Iraq would be easy – to make the CIA (and him in particular) the scapegoat when no WMD were found.

But Tenet admitted in his 2007 book “At the Center of the Storm” that “there was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat,” nor any in-depth discussion of possible alternatives to military invasion.

Fast-forward ten years since the beginning of the Iraq War – which has cost 4,486 US military fatalities, plus at least several hundred US civilian contractors killed in Iraq – and “Iraq has informed every part of this debate” over Syria, writes Amy Davidson in the New Yorker.

The headline on a Politico piece reads: “Iraq haunts President Obama’s Syria choices.”

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