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Worry in the Ranks: Whispers that Iraq Has Turned Obama Isolationist to a Fault

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy
August 20, 2013
Defense One


In a recent interview with NPR a Syrian rebel commander, formerly a Syrian Army colonel, said what many in Washington have whispered: It is "our bad luck" that Syria "has come after Afghanistan and after Iraq."

A State Department official told me last April that it was their belief that the Obama Administration was "learning all the wrong things from Iraq" in pursuing a "containment" strategy in Syria. The administration, the official said, would eventually find it had lost the once-available chance to support moderate forces seeking American support; forces which could have provided a counter to Iranian-backed Hezbollah -- and that inaction would have consequences.

Today as foreign fighters stream into Syria from neighboring countries and concern grows that militants from around the region are carving out expanding corners of influence in the country, the talk of Obama's missed opportunities and future threats hangs over the discussion.

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