For all the talk of red lines when it comes to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, President Obama's remarks on the war-torn nation at a White House news conference Tuesday served as a reminder that the former senator from Illinois was one of the staunchest opponents of military action in Iraq and ran for office in 2008 on the platform that the war, launched based on faulty intelligence, was a mistake.
Obama was against a rush to war in Iraq 2002 and 2003, and he's taking a similarly cautious approach in the complex environment of the Syrian conflict. In this, he's completely in tune with the American public, according to a New York Times/CBS News survey released Tuesday. It found that "majorities across party lines decidedly opposed to American intervention in North Korea or Syria right now," with 62 percent of the public agreeing that "the United States has no responsibility to do something about the fighting in Syria between government forces and antigovernment groups."
And to the extent that people are on board with U.S. military action, they back a de minimis version of intervention that's become increasingly controversial among civil liberties advocates: 70 percent of those polled supported drone strikes against terrorists.