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HKS Authors

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Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations

Abstract

President Obama is right to respond cautiously to accumulating evidence that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. After all, if we learned one thing from the Iraq War, it is that the United States must be absolutely certain of the facts before we launch military action against another Muslim country. Our failure to meet this standard in the March 2003 invasion of Iraq was one of the most significant in our history. Surely, we should give the Obama team space and time to determine incontrovertible facts before we act, as the president suggested we should in his Tuesday press conference.

Citation

Burns, R. Nicholas. "Obama's Leadership Challenge on Syria." Global Post, May 1, 2013.