President Obama’s decision to support the rebels in Syria was announced two days after former President Bill Clinton criticized Obama for acting to0 timid.
“My view is that we shouldn’t over-learn the lessons of the past,” Clinton said on Tuesday, according to a report from Politico. “I don’t think Syria is necessarily Iraq or Afghanistan — no one has asked us to send any soldiers in there.”
Clinton added that it was important for a leader to do what was right, rather than stalling because of a poll showing 80 percent public opposition to intervention.
“[Y]ou’d look like a total wuss,” Clinton said, “And you would be. I don’t mean that a leader should go out of his way or her way to do the unpopular thing, I simply mean when people are telling you ‘no’ in these situations, very often what they’re doing is flashing a giant yellow light and saying, ‘For God’s sakes, be careful, tell us what you’re doing, think this through, be careful.”
Clinton indicated that presidential leadership required to look beyond polling to what the situation would look like several years down the road.
“[I]f you refuse to act and you cause a calamity, the one thing you cannot say when all the eggs have been broken, is that, ‘Oh my God, two years ago there was a poll that said 80 percent of you were against it.’ Right?” he continued. “You’d look like a total fool.”
Clinton made his comments on Tuesday. By Thursday, the White House announced Obama’s intentions to intervene on behalf of the rebels in Syria.