Former President George W. Bush said Friday that his successor has a “tough choice to make” on U.S. intervention in Syria, as American allies and Congress appear to be balking at the idea of a strike on Syrian military assets.
“The president’s got a tough choice to make,” he said during an appearance on Fox News Channel as a part of a golf fundraiser for veterans. “And if he decides to use our military he’ll have the greatest military ever backing him up.”
The former president – who launched a military intervention in Iraq in 2003 based on the belief that that country’s leader, Saddam Hussein, was harboring stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction – said that he did not want to get “roped in” to commenting on the ongoing debate over whether a strike in Syria would be justified based on its regime’s apparent use of chemical weapons.
But, he added, he regarded Syrian president Bashar al Assad with suspicion during his presidency.
“I was not a fan of Mr. Assad,” he said. “He’s an ally of Iran and he’s made mischief.”
Asked about his thoughts on the international community’s apparent reluctance to sign off on military intervention, Bush – who assembled a “coalition of the willing” of more than two dozen countries before his invasion of Iraq – declined to comment.
“The president has to make a tough call,” he repeated. “I know that you’re trying to subtly rope me in to the issues of the day. I refuse to be roped in. “
First published August 30 2013, 6:41 AM