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August 30th, 2013
05:46 PM ET

Analysis: Political implications of U.S. intervention in Syria

The U.S. invasion of Iraq, and all the political bruises still associated with it, casts a long shadow over possible U.S. military action in Syria.

Former president George W. Bush, who ordered that invasion, weighed in on the situation facing his successor Friday.

"The president's got a tough choice to make. If he decides to use the military, he's got the greatest military in the world backing him up. I was not a fan of Mr. Assad. He's an ally of Iran, he's made mischief. I'm not going to get roped into this," Bush told Fox News.

But President Barack Obama is already "roped in," and faces a host of political implications when it comes to action in Syria.

"I agree with President Bush, this is a tough decision the president has to make," said Democratic strategist and former senior spokesman for Hillary Clinton's campaign Mo Elleithee. "No one wants us to be using military force. But at the same time, we don't want to be sitting there encouraging or allowing people to use chemical weapons on their own."

There have been a lot of Republicans saying the Democrats are singing a different tune now, than they were in 2004, in the run up to the Iraq invasion.

"I'd be careful if I were them. This is not the time to be politicizing this," said Elleithee.

Republicans were in support of an invasion of Iraq for the alleged possession of chemical weapons, but now seem to oppose limited action against Syria, which seems to have actually used chemical weapons.

"There's a little bit of wanting to understand the strategic end game here," said Republican strategist and president of New Frontier Strategy Phil Musser. "You want to see more clarity, more engagement, more briefing. A lot of this happens behind closed doors, it's tough to gauge. This truly isn't a clear-cut partisan issue one way or the other, which makes it even more complicated."

Many lawmakers say the president needs to bring this to Congress, to get some kind of vote of support for U.S. intervention in Syria.

But deep down inside, most members of Congress do not want to be on the record with a vote, said CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash.

"Some genuinely have said in letters and in statements that they fundamentally believe that the constitutional responsibility of Congress is to authorize any kind of military force, no matter how small or how big," said Bash.

"Neither the White House, nor even the House Speaker ... wants to have a disaster on his hands, which is an embarrassing vote in the United States Congress, that would hurt his credibility," said Bash.

For more analysis, check out the video above.

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