The Bushies' case for war

“Our system is different from the British system,” they stressed, in which the head of government and the head of state remain separate. Whereas the British Parliament’s rejection of the Cameron-backed proposal for military action in Syria was not a “catastrophe for British power,” Congress’s rejection of the Obama-backed resolution would weaken America’s hand in global affairs. “Even if he speaks ill-advisedly, the nation’s credibility is at stake,” Hadley and Edelman told the staffers. The staffers gathered on Capitol Hill, according to the source, expressed an “enormous level of skepticism” at their claims.

Hadley and Edelman urged House members to view the Syria issue in a broad context, in particular through the prism of Iran and America’s goal of extracting a negotiated settlement from President Rouhani and the mullahs. “In the Middle East, all issues are linked to each other,” they told the group. They encouraged a consideration of the Syria problem in light of the prospect of Iran armed with a nuclear weapon and, even absent that, as a nation seeking hegemony in the Gulf.

Their argument: If you hope to have a negotiated settlement with Iran, they only way you are going to get there is if the Iranians actually believe the use of force lies behind America’s efforts to negotiate. Hamstringing the president’s effort to use force against Syria now will “absolutely cripple and destroy” the chance to reach a diplomatic settlement with Iran.