Mary Matalin, a Republican strategist and former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, on Sunday said that Americans had become “war wise” after the Iraq war and demanded that President Barack Obama produce an exit strategy before launching an attack on Syria.
During an ABC News panel discussion, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan observed that the president had “turned the tables” by asking Congress for approval to take military action over Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons on its own citizens.
“I think they didn’t have the support and the horror of Iraq still lingers over the United States and the world,” Democratic strategist James Carville explained. “And this will force attention, it will force them to bring the evidence, it will force the Congress. All in all, I think it’s a pretty good thing to do.”
Matalin, however, suggested that Obama had a cynical plan to “blame the Republicans for being obstructionists” if Congress refused to authorize military force.
“The reason he’s going to Congress is because he had to, there’s no public support, there’s no Congressional support,” Matalin insisted, adding that one ABC News correspondent had said the public was “war weary, war wise.”
“I’ve been out there,” she continued. “And in this case, what is the objective? To punish? What is the trigger? Because [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] poisoned before. Is it the number [of chemical attacks] or the act of poisoning? What is the exit strategy? None of these questions are answered.”
President George W. Bush and Matalin’s former boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, were criticized for not having a post-war plan after invading Iraq in 2003.
Even after Iraq held democratic elections in 2005, Bush said in his State of the Union address that he would “not set an artificial timetable.” for leaving.
“We don’t have an exit strategy, we have a victory strategy,” then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told group of soldiers a few months later.
Watch this video from ABC’s This Week, recorded Sept. 1, 2013.