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Media double standard on full display for force in Syria

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What a difference a dictator makes.

The same news media  that spent 18 months howling about the run-up to the American invasion of Iraq has barely questioned President Obama’s authority to launch missile strikes on Syria, and saying little about recent Democrat ties to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

syriancruisestrikeWhile President George W. Bush, like his father George H.W. Bush, secured congressional approval to use force against Saddam Hussein, no one’s even asking if Obama has to do the same for Syria.

“Have you heard anyone in the media question how unilaterally Barack Obama can decide to send us to war [in Syria] without congressional approval?” conservative author and publisher Brent Bozell asked Monday on Neil Cavuto’s “Your World” program on Fox News.

That’s not what the mainstream media does, and Bozell, publisher of the popular media website Newsbusters.com, knows it as well as anyone. Harping about the War Powers Act, congressional authorizations and the United Nations is reserved for when Republicans are in the White House.

Likewise, past ties to current enemies are fair game when Republicans are the ones who can be tarred by them, but a taboo subject when Democrats are involved. So now that Obama is considering military action against Syria, you’re not hearing much about the ties of the current Democratic leadership to the guy we’re about to bomb – possibly as early as Thursday, according to NBC News.

Does the media remind us of how in April 2007, the-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid a fawning visit to Bashar Assad’s Damascus, including a mosque visit by the feminist Roman Catholic who humbled herself with a head scarf for the occasion? The freelance diplomacy was clearly intended to embarrass the Bush administration, but ended up with Pelosi embarrassing herself, with a Washington Post editorial concluding: “Ms. Pelosi’s attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish.”

How about Secretary of State John Kerry visiting Syria in 2009, back when he could do much less damage to the country as merely a United States senator and a guy with a knack for marrying rich widows? The following year, the future statesman declared “Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region.”

Or how about then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appearing on “Face the Nation” in March 2011 and calling Assad “a reformer” – the same man President Peace Prize is getting ready to send cruise missiles after. When host Bob Schieffer reminded her that Syria, under the current leader’s father, Havez Assad, had killed 25,000 Syrians rebelling against his regime, Hillary called the son a  “different leader in Syria …”

More efficient, anyway. So far, about 100,000 have died in the anti-regime fighting there.

All of these incidents and more were reported in the U.S. media when they took place, but the context of Democratic infatuation with the Assad regime is completely missing from the Syrian debate, as well as any serious question about the president’s authority to act however he chooses.

In Monday’s discussion, Bozell and Cavuto were talking about the run-up to the first Iraq war, in 1991, but the point was as clear then as it was 10 years ago, and  as it is today. Media opposition to war is hardest when Republicans are in charge.

What a difference a dictator makes.

Check out the “Your World” video here:


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