Deputy White House Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that the situation in Syria is not similar to the situation in Iraq that led President George W. Bush to decide to invade the country in 2003.
"As it relates to the situation in Iraq, I don't agree that these are similar situations," Earnest said. "What we saw in that circumstance was an administration that was searching high and low to produce evidence to justify a military invasion -- an open-ended military invasion of another country with the final goal being regime change."
Earnest said the large amount of visual evidence that's come out of Syria, circulated largely via social media, greatly aids the Obama administration's assertion that the Assad regime was responsible for the Aug. 21 attacks outside of Demascus.
"What we have seen here tragically is a preponderance of evidence available in the public domain that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against innocent civilians," he said. "That evidence exists thanks to social media thanks to some of the videos that have been broadcast thanks to some of the good work that independent journalists are doing on the ground, thanks to the reports of non-governmental organizations that are on the ground trying to meet the needs of the Syrian people."
Earnest added that Obama is not considering an open-ended military action nor is he talking about seeking a regime change.
"So, I thoroughly reject the suggestion that these two situations are somehow similar," he said.
In an interview with PBS Wednesday night, Obama said that Syria won't be "a repetition of, you know, Iraq, which I know a lot of people are worried about."
Jacob Fischler is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C.
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