President Obama defended the administration's decision to "ramp up" their support to Syrian rebel forces by, among other things, providing some lethal aid, during a sprawling interview with Charlie Rose that aired late Monday night on PBS. The president "rejected" the view that getting more involved in Syria is a bad idea because of America's previous experience in Iraq intervention, adding that he wants to frame the changes in our involvement in Syria as basically more of the same thing we've been doing all along.
Here's the key quote on the Iraq comparison:
"Now, on the other side there are folks who say, you know, ‘We are so scarred from Iraq. We should have learned our lesson. We should not have anything to do with it.’ Well, I reject that view as well, because the fact of the matter is that we’ve got serious interests there...we can’t have the situation of ongoing chaos in a major country that borders a country like Jordan which in turn borders Israel. And we have a legitimate need to be engaged and to be involved.”
"We have humanitarian interests," Obama added of the Syrian violence, citing a figure of over 100,000 slaughtered. "The United States always has an interest in preventing that kind of bloodshed when possible."