Gabbard: Iraq War experience prompting 'great pause' on Syria action

That said, Gabbard was quick to point out the United States was facing "a different situation" in Syria than in Iraq. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Opponents of U.S. action in Syria argue the proposed strikes would lead to escalation of American involvement in Syria and trigger a wave of sectarian violence similar to the U.S.'s experience in Iraq. 

While U.S. troops quickly routed the Iraqi military in the early days of the conflict, American forces became bogged down in a violent insurgency, fueled by deep-seated sectarian tensions in the country. 

The Iraqi insurgency, sparked by U.S. operations, battered and bloodied American units in Iraq up to the U.S. withdrawal in December 2011. 

Congressional fears of going down that same road in Syria loomed large over Wednesday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote to move forward with military operations in the country. 

The committee approved a resolution authorizing American military operations against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, by a vote of 10-7. 

Seven Democrats and three Republicans backed the measure, while five Republicans and two Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee opposed it. 

"We paid a bitter, heavy price for that," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said of the Iraq War's toll on the United States. 

Memories of the faulty intelligence used to make the case for the Iraq War eventually sunk efforts by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to secure support for military action from the British Parliament. 

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who voted against the Syria resolution on Wednesday, said the authorization put the nation on the wrong path. He argued the risk of an escalation was too great for the U.S. to get involved.

A Sept. 3 ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 59 percent of Americans are against a missile strike in Syria, with only 36 percent saying they support the kind of action that the Obama administration says will harm Syrian military capabilities.