As with so much about the President, his big picture reasons for starting Obama's War remain opaque.
Did he do it to flex the muscle of American power in front of a quaking world?
Or, did he do it to tie down the Gulliver of American power by setting the precedent that the terrifying Pentagon is now the errand boy of the United Nations in general and the enlightened Europeans in particular?
Or did he just not know he was sending America to war? Perhaps he has actually believed all the nonsense he has talked about how this isn't a war and, if you don't believe that, well, this isn't America's war?
And thus we come again to the question of who Obama really is: bleeding heart or cold-blooded power-seeker? And what attitude toward American power has Obama inherited (I mean, besides that he should be in charge of American power)?
When George W. Bush decided to finish his father's unfinished business with Saddam Hussein, well, it wasn't very good idea, but at least, from an commonplace understanding of the psychological dynamics of the Bush dynasty, you could see where he was coming from. The younger Bush's view was that his imposing father had wimped out and lost re-election by not taking out Saddam Hussein.
But on the larger question of the goodness and usefulness of American power, it's clear the two Bonesmen were in agreement (although the elder held a more nuanced view of its limits). The Bushes are from the old hereditary ruling caste, The Good Shepherd good blood, good bone elite.
But, Obama's mother, father, and stepfather were part of such an exotic caste—the CIA-affiliated international left—that it's hard for anybody to get a handle on him. And the subjects that fascinate Obama most—his race and inheritance —are exactly those that most stultify thinking among almost everybody else.
That a man figured out how to exploit the softheadedness of America's reigning civic religion by making himself "a blank screen" for our fantasies, that he managed to make himself the most powerful man in the world, the man who can start a war on a whim without anybody else having much of an idea what his whims are, remains among the oddest and most under-reported stories of this century.