In May, 2007 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert broke the news to President Bush that Syria had, with North Korean technological help, started a nuclear weapon program in its eastern desert - "...an existential' issue" for the Jewish State. While capability was never in question, Bush, mired down in Iraq in the middle of the "surge", facing a hostile congress and a war-weary public, said no. He "...decided on a diplomatic option backed by the threat of force" via the United Nations. Being no fool, Mr. Olmert went home and his government went it alone, taking out the facility with one brilliantly executed strike.
To his credit, in his memoir, "Decision Points", Mr. Bush shows a great deal of respect for the Israeli decision not to leave their fate in the hands of a body of politicians proven to be unsympathetic to Israel's existence. "Prime Minister Olmert hadn't asked for a green light, and I hadn't given one. He had done what he believed was necessary to protect Israel."
The strike was kept secret from most of the world for months. Syria being their puppet state, Iran, of course, knew. And it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Bush had refused to act to stop a Syrian nuclear program - even as he was threatening force to end their own program. Iran's nuclear negotiator, their current president and chief huckster Hasan Rouhani, has openly bragged that he dragged out negotiations while Iran's program surged ahead.
Now, one must wonder if Bush had acted would Assad have developed another WMD - poison gas. And, if he had decisively moved against Syria's program then, would Iran be so contemptuously ignoring our threats now? Many considered Bush a "cowboy." He didn't act. Only a fool would believe Barack Obama will.