Former SECDEFs comment on Syria

CNN political Analyst David Gergen interviewed on a panel yesterday Robert Gates and Leon Panetta.  Their topic was Syria.  I found several quotes very interesting in the wake of the Fox interview of Syrian President Assad.

Both Secretaries of Defense criticized the current administration on how they handled the Syrian crisis and are skeptical of Russia ultimately brokering a deal to remove Assads Chemical weapons.

Here are some of the mistakes listed:

  1. Neither would have advised the President to seek Congressional authorization for strikes
  2. Secretary Gates said that a proposal for a military strike against Syria for using chemical weapons was a mistake…akin to “throwing gasoline on a very complex fire in the Middle East”  He goes on to say “Haven’t Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya taught us something about unintended consequences of military action once its launched?” (I couldn’t agree more with Secretary Gates here)
  3. Panetta said it was a mistake not to carry out an attack.  He stated the President should have kept his word after he pledged an attack if Syria used chemical weapons. (I can only surmise his reasoning is that now there is no punishment for Assad using chemical weapons)
  4. Secretary Panetta went on to say a few times it was the Presidents red line in the sand and the credibility of this country was on the line.  Panetta said the President should have directed limited action going after Assad.

It was refreshing to see Sec Gates agree with many of my postings on Syria and Secretary Panetta also follow a logical line of reasoning and policy on Syria.  Unfortunately I cannot say the same about Sec Hagel or the Presidents current Policy on Syria which seems to be unintelligible or constantly changing between extremes.  (From a previous post, hurry, wait, strike, Congress, strike, Russia, wait till next week..)

I wish we could get Sec Gates back…  even Sec Clinton. The current administration doesn’t seem to understand the Middle East.




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