tv The Cheshire Murders CNN September 3, 2013 12:00am-2:01am PDT
> you're looking live at washington, d.c., where the white house and the congress are now locked in a tug of war and the stakes could not be hire. the obama administration working feverishly to support a strike on syria. the votes could come as early as next week. so many lawmakers -- >> i think we're concerned that this is too open ended, what the president is asking congress to authorize. >> there's a lot of memories
over another time when a president came and said -- the president's people came and said this is a slam dunk intelligence. i was thinking most members would want to repeat. >> john mccain and lindsey graham, they are demanding firm action. >> i vote against that resolution by congress, i think it will be catastrophic, it will undermine the credibility of the united states of america, and the president of the united states. >> for two years, the president has allowed this to become a debacle. >> with no backing from the nation, an international ally is not exactly pushing for intervention. the white house is flooding its own strategy on capitol hill. he's the ranking member of the
senate foreign relations committee. senator corker. the secretary of state john kerry, the chairman of the joint chiefs, they're appearing before your committee tomorrow. what do they need to say in order to justify, to convince hesitant colleagues that this is the right thing to launch military strikes against targets and syria. >> they're going to have a lot of questions, let's face it. there are numbers of briefings that are happening in the morning at the white house. we have military leaders coming in midday, and then the hearing. i think three basic questions are, why is military action in syria needed at this time. what will it accomplish, and thirdly, how can we sufficiently limit it, so we don't get ourselves mired down in another war like iraq or afghanistan, or virtually a civil war in this case. >> based on all our previous conversations, everything i heard -- you're on board with
the president. you're inclined to vote if the resolution were right now. >> well, i said from day one, as a result of what has happened, that i would -- i'm very open to supporting a surgical proportional strike. i want to hear the details, i want to understand what that is going to accomplish, how we're going to go about it, i do not want us to alter the policy that's stated right now, where our policy is to support the vetted moderate opposition there on the ground. and i don't want our inactivity regarding this issue to change that policy, and obviously, i'm going to be asking some tough questions about why we've been so slow. and aiding this vetted opposition. but yes, i've said from the beginning i'm open to this, i'm obviously trying to understand what all this would entail. and want to make sure we limit our activity. so we'll see if we're able to do
that over the course of the next week or so. >> that's a tough question. you asked the administration, when i asked the administration officials that question, why not start supplying lethal arms to the rebels right now. they point out, there are good rebels and there are very very bad rebels, including al qaeda supporters, they want to make sure the weapons wind up in the right hands as opposed to the wrong hands. that's not that easy. is that the answer you've been getting. >> i was in the region two and a half weeks ago, and i was totally embarrassed, and dismayed that not a single shipment of arms has made its way in the opposition. i was in a refugee camp in the turkey syria border and was embarrassed at what i received there with refugees and the fact that they are letdown by the international community. so look. i don't think that's a good answer, i think we've known for some time who some of the
elements are that we can get behind. as a matter of fact we've known for over a year. i don't think that's a good response. i think you know the administration has chosen to go about this in a covert way. they've announced to the world they're doing it, but they're doing it covertly, for some reason, it may have started over the last two and a half weeks, but when i was there, nothing yet had arrived and so we stated this is our policy, and yet we have not followed through. and, wolf, to me, that's the only way we're going to build capacity among those good folks that you're talking about, the vetted moderate groups that we support, and that is to enable them by training, equipping and giving humanitarian aid, we've been slow to do that, and candidly it's one of the reasons we find ourselves in the position we find ourselves in today. >> i think it's going to pass in the senate, just by my assessment, it could be problematic, what if it were to fail in the house of representatives, what should the
president do then? >> i don't know what's going to happen in either body. i don't. as i said to the president and other officials, he's got to use every ounce of energy he has to make the case to the american people, which is what he's doing by coming to congress. and candidly, i support the fact that he's chosen to come here. if it's not authorized by congress, i have no idea what will happen, except i would imagine he would not take action. >> just like the british prime minister david cameron. he's not taking any military action now that he was rejected by the parliament in london. we'll have live coverage here on cnn tomorrow. of the senate foreign relations committee hearing with the secretaries of state and defense, and the chairman of the joint chiefs. we'll see you there then. there certainly is a division within the democratic party as well. let's bring in one democrat who says the debate about syria will make this country stronger. she supports the president,
representative debbie wasserman-schultz. also chairs the committee. thanks for coming in. >> you're welcome, thanks for having me. >> explain why the president decided to require congressional authorization for using force to punish the syrians for using chemical weapons. we have a list of other examples, where nothing along those lines was required. ronald reagan invaded grenada in 1983. the same as george h.w. bush in panama in 1989. bush did the same thing in somalia in '92, bill clinton bombed iraq in '98. bill clinton led the nato bombing of the former yugoslavia in '99. no congressional authorization. obama launched tomahawk cruise missiles to get rid of gadhafi in 2011. no congressional authorization. why do you believe it's necessary now?
>> well, let's be clear, the president is not does not believe he is required to seek congress's authorization. what he believes is that when congress authorizes his proposal for a limited targeted strike so that assad understands that our response to his violation of a 100-year-old international norm not to use chemical weapons against either your own people or as a legitimate weapon of war, will have a certain and severe response. and that he has to be held accountable for atrocities like that. what president obama has said, and decided that although he knows he has the authority to act without congress's authorization, we're going to have a more unified and stronger response when congress authorizes the president's proposal. the strength of the united states response with unity is going to be far more impactful, not only on asads, but the region as well.
when it comes to iran, to hezbollah. and our national security interests are at risk here. it is imperative that assad understands that he cannot simply act with impunity and launch chemical weapons against his own people without a severe response. >> what happens if the president doesn't get a positive vote. what if he gets rejected there, as david cameron did in britain? >> well, i feel confident that our colleagues, my colleagues both on the republican side of the aisle as well as the democratic side of the aisle are not going to jeopardize the credibility of the united states. i feel confident that we will have a majority of the house of representatives and the senate who will understand and authorize the president to engage in a limited targeted strike that ensures that our national security interests are protected, but also that he
respond to atrocities, and exercise the moral leadership that the united states has always led with. for me as a mother, to see that searing image of babies lined up, murdered by their own government, innocent children, i mean, as a jew, as a member of congress who represents one of the largest holocaust survivor relationships in the country, to me, it has to mean something. the united states cannot turn the other cheek. too many leaders of ours have regretted that decision. >> you know there's no 100% guarantee he's going to get that vote in the house of representatives, i think he'll get in the senate, no guarantee in the house of representatives, in part, not just because of -- let's say tea party type republicans or more isolationist republicans, there are a bunch of liberal democrats as you well know in your caucus, who are going to vote against the president. they don't want to get involved in syria, they have a lot of other issues they wan have to deal with here at home. >> i think the president was right to seek congressional
authorization. it will strengthen our response when we're unified. i believe that my colleagues in both chambers will understand as john mccain said today. that risking the credibility of the united states by voting no and voting this down would be catastrophic for our credibility. and i think they are going to clearly understand that, and will make sure not only can we protect our allies in the region, from the strengthening of assad's hand if we don't respond, like israel and jordan and turkey, but also that we stand against moral obscenities as secretary kerry rightfully labelled this chemical weapon as tack, and make sure it's understood that you will receive a severe and certain response from the united states and our allies, when you violate international norms like assad has. >> when we talk to your constituents and they ask you,
why is it the united states that has to get involved militarily, other countries may be cheering on the u.s. from the sidelines, but it's also u.s. military men and women that are called upon to do a job, like this. why can't other can'ts do it? >> there are other countries. we have -- from the briefings that i received, there are dozens of countries who are going to stand with the united states who will engage with us on military action, and also, that bacchus up. >> which countries will use their military power to attack targets inside syria? >> that's something i'm not at liberty to say. some is classified, some is unclassified, what i can tell you is that there are many nations who have committed to support the united states in our action. >> militarily. >> that's going to be important? >> you're saying militarily, not just politically, but vocally, militarily they will support the
united states, they will go in with the f-16s, and target sites in syria? >> in both military and diplomatic and political support there are dozens of nations who have committed to bacchus up, that's what i'm at liberty to say. >> i know dozens -- they may be supporting us, i'll be anxious to see which ones get involved militarily if the president gives that execute order in the weeks to come. we have to leave it there. >> the important thing is, we need military and moral leadership here, and that's part of the united states responsibility and president obama and i think the congress will make a strong signal that this conduct, murdering your own people, mercilessly is unacceptable. >> debbie wasserman-schultz also the chair of the dnc, thanks very much. let's get another perspective from another democrat. she's not convinced the strikes in syria are the right course.
congressman, why do you disagree so strongly with debbie wasserman-schultz and with the president? >> i have great respect for my colleague. and she's been doing this a lot longer than i have, but this is my first vote on authorizing our president to use military force. i took this seriously, i took a red eye from los angeles and went back to washington, d.c., yesterday so i could have the classified briefing. i was on a phone call this morning when senator kerry and secretary hagel, secretary kerry and others, and i just am not convinced at this time that we ought to rush in and use military force in syria. i'll tell you, i'm happy the president has consulted with congress. i was one of those who signed a letter with 200 other of my colleagues that asked the president to please let congress
weigh-in on this. and just as the president shouldn't make those decisions, divorced from american people or congress, i'm not making this decision divorced from people i represent. overwhelmingly, people came up to me and said, please congresswoman, don't take us to war, we've had enough. why are we the only -- always the only country that goes -- that has this moral leadership, and this was from veterans, this was from military families, i talked to a mom of an army soldier right now who said, please, no more war. >> i hear -- what i hear you saying, if the vote were right now, you would vote no. you would say, this is not in the national interest at this time. you would vote against the president? >> you know, i would. i just don't believe this is the right course to take.
i'm not comfortable with the resolution i read. it was very open ended, very broad. it didn't, in my opinion, sound very limited in its scope or duration. and i worry about what happens after we strike. assad is calling the middle east the powder keg that could explode if we strike. so i'm concerned about this, and, you know, i agree with debbie wasserman, shultz i too am a mother, i'm a grandmother. those images of those babies who were killed are horrifying, do we respond by going in and killing more innocent people? every military strike, no matter how targeted or surgical it is, you know, has some collateral damage. will there be another child that loses their dad or another mom who loses her son in an attack that we have instigated? i hate at this time to do this.
>> i -- you represent a strong constituency out there who totally agrees with you. do you believe that the intelligence that the obama administration has presented to you, classified briefings, that it is 100% certain that the regime used sarin gas, poison gas to kill all those civilian? >> what the language that i read in the classified documents and what i heard was highly confident. i never heard 100% sure. and i think we're all harkining back to president bush and going into the iraq war, where we were absolutely confident that there were weapons of mass destruction. and we lost over 4,000 americans and never found any weapons of mass destruction. so i don't think we ought to
rush. the president said that the joint -- the chief -- the joint chiefs of staff said this action could be just as powerful this week, next week, a month from now. so let's not rush, i still would like to pursue a diplomatic solution. even the pope tweeted today, no more war, let's find a peaceful resolution, i'd like to put all of our energy into trying to bring both sides together and solve this civil war crisis. let's try to take a diplomatic tact. that would be what i hope. i don't want to see more innocent lives killed, because we're sending a message. or we're trying to punish assad. >> that's the message we heard from hans blicks. the former weapons inspector on this program friday night. exactly what you said, give peace a chance. a lot of people will agree with you. we'll see what the debate unfolds, we have a lot more to discuss.
a democratic congresswoman from california. thanks for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. i enjoyed being on your show. these days it's an uphill battle to get congress to agree with the president about anything. can president obama convince them to authorize military strikes on syria. when i come back, we'll talk to two men about the challenges. [ male announcer ] if she keeps serving up sneezes... [ sneezing ] she may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec®. powerful allergy relief for adults and kids six years and older. zyrtec®. love the air. i just served my mother-in-law your chicken noodle soup but she loved it so much... i told her it was homemade. everyone tells a little white lie now and then. but now she wants my recipe
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a member of congress, remember the global community 37 what message will we send that can dictate or gas hundreds of children and pay no price. >> the president facing huge challenges at home and abroad trying to rally support when it comes to syria. joining us now, bill richardson to the united nations. the former nato supreme ally commander. what a risky gamble he took. throwing it to congress, for authorization. you served in congress, you think it's a slam dunk he will get the house of representatives to authorize the use of military force in. >> well, no, it is a political gamble, i believe in the end he
will win. this is an issue of american credibility. the danger is, the coalition of progressive democrats and anti-war and tea party republicans and those that will take a partisan vote might hurt the effort in the house. in the end i think the house will come through, i would start with a strong effort in the senate. i think it will be close in the senate. it should move forward. >> should the president have gone this legislative route or should he have just done it without congressional authorization. >> well, i commend him for going this route, i think he's going to need the congress on issues like immigration, like climate change, like energy like on budget and sequester. so i think what he wants to do is send a message. let's work together to deal with the problems and the country. i personally felt he already had the presidential authority. it involved limited strikes, we
don't have boots on the ground, that it's a targeted effort that i believe in the end will shift the military momentum, but he's done it, i think it's important that domestically the people are behind him for taking this to the congress. now, i think congresswoman hahn seemed very thoughtful, i think the key is going to be to convince her that there is no diplomacy here. the u.n. has tried, russia is blocking any kind of diplomacy, assad wants to stay, unless there's a change, you're going do see hezbollah emboldened, iran emboldened. israel will be hurt. jordan will be hurt, turkey. so i think there's some very strong national security argument. >> richardson clearly supporting the president on this issue. a lot of military planners, i've covered the military for a long time. they know there are all these strategies going into warfare.
you don't know what's going to happen. there are going to be a lot of unintended consequences. it continues to this day in afghanistan. are you afraid that even a limited strike could drag the united states into prolonged conflict inside that syrian civil war? >> i think the risk of that is relatively low. i think it's very important that the united states takes a firm stand, underscores that stand. not only with a strike, or with the support of the united states congress behind the strike. saying, no use of chemical weapons. some weapons are too inhumane to be used. the united states set up this global structure in the aftermath of world war ii. we defended it. through deterrence and containment during the cold war. china and russia are beneficiaries of that. they need to pull together with us, and draw the line here, no
use of chemical weapons. now, russia used chemical weapons in afghanistan, they got away with it, they created terrible mischief there using chemical weapons, and misery and slaughter of innocent people there. >> saddam hussein used it against the iranians and the kurds in northern iraq as well. here's what bashar al assad told the french newspaper today he said the middle east is a powder keg. everyone will lose control of the situation when the powder keg explodes. the risk of a regional war exists. now, you think that risk is minimal if the u.s. were to get involved militarily, if he feels himself up against the wall and the iranians backs against him. you don't know what he's going to do. if the israelis retaliate massively, that's going to drag the u.s. in to a real full scale war. >> it's in his interest to portray the risks unimaginably great.
it depends on what the united states does, there's two related issues. one is a punitive strike to respond to his use of chemical weapons. two, three, four days of strikes, some battle damage assessment, maybe you go in again. it's limited, it's there for a purpose. then there's the issue of how do you stop the war. like a diplomatic agreement. you have on the one side, bashar al assad who's winning right now, with the support of iran and russia. you have no viable military structure on the other side. have you a lot of isolated groups and you don't have a political leadership that can represent those isolated military groups. they're fighting against bashar al assad. the united states has been trying to work behind the scenes to help coalesce this. sao there is a negotiating partner, there is someone that can come in and take over the reigns of government.
we need to be thinking about the diplomatic side of this, i think it's time for the arab league to take a much larger role. not endorsing a u.s. strike, but stepping up to its regional responsibilities. >> i wouldn't hold your breath for that one. but we'll see what happens on that front p.m. general, thanks very much. ambassador richardson thanks to you as well. >> senator lindsey graham is calling president obama's handling of syria, i'm quoting now. a debacle, can the white house turn this around. fareed zakaria and nick christophe come in. we'll talk to that about what's going on. waiting for your wrinkle cream to work? clinically proven neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair. it targets fine lines and wrinkles with the fastest retinol formula available. you'll see younger looking skin in just one week. one week? that's just my speed.
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we don't want endless war. john and i -- john knows better than anybody. war is a terrible thing. we won't sustainable security. and syria is a cancer that's growing in the region. and for two years the president has allowed this to come quite frankly a debacle. >> very strong words from senator lindsey graham over at the white house today after meeting with the president in the oval office. i'm wolf blitzer for piers morgan. will president obama pay a political price for his stance in syria. you wrote a strong column in which you said the president's handling, the administration's handling of syria in your words, a case study, how not to do foreign policy.
very strong words. >> the president has tried to have it both ways. for two years he has been resolutely resisting calls to jump into the caldron that is syria. in my opinion, wisely, syria is a deep complex largely internal, largely sectarian struggle, not sure what u.s. military intervention can do. at the same time, the president has wanted to seem to be doing something or seem to be setting up these red lines, which we talked about far too casually, he's trying to be a realist and a humanitarian, it's a little difficult to do, and perhaps easier to do in theory, right now what you're seeing are the fruits of that. a lot of what u.s. foreign policy over the last six months has been, is devoted to trying to make sure the president's red line language doesn't appear to be an empty threat. he may have spoken carelessly. we are now in danger of using military force carelessly to
make sure that there season the a hypocrisy there. >> was he speaking carelessly a year ago, almost exactly a year ago when he drew that red line saying to bashar al assad, you use chemical weapons, you cross -- that's a game changer, he said, was he speaking carelessly or thoughtfully? >> we can't be sure of that, what we can be sure of, they don't seem to apply the doubt. what would happen if that red line was crossed? >> that's a mistake, you have to think about that. if you're going to draw a red line and they go over the red line, have you to be ready for it. >> you have a plan that moves ahead. >> and you're in this awkward position, for two years, you said, while american foreign national interests are not involved. and now they're going around saying, no, no, no, they are involved, it's 1,400 people out of 100,000 dead have just been killed by chemical weapons. you see the tension, you've been steering one course for two years and now you're suddenly steering another. >> it would be catastrophic if
congress didn't authorize the use of force. would it be catastrophic? >> yeah, i think it would be. i think he risks his own credibility and the countries as well. now, in foreign policy, especially you want self-confidence, predictability. by going to congress, you jeopardize that. if he gets congressional approval, a great deal will be forgiven. >> it could go either way. >> i just don't know. >> i think it sets, i agree with everything they said. it sets a strange precedent. this is supposed to be a cruise missile strike as far as we can tell. if for this, the president of the united states needs to go to congress, this is changing our conception of executive power over the last 30 or 40 years, it's been settled by both parties that because of the nature of america's responsibilities in the war, the
president does have the leeway to act in situations like this that are not really full scale war. >> so many examples, american presidents using military force without congressional authorization. you remember when ronald reagan was president, gadhafi was accused of bombing a disco tech in germany, killing american soldiers. he sent planes in to tripoli or whatever, killed a bunch of people, including relatives of gadhafi. >> president clinton bombed iraq for a few days. that was a classic case, where at the margins it probably accomplished a little bit, and there's no congressional authorization. >> if this is a relatively modest tomahawk cruise missile strike. will that accomplish much in the bigger picture? >> i think it might? i mean, i would like to see more done including arming the
rebels. it's not going to completely change the game, it's helpless, there really is a value in reinforcing the norm against the use of chemical weapons. bashar al assad has been testing the international community. there are minimal advantages to using them, if he loses some of his toys he may be less inclined to use them again. >> we're going to continue this conversation. when we come back, i want to know how long the president can waits before striking syria. we go live to washington, d.c., the white house and the capitol, they are the next steps as far as syria is concerned. we should know in the next week or two or three, what is going on. i'm wolf blitzer in for piers morgan. do you think you were just the turkey, do you think the turkish regime would use military equipment? they're a nato ally to bomb targets in syria? >> i doubt it, they lost the plane, the syrians shot the turkish plane and they didn't respond to that. so all our allies are anxious to have sustained serious military strikes against syria, just ones that they don't have to do. >> the united states -- >> the americans should do all [ female announcer ] you tweeted, posted and cheered about yoplait's fall favorites. so we brought pumpkin pie and apple crisp back for a limited time. see? you really do call the shots. ♪
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we go live to washington, d.c., the white house and the capitol, they are the next steps as far as syria is concerned. we should know in the next week or two or three, what is going on. i'm wolf blitzer in for piers morgan. do you think you were just the turkey, do you think the turkish regime would use military equipment? they're a nato ally to bomb targets in syria? >> i doubt it, they lost the plane, the syrians shot the
turkish plane and they didn't respond to that. so all our allies are anxious to have sustained serious military strikes against syria, just ones that they don't have to do. >> the united states -- >> the americans should do all of the work. they're happy to support us from way down. >> is that your assessment including saudi arabia and jordan and the united arab emirates and kuwait? they all have f-16s and air fighters. >> i think we're going to be using tomahawk cruise bhis ils, so we don't have to deal with syrian air defenses, which i gather are robust. >> how long would this whole operation really take to have an effect. you want assad gone? >> i would like to see the civil war end and major war negotiations. i think one can make assad pay a price for using chemical
weapons. i'm not certain, but i think it's possible. >> i think you can make him pay a price for sure. whether or not you can get regime change is more difficult. i would remember, regime change won't end the civil war, it will just change its composition. let's say we topple assad. the next thing that's going to happen is going to be the massacre of the aloeitis. we've seen this movie, when the sunnis were displaced in iraq. there was a wave of fighting where they fight back. the alloites will become the insurgency. you will have a huge civil war. and then the sunnis will fight amongst themselves. >> a lot of officials have expressed to me privately, in their deep concern. there are a lot of al qaeda elements that seem to be on the uptake right now. >> that's certainly true.
i think one can make an argument that the real jihaddys, they have gained, partly because they are getting the weapons, and we have not been providing weapons to more moderates, i really think it is possible to distinguish to some degree. i was just saying at the break, that when we journalists go into syria, we find moderate rebels to take us in. and to keep -- some american journalists have gone in recently, including a long story in the new york times the other day, was taken by the rebels and tortured for six months. >> there have been mistakes. >> this is the big failure of the turkish diplomacy. >> they're very much against assad. have been trying for two years to create a syrian government in exile and a syrian opposition. they haven't been able to do it. they don't talk to one another. there season the a political leadership, and most clearly there isn't a moderate democratically minded one. >> the saudis have been trying to do it as well.
they haven't succeeded at least in the short term. do you want to make a final bone the? >> yeah, the risks of intervention are all very valid, the risks of not intervening, all the things we're worried about, like intervening, those have happened. that is an argument for being more aggressive and making assad pay a price. >> guys, thanks very much. >> thank you. when we come back, will the battle over syria rewrite the history books when it comes to president obama. talk to two men with very strong views on that.
secretary of state john kerry was on all five sunday talk shows yesterday and he actually come bard bashar al assad to adolph hitler for allegedly using chemical poisoned gas against his own people. so the stakes are enormous. whatever president obama does or doesn't do in syria, how will history view him? joining us, presidential historian douglas brinkley. walter, you tweeted yesterday "this is the most important presidential act on the constitution and warfare. >> since truman decided we
didn't need to go to congress for the korean war, plain spoken harry called it a police action, not a war. there's been a pendulum that says only congress can declare war. by going to congress with a very difficult situation with the outcome politically in this country uncertain, obama has done more to reverse that trend than any president. you had a caller on earlier talking about eight different military actions that we've launched without presidential approval, congressional approval in the last 30 years. and this is why this symbolically is so important. >> you agree, doug brinkley, that this politically, historically speaking, is a huge, huge moment in
presidential history? >> it is but that doesn't even mean the next president's not going to have a grenada or panama or libya or some sort of intervention where they bypass congress. >> the question is does this undermine the next president. let's say the president were to lose this move to the house of representatives. would executive authority be undermined down the road? >> i don't think so. camera's great britain, if that didn't blow up in president obama's face, things might be different. this isn't a president that was pushing this, he couldn't find a coalition of the willing. at least instead of being obama's red line, it becomes congress's redline. some of the things, including the attitude of putin and his deep backing of syrian has changed the dynamics. i would look at this as a crisis of the moment, not an ongoing
trend. >> what do you think, was it a mistake? a lot of people say what's wrong with waiting? >> every time a president acts without congressional authority, there is a legal opinion that the president down the road will use. in this case there were no figure leaf no, nato approval, no u.n. resolution and before obama made the announcement, both people on the left and people on the right, both constitutional professors said that this was the biggest overreach of presidential military power in history if obama went through this without congress. >> how does his image, his prestige, douglas, how does that stand right now internationally? remember when he first took office, he was awarded the nobel prize in his first year as president of the united states
before he even did anything internationally. >> i think he's still respected internationally. i think what's perplexing is where's the moral outrage? two people that have made their political careers on anti-war platforms, john kerry and barack obama are trying to wake up the world to the fact that assad is gassing the own people and up hear our secretary of state talking about hitler. usually you never make a hitler analogy. but with the case of syria, we're dealing with a serious -- i haven't seen a threat of syria using chemical weapons that close to the israeli border. so they have to sell this as a big national security issue and i think he's going to have a lot of rethinking to do. should we be funding nato as we are? is the united nations security council broken when russia's on syria's side and china's deciding to sit this out.
in fact china criticized this today. >> you know washington about as well as anyone. will he have the votes in the senate and house? >> i think he'll have the votes by the end of the day but it will be a perils of pauline moment and i don't think getting there will be pretty. >> you think he win by one or two votes? >> the number of people who will say to the leadership i'm with you if you absolutely need me but if we win in the house by more than three votes and you get me to vote yes, i'll never forgive you. >> walter shapiro, thank you very much. doug brinkley, thanks to you as well. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back. an irregular heartbeat, not caused by a heart valve problem. that puts jim at a greater risk of stroke. for years, jim's medicine tied him to a monthly trip to the clinic to get his blood tested. but now, with once-a-day xarelto®, jim's on the move. jim's doctor recommended xarelto®.
like warfarin, xarelto® is proven effective to reduce afib-related stroke risk. but xarelto® is the first and only once-a-day prescription blood thinner for patients with afib not caused by a heart valve problem. that doesn't require routine blood monitoring. so jim's not tied to that monitoring routine. [ gps ] proceed to the designated route. not today. [ male announcer ] for patients currently well managed on warfarin, there is limited information on how xarelto® and warfarin compare in reducing the risk of stroke. xarelto® is just one pill a day taken with the evening meal. plus, with no known dietary restrictions, jim can eat the healthy foods he likes. do not stop taking xarelto®, rivaroxaban, without talking to the doctor who prescribes it as this may increase the risk of having a stroke. get help right away if you develop any symptoms like bleeding, unusual bruising, or tingling. you may have a higher risk of bleeding if you take xarelto® with aspirin products, nsaids or blood thinners. talk to your doctor before taking xarelto® if you have abnormal bleeding. xarelto® can cause bleeding, which can be serious,
and rarely may lead to death. you are likely to bruise more easily on xarelto® and it may take longer for bleeding to stop. tell your doctors you are taking xarelto® before any planned medical or dental procedures. before starting xarelto®, tell your doctor about any conditions such as kidney, liver, or bleeding problems. xarelto® is not for patients with artificial heart valves. jim changed his routine. ask your doctor about xarelto®. once a day xarelto® means no regular blood monitoring -- no known dietary restrictions. for more information and savings options, call 1-888-xarelto or visit goxarelto.com.
without a shark cage. it took her 53 hours and it was her fifth try. dr. sanjay gupta reports tonight at 11:00 p.m. eastern. i'll be back tomorrow night with the latest on the crisis in syria and what this country is doing about it. that's all for us tonight. thanks very much for watching. good evening, everyone. we begin with the looming debate over attacking syria, a debate that many americans in congress ask for even as lawmakers say it's coming too late. the president started working on this labor day to get house and senate members on board for the resolution with military action. in syria, as we've said so many times, the violence continues. an opposition group says at least 63 more people were killed today including 8 children. 8 more children to add to the death toll. the latest videos posted online, attest the violence we've been reporting on for more than two years. we can't independently verify what they show.
the stories remain the same. heavy shelling. opposition forces with guns, fighting back against the regime, that less that two weeks ago, carry out what the obama administration calls a weapons attack on its own people, killing 1400 people, hundreds of them children. administration officials have classified briefings every day this week with members of congress and in a few minutes, we'll hear from a congressman who was in on one of the briefings today. the president also met with john mccain and lindsey graham. the senator said they're encouraged by the president's approach but they still have significant concerns. >> the key selling point that must be told to the americans over and over is no american boots on the ground. they are tired and weary. you have to tell them no american boots on the ground. you also have to show them a way forward. and that so far has not been articulated to the congress or the american people. >> we don't want endless war. john knows better than anybody,
war is a terrible thing. we want sustainable security. syria is a cancer that's growing in the region. for two years the president has allowed this to become a debacle. >> congress is scheduled to return one week from today, which is the earliest a vote would happen, the vote is expected to be close and no indication which way it may go. indecision abounds. listen. >> any time you're talking about use of military force i don't believe any member can be whipped into doing one thing or the other. >> the whole approach to this is a concern for me. >> i don't know if every member of congress is there yet. >> it's far from settled. >> a number of members have raised concerns. >> i think people are really grappling with this. >> i'm skeptical about the president's proposal. >> i need to hear more. >> i'm not there yet. >> the chief national correspondent john king joins me
now with the latest. a lot of moving parts on the hill. clearly a full court press by the administration. i know secretary kerry voiced comments over the weekend in getting a resolution with congress. are you seeing a reason for the conference at this point? >> not at this point. if you talk to senior congressional aids in both parties on capitol hill. and the white house. they would agree on these two things tonight. if the vote were tonight, the president would lose. he would definitely lose the house and the senate as well. they also agree on this, the president has time to get there, to get the votes for authorization. he needs to be near perfect in the next few delicate days of handling this. people who are interventionists want a very narrowly defined resolution that says no boots on the ground, limited duration, and a carefully defined mission. that's where you have question. members of congress are saying the administration has yet to say, what are the targets. what is the goal for what syria
looks like the day after and the week after. how does the administration want to upgrade the military. those are the big question points. what is administration is doing is flooding the zone. you want to talk to the president, you'll get him. you want a classified briefing, you'll get it. here's one of the problems for the president. as he makes the case. send a message to iran. i'll close on this personal footnote. here's a president, who when he's on the phone or in a meeting with most of these lawmakers, especially republicans, he has either strained relationships as he'll have with the speaker. or in many of these cases, no relationship at all. this decision, so important to the middle east, so important to the trajectory and the president is asking for help in some cases from people he barely knows. >> it is interesting last week it was, this is in the national security interest of the united states. now as you mention, they're making the case about this benefiting israel.
>> israel is in the national security interest of the united states. it's complicated. they understand the skepticism. you're trying to look at what are the biggest concerns. the president is saying, and his team is saying you cannot tolerate, you cannot allow, what kind of a signal would it send if we allow assad to use chemical weapons against his own people. some people are still questioning the intelligence. does the administration have proof of that, then the administration is saying, look at a map of the neighborhood, israel is right there. prime minister netanyahu is on board with this. they want the help, they want to us do this. if we don't deal with iran, what signal would iran take? it's not just about the united states, per say it's about the united states and its key ally and emerging foe in that region. it's a complicated case. the administration thinks they have a week and think they they'll get there, tonight they don't have the votes. >> i want to bring in bill editor of "the weekly standard. also with me, christiane amanpour.
bill, let me start with you. there are a lot of reports how the president is going to have to bring this vote across the finish line. you disagree, why? >> they're going to have to stay on the sidelines, they're going to have to vote. it's a tough vote for them they don't trust the president. i think they have good reasons to disprove of the president's policies. i think as the case gets made and people confront the fundamental choice they have to make when they vote, i think more of them will come around to supporting the president, i think he may end up with the majority of the republicans. they want to vote against obama, they need to think hard in the fact that voting against president obama, they are voting for president assad. that seems harsh, but that's the way the world will see it as republicans focus on that, they'll end up casting a reluctant yes vote.
>> how has the president's move to toss this to congress been seen throughout the world? >> it's obviously the subject of immense scrutiny, if he wins, it's a massive victory for him and the united states. and if he loses it will be a catastrophe for the united states, not just him as president obama. because it's all about america's place in the world now. and let's face it, it was britain who brought really -- started this vote ball rolling, david cameron going to parliament and losing it just sent shock waves through england great britain and the rest of the world. it's put britain's place in the world at great risk and great question right now. britain has always been in the last many, many decades, together with the united states in all of these military ventures. so that's a big problem right now france right now is catching the vote bug, but they're saying, no, we're not going to have a vote even though some
politicians are saying, if the british did and the americans will, why shouldn't our parliament. france will have a public debate on wednesday, but there will be no vote. according to the prime minister. and they will back the united states and go with the united states if there's action. they're worried if the u.s. doesn't go, are they going to be left going it alone? >> president obama calling senator mccain and senator graham to win their support. it sounds like that may have worked. how important is it for that to work? did they bring some members along? >> they can bring some along. bill knows this argument. very interesting. you have lindsey graham and john mccain. president bush was reluctant for the troop surge in iraq. you have john mccain and lindsey graham going up against a rand paul. this isn't any of our business,
it's horrible, but why should the united states intervene? the tea party senator from texas says this president hand pruchb this warrants a u.s. national interest. this is an emerging debate in the republican party. this vote in both the house and senate will give us a test case if you will, of which side the internal debate is going. >> how do you see it, in the final analysis it won't matter. >> well, i think it's going to be a tough call, i think john is right, john mccain and lindsay graham are respected by a lot of house republicans, they don't regard them as their leaders. i think the thing to watch will be what house republicans step up, who are genuine conservatives, first and second termers, friendly with the key party and make the case for intervention.
mike pompeo, a second term congressman from kansas, an army grad, i think he's going to make the case for intervention. they will have more effect on the other house republicans, than lindsey graham and john mccain. in the senate, graham and mccain have clout. in the senate they will be okay. the republicans will be mostly with him. the house, it's a real uphill call. and the fellow conservatives make the case to conservative house republicans, that they dislike this president and don't trust him and disapprove of him. this is the right thing to do for the country. >> stick around, bill. >> go ahead, christiane. >> b simply, this is a massive, important case. using weapons of mass destruction is prohibited under international law. the problem these leaders are having, they haven't made this case over the last two and a half years of this war, and we have had chemical weapons used before, during this war. >> multiple times. >> yes. and so senator mccain and senator graham have been absolutely correct, that there has been no strategy, no confrontation.
total impunity as the assad regime has ratcheted up every step of its offensive since it started two and a half years ago. you know, from on the ground to then from the air, and rockets, and then weapons of mass destruction. i mean, weapons of mass destruction. that is something that is prohibited under international law. iraq didn't have them, syria does. >> we're going to talk more about that, we have a quick break. stay with us, more of the 160 lawmakers signed letters calling for a full debate for any u.s. action against syria. requests that have now been granted by the president. one of the lawmakers is tom call, oklahoma house republican. he joins me now. congressman, you were in the two and a half hour classified briefing over the weekend. in a nutshell, how was the case made to you and your colleagues? >> well, really, obviously there's a lot of nuances that you can't talk about publicly. the case that was made is not dramatically different from what
the news media said. that is, that there has been an attack. how horrific it was, and it doesn't appear to have been an isolated incident or an accident. but it appears to have been planned and executed at the highest level for the syrian government. that's essentially the case that's being made. >> if the vote was held today, how would you vote? >> right now, i would be a lean no. this to me is a civil war, a religious war, and it's a proxy war for regional powers. whether or not we should be in the middle of it, i think is something that i've yet to be convinced of. i think the president deserves an opportunity to make his case, i think he had a powerful statement certainly on sunday. the evidence in terms of the incident is pretty compelling. i think the real question is whether or not this is the appropriate response, particularly with no international body at this point. not the united nations, not nato, not the arab league having actually asked the united states to do anything.
and frankly, with no sign yet that arab regimes in the area will not just verbally support or say nice things, but actually participate in the action. >> what are the chances, you think, that this would pass both chambers of congress? >> i think it's still an open question. and i think that's one of the things that is yet to be determined. of a chance to think about the evidence and talk to their constituents. and frankly, so far we don't know if the vote matters. that is, the president has taken the position, the administration has taken the position that they have the right to do this anyway. >> do you at all fear a message it would send, i'm not talking about the president's credibility, but a message it would send if congress rejects any resolution? does that concern you? >> yes, it does. i think that's something you have to take into account. you also have to recognize,
this, the president made this commitment, announcement to the world and tossed it into the lap of congress. now, i'm glad he did. i was amongst those that urged him to turn to congress. but i don't think there's been a lot of preparation or thought given to this. i think it makes the chances of passage that much more difficult. i think you need to give fair warning there, and i think that complicates the case for the administration. >> finally, i've seen some people on twitter in e-mails say, if this is such a crisis, why isn't congress coming back to deal with this before september 9th? should congress come back? >> i think it probably should. in a sense it is, the senate foreign relations committee is meeting to begin working on the draft resolution tomorrow. i understand the house foreign relations committee will be in, i'm certainly not going to be critical of the president for giving us time to actually listen to the briefs and read the evidence. i just think this process probably should have started a long time ago when red lines were being drawn. there probably should have been consultation at the highest
levels of congress, and the president should have said look, we may confront this. i want to talk to you about what our potential range of response is, maybe that was done. it's above my pay grade but i'm not aware that that happened. >> congressman tom cole appreciate your time, thank you. >> thank you, anderson. >> let us know what you think. follow me on twitter@anderson cooper, i'll be tweeting ahead. much more on syria ahead, including where we are internationally. also the latest line coming from bashar al assad, what he's warning will happen. he has new interview out. and later the fifth time's the charm for diana nyad. she reached a goal she first set out for 35 years ago. became the first person to swim from cuba to florida without a protective shark cage. it's a 53-hour swim. what she told dr. sanjay gupta moments ago coming up. y moisturizing lotion has an active naturals oat formula
syrian leader bashar al assad is not backing down with the rhetoric. in an interview today, assad said the middle east is a powder keg and everyone will lose control when the powder keg explodes. spreading chaos and extremism. challenging the united states or france to give him a single piece of evidence that his regime carried out the attack. joining me now live, fouad ajami, and cnn chief correspondent christiane amanpour and bill crystal. christopher, let me start with you.
secretary kerry is going testify tomorrow. we understand from our state department correspondent, that he will argue that the failure to act unravels chemical weapons in hezbollah and iran. you've not been supportive of this whole idea. to that argument, what do you say? >> i think we need to ask ourselves why the urgency about the deterrence of our chemical weapons. they are horrible weapons. they are weapons of terror, absolutely they are. the last time i think they were used was 25 years ago in iraq. they haven't been used since. so why is this the moment when we need to draw the line. i'm not sure i understand the reasoning there. and why about chemical weapons, and not the slaughter of 100,000 people in the syrian war before that. so i think all those are questions that are very hard for the administration to answer, and i think kerry is taking this position of high moral tone as if he discovered the syrian war. >> fouad, let me ask you about that. why? you and i have covered this
extensively the past two years. 100,000 dead, children tortured, why now? why chemical weapons? >> well, i think chris has it right. there are something odd when you sit out this war, you run out the clock on the syrian people, you watch the destruction of proud ancient cities. we watch homes being reduced to rebel. aleppo being reduced to rubble. this administration had nothing to say about this war. the president himself and some of his principle lieutenants were speaking badly of the city of rebellion. thought it was a rebellion of fundamentalists and islamists. this seems like a very, very late and sudden conversion. >> well, christiane you intimated about it, you say there is a reason why now, why chemical weapons. >> chris and fouad are absolutely right. it's gone on for a long time. even senator mccain has said that. he says, look, what is the
strategy for actually stopping this? we have seen now 100,000 people dead, according to the united nations. we've got apparently 7 million people displaced inside and outside of syria during this war. and you have people who started a perfectly ordinary rebellion two and a half years ago. because of the international community's inaction, it's allowed bashar al assad to prosecute the war. and not only that, but to allow also -- to allow also the vacuum to be created which allowed these extremists to come in. why now? because weapons of mass destruction are prohibited by the civilized world. and weapons of mass destruction will be confronted. one will hope that with this confrontation there will be some strategy to shift the playing field on the battlefield. and perhaps try to level it somewhat. some are talking about finally
boosting and giving real help to the opposition. >> but, bill, i mean, to -- all the things christiane listed, this attack as it's been described by this administration is not going to go for a regime change, it's not going to go to change the calculus on the ground. it's to send the message. that's what we've been told. i guess the question is, why now? what difference is it going to make? >> two points, anderson. why now? better later than never, you know? we should have intervened in world war ii earlier, the balkans earlier. sometimes it takes a reluctant president or reluctant nation to intervene. i don't think that's an argument for staying out. it is an argument for intervening in a serious way, i've been very worried as so many people have, that the president would be symbolic and use a shot across the bow. in that case, some people think it would be worse than nothing.
i don't quite agree with that. i gather that, you know, they are -- they understand that it has to be serious. he doesn't want to say it's for regime change. we're a strong country. even a modest intervention by us could help tip the balance on the ground. i think they are going to go after regime elements, command and control, some of the airfields. i think it will be more than a slap on the wrist. that is why senator mccain and graham went to see the president today. i gather they feel somewhat better, not entirely better. but somewhat better than the administration is going to be serious about this intervention if they get the authority to intervene or if they choose to intervene without the congressional authority. >> fouad, to a war weary public, what do you say about -- i mean, look, after iraq, afghanistan getting involved in yet another war, in this region. >> well, that's why we have the president, anderson. that's why we have the commander in chief. that's why we elect someone to make the connection between our
security here and their security and their order over there. that's what the president has not done. and he hasn't done it, because really he's not convinced of his own war. this is going to be obama's war, he has to own it, he has to prosecute it. thus far, it's been in many ways he looked at iraq and denounced it, he called it a war of choice. he took afghanistan and adopted it as a war of necessity, but reluctantly, he had a surge in afghanistan, announced -- and then, of course, there was an intervention in libya. it was half hearted. the leadership was taken by the british and the french. this is now obama's moment in the world. if he doesn't believe in this mission, i think it's best not to -- then we best not do it. >> when you hear fouad talking about this, does it harkin back to iraq? do you see this through the lens of iraq and afghanistan? >> i don't exactly see it through the lens of iraq and afghanistan.
what i do see is that the experience of a decade of war in iraq and afghanistan with precious little to show for it, has essentially bled the will of the american people to get involved in these kinds of things. before we went into iraq, i thought it was a terrible idea. not because getting rid of saddam was a bad idea, he was a horrible dictator, a horrible tyrant. i didn't think the american people had the will, the desire, the vocation to occupy another country year after year, $2.5 billion a week. hundreds of thousands of people dead, and for what? i think that that's the context in which iraq is important here, and that's what president obama understands very well. it's sad. it's a situation where probably we should do something in syria, and something more than is being contemplated, but i totally sympathize with the american public that says, we don't want to go there. >> you were obviously in the first bush administration when
it launched the first gulf war, there were warnings then that would spiral into a regional conflict. there are warnings from people, including assad, are those concerns real, that this thing could spiral out of control? this intervention could spiral out of control? >> things have spiralled out of control. there are 100,000 people dead in syria. it is spilling over and destabilizing jordan, emboldening iran, hezbollah. the notion that we can -- it would be different if there were a stable situation. i would defend intervention in some such cases. i would still for iraq. this is not that circumstance. i think a case for intervention is not that hard. i don't think the down sides, there are down sides, we have to be prepared for them, we have to be serious about it, but i think the case for intervening from a strategic point of view and moral point of view is strong. the president has to make it, the president is the president. for republican congressman can make it, the president has to make it, he has to make it in a serious and sustained way. he does have to realize that he
can't just -- all this talk -- he thinks he's helping his case by saying, it's very limited, narrow and temporary. it hurts his case. i understand why he says it, you do a snapshot, public opinion polls. people are wary of war. the fact is, people go to war, people want real leadership, and he needs to really say obviously we're not going to -- we're going to try to keep it as limited as possible. we are there to really make region, to bring some order back to the region. to punish assad and really deter people. if you let assad use weapons of mass destruction, i mean, the effect on the ground, it's all this horrible, obviously, what does that say about the future? do we want to be the country that sits, having the ability to do quite a bit, that does nothing, i don't think it's a good excuse. the american public is weary -- not that weary of war, he can win this vote, he can have the support. >> we have to take a quick break. everyone else stick around. i want to talk u.s. military strategy coming next.
before congress votes on whether to strike, u.s. ships are on the move in the region. assad's forces are making moves as well. we'll tell you about that. new developments when we continue. this is jim, a man who doesn't stand still. but jim has afib, atrial fibrillation -- an irregular heartbeat, not caused by a heart valve problem. that puts jim at a greater risk of stroke. for years, jim's medicine tied him to a monthly trip to the clinic to get his blood tested. but now, with once-a-day xarelto®, jim's on the move. jim's doctor recommended xarelto®. like warfarin, xarelto® is proven effective to reduce afib-related stroke risk. but xarelto® is the first and only once-a-day prescription blood thinner for patients with afib not caused by a heart valve problem. that doesn't require routine blood monitoring. so jim's not tied to that monitoring routine. [ gps ] proceed to the designated route. not today. [ male announcer ] for patients currently well managed on warfarin, there is limited information on how xarelto® and warfarin compare
in reducing the risk of stroke. xarelto® is just one pill a day taken with the evening meal. plus, with no known dietary restrictions, jim can eat the healthy foods he likes. do not stop taking xarelto®, rivaroxaban, without talking to the doctor who prescribes it as this may increase the risk of having a stroke. get help right away if you develop any symptoms like bleeding, unusual bruising, or tingling. you may have a higher risk of bleeding if you take xarelto® with aspirin products, nsaids or blood thinners. talk to your doctor before taking xarelto® if you have abnormal bleeding. xarelto® can cause bleeding, which can be serious, and rarely may lead to death. you are likely to bruise more easily on xarelto® and it may take longer for bleeding to stop. tell your doctors you are taking xarelto® before any planned medical or dental procedures. before starting xarelto®, tell your doctor about any conditions such as kidney, liver, or bleeding problems. xarelto® is not for patients with artificial heart valves. jim changed his routine. ask your doctor about xarelto®. once a day xarelto® means no regular blood monitoring --
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president obama tries to sell congress a military action in syria. the aircraft carrier "u.s.s. nimitz" and others moved into the red sea. some could be used against syria. the united states navy doubled its strength in the mediterranean in the past week. six ships are ready to move there. secretary of state john kerry,
told house democrats three middle eastern nations, turkey, saudi arabia and the united arab emirates have used bases against syria. two senior arab diplomats caution it's temporary. pentagon correspondent chris lawrence joins us with more on the military maneuver that we should know about. there are reports that assad is hiding military assets in civilian populations. president obama says the military leader haves assured him strikes would be effective a month from now. how confident are officials at the pentagon that you're hearing from, the president isn't waiting too long? >> bottom line, anderson, very. one official told us that if the syrian regime thinks it's going to get benefit out of this delay, they're sorely mistaken. the confidence comes from the fact that they feel they have 24 hour surveillance over syria, the technology to hit precise locations, and they feel that assad cannot hide some of his major assets. they say he does not have the fortified underground bunkers to
stash attack helicopters and planes and you can't position and park many of those next to an urban school or a mosque. on the other hand, i spoke with the former general who commanded the air operation over kosovo who says the delay is making it more likely you're getting a cruse missile strike that will destroy the defense ministry without any defense ministers inside. they will have been moved to a hospital or mosque. where they set up an office and are effecting command from there. pentagon officials say they are continuing right now to refine that target list, and when the president calls for it, it will be updated and ready. >> we talked about the navy warships positioning in the mediterranean. today the aircraft care yes,ier, "u "uss nimitz" is there. what's the significance of the warships heading to the area. >> some of it is just for show. the nimitz and its battle group have not been given any orders to be part of even a limited strike in syria. they're simply there to maximize
the options as a just in case option if necessary. it's the destroyers that you have to keep your eye on. all of them are armed with 40 tomahawk cruise missiles. those can fly 900 miles, they can be reprogrammed to strike targets at mid flight. that range allows those ships to stay well out of the range of any syrian retaliation. >> want to bring in our panel, chris, thanks for the reporting. also joining us is vice president of defense and foreign policy studies at the cato institute. former commander in chief of the u.s. central command. appreciate all of you being with us. general, let's start with you. the chairman of the joint chiefs, general dempsey said there was no military down side to waiting until congress returned to session next week to take action. do you agree with that? >> i do. i think it was just covered in your piece. the targeting is ongoing, the assets are there to follow any actions he may take to move targets.
there are plenty of fixed targets that can't be moved, i don't think it's a problem for the military to do major damage to the syrian forces when the time comes. even if it's later. >> and, general, what's your biggest concern about this military action? what are the things you're looking at that would concern you most as a planner? >> well, i tell you, let me tell you what my concern is, it's way bigger than just this act. we're at a point in time in our history where we needed to decide what our power and purpose is in the world. ever since the collapse of the soviet union, i don't think we've understood where we are in the world. what we want to be, what we can afford to be. are we going to be the world's policeman, are we going to form new international groupings, that we could lead? i'm listening to our political leaders that have the range from interventionists to isolationists. i think this is a moment, if this debate is going to happen
between the executive and the legislative branches, to come to grips, what are we going to be in the 21st century, what is america's role. as a military man, that impacts directly our military. we've just come out of two wars. you know, we've been tasked to rebuild societies that are still in the 9th or 18th century in our image. we're suffering through sequestering. we're getting new missions, pivoting in the pacific and everything else. our military wants to know, what do you want us to be, and will you give us the capability to be that? >> chris, you think launching military operations against syria would be reckless and counterproductive for the united states. why? >> because i think the military mission has not been very well articulated, and the leading advocates for intervention, the hawks, if you will, are very explicit on this point. they do not want the mission to be limited. they understand the american people are overwhelmingly opposed to a war, especially a war that may spiral like the wars in iraq and afghanistan did.
that is not going to be enough for them. they will not stop at that. they will continue to call for greater and greater escalation. and so for them, this is just the first salvo in what they think and they hope is a much more concerted effort by the united states to intervene in the syrian civil war. >> fouad, when you hear, the united arab emirates is allowing a base to be used or something. there's a lot of people, i hear from them all day long that say why is america the one who's the policeman of the world here? frant wants to be involved but where are these other arab countries? where are other countries in the region? >> you're absolutely right. the people who write to you have a compelling point. we have been tasked if you will. we have been left with the burden of attending to the pathologies of the arab world. and i think that's the american moment. and the american burden and the
american destiny at this time. and i think when you take a look at the arab world, there's something disgraceful going on there. we have the united arab emirates and saudi arabia committed to this. they want to see the end of bashar. they have pledged money, they have pledged support and they want to see the destruction of the mafia that rules syria. other countries, when you think about it, is completely reprehensible. the egyptians, who have had their own revolution for liberty, are now siding with bashar al assad against the rebellion in syria. and then above and beyond that, have you the iraqis, iraqis whose liberty is owed to an american war. they want to see an american intervention in syria, that would deliver some deliverance, some redempx to the syrian people. we're not going to go into a big war in syria. our help could alter the balance of power on the ground without a
major effort on our part. that's the hope at least. >> if i may, what if it doesn't alter the balance of power, then what? there will be calls. there have already been calls for the united states to intervene more decisively on the side of the assad opposition. who is that exactly? it's no wonder the american people after having been entangled in the middle east do not wish to become entangled again. i'm grateful, i'm surprised a bit the president went to congress. it is congress's responsibility to represent the wishes of their constituents. and i don't think anyone should be surprised that the american people are not anxious to become more deeply entangled in yet another civil war in the region. >> do you think this will escalate? that we will get pulled deeper into the syrian crisis? >> i don't think there's any question at all. we carry -- i have lived through many of these punitive raids on
arab countries in libya, i was in kosovo and in belgrade when it was getting bombed. i see how it plays out, it's all very symbolic until there's a moment of massive war effort. in kosovo, it was all done from the air. in iraq, it was done on the ground. i don't see any potential or any kind of limited raid to really make a real difference on the ground. i do see a huge potential for assad to turn around and say, i survived, and you know what i'm going to do now, i'm going to use chemical weapons again, and what are you going to do about it? that's the easiest thing for him to do, and i think it's almost certain that that's what he will do? >> if that does happen, what then? >> well, what concerns me is not only that he can use it again. and then we have to repeat this with no end in sight and no strategy, and no clear political objectives, but even if assad is
overthrown, and this mixed bag of opposition groups comes pouring in to damascus, what does that mean? i mean, there's an aftermath in here that could be even worse than what we see. we keep saying no boots on the ground. we had two administrations, first bush administration and the clinton administration, that did not want to put boots on the ground in iraq, and i think successfully contained saddam and avoided the mess. and then suddenly everything for two administrations that we decided we wouldn't do, we suddenly were immersed in trying to rebuild that nation and into a mess we didn't understand. this is a religious war, in many aspects. an ethnic, a tribal war. we've taken sides now, and this mess is -- i think can lead to involvement in egypt and elsewhere in the region. and i don't see anybody else doing anything more than just holding our coat in this. >> fouad, you're more supportive of the opposition? >> well, look, we have to believe in people. we have to believe they have something in them, goodness in
them, a desire for freedom. we have to believe the syrian people are capable of spawning the regime of much greater mercy, much greater humanity. and that's what's been missing for the last two and a half years. that's why we didn't intervene, why we didn't arm them. we didn't trust them. we must trust them. otherwise we shouldn't do this whole thing. >> we have to leave it there. i appreciate your perspectives. thank you very much. up next tonight, diana nyad, becomes the first person to swim from cuba to florida without a shark cage. she's 64 years old, record setting swimmer, we'll meet her ahead. [ female announcer ] you tweeted, posted and cheered about yoplait's fall favorites. so we brought pumpkin pie and apple crisp back for a limited time. see? you really do call the shots. ♪ yoplait. it is so good.
welcome back. diana nyad made history today to swim from cuba to florida without a shark cage. this was her fifth attempt at the age of 64. in her first four tries, she was stung by jellyfish, suffered an asthma attack and stuck in a lightning storm. none of that happened this time, though she still had to swim through shark infested waters. she did it in nearly 53 hours.
sanjay gupta spoke to diana. he joins me with details. i'm amazed she was able to speak. >> i know, it's incredible, anderson, what she has done is and able to do. we're on her porch, we just finished talking, and i'll tell you, i've met a lot of extraordinary people. she's one of the ones that's inspired me the most. i want you to listen to the conversation we just had. >> you know what's so great about it, it's all authentic. it's a great story. you have a dream 35 years ago, that didn't come to fruition. you move on with life. you turn 60 and your mom just dies and you want -- you're looking for something, and the dream comes awake again in your imagination. no one's ever done it, it's -- i'm not sure when the next person will do it. that's how hard it is to get
everything right. when i say everything right, with all the experience i have, especially in this ocean, i never knew i would suffer the way i did. >> are you hurting right now? >> i was hurting then. >> i know your face is swollen. >> that's okay, that's temporary. 13 hours, partly because of the daylight being less these days, to avoid the fatal attacks. it would be different if you just had something else that just hurts, fatal, debilitating, even if you do live. i had a prosthetic mask made. in flat water it's good. with the bump and the wind, it was like glass. 90 minutes later, for 49 hours, the wind just blew like heck.
and it was rough. tried to -- my whole mantra this year was find a way. you don't like it, it's not doing well, find a way. you can't get a negative space. you know with endurance sports, you start going like, this hurts too much, why -- maybe another day. you talk yourself out of it. even people with iron will quit when it's really tough. >> find a way, i like that. >> find a way. so, it was really rough that first day, saturday, after the start, i just said forget about the surface up. get your hands in somehow. and with your left hand say push cuba back and push florida toward you. and forget about slapping grinding and feeling seasick, just push cuba back. the jellyfish mask just about undid me. >> she's talking that way, because she had to wear this special jellyfish protectant. it was like a retainer in her mouth.
she's wearing it for 53 hours. that's part of what causes those abrasions, it was the jellyfish in the past that were so problematic. she would sing songs to herself. 200,000 strokes over and over again, pushing cuba away, pulling toward florida. she would think of people, things, who inspired her. it was -- it just -- it was tough. i mean, she was throwing up at times, she had significant pain. she is 64 years old, and just swam nearly 55 hours. it's amazing. >> it's just -- i mean, incredible. what an accomplishment. thanks very much. the latest on edward snowden's leaked nsa documents when we continue. license and registration please. what's this? uhh, it's my geico insurance id card, sir. it's digital, uh, pretty cool right? maybe. you know why i pulled you over today? because i'm a pig driving a convertible?
to buy up vodafone. it's one of the largest deals in corporate history. shareholders for the british firm are set to receive an $84 billion payout. and news for the "50 shades of gray" movie. charlie hunter will play the star. anastasia steele will be played by the daughter of melanie griffith and don johnson. anderson? >> thanks very much. i have no idea who those characters are. we'll be right back.
we ran out of time for the ridiculist. that does it for us. thanks for watching. hope you have a great day. "early start" begins right now. striking syria. as president obama pushes congress to punish the country for allegedly poisoning its own people. syria's president goes on the record with a new warning. >> forget about giving up. get your feelings and somehow with your left hand push cuba back. >> it took five tries, but she never gave up. diana nyad, the first person to swim from cuba to florida without a shark cage. details about how
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