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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  September 4, 2013 11:00am-1:01pm PDT

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this authorization. by authorizing the use of force against syria, america will make abundantly clear to the world including iran that using chemical weapons or defying international law in pursuit of nuclear weapons will not be tolerated by this nation. make no it is mamistake. it's about syria and holding the regime accountable but also likely or less likely that iran will obtain nuclear weapons. i don't want to be in this position. none of us do. we didn't put ourselves in this position. the president didn't put us in this position. bashar al assad put us in this position when he chose to gas his own people. secretary kerry, a lot of people have come up tomy and say they're disgusted by what they say but the question they ask is why does america need to be the world's policemen. i ask you. why should the u.s. lead this effort? and will we learn which are the 34 nations and organizations who have said they will support our
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action and how they are prepared to support it. >> the united states of america is not the world's policemen. the united states of america is joining with other countries in upholding an international standard that 184 nations have joined into. obviously we have greater capacity. we are blessed with an extraordinarily capable military that through the years the american people have invested in in order to protect our security interests. our security interests are directly involved in what is happening in the middle east. our security interests are directly threatened with respect to assad's use of these chemical weapons. so we are building support with
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other countries. among them, the arab league that announced condemnation of this. specific countries that talked in terms of acting. saudi arabia, turks, the french. obviously the british government sought and felt it should. they had a different vote. but that doesn't -- i think that raises the stakes in terms of our holding ourselves accountable to a multilateral effort, to a multilateral standard in which the united states is the most technologically advanced partner. >> we go now to chairman of the terrorism and nonproliferation subcommittee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we heard a lot today about credibility of the united states. it seems to me we have a credibility problem because our
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foreign policy in the middle east is inconsistent. our enemies really don't know what our foreign policy is. our friends don't know what it is. i'm not so sure that americans know what our foreign policy is in the middle east. we've seen it play out with different reasons going into different countries removing people from leadership and putting somebody else in. i, like my friend from austin, are concerned about the players on both sides. there is no pure side in this civil war. you got hezbollah, a bunch of bad guys on one side, and you have the other terrorist groups on the other side. i do believe that these are powerful groups on both sides. history will find out who ends
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up winning this civil war. and then you factor in the religious connotation in this civil war and you really do have a real problem. we do have a real problem on our hands. my concern is now specifically we want to do something to punish mr. bad guy assad. no question about it. he's a bad guy. he's wasted good air breathing. we're not going to shoot him. we're going to shoot a shell over the bow. we're not going to take him out because we don't want to destabilize the civil war going on between two different sides if i understand what that policy is. so let's do that. let's assume we do that. i'll ask general dempsey this question first. assume we do that. whatever it is to destabilize the weapons of mass destruction. get rid of them. i assume that's what we're trying to do. eliminate the weapons of mass destruction, even though as
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secretary hagel said they get those things from russia, which they're going give them more weapons. i don't know. assume we do that. assad fights back. he doesn't just take it. he retaliates against us or lets iran retaliate against israel all because we have come into this civil war. so they shoot back. then what do we do once americans are engaged now in escalated specific strike not by our cosinop postured for the possibility of retaliation. i can assure that our regional partners are as well. >> let me just ask that question a little -- with more clarification for you. i know you're in the military and you're to the point. that's great. we're glad you're in charge. can you see that escalating with
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u.s. military involvement in the region. have you made a contingency plan with syrians reaction to us? have you made contingency plans for us being in an escalated military operation in the region? >> in the spirit of your compliment of my conciseness, yes. >> do you see escalation a possibility? u.s. military escalation in the region as a possibility? >> i can never drive the risk of escalation to zero. i think that the limited purpose and partnerships we have in the region, the contributions that we'll seek from others, i think begins to limit that risk. >> one last question since i'm nearly out of time. general dempsey, you mentioned earlier that you're concerned
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about wremoving assad from powe. will you elaborate on that and if so what's your elaboration? >> separate from this conversation, which is about the limited purpose of degrading, i'm cautious about whether we should use military force in support of the opposition for the purpose of tipping the balance. there are others ways we can contribute to that through a moderate opposition. i remain cautious about taking opposition's role here in the civil war. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. brian higgens. >> you're watching the house foreign affairs committee debating the authorization for use of force in syria. i'm jake tapper. we'll take a quick break and we'll be right back after this. [ female announcer ] only aveeno daily moisturizing lotion has an active naturals oat formula that creates a moisture reserve so skin can replenish itself. aveeno® naturally beautiful results.
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starts with freshly-made pasta, and 100% real cheddar cheese. but what makes stouffer's mac n' cheese best of all. that moment you enjoy it at home. stouffer's. made with care for you or your family. i'm jake tapper. this is cnn's special coverage
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of the crisis in syria. you're watching the house foreign affairs committee having a hearing featuring some of president obama's main officials pushing forward this idea of a congressional authorization for use of force in syria. on the right side of the screen, the senate foreign relations committee just convened to begin assembling a bill to grant that authorization. we'll go back to a hearing on the house side right now. >> so long as we don't have to do anything. the arab league's response to this crisis is pathetically weak. given their strategic interest, a joke. here we are left with trying to topple the last minority regime in the middle east. for the third time in a decade, entering a civil war in that part of the world essentially alone again. secretary kerry, you spoke of the history of the world's
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response to the use of chemical weapons, given that history, one would think that more countries would join the u.s. in participating, not supporting, in participating in a military strike against syria. what gives? >> well, congressman, let me just begin very -- i'll try to be very quick here. first of all, i regret to say i don't want to make this debate about what's happening in terms of regime change and the larger issues. i just want to clarify. a fruit vendor who was tired of corruption and of being slapped around, started the arab spring in tunisia and they threw out a dictator that had been there for a long time. in tahrir square, a bunch of young people with modern technology with googling each other and facebooking who
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organized. it had to do with a generational revolution of people looking for their freedom, their opportunity and their aspirations to be met. same thing happened in syria. and in syria that opposition was met with violence from assad. and so that is what has happened here. the moderate opposition is in fact committed to democracy. it's committed to protection of all minority rights to inclu incluesive incluesivei inclusivity. this is not about regime change. this is about the enforcement of the standard with respect to chemical weapons. that's what this is about. the president is asking for a limited authority to enforce that standard, not to deal with all of those other issues. >> matt salmon of arizona, chairman of the western hemisphere subcommittee.
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>> secretary kerry, let me congratulate the president on bringing this matter to the congress. i believe he is constitutionally required to do that. i, for one, am happy that he chose to do this. he said this morning he didn't draw a red line. the world did with ratification of chemical weapons convention treaty but where is the rest of the world in the response? why aren't we looking at a near go it alone military mission. you said in your testimony that there are 34 countries who are with us. what degree are they with us and who are they specifically? >> i don't have the full list of them here. i have listed a bunch of them. arab league countries condemned this. a number of them have asked to be part of a military operation. the turks, nato country, have condemned it.
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pinned it on assad and asked to be part of the operation. french have volunteered to be part of an operation. there are others who have volunteered but frankly -- i'll let general dempsey speak to this. we got more volunteers than we can use for this kind of an operation. now, in the next days those names as they choose to as this evidence comes out will be made more public. but as i said to you, we have 53 countries that have already condemned the use publicly. 37 have said so publicly. and there are -- i think a total of 34 countries or organizations indicated that they're prepared to take action. that is growing. there are more countries reviewing the evidence that we have shown and as i said, over this time the president has purposefully taken to come to congress. he's asked me and the state department to reach out to more
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countries and to build the kind of international support that this merits. we will do so. >> thank you. >> i would really appreciate it if we could get a list of the countries and what assets they're willing to commit. >> we have it all broken down. >> not now. we can get that later. i do have a question for general dempsey. general dempsey, what are our goals in a military strike? the president said the military attack would be limit ed in duration and scope. do you believe the use of surgical strikes will achieve the president's stated goal and can you guarantee the american people that the assad regime will be unable to launch any further chemical warfare attacks both at home or against their neighbors after the u.s. mission is complete? in addition, do you believe the region will be more stable after u.s. attack or less stable? >> the mission given to me was
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to prepare options to deter and degrade and that would mean targets directly linked to the control of chemical weapons but without exposing those chemical weapons to a loss of security. and means of delivery. those things that the regime uses for example air defense, long range missiles and rockets in order to protect those chemical weapons or in some cases deliver them. that target package is still being refined as i sit here with you. as far as whether it will be effective given the limited objectives i received, the answer is yes. i believe we can make the military strike effective. in terms of what it will do to the region that clearly will depend on the reaction of the assad regime. as i mentioned earlier, our partners and the united states military is postured to deter his retaliation. >> you're watching the house
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foreign relations committee hearing about the possibility of use of force in syria. we'll take a quick break and we'll be right back with more. ♪ turn around ♪ every now and then i get a little bit hungry ♪ ♪ and there's nothing good around ♪ ♪ turn around barry ♪ i finally found the right snack ♪ ♪ [ sneezing ] she may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec®. powerful allergy relief for adults and kids six years and older. zyrtec®. love the air. but chantix helped me do it. i told my doctor i think i'm... i'm ready. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. i knew that i could smoke for the first 7 days. i knew that i wasn't putting nicotine back into my body to try to quit. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions
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>> it's wrong for a law to be on the books and the president of the united states say it's not contusi constitutional. they would challenge it in court. they haven't. i think senator paul for his amendment. >> one of the things that i think is misunderstood about the war powers act is the war powers act does allow the president to take action in three specific cases. one, if a war has been declared by congress. two, if there's been statutory approval and third is imminent attack. it doesn't give unlimited power to the president to authorize military force. we can debate whether it's constitutional or not but under the war powers act, those are only three ways you can go. the press and media and everybody misinterprets the war powers act. it's not the beginning of the
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war powers act. that's one part of the war powers act. the initial part says the president can only go to war imminent danger, declaration of war or statutorily approved force. >> can i say to my friend in response, the third provision is what is not clear. a statutory act. we're about to enact a statutory act in the view of many of us. i don't think it's quite as clear as senator paul -- >> senator durbin, we'll go back and forth now. >> mr. chairman, this is an important proposal by the senator from kentucky even though we should take it seriously because probably the most awesome responsibility that we have as members of congress under the constitution. i would like to suggest to him that we take care in the language that we use and that we use the exact language of the war powers resolution as opposed to the new language which you added here. i think it creates ambiguity if
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we put in a new standard in terms of the president's power. at the end of your amendment, you say that it does not involve and then you use words stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. the war powers act says a national emergency created by attack upon the united states, its territories or possessions or armed forces. if you consider that as a friendly amendment to use the exact language of the war powers resolution which you referred to indirectly here, i think that we would be on more solid ground. >> i would be very happy to if the chairman would allow that amendment. >> mr. chairman? >> first of all -- >> i want to bring in dana bash, our chief congressional correspondent on capitol hill to walk us through what's going on right now with the senate foreign relations committee exactly. different senators are offering amendments.
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what are they discussing right now? >> reporter: when the president made his surprising speech in the rose garden, he talked about this being the oldest constitutional democracy. that's what you're watching. it's democracy at work. you can call it sausage making. they are going through amendments that members of the senate foreign relations committee have to the authorization of legislation. first one is by senator rand paul having to do with war powers resolution. interesting he's putting up an amendment because he said he won't vote for this no matter what but he wants to make a policy and political point. the most important thing we'll look for is amendment that john mccain is going to put forward. he has said that he wants to change this to make clear in legislative language to codify what the president told him in the oval office. it is the policy of the united states to make clear they want to push back assad's power on the battlefield. that's what we'll look for from mccain to vote for this that
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he's a key player here. he'll need that. it sounds like in talking to other senators on the committee that's likely to happen. we'll watch this process go forward. we do expect there to be a final vote in this committee by the end of the day. it could change. that's the expectation now and that would be the first major legislative move before this gets to the united states senate. the floor of the senate next week. >> all right. dana bash at the senate foreign relations committee. when we come back, we'll go back to the hearing at the house foreign affairs committee where john kerry and chuck hagel are testifying. right back after this. the day we rescued riley was a truly amazing day.
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i'm jake tapper. i want to welcome our viewers in united states and around the world. this is special coverage of the crisis in syria. the question being debated in washington is should the u.s. launch a military strike against syria. we'll go to the house foreign affairs committee where secretary of state john kerry, secretary of defense chuck hagel and general martin dempsey are testifying. let's take a listen. >> i think clearly that anyone
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looking at this evenly that has been a success in terms of making clear the case that there were chemical weapons used and the assad government indeed used them. i want to congratulate you and the president on those efforts. now, general dempsey doesn't run out of time in a few seconds to answer, we were going down a road that i just wanted to pursue if i could. general, you raise concerns in the past about engaging militarily in the syrian conflict. obviously you're here today to support a limited military action but you did say in your remarks there are military outcomes in supporting the opposition. but you qualified it saying that's not what we're doing here. i'm concerned that regardless of our stated intent in this area, others won't share that same view. that's not our intent.
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if you could, i'm giving you plenty of time i hope, can you just expand upon what your concerns were and are that you had in the past that you stated so we have a better understanding of what they are and given you enough time to see what your views might be on how we mitigate that or navigate around those concerns in the situation we are in right now. >> i want to separate support for the opposition from acting in a limited focus way to degrade the assad regime from use of chemical weapons. the support for the opposition did come with some risk of slippery slope of not entirely understanding when that support ends and how much it has to grow over time, which is why i'm mostly supportive of helping the opposition by their development, by their training and equip and not by becoming their military
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arm. separate that from what we're here for today. in my view militarily, the fact that the assad regime has increased its use of chemicals over time to the point where it was a weapon intended to terrorize a small portion of a particular neighborhood and to send a message to the opposition, to where now in the most recent case it was used to literally attempt to clear a neighborhood. they've reached the point now where assad is using chemical weapons as just another military tool in his arsenal. that runs great risk for syria. it runs risk in the region. it runs risk in the globe. i'm able to with some integrity, with a lot of integrity, come here before you today and make that distinction that we should do something in our national interests based on the use of chemical weapons without
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committing to supporting the opposition to overthrow the regime. >> was part of that slippery slope, general, was that partly a concern about how other countries or how other factions could be taking our actions? even limited sense, we are helping the opposition because we're attacking the assad government. so in that respect, was that any concern you had prior to that and how do you mitigate that now? >> we always considered not only what effect our actions would have on our partners in the region, the turks, the israelis, and even the iraqis for that matter, with what impact it would have potentially on our potential adversaries. of course that's always been a concern. a concern and a consideration. but when something reaches the
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level where it has direct impact on our national security, then the overriding consideration is not what others think but what we think. >> thank you, general. very quickly. ranking member in emerging threats there, nato. there was a president in 1999 where nato did move without u.n. security council approval. do you think there's hope for them moving not just individually as countries. have you exhausted everything in terms of trying to get nato support as an organization. i'll ask either secretary that question. >> apologize. i was just reading a note from them. can you repeat that? >> it was about nato, 1999 precedent where they moved forward without that security council approval. is there any hope in doing that organizationally going forward? >> i doubt it. i can't tell you until i have the meeting that we're slated to
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have this weekend. i'll get a better sense of that. i would say to congressman moreno with respect to body bags that he drew, we had a 28-day campaign, maybe 30-day campaign in kosovo and bosnia. none of that is contemplated here. none of which. there was zero casualties. zero. >> we should go to jeff duncan of south carolina at this time. thank you, mr. secretary. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i can't discuss the possibility of u.s. involvement in syria's civil war without also talking about benghazi. administration has a serious credibility issue with american people due to unanswered questions surrounding the terrorist attack in benghazi almost a year ago. when you factor in the irs targeting of conservative groups, ap and fast and furious
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and then nsa spying programs, bottom line is there's a need for accountability and trust building from the administration. to paraphrase frederick, he said i'm not upset over you not telling me the truth. i'm upset because from now on i can't believe you. the administration has a credibility issue. in my opinion secretaries kerry and hagel, benghazi is jermaine to the discussions in syria because the world was and is watching for our response but after a year of not bringing anyone to justice in benghazi, they are watching our response. your predecessor asked what difference it makes. this is the difference. it calls into question the commitment to personnel on the ground and judgment it uses when making these determinations. the american people deserve people before we move forward talking about military involvement in syria. section 4 of your testimony today said this is about accountabili accountability. sure it is. american people deserve answers
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about benghazi before we move ahead with military involvement in syria's civil war. this is a picture. you may not see it from there. this is a picture given to me by charles woods. a navy s.e.a.l. the woods' family deserves answers. he was killed in benghazi. america deserves answers before we send another man or woman, caliber of woods into harm's way when there's no clear indication that there's an imminent threat to the united states. i don't question that chemical weapons were used in syria. i looked at the classified briefings. i do ask that if so where are the other signatory countries of the chemical weapons convention. i have spoken to hundreds of constituents. this represents about 300 e-mails that my office has gotten and not a one, not a one member in my district in south carolina or e-mails ofeople that have contacted my office
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say go to syria and fight this regime. to a letter they say no. do not go into syria. don't get involved in their civil war. i spoke to eighth graders. about 150 eighth graders yesterday. they get it. we shouldn't be drug into someone else's civil war when there are no good guys to get behind here. i can only envision an escalation of this current conflict. same administration quick to involve the u.s. and syria now was reluctant to use the same resources at its disposal to attempt to rescue the four brave americans that fought for their lives in benghazi. mr. kerry, you have never been one that's evacuated for anything other than caution when involving u.s. forces in past conflicts. the same is true for the president and the vice president. is the power of the executive branch so intoxicating that you abandoned past caution in favor for pulling tr ininge ining tri
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military response so quickly. the reason i say that benghazi is critical to our discussions here, have there been efforts on the part of the united states directly or indirectly to provide weapons to the syrian rebels and that would also include facilitating transfer of weapons from libyan rebels to syrian rebels. >> have there been efforts to -- >> to put weapons in the hands of syrian rebels and also transfer weapons from libya to syria. >> let me begin, congressman, by challenging your proposition that i've never done anything except advocate caution because i volunteered to fight for my country and that wasn't a cautious thing to do when i did it. secondly -- >> mr. secretary -- >> i'm going to finish, congressman. i am going to finish. when i was in the united states senate, i supported military action in any number of
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occasions including grenada, panama, i can run a list of hgm we're talking about people being killed by gas and you want to go respect to this. talk about benghazi and fast and furious. >> absolutely i want to talk about have spathy for the peo in syria. there should be a worldwide response. we should act cautiously. >> we are acting cautiously. we are acting so cautiously that the president of the united states was accused of not acting because he wanted to have sufficient evidence and he wanted to build a case properly. >> it's been 15 days. >> congressman -- >> mr. chairman, point of privilege here. this is important. i think this is important. i think it is important whether or not we're going into syria in a way that the congressman describes, which i think most people in america don't want to do. we don't want to do that.
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that's why the president said no boots on the ground. this is not about getting into syria's civil war. this is about enforcing the principle that people shouldn't be allowed to gas their citizens with impunity and if we don't vote to do this, assad will interpret from you that he's free to go and do this any day he wants to. that's what this is about. not getting involved in syria's civil war. so let's draw the proper distinction here, congressman. we don't deserve to drag this into yet another benghazi discussion when the real issue here is whether or not the congress is going to stand up for international norms with respect to dictators that have only been broken twice until assad, hitler and saddam hussein. if we give license to someone to continue that, shame on us. >> we go to rhode island. >> thank you, mr. chairman and the ranking member by convening
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this meeting. i want to thank our three witnesses. >> we'll take a quick break right now. you've been listening to the house foreign affairs committee about the potential use of force by the u.s. against syria. we'll be right back after this. [ jackie ] it's just so frustrating... ♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. ♪ i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs ahead of my daughter. ♪ so today, i'm finally talking to my doctor about overactive bladder symptoms. [ female announcer ] know that gotta go feeling? ask your doctor about prescription toviaz. one toviaz pill a day significantly reduces sudden urges and accidents, for 24 hours. if you have certain stomach problems or glaucoma, or can not empty your bladder, you should not take toviaz. get emergency medical help right away if your face, lips, throat or tongue swells. toviaz can cause blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness and decreased sweating.
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hp's technology helps us turn millions of tweets, posts and stories into real-time business insights that help nascar win with our fans. yeah. i heard about progressive's "name your price" tool? i guess you can tell them how much you want to pay and it gives you a range of options to choose from. huh? i'm looking at it right now. oh, yeah? yeah. what's the... guest room situation? the "name your price" tool, making the world a little more progressive. >> of the crisis in syria. we've been listening to the house foreign affairs committee on whether or not the u.s.
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should use force in syria. let's take a listen. >> that's the u.n. and u.n. security council. as recently as a few weeks ago when this event took place, our representatives at the u.n. attempted along with other allies to put a resolution in front of the security council that would have simply condemned the event. not assigning any blame at all. just condemned the use of action and russians said no. they blocked it. that is what set us into this path of believing we have to act in a way that hasn't deterred assad from the use of these weapons. even if the u.s. did pass something. even you had some sanction, if it isn't meaningful in a way
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that will deter action, someone doesn't have a piece of paper to change the calculation of what this man is fighting for. the only way to have an impact and hold him accountable now is to make it clear to him this will detract from his ability to use his force to stay in power. >> i think what secretary said is exactly right. i would add two things. there are a number of tracks that we're on right now. secretary kerry's diplomatic attack ongoing and intense. our reaching out to our allies all over the world. i was in asia last week with 15 defense ministers from all over
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asia pacific discussing this. meeting with leaders of countries in those areas. our nato allies. all three of us have been talking to our counterparts from countries all over the world. what the white house is doing and what the president is doing. working through institutions. we're still involved with the united nations. those tracks are being run in addition to what we're talking about here. one exact point on the purpose of this hearing. general dempsey said this morning at the senate armed services committee when asked about the violation of the chemical weapons norm. a hundred year old norm. is it that important? is it that big a deal? one of the points that general dempsey made, which is exactly right and we start here, this is a threat to our interest and our forces and to our country
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allowing a tyrant to continue to get away with the use of chemical weapons. that's a real threat against us. >> adam kissinger of illinois. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen. i know you've had a couple long weeks. i am about to support this but i want to say at the beginning my disapproval of the president's policies in the middle east. part of the reason we're having a difficult time getting a coalition because they don't see the u.s. leading on this until recently. as a current serving military pilot in the air national guard, i am war weary as many americans are war weary. i want to remind americans what ronald reagan said. if we want to avoid war he said war begins when governments believe that the price of aggression is cheap. i think that's a situation we find ourselves in in syria now. in listening to my colleague, it's amazing to me that we seem to paralyze ourselves into inaction running through every
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potential scenario that can occur in this. it makes me wonder, god help us if we become a country that can't do the right thing because we paralyze ourselves into inaction. this is a picture of syrian children many of which the secretary said earlier about 400 died in just this one chemical gas attack and if we don't do anything about this, you can ensure that maybe the kids in this picture or definitely other kids will die from the same attack. i want to very quickly read to you the effects of sarin gas and look at these children and understand that children have gone through this. mild effects of sarin exposure is running nose, watery eyes, blurred vision, drooling and excessive sweating, chest tightness, diarrhea, vomiting, increased urination, confusion, weakness, headache, low or high blood pressure. exposure to large doses like we saw in syria, loss of
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consciousness. convulsions. paralysis. respiratory failure which is a polite way of saying you suffocate to death while you're aware that you're suffocating to death. what we're talking about is a discussion of what the international community and the united states of america and the goodness of our heart determined is the right thing and area that we can affect. can we ban all artillery shells? we can't. can we ban all war? we can't. if we can stand up and say that chemical weapons have no place in this world and we can do something about it god help us if we don't. i would remind folks and i will ask you all to comment on this eventually, from 1991 to 2002 or 2003, we maintained two no-fly zones over iraq because of our disdain for chemical weapons. most people would have agreed what we did over in northern and southern iraq was the right thing to do because saddam hussein gassed his own
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residents. this is not the first time america has put down a red line on chemical weapons. i heard people say it's the president's redline. it's not the red line of the united states of america. you have to look at history and know that it is. i'm reminded of what president clinton said when he was asked about his one regret for his time in presidency. he said my one regret was inaction in rwanda. what if we do nothing about gases of thousands of people in syria? i have heard some people say that if we go in and we strike assad and make him pay for the use of chemical weapons more than any benefit he gains, that we are acting as "al qaeda's air force." i believe that is a cheap line by some people who garner headlines and not a serious discussion of what's going on in syria. mr. secretary kerry, if you'll
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start. what's your thought on the comment of the cheap line of al qaeda's air force in dealing with the opposition and in punishing an evil man for using evil weapons? >> congressman, your comments have been very eloquent and i think very, very important to this discussion. i am confident i join the general and secretary hagel in thinking you for your service willing to serve in the guard as well as a pilot but also here. the intent of the president could not be more clear. and the impact if we effect -- if congress will pass this and we can carry out this action, the impact will be not to help al qaeda. in fact, it won't help al qaeda. it will further expose al qaeda.
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but it will hold a dictator accountable to this critical standard. you just reiterated it and i said it in my opening testimony, this is not just about folks in syria, my friends. american troops benefit from this standard being upheld. and through all of our wars since 1925, we've managed to see it upheld against when we've been involved. the fact is that the absence of our willingness to uphold this standard will do several things that are directly against our interests. number one, completely undermine america's validity and america's word in the region and elsewhere. it will emboldened north korea and iran with respect to activities that will directly
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threaten the united states and our allies. it will importantly increase the number of terrorists that we are already concerned about because it will force people who want to take on assad to go to the least common denominator of efficiency and expediency and that is to arm the worst people who will try to get the job done. i ask everyone to listen carefully to congressman kissinger and evaluate this. there will be a grant of impunity to bashar al assad for the use of these weapons. >> thank you. general dempsey, do syria and hezbollah have a means to launch a counterattack?
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>> our maritime assets are positioned such that there are no capabilities that can threaten them. embassies of course are a fixed resource and are always subject to terrorist attack. that remains true today as it has for the last ten years and we've taken steps to mitigate that risk. >> and israel? >> israel, you may be aware is actually anticipating some action and gone to a state of high alert and called reserves up and taken a lot of measures and by the way, we partner with israel very closely on the defense of israel. >> would you say that a counterattack is more likely than not? >> no, i don't think i can say that. without signaling the syrian regime in some way, i wouldn't say that. i wouldn't come to that conclusion. >> secretary kerry, have members of the syrian opposition called for such an attack and if so,
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whom? >> not specifically that i know of, have they? they support it but they have not advocated to me. i've had conversations with president of the opposition and there was no pleading or urging to do this. >> in fact, haven't members of the syrian opposition said they don't want an attack? isn't that true? >> i have not heard that. >> you haven't seen public reports to that effect? >> no. >> all right. secretary kerry, there are 189 signers of the chemical weapons convention. syria does not happen to be one of them. how many of those signatories have pledged to participate in the military intervention in syria and what exactly has e.j. one pledged to do? >> there are at least ten countries that have pledged to participate. we have not sought more for participation.
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we have sought people for support. there are many more obviously that support. i think i should let the general speak to the question. you know, i said earlier there really is a limit for this kind of an operation as to how many you want to participate. you want support. but just physically the management of it, the technical capacity and other issues are critical and general, perhaps you want to say something. >> congressman, i was writing down -- >> we'll take a very quick break and we'll be right back with more of the house foreign affairs committee hearing on possible u.s. military intervention in syria. back right after this. ] [ male announcer ] when your favorite food starts a fight, fight back fast with tums. heartburn relief that neutralizes acid on contact and goes to work in seconds. ♪ tum, tum tum tum tums!
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>> i'm going to take things from here. i'm brooke baldwin. we are watching play by play here of what's happening pretty heated exchange at points of this hearing happening on capitol hill. the house foreign affairs committee hearing. let me just set the scene for you in case you are just joining us. this is similar to what we saw yesterday on the senate side. this is the house side. you see the three men at a table. you have joint chiefs chairman martin dempsey and secretary of defense chuck hagel and on the far right, secretary of state john kerry.
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they are each being questioned here by different members of course both political parties, house foreign affairs committee. everything from folks showing pictures of gassed syrian children to one congressman quoting. it's been compelling. >> we have not acted previously on uses of chemical weapons. i do believe the world is watching. the day the united states does not act is not just the day that bashar al assad knows it is open season for chemical weapons, but also the day kim jong-un knows that and most ominously the day that they send centthose into overdrive. i agree with what adam said. we have a vital interest in maintaining the international taboo against chemical weapons. all of you, like me, have been in training i suspect where you
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have been exposed to gas and you know that no one benefits from that taboo more than do american troops. i'm also deeply worried that our inaction is destabilizing the middle east in particular our allies in israel and jordan as well as turkey. and emboldening iran as they send thousands of troops to fight in syria along with hezbollah, its terrorist proxy from lebanon. so that is why miracle miracles, i am in support of the president's call for action in syria. i am urging my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this action as well. however, the president's stated policy was not just a red line against chemical weapons which as mr. sherman said occurred without any objection from members of congress and occurred before he was re-elected by the
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american people. it was also a stated policy of regime change so i would like to ask you, what is the president planning that could lead not just to punishment for this use of chemical weapons but also an ultimate victory in syria which is a change in the nature of the regime so they will not use chemical weapons and so that a pro-western moderate native syrian government can take its place. >> congressman, thank you for a very clear and compelling statement and thank you for the support for the president's initiative for the interest of the country. with respect to the longer term, you're absolutely correct. i want to separate here. this is very important in terms of what the president is asking the congress for. yes, the president's policy is
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that assad must go and there should be a regime change. the president is committed to additional efforts in support of the opposition together with friends and allies in the region in a coordinated way in order to achieve that with the understanding that the ultimate transition will come and can come through a negotiated settlement, political resolution and not a military -- he doesn't believe -- we don't believe there's a military solution. but this action because nobody should be confused, americans should not be confused, i said earlier, you know, this is not an effort to take over syria's civil war. it is an effort to uphold this standard and the action the president is asking the congress to approve is not -- is a
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singular military action to uphold that standard with respect to chemical weapons. on a separate track is the political track which the president is seeking support for through appropriate channels here in congress, which is in effect now to help the opposition in order to ultimately see assad leave. we don't want to confuse the two in context. is there a downstream collateral benefit to what will happen in terms of the enforcement of the chemical weapons effort? the answer is yes. it will degrade his military capacity. it will for sure have downstream impact but that is not the primary calculation of what brings us here and nobody should confuse the two in this effort. what i would like to do, congressman, is really in classified session we should have the discussion about the other things the president would like to see us do to support the
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opposition. >> thank you. >> juan vargas of california. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and thank you secretaries for being here and general. i would like to say before i ask an embarrassing question, i have the greatest respect for all of you. i think secretary of state kerry, i think i first heard of you from dan back in 1985 when i was in the jesuit outside and he had great respect for you after your activities in vietnam and i know secretary hagel that you were so reluctant going to war you almost weren't approved by the senate. you were the only secretary ever to be filibustered so i know you're not anxiously running into watr and the president ran on not getting us into war. i'm reluctant to get into any war like this. on saturday, however, i had the opportunity to speak to a small group of veterans in my district in san diego before i flew here for the classified briefing on sunday. they asked a question and i told them i would ask.
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i first told them i wouldn't. they convinced me it was a good question. that is one of them has a son in the military today. he believes that last time we went running off to war that the facts that were given were lies or misleading. what he wanted is just one thing. i told him all i read and certainly now all that i have read does lead me to believe that chemical weapons were used and that children were gassed and because of that we do have to act. but he wanted you to promise that the facts that you've given us are true to the best of your ability. you're not lying. you're not holding anything back. that what we've seen and what i've read and i read everything that they've given to us. i've been back now twice to make sure i read everything, i want to make sure that you promise us that you're telling the truth. >> congressman, i am proud and perfectly willing to tell you that everything that i've said is the truth and based on the information as presented to me
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and as i have based on my own experience in war, which i resolve to do if i ever was in a position to make any choices in the future, fully vetted and i'm comfortable with it. i wouldn't possibly make this recommendation if i weren't comfortable with it. i believe we have vetted this. we double-checked it. we asked the intel people to rescrub. we even had a separate team created that had independent from the original to totally vet, check all of the analysis, find out if it could have been an opposition or anything else and in every case i would say for myself and everybody that we have sat around the table with, there is a comfort level with this that is rare in this kind of situation. i wouldn't say you could prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt if i didn't believe it. >> secretary hagel. i apologize for the insulting question but i think it needs to be asked. >> i think it's important question.
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we ought to ask more questions like that. i don't know how i would improve on my former senate colleague's question and answer back to you. i feel exactly the same way. i know the three of us wouldn't be sitting here today saying the things we're saying if we didn't absolutely believe it. we have all three been through too much and our experiences guide us. thank you. >> mr. chairman, i have a lot of time left but that was my only question. >> we'll take a quick break as you watch back and forth q & a between members of the house foreign affairs committee. special coverage here on cnn. we will be right back.
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want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. you're watching special cnn coverage of the crisis in syria and possible u.s. military intervention in that country. again, they are going on now hour four inside this hearing room on capitol hill. members of the house foreign affairs committee asking
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questions of the secretary of defense, secretary of state and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. let's go back. >> this resolution starts a process that you or the president lose control of. >> the military speaking, is russia still a superpower? >> i think the answer to that question is when you look at instruments of power, look at ourselves. it's a combination of military diplomatic and economic power that designs us as a "superpower." i think russia possesses elements that would qualify them to join the club of superpowers. they still have an incredible strategic arsenal. conventionally, i wouldn't put them in that class. so i think there's parts of their apparatus that rise to that level. >> obviously we all know that syria and russia are close allies and syria is russia's last ally in the middle east.
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syria has the russian military base outside of russia. if russia decided to strike at us in that theater, what are the top three options that they would have to strike us in retaliation for us striking their closest ally? >> you know, congressman, i'm going to suggest that it wouldn't be helpful in this setting to have a discussion about that kind of hypothetical. i do have some views about it that i could share in a classified environment. >> we can say that russia would have options to strike us in that theater in retaliation for us striking -- >> russia has capabilities that range from cyber all of the way up through strategic nuclear weapons and again it wouldn't be helpful in this setting to speculate about that. >> yes, sir.
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thank you. >> brad snyder of illinois. >> thank you. i want to thank you all again first of course for the service to our country but also for the time you spent with us today as well as ambassador ford for the time you spent with us earlier in the year. this is without a doubt the biggest decision -- one of the biggest decisions we can possibly make and one we take very seriously. it's why i came sunday for classified briefing. i read the classified report. i have listened in on the teleconference we had on monday. i'm grateful to have the time with you here. i also recognize the angst of the constituents in country and there is a worry and legitimate concern. secretary kerry, i don't want to put words in your mouth. you said if we do nothing, the likelihood of assad using chemical weapons again is approaching 100%. is that fair? >> fair.
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>> and with that i want to turn -- i'm sorry -- to general dempsey. because you said in escalation you can't get the risk of escalation down to zero. is there a risk of escalation if we do nothing? >> there is absolutely a risk of escalation in the use of chemical weapons if we do nothing. >> if that approach is 100%, if we do stand down now, is there a likelihood that we're back at this same question again a month or six months from now at a higher level with a greater risk? >> i believe so. >> i think so. >> so as i evaluate the decision we have to make, the first thing i want to see is the evidence. i think without a doubt as you've said beyond any reasonable doubt the assad regime planned, perpetrated and tried to cover up this massive
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use of chemical weapons, weapons of mass destruction. one of my questions was a question of national interest and general dempsey you said without a doubt for soldiers here at home and interests around the world, this is a threat to our national interest. is that fair as we go through the decision process? >> it is because of establishing kind of -- a new norm. i haven't lived in a world where militarily chemical weapons were routinely used. i don't want to live in that world. >> if we have an interest in our national interest, the authority clearly i reviewed the chemical weapons convention. the united nations is the authority here but secretary kerry, you said the united nations is not available to us.
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>> if it was, would we be on a different strategy? >> if russians joined in and passed this with the chinese, the president would want to see it passed. >> i want to make sure it's not hanging out there. the foreign minister has made it clear that russia does not intend to fight a war over syria. i had personal conversations with president putin and with the foreign minister that have indicated that syria doesn't rise to that level of potential conflict. so i just don't -- their ships are staying out of the way. they're not threatening that. i don't think that would be what would happen here. >> you are watching live coverage here. this is hour four of the house
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foreign affairs committee. talking about possible u.s. military intervention in syria. cnn's special coverage returns right after this.
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>> we want to continue our special cnn coverage of the crisis in syria. you've been watching this hearing. we go back live to capitol hill as house members ask all kinds of questions. this is compelling at times. gotten testy between members of this committee and you have the secretary of state, secretary of defense, and the joint chiefs of staff. let's go back. >> in other words it's not a very good option. you said establish buffer zones. $1 billion a month. number five, you said control chemical weapons. risk, boots on the ground. american women and men $1 billion a month which i understand the secretaries of state and defense are not advocating that. i have a simple question for you. everything i read from your summary indicated to me that there was absolutely no guarantee of a lasting peace in syria or in the region nor that
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they are american friendly after we have an outlay of american money, resources and maybe american blood and even lives if they retaliate. absolutely no guarantee. would you say that's a fair statement? >> i just would remind you the answer to the letter i sent to representative rangel was in response to the question i received. what would it take to tip the balance in favor of the opposition and lead to the overthrow of the assad regime. >> okay. >> so i want to make sure we're separate from what we're doing here today. >> i got that. i appreciate that. i'll direct that to mr. hagel. would you say that's a fair statement? no guarantee of an outcome on the other end? >> no guarantee of the outcome -- >> of a stable -- of peace in syria, peace in the region and whoever comes out on the other side will be our friends.
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no guarantee? >> that's not the stated objective of what we're talking about. >> that wasn't my question. my question was would you guarantee that after trying to establish objective that you're seeking to establish, we still do not have a guarantee on the other end of a stable syria, a stable region and whoever comes out on the other side would be our friends. >> i wouldn't guarantee anything. this is the last three hours that i've been clear about. this is unpredictable. it's complicated. it's dangerous. there are many interests that they are surging through, the middle east in particular syria. what we're thinking through diplomatically, militarily, international coalition, all of the other factors that we've talked about today are -- >> forgive me. i'm running out of time. >> that's a diplomatic settlement. >> secretary kerry, your response, please? >> i can't give you a guarantee about the youtcome in syria as
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whole but the united states of america can make it clear to assad it will cost him to use chemical weapons and we can have an impact on deterring and capacity and that guarantee is what i can give you and that's what the president is aiming to do. >> at what price. >> not at the price that you describe. absolutely not at the price that you describe. >> let me just say, if american credibility is at stake here, let there be no mistake, if anybody were to attack us, we would -- this congress in my view would respond and would authorize the full force and fury of our very capable military. >> mr. chairman, this is important. congressman, not everything comes down in terms of threat or potential future threat to our country to somebody attacking us. lots of things we do we do in preparation and as a matter of deterrence and we also do it in context on occasion as we did in
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bosnia to make peace and have a settlement and save lives. that's what we achieved. we achieveded th ed thad that p it's vital to the united states to assert this principle and to begin to move this troubled part of the world in a different direction. >> i want to pull away from -- you've been listening to secretary kerry answering questions from different members of the house foreign affairs committee but we have news how. it's a busy day in washington. incredibly busy on capitol hill. we'll flip from the house to the senate side. senate foreign relations committee. they have been meeting. they have been voting on their version of their resolution. their bill to go ahead and potentially intervene militarily in syria. i want to go to our chief congressional correspondent, dana bash. the marking of the bills. amendments. tell me what you know. >> reporter: the first major hurdle for the president to get this authorization was just cleared inside a very key
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committee and that's the senate foreign relations committee. they just approved authorization for military strikes against syria. the vote was 10-7. brooke, only three republicans voted with the president. a couple democrats voted against him. only three republicans voted yes. senator mccain, senator flake from arizona and senator corker who is a top republican on this committee. so this -- it was changed a little bit from what we have been reporting were already changes that the senate put together in a bipartisan way to really narrow the scope of what this authorization would be. it has a time limit on it. 60 days with extension possible for the president for 30 more days. and specifically says no boots on the ground. john mccain added some language that he said it makes him feel better that what the president insists is his policy to try to stop the momentum of assad militarily is codified now. it would be in this bill. so this is now going to go forward to the full senate
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likely to take a vote next week in the senate. this is again the first major step for the process which is just beginning but still an important hurdle for the president. >> we have this approval from this key committee. this is senator marco rubio, republican, florida. let's take a listen. >> in both parties to disengage the united states from issues throughout the world. it is true that we cannot solve every crisis on this planet but if we follow the advice of those that seek to disengage us from global issues in the long run, we'll pay a terrible price because america is not just another country. it is an exceptional one. the most influential, most powerful and most inspirational nation on earth. we must recognize that the world is a safer place when america is the strongest country in the world. when america doesn't lead, chaos follows. eventually that chaos forces us to deal with these problems in
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the most expensive and most dangerous ways imaginable. just because we ignore global problems, doesn't mean they'll ignore us. instead, they become bigger and harder to solve. and sadly syria is just the latest example of that fundamental truth. had we engaged moderate rebels earlier in this conflict, today we would have more and better options before us. unfortunately the president with support of some in my party chose others to lead instead and we're dealing with the consequences of that action. >> to be clear, it was a 10-7 vote. three republicans voting yes. that included a huge vote from senator john mccain. we heard him outside of the white house say it would be catastrophic if congress does not authorize this intervention although i should mention there was an amendment on his behalf. marco rubio voting no. this is huge. this is on the senate side.
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what we're watching here in the senate is similar to what will happen on the house side. the senate foreign relations committee happened yesterday with the same three guys we see today john kerry, chuck hagel and general martin dempsey. i want to go to our chief foreign affairs correspondent, jessica yellin. we have all of this happening on capitol hill. the president of the united states as we speak in stockholm, sweden, at some point hopping on a plane to head to russia, a good buddy of syria. >> reporter: the president and russian president putin have no love loss between them. the president and white house emphasize it's not about the personal relationship between the two of them that matters the most. certainly if they had a great bond that wouldn't hurt matters. so it will be fascinating to
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watch the two of them interact. i should also point out if i could for a moment, brooke, i can tell you that while the president is overseas and going to deal with this on an international level, he has a lot of people back home who i can report to you have been working exceptionally hard to get these votes and to make sure that this is a success on capitol hill. we often talk about how bad the president's relations are with congress and how little work the white house does to smooth over hurt feelings on capitol hill and make things work there. they are taking extraordinary measures and doing everything they can to make sure it does pass. you are seeing it go rather smoothly right now. this is the first hurdle to overcome. they are reaching out to very senior officials, formerly in the government, to reach out to people who are currently in
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congre congress to get yes votes and get this over the finish line. so far it's going smoothly for them. >> majority saying yes to this resolution. it was just passed in this key committee, the senate foreign relations committee on capitol hill. jessica yellin, thank you. dana bash, thank you. we continue to watch this play out on the house side as we keep watching this incredibly important hearing with these three men. these three. general mark dempsey, secretary of state john kerry and secretary chuck hagel being grilled. quick break. back in a moment. vo: two years of grad school.
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want to take you back to the senate foreign relations committee. dana bash broke the news. they authorized, this key hearing, authorized u.s.
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intervention in syria. this is senator dick durbin, democrat. >> any other member that wishes to be heard? >> thank you, chairman. i would like to thank my colleagues on this committee for the way that this debate hascon. as secretary kerry said it's not just important what we decide as a body but how we decide it but cautious and careful deliberation on the use of force is one that meets expectations of the american people. the outcome is not predictable based on partisanship but is instead a reflection of the values and insights of each member of this committee. as this authorization moves to debate in full congress, i continue to be mindful that i represent a state as do many of us that is weary of war and where input from my home state has been to strongly caution against a repeat of some of the
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issues spoken to by other colleagues that conflict of iraq brings to the fore. i personally having reviewed in detail the intelligence offered by the administration am convinced that the administration of bashar al assad, his regime, used chemical weapons not once but likely repeatedly but that attack two weeks ago in damascus suburbs massacred more than 1,000 innocent civilians and given the steady escalation, steadily rising death in syria over the last two years, that has graduated from using snipers and helicopters and jet fighters to using cluster bombs and scud muscles and now chemical weapons in the absence of action by the united states to reinforce a global red line that has been enshrined in american statutes and treaties for decades, assad will use these weapons again and we'll be less safe and our
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regional allies will be less safe. there are risks to action but i've been persuaded that risks of inaction are greater. this is a difficult debate. we'll have more to discuss on the floor of the senate but i'm grateful for the process through which we achieved it. i'm grateful for my colleagues who have worked with me to craft amendments that i think have clarified and improved the overall context and it is my hope that we will ultimately approve this authorization. this is not an act i take with any likeness of heart and with a full recognition of the potential difficulties ahead but i'm persuaded this is an important step that the united states must take. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, chairman. let me thank you -- >> a little bit of post vote as we've been reporting. the key committee here, senate foreign relations committee authorizing u.s. use of force in syria. this is ending and of course this goes for a full u.s. senate
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vote possibly as early as next week. we'll go to break. when we come back, we watch the grilling from u.s. lawmakers on three key administration officials. here they are. joint chiefs of staff general martin dempsey, chuck hagel, defense secretary and secretary of state john kerry. we'll be right back with special cnn coverage. e collision threat. and in certain situations it can apply the brakes. introducing the all-new 2014 chevrolet impala with available crash imminent braking. always looking forward. while watching your back. that's american ingenuity to find new roads. and recently the 2013 chevrolet impala received the j.d. power award for highest ranked large car in initial quality. a writer and a performer. ther, i'm also a survivor of ovarian and uterine cancers. i even wrote a play about that. my symptoms were a pain in my abdomen
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members of the house foreign affairs committee, grilling chuck hagel, general martin dempsey and john kerry. >> with respect to the limited strike not achieving the objective, i think the general has spoken to that earlier that he has confidence that we have the ability to achieve our objective if not in the first volley certainly we have the ability to achieve that objective. secondly, you said would it not in fact help the opposition? i have said many times as a collateral component of this, any degradation of assad's military will be a benefit to the opposition but that's not the fundamental purpose of the initiative the president is asking you to engage in. >> thank you all for your
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service. particularly military service. secretary kerry, you have spoke about how use of this gas breached the norms of civilized behavior. international norms. and that we need to enforce this norm kind of like you would enforce lessons learned by children and bullies that you said. and i know you got irritated about the benghazi issue. it was not on your watch and you're not responsible. that same line of reasoning should have applied to benghazi. assassination of a diplomat breaches norms recognized far longer than use of sarin gas and yet the u.s. has not acteded to avenge the deaths of the four americans including our ambassador who were massacred in benghazi. that lack of response using the same line of reasoning could embolden terrorists groups they can do this and that we may not respond forcefully. you're not responsible for that but there is a frustration among
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some of my constituents about how we handled that. not on your watch. i wanted to clear up how some of us view that. >> congressman, let me speak to it. i appreciate completely. it's different from the earlier question so to speak. i appreciate and respect completely the need for justice to be done and believe me, we have this discussion in the state department and in the white house about the steps that are being taken. and there are steps being taken. that is not a back burner issue. and in an appropriate setting i would be delighted to share with you exactly what is going on but that accountability is a priority for the president and priority for us. >> we appreciate that. we are waiting for that. secretary kerry, do you think that striking syria for assad using poison gas will have an effect on whether iran decides to continue with its nuclear program or abandon it?
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>> i think whether or not the united states stands up at this moment as i have described earlier to enforce this almost century old prohibition on the use of weapons will in fact affect not only iran but loads of people's thinking about whether the united states is good for its word. >> so you think that it is possible that iran seeing a limited strike against assad that they will actually decide to abandon nuclear weapons? >> i didn't say that. i said it would affect their thinking about how serious the united states is. i can't predict what they're going to decide to do or whether they'll abandon it or not. i tell you this, it will enter into their calculation about what we might or might not be prepared to do. if we don't do anything, i guarantee you that too will enter into their calculation. >> my fear is they already made their determination and they'll continue with it. i guess we will find out. in terms of these opposition groups, i think it's true that
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when you degrade assad, you are benefiting the opposition groups. i think that the bulk of that energy right now is with sunni supremacists and al qaeda affiliated terrorists. it is difficult to kind of figure out where everybody is on this. there was a quote that you had given when we were evaluating libyan opposition. you said we didn't know who people were in eastern europe either. we don't always know who they all are. i think that you have to kind of have a sense of the course of history and what they're fighting for. is that pretty much -- do you stand by that quote and kind of difficulty in evaluating? i ask that because we've seen with the arab spring. we've seen the reaction to us going into afghanistan. iraq and kind of what is the animating impulse in these muslim countries? there's a comment about we would like to see a pro western government take the place of
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assad. i have not seen any evidence to suggest that that is what would be the primary impulse motivating the people in a post-assad syria. i fear what would motivate them would be the muslim brotherhood, sunni islamism and al qaeda type terror groups. that's the sense of history that a lot of us see. that's why when we look at a potential strike, how that could affect the civil war, we don't want to do something that's going to lead to an outcome that's as bad as having assad or potentially even worse. >> congressman, very good question. the answer is there are some really bad actors in some of these groups in syria. there are a couple of other groups that some people characterize as worse but one of the things that is concentrating the president's thinking about syria and the reason for supporting the moderate
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opposition is to have it against those folks who if syria continues to move in the direction it's going and if there's an implosion, they will be strengthened and there will be more of them. this is in fact something that does bring russia and the united states together. when i was in russia and met with putin, he discussed specifically their concerns about the extremists. but syria traditionally, historically in recent years has been a secular country. and the vast majority of opposition, 75%, 70% of it, is hopeful to have a very different syria. a free syria. a syria that has minority rights protected. that is inclusive. and that's what the opposition has in written form committed themselves to and is talking about wherever they go in the world. so i hope you will recognize
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that the best way to isolate that extremist opposition is the extremist components of the syrian fabric is to more rapidly build up the opposition. >> will the u.s. congress vote ultimately to authorize u.s. intervention in syria? there are a lot of questions as you're hearing. quick break. more on this house foreign affairs committee hearing and questions being thrown at the secretary of state, defense and the general martin dempsey. back after this.
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and we are back with our special coverage of the crisis in syria. two boxes. left side of your screen, this is the senate foreign relations committee, in case you are just
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joining us and huge, huge news, as we have learned this key committee has voted in favor of authorizing use of force, u.s. use of force in terms of intervening in syria. so now that that has happened, they have voted yes to this resolution. possibly next week for a full vote. on the right side of your screen, you have the house foreign affairs committee. the different members here, on both sides of the aisle, asking some pretty tough, print pointed questions as three key people who are answering. from left to right here at this table, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general martin dempsey. in the middle is the secretary of defense, chuck hagel, and now secretary of state john kerry. let's go back. >> oy caution you politely and humbly, i believe very, very deeply it will invite other contests of conflict that will put us to the test and
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potentially with much graver consequences. >> thank you. >> we go to mr. doug collins of georgia. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i appreciate it. i thank you for your service, and i associate myself with the representative from hawaii, serving in iraq, knowing the issues going on. one of the benefits of sitting on the bottom row is you get to listen. you hear a lot of things and can get a lot of questions asked. i'm not going to steal the thunder of orders that may come b. what i have heard today still concerns me greatly. i walked into this hearing concerned and very deeply concerned about the actions we're taking. i'm still there. many of those have to do with military questions, and the questions that come from the statements such as secretary hagel, no clarity on the ground, that there's no goodologieses in syria. these kind of things that lead me to an understanding of what happens is, you know, the -- and
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the high confidence that limited nature would be affected, but if it would not, juror at the same time a moment ago after the first volley, leaves it open-ended. i want to just for a few questions on this issue, according to the unclassified assessment that was given, there were -- information that suggested that a possible chemical attack was imminent on august 21st. in fact what was said is from august 18th, sunday, through wednesday the 21st there were syrian chemical weapons, personnel operating in the area. the report goes on to say that three days prior to the attack there were strains of human and geospecialists that they were prepare for an attack. with 48 hours' notice and the recent history, did the u.s. military not take action or quickly enough to convene the
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united nations security council. why did they we not act as quickly as possible? why was there nothing done at that point? >> because that information isn't real time in terms of the way it comes in. it goes through a process, so it there wasn't time. >> i appreciate that answer, but you really concern me even more that our intelligence operation, without getting into in this setting discussion of this, if it was not real time, we're finding out after the fact, then some of my concern general dempsey would be that the limited engagement to, as you said take out the operation or the engagement of the chemical weapons and not destroy all the weapons, what is the confidence left, though you have stated high, would i should i or anybody else on this committee say there's a concern that our intelligence is not real time enough to answer your question? >> different kinds of intelligence, sir. thanks for your service too, by the way, so there's signals in
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intelligence, full-motion video, national technical means that allow us to establish pattern of life. it's different kinds of intelligence. >> with the movements, there is a concern that the initial assessment could be wrong and there will be. a quick break, we will resume our live coverage of the house foreign affairs committee hearing here on capitol hill after this. i'm only in my 60's... i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans. so when i found out medicare doesn't pay all my medical expenses, i looked at my options. then i got a medicare supplement insurance plan. [ male announcer ] if you're eligible for medicare, you may know it only covers about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. call now and find out about an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like all standardized medicare supplement plans, it helps pick up some of what medicare doesn't pay. and could save you thousands in out-of-pocket costs.
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help cover what medicare doesn't pay. and could save you thousands a year in out-of-pocket costs. call now to request your free decision guide. and learn more about the kinds of plans that will be here for you now -- and down the road. i have a lifetime of experience. so i know how important that is. while i have you in this minute, you saw a blank screen, because we learned specifically the senate foreign relations committee who had been meeting, they have just adjourned. so the news we learned from the senate side, just this past hour, was pretty key here in terms of possible use of force, possible military intervention, and that is that this committee, the senate foreign relations committee voted 10-7 yeah versus
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na -- yea versus nay. now that's been authorized, the senate version then goes on to the full u.s. senate. keep in mind that congress is technically still in recess. they're not supposed to be back until monday. that's when everyone requeens and this thing gets going. on the house side, remember the house foreign affairs committee, they've gone ping-ponging back and forth, different questions to the three key members as far as why we should go to war, possible retaliation, showing pictures of children. that's what's happening on capitol hill. let's go to jake tapper. "the lead" starts now. welcome to "the lead." we're watching secretaries john kerry, chuck hagel, martin dempsey, testified before the house foreign affairs committee. it's been compelling at times
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contentious. later this hour, we'll have analysis, but for now let's listen in live. >> and say to you the president -- >> would that be covered under his authorization? >> no, the president's authorization does not apply to iran or hezbollah or other entities. it's not entity-sfi


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