tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 11, 2013 1:00am-6:01am EDT
president's budget for 2014 that did not include sequestration. >> i just wanned -- wanted to get that out clearly in the record. >> yes, thank you. >> chairman mckeon has over the last year and a half had a number of hearings on syria. general dempsey you've attended a number of those, as well as your colleagues from central command and in every instance, you have been very, i think, candid about the downside risk of almost every option that was posited in terms of a military response to syria. and when secretary kerry was sort of laying out his concerns about the -- you know, whether or not a u.n. mechanism to take control of the chemical weapons was really, you know, got a lot of practical issues, you've been also very clear about the practical concerns about military force in terms of control of the chemical stockpiles.
you wrote a letter on july 19, just a couple of months ago, to senator levin you laid out the different options for military force in syria in terms of control of chemical weapons and even in the context of a limited strike. you -- and i'm quoting from your letter here -- on the efficacy of a limited strike. over time the impact would be the significant degradation of capabilities and an increase in regime desertions. again a lot of us read this stuff. i'm sure -- in the public sometime there's skepticism but your warnings, for a lot of us, have been taken to heart. what i think a lot of us struggle with is how can a policy rely on the assaad military to secure chemical stockpiles at the same time we're bombing that army? and again you addressed this in the past and a lot of us are trying to figure out what changed here to give us that confidence level that we can count on on the assaad regime to continue to control these stockpiles.
>> well, without getting into the targeting as i tried to articulate earlier, we would in our targeting we would -- related to chemical weapons, we'd make sure we didn't create a chemical hazard ourselves and second we wouldn't degrade the ability of the regime to secure. rather we would seek to degrade the regime's ability to use it. as far as the removal of chemical weapons, our assumption would be in this new proposal it would be a permissive environment in the sense that the regime would be willing to do that. so we wouldn't have to fundamentally fight our way in to seize control of chemical weapons. >> in my opinion that's much more practical guarantee than again in the context of military force being applied. looking at your let for the july regarding the option of controlling chemical weapons, you know you stated, our inability to fully control syria's storage and delivery
systems could allow extremists to gain better access. these are spread out over different sites, dozens from what we've been able to sort of hear in an unclassified setting. how do we have any confidence level about desertions or that groups will overwhelm some installation with a lieutenant or a captain? again, that's where i think, in my district, which has the largest military installation in new england, as senator kerry knows, in southeastern connecticut, the wall of skepticism focused on these practical issues about the dunside risk of trying to -- downside risk of trying to control these stockpiles in a kinetic military environment. i think a u.n.-sponsored mechanism is something that is going to raise people's people's comfort level infinitely compared to use of military force. >> just in response, the mission i've been given, the targets i've been asked to
prepare, and the scope of the operation would not tip the balance in favor of the opposition and therefore create some of the uncertainty you're describing. it would be much more limited than that. which by the way, some have criticized. but the mission i've been given is limited, focused and significant, not symbolic, but wouldn't be intened to tip the balance here and therefore the risk of loss of control of the stockpile as well. >> thank you. mr. bishop. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for being here. i appreciate this very much. i realize, constitutionally, we have as congress the power to declare war but not to make war. last specific difference in the use of those two infinitives and why they happen to be there. let me ask you a question i think may have been asked earlier when i was not here to
hear the answer, if if you'd redo that in 30 seconds, i'd appreciate you redoing that answer. we talk about the of chemical weapons but the norm is it has been repeatedly violated an chemical weapons has been used in conflicts in which the united states has not been involved throughout history. i'm an old history teacher. i would like you to say in 30 seconds or les how this is different than any other time in which the chemical weapons have been used an the united states did not respond, perhaps also saying because you said chemical weapons were used earlier in syria, how this particular event is different than other areas. let me do that quickly and if you can do that in 30 seconds or less, somebody, i would be appreciative. >> i think it's different because of the strategic interests of the united states in the region because of our allies in the region, because of the threat to jordan, the stability of the region, to our national security interests and i think it is different because of the fact that warnings have
been given repeatedly and not been heeded. i think that changes the equation. >> i don't know if i buy that but i'll accept it as a decent answer to a question. let me try another one. this country bombed libya without congressional approval. why do you want -- now you're seeking congressional approval to bomb sir yasm what's the -- syria so what's the difference for us domestically for doing it then and not now? >> there's a big difference. in that situation, the gulf states had made statements, the arab league, nato had made statements and there was an urgency, an absolute urgency to moving tpwhifes threat of ka
draw tee -- kaddu fee that he would butch -- gada fee that he would butcher -- qaddafi that he would butcher like dogs those against him. in this instance, there's a pattern of repeated warnings, escalated use and clarity of the fact that we have strategic interests. >> now, i don't want to be rude but i want other people to ask questions. you're telling me, domestically there may not be a difference -- >> you can see part of this hearing on 8:00 eastern tonight here on c-span, leading to the >> i was not here when that last resolution was info. -- invoked. you could get some political cover if congress were to support this.
one of the things that the resolution enforces is for congress to fully support a nature of any kind of resolution of any kind of use or force that might come up later on. that is another reason there is a reason to make war and to declare war. there is a key and significant difference. one last thing in the last minute that i have. using the military is great. paying for it would be better. i hope the administration will put pressure on the senate. the house has passed an appropriations bill for the military. use the same vigor to get the senate to pass an appropriation bill for the military. with that, i yield back. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chair. thank you for being here today.
secretary kerry, i think this is the first time you have been before this committee. i appreciate you being here. at the offset, i think we can all agree that this incident occurred. we are all clear on who is responsible for the chemical attack. no doubt about that. the american people except that as well. that as well. there are questions as to i he did it and what his motives are. -- as to why he did it and what his motives are. why did assad do this? >> militarily? it's based in his internal calculations. the military is tired. they are having a difficult time
because of apartment complexes and so forth. it consumes the military force to clear an urban setting. he took the decision to clear it using chemicals. >> a use chemical weapons on a tactical basis? him to be ader rational actor in that classical sense of the word? do consider the president of serious to be a rational asked her -- actor? >> i think we get mixed info. isolatedegree he is and to some degree he's operating under very difficult circumstances or people tell him things he wants to hear. i do not think he gets a lot of bad news delivered to him and so forth. there is a survival instinct and irrational sense -- and a rational sense. part of his calculations is that
he has been able to use them in small amounts without anyone stopping that. when president obama had conclusive evidence that the line that he had drawn had been crossed, he decided it was sufficient to send a message and he dictated that we would assist opposition. i could continue on -- thank you for the answer. did he use these weapons to power?exercise his to remain president of syria? >> yes, and to beat the opposition. limited strike, however limited it is, is not designed to remove him from power. correct? >> correct. >> the president stated some years ago -- >> that is correct. >> it has been stated today that
perhaps further down the road there would be one of the effects would be to get him to the bargaining table with beectation that he will not president of ceres any longer. correct? syriaof serious any -- and a longer. correct? -- this striket was calculated so that he would know if you were to do it again, worst could happen to him. that is the predicate. if you do x, y will happen. >> it is important to think about this from his perspective. we do not like him. we do not think he is a good guy . at the same time, if you are in his shoes and the greatest power
on earth attack tim -- him, if he is a rational actor, why would he not conclude that the rike is intended to get rid of him? why would he not conclude that? >> a number of things. targeting, and the nature of the strike. he listens to this debate. and the congress message will be pretty clear. bottom line is it will be targeted to do what it can, which is to achieve a restraint on his ability. >> i understand the rationale. let me finish. my concern is that if he does not -- >> the gentleman's time is
expired. >> thank you, mr. chair. here.nk you for being my first question is this -- if assad stops using his chemical weapons and gives them up tomorrow, but continues to kill 50,000 syrian civilians next her, do we take the military option? -- next year, do we take the military option? >> i do not believe the president would want to get directly involved in that way in the war. what we have to make a choice to support the opposition. that support is growing. it is significant from the number of allies in the region. i cannot go into details. there are some things that are happening. that there is a distinction to train the chemical weapons, weapons of mass destruction, the prohibition versus the other
efforts that are geared to try to bring him to the table. >> if assad kills thousands of -- le using >> know it is not the measurement of the numbers of the people. >> it is the way of they were killed? find good andcan reasonable and moderate and more secular syrians on our side. why do we not assist using title x? shouldn't there be a long-term strategy we can look at? we have a long-term role. >> up until now, to be honest, there has been a fair amount resistance to that. senator mccain and senator graham and others have called for more significant efforts. there has been resistance in congress. >> if i could interrupt, there
has been resistance from everyone, including the american people. it has not been right to get it to them on what the different options are. articulatedt been to them on what the different options are. >> i came up the hill and taught during the course of the time to some of the committees. is -- i think it is fair to say that there are people who believe title x might be a more effective way to go at it. what i know is that the president is committed to continue to help the opposition. you would like to see us do more for the opposition. i think part of the follow-on to this will be a more focused effort with respect to the capacity of the opposition. >> i suggest that congress is open to that more than a strike. i suggest we bring that up and work on that as the next step.
>> we look forward to working with you on that. >> thank you. journal dempsey -- general dempsey. the problems with doctrines, some of you guys stick to them sometimes depending on the case. if you were to look at iran and syria, which would you say is the biggest that to america's national security interests? -- irane centrifuges and the centrifuges? or syria? >> the longer-term threat is clearly iran. >> if we are willing to do this over chemical weapons, what stops us from trying to get a resolution to bomb the hell out of iran who is the real threat here find everything that we
face in the middle east, but we are focused on discharge so? -- side show? clear that we it have an enormous focus on iran. there is a new president that has taken over and new negotiators. there's a lot of discussion taking place within the about how the negotiations ought to proceed. >> i'm almost out of time. >> i apologize. >> it is not your fault. if we are willing to do this, it you said there have been a lot of negotiations. you're asking congress for a resolution to commit to an act of war against the assad regime not doingbut you're that for iran, who i think is the real existential threat to
us and our allies. >> congressman, the president's first preference is diplomacy. it should be everybody's first hope. we have not exhausted the possibility with respect to --n, but we have found that there is a distinction. >> secretary kerry will have to leave at 12:35. secretary hagel and general dempsey will remain with us. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here. thank you, secretary kerry. we missed you representing us in the u.s. senate, appreciate your shouldering these new responsibilities. thank you for being here as we engage in this important debate.
it has been an issue as to whether or not it was a way forward. you have seen the tremendous ,nterest that we bring to this and appropriately so. we have fast-moving events. i appreciate the efforts to find a different way. i appreciate our presidents openness to pursue that different way. in the meantime, we are here to discuss the military option. as i have heard all of you say, the goal is to deter president of chemicalre use weapons and degrade his capacity to use them. there is an effort that would be limited in duration and scope and not open-ended. is not the concern many of us have. it would take us much further down the road than any of us
want. the question i have is given the many sites that are scattered across the country of syria and the weapons sites and the fact that many of them are located in population centers, it is clear that chemical weapons will remain in syria despite whatever we may do militarily. given our limited objective, we do not seek regime change. president assad will remain in power. we will still have chemical weapons. he has demonstrated a willingness to use them whether he isactical weapon when cornered and sees no other way out. assume not in the immediate aftermath, but two months down the road, six months down the road, president assad
decides to use chemical warfare in a small or large event. it is a result of military action and the red line the president has drawn. he said we will respond to that and we will respond to it militarily. what will we do in the event president assad uses chemical weapons -- still in power for what will weon -- do? general dempsey. >> i cannot speak for our elected officials, but i can tell you we have repaired for that contingency. we will be prepared if necessary to act. >> will that necessitate your coming back? >> that depends on the resolution. is outside the time
limit, would you come back to us? >> it would depend on whether or not he pulled the trigger in the resolution to cover that contingency. >> would it be appropriate to take military action? there is a red line that has been drawn. >> this is intended not to destroy his entire capacity or the country. if he makes the decision to do that in the future, we would believe we would need to make it clear that we need to do more. that is evident. believe that will happen. i think the message will be clear. i think it will send a chilling , and that is why i think he and the russians are responding the way that they
are. i disagree about this that it will drag us into something down the road. i worry much more about not doing something now or create an inability that will drag us into something more complicated and more dangerous. >> thank you. secretary hegel. your thoughts? >> i would agree with was secretary hairy said and general dempsey. kerry said and general dempsey. our policy on this issue starting with the fact that president has come to congress on this authorization. he has the option to do more. and he should. >> the gentlelady's time has expired. thank you, mr. chairman.
gentlemen, thank you for your service. appreciate you being here. i respect the decisions that you have to make. i respect our commander in chief, president barack obama, and the decisions he has to make . it is an agonizing decision. insked a question last night a classified briefing that was given to the house about a possible retaliation. i asked this of director james clapper if he knew of threats against our homeland or against our assets, our interest. i'm confident that everything that can be done to protect us will be done. given the serious nature of what we are looking at and the certainty -- should a military strike begun to the u.s. on syria?
there will be some attempt at retaliation. there'll be serious consequences. given all of that, i have to express some doubts i had. i'm happy to hear your response to this. when i look at the pattern of leadership over the past few .ears, i have doubts this leading from behind in libya, that is not a good pattern. the unresolved murders in benghazi, i'm very disturbed about that. i hear about that from my constituents to this day almost on a constant basis. the massive defense budget cuts that we had over the last four and a half or so years. that causes me concern. pushing israel to make concessions that could harm israel's security.
that. doubts about when i put all of that together, i know we will have serious consequences. i'm very reluctant to vote yes on this upcoming resolution. i have many constituents, a great majority, they feel the same way. they have articulated the same concern. is there anything you can say that would relieve my doubts or concerns? congressman, i will respond initially. i suspect my colleagues will want to say something. you covered a number of dimensions of your concerns. legitimate. that is why we are having these hearings. let me start with benghazi. this administration continues to follow through on the commitment the president of the united for what happened a
year ago. that is happening. dod is working with the fbi and other agencies in this. talked.dempsey and i we are closely aligned and continuing to do that. that has not escaped the priority list of the president or this administration. in some of the issues you mention, israel. we are working closely with israel on this. as we are with our allies in turkey and iraq and jordan and lebanon. it is an international community effort. you heard was secretary cagle said in the progress -- secretary hegel has said in the
progress we have made. there are more. there will be more. one last point -- i said in my opening remarks, and i noted it here a couple of times, there is risk in in action, too. away.ld walk we understand the american public's concern. i'm concerned. were all concerned. let's look at the other alternative. if we just let it go. --er stations about iran conversations about iran -- iran, north korea, syria, terrorist groups are watching. they are observing. if there is no international response, if this is allowed to play out with no response, do we think that makes things safer for our interests?
this makes a more stable and secure world when we do not respond? maybe so. i do not think so. >> thank you. mr. johnson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. kerry, after graduating from college and enlisting in the u.s. navy, you served your country in vietnam where you were awarded a silver star, bronze star, and three purple hearts. you returned home and went to law school and became an attorney. he became a district attorney, prosecutor. offered yourself for political office in the u.s. senate. you were elected. you served for 28 years. he served on the senate -- on a
senate committee. he later chaired the committee. we were appointed by president obama to serve in this high office as secretary of state. you were confirmed by your colleagues in the senate. 93-1, i believe it was. man who has always meant what he said and said what he meant. i have tried, certainly. congressman, i have tried. >> for anyone to think that you would say something off-the-cuff without meaning it is probably mistaken. would you agree? >> i'm not speaking off the cuff. >> i know you do not speak off-
the-cuff. yesterday when you mentioned a way forward for syria to be able u.s. military response to the use of chemical weapons, you did not misspeak, did you? >> no. >> you meant to say what you said at that time. is that correct? >> i did. week, u.n. last president obama were at the g 20 during that week at various times you were there. i was at the european conference. i did not go to st. petersburg. >> all right. the president went to speak with
president putin at the g-20 conference in st. petersburg. they discussed this way forward for syria to be able to avoid military were sponsored. isn't it a fact that this proposal as some say was made by president putin is something that both president obama and president putin are responsible for? >> it has been discussed, yes. >> you discussed it yourself with the foreign minister of russia. correct? >> yes. >> this past weekend. >> yes. >> on monday, you are ready to
come forward with this proposal. >> well, i was asked about it. >> yeah, you were asked about it. you responded -- you responded appropriately to the question. thus, it became a public issue. my purpose for going through first congratulate the obama administration for the way in which it handled this and dicey,delicate issue -- delicate issue. i myself am hopeful that going down the two tracks that administration has laid fourth we will be able to
accomplish the objective of this without having to use military force. thank you. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> i appreciate it very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i know you all have a hard job. you have a tough sell. i knew her up against the clock. comments short -- i know you are up against the clock. keep my comments short. i have seen things behind closed doors. -- thing is crystal clear there is no national will to at this time.a why? i do not have all the reasons why. there is no direct threat.
there is no upside. there is no wind. there is no vision. there is no trust. the list goes on and on. i have reviewed the evidence and weigh the risk. i look at the pros and cons. more importantly, i listened to mike constituents -- i have listened to my constituents. most of them say no. i agree. i say no as well. i wish you the best of luck, but america is not buying what you're selling at this time. i yield back. can i just say since we had to leave right now, i want to make sure everyone understands that president obama and all of peaceful/ope for a diplomatic way to resolve this.
is tough. i do not want people to think it is easy. achieved, it is a .errific way to proceed forward no one should underestimate -- having been elected for 28 -- six terms, i think. understand the sense of this country. i hear people saying they do not want to go into syria. i heard a marine in the early , don'ts that were made take this into syria. .e are not going into syria this is a tough sell. you said it. i get it. we are not going into syria. we are not asking to go into syria.
i do not see the slippery slope people say we will get dragged into. i do not see that. we have a clue distinction. there are people who want to fight this war in syria. not us. distinction. clear there are people who want to fight this war in syria. not us. there are people with deep pockets who want to support them. we are not called on to do that. i really have a confidence after all of these years that we are not want to get dragged into something. sometimes around here, i think ombudsman and senators, i did this myself. i voted on some things where it congressmen and senators, i did this myself. i voted on some things where it was -- people have to measure the fax. measure the consequences. measure the facts.
you have been very generous. i appreciate all members of the committee. i apologize for leaving. i have to go. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i think you said it well. i think all members of congress on both sides of the aisle and of the capital want to do what .s right how you determine what is right is a hard thing. be very honest and sincere and hard-working and think they are doing what is right and do the total opposite. this is why we are going through this process. thank you for what you are doing. thank you for being here. you, mr. chairman.
numeral be able to put questions in writing to the secretary even though -- you will be able to put questions in writing to the secretary even though he has left. about really what all of this means. i do not think there is anyone the in any way who condones heinous use of chemical weapons. that is a given. is aboutre here for the resolution and how we proceed from here. in both yours and secretary kerry's statements -- i do not know if you can answer secretary kerry statements -- but he says there waiting for the proposal for the one we have been discussing all morning. but we're not waiting long. is there a time limit that administration is willing to
wait for that proposal? like a week? two weeks? >> i do not know of a specific amount of hours or days. i think the president mentioned this last night. i think it is clear that proposal has to come rapidly. i would assume that this is on a very fast track. the president has made that clear. , we know thehegel issues of detour -- deter and theade seem to reference
stockpiles of the chemical weapons. general dempsey says it would be a very limited and directed and .ailored precision as always they would limit the possibility of any kind of injury to the butlian population, notwithstanding we could anticipate some kind of collateral damage. and i thought that was also aligned with the ultimate goal, which is that we all know that everyone is saying that any military action taken will not resolve the issue regarding that chemical weapons. it would just detour -- deter, degrade at best. testimonyment in your , a political solution by the syrian people is the only way to ultimately end the violence in
syria. secretary kerry is helping with efforts to help the parties in syria to move toward a negotiated transition. the word negotiated transition is what caught my eye. we have said that we are not engaged in any kind of quote on quote -- and negotiated transition seems to imply a regime change. understanding that there is the potential regime change. -- we talk about a diplomatic resolution on this limited resolution. are we looking for it diplomatic resolution on the use of chemical weapons? for a tupleoking maddock resolution for the negotiated transition for the syrian people, which seems to be regime change? >> to specific issues.
-- two specific issues. the resolution is defined clearly and the language speaks for itself. i hope that cleared most of it up. it defines it. it is very clear. in the scope and the link -- len gth, all that is necessary in the authority like this. administration can work with that authorization. the second part of your question -- as stated by president obama, theident assad has lost nashville
there is a specific request. it is not about regime change. two separate issues. >> the gentlelady's time expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i know it has been a long morning. i want to talk about chemical warfare in general. going back many years ago, the ones who probably have a signature attached to that. who wrote the manuals, who wrote -- dealt with saddam hussein, and i am just wondering if we are forgetting that leverage point militarily. is -- bothondition gentlemen were in the military. everybody has said, it is a limited attack. you're not sure what the response will be. if something happens, whether it is to those patriot batteries
that are in within range and they have to go into the fully buttoned up conditions, which everybody knows that has been in the military, you are good for maybe half an hour before you pass out. -- since we just are talking about chemical warfare, if the signature of the russians and their historical ties in terms of leverage to syria and those countries, that have been looked at. secondly, if you could address the capability of the military in terms of up-to-date training. >> we are well aware of the expertise that the russians have in chemical weapons, and in fact i think we believe that this offer might have some credibility. in terms of protective posture four, its zero through
would be irresponsible for a commander to have people in mop for. you can't sustain operations and fulle way, mop four is gear, protective mask, gloves and boots. what commanders do is ratchet it up and down based on the threat. we are prepared to do that as the threat changes and we also believe that we have no -- good enough radar that we would also understand when the trend was highest. >> thank you, general. the other question i wanted to ask. you were talking about utilities and camouflage and changing one part to the other, and i raise the question, when is the last time your chemical -- this was when or four months ago, has your chemical protective equipment been looked at? i know it is expensive every time we do that, but now if we are talking about chemical
environment, i think we have to look again at how we are going to outfit those individual soldiers, marines, anybody that goes there. it andery excited about congressman jones talked about -- it was a long time ago, but you never forget those troops. if you could just address that very briefly. >> thanks, congressman. you are exactly right. because we haven't dealt with this kind of threat in a while, your question is valid. i assure you that we are constantly updating both our chemical equipment and our doctrine. and we continue to train to that standard of places like the national training center, so forth. also, as you know, chemical gear has a shelf life. it has to be replenished.
the new chemical suit has a shelf life and we monitor that closely. i am always concerned about the readiness. they canceled exercises because of money. as you know, if you train to go to war, and when we start doing wants -- you never know what is going to happen. mr. secretary, we talked about this in afghanistan. both of you gentlemen have been in combat. this is very serious and we have to make sure that we -- the streets have to be combat ready. we can't be stupid about this. >> thank you, mr. carson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general dempsey, i am interested in better understanding how a strike would be carried out with minimal risk to our
servicemembers. i am particular concerned about anti-ship risks. could you tell us about the ability to conduct a straight with minimal risk from the assad forces? the strikes as currently conceived would be standoff. i won't say more than that. we would remain outside of the ability of the syrian regime to threaten us. >> secretary hagel, can you tell us about what resources and capabilities the arab league and other regional players can bring to an operation in syria? >> secretary kerry noted some specific countries that we are talking to who are very supportive of our potential actions. .
those engagements and conversations are going on right now as well as our military to military with some of those countries. >> thank you, gentlemen. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general dempsey, i am going to refer to an article that was in .rmy magazine action weonce we take should prepare for what comes next. deeper involvement is hard to avoid. you also referred to use of force no less than an act of war. we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the weapons we seek to control. the fuller quote in your letter , i knowor carl levin that the decision to use force is not one that any of us take slightly. it is no less than an act of war.
i tend to agree with you on those assessments. i am sorryerry -- had to leave but i will address this to him -- what we have to do is make we're two people -- make clear to people we are not going to war. that makes it very difficult for us to hear one comment that this is no less than an act of war and the secretary saying, we are not going to war. military actions are always going to have a greater chance of success if we have the backing of the american people which is difficult right now. it is difficult to make that case when you hear these two seemingly diametrically opposed opinions of what we are doing. i will make this easy. it should be a yes or no answer for you. -- i wills question ask secretary kerry for the record. if facilities in the united states were attacked by another nation in the same manner that is being proposed by the united
states upon syria, which you ,now what those proposals are and has been described as a severe consequence to the assad -- if thesed you were and acted on the united states, the same things we are proposing to do, would you consider that an act of war on the united states of america? >> i will answer briefly. i have said in previous testimony that the strike would be an act of war. i think the distinction the secretary is making is the connotation of war, the vision of war is protracted long campaigns. that is not what we are envisioning. >> think you. -- thank you. >> for a soldier, would you put them in conflict, it tends to be a war. >> secretary hagel?
>> that is right. this is an issue of the definitions of war. we have not declared war in this country for a long time. we have been in the sum. -- in some. two of the longest words we have ever been in, we didn't declare them. we can dance around definitions, but any time you use military authority or power, that is some aspect of war. >> thank you, sir. i yield back my time. >> specimen. you very much for being here. i know you have had a grueling week. i have attended several of your briefings. we appreciate it. much. i do believe the intelligence. i am also concerned that we will swap chaos for chaos. assad is murderous, evil, all those things that we have talked about.
the rebels have a problem also. they have up to 25% al qaeda and other extremist according to secretary of state. i am concerned about that. we said we don't than to topple want to take out some capacity and degrade and deter. what if it does happen? we don't really know what will happen in that situation. best military plans sometimes go astray. who is going to get control of these chemical weapons? -- perhaps youn cap said, but i need to be reassured that there is some plan there. i am also concerned about the death of more innocent people. the united states will be blamed for that. we know that they will be posting just as they have posted the other victims. finally, how does this airstrike layout in the region?
hodgepodge of different religions and causes and attitudes. how would this layout in the region for us and also for them? you and i recall your questions last night. i will give you my response and general dempsey may want to add something further. recognize -- i think we have all said that there is always unpredictability anytime when a military strike occurs or action is taken. can as weything we have been to think through options, contingencies, possibilities. what are the options of retaliation? what would happen if the assad
regime goes down? your note about the percentage of -- generally speaking, it is imperfect what our intelligence assessments are on the composition of terrorists for the banner groups in that -- who general group of represent the opposition. that is all reality. there is also a significant percentage of pretty responsible individuals that make up the syrian military council and other dimensions of the opposition. there is no guarantee of any outcomes. we think through these things and work with our partners along that border. we are very closely connected with all of those countries and their militaries and their leaders. the strikes and the options that we have given to the president
are all options that factor in what you are talking about. that is one of the reasons it is noted in the resolution, and the president's requests, the focus, the objective was not to topple assad. throughally, to deter destruction of his capabilities, a further use of chemical weapons. that also has a degrading effect on his military. isexcuse me, but what if still sitting out there. >> that is a what if. anyone who can give you a 100% guarantee of anything, but i will also put the other side of this back on the table. what if we do nothing? are pretty sure that he will
continue not only to do what he is doing, but worse. >> i don't mean to interrupt but i am down to 30 seconds. i want to say one last thing. for the countries that are surrounding and saying that they support this, i would like to see them more visible. i would like them to say they plan to put their militaries there. i would like to see them say they will put their money there. i would like to see them step up the humanitarian aid. the united states is leading the way and i am proud of that, but what we are also hearing from our constituents is, somebody else needs to step up and provide more humanitarian aid and provide more, whatever it is that they want in the region --tead of saying, >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> that you, mr. chairman. i represent the indiana second
district. we have heard like everybody else, the hesitancy and absolute -- in this mission. two questions, one is the urgency of the hour. why now? we have sat here and listened to you and other folks reading us every single time there has been a chemical issue. my question is, why now? if you could briefly answer that, i have a second question. >> i will start. , the scope ofr is this attack on the 21st of august, there is very little question now as the evidence continues to roll in that it was the assad regime who perpetuated this attack against their own people. the scope of this has shifted significantly from the earlier chemical weapons attacks.
this last one was to clear an entire area. he used that as a clear military tactic. he had not done that in past attacks. that is one of the parts of this. >> i have nothing to add to that. >> my second question is, to me it was new information that we learned today that secretary support thehat we opposition in syria. my question is, how were those opponents about it? do we know we can trust them? how many different factions are there? what criteria did we use to decide to trust american foreign policy with folks who are considered rebels? >> i will begin and general density may want to come -- general dempsey may want to come in with more. we have been vetting through the cemetery -- syrian military
council and our partners in that area. that is not new. the president announced in june that he was going to step up his assistance to the opposition, specifically the military council. we know, everyone here knows that the humanitarian assistance that we provide and the nonlethal assistance we provide has been significant. the president noted publicly in june that he would step that up to include military assistance. partners, the part of the opposition we have become familiar with, tribal leaders, make a mistake. -- make no mistake. i have done this personally in three different countries. it is challenging. we have a methodology. >> how do we know, back to chemical stockpiles, i asked
this same question months ago. we talked about chemical stockpiles. we had everybody talking about this issue. before, whoquestion monitors the stockpiles? how do we know today? we have briefings in here and folks talking about the fact that we don't know where they are all at. how do we know that hezbollah and hamas and al qaeda haven't taken those stockpile weapons and move them elsewhere? we can track all of them. >> we both testify to the difficulty of having perfect intelligence about the chemical weapons. the risk of having some of that capability migrate into the hands of extremist exists today. todaye no indications that any of the groups you have mentioned have any access to those chemical weapons. the indications are today that it does remain under the firm control of the regime. >> that goes back into the months before?
>> it does. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> and you, mr. chairman. havee short time that i been a member of this congress, this is the most consequential issue we have dealt with. i sent an e-mail to my constituents last week and i have gotten thousands of responses. asks very real questions about whether or not congress should authorize the president to take military action in syria. i appreciate your willingness to be here to answer those questions. we have repeatedly discussed the need to show the integrity of our commitment with action and that a run and north korea -- and northorth -- iran korea are watching. what happens if we approve the use of force and assad crosses the line again? how do we keep this from escalating and how do we limit
further military action? >> that question is one we have dealt with your this morning as we have over the last two weeks. we believe based on our intelligence, based on our close coordination with partners in , no perfect answer to your question. because of every contingency and option that we provide, if we in fact carry forward with the options the president made -- may use, this will specifically address the clearly defined objective of degrading and deter
in his capability to further use chemical weapons. to accelerateoose his efforts and use chemical weapons again, then certainly the president of the united its has every option not just militarily, but other options available to him. i can't speak for the president but my guess would be, he would come back to congress and ask for further authorization. the president always has the option to defend the interest of this country. i believe he would. >> the only thing i will add is that you asked what is it that causes us to believe we can manage the risk of escalation? i think it is a combination of the limited nature of the ,ilitary operation as conceived it is our ability to overmatch opponents in that part of the world.
issues, it isdget why your word presence is such an important part -- forward presence is such an important part of our strategy. >> the other main thing that i have heard from folks in my neck of the woods is, they want to know that all other options have been exhausted prior to military action. do you believe that there are further opportunities to achieve a diplomatic resolution to this crisis? are there other tools that we ought to be looking at? are there any further sanctions that ought to be contemplated? what other tools should be contemplated if any? >> thank you. i believe secretary kerry did address that here earlier this morning in resetting an inventory that we have been doing in terms of diplomatic
efforts. he went through the united nations. every generally recognized global institution, we have been working through sanctions. exhausted almost every diplomatic option in this effort. this is why i noted in my that secretary kerry continues to lead this geneva to process. , ihink most of us believe do, most of our partners and the world believe that is the only way this is going to get settled, through some diplomatic political resolution. we are continuing to play that card out and stay on that track. the development of the last 48
hours, we are pursuing that track as well. >> thank you. i you back. >> i am advised that we need to bring this hearing to a close. before i dropped the gavel, we are going to do two quick things. one is a clarifying question to general dempsey. as i understand it, your testimony has been repeatedly that you have been given a mission to develop military options to "deter and degrade." you were not given a mission as i understand it to develop military options to demonstrate serious consequences to the neighbors for crossing an american red line. is that correct? >> i am not sure what you be my neighbor's. -- mean by neighbors. >> the mission has never been
at theed as aimed tearing others although clearly there is a relationship. another -- a number of members have stayed for several hours. i understand that some of them will be submitting questions for the record. i would ask witnesses to please respond promptly and with that, i think the witnesses and the members for being here. we are adjourned. --members will just hurled hold on until the witnesses can leave. >> if they get us there questions, we will respond rudely and immediately. thank you. -- briefly and immediately. thank you.
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] on c-span,p next another chance to see president obama's remarks on a military strike on syria. then, senate debate on syria. that is followed by testimony from secretary of state kerry, defense secretary hagel and joint chiefs chairman dempsey before the house armed services committee. on the next washington journal, reaction to president obama's address on the u.s. strike in syria.
and from a democrat from arizona. our spotlight on magazines features james bennett of the atlantic on a commemorative edition marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of president john f. kennedy. washington journal is live every morning starting at 7:00 eastern on c-span. today marks the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the u.s..
>> my fellow americans, tonight i want to talk to you about syria. why it matters, and where we go from here. over the past two years, what began as a series of useful protests against the assad regime has now turned into a civil war. over 100,000 people have been killed. millions have fled the country. in that time, america has worked for support to shape a political settlement. i have resisted calls for military action because we cannot resolve someone else's civil war through force. the situation finally changed on august 21, when assad's government gassed over 100,000
-- over 1000 people including hundreds of children. the images from this are sickening. men, women, children lying in rows. others were foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. a father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk. on that terrible night, the world saw in detail the nature of chemical weapons and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off- limits, a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war. this was not always the case. in world war i, american gi's were among the many thousands killed by gasses in the trenches of europe. in world war ii, the nazis used gas in the holocaust. because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no
distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them. in 1997, the u.s. senate approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 governments that represent 98% of humanity. on august 21, these rules were violated, along with our sense of humanity. no one disputes that chemical weapons were used in the syria. the world saw thousands of videos and cell phone pictures, and social media accounts of the attack. organizations told stories of hospitals packed with people who had symptoms of poison gas. we know that the assad regime was responsible. in the days leading up to august 21, we know that his chemical weapons personnel prepared for
an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. they distributed gas masks to their troops. they fired rockets from a regime-controlled neighborhood. shortly after the rockets landed, the gas spread. hospitals filled with dying and wounded people. we know figures in the military reviewed the results of the attack. they increased their shelling of the same neighborhood in the days that followed. people tested positive for sarin gas. when dictators commit atrocities, they depend on the world to look the other way. these things happened. facts cannot be denied. the question now is, what the
united states of america and the international community is prepared to do. what happened to those people, to those children, is not only a violation of international law, it is a danger to our security. let me explain why. if we fail to act, the assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. as the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using it. over time, our troops will face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield. it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons. if the fighting goes beyond syria's borders, it could threaten our allies. a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would
weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction and embolden iran, which must decide by ignoring international law or take a more peaceful path. this is not a world we should accept. this is what is at stake. that is why, after careful deliberation, i determined that it is in the national security interest of the united states to respond to the assad regime's use of chemical weapons with a limited military strike. the purpose of the strike would be to deter assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime's ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use. that is my judgment as commander in chief. i am also the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. even though i have the authority to order military strikes, i
decided to take this debate to congress. i believe our democracy is stronger when the president acts with the support of congress america acts stronger abroad when we act together. i know that after the toll of iraq and afghanistan, the idea of any military action is not going to be popular. i have spent 4.5 years working to end wars, not to start them. our troops are out of iraq. our troops are coming home from afghanistan. i know that americans want all of us in washington, especially
me, to concentrate on the task of building our nation at home. putting people back to work. educating our kids. growing our middle class. it is no doubt that you're asking hard questions. let me answer some of the most important questions i have heard from congress and that i have read in letters you have sent to me. first, many of you have asked if it would put us on a slippery slope to another war. one man wrote to me that we are still recovering from our involvement in iraq. another veteran said that the nation is sick and tired of war. my answer is simple. i will not put american boots on the ground in syria. i will not pursue an open-ended action like iraq or afghanistan. i will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like libya or kosovo.
this would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective. deterring the use of chemical weapons. deterring assad's chemical weapons capability. others have asked if it is worth doing if we do not take out assad. some members of congress said there is no point in doing a pin prick strike in syria. the united states military does not do pin pricks. even a limited strike will send a message that no other nation can deliver. i don't think we should remove another dictator with force. we learned that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next. a targeted strike can make assad think twice before using chemical weapons. other questions are about the dangers of retaliation. we don't dismiss any threats, but the assad regime does not
have the ability to seriously threaten our military. any other retaliation they might seek is in line with threats we face every day. neither assad, nor his allies, have any interest in escalation that would lead to his demise. israel can defend itself with force, along with the support of the u.s. many of you have asked a broader question. why should we get involved at all in a place that is so complicated? those who come after assad may be enemies of human rights. that is true. some of his opponents are extremists. al qaeda will only draw strength in a more chaotic syria if
people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being killed. most of them want to live in peace with dignity and freedom. the day after any military action, we would redouble our efforts to achieve a political solution that strengthens those who reject the forces of tyranny and extremism. finally, many of you have asked why not leave this to other countries or seek solutions short of force. we are not the world's policemen. i agree. for the last two years, my administration has tried diplomacy and sanctions, warnings and negotiations, but chemical weapons were still used by the assad regime. however, over the last few days, we have seen encouraging signs.
in part because of the credible threat of u.s. milirary action, as well as constructive talks i have had with vladimir putin. the russian government has indicated a willingness to join the international community in pushing aside to give up chemical weapons. the assad regime has admitted that it has these weapons, and said that they joined the chemical weapons convention, which prevents its use. it must verify that the assad regime keeps its commitments. this initiative has the potential to remove chemical weapons without the use of force because russia is one of assad's strongest allies. i have therefore asked the leaders of congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path. i am sending john kerry to meet with his russian counterpart on thursday.
i will continue my own discussions with president putin. i've spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies, france and the united kingdom. we will work together with russia and china to put forward a resolution at the u.n. security council, requiring assad to give up his chemical weapons and to destroy them. we will also give u.n. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings. we will rally support from allies in europe, the americas, asia, and the middle east to agree on the need for action. meanwhile, i have ordered our military to maintain their current position, and to keep the pressure on assad. i thank our military families for their strength and sacrifice.
this means doing more than forging international agreements. it means enforcing them. the burdens of leadership are often heavy. the world is a better place because we have borne them. to my friends of the right, i ask you to reconcile your commitment to america's military might with a failure to act when the cause is just. to my friends on the left, i asked you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people. those images of children in pain. sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are not enough. i ask every member of congress, and those of you watching tonight, to view those videos of
the attack and ask, what kind of world will we live in if the united states of america sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas and we choose to look the other way? franklin roosevelt said, our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles we have cherished are challenged. our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in syria. along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the world's worst weapons will never be used. america is not the world's policeman. terrible things happen across the globe. it is beyond our means to right every wrong. with modest effort and risk, we
can stop children from being gassed to death, and make our own children safer over the long run. we should act. that is what makes america different. that is what makes us exceptional. with humility, but resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth. thank you. god bless you. and god bless the united states of america. >> former secretary of state clinton spoke about the situation in syria saying, it demands a strong response by the international community led by the u.s.. an event at the national constitution center today
evening -- tuesday evening. you can see this event in its entirety wednesday on c-span. >> as you know, the president will address the nation shortly about the assad regime's use of chemicals against men, women and children. that violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order and it demands a strong response from the international community led by the u.s. is good for our democracy. knew, founders do, -- fervent arguments are the life blood of self-government. how could a republic last if citizens had no opinions about the issues of the day? or if they were too intimidated to express them? for example, the delegates at the constitutional convention
debated passionately about how to balance the need to provide for a common defense with their fears of excessive executive power. these were men who had thrown off taking's tyranny and were wary of standing national armies. seen how the articles of confederation failed to provide a unified foreign policy, putting their aspirations for unity and sovereignty at risk. as benjamin franklin famously said at the signing of the declaration of independence, we must indeed all hang together or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately. in the federalist papers, james madison argued that america united with a handful of troops exhibits a more forbidding
posture to foreign ambition than america disunited with 100,000 veterans ready for combat. president washington stressed the importance of national unity in his farewell address and warned us against interest groups and internal rivalries. to be sure, we have had plenty of moments of partisan combat in our past including some that make our current cable news squabbles sounded downright polite. we even had to fight a civil war to prevent the union of splitting apart. yet even in our darkest. period we have been blessed with leaders that put our nation first. president lincoln, a republican takes a southern governor -- democrat to be his running mate.
he also asked his rival to be his secretary of state. imagine that. another great political odd couple whom i particularly admire, george marshall and senator arthur vandenberg a republican from michigan who shared the foreign relations committee after world war ii. when senator vandenberg first heard about the treatment at -- truman administrations plans for rebuilding europe, he was deeply spectacle -- skeptical. why should american taxpayers shoulder the responsibility of helping former adversaries like germany and japan? who you saw had returned from the navy to his small business in chicago. he felt exactly the same way. so did many other americans. whohall, the war hero
served as both secretary of state and secretary of defense sat down with vandenberg and listened respectfully to all of his arguments. then the general explained why america's future security and prosperity depended on having capable allies who would share our interest and buy our goods. more importantly, that america had a responsibility and an obligation to lead the world. he appealed to vandenberg's patriotism and ask for his help. this would only work, marshall said, if it was truly a bipartisan national effort. became ag once -- champion of the marshall plan and deserves a share of the credit. the senator and secretary had many more disagreements.
they debated strategy and tactics for hours on end but it was always in pursuit of shared goals. it, frankerg put cooperation and free debate are indispensable to ultimate unity. the goal, he said, is to put national security ahead of partisan advantage. those are wise words for today and for everyday. as secretary of state, traveling around the globe, i saw firsthand how american unity leads to strength but discord leads to perceived weakness. the world watches so carefully the decisions we make in washington. closelys, i watch more than we even do. in our finest moments of any era, we achieve great things and
provide a model of democracy that inspires people everywhere. but when we let partisanship override citizenship, when we fail to make progress on the challenges facing our people here at home, our standing in the world suffers. >> on the next washington journal, reaction to president obama's address on the u.s. strike in syria from congressman mark meadows, a member of the foreign affairs committee. and from progressive caucus , the democrat from arizona. our spotlight on magazines features james bennett of the atlantic on a commemorative the 50tharking anniversary of the assassination of president john f. kennedy. washington journal is live every morning starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span.
the senate has postponed its vote on military strikes against. -- against syria. senator bernie sanders of vermont spoke on the senate floor about his opposition to a u.s. strike against thierry at. -- syria. his 20 minute remarks came before the president's speech to the nation. >> madam president, i wanted to use this opportunity to say a few words about the issue that is on everybody's mind. that is syria. approximately 95% of the thousands of e-mails and phone calls that my office has received our against u.s. military intervention in the bloody and chaotic civil war in syria. the truth is that the numbers in than theay be higher
national average in terms of opposition to this war. state inprobably no this country where u.s. military intervention in this bloody and complicated civil war in syria is being supported. phenomenonteresting that we have a very invited make -- divided nation politically, but on this issue it appears that the vast majority of democrats, republicans, independents, the vast majority of progressives, conservatives, moderates have all come together to express deep concern about the united states being involved in the third to the kerry intervention in the middle east in 12 years -- third military
intervention in the middle east in 12 years. let me tell you why i believe the american people feel so strongly against the military involvement in syria. it has much to do with the fact that the united states has already been at war for 12 years. there are kids in this country who are halfway through primary school who have never known an america that has not been at war. what the american people also understand is these wars have been enormously costly in many ways. iraqnly have these wars in and afghanistan cost us the braveof some 4600 american men and women who
fought in iraq and afghanistan, but as chairman of the veterans committee, i can tell you that today we have tens of thousands of veterans from iraq and afghanistan who are dealing with traumatic brain injury, or dealing with those traumatic , problems that they are going to be carrying with them for the rest of their lives. warsuman cost of these have been enormous. cost,not only the human it is the natural cost as well. today, at a time when working families are struggling to keep their heads above water economically, we are throwing thousands and thousands of little kids who desperately need preschool education off of head start. we should be expanding head
start but because of sequestration, we are throwing them off of head start. nutritionying programs, the meals on wheels program that goes to some of the most vulnerable and fragile seniors in this country. we are throwing them off they sick nutrition programs. cutse forcing massive through furloughs on tens of thousands of federal employees including members of the vermont national guard. day, by thef the time we take care of the last service member who served in iraq and afghanistan, those wars will have cost us at least $3 trillion. it is not only the human cost that troubles the american people. it is not only the financial cost of these wars that troubles
the american people. sense that exists across the political spectrum that foreign policy and going to war is a lot more complicated and unpredictable and has unintended consequences far more so than many of our leaders in past years have believed. afghanistan is a small country that in 2001 virtually had no army. no army against the most powerful military force in the history of the world. what is the problem? still inlater, we are afghanistan. remember president george w. bush standing on an
aircraft carrier telling us that in iraq, the mission was accomplished. mission accomplished. well, it didn't turn out quite that way. later forof deaths american service members, tens of thousands of deaths later for the people of iraq, peace and hascracy in that country not yet been accomplished. a lot more complicated than people thought it would be. today, people worry. what are the long-term implications, one of the unforeseen consequences of the united states being involved in a horrendous bloody and complicated war in syria? all of us know that assad is a ruthless dictator who has exploited his people terribly and used chemical weapons against them.
but not every american knows that 20%-25% of the opposition to assad turns out to be islamic fundamentalists, some of them affiliated with al qaeda. what are the long-term implications and unintended consequences of being involved in a war in that area? i know the president has been very clear. strikes that about are very targeted, very minimal. once you break the egg, once you get involved, we have to bear and will bear a certain amount of responsibility for what happens during the war and even after the war if assad is overthrown. the american people are extremely concerned about the united states unilaterally
without theyria support of the international community and without the support of the united nations. madam president, having said all of that, in my mind there is reason reason, a deeper as to why there is so much the president's proposal and the proposal that came out of the for and relations committee -- foreign relations committee which was talking about regime change. , that has everything to do with the fact that the favorability rating of the united states congress is today 15%.where between 8%- the vast majority of the american people don't know,
don't care who controlled the senate whether it is democrats -- they don't know who controlled the house. by and large, american people have given up believing that the united states congress and the white house are listening to their needs which are very very serious at this moment, or is capable of responding to their needs. what the american people are saying, and they are saying it loudly, is that we have a congress and a white house which continues to ignore the and our mess crises facing the middle class and working families of our country. yes, mr. are saying is president, we agree with you. what assad is doing in syria is unspeakable. he is gassing his own kids, is beyond belief.
we understand that. we want the international community to address that. what they are also saying is, mr. president, members of congress, think about our the kids in west virginia, the kids in california, the kids in detroit, the kids in vermont. what about our kids? what kind of future are they going to have in an economy in which the middle class continues to disappear and poverty remains at an almost all-time high for the last six years? today, unemployment is not 7.4%. that is the official rate. real unemployment is close to 14%. youth unemployment, and this is a real tragedy, kids are graduating high school, looking
for jobs, they want to get a sense of independence. there are no jobs for them. youth unemployment in this country is close to 20%. for minorities, the number is considerably higher. black youth unemployment in this country is close to 40%. parents are worried. that their kids are graduating from high school, there are no jobs available, and just before i came to washington, i talked to a physician in vermont that facingn vermont, we are a heroine potomac -- epidemic. kids are shooting up heroin in vermont not to mention the rest of the country, because they don't see much of a future facing them. parents are worried that their kids are graduating college deeply in debt and that either
they can't find jobs or the jobs do notey do obtain often really require a college degree. the fact of the matter is that most of the new jobs being created in this country are either part-time jobs with minimal benefits, and they're often low-wage jobs. what the department of labor is of the us is that most new jobs we see coming down the pipe for our kids don't relabel -- really require a college degree. people are saying from one end of the country, yes, we are concerned about syria but we are also concerned about los angeles, about detroit, about vermont and please, mr. president, create jobs for the working families of this country.
what they are begging the congress to do is to address the needs that our people face. i think this has a lot to do with why there is so much opposition to getting involved in this war in syria. thatunderstand right now the congress has virtually done nothing to improve the economy for working families and they were a that all of our time and energy and resources are devoted to syria, that we are never going to address the serious problems facing the working families of this country. mr. president, tens of millions of our fellow americans today are working longer hours for lower wages and many of them are earning wages that are simply family.to support a
we have been happy to hear that in michigan, the automobile industry is doing better. more people are being hired. you know what the bad news is? the new jobs in the automobile industry are barely more than 50% in pay of what the old jobs were. all over this country, the new jobs in created are not paying what the jobs in this country used to pay. we have millions of people working for disgracefully low men among wage. -- minimum wage. people are saying, mr. president, members of congress, we are worried about syria why don't you work to make sure that every person who has a job in this country can earn a wage which enables him or her to take care of their family? thateople also understand
it is not only high unemployment and low wages. something else is going on in this country. they know that while he middle class is disappearing, 46 million americans are living in poverty, they understand that the people on top, the people whose lobbyists surround this institution, the people who make huge campaign contributions to the political parties, they are doing very well. they are doing extraordinarily well. corporate profits all-time high. whose on wall street greed caused the worst economic downturn since the great depression, they are doing phenomenally well. they are making record-breaking profits. rich are doing well, corporate america is doing well. --y are making con in
campaign contributions and american people are saying, what are you doing for us? you doing to protect the seniors and their social security? what are you doing to protect the children in this country to make sure they get a decent education? what are you doing to make sure that the united states joins the rest of the industrialized world so that all of our people have life? care and a thatf the reasons i think there is so much lack of support for this war is the american timee feel that it is high for us to pay attention to their needs. mr. president, we have recently heard and the news is being russia, for
decided toason has play a positive role in this crisis. allowre urging syria to the international community to take possession of their chemical weapons. we believe that france is prepared to go to the security council with a resolution similar to what the russians are talking about. i can't tell you how honest the russians are being in this effort, what they're all tear rior plans may be, but i think now is the opportunity to work with russia, to work with china, to work with the security council and the united nations. it would be an extra ordinary victory in my view for the people of syria who are going
through harbor after horror horrorow -- horror anfter right now and for the futile of the world. -- future of the world. if we could take those chemical weapons and destroy them. i hope very much that the president and secretary of state will be working with the international community to make that happen. let me conclude, mr. president, that i think we are at a very interesting and momentous moment in the history of the united states of america. that is that the people are coming together to say, we have enormous crises in our own country. if we don't get our act together, we are going to see the decline of a once great we are going to see for the first time in the modern history of our country, our traders and -- our children
having a lower standard of living than we do. i would hope that the lesson that we learned of this entire episode is that the american people do not want us unilaterally getting involved in another war in the middle east. i would hope also that the lesson that we learned is that the american people are saying very loudly and clearly that this country faces enormous economically, global warming, health care, education, wealth inequality. they want us to start addressing those needs. out of this very difficult moment that the silver lining is that we learn something from what the american people want and we begin to do what they say. >> next, from the senate floor, tammy baldwin of wisconsin lays
out her reasons for opposing a u.s. strike against syria. this is about five minutes. >> madam president, i have come to the floor to stand up and speak to the important debate we are having about the most sobering issue i face as a senator and as an american. the issue of military action by the united states. let me start by saying that the assad regime's use of chemical weapons against the syrian people is morally reprehensible. a serious violation of long- standing international law. the various treaties and conventions addressing these issues have been ratified by most of the world's nations. there is reason why most of the entire world has gathered under the chemical weapons convention to ban these weapons. weaponscause chemical
are truly barbaric in nature. they are a global threat and they therefore require a global response. the president has made the right congressional authorization for any potential military action in syria. the gravity of these issues is significant and deserves a full debate. should beobama praised for understanding and appreciating that fact. we must demand that all presidents, not just this president, come to congress to get approval before taking military action in another country in instances where we are not facing an imminent threat. i have made that case with both democratic and republican presidents. i strongly believe that our response to this situation must
not be a unilateral military action. this is not america's responsibility alone. it is not in our interest to set the precedent that it is our responsibility alone. syria violated international laws and should be held accountable by the international community. america must not act alone. the use of chemical weapons is a global atrocity and demands a global response. i oppose going to war in syria. that is why i oppose authorizing military involvement in syria's civil war. daysor one day, not for 60 , not for a decade. i believe in engaging and involving ourselves militarily
-- i do not believe we should involve ourselves militarily in the middle of a brutal years long civil war. that would not strengthen america's national security. the answer is not to do nothing. the answer is to create a situation where these violations of humanitarian norms and crimes against humanity can be dealt with effectively by the u.n. and other international institutions. so, we must continue to focus on building a global coalition to support the encouraging developments in the past few days to resolve this crisis without the use of unilateral military engagement in syria. by working through the united nations and its institutions, we strengthen international frameworks that can help resolve
the conflict in syria and build a safer and stronger international community moving forward. recenty believe that the potential for progress into u.n. discussion is a testament to american democracy. by president obama fulfilling his constitutional duties to come to congress and by our serious debate here on capitol hill, i believe that america has helped drive a more constructive international at eight and regimeent on assad's atrocities. we must now give the opportunity of a path forward without military involvement in syria a chance to succeed. madam president, i yield back my time.
the eastern med, they've been building that up even before this recent spike in activity. and their fleet there at this point is mostly amfibs and intel ships. >> mr. larson. >> thank you. welcome to the house of representatives circa 2013. we don't filibuster around here but we do have a different name r it, and but i'll try to be quick here. it was actually warner and not mark twain who said that everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it. and it seems that we're in that position on chemical weapons where we're talking about what we ought to do but we're, at least in the house and perhaps in the senate, not willing to do much if anything about it, or trying to explore what to do about it.
and i think what i want to hear first from secretary kerry about what we're going to do about this russian initiative. is our position going to focus on the chemical weapons only in getting those under control and eaving production capability in syrian hands or are we going to try to broaden this a little bit more? are we going to do something about that? >> we're going to do something about it. and that's why i'm very careful make certain that i don't overhype or present what's possible because we don't know yet. we need to explore this. we're looking at it on our side, the russians are supposed to make a proposal to us. i will actually be talking to their secretary after i leave here. and we're talking about it at the state department and the white house to determine
exactly what will produce the result we want. what guarantees, that you've got the weapons, you've got all the weapons, that they're accountable, that they're out t, and that you can manage this under the circumstances that exist there. those are all the thing that is have to be gamed and vetted in full. and i don't want to make any predeterminations about that, that could falsely raise expectations or leave something out that ought to be in there. i just think we need to let this fill out a little bit. >> my point is it gets beyond the actual weapons themselves, because it was just pearntly today that -- >> well, we're currently talking about more than just that. >> talking about production capability and perhaps command and control. desegregating that organization there. for general dempsey, mr. wilson
talked about the humanitarian refugee crisis, how that might be handled from a strike. can you talk to the extent you can here, planning with regards to retaliation or response from iran or hezbollah as a result of strikes? >> without being specific, as you know we have mutual defense agreements with turkey through nato, with jordan directly, and of course with israel and we've got forces and personnel who at times like this establish crisis coordination mechanisms. we've got personnel in those three countries doing exactly that. we've also both because of the current tension with syria but also the fact that the 9/11 anniversary will be here tomorrow, we've also got forces at heightened states of alert and readiness throughout the
region. that's good enough for me for now. thanks. i yield back. >> mr. turner. >> i have one question for secretary hagel and two for secretary kerry. secretary hagel, in my congressional district is write patterson air force base where as a result of the president's sequestration which i opposed over 12,000 people were furloughed. they have difficulty making house payments, support for their children, car payments. they were concerned about their finances. with the president's sequestration, basically they were told that the department of defense did not have enough money to pay them. yet now the department of defense is telling the american people that they have enough money to take us into this conflict in syria. how do you explain that to the people who have lost wages and are facing the prospect of
losing wages again due to the president's sequestration? >> first, i have made my position known very clearly on sequestration, and i have restated it here so i don't think i need to address it again. it's irresponsible. it happened exactly on furloughs and the decisions we'll have to continue to make as sequestration continues as it is the law of the land because the congress and the president agreed to it as a mechanism. as you also know, we took five of those previously announced of ough days back because really focusing on where we could find the money to essentially improve our operations, we took that money -- >> but you understand that they don't understand how it is that you would not have enough money to pay them but yet you have enough money to take us into a conflict with syria.
>> well, if you allow me to get to the second part of the answer. it's important that everybody understand that issue about furlough. so we took five of those furlough days back because through a lot of very astute management and robbing from our future readiness by the way to -- now your question. if in fact there is a strike in syria, it is now the middle of september. we go into another fiscal year in about two weeks. so a significant amount of the cost of that strike obviously anything that goes beyond october 1st would be in fy 2014. >> which currently is subject to sequestration. >> well, everything is subject to sequestration. but you asked a specific question. >> you said you're going to take it out of next year.
but the people who are not getting paid and having their pay reduced, they're look at sequestration stopping in 2014 because the president has no proposal on the table. >> that's not true. he does. and i introduced it. but if you want to get into budget debate about that we can. but he does have a proposal on the table. i would also answer your question this way. the national security of interest probably trump budgets. that's up to the congress to decide that. i think that's important. no one anticipated this. we were trying to plan as best we could to take down another $32 billion in the fiscal year that we're still in, anticipating taking another $52 billion next fiscal year. >> thank you. i don't think anybody quite understands your answer but i appreciate it. >> i'll be glad to write it out for you, congressman. >> that i appreciate it. >> you keep citing the act of 2003, you did it in your opening comments, it's in the president's proposal.
most of the people in this room weren't in congress in 2003. this act was about a syria occupying lebanese territory, about iraq, support for terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. but it was a sanctions bill, it wasn't authorization for military action. but interestingly enough it included a provision requiring the stat department notify congress about where syria is on weapons of mass destruction. here is the report that the state department entered july 9. it includes this statement. our intelligence community has assessed that the syrian regime has used these weapon, specifically sarin. this is just so this must have been sometime in june. we know that saddam hussein used chemical weapons previously on the kurds. you say we must take action or there will be a rampen nt you. clearly there has been queps that have been used but no
military action occurred. why is this different? >> that's a good question. it's different because first of all the president was not racing to try to use military action. >> would you please answer that for the record? his time has expired. >> absolutely, mr. chairman. ms. bordallo. >> thank you, plup, for holding this hearing and thank you, gentlemen, for your continues efforts to inform congress on the efforts in syria. i am supportive of limited military action against syria. i'm deeply concerned that the lack of a u.s. response has profound impacts not only to the middle east but also to our allies in other regions of the world. secretary kerry, if congress fails to act on authorizing some level of military force, what impact do you see with our
allies in other regions of the world? and in particular, i'm concerned about the asia pacific area. >> well, i know for a fact, congresswoman -- thank you, and thank you very much for the support for the president's proposal. we're very, very concerned that with respect to our current efforts to deal with iran, the president has made it clear that while he doesn't ever want -- his first preference is a diplomat solution. but if he can't get a diplomatic solution then we cannot stop the march towards a nuclear weapon, the president has made it clear that he is prepared to do whatever is necessary to stop them. that promise, that would be at risk if this promise is put at risk because the congress doesn't support it. now, as i said earlier, this is not the president's sole statement.
this is something that people have adopted over a period of time. but you know, this isn't anything different, frankly, colleagues, from the way things work in congress. when i was here your word was everything. if you gave your word to somebody that you would be with them, that was enough. that's the way you operated. and if somebody broke that you would never trust them again. you wouldn't use them as your cosponsor, you wouldn't work with them on the bill. that's critical. and that's just the same in international relations. our friends in the region, the l, the jord danions, lebanese and others, who are all at risk for what is happening there, are looking to see whether or not we will stand behind them, our values, our interests, and the words we have pronounced with respect to all of those three. and that's what's at stake here. >> thank you.
i also -- i'm heartened to see developments in working out a possible solution with russia that would entail removing chemical weapons from syria. if it depends on honesty, i'm not so sure this proposal would ever materialize. and i do realize, mr. ecretary, and general dempsey, that we certainly -- the effects, if we don't go through with something here, is going to be devastating to our country and our nation. the image throughout the world, i can just imagine how they're looking at us already as we're debating this issue. so again, i just want to say this. i am standing behind the president's solution to this matter, whatever comes out, whether it's the russian proposal or if we go ahead with the obama proposal.
and i thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. mr. scott. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary hagel, i was going to ask if you thought the sequester cuts were degrading your military strength but i think you already gave that answer, it's decimating the i want nal structure of our military. is that correct? >> congressman, i have said that many times that you can't have the kind of deep abrupt cuts that we are experiencing and continue to have those with the uncertainty of planning without having an effect on our readiness and our future capabilities. yes. >> i agree with you. and therefore it's a threat to our national security. >> yes, it is. >> thank you. i have listened. and general dempsey, i know you indicated that the threat to our national security was essentially that if we don't stop him, he will do it again and that others may follow suit.
is that what you believe the threat to our national security is? >> generally speaking. to the congressman, what's different this time, it's the scope, the scale, really of the use, the use of it to clear a neighborhood which indicates that it's gone from being a small-scale use that was used to terrorize to a large-scale use that is now indiscriminate. and if that becomes a global norm i think we're at great risk. >> i respectfully disagree with that assessment that that's a threat to national security. but if he has a thousand metric tons -- and secretary kerry that's the number you just said a minute ago -- that would be 2.2 million pounds. >> i'm actually an english major but i'll take your word for it. >> it's 2.2 million pouppeds. if he had delivered 500 pounds 20 toims -- and he has not delivered that much. that would be 10,000 pounds of
2.2 million potential pounds of chemical weapons. some of us have legitimate concerns -- only a small fraction of what he has has been used. my concern as i hear about a limited military strike is i go back to when the president said assad must go on 11, we talked about the need to move him out, we've heard them talking about changing the ground. these comments have been made in the past trier to this august. i guess my concern now is that we're sitting here talking about going to war, some would say it's not a war. i believe it is. but most of the time when a leader decides to go to war, they use a doctrine and they follow certain principles on whether or not it is or is not justified. colin powell's doctrine had seven principles. are there clear and obtainable object jives? have all other policy means
been exhausted? there a possible exit strategy? have the consequences been fully considered? are the action supported by the american people? do we have broad international support? secretary kerry, my question tor you as representative of the administration is, would you list for us the principles of the doctrine that president obama uses in making a decision whether or not to go to war? >> well, how much time do i have? >> one minute and 35 seconds. >> i think the president has great respect for colin powell and he and -- and so do i. and i was always impressed by the principles that he laid out. but i've found that not every single situation, unfortunately, always lends itself to that. the are occasions where
president has to make a decision that may or may not have broad support or may not have exhausted all the remedies simply because of the time frame. i don't think that's the situation. the president is going through the process of the u.n., he is trying to build in national support, we are reaching out. >> respectfully. i'm down to about 45 seconds. >> i will submit to you within 24 hours in writing so you have a chance to lay that proper lay -- way that properly. >> that would be perfect. with that, mr. speaker, i yield the remainder of my time. gentlemen, thank you for being here >> thank you very much. mr. kourtney. chairman. u, mr. secretary hagel just quickly for the record. the budget that was submitted back in february for the white
house for fiscal year 2014 incorporate add turnoff of sequester. isn't that correct? it proposed again turning off sequester for 2014 by finding other ways to reduce the deficit. >> it was the the president's budget for 2014, that is connect. >> and i wanted to get that out clearly in the record. >> yes. thank you. > the chairman over the last year and a half has had a number of hearings on syria. general dempsey you've attended those as well as others from central command. in every instance you have been very candid about the downside risk of almost every option that was positted in terms of a military response to syria. and when secretary kerry was sort of laying out his concerns about whether or not a u.n.
mechanism to take control of the chemical weapons -- got a lot of practical issues. frankly, you've been also very clear about the practical concerns about military force in terms of control of the chemical stockpiles. you wrote a letter on july 19, just a couple months ago, to us, senator lench, where again you laid out the various options in syria and in terms of controlled chemical weapons and even in the context of the a limited strike. and i'm quoting from your letter here. over time the impact would be the significant degradation of regime capabilities and an increase in regime desergses. again, a lot of us read this stuff, which i'm sure and in the public sometimes the theirs skepticism but your warn vgs been taken to heart. what i think a lot of us struggle with is how can a
policy rely on the assad military to secure chemical stock piles at the same time we're bombing that army? and again you asdressed this in the past and a lot of us are trying to figure out what changed here to give thause confidence level that we can count on, on the assad regime that we can continue to control these stock piles. >> without getting into the tarkting, as i tried to articulate earlier, in our targeting related to chemical weapons, we would make sure that we didn't create a hazard ours and we wouldn't create a situation for them to use it. as far as the removal of chemical weapons, our assumption would be in this new proposal, it would be a per missive environment in that the regime would be willing to do that.
so we wouldn't have to fight our way in to seize control of chemical weapons. >> which in my opinion, is a much more practical guarantee than, again, in the context of military force being applied. again, looking at your letter in july regarding the option of controlling chemical weapons, you stated our inability to fully control syria's storage and delivery systems could allow extremists to gain better access. these are spread out over different sites -- dozens from what we've been able to sort of hear in an unclassified setting. how do we have any confidence level about desergses or that the nazzra front or others are going to overwhelm some install lation with a lieutenant or a captain? again, that's where i think in my district -- which by the way has the largest military installation in new england as senator kerry nose. this is focused on real practical issues on the
downside risk of trying to control these stock piles in a kinetic military environment. i think a u.n.-sponsored mechanism is something that is going to raise people's comfort level infinitely compared to use of military force. >> the mission i've been given, the targets i've been asked to prepare, and the scope of the operation would not tip the balance in favor of the opposition and therefore creates some of the uncertainty you're describing. it would be much more limited than that. which, by the way, some have criticized. but the mission i've been giving is limited, focused and significant but not symbolic but wouldn't be intended to tip the balance here. therefore, the risk of loss of control of the stockpile as well. >> thank you. mr. bishop. >> thank you, plup mr. chairman, thank you for being here.
i appreciate this very much. i realize that constitutionally we have as congress the power to declare war but not to make war. there is a specific difference in the use of those two infintives and why they happen to be there. let me ask you a question which i think may have been asked earlier but when i was not here to hear the answer and if you can redo that in 30 seconds i would be very appreciative of you redoing that particular answer. we've talked about the norm of chemical weapons since the treaty in the 1920s. but the norm is that it has been repeatedly violated and used. l weapons been i would like you to simply say how this is different than any of the other times in which chemical weapons have been used and involved and the united states did not respond. perhaps also saying that the chemical weapons have been used earlier in syria, how this particular event is different from those other areas.
let me do that quickly. and if you can do that in 30 seconds, i would be appreciate tiff of that. >> i think it's dive different because of the strategic interests of the united states in the region, because of our allies, because of the threat to israel, jordan, the instability of jordan, the stability of the region to our national security interests. and i think it is different because of the fact that warnings have been given repeatedly and have not been heeded. and i think that changes the equation. >> i don't know if i buy that but i'll accept that as a decent answer. this country bombed libya without congressional approval, now we were wanting congressional approval before we bomb syria. can you tell me, not as far as our allies, but domestically, what is the difference for us domestically for doing it then and not doing it now? >> there's a very big difference. in that situation, the gulf
states had made statements, the arab league had made statements, the nato had made statements and thruffs an absolute urgency to moving because of the threat of qaddhafi that he would butcher like dogs the people of benghazi. and there was a sense of urgency as a result on a humanitarian basis to try to save those lives. in this situation, there is, as i said, a pattern of repeated warnings, of escalating use, and of clarity of the fact that we have strategic interests. it's not insignificant -- >> i don't want to be rude. what you're telling me is domestically there may not be a difference but it is on the external circumstances for each situation requires that there was a difference between all of those. >> and the national security stakes for the united states and our allies. >> one of the things for which
i have a concern. i was not here when the last resolution of force resulted. i was amazed at what i think is the abuse of that system in providing political cover one for another. you could get political cover if congress were to support this but congress could also by saying go ahead and use your military and then i will reserve until later whether i appreciate or approve how you use that. one thing it does not do is allow congress to commit itself to a fully supportive nature of any kind of use of force that may come on later on, which is another reason i think there is a difference between to make war and to declare war and it is a key and significant difference. one last thing in the last minute that i have here. using the military is great. paying for it would actually be even better. i would hope the administration would put pressure on the senate because the house has already passed an appropriation bill for our military. use the same kind of vigor in
getting the senate to pass the appropriations as you are in asking us to use a military of force. with that, i will yield back. >> thank you. mr. lobe sack. >> thank you, mr. chair. thanks to the three of you for being here today. in particular, secretary kerry since i think this is the first time you've been before this committee. so i appreciate your being here. i guess at the outset, i think we can all agree that this incident occurred i think we're all clear as to who is responsible for the chemical attack. i don't think there's any doubt about that. i think the american people accept that as well. but i have a series of questions related to why he did it, sort of what his motives are, and it doesn't matter to me which one of your answers these questions. but first of all, why did assad do this in the first place on
august 21? >> let me -- militarily? i can't speak to his internal domestic calculation. but militarily, his force has been at war now for two years. it's tired. they're having an extraordinary difficult time clearing neighborhoods because of apartment complexes and so forth. it consumes a military force to clear an urban setting. and so he took the decision to clear it using chemicals. >> in essence to use chemical weapons on a tactical basis. do you folks consider him to be a rational actor in the classical international relations sense of that word? do you consider the president of syria to be a rational actor? > i think he -- i mean, we give mixed information. to some degree he is isolated. to some degree he is operating under very difficult circumstances where people
apparently tell him things he wants to hear. i don't think he gets a lot of bad news delivered to him and so forth. but he certainly has a survival instinct and a rational sense of what he would like to do. i think part of -- if i can just add to what the general said. part of his calculation for using them is that he has been able to use them in small amounts without anybody stopping that. we did ratchet up. president obama when he had conclusionive evidence when the lawn that he had drawn had been crossed he decided that was sufficient to send a message and he dictated that we would defend the opposition. >> thank you for the answer. did he use these weapons then to simply maintain his power from a rational actor standpoint? is that fair to say? >> use them to do whar what? >> maintain his power to remain president of syria. >> yes. and to beat the opposition.
sure. >> but what we're seeing here, too, is that this limited strike, however limited it is, is not designed to move him from power. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> although it's stated the president some years ago stated that he would like to see assad go. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and it has been stated today that perhaps further down the road there will be one of the -- maybe one of the effects of this will be to get him to the bargaining table with the expectation on the part of our government that he won't be president of syria any longer. is that correct? >> that's the fundamental strategy but the connection is not quite accurate. this strike is calculated to tell him don't use those weapons, and to reduce his capacity to do so sufficiently that he will note that if he were to do it again that worse could happen to him. that's predicated on his
rational connections if i do this x will happen. >> and it is important, i think, if we're going to have a successful strategy, it is important for us to think about this from his perspective. we don't like him, we don't empathize with him. we don't think he is a good guy -- bad guy. but at the same time, if you're in his shoes and the greatest power on earth attacked him. and if his goal is to stay in power why would he not sfli conclude that the strike -- even if we don't want it to be the case, why wouldn't he conclude that the strike is intended to get rid of him as president of syria? why would he not conclude that? >> because a number of things. messaging. the targeting and the nature of the strike which he full well knows is -- he listens to this debate. he knows congress isn't deciding to get rid of him. the message is going to be pretty clear. so the bottom line is that it
will be targeted to do what it can, which is to achieve a restraint on his ability to use -- >> and i understand what the goal is and the rational. but my concern is -- let me finish. my concern and i think it's an important one is that if he doesn't do what is intended, what will be the consequences? what will be his response? >> mr. hunter. >> gentlemen thank you for being here. the first question is this. if assad stops using his chemical weapons and gives them up tomorrow but continues to kill 50,000 syrian civilians next year, do we take the military option off the table? >> i don't believe that the american people or the president want to get involved in that way directly in the war. but we have made the choice of supporting the opposition. that support for the opposition is growing. and it is very significant from a number of allies in the region.
i can't go into all the details in this committee of some thing that is are happening, but it is clear that -- i mean, there is a distinction between the chemical weapons, weapons of mass destruction, the prohibition on their use, and this action versus the other efforts that are geared to try to bring him to the table. >> if assad kills a thousand people or 100,000 people a year sing traditional but not chemical, it's the measurement? >> no it's not the measurement. >> it's the way in which they were killed. >> right. >> let's talk about the opposition. let's say you can find 30,000 to 40,000 good reasonable moderate more secular syrians to fight on our side. why is that proposal long term not before congress? why is the train and assist using title 10, why is that not
in the proposal so there is long term strategy that we can ook at so it seems we aren't just lobbing missiles? >> up until now there's been a fair amount of resistance to that, as you know. senator mccain, senator graham and others have called for more significant efforts but there's been a resistance in congress. >> if i can interrupt. there's been a resistance from everybody because of the american people because it hasn't been articulated to them by the president or the administration on what the different options are i think long term. >> well, i think we have articulated. i certainly have had several hearings in which i've articulated the need to do this and i came up the hill and talked to some of the committees when we were looking for reprogramming. but i think it's been fair to say there hasn't been a major debate over title 10 and there are people who believe that might be a more effective way to go at it. what i know is the president is committed to continuing to help the opposition. he would like to see us do more
for the opposition. and i think that part of the follow-on to this will be a more focused effort with respect to the capacity of the opposition. >> i would suggest that the congress would probably be more open to that. and even if you don't get the outcome you desire if we are to bring this to a vote i suggest we bring that up and work on that as the next step. >> i look forward to working with you on that. >> general dempsey you're familiar with the powell doctrine. >> i read your editorial today so i am refreshed on the issue. >> the problems with doctrines is you've got to stick to them sometimes no matter the case. they're kind of an objective wick et points that you can hit and go down. if you were to look at iran and syria and go through the powell doctrine, which would you say is the biggest threat to america's national security interests, iran and their centrifuges, or syria gasing their own people? >> i might suggest that's a
false dikety, they're both threats to our national security. the longer term threat is clearly iran. >> my question is this. if we're willing to do this over chemical weapons, what stops us from trying to get a resolution of force to bomb the hell out of iran who is the real actor here, the real threat behind everything we face in the middle east yet we're focused on the side show? where is the focus on iran and should the focus be on iran and not necessarily syria? >> let me make it clear. we have an enormous focus on iran. there's a new president, a new group of officials who have taken over responsibilities, new negotiators for the p-5 plus 1. and there's a lot of discussion taking place within the administration about how those negotiations are to proceed and what hopes there may be. >> i'm almost out of time. if we're willing to do this,
you say there's a lot of negotiations and talking about iran but you're coming to ask congress for a resolution of force to commit to an act of war against the assad regime in syria but you're not doing that for iran who i think we would all agree is the real threat to us and to our allies, to israel, jordan. >> congressman, the president's first preference with respect to syria is diplomacy. his first preference with respect to iran is diplomacy. and it should be everybody's first hope. and we have not exhaust that had possibility with respect to iran but we have found that we have been blocked with respect to syria. so there is a distinction. >> secretary kerry will have to leave at 12:35. secretary hagel and general dempsey will remain with us.
ms. tsongas. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you all for being here. and thank you secretary kerry. we miss your representing us in the united states senate but appreciate so much your shouldering these new responsibilities. and i thank you all for being here as we engage in this very important debate. i know it's been an issue as to whether or not it has -- whether or not it was a way forward but nevertheless, i think as you've seen the tremendous interest that is we all bring to this. and appropriately so. we have fast-moving events. i appreciate secretary the sort of back channel efforts to find a different way. and i appreciate very much also our president's openness to pursuing that different way. but in the meantime, we're really here to discuss the merits of a military option. and as i've heard you all say in many other briefings, the goal is to deter president assad's future use of chemical
weapons and degrade his capacity to use them. you're explaining an effort that will be limited in duration, limited in scope, and not open-ended. but that's not the concern so many of us have. that there's an inevitability to this that will take us much further down the road than any of us want. so the question i have is that given the many sites that are scaurt across the country of syria, many chemical sites and the fact that many of the sites are located in population centers, it's clear that chemical weapons will remain in syria despite whatever we may do militarily. and also given our limited objectives we do not seek regime change president assad will remain in power. so he will still have chemical weapons and he has demonstrated a willingness to use them whether it's as a tactical weapon one of the many tools in
the toolbox that he has when he's cornered and he sees no way out that's what led us to the august 21 event. so let's just assume not in the immediate aftermath but three months down road. six months down the road president assad chooses to use chemical war favor whether in a small event or large event but as a result of the military action and the red line that our president has drawn we have said we will respond to it and we will respond to it militarily. what will we do in the event president assad uses chemical weapons, still in power, for whatever reason either as a tool in the tool box or to show that he is still in charge that he doesn't take our efforts seriously, what will we do? i think i start with you, general dempsey. >> well, i can't speak for those -- our elected officials on what their guidance to me
would be. but i will tell you that we have prepared subsequent target packages for that contingency. so we will be prepared to act against. >> would that necessitate your coming back to us? let's say the authorization for use of military force is to -- >> it depends on the resolution. >> if there's a time limited and this is outside that time limit would you come back to us? >> we would have to come back to you. but it would depend on whether or not you put a trigger in a resolution that covered that contingency. >> but do you think it would be appropriate to take military action should he use them again given the red line we have drawn? >> this is intended not to destroy his entire capacity or the country or to engage in the regime change. it tends to send a message that more can happen. if he makes the ill advised decision to do it in the future, we would indeed believe that we would need to make it clear to him that you need to do more. that's evident. and the targeting is such that
that would need to happen. now, i don't believe personally that will happen. i think the message will be clear. i think it will send him a chilling message not withstanding that it's targeted and limited. and that's why i think he and the russians are is responding the way that they are. but i disagree with you about this inevitability, this sort of fear of inevitability that's going to drag us into something down the road. i worry much more that not doing something now creates an inevitability that is going to drag you into something more complicated and more urgent and more dangerous. >> can i give secretary hagel a chance to comment. >> well, i would agree with what secretary kerry said and general dempsey. the president would always have the option and has been very clear on what he said about, as . u note, violating a norm
our policy on this issue starting with the fact that the president has come to congress on this resolution on this authorization, and he has the option to do more. and he should. >> the gentlelady's time has expired. thank you mr. secretary. mr. lanborn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for your service. i appreciate your being here. and i respect the decision that is you have to make. i respect our commander in chief president barack obama and the difficult decisions that he has to make. agonizing decisions in many cases. you may remember, i asked a question last night in the classified briefing that was given to the house about possible retaliation. and i asked this of director james clapper if he knew of threats against our homeland or against our assets, against oirnt rests.
and i'm confident that everything that can be done to protect us will be done of threats that we know of. but given the serious nature of what we're looking at and almost the certainty that should a military strike be done by the u.s. on syria there will be some attempts at retaliation. there will be serious consequences. given all that, i just have to express some doubts i have. and i'm happy to hear your response to this. but when i look at the pattern of leadership over the last few years, i just have some doubts. for instance, leading from behind in libya. to me, that is not a good pattern. the unresolved murders in benghazi. i'm very disturbed about that. i hear about that from my constituents to this day almost
on a constant basis. the massive defense budget cuts that we've had over the last 4-1/2 or so years, that causes me concern. pressuring israel to make concessions that could harm israel's security. i have doubts about that. so when i put all those doubts together -- and i know that we're going to have serious consequences -- i'm very reluctant to vote yes on this upcoming resolution. and i have many constituents, a great majority, who feel the same way. and they've articulated this very same concern. is there anything that you can say that would relieve my doubts or concerns that i've just expressed to you? >> congressman, i'll respond initially and i suspect my colleagues would want to say something. you've covered a number of
dimensions of your concerns, legitimate, and obviously that's why we're having these hearings. let me start with benghazi. this administration continues to follow through on the commitments the president of the united states made to find those responsible. for what happened a year ago. and that is happening. o.d. is working with f.b.i., c.i.a., other agencies in this. general dempsey and i talk. so we're closely aligned and continuing to do that. so that has not escaped the priority list of the president nor this administration. on some of the other issues you mentioned, israel, we're working very closely with israel on this. talking with israel, all the time, as secretary kerry noted,
conversation with the prime minister, as we are with our allies in turkey, in iraq, in ordan, in lebanon. it's an international community effort. this is an important piece of what the president wanted to accomplish. you heard what secretary kerry said in the progress that we have made and the numbers of countries that have come forward so far. there are more. there will be more. understanding this. one last point on this. i said in my opening remarks and i've noted it here a couple of times this morning, there is risk in inaction, too, which everyone on this committee knows. we could walk away. we understand the american public's concern. i'm concerned. we're all concerned. but let's look at the other alternative here is that we just let it go. conversations about iran here a few minutes ago, these other countries, iran, north korea,
syria, hezbollah terrorist groups, are watching. they're observing. if there is no international response to this, if this allows to continue to play out with no response, do we think really that that makes things safer for our interests? our national security interests? do we think it makes a more stable, secure world when we don't respond? maybe so. i don't think so. >> thank you. the gentleman's time has expired. mr. johnson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to address you, secretary kerry. because after graduating from college and enlisting in the united states navy, you served your country in vietnam where you were award add silver star, a bronze star, and three purple hearts. when you returned home, you went to law school, became an
attorney, became a district attorney, prosecutor, later you offered yourself for political office in the united states senate, you were elected. you served for 28 years, much of which if not all of which was on the senate foreign relations committee. and at one time chairing that committee. by hen you were appointed president obama to serve in this high office, secretary of state. you were confirmed by your colleagues in the senate. 97 or 93-1, i believe it was. and you are a man who has always meant what he said and said what he meant. isn't that a fact? >> i've tried, certainly, congressman. i've tried. >> i mean, so for anyone to
think that you would say something off the cuff without meaning it is probably mistaken. would you agree? >> well, i'm not speaking off the cuff. >> i know. >> and when i do, i get in trouble. >> i know you do not speak off the cuff. so the other day, monday, when you mentioned about a way forward for syria to be able to oid a united states military response to the use of chemical weapons, you did not misspeak. did you? >> no, i didn't misspeak. >> and you meant to say what you said at that time. isn't that correct? >> i did. >> and now over the last week both you and president obama were at the g-20 conference or
during that week at various times you were there. >> i actually didn't. i was at the european conference. i did not go to st. petersburg. >> so the president was able to president putin while at the g-20 conference in st. pete urgburg and they discussed this way forward. for syria to be able to avoid a military response. >> correct. this t it a fact that proposal that some say was made by president putin is something that both president obama and president putin are responsible for? >> well, it's been discussed, yes. and i think that is fair. but i think that most -- >> and you actually discussed
t yourself with the former minister of russia, mr. lab rove. correct? that was done this past weekend. >> yefment >> and -- yes. >> so it is no mistake that on monday you were ready to come forward on w this proposal. >> well, i was asked about it. >> you were asked about it. and you responded because you're a man who means what you say and says what you mean, you responded appropriately to the question. d thus, it became a public issue. now, my purpose for going rough this is to first congratulate the obama administration for the way in which it has handled this
dicey, delicate issue. and i myself am hopeful that going down the two tracks that the administration has laid forth, one military, the other diplomacy, that we will be able accomplish the objective of this entire matter without having to use military force. i want to thank you. and i wish i had time for -- >> the time has expired. >> i appreciate it. >> mr. platso. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i know you have a hard job and a very tough sell. i know you're up against the clock. secretary kerry. so i'll keep my commebts short. i have no questions. i think everything for the most part has been asked and answered and has been out in the public. and i've seen things behind
closed doors. but i know one thing that's crystal clear and that there seems to be and appears to be, because there is no national will to eeb engage the united states into syria at this time. why? i don't have all the reasons why. but what i hear the most is that there's no direct threat. there's no upside. there's no win. there's no strategy. there's no vision. there's no trust. and the list goes on and on. i've done my job. i've reviewed the evidence. i've heard from the administration and i've weighed the risks. i've looked at the pros and cons. but more importantly i've listened to my constituents of mississippi's fourth congressional district and 98% of them say no and i agree. i'm a no as well. i wish you best of luck. you do have a tough job. but america is just not buying what you're selling at this time. yield back.
>> plup, turf leave right now. i want to make sure that everybody understands that president obama and all of us would hope for a peaceful /diplomatic way to try to resolve this. i can't tell you how much i would hope that you can get these chemical weapons contained and destroyed. it's a tough lift and i don't want people to think it's easy which is why we haven't bally hood it in a bigger way. but if it could be achieved, it's obviously a terrific way to proceed forward. but no one should underestimate. the g been elected for terms i was, six terms, i feel i understand this sense in the country but i keep hearing people saying they don't want to go into syria. i even heard the marine in the
very early comments that were made earlier that this marine down in quantico said, don't take us into syria. or we shouldn't go into syria. we're not going into syria. this is a tough sell, you just said it. i get it. but we're not asking to go into syria. i don't see any route by which we slide into going into syria. i don't see the slippery slope. people say you're going to get dragged in. i do not see that. we have a very clear distinction here. there are people who want to fight this war in syria. not us. we're helping them. they want to go. they are in. they're there, all in. and there are plenty of people with deep pockets who want to support them. the saudis, the emrates, the turks and so forth. we're not called on to do that. so i really have a confidence after all these years here that we're not going to get dragged into something. and sometimes around here i
think congressmen and senators -- and i did this myself -- i voted on some things when it was 80% against me or 85 but i thought it was the right thing to do for the country. and i think sometimes people have to think about that here and measure the facts and measure the consequences of not acting. that would be my final comment mr. chairman. you've been very, very generous. and i really appreciate all the members of the kefment i apologize for leaving now but as i said i have to go have the conversation to try to help see if there is any reality to this process. thank you. >> thank you mr. secretary. and i think you've said it well. i think all of the members of congress, both sides of the ilse and both sides of the capitol, want to do what is right. finding how you determine what is right is the hard thing. and people i think can be very honest, very sincere, very hard
working, and think they're doing what's right and be totally opposite. and this is why we're going through this process. we thank you for what you're doing and thank you for being here. and ms. hanbusea. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, will web able to put some questions in writing to the secretary of state though he's left? thank you very much. thank you secretary hailing, good to see you again. of course general dempsey. my question is about really what all of this means. first of all, i don't think there's anyone here that in any way condones the heinous use of the chemical weapons. i think that's a given. however, what we're here for is about the resolution and how we proceed from here. one of the things in reading both yours and secretary
kerry's statements -- and i don't know if you can answer secretary kerry's statement. but he says that of course they're waiting for the proposal. this is the one that we've been discussing all morning. but we're but we're not waiting long. is there a time limit that administration is willing to wait for that proposal? like a week? two weeks? >> i do not know of a specific amount of hours or days. i think the president mentioned this last night. i think it is clear that iroposal has to come rapidly. have not seen the developments other than what secretary kerry announced your on the agreement with some of the countries that he noted to go before the u.n.