tv The Journal Editorial Report FOX News August 31, 2013 11:00am-11:31am PDT
we lead with the belief that right makes might. not the other way around. we all know will are no easy options. i wasn't elected to avoid our decisions and neither were the members of the house and senate. i have told you what i believe and our security and our values demand we can not turn away from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons. our democracy is stronger when the president and the people's representatives stand together. i'm ready to act in the face of this operation. today i'm asking congress to send a message to the world. we are ready to move forward together as one nation. thanks very much. >> will you forego a strike if congress disapproves? >> president barack obama saying the u.s. should take military action against syria but also saying that he will seek
authorization from the u.s. congress, talking too house and senate leaders this morning, and he said they agreed to hold 'debate and then a vote when congress gets back. congress is not scheduled to be back until september 9. from the labor day vacation. the president saying that this comes as, he acknowledged, british parliament, voted against prime minister david cameron, for the authorization of force against syria this past week. we believes that he has the authority to president obama said, but he wants congress to weigh in. he said, he wants this action to happen because the u.s. cannot stand by and let chemical weapons be used to gas hundreds of children to death with no action afterwards. he said the implications go beyond chemical warfare and he mentioned the possibility of other countries using nuclear weapons or threatening to do so. he said, we all are war weary in
america but it is time to step to this plate. so he has now announced he will seek authorization from the u.s. congress and that means that we will not seek tomahawk cruise missiles launched into syria before at least september 9 and the debate and vote in the u.s. congress. stay tuned to fox news channel and this fox station for continuing coverage of this developing story. >> let's bring in our refraction new panel to what the president just said. chris wallace and we welcome fox news political analyst i want williams and fox news contributor steve hayes of "the weekly standard." amazing to see the turnaround of statements from this -- time-sensitive issue that needs to happen.
waiting for this vote in congress. item very skeptical he will be able to win on that vote. >> mitch mcconnell with the statement today the president advised me that he will seek an authorization for the use of force from the congress prior to initiating any combat operations against syria and in response to the use of chemical weapons. the role is strengthened when he enjoys the express support from congress. that from mitch mcconnell. your thoughts about what we heard? >> i think the pressure from not only the american people in terms of poll numbers that express great concern about going into syria, no matter if
it is a limited intervention and limited duration, has carried the day here. i think you heard this expressed from member of congress, both democrats and republicans, and the people who have used the president's own words against him. previously he said the president should go to congress and have some authorization. this is a moment, i think, you can see that we are a democracy. the power of the people here is prevailing. american people are not convinced we are going have a good impact and not convinced that we have reviewed all of the possible repercussions of this action. you hear more and more talk that it -- attacks worse in the situation for better reason we had not intervened previously which is giving aid to al qaeda and prominent role among the rebels inside of syria. here is the president, i think, responding not only as i said to the american people and public opinion in the congress, but to -- martin democrat circumstances chairman of joint chiefs of staff, according to what the president said, indicated to him, that an attack on syria by the united states is
going going to be effective today, tomorrow, or next week. the time doesn't matter. i think that will open the door to allowing him to wait on the september 9 discussion or debate inside of the congress. >> chris, what the president looks at the vote in the british parliament, a vote where this was shot down and prime minister david cameron made an impassioned plea for action, the parliament voted no, what president then says, you know, i would like to do that? he said he was elected to make hard decisions. but in this case, and there are calls for senators and house members to do just this, but in this case, he is passing this to congress to make this vote before he makes a hard decision after the british parliament voted down prime minister cameron. >> pleat pick up on the tone of
your question. i am astonished at what the president decided to do today. in his statement, he said, well, i believe that i have the authority to launch this attack, i believe that the country will be stronger and issue is too big for business as usual. one can certainly argue the sxas plenty of people, as i want said believe in congress and out, he should get congressional authorization because a long history from ronald reagan to bill clinton, a long history, jerry ford, presidents have taken it among themselves, commander in chief, when it is a limited action, and this certainly will be -- we were talking whether it was 48 hours or 96 hours, to take that action, authority, upon himself and to go ahead. now we are talking about -- the president said, i'm looking forward to this debate as if it is going to be another campaign. he is going -- i disagree with steve. i think he will make the case for affirmatively and -- make the argument but we are now
talking -- as you subway 10, welfare days, whatever it is, september 9, before congress comes back. and then they have the debate and then vote. this is going to ache us into mid september in addition to which we are going to face a budget crisis while all that is going on. let's just suppose for a minute that we end up like the british parliament to take your question and they -- congress ends up voting it down. we just had john kerry yesterday saying the not just syria. whole world is watching. iran is watching. hezbollah is watching. north korea is watching to see how our country will respond to the use of unconventional weapons of mass destruction by these regimes. if they vote it down, i can't imagine that if he takes it to congress for a vote and vote no, he will go aand do it anyway, what's the message we send to the world then? i am astonished by the decision to do this. the only thing that's talked about polls, the polls from -- really have been bad for the president to decide. i have to go to congress. it is a good political decision.
i'm not so sure it is a good decision for the commander in chief. >> joining us to weigh in charles krauthammer. we talked this week on the special report panel about this reluctant president really in every statement he made, sense of reluctance, to get involved, number one. number two, the outlay of how limited it was going to be. now this announcement that he's going to pause essentially, wait for the debate, and vote in congress on september 9. they get back at 2:00 p.m., september 9. >> i think it is astonishing the way that my colleagues have described it. but the most astonishing thing is the lack of any urgency. as you say, congress will be back in a week. he says, i can strike in a day or a week or a month. as if he is a judge handing down a sentence. and the execution can be any time in the future.
will is a war going on. do you think everybody is going to hold their breath, hold their arms? step aside until obama decides when he wants to go to congress? look, i think he should go to congress. i think it is absolutely necessary. but he has done no preparation. what they should have done -- this is amateur hour. when there was the first attacks six months ago or when we had the current attacks, he should have immediately have called in to congress and the way the prime minister of britain called in the parliament. had a debate and got a resolution and then went out and told the world we are going do x or we are not going to do x. the idea that you make the case, you leak the details, you tell the world that this has to be done, and then you say, well, i will take my time and go to congress and we will see. this should be done in three days. it isn't as if people are not aware of the arguments. you should go out there and bring them in and have it done by the end of the week.
the world, i think, will have higher respect. this looks as if if you are a cynic, syria, iran, moscow, it looks like a president who boxed himself into a corner and is looking for a way out. >> stand by. chief white house correspondent ed henry is at the white house. getting ready for a briefing. ed, your thoughts on the president's speech and what the reaction is there after days and days of kind of this leak about what was going to happen? >> reporter: it is stunning. as now know -- press medical the briefing room day assistant day about whether or not the president would go to congress to get authorization and we were rebuffed and told he was just consulting congress. he called, briefings. et cetera. i talked about the word reluctance. he has been a reluctant warrior throughout this debate. nobel peace prize winner, as he
spoke in the rose garden, you can hear them now probably, protesters behind me, on the north side, of the white house gates, who are anti-war protesters shouting -- stay out, obama. we were told that he could hear those protesters in the rose garden. it was audible. important information to impart. the president does not return from the summit until friday, september 6. you mentioned that polling week, september 9, both chambers of congress are not scheduled to come back until the 9th and could move that up. remember, what else is happening in early to mid september. got a debate about the debt ceiling that will be met soon and get the government shut down that's looming at the end of september. the immigration reform bill. the president has been pushing. all that is going to happen to be pushed to the side. he made this issue number one to be dealt with. he will get credit on capitol hill for listening to the critics. i'm not sure he will get the vote, as you heard from stephen sxhas others. mitch msh mcconnel and his statement committed to a vote but did not commit support when
he said the president's role as commander in chief is strengthened whether he enjoys the express support of the congress. he said when he enjoys the express support. it is better for the commander in sxheef it is unclear whether he will have the votes in the house and senate. a lot of work to do. >> ed henry of the white house. head back after the briefing. joining us now, chief washington correspondent james rosen. a couple of -- first, your thoughts on the president's speech. also, what message this sends to the rebels on the ground that the u.s. is supporting syria. >> as you know, the obama administration has long refrained from engaging more forcefully in the two-plus year syrian civil war. and much to the chagrin of the syrian web else who shed blood to try to out the dictator, assad, who has now in the conflict used chemical weapons to such devastating effect. the rebels will not be pleased by this suspension of u.s.
action. presidents like to portray themselves as the shapers of history. as -- as -- as shaping the forces around them. and in this case, what president obama has effective decline, and this requires no resourceful opinion, he has placed himself now in the role of witness to power. power he has invest medical the congress to decide u.s. action going forward. even show the president makes the claim that he has a legal standing to proceed without an authorization of force from congress. couple of other points that i thought were interesting. was that he asked some countries around the world not just to applaud what the u.s. may docilently or privately but rather to stand up publicly with us. that was a reference owe bleakly in my eyes to the arab league and saudis and to -- to other governments in the middle east that might support action against assad but that it is time to make your -- views public. one final point, if i may. he talked about the capacity,
degrading of the capacity, for assad to carry out this kind of attack again. that suggested if and when the united nations does get around to military action, in syria, it is going to be focused as we have been roaring some days now, on assad's chemical weapons delivery systems. >> thank you. we are getting word from syrian tv that the syrians are declaring victory saying the u.s. has could your cowered awa military action. what are you getting? >> reporter: syrian television has been having propaganda fills going on for days about the strength of the syrian military. they said if attacked they would strike israel. now just after the president's speech, some of which they carried live, they have now cut to a correspondent will on the streets of damascus. something of a street party
interviewing women, children, and men who are out celebrating. essentially declaring victory. israelis cowhering in their shelters, lining up for gas masks, america says that they won't strike. obviously there is a little bit of a nuance here. it certainly seems as though the syrians are going to take it and run with it very far. we haven't heard from president assad or anything like that yet. whether he will talk or not. we are not clear whether he will make some sort -- type of statement going forward. the thing that is interesting also on the other side of the coin, is what is happening in israel here now. remember, some of the language that president obama has used in terms of red line and what he will do, not, even what he alluded to in his speech, saying if we don't act now, what does it say to countries that may want to get a nuclear weapon? that very clearly is talking about iran. will is now going to be a lot of strategic evaluations in terms of okay, if you laid down a red line for syria, didn't do anything, or waiting for
congressional approval to do things, what happens to the red line vis-a-vis iran's nuclear weapons program? which is obviously the looming threat here in israel that the prime minister is so concerned about. tried to exact -- whole lot of promises from the americans on syrian tv. still now keeping going with this streak party they have out there, now, whether that is manufactured, little bit of propaganda, obviously there is not a lot of -- places in damascus where there can be a start st. party. there is a civil war going on. this is the assad regime declaring victory after very strong and harsh words and language they have had over the past couple of days. >> you mentioned did israeli reactions. some of the earlier intelligence for -- from the u.s. intelligence community about the use of chemical weapons being from syria's government came, we are told, from israel. some of it. and obviously they are in the
neighborhood. they are under let always. this has to be -- and it is early, an interesting time for reaction from the israelis. >> absolutely. israelis have the best intelligence networks in syria. very good signals called the 8200 units which packs a lot of the phone calls coming out of syria. has great eavesdropping ability there in syria. lot of good language skills. they also have some of the oldest human intelligence networks. actually spies on the ground. immediately following the march chemical attack, it was the israelis who almost immediately said that this was chemical weapons used. you may remember even the americans are saying between don't think so. we are not sure. it was months for the americans to confirm and it israelis confirmed it. have not heard them so far confirm that there is a smoking gun here. we have not heard from our sources yet, hey, there is a smoking gun. it appears this time the americans are much farther out
in front than the israelis. israelis struck syria a couple of times. so far this year. specifically targeted weapons sis items this that will be moved, they said, from president assad's regime to hezbollah's militant group in lebanon. speed to-to-surface missiles, anti-ship missiles, anti-aircraft mills, that kind of thing. iranian revolutionary guard force working inside of syria. they did that with pinpoint intelligence. very, very much real-time intelligence. it does not appear as though that's the kind of stuff the u.s. was basing its intoll generals assessment off of. that has been a lot of discussion. other thing that's being discussed here in israel is the fact that what is going, israel, if you say you are going to do something in the middle east you better do it right now. or that goes to the core of your credibility. that's something the israelis will be talking about over the next couple of days from the greater sense of the middle east. >> thank you.
take a listen now to a part of that speech in the rose garden when the president does talk about the potential military action. >> after careful deliberation i decided the united states should take military action against syrian regime targets. this will not be an open-ended intervention. we would not put boots to the ground. instead our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. i'm confident that we can hold the assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons and deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out. >> talking about the military action seconds ago. this tweet from british prime minister david cameron. i understand and support barack obama's position on syria. understand that the british prime minister suffered a month vote from parliament this past week on his impassioned plea to
get involved in syria in some way, shape or form. another reluctant party in this has been the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who has been warning about potential air defenses by syria and he has been -- would you say, national security correspondent jennifer griffin, at the pentagon, in briefings, very reticent, if you will about any kind of action? >> i think that -- it is fair to say general dempsey for the last two-plus years, has been the most vocal voice against any sort of military action in syria. warning of the cost of the amount of troops hay would immediate in order to secure chemical weapons and to make any sort of difference and if, of course, regime change was what was being skrd ever considered, general dempsey warned against that for many months. when -- according to senior defense officials, when -- general dempsey was given the assignment of coming up with a plan for what would be a limited strike, what they call, in the pentagon, a deter and degrade
strike, degrade be -- assad regime forces and deter him from using chemical weapons, that's a more narrow mission. i'm told that general dempsey was onboard with that. he presented options which were very limited in nature. that's why you see the limited buildup in terms of destroyerses and tomahawk missiles but not large ground forces or any sort of suggestion that there would be an air force used to go in and take out the air defense system to which would be complicateted because those are manned by russians. general dempsey has been onboard for a limited mission. i did hear earlier this week that once the u.s. did not decide to strike earlier in the week, that times that as the time went on chairman dempsey's advice was you can wait. let's wait and see how the regime reacts and how the other regional powers react and let's let them -- scramble a little bit for the next paw days. you heard the president say very clearly that chairman dempsey had told him that a military action would be as effective in
the next coming days. as had would be in next coming weeks or months. will was sense of -- urgency that they were seeing the pentagon and the intelligence community was seeing the assad regime adjust and move some of those chemical weapons delivery systems out of those bases and those would have been targets. >> retired u.s. army major general fox news military analyst tom scales joins us now. general, we are all talking about how astonished this series of events has become as we spent the last few days talking about this imminent action. your thoughts on what the president ed and did today and what i manassas militarily. >> let me just briefly give you what i sense to be the military response to all of this. i think all of my contacts in the pentagon to include those in the joint of chiefs staff are breathing a huge sigh of relief. and they are still incredulous
about the decisionmaking process. i think that they are all leaved we backed off a little bit and are taking a more strategic raern than a tactical look strike at syria. secondly, we can look at it from the perspective of the syrian army. now they have time to unbolt the radars to move everything not only in the woods but into some sort of permanent storage. i think the syrian generals are thinking to themselves, boy, we dodged a bullet. i think that they are thinking right now this won't get through congress and so i think, frankly, i think the syrian's man on the street along with soldiers, i think we got away with it. the final military, of course, are the rebels. they are not going to get any weapons. they don't have a rifle yet. there will not be a no-fly zone. many are sort of giving up hope because the united states won't even do this pinprick, if you will, this -- cruise missile strike. in against syrian installations.
how are they going to help us beat the syrian army in this bloody civil war? >> to that point, general, so far, what we -- know, support to the rebels has been mall arms, and some training, we are told. that for people who wanted to move the ball in syria from a u.s. support perspective was less than they wanted. and now you have this move. how for military force like rebels trying to get on its feet, how demoralize sing had a? how much does it mean for the potential battle that assad is waging against hem? >> let's do a little military 101. the only way the rebels are ever going to give the initiative back, particularly after this horrific event of a couple of weeks ago is to get weapons that will actually harm the syrian major weapons systems. this includes anti-tank guided missiles. and anti-aircraft missiles and it is going to include much more robust command and control.
heck of a lot more ammunition than they have now. in other words, not only tons of munitions but probably hundreds of tons of munitions that can only come really over the long term from the united states. they are also going to need training. they are going to need adviser and have to -- they are going to have to sort of go back to school and learn how to go back to damascus and do this next time. in their minds, that's not going to happen. >> as always, thank you. moments ago a statement from the house gop leadership. this is include house speaker boehner, majority leader canter and kevin mccarthy, under the constitution, the responsibility to declare a war lies with congress. we are glad that the president is seeking authorization for any military action in syria in response to syria's substantive questions being raised. continuing, in consultation with the president, we expect the house to consider a measure the
week of september 9. this provides the president time to make his case to congress and the american people. with that we will take a short break and talk about congressional authorization and what was said today by the president in the rose garden. >> having made my decision, i'm mindful that i'm the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. i long believed that our power is rooted molt just in our military might but in our example as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. that's why i made a second decision. i will seek authorization for the use of force from the american people's representatives in congress. okay, listen up! i'm re-workin' the menu.
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