tv FOX News Watch FOX News September 1, 2013 12:30pm-1:01pm PDT
mistakes during my time in the seat. i am grateful. for the last time on this final "news watch," a big thank you to the staff and crew along with judy miller, joe and cal and rick. i'm jon scott. thanks for making "news watch" part of your weekend. fox news alert on the escalating crisis in syria. a classified briefing just now wrapping up moments ago on capitol hill. lawmakers from the house and senate arriving here a short time ago. there you see them. reviewing the latest details on the syrian civil war and the allegations of the chemical weapons attack. as the obama administration now decides to ask congress to authorize a military strike against the bashar al assad regime. hello. i'm greg. welcome to the news headquarters. >> i'm heather childers. we are waiting for the outcome
of the briefing and the president's call to take military action. >> nobody wants to have a slippery slope. i'm not for boots on the ground. i'm not leading to the war. i think for us to stand by and be silent when the acts are being committed. >> we have live team coverage. leland vittert is standing by in the mid east bureau. first let's go to peter. what is the latest on the hill. they just wrapped up. >> they did, heather. lawmakers did just receive the first briefing since they found out yesterday that they are going to have a chance to vote on whether or not they should authorize the use of military force against the assad regime. since it is a holiday weekend, only 60 or 70 lawmakers showed up. it was mostly house members and senators. some wore suits.
some were wearing jeans for presentations by officials from the white house and pentagon and the state department. the obama administration officials had been telling us the president does have the ability an to act alone on syria if he chooses to. the president would prefer if congress got on the same page and the secretary of state john kerry said today, he thinks they will. >> i can't imagine that the congress of the united states will not recognize our interests with respect to iran, israel, jordan, turkey, our friends in the region, the syrian people, the opposition. america's credibility is on the line here. i expect the congress of the united states to do what is right and to stand up and be counted. >> right now, the congressional calendar has the whole next week blocked off as recess with senators and congress members returning to the capitol on
september 9th at 2:00 p.m. leaders in each chamber said this is a possibility they could come back sooner. >> is congress expected to vote in favor of authorizing military action in syria as we just heard kerry say he believes they will do? >> heather, we heard some lawmakers in support and we heard some still undecided. the overwhelming support is they get a chance to debate on it. the timing of the president's decision to let congress vote on this now is problematic for some. >> we should have thought of before telling the world that the united states was going to respond. the fact we waited so long and bashar al assad has been able to disperse his forces and move various units around and leaks have been massive, more than any that i have ever seen indicates more and more that this strike may be a political exercise
rather than one that is military. >> mccain also said if congress votes against the president, that would set a catastrophic precedent. there are some lawmakers like republican congress member scott riggle, if the vote was today, his vote would be no. the administration has clearly their work cut out for them if they want congress on the same page as the president. >> they will be working to do that. peter doocy, thank you. america's closest ally is ramping up as president obama hold off a potential military strike. israel is just across the syrian border. now benjamin netanyahu says his country is ready to defend itself from any threat. leland vittert is live in
jerusalem. leland, some are referring to the president as a coward. >> reporter: absolutely. on the record, they are saying tough things. one israeli official said president obama's inaction refusal to bomb is tantamount to the extermination camps in nazi germany. officials are warning of what does red line really mean anymore in the sense of what is the american president laying down that red line actually count for? on the other side, the syrians have been declaring victory. in fact, the syrian deputy prime minister went on television last night and said the americans lost the battle before it began.
remember the syrians spent the past week moving around the men and equipment and clearing out chemical weapons warehouses in preparations for an attack from the united states. they want the ability as they promise to respond and attack israel. the question going forward is what do they do with this next week? will we see more syrian troop movement? will they keep the war footing anticipating the u.s. attack? do they think this is not going to happen? greg. >> the benefactor for syria is iran who may be laughing at the president and saying, you know, when he claims he draws a red line in the sand, it is like i was kidding. how does this play into the iran nuclear situation? >> reporter: very much the american resolve on syria was looked at as a test case for the american resolve on the iranian
nuclear issue. president obama said the iranians would not be allowed to have a nuclear bomb. if you talk to folks who are hawkish. those who support benjamin netanyahu and those who beat the drum saying there needs to be a military attack on iran, they say this proves that israel has to have the ability to go it alo alone. if they go it alone, it moves the timetable up. israel is more limited in the bombing range abilities compared to the americans. the american promise is always seen as an insurance policy. there is a serious question among israeli leaders as to how good that insurance policy really is. israel right now is still on very much of a high alert. they have the iron-dome missile defense system deployed. they have a number of leaves canceled. they called up reserve forces. this is a dangerous period over the next couple of weeks as everyone reevaluates the maps
and figures out the latest move by president obama going forward. greg. >> and the ayotollah may say let's plan as long as we have the benefactor of president obama in office. leland vittert live in jerusalem. leland, thanks. we are seeing mixed reaction in the u.s. the president's remarks yesterday triggering rallies across the country. hundreds of people showing up to the duelling protests in houston. expressing opinions both for and against military intervention. brian is in the new york city newsroom with the latest on that. >> heather, congress may an want to wait until they return on september 9th for the strike on syria approval. americans are not wasting anytime letting the president know where they stand. anti-war protests breaking out in washington, d.c. about 200 people protesting
outside the white house holding signs and chanting. police separating the two groups. one young protester saying the u.s. needs to help innocent syrians. >> we have to tell assad that chemical weapons is ridiculous to use against innocent. we have to prevent bombs. >> reporter: in new york city, chanting no war on syria from the people. at pershing square, many were against it. in boston, over 100 syrian-americans gathered on boston common. >> i want to see the real documents. i want to see the evidence. you can't just come out and tell me that a government used weapons of mass destruction against civilians and deny your own people evidence. >> reporter: now smaller anti-war protests took place in
san francisco, chicago and austin, texas. recent polls show americans are evenly divided as to whether the u.s. should take military action against seyrisyria. >> thank you, brian. we mentioned a moment ago that lawmakers have been at capitol hill for a briefing on national security. here elijahcummings. let's listen in. >> i think a lot of people and my constituents, i attend a church of 10,000, and most of these people, i say the average education is about four years of college. i don't think many of our constituents understand the full significance of chemical and biological warfare. that is something the president has got to spend some time explaining the significance of
that and why it is off limits with regard to 98% of the world. because i think people have -- i think we have to be careful that the administration is not talking above people's heads when they don't understand the bas basics. another thing that i think we want to know and my constituents have asked over and over is what is the relationship to the united states? in other words, is there a threat? a lot of this comes with the background, of course, of being war weary. people are concerned as i am. then there is another issue that we are concerned about. i am concerned about what are the possible unintended consequences. finally, congress is placed in an interesting position because
if we don't vote for the resolution, the question is whether or not assad is strengthened. >> if the vote were taken today, would you vote yes or no? >> i cannot say. i have to have a lot of questions answered. i must admit that some of them were answered here today, but there are a lot more questions that have to be answered. >> so it would appear that even elijah cummings has a good sense of how congress is going to vote, at least saying now he doesn't know. as to whether the president will be backed by congress in this move against syria. we'll continue to follow the reaction on capitol hill today as the president throws the football down pennsylvania avenue to the capitol instead of the white house. heather. >> and that's a good question. what is the threat to the u.s.? that is what they want to know and that is what they are trying to find out.
what will happen -- >> the president said it's in our national security interests to do this. he did not explain how it is in our national security interests to do that. >> we'll see. president obama saying any possible military strike on syria would be limited. how effective could that be? we will look at examples. and what are the best options for hitting the assad regime? major bob scales will be joining us about that. ays the me dilemma - whts the allstate safe driving bonus check. rock beats scissors! [ chuckles ] wife beats rock. and with two checks a year, everyone wins. [ female announcer ] switch today and get two safe driving bonus checks a year for driving safely. only from allstate. call 866-906-8500 now. [ dennis ] zach really loves s new camera. problem is...this isn't zach. it's a friend of a friend who was at zach's party and stole his camera. but zach's got it covered... with allstate renters insurance. [ female announcer ] protect your valuables for as low as $4 a month when you add renters insurance to your allstate auto policy. call 866-906-8500 now.
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if congress will support president obama's request to attack syria. starting 30 years ago, the u.s. bombed beirut under the reagan administration. one month later, the suicide bombers struck barracks in the country and more than 200 marines were killed. years later, a bombing raid in libya. under the clinton administration, officials ordered attacks on al qaeda camps in afghanistan. the radical group retaliated and attacking in yemen and following the attacks in september of 2001. these are all incidents weighing on the president's strategy which has no time line.
>> the rationale for the president is as powerful today and if not more powerful each day. >> some lawmakers say we can keep the security strong if it is done correctly and international cooperation. >> every time the united states has acted decisively, there is no retaliation. >> keep in mind, many lawmakers are outspoken before a full debate, that doesn't mean they are on board with an attack. greg, back to you. >> elizabeth, thanks. a giant in television journalism. david frost has died at the age of 74. he may be best remembered for the interviews with president richard nixon following his resignation. for nearly 50 years, frost interviewed seven presidents and british prime ministers and
celebrities ranging from muhammad ali and nixon. >> you can buy the frost interviews in a tv store now a days. incredible. >> where were you? >> you don't know where i was. i was actually on capitol hill when that happened back in the day. as congress prepares to vote on a possible strike against syria, bashar al assad remains defiant insisting his government will not back down. what is the president's plan if military action moves forward? we will talk to general bob scales coming up next. and yoneed it now. ladies, let's goo vegas. cute! waiter! girls' weekend here! priceline savings without the bidding. you see the gray. try root touch-up by nice 'n easy. just brush our permanent color matching creme
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the u.s. military reportedly locked and loaded, ready to attack syria if given the order. gregg? >> well, syrian president bashar al assad remains defiant right now, saying that his can indeed meet any threat from the united states. retired major general bob scales is a fox news military analyst. general scales, thanks for being with us. >> hi, gary. >> it's been a little bit mysterious why the president seems to have changed his mind over the last 24 hours. does it make a difference militarily? >> oh, absolutely. it doesn't make too much of a difference from the offensive side, from our side. we'll be just as capable ten days from now of launching a strike as we are now. the issue really rests with the enemy. look, any time you have a pause in a major operation, you hand both the initiative and the element of time and tactical
surprise to the enemy. so the syrian army now has ten days to reposition, to side, to go to ground, to camouflage and to disperse his critical assets. in addition to that, he sort of owns the psychological high ground. you know, the united states military is not highly regarded in the n.eg and for the man on the street to see the american military with all its might assad and his arma great deal of confidence that we won't do this at all, and probably more dangerous is it really puts a stake in the heart of the resistance that increasingly relying on us to support them in fighting this civil war, gregg. >> are you embarrassed by this? >> i've talked to several of my friends in the pentagon, and i'll just reflect what they say. they were locked and cocked and ready to go on this operation. they were emotionally charged.
they were reaching that, you know, tactical culminating point, and all of the sudden the air went out of this particular operation. they're having a tough time explaining to their counterparts what this is all about as it relates to the u.s. military. >> major general, i also want to ask you about not only the delay, the number of leaks and the amount of information that has come out in reference to what we were planning to do. we know that we have five warships out there. we know that they're armed with tomahawk missiles. we know the targets they were going after. how is this going to affect our response, the delays along with the leaks? >> well, i tell you, heather, the way it was put to me by one official, he said you know what, bob? the longer we delay, the more we leak, the more transparent we are, the less tactical surprise we have. this goes from a strike really more in to something akin to a demonstration.
the odds of this strike ten days from now achieving any decisive results, knocking out say his air force, or knocking out his chemical delivery means unless he is really, really stupid is highly unlikely, because he is absolutely gone to ground, and he is sort of bracing himself for what is about to happen, heather. >> you know, general, we've got about 30 seconds left. is the military disappointed in its commander in chief? >> oh, i wouldn't say disappointed in the commander in chief. you know, these guys don't play politics. what they want to do is get on with the war. i think what they're disappointed in is the -- is the -- is that the big advantage tactical surprise, the initiative, the element of time is slowly disappearing. and for those who have been in war, they'll tell you, if you lose those three elements, then your dominance over the enemy begins to decline as well. >> general bob scales, as always, general, many thanks for being with us. appreciate your insights.
>> thank you, gregg. as secretary of state john kerry presses a case for a strike in syria, we're going to take a look at the intel that has the administration intervention is not only necessary to protect the people there, but our allies as well. too small. too soft. too tasty. [ both laugh ] [ male announcer ] introducing progresso's new creamy alfredo soup. inspired by perfection.
a fox news alert. the obama administration wrapping up a classified briefing for lawmakers just moments ago as it tries to build its case for a military strike against syria. now, the goal to punish the regime for an alleged chemical weapons attack on its own people. secretary of state john kerry saying the u.s. now has concrete proof that sarin gas was used on civilians, killing over one thousand men, women, and children. welcome to america's news headquarters. i'm heather chilleders. >> and i'm gregg jarrett. glad you're with us. the brutality of the attack is one thing. but convincing congress that it