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Fri Feb 8, 2013, 10:46 AM

Panetta Exposes Rift With Obama Over Arming Syrian Rebels

The Obama administration’s two top defense officials publicly acknowledged a policy rift with the White House over whether to send U.S. arms to Syrian rebels.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is retiring, and Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both said in congressional testimony yesterday that they supported a plan last year to provide weapons to the rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

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“We did,” said Dempsey, responding to McCain’s question on whether they supported the plan to arm Assad’s opponents by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus, who was director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time.

“That was our position,” Panetta said to Graham. “I do want to say, senator, that obviously there were a number of factors that were involved here that ultimately led to the president’s decision to make it non-lethal.”

MORE...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-07/panetta-exposes-rift-with-obama-over-arming-syrian-rebels.html

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Panetta Exposes Rift With Obama Over Arming Syrian Rebels (Original post)
Purveyor Feb 2013 OP
leveymg Feb 2013 #1
flamingdem Feb 2013 #4
leveymg Feb 2013 #5
AtomicKitten Feb 2013 #7
Beacool Feb 2013 #9
leveymg Feb 2013 #13
Beacool Feb 2013 #14
leveymg Feb 2013 #15
TwilightGardener Feb 2013 #2
Beacool Feb 2013 #10
TwilightGardener Feb 2013 #11
Beacool Feb 2013 #12
dsc Feb 2013 #17
Beacool Feb 2013 #18
madrchsod Feb 2013 #3
AtomicKitten Feb 2013 #6
Drunken Irishman Feb 2013 #8
bemildred Feb 2013 #16

Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 10:52 AM

1. Note that this push was being led by Petraeus and Clinton. Note who was departed first.

Note also that we would be at war with Iran right now, if those parties had their way.

I'll say it - if all this is true, we are indeed fortunate to have elected and re-elected Obama.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 11:25 AM

4. Wow, after seeing this I agree we dodged it with Obama

Whew!

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 11:35 AM

5. I know which candidate I will oppose in '16.

Best Secretary of State, ever!

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Response to leveymg (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:50 PM

7. evah

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Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:51 PM

9. Note that it is only your opinion.

I doubt that we would be at war with Iran. Besides, if Iran were to attack Israel with nuclear weapons, Obama would aid Israel. Or do you think that he would allow Iran to start a nuclear war?

As for Syria, let's just hide our head in the sand and pretend that thousands of civilians are not being butchered by Assad.

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Response to Beacool (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 12:36 AM

13. Israel has nukes, Iran doesn't. Syria is a 2-way butchery. We don't need

To add to the killing in the region.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 12:13 PM

14. Yes, but Israel hasn't attacked their neighbors with their nuclear weapons.

If Iran does manage to get nukes, I wouldn't be so sure that they wouldn't use them against the Israelis. If that were to happen, the US would have no choice but to get involved.

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Response to Beacool (Reply #14)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:48 PM

15. Israel threatened Syria and Egypt w/nukes in '73, as well as Iran now. Why should they have a

monopoly on nuclear weapons, and why should we threaten war so they can keep it?

Seems that if this Administration were really interested in counter-proliferation, we would be applying pressure and sanctions on Israel to retire it's nuclear arsenal, or at least to make a serious no-first-use pledge. Israel won't even formally admit to it's own formidable nuclear arsenal that goes back to just before it preemptively launched the Six Day War in '67, having just completed its first couple of deliverable A-bombs constructed with plutonium looted from a US Navy facility in PA, stolen right under the nose of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Wink, wink. Nod, nod.

Unlike Israel, Iran hasn't started a war in modern history. Unlike Israel, Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons, but given the behavior of the US and Israel in recent times, it hardly seems irrational for them to try to obtain that deterrent capability.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 11:01 AM

2. His CIA director, the Joint Chiefs chairman, his SecDef, and his SoS all wanted him

to do this. What made Obama ultimately decide against it, despite such overwhelming support for the plan? Smart man, glad he has enough self-confidence to make his own judgments.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:53 PM

10. It was an election year.

Not a time to make waves. He is smart, no doubt about it, but so are the people mentioned above.

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Response to Beacool (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 08:01 PM

11. That might be part of it--can't risk things going badly wrong. But I also think

Obama is naturally reluctant to engineer to this extent in another country's war, considering that often doesn't go well. Hard to control weapons.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 09:08 PM

12. Yes, but remember Rwanda?

It was Bill's greatest regret. When does it become a moral obligation to help when civilians are being slaughtered by the thousands? It's a fine line to walk.

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Response to Beacool (Reply #12)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 09:59 PM

17. for many of the critics in this thread

I suspect it is the minute Obama decides to arm them and not one second before.

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Response to dsc (Reply #17)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:41 PM

18. Good point.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 11:17 AM

3. can they be really that stupid to become involved in syria?

that`s the last place the us needs to be involved in.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:44 PM

6. If it's true there was unanimous agreement on arming the Syrian rebels

... President Obama stood alone in opposition.

Good on him.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 02:14 PM

8. More proof the President matters a helluva lot more than the cabinet members.

Which shows why people shouldn't get too upset over specific members being chosen - at the end, it's the President's call ... especially on national security.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:34 PM

16. At least somebody worries about blowback. nt

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