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Response to kwassa (Reply #217)

Tue Jan 19, 2016, 03:53 PM

218. No, HRC and Petraeus championed the policy, which Obama cut off.

Yes, I blame her for being an author and a principal backer of a failed policy with catastrophic results. She was a leading advocate, not just an instrument of policies of regime change in Libya and Syria.

As a result of the failure of this policy that he had most aggressively pursued, Petraeus was fired and a few months later the President graciously accepted the resignation of the Secretary of State. It was Obama who restrained and ultimately brought this operation to a halt. The conflict within the Administration and the roles taken by Clinton and the other principals were all described in a series of articles in the WSJ and NYT. I'll dig out the links for you.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/08/us/politics/panetta-speaks-to-senate-panel-on-benghazi-attack.html?_r=0
deep divisions over what to do about one of those issues — the rising violence in Syria — spilled into public view for the first time in a blunt exchange between Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and the leaders of the Pentagon.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta acknowledged that he and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, had supported a plan last year to arm carefully vetted Syrian rebels. But it was ultimately vetoed by the White House, Mr. Panetta said, although it was developed by David H. Petraeus, the C.I.A. director at the time, and backed by Hillary Rodham Clinton, then the secretary of state.

(. . .)

Neither Mr. Panetta nor General Dempsey explained why President Obama did not heed their recommendation. But senior American officials have said that the White House was worried about the risks of becoming more deeply involved in the Syria crisis, including the possibility that weapons could fall into the wrong hands. And with Mr. Obama in the middle of a re-election campaign, the White House rebuffed the plan, a decision that Mr. Panetta says he now accepts.

With the exception of General Dempsey, the officials who favored arming the rebels have either left the administration or, as in Mr. Panetta’s case, are about to depart. Given that turnover, it is perhaps not surprising that the details of the debate — an illustration of the degree that foreign policy decisions have been centralized in the White House — are surfacing only now. A White House spokesman declined to comment on Thursday.



http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/us/politics/in-behind-scene-blows-and-triumphs-sense-of-clinton-future.html WASHINGTON — Last summer, as the fighting in Syria raged and questions about the United States’ inaction grew, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton conferred privately with David H. Petraeus, the director of the C.I.A. The two officials were joining forces on a plan to arm the Syrian resistance.

The idea was to vet the rebel groups and train fighters, who would be supplied with weapons. The plan had risks, but it also offered the potential reward of creating Syrian allies with whom the United States could work, both during the conflict and after President Bashar al-Assad’s eventual removal.

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Petraeus presented the proposal to the White House, according to administration officials. But with the White House worried about the risks, and with President Obama in the midst of a re-election bid, they were rebuffed.

( . . .)

The disclosures about Mrs. Clinton’s behind-the-scenes role in Syria and Myanmar — one a setback, the other a success — offer a window into her time as a member of Mr. Obama’s cabinet. They may also be a guide to her thinking as she ponders a future run for the presidency with favorability ratings that are the highest of her career, even after her last months at the State Department were marred by the deadly attack on the American Mission in Benghazi, Libya.

“Secretary Clinton has dramatically changed the face of U.S. foreign policy globally for the good,” said Richard L. Armitage, deputy secretary of state during the George W. Bush administration. “But I wish she had been unleashed more by the White House.”

(. . .)

After Britain and France argued for intervening to defend Libya’s rebels against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Mrs. Clinton played an important role in mobilizing a broad international coalition and persuading the White House to join the NATO-led operation.

But it was Syria that proved to be the most difficult test. As that country descended into civil war, the administration provided humanitarian aid to the growing flood of refugees, pushed for sanctions and sought to organize the political opposition. The United States lagged France, Britain and Persian Gulf states in recognizing that opposition as the legitimate representative of the Syria people, but by December, Mr. Obama had taken that step.

Still, rebel fighters were clamoring for weapons and training. The White House has been reluctant to arm them for fear that it would draw the United States into the conflict and raise the risk of the weapons falling into the wrong hands. Rebel extremists affiliated with Al Qaeda had faced no such constraints in securing weapons from their backers.

When Mr. Petraeus was the commander of forces in Iraq and then-Senator Clinton was serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee and preparing for her 2008 presidential bid, she had all but called him a liar for trumpeting the military gains of the troop increase ordered by President Bush. But serving together in the Obama administration, they were allies when it came to Syria, as well as on the debate over how many troops to send to Afghanistan at the beginning of the administration.

Mr. Petraeus had a background in training foreign forces from his years in Iraq, and his C.I.A. job put him in charge of covert operations. The Americans already had experience in providing nonlethal assistance to some of the rebels.


http://www.thenation.com/blog/172774/obama-opposed-syria-war-plan-clinton-petraeus-panetta-gen-dempsey Let’s give the White House and President Obama, personally, credit for blocking the hawks in his administration from going to war in Syria.

Last week, we learned that Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus, now thankfully pursuing other opportunities and spending more time with their families, had cooked up a plan to arm and train the ragtag Syrian rebels, thus getting the United States directly involved in that horrible civil war.

Now we learn that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs—both of whom are about to join Clinton and Petraeus in the private sector—also backed the Clinton-Petraeus plan,

Who was against it? Obama.

Here’s how The New York Times reports the bombshell revelation, which emerged at a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing with Panetta and Dempsey, under questioning from the invariably pro-war John McCain:

Did the Pentagon, Mr. McCain continued, support the recommendation by Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Petraeus “that we provide weapons to the resistance in Syria? Did you support that?”

“We did,” Mr. Panetta said.

“You did support that,” Mr. McCain said.

“We did,” General Dempsey added.

Despite the formidable coalition of Panetta, Clinton, Petraeus, and Dempsey—and no doubt Susan Rice was in there punching, too—Obama nixed the idea.

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LineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineNew Reply No, HRC and Petraeus championed the policy, which Obama cut off.
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