'This Week' Transcript: S&P's John Chambers, Governor Martin O'Malley and Senator Jeff Sessions

FORD: My whole purpose in being in Syria is to be able to communicate not only with the Syrian government, but with the Syrian people more generally. I will be very frank again: The Syrian television, operated by the state, operated by the dictatorship, is not credible and tells all kinds of lies.

So we are looking for ways to reach out to the Syrian public through social media, through things like Facebook, and by going out and about in the country.

AMANPOUR: So you're going to keep tweaking them, you're going to keep waving sort of the red flag in front of the bull in the way you can?

FORD: It's important to bear witness to what the Syrian government is doing. In that kind of environment, where the international press, international television can't move around freely, it is really important for diplomats to be able to move around, to understand what the Syrian government is doing on the ground.

The Syrian government does not tell the truth. They said there were armed gangs in Hama. Well, the only weapon I saw was a slingshot. So it's important to bear witness, and it's important to relay a message of support.

AMANPOUR: You want change on ground. Do you want Assad out?

FORD: We have said he has lost his legitimacy. But in the end, Christiane, it doesn't really matter as much what we say or what the international community says as what the Syrian people say and what the Syrian people do.

AMANPOUR: It seems obvious what the Syrian people want. They want a democratic transition, and they want the fall of this regime. The president of the United States, Barack Obama, called on a long-time U.S. ally, Hosni Mubarak, to leave. He's not doing that to not such an ally and somebody who's committing much more violence, Bashar Assad. Should the president of the United States say that it is time for Bashar al-Assad to step down?

FORD: Well, you're absolutely right that Bashar al-Assad is using a great deal more violence than was used in Egypt. We have said -- and we've been very clear on this -- we do not view Bashar al-Assad as indispensable. We do not view his continuation in power as important to American interests. We have said we view him and his government as the source of instability and the source of violence in Syria.

I think our views are very clear. The president has said his government will be left in the past. The meaning is clear, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Many Americans watching this unfolding say, well, look, the United States joined a coalition of a no-fly zone, a military intervention in Libya, for instance. There's no such thing on the horizon for Syria. Can you explain that?

FORD: The Libyan situation is very different from what we have in Syria. Probably the first and foremost thing, in my discussions, moving around the country and talking to people, even in Hama, where there's this atrocity going on right now, even in Hama, when I talk to people there, what do you think about what the Americans should do, the international community? They were very clear, Christiane, they did not want American military intervention. I want to underline that: They did not want American military intervention.

AMANPOUR: What is the United States going to do to ratchet up the pressure to try to influence what's happening there?

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...