Transcript for Susan Rice on pull back of US troops in Syria
So this morning, Turkey announced the start of their military attack against Syria. After you know who withdrew the troops earlier this week. So he seems to be being condemned by both sides. What's the danger in all of this in your opinion? It's super dangerous, and let me explain why. First of all, the kurds who we have abandoned to the Turks who are now trying to kill them with their invasion. Yeah. Were the very people who fought with us, and actually fought for us against ISIS. Because the U.S. Role has been very limited. We have provided training, advice, equipment, air support, but there are actually very few U.S. Troops on the ground, and those that are there have been in advisory capacity for the most part. So these kurds are partners. We have just left to the wolves and the message that that sends to all of our potential allies and partners around the world is, you know, when the president wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, we'll throw you under that's the first problem. The second problem is these people, the kurds, were protecting some 10,000 or more ISIS terrorists that were being held in detention. Now that we have abandoned them, they have no choice but to fight and defend themselves. Those prisoners are either going to be released or escape. That's more than 10,000 fighters that can threaten us in the region, can threaten us through our partners in Europe or can potentially threaten us here in the homeland. The president has traded our national security for I would like to know what. And there's no way to stop him from this? He's the commander in chief. Congress could stop him, and there seems to be a driveway of outrage in congress. But it's already happening. That's right. Exactly. They can sanction Turkey, which they're threatening to do. They can, you know, express if -- look. We're talking about impeachment. Mm-hmm. I don't know what is more dangerous than allowing terrorists to come at us at their will. That's what this is. That's as dangerous as the other stuff that we're talking about. Unbelievable. Wow. Ambassador rice, I'm glad you're here because I actually think about this quite often. Obama's response or lack of response to Syria is considered by many, me being one of them, the great sin of the Obama administration. When Assad crossed that red line and used chemical gas on women and children, and we have seen the pictures everywhere, I just think of the picture of the little boy on the beach where the little boy completely covered in ash, how do you criticize trump's handsoff approach to the Middle East when president Obama as far as I'm concerned wasn't much better? Let me answer that. I appreciate the question. First of all, what we're talking about now is the fight against ISIS which president Obama initiated in Syria. We'll come back to this. And pulleds out of Iraq. Come back to the Syrian red line and chemical weapons. It was president Obama that deployed these hundreds of U.S. Forces to Syria that now president trump has withdrawn. It was he who initiated the fight against ISIS which has been successfully prosecuted. So that's on one side of the the issue you're referring to which I write about in my book at some length is -- Let me make this simple. What do you say to the people of aleppo? Let me answer your question because you posed a specific question about the chemical weapons. As I write in my book "Tough love," I was the one official sitting at the table, the one cabinet official who thought it was a mistake to ask congress for authorization. I was a lone voice. As I look back and reflect, I was right about the politics. I didn't think that president Obama would be granted support from congress, and he wasn't, but I think I was wrong about the policy because at the end of the day, it was possible through diplomacy to get 1,300 metric tons of sarin gas and chemical weapons out of Syria. We have seen president trump twice, use military force in '17 and '18 in response to chemical weapons. I actually supported that action, but it led to nothing. Those chemical weapons are still nothing has changed. It was 24 hours of strikes. I'm not defending trump. What I'm trying to explain is sometimes and I supported this use of force, unless it is translated into diplomacy and action that yields lasting results on the ground. It is not sufficient, and in this case, I think we saw the contrast. We got 13 metric tons of chemical weapons out in the Obama administration. Trump used the force, but nothing changed. Those weapons are still there. The president did not listen to you then. That's what it sounds like. You had advice. I'm the national security adviser. I give my advice. He didn't take it. The others gave their advice, and he took his own counsel, and that was in opposition. That happens once in awhile. Would you say that congress did not support what president Obama wanted to do? Congress did not give president Obama the authority to proceed, and so in the absence of that authority, he went and negotiated a deal with the Russians to force the Syrians to give up their chemical weapon stockpile or at least that which was declared. Had congress given president Obama permission -- The authority. The authority rather to cross the red line, he would have?
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