President Clinton on Wednesday at an event with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that President Obama risks looking like “a total fool” in paying to much attention to opinion polls on Syria, according to Politico.
A recent poll found that 68 percent of Americans said the U.S. should not use military force to end the civil war in Syria should diplomatic efforts fail.
“Some people say, ‘Okay, see what a big mess it is? Stay out!’ I think that’s a big mistake. I agree with you about this,” Clinton told McCain. “Sometimes it’s just best to get caught trying, as long as you don’t overcommit — like, as long as you don’t make an improvident commitment.” Clinton didn’t get into specifics about what the U.S. should be doing outside of current policy, but added:
“I don’t mean that a leader should go out of his way or her way to do the unpopular thing, I simply mean when people are telling you ‘no’ in these situations, very often what they’re doing is flashing a giant yellow light and saying, ‘For God’s sakes, be careful, tell us what you’re doing, think this through, be careful.”
Clinton continued, “But still they hire their president to look around the corner and down the street, and you just think – if you refuse to act and you cause a calamity, the one thing you cannot say when all the eggs have been broken, is that, ‘Oh my God, two years ago there was a poll that said 80 percent of you were against it.’ Right? You’d look like a total fool. So you really have to in the end trust the American people, tell them what you’re doing, and hope to God you can sell it” and that it turns out okay in the end.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that a top Syrian rebel commander “has issued a desperate plea for weapons from Western governments to prevent the fall of his forces in Aleppo, pushing the Obama administration to decide quickly whether to agree to arm rebels for the first time or risk the loss of another rebel stronghold just days after the regime’s biggest victory.”
Obama’s top national security aids, including Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey reportedly met at the White House on Wednesday to discuss U.S. policy on Syria.
The New York Times reported that “Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said Thursday, with 92,901 killings documented there through the end of April, a number that may understate the magnitude of the violence in the 25-month civil war.”
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