tv At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan CNN September 30, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT
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pope. so what did the pontiff say? the east coast on high alert as hurricane joaquin with a surprise turn toward the u.s. a storm that is growing and unusually unpredictable. this is cnn breaking news. >> hello, everyone, i'm john berman. >> and i'm kate bolduan. happening right now, russia begins airstrikes in syria. and they come after a last-minute heads up and warning to the united states. the warning was keep american fighter jets out of the way. now, the russian military says that they are targeting isis operations with these strikes. but a senior u.s. official says those strikes near the western city of homz are not targeting isis. >> and in an incredibly peculiar sequence in diplomatic terms, the u.s. embassy in baghdad was given just an hour notice from a russian general before the bombs fell inside syria.
earlier today, russian president vladimir putin was given unanimous approval from his parliament to use the air force in syria. the request for military happy was for against isis according to the chief of kremlin staff came directly from bashar al assad. cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr joins us thousand with t now with the very latest. barbara. >> reporter: hi, john and kate. the u.s. military are looking to see if the russians are conducting additional airstrikes. the ones they know about in homz. this simply is not an area where isis is located no matter what the russians say. this is an area where anti-assad, anti-regime militias have been fighting the assad government. this, by all indications, is a military strike to prop up the assad regime. but that may be the least of it right now. one u.s. official is saying to me a short time ago this is not how militaries in this day and age conduct relations.
one general banging on the door of the u.s. embassy in baghdad and saying "don't fly your planes." right now what the russians have done is create an exquisite military problem for u.s. pilots. what has to happen now, officials say, there are going to have to be so-called rules of engagement. if u.s. pilots flying in syrian airspace, and they will continue to fly, if they encounter russian aircraft, what are the rules of the road? if they feel threatened, even inadvertently, let's say the russians are making the mistake, they don't understand it's a u.s. aircraft, what are the rules of the road for u.s. military pilots encountering russian aircraft? do they have the right of self-defense? can they counterattack against the russians if they feel a threat? these are the questions that the pentagon wanted to sit down and talk to the russians about. it was just earlier this week, of course, that president obama and russian president putin said there would be talks between the two militaries to work all of
this out. but now the russians have taken the first step. they've gone ahead and done it. and here at the pentagon, a lot of unhappiness, to put it mildly, about what the russians are doing and what may come next. >> to say the least. and what may come next is a huge question mark, obviously, at this moment. barbara, thanks so much. we're joined now by global affairs correspondent elise labott and colonel peter mansour who served as general david petraeus' executive officer in iraq. great to see both of you. elise, this all comes, this action today, comes on the heels of -- you sat down with secretary kerry and talked to him about russian involvement in syria. at that moment he called it an opportunity. listen to this for our viewers, and then we'll talk about it. >> i think it's an opportunity, to be honest with you. i think it's an opportunity for us to force this question of how you actually resolve the question of syria. and the bottom line is you
cannot resolve is without including the sunni in a political solution, a political agreement ultimately, and that will mean that you're going to have to have some kind of transition, some kind of timing because as long as assad is there, you simply can't make peace, period. >> i mean, when he talks about russian involvement being an opportunity in syria, essentially looking at it in a positive light, is this what he had in mind? >> well, this is a stark contrast, obviously, to what's going on on the ground. >> right. >> and i think what the u.s. was hoping is that they would be able to harness russian strategic influence, their military power on the ground, for the common aim not only of going against isis but then trying to get everybody on board for some once the conflict subsided for some kind of political transition that would actually involve president assad after years of saying he had to go. and we spoke quite a bit about how that u.s. position has evolved, and now assad's supposed to be part of the
solution. so i thought it was quite remarkable that he was speaking of this as an opportunity because what they were hoping to do was deconflict, as barbara says, what the russians are doing right now with the help of the iranians and clearly on the ground in iraq is trying to ground the u.s. from doing any type of military activity, and the russians have created a new reality on the ground. >> this is the opposite of harnessing russian power, the opposite of deconflicting. colonel mansour, we were all scratching our heads trying to figure out the last time u.s. and russian planes were dropping bombs in the same country at the same time. it's been generations, i think, at least right now. and the rules of engagement that barbara talked about have to be incredibly complicated, incredibly tense and incredibly delicate. >> well, absolutely. i think the last time russian planes and u.s. planes were in the same airspace was in the korean war, and they were shooting at each other. so we don't want that to happen. i think the rules of engagement
here are going to be pretty simple. isis and the rebels have no air force. and so we'll simply ban air-to-air engagements. but that doesn't solve all the problem because the planes occupy the same airspace. they could actually run into each other. they could be bombing the same targets. there's a lot of issues here. and i think looking at what the russians actual lly bombed, the town of talisbah about 12 kilometers north of homs, they're not after isis. they're after other targets that will prop up the assad regime and make a bigger political statement than they will put military capability into the counterterrorist campaign. >> and elise, i mean, this could be a game changer because it's just -- it's not just a united states, russia and syria involved in this region, involved here in trying to take on isis. you've got all of the coalition forces who have been working with the united states to take on isis. what is the reaction going to
be? what could the reaction be from other regional partners, if they see that russia is on the ground, not attacking isis, but attacking anti-assad forces? >> that's right. and this is what secretary kerry was supposed to try and get together today. the saudis, the turks, the uae, this whole anti-assad crowd to get them on board for some kind of longer political transition. if what happens if saudi arabia says no way, they're going to start protecting their interests on the ground by defending the opposition, and we've been talking to our military analysts, and they say this could really blow up into a more regional proxy war when you have a lot of countries battling russia. i mean, it's a very potentially destabilizing situation. >> colonel, don't underestimate it. the russians have a different mission, and they're hitting different targets than the u.s. mission right now in that country. simply put. >> yeah, putting at risk the safe zones that we wanted to create in the northern part of the country as well.
if they start hitting targets up there, then all of a sudden you're not able to protect refugees. the refugee crisis worsens. in every way this russian involvement is not an opportunity. it's a complicating factor in actually ending the civil war in syria. >> and it looks to be out of u.s. control completely at this point. >> at least at this moment for sure. great to see you, elise, thank you so much. colonel peter mansoor, thank you so much. much more on this to come. but also ahead, the secret meeting between the pope and one of america's most controversial figures in the fight over same-sex marriage. you're about to hear from the kentucky clerk on what she says happened when the vatican called. and then, donald trump's wife speaking about her husband's campaign. what she says at home about what he should do on the campaign trail. this is their first major interview ahead. and nightmare in chicago.
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all right. our breaking news, russian warplanes now dropping bombs inside syria. hopefully we have a map of the region we can show you right now. the bombs falling near the city of homs in the western part that country, the city that's been the heart of this conflict over the last several years. it held into rebel arms early on but back in regime hands right now. it seems as if these russian planes and these targets specifically to prop up the assad regime which is trying to hang on to that city. >> and we're also learning that
senator john mccain of arizona, the chairman of the senate armed services committee, he's going to be speaking on the senate floor really any minute about the russian airstrikes in syria. you can be sure he's been a longtime critic of the obama administration's strategy to take on isis in syria and in iraq. we're going to hear much more of that to come. we're also getting some additional reporting from our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, who was told, obviously early on, as john's been reporting, that administration official says where the russians were targeting was no strategic purpose in combatting isis in that area. she's also learning from a senior defense official saying that the pentagon was, in this official's words, taken aback by the russian actions. >> that's right. given one-hour warning, a russian general apparently walked into the u.s. embassy in baghdad one hour before the bombs started falling to alert them that the targeting would begin. again, not to emphasize too much here, but the targets not isis
inside syria. we're joined by former major general spider marks right now. spider, thanks so much for being here. >> thanks, john. >> when you hear targets inside syria are not isis targets, it just goes to show that the russian mission, which is very much to support bashar al assad, not in line with the u.s. mission at all. >> and we're not surprised by that, correct? we're all in agreement. this is not a surprise. >> but it seems the administration was if not surprised, taken aback by these actions. this comes on the heels of a meeting between the president of the united states and the president of russia. >> and putin, right. i would say -- i would suggest that the national security level, within d.o.d., there's probably legitimately no surprise that this is taking place. the challenge is is how do you coordinate at a very tactical level with the russians with whom we have no experience at all? now, we have had for years hotlines and redlines at very senior levels and general officers can talk to general officers.
but i'm talking about ground controllers and pilots and aircraft that are moving at the speed of sound, in excess of that, and potentially going after similar targets. we don't have any experience with that. >> similar but different, there's weird alignment. the yat and its allies are targeting isis inside syria. >> right. >> the russians, sure, they'll target isis, i imagine, if they're nearby, but they'll also target anyone else fighting against the assad regime. those don't exactly line up. >> they don't, john. this seems to me very indiscriminate on the part of russia. they have multiple targets to go after as you've suggested. the only ones they're not going to go after are regime targets which are from the med from damascus up to aleppo. they'll go up to where isis is located, but they haven't done anything against isis yet. so we should be very concerned. but we've got a really hamhanded rough way to try to execute coordination at the very edges of an organization when a general officer walks into our embassy and says hey, guys, back
off. >> i've got to ask you, what do you make of that element of this? he walks into -- bangs on the door, walks in and says "in an hour, we're going to be conducting airstrikes. not going to tell you where. don't fly any fighter jets"? what do you make of that announcement? >> kind of the worst characterization of russian behavior you can have. it's very unfortunate because it kind of sends this back to cold war stereotypes that we're not going to get rid of with behavior like that. and the united states has never been in a hot conflict with russia. that hasn't happened. a whole bunch of proxy wars, but we have not done that. so we are going to back off until we figure out how we're going to work this out at the very tactical edge of all this so that we don't have some catastrophe that could occur. >> there's potential there. >> there really is. spider, stick around for a moment because we're getting a lot of new information coming in just as we speak. senator john mccain will speak from the is that the floor in just a few minutes about what is now a burgeoning crisis inside syria and even greater crisis
than it was one day ago. so stay with us. we'll hear from senator mccain coming up. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked. made sure everyone got their latest gadgets. what's up for the next shift? ah, nothing much. just keeping the lights on. (laugh) nice. doing the big things that move an economy. see you tomorrow, mac. see you tomorrow, sam. just another day at norfolk southern. ♪ it's the final countdown!
floor, senator john mccain, the chairman of the senate armed services committee, speaking out about the russian airstrikes happening right now in syria. let's listen to the senator. >> the latest information is that these syrian observatory for human rights reports that at least 27 people were killed and that 6 children were among the dead. these strikes near the city of homs is not under control of isis of the islamic state. so already we are seeing the true intentions of vladimir putin, which is to maintain a strong position in syria, his foothold in the middle east, and his propping up of bashar assad. bashar assad, who has killed at least 250,000 of his own
citizens through the horrible process of barrel bombing, has driven millions into refugee status, with the full and complete support of iran and vladimir putin. i said to my colleagues over the past 6 1/2 years, president obama has sounded retreat across the middle east. in fact, it was one year ago at this time when the president of the united states said, "our strategy is to degrade and destroy isis." a report yesterday, some 28,000 european and some americans have come into the fight on the side of isis. mosul and ramadi remain in the hands of isis and, of course, the continued advances of isis in syria are well known. in short, a year ago after the
president made that statement, there is no strategy, there is no success. in fact, we now see the result of this failure which is a flood of refugees out of syria and iraq because they have given up hope of ever returning to their homeland. our hearts go out to those who are victims and have had to flee their homeland. we see these refugees, and it breaks our heart when we see a little baby's body washed up on the beach. it didn't have to happen. it didn't have to happen. everybody knows that when the president of the united states said we had drawn a red line with syria and didn't do it, it had a profound effect on the middle east including sunni arab states as well as shia. everybody knows that when the president turned down the recommendations of his secretary of defense, his secretary of state which happened to be
secretary clinton at the time and his secretary of defense to arm the free syrian army, and he turned it down, was another seminal moment. this is a series of decisions or nondecisions which has led to the situation we see today where vladimir putin may have inserted russia into the middle east in a way that russia has not enjoyed since 1973 when anwar sadat threw the russians out of egypt. he's still on course to repeat this nightmare by withdrawing nearly all u.s. forces from afghanistan as well as we see in the last couple of days, the taliban capturing the strategic city of kunduz. and that is terrible in the respect that kunduz is in the
northern part of afghanistan where it was believed was fairly stable, showing the ability of the taliban and the effects of our withdrawal. but i come back to syria and the russian activities today. after four years in syria, the united states has stood by as bashar al assad, his war on the syrian people goes on and on and on. and as this slaughter, it's been the single greatest contributor to the rise and continued success of isil. have no doubt, it was bashar assad that gave birth to isil. the president has said for years -- for years -- that assad must go. but he has done nothing that has brought us any closer to achieving that outcome. my friends, it's not that we have done nothing. but what it is, we have not done anything that would reverse the trend and in any way further the goal that the president
articulated a year ago that we would destroy -- degrade and destroy isil. in short, this administration has confused our friends, encouraged our enemies, mistaken in excess of caution, for prudence and replaced the risks of action with the perils of inaction. into the wreckage, into the wreckage of this administration's middle east policy has now stepped vladimir putin. as in ukraine, as elsewhere, he perceives the administration's inaction and caution as weakness, and he is taking full advantage. over the past few weeks, vladimir putin has been engaged in a significant military buildup in western syria, deploying strike aircraft, and by the way, he's also deploying aircraft that are air-to-air, not air-to-ground. my friends, isis has no air force. this is a significant buildup of
bombers, tanks, russian military personnel. meanwhile, our secretary of state calls lavrov frantically and asks him what's going on. not once, not twice, three times. my friends, it was obvious what vladimir putin is doing, and these airstrikes are a logical follow-on to his ambition, which he is realizing to, one, play a major role in syria, preserve the port, prop up bashar assad and play a major role in the middle east. and all of this is not lost on countries in the region. the last time i -- today vladimir putin escalated his involvement as russian pilots carried out their first airstrikes in syria. initial reports, as i mentioned, are that they are hitting targets which are not controlled by isil. that should control -- that should fool no one because
vladimir putin's primary authority and responsibility and ambition is to prop up bashar assad against all of his enemies. the white house has said, quote, it's unclear exactly what russia's intentions are. my friends, i am not making that up. the white house has said it's unclear exactly what russia's intentions are. if the white house is confused about putin's intentions and plans in syria, then the united states is in even worse trouble than many fear because it's not hard -- it's not hard to discern what vladimir putin wants. in fact, from russia's military buildup in syria to its recently announced military and intelligence coalition with syria, iran and iraq, remember, iraq is a country where we lost thousands of american lives, and
now the iraqi government announced is sharing intelligence with syria and iran. amazing. amazing. putin's ambitions are blindingly obvious, my friends. he wants to prop up assad, play kingmaker and any transition undermine u.s. policy and operations and ultimately expand russian power in the middle east to a degree, as i mentioned, unseen since 1973. this week at the united nations president obama said, quote, the united states is prepared to work with any nation including russia and iran to resolve the syrian conflict. it requires self-delusion of tremendous scale to believe that russia and iran have any interest in resolving the syrian conflict. they seek only to keep the murderous assad regime in power.
russia's intervention in syria will prolong and complicate this horrific war. and the main beneficiary will be isil. which has fed off the ethnic divisions fed off the assad regime. it is tragic -- it is tragic, my fellow americans, that we have reached this point. a syrian conflict that has killed more than 200,000 people, created the worst refugee crisis in europe since world war ii, spawned a terrorist army of tens of thousands, and now created a platform for a russian autocrat to join with an iranian theocrat to prop up a syrian dictator. it did not have to be this way. but this is the inevitable consequence of hollow words, red lines crossed, tarnished moral influence, leading from behind,
and a total lack of american leadership. my friends, today in "washington post" is an article by david ignatius. mr. ignatius quotes ryan crocker. one of the great diplomats that i have ever had the honor and privilege to know. ryan crocker says, quote, russia has played a horrible hand brilliantly. we folded what could have been a pretty good hand, argues ryan crocker, a retired u.s. diplomat who has served in nearly every hot spot in the middle east and is among the nation's wisest analysts of the region. quote, the russians were able to turn a defensive position into an offensive one because we were so completely absent. ryan crocker is right. i would also remind my friends
that because of american inaction, the countries in the region are making their own accommodations. syria -- excuse me -- saudi arabia, uae and qatar have all been to russia and arms deals. the saudi arabians have built the -- bought $17 billion worth of weapons from russia. uae, $7 billion. qatar, $5 billion. would that have ever happened ten years ago? of course not. but they see america leaving, and they are accommodating. and we have -- and we have, of course, refused in many ways to give the kind of weapons particularly that the kurds need. i won't go on too much longer. i will summarize by saying that this is a very, very, very sad day for america in the world. the world is watching. it's not confined to the middle
east. we see vladimir putin continue to dismember ukraine. and now some phony separatist elections are going to be held in the area that he now controls. the chinese leader made some nice comments about how they would stop the hacking that is -- that they have been able to compromise our most important industrial military and other secrets. we'll see if that happens. but they're also continuing their expansion of the islands in the south china sea. throughout the world, an absence of american leadership is very visible and very understood by nations throughout the world. and today, we see vladimir putin attacking with his airplanes, not just isis, but others who are enemies of bashar assad.
and i'd like to also add that these airstrikes are indiscriminate in nature, and there has been no attempt whatsoever to stop the horrible barrel bombing, as general david petraeus recommended before the armed services committee just a few days ago. so this is a bad day. and it's a time for american leadership. and it's a time that president obama woke up to the realities in the world and reassert american leadership. and that does not mean that we're going to send thousands of ground troops back into iraq or syria. but it does mean that we develop a policy -- in the case -- i am told that these bombings that the american government has said that american planes should not fly and that we have somehow approved of these airstrikes.
i do not know if that's true or not. i hope that it's not true. what we should be saying to vladimir putin is that you fly, but we fly anywhere we want to when and how we want to, and you'd better stay out of the way. that's the message that should be sent to vladimir putin. so i hope that the american people understand how serious this is. and that this rogue dictator named vladimir putin who is a thug and a bully can only understand a steadfast and strong american policy that brings america's strength back to bear. we are still the strongest nation in the world. now it's time for us to act like it. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. >> the clerk will call the roll. >> senator john mccain wrapping up statements on the senate floor.
a scathing assessment of the russian action inside syria. russian warplanes bombing targets inside syria today. he called vladimir putin a rogue dictator, a thug and a bully. >> also saying already we're seeing the true intentions of vladimir putin in russia's actions in syria. we're going to take a quick break. much more to discuss with the breaking news. hing...sniffling.. and wishing you could stay in bed all day. when your cold is this bad... ...you need new theraflu expressmax. theraflu expressmax combines... maximum strength medicines available without a prescription... ...to fight your worst cold and flu symptoms... ...so you can feel better fast and get back to the job at hand. new theraflu expressmax. the power to feel better.tm
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warplanes hitting targets inside syria. targets not believed to be connected to isis. this is a major development in that war-torn region which complicates things much, much further for the obama administration. let's go to our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. barbara, what's the very latest? >> reporter: john, kate, what u.s. officials are telling us is where the russians struck in west central syria near the city of homs, this is an area that is not an isis stronghold. this is an area of anti-regime, anti-assad forces. the first thing is the political agenda of the russians by all accounts, according to the u.s., appears really to be to try and prop up the assad regime by striking in this area where these anti-regime militias are fighting assad's forces. this is not what the u.s. wanted to see. but let's look at the broader picture for the u.s. military, for u.s. pilots in the air over
syria. right now u.s. warplanes are striking pretty far away from this area. u.s. warplanes are in the north and east of syria where it is an isis stronghold. they are not where the russians are. so for the moment, nobody expects the two military forces to really encounter each other, but that's not good enough. it was 48 hours ago that president obama and president putin said their militaries would sit down and talk about deconfliction. so if they do encounter each other, there isn't some sort of inadvertent disaster. the russians appear to have tossed that out the window. they've gone ahead, they've started airstrikes. the question now for u.s. pilots, should they encounter the russians, what are the rules of the road? they have the right of self-defense, u.s. troops always have that right. but if they encounter the russians, what happens next if the russians inadvertently perhaps appear to be a threat to
the u.s., what happens? what are the rules of the road? and just consider this. as one official was saying to me, what if a russian pilot were to be shot down or go down over syrian territory? nobody wishes the russian military ill on this, but if a russian pilot goes down, do the russians then come to the u.s. and ask for help in rescuing their troops? a million questions. this is where the two sides were supposed to sit down and talk to each other. but instead this morning, a russian general turned up at the embassy in baghdad and said, here we are. >> huge questions, barbara, with potentially deadly consequences and fallout from any of those actions. barbara starr getting great reporting from the pentagon. barbara, thanks so much. let's discuss all of this and the implications of this and what happens right now with cnn military analyst james "spider" marks. he is with us. and former u.s. ambassador to syria, robert ford.
we heard barbara's reporting and we also married from senator mccain earlier. he said there's no love lost between vladimir putin and john mccain. you know, no mistake there. he also said that these actions, just these actions just today, are going to prolong and complicate this conflict, this war, this crisis in syria. what's the impact of this not only in military terms but huge diplomatic implications here. >> the obama administration and our allies in the region, countries like turkey, saudi arabia, jordan, allies in europe like france, britain, germany, we've all hoped to get to a negotiation, a serious negotiation, that would involve serious compromise on all sides. the russian actions will probably give bashar al assad the sense that he doesn't need to make serious compromises and therefore makes getting to a political settlement all the harder. >> why should i talk when i have russian planes doing my bidding
what i want them to do? >> precisely. >> spider, i'm going to ask you to put on your political hat. you're a retired general, a retired diplomat, but senator john mccain said that what happened today or is happening right now as we speak is the result of the united states sounding the retreat in the middle east, pulling out its forces, withdrawing some of its influence in the region. if you buy that side of the argument, can the u.s. then reassert this influence at a whim now? >> well, it can reassert it. it's not at a whim. it's going to be very, very difficult. look, when we left iraq in 2011 after a very concerted effort by our administration to try to retain, to establish some type of status of forces agreement so that we could maintain a force strength in iraq, we couldn't get that done with the government of baghdad, so we left. very precipitously. that was suddenly a turn. that was a scenario that we weren't entirely planned for. we declared victory with that. we said that's exactly what we want to do.
yet there has been a constant drumbeat that we left way too early. now, we are where we are right now. the united states can insert itself, but what we have is in this vacuum, we've had the russians now coming in, and they have now started to assert themselves very, very aggressively at a tactical level, but it has immense strategic implications. they are at the table now for any next steps moving forward. >> with that in mind, what is secretary kerry to do right now with this new reality, with this essential game changer in terms of what's happening on the ground in syria? >> ambassador? >> i think secretary kerry needs to do two things. he and his team. the first is, of course, to maintain contacts with the russians because we are going to have to talk to them. they are operating in syria. >> more now than ever. >> and they have interests in syria. let's be fair to the russians on that. but at the same time, now more than ever, it is urgent to talk to our allies in the region, especially countries like turkey, saudi arabia, the saudi
foreign minister yesterday said bashar cannot stay. if he will not go, we will send in more military assistance. so he's talking about escalating. maybe in the end, that you do need to have a little more escalation in order to get to the negotiation i was just talking about. but it certainly behooves the united states to re-establish strong lines of communication with our allies as we go forward and this gets more complicated. i'd like to make one other point. what the russians have done is also energize the international jihadi. right before i came into your studios, i was on twitter looking at tweets that are coming in around the world. boy, you see the word "jihad" more than i saw it two days ago, three days ago. >> inspired. >> and that makes getting to a settlement even harder because it's not just about assad and the moderates that the russians bombed today. what are you going to do about the islamic state which has not had much trouble getting
recruits? this will make it even easier still. i don't think the russians thought that through very well. >> diplomatic problem for a lot of countries. >> huge military problem, too. >> ambassador ford, general, thanks so much for being with us. we'll be back right after a break. much more coverage coming up. join us as we celebrate eddie's retirement, and start planning your own.
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welcome back. we are following the the breaking news, and the first airstrikes that russia is now committing in syria. the russian military says that they were targeting isis equipment. other isis targets and the u.s. military quickly saying that isis does not have any strategic purpose, and isis is not in this western city of homs that the russians targeted. this is setting up a huge, huge conflict right now in how to take on isis and what are really russia's intentions in syria happening in realtime. setting up huge implications and not only diplomatically and militarily, but politically as well. >> we want to discuss with cnn commentator and former president obama adviser van jones and retired colonel of the army curt victor, and, van, we are hearing that inside of seyria as we
speak, russian targets that are not taken by isis, and so -- president obama met with vladimir putin for 90 minutes which is longer nan are russians gave the u.s. warning that they were about to bomb in syria. >> well, listen, first of all, we have to say that the hearts and the prayers are with the innocent people in syria whose lives just got worse, and before we run down the streets trying to po litpoliticize i am upset
senator john mccain is covering more of vladimir putin than president obama. and his answer for everything is to send in troops and start bombing people. we are not in the situation are where right now the u.s. troops were in the middle of the mess in syria people would be happy in the united states, so it is easy to sit back when you have lost the election, and every sunday show you go in to say that we should be invade another country, and blame the president, and we need to stand with the people of syria and find some solutions. it is easier to speechify than to fix it. >> and curt, what is the appropriate response if you hear what van saying, it is hard to come up with the workable solution, as many of the republicans say that what is needed is to arm the rebels which has not happened and also then which is to send in the potential ground forces. >> well, kate, it is easier to attack barack obama because the utter incompetence has led to the problem.
and this is a strategic disaster of major proportions. before american foreign policy is at the lowest, we need to look at the tactical problem. we have multiple forces operating in the same air space and on the ground, and the united states and allied forces flying missions and operating on the ground according to open source report, and we have russians flying missions, and if the we don't somehow coordinate that, we are going to have a frat ricidal problem against people who are not our a fraternal friends, but we don't want to be flying into the russians themselves. so we are the take care of the tactical problem, and as soon as we do that we can look at the strategic problem which is the utter problem of the obama administration to perform adequately in the middle east and this dictator has rushed in,
and john mccain is absolutely correctly, and until the obama administration understand how they have screwed this up, they can't begin to fix it. >> van? >> and that sort of tone and approach is exactly why we have not been able to come together the as a country and get it done. we got rushed into war by people who would not listen to anybody, and when people very good people, including president obama said that let's not go over there to kick over the hornets nest, and now we are trying to get the hornets back into the nest of what we just heard got us into the situation, and it is much more complicate and much easier to point the fingers at the president and we have to get together now. >> and for russia to commit to committing the air strikes complicates the conflict, and prolonging the syrian war even longerment than you, both. and coming up for us, tropical force to hurricane, and
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breaking news out of south dakota. the police there are investigating the shots fired in lincoln kocounty at the southeastern part of the state. >> ambulances are there on the scene, and perimeter is put up, and no word of victims or what has happened. and obviously a breaking news there, and a lot of information still needs to be coming out, but again for everyone, reports of shots fired at a high school in south dakota. we will have much more coverage of that and the breaking news of course out of syria. that is a lot to come in the next hour of cnn newsroom, and thank you all for joining us this hour. legal view with ashleigh banfield will start after a break. from the people who brought you underwhelming internet speeds.
welcome to the moment no one's been waiting for. the fastest internet and the best tv experience is already here with x1. only from xfinity. this is cnn breaking news. hello, everyone, i'm ashleigh banfield and this is legal view. we begin with two breaking stories. first in russia, the first air strike has been launched in syria. here is what we know. the bombs hit in the western city of homs which is not considered an isis strong thehold. an obama administration official is telling cnn that isis was not the target, and this as rus