tv Lou Dobbs Tonight FOX Business April 13, 2018 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
getting to that russia was supposed to rein in assad chemical weapons program failed to do that listen to what the president said to russia and iran. >> to iran and to russia, i ask what kind of a nation wants to be associated with mass murder of innocence men, women and children? the nation of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. no nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states tyrants murderous dictators russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or join with civilized nations as a force for stability and pa he is. >> is it russian ambassador to the united states very terse response to president trump as welcome as uk and france, writing on twitter a
predesigned scenario is being implemented, again, we are being threatened we warn such actions will not be left without consequences. all the responsibility for them rests with washington london and paris, the white house tonight is issuing a call to action, calling on syria and nations supporting syria to declare all aspects of syria's chemical weapons program destroy remaining stock tiles of chemical weapons dishas notelle chemical weapons program allow secure unfertsdz access of the united states chemical weapon scene to investigate duma attack the president i am told made the decision to do this yesterday hood been deliberating all week listening to options from military leaders narp security team, of course, gave the order tonight, all options for the targets i am told were developed in concert with allies in uk and france a collaborative evident it
wasn't the united states saying here is what we want you to do. >> john roberts live at white house thank you, john. defense secretary mattis also speaking a while ago with leaders frpentagon jennifer griffin they are asking questions getting details for us good even. >> good evening we heard from defense secretary mattis and chairman of the joint chiefs, joe dunford joined by their colleagues from britain and fans in pentagon, they told us that those air strikes and those strikes from the sea began at 9:00 pm eastern tonight it was secretary mattis said a one-time shot the air strikes are over at this point in time. we can report three targets that were struck, one was a research center in damascus chemical weapons tested stored randd facility in damascus another storage facility north
of damascus as well as separate storage site near holmes, three sites struck tonight we just heard from secretary mattis here is what he said. >> tonight france united kingdom united states -- clearly the assad regime did not get the message, last year. >> general said that syrian surface-to-air-missile had been engages the beginning of the air strikes they however 4 not reported that there were any u.s. or allied losses as a result of those sam missiles become fired but engaged at the start there was no sign the russians engaged in any way, general dunford said that the deconfliction hotline deconflicts airspace above syria was employed u.s. did not give russia advance
warning about targets obviously as choosing targets it was very important to the pentagon that they not choose any sites where they thought russians could be killed in the process, that is why they looked at three target in particular wanted to minute mooidz according to secretary mattis any potential for civilian casualties as somewhat limited strike is as secretary mattis said about twice the number of munions used this year as opposed to last year's strike after assad used chemical weapons a year ago, so it was a very strong impactful forceful strike but limited in nature nefrmz three sights starting at. >> thank you very much, let's bring in panel for reaction. former navy seal, green beret xharm running for congressional is a asset from florida republican congressman from illinois from house
foreign relations committee currently served as major in air national guard, contributor former utah congressman jason chaffetz, congressman i will start with you we are told that u.s. navy warships were used, also b1 bombers given your experience tell is about possibility of those two working together. >> impressive capability b1 bomber initially created as a nuclear delivery system does great conventional weapon capabilities nowious afghanistan iraq close air sport land range stando strikes like this neiavy assets good at what they do sent impressive message not just why united states is standing by words the president means what he says alleviateing a lot of conflict in the future a strong message to russia and uran that we are serious about standing up, for good order in this world and standing with or allies, even if you bluster
russia bipartisaned i think at the end of the day they are going to do nothing about it. >> i had a lengthy conversation with a sr., gop law maker very much a a hubbing -- a a hubbing didn't think the speech was strong enough the strikes broad enough, impressive enough to send a long term message about what do you make of what we have telegraphed to russia to iraround and syrian leaders? >> well, hopefully. >> i think, that the president action. >> -- >> sorry. >> i hopefully what they did is did deplete the ability to to i deliver chemical weapons if we knew chemical weapons in those places why didn't we go preemptively take out a think a broad coalition bringing in answer from uk sends right message begs question where are places like germany if this is such a world atrocity
why aren't they with us, i think president trump did do rightly thing was very limited very tempered very calculated and i think long term president trump will be applauded for such a strategic strike such as he did. >> michael, to you, that point about germany, angela merkel said they aren't going to get militarily involved if military strike uk and france onboard with us but additional questions the president in remarks tonight talked as well about partners in the congenialing, people that he expects to step up take responsibility for securing their stability there, he specifically mentioned saudi arabia uae, egypt and others in the region what do you make of that? >> well, so were there two you know a number of very interesting aspects the president's speech you mentioned germany a number of references to world war i, where the last time chemical weapons were actively used in combat it was the french and
british that suffered mightily, at a german hands for the use of chemical weapons so i mean i thought that was an interesting historic reference. but then he also mentioned that gulf states, and their role in the coalition. what he is expecting now in terms of their participation in the nation building aspect the reconstruction aspect after we completely destroyed isis we drive the rest of the sign conflict, to hopefully some point some type of broker negotiations, you know, that was under the context of the president wanting to get u.s. soldiers out to not be bogged down to spend a lot of money and more blood and treasure in the reconstruction aspect clearly looking at saudis em ratis juror dannians gulf states to step in. >> as somebody served our country on front lines, what does it mean to men and women in form because there has been a lot of talk on hull i'll
have -- i'll have and elsewhere a long-term strategy we ask men and women to go into service we need to understood -- we already have boots on the ground what the long-term plan is do you think the administratirticulated that. >> certainly they owe more on long-term plan have not articulated that syria afghanistan a presence in iraq the way they look at that, what very good at is tactical strikes executing things like this, we are excellent at that whoa we're not good articulated the end game i agree with strike narrowly defined betweens chemical weapons beyond that we're getting into start telling american people what are you fighting are for. >> we have been getting a number of reactions from capitol hill, and interesting because there are republicans and democrats on both sides of
this congressman to you, what of your republican colleagues, congressman says strikes against syria are unconstitutional illegal reckless next speaker of the house must reclaim congressional war powers prescribed in article one of the constitution speaker ryan complete ab abdicated one of his mostly important responsibilities where do you to come come down on this debate. >> he never supported, frankly votes against defense budget every time it will comes up defense authorization being a not a military pro forma policy guy whatever. >> i believe the president has a lot of powers in the constitution our job in congress to declare a stately of words to finance it to use money to make differences that way but the president is commander in chief we have a lot of members in congress senate want to feel extremely important say there should be 530 commanders in chief any time the president does
anything we have to have a say on something like this suspected aing for national interest standing against the use of chemical weapons the president reasonably outside of congressional approval not putting 200 now troops in syria if doing that he would need to come to congress. >> what do you make of the word israel we have been hearing vladimir putin reaching out directly to netanyahu this week 4e6 had an interesting relationship with russia but absolutely not going to stand for anything that would allow iran to enencroach closer on their territory, what is their role tonight? >> well, remarkably part of what iran russia have done is edited saudi arabia, and israel it is unbelievable how close they are in terms of their positioning on this maybe proximity of israel i guarantee you military pill leaders hand in glove understanding that if you look at jordan to east of israel,
they are dealing with literally hundreds of thousands of refuse jooez that crossed the border as civil war has gone on such a long time they to a have a vested interest they are great partners with united states of america and, again, i think the president did a very strategic limited type of hit tonight. i think it was called for. i think it was right. but i do think it would be stronger long term if the president needs continuous action to get support of congress put people on record make them vote on it if there is a clear and predanger the president should get them everything he needs to do going to be sustained over a long period of time show the world the united states congress is behind this president. >> michael, what we're hearing from the chair of the senate armed services committee john mccain now recovering at home but speaking out clearly on this tonight he is praising what happened to succeed in
long run need a comprehensive strategy for syria entire region time for president to lay out goals not just with regard to yooisdz but conflict in syria and ma'amlined russia iranian influence he said air strikes connected from broader strategy alone will not achieve the on the in the middle east what does president need to say to american people or congress to this point. >> you know, there is a few doing things there, yeah there was -- if you look at how the targets were struck interesting, that we went after the chemical weapons sites production facilities but not the syrian air force, there was a lot of recording this week of one, that syrians moving air force assets to enter manniintermingle with russia's ray of the bar in terms of potential escalation we are hearing the president wanted a much broader strike a much stronger statement, to stop the syrian capability
once and for all. but general mattis pushing back because he was very concerned about about russian reaction escalation. to your point, where are we going with this more broadly i think the administration has been clear, that we need to number one, defeat isis once and for all set conditions to prevent return from isis we don't want 3.0 come back we are seeing administration look to gulf allies others to take that that reconstruction goal the second part to jason's point and congressman's point what are we doing about syrian civil war trying to drive to u.n. brokered resolution one could look over horizon see some type of potential power sharing arrangement like after lebanon civil war the key assad must go we cannot see i
cannot foresee some broad power sharing agreement with assad still in place given what he has done, so brutal the last five years i think everyone is exactly right we need to set that broader strategy what are our goals and drive towards it. >> i want to give you a chance to wrap up this panel before we check in. >> i think that he is absolutely right when he talks about we need a broader strategy for the region we don't know what that is we don't know what our objectives are. i also don't think that just hitting not hitting you russian appease was intend or air force of syria, was intended just for russia, i don't want to -- where rebels become embold ended now you expand civil war how much damage do you do doing that i think a cautious good strike we will see what happens in the future. >> what comes next we always know when a leader is tan out in this there is a vacuum situation that is there is much caution, stick around thank you very much, panel
straight to mick in jerusalem monitoring on the ground. reporter: the start of the strikes message came through the twitter account linked to syrian president's office saying simply good souls will not be intimidated the sun has come up assessment of the damage has begun, tv reporting two targets struck previously struck by israeli air force twice more than once i should say over the past couple years. insinuating there were struck with no feblth it should be noted, the tv is very thoroughoff out of lebanon a lot of staff on the ground but reporting is generally favorable to assad regime. syrian state tv, is claiming the what was hit were scientific research centered rioters reporting three scientific, the pentagon what
they are calling about scientific research was research and development for chemical weapons the strikes further north the city of holmes a military storage fatally state tv claims that syrian air defenses did engage the stafrt of the strike, that was confirmed by the pentagon, about said there was activity from the sufficient fast air dfrs claiming 13 tomahawks shot out of the sky that was not confirmed the surface to air defenses engaged to no effect there was no information able to damage any u.s. hardware we have a statement first statement we've got out of israel that is about atribute tooutsdz to israel official high placed in israel government reading last year president trump made clear the use of chemical weapons crosses a red line tonight engender american leadership united states
france uk enforced that play on syria continues to engage in provide a base for mixture rows actions including those of iran put territory forces leadership at risk. we are also have a tweet from the russian ambassador to u.s., saying such actions will not be left without consequences. again, the sun is up, the assessment of the damage is beginning, and we've got information that loud speaker trucks are driving around neighborhoods in damascus blasting nationalist songs in wake of this attack. >> we will check back with you as you, meantime word of the strikes went public we heard first from the president, he spoke live from the white house, then folders by his defense secretary jim mattis, also the chair of the joint achieves general dunford, from pentagon we want a recap what they all had to say tonight. >> my fellow americans, a short time ago, i ordered the united states armed forces, to
launch precision strikes on targets associated with chemical weapons capabilities of sign dictator bashar al-assad. the combined operation with the armed forces of france, and uk is now under way, the assad regime again deployed chemical weapons, to slauter innocence sivendz this time in the town of doma near syrian capital of damascus, these are no the the actions of a man they are crimes of a monster instead. following the horrors of world war i a century ago, civilized nations joined together to ban chemical warfare chemical weapon weapons uniquely dangerous not only because they inflict gruesome suffering but because even small amounts can unleash
widespread devastation. for purpose of our actions tonight, is to establish a strong deterrent against production spread and use of chemical weapons. establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the united states. the combined american british and firemench response to these are atrocities, will integrate all instruments of our national power, military, economic, and diplomatic. we are prepared to sustain this response until the syrian regime stops its use of about prohibited chemical agents. i also have a message tonight for the two governments most responsible for supporting equipping and financing the criminal assad regime.
to iran and to russia, i ask what kind of a nation wants to be associated with a mass murderer of innocent men women and children. >> syrian people have suffered terribly under the brutality of the assad regime april 7 the regime decided to give -- civilized people -- disregard for national law, by using chemical weapons to murder women children other innocents we and allieds find these atrocities inexcusable the president had authority under article ii of the constitution to use military force overseas to did he have important united states national strdz,
deferring the use of proliferation of chemical weapons. >> military experts, and panel, dave michael. >> dave i start with you we you can talk about russia's influence there have been times we talked about fighting isis terror elements they have very different interests when it comes to assad leadership whether he stays or goes. >> russian has a foothold in the mediterranean 24e6 air bases there naval bases a foothold we allowed them to get they are not going to give that up very easily so they are expanding influence throughout the reason iran the same way now they are trying to connect this crescent that goes through iraq over the land to lebanon so that they can counter israel or attack israel which ever it is a lot of interests in that region we have turkey saying assad must go they are essentially
established themselves -- a lot going on. >> congressman i gi in you to talk about turkey the fact that -- an important part of this conversation. >> turkey is important, everything that is going on is important what you have right now in syria is this in essence kind of resting place a great superpaurdz including us all tinderbox the thing you have to keep that in mind the russians in process saber rattle threaten this is not the old soviet union this is not 190 where we have to worry about force on's get crushed as mike pompeo my friend and jason's mentioned in the hearing we killed 200 mercy are in aries pushed back lethal wpts to ukraine against russians this administration has been forceful against russians beyond what vladimir putin expected i would guess probably wishes he never entered syria in the first place. >> interesting earlier i had
conversations with -- close to conversations with white house saying president wanted to be much more aggressive moving forward the generals cautiousing them don't want to scomlait with russia beyond a necessary point feels like maybe they have thread it had needle here they have done precision targeted strikes some worry about broader message to russian president not only called them iran out but said not only responsibility backing assad but he referenced 2013 side putin promised to guarantee elimination of weapons said this you would not have happened what happened last week if putin kept his word, multiple pays the president is trying to put pressure on the russian leader. >> we were assured by secretary john kerry they didn't have capabilities, that deal striking in obama administration had gotten rid of all weapons was not win
realm of possibility what is very striking the change in approach from donald trump, just about a week ago, the president was talking about pulling out of our troops and there are you know, like -- are expressing concern hey you know do we really do that do we leave that power volume there, again, a very difficult situation, on how to find that right balance think of the contrast between when president trump was trying to do bring troops home where i think his heart is you see the problem of doing so leaving a vacuum where iranians russians want to a fill that vacuum. >> we talked about this there are a lot of people who are skeptic ibs say the president just signaled days ago going to get us out of this mess in syria this chemical weapons attack happened drawing u.s. back in knowing we cannot look away secretary mattis said there is some things you cannot not get involved in talking about innocent women and children and men being
about potentially attacked by their own leader so why would assad act in this way? we have our leaders now officially onboard saying on the record they are convinced it was him that he acted, france saying same, uk as well. >> let me just take a step back and give president trump credit where it is due as commander in chief. the one hand, he is constantly beat up for being quote/unquote soft on russia this doesn't look soft on russia to me syria assad one hundred percent a client state a surrogate, of russia they are armed by the russians they have russian equipment trained by russians, officers go russian military school if putin wanted to stop this fai he would do so the president is rightly callings russians out for this eye trosity gets beat up in media other places for not being humanitarian not
caring about humanity, by all reports o multiple robereports emotionally moved by chemical attacks brutal suffering people undergo women and children the oppressive administration president obama essentially did nothing this president stepped in, to stop it the third criticism you hear is that he doesn't listen to anyone, and this case he wanted to take a much stronger stand, he wanted to have a much broader strike, but his general officer stepped in urged caution, given escalation potential with russia he listened to him we now have a very measured strike hopefully stopped brutal once and for all to answer your question ultimately, shannon, assad is a brutal thug that is using any weapon at his disposal we have a genocide here that i think history will look back on, second only to the
holocaust i don't mean to be hyperbolick saying that but there are hundreds of thousands of people murdered on magnificent horrible scale this president 12e7d up said enough. >> watching , years now 7, 8 years numbers continue to grow stick around in case joining us on fox news we are continuing breaking news, u.s. military attacks on syria have been carried out along with our allies, uk and france president trump spelled out purpose prime time white house address after 9:00 pm eastern says he precision missile strikes on key syrian targets meant to do one thing establish a global deterrent against use of overwhelm weapons u.s. france publicly saying there are kwnd there is proof assad used them against his own people multiple times including last week let's gem with pentagon national security correspondent working to get more information.
he said moments ago. >> as our commander in chief if authority under article ii of the constitution. to use military force overseas to defend important united states national trumps united states has vital national strz diverting a worsening between syria specifically did he ferg use of proliferation chemical weapons. >> no reports of allied losses said there was initial surface-to-air-missile activity from syrian congenialing none from russian regime no russian air dfrs seem to have been involved no prenotification of the targets struck to russians said they used did he confliekion hotline in qatar to key conflict airspace over syria have done so in the past this
wave of air strikes he said over said i am confident the syrian regime used chemical weapons at least one chemical agent was used he said confident chlorine had been used possibly sarin gas, fox news first to report that b1 bombers were used in strike as well chemical weapons facilities only targets wanted to minimize the civilian casualties. >> live at pentagon, thank you very much, you are looking at live pictures there, about in syria as it is dawn there sun is coming up, and folks are looking to see, and will soon have more opportunity to see what happened overnight what damage sustained separate fact from fiction learn more understand dawning in syria soon get a look at the --
about a year ago did in fact intervene in syria before all of this because of another chemical weapons attack at that time the president saying that the horrific images he had seen on television and elsewhere had led him to believe that the assad regime needed to get a message. tonight they are getting what appears to be a much stronger message in fact as we see damascus getting smacked from the east, south, and west from the u.s., british and french militaries. this president also talked a lot in the campaign and in the early days of this administration about the fact that he felt president obama had made a big mistake by laying out that red
line in syria, back in 2012, saying that if assad used chemical weapons, that would be a red line and that the u.s. would have to respond with action. when president obama did not follow through on that, after assad used chemical weapons, donald trump as an outsider attacked him has since brought that up in recent days again. so tonight he tried to lay out his own rationale for why he's acting now. watch. >> the purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons. establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the united states. the combined american, british and french response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power, military, economic, and diplomatic. >> now you mentioned that new
national security team john bolton, the new national security advisor, the former fox news contributor, this small group of reporters who were in the diplomatic reception room with the president say that john bolton along with sarah sanders the press secretary were just a few feet away from the president, out of camera range, but that john bolton was reading along with the president, line by line, off to the side as he delivered those remarks, clearly having strong influence not just on the speech, but on the actual policy. contrast that with jim mattis, the defense secretary who has been urging a lot more caution about this being a one-shot deal and not necessarily a sustained assault. >> live for us tonight. we will check back in shortly. thank you very much. now to reaction from capitol hill. there's been this debate about whether the president needs congressional authorization to do what he's done tonight in syria or at what point that
obligation kicks in. mike emmanuel is tracking responses from both sides of the aisle. good evening. >> a short time ago house speaker ryan praised the united states military for taking decisive action in syria saying, quote, we are united in our resolve that assad's barbaric use of chemical weapons cannot go unanswered. his regime's unconscionable brutality against innocent civilians cannot be tolerated. senate democratic leader schumer saying tonight quote a pinpointed limited action to punish and hopefully deter assad from doing this again is appropriate but the administration has to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in syria. senator jack reed, the top democrat on the armed services committee says lawmakers need more information to determine the scope and effectiveness of this action. a house democrat who served in iraq as a marine says the commander-in-chief must outline the mission. >> in syria today, we cannot answer those basic fundamental questions. so to have a commander in chief who refuses to give that kind of
guidance, and yet flies off and tweets threatening missile strikes and everything else is a disservice to our country. it is a disservice to our constitution. and it is a disservice to our troops on the ground. >> now house speaker ryan has said he thinks the president has the authority under preexisting military authorizations that were enacted after the 9/11 attacks. ryan says he's worried about tying the military's hands when they are facing asymmetric threats around the globe, including groups like isis. a house republican who served in iraq as a marine said congress must get involved. >> mattis made it clear yesterday that the administration doesn't feel that they need the authority. i disagree. i think that the misreading of the constitution which only gives the executive branch the authority to repel sudden attacks. i think we have strained the 9/11 aumf to its breaking point. congress needs to debate these issues. keep us here over the weekend. >> congress is not expected to be here over the weekend.
we will see when lawmakers return next week whether there's appetite to debate and ultimately vote on a new authorization for the use of military force or whether law makers prefer to look the other way and allow the commander-in-chief to do what he feels is necessary. >> mike emmanuel live for us on capitol hill tonight. rich edson tracking developments at the state department where we're getting reaction at this hour from now russia and syria. listen, they have been called out. iran as well by this president. what are we hearing tonight? >> absolutely. in particular we've been watching the reaction from the russian government is. they claim that these strikes are an attack against them. now, syria right now is the battleground for a number of different conflicts, and a few proxy wars that are ongoing there. russia and iran are aligned with the assad regime there essentially keeping it in power. the russian ambassador to the united states has just provided a statement, quote again we are being threatened. we warned that such actions will not be left without
consequences. insulting the president of russia is unacceptable and inadmissible. the u.s., the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons has no moral right to blame other countries. now, over the past several days, russia has warned against an attack on its ally, the assad regime. the u.k., the u.s., france and others have fought with russia at the united nations security council over this. russia has denied the chemical weapons attack and then blamed the british government for staging it. russia agreed in 2013 to destroy syria's chemical weapons. the u.s. says the russians enabled the syrian government to carry out these attacks. it also says the syria attacks and russia attack on a former spy in the u.k. normalizes chemical weapons use.
already killed hundreds of russians in one particular fight and attack there. there were previous reports that those russians were mercenaries fighting with forces there. now, russian, iran and turkey met last week to discuss the future of syria. the iranian government has yet to react to this. but we are getting some reaction from the syrian government just a tweet at these the syrian presidency page, tweeted it out in arabic. a translation from the associated press saying quote good souls will not be humiliated. while pompeo waits for his u.s. conservation in u.s. senate -- u.s. confirmation in u.s. senate. shannon? >> rich edson live for us tonight at the state department, thank you very much, rich. we're going to take you back to our military and government experts so we can check in with
them. we have congressman, navy seal, and a green beret a leader and man who is now running for congress out of florida as well. thank you all for sticking around with us. michael, we will start with you, there was a caution tonight from secretary of defense mattis. he said we know that as this now, the sun comes up there. and things are assessed. there will be a disinformation campaign. what do you expect to see? >> well, you expect to see the russians continuing to question whether the assad regime was responsible. i think you are going to see perhaps claims of civilian casualties. you're going to also maybe even see claims of russians being harmed or killed and then i would not be surprised if you also saw claims of american planes, british or french planes being shot down in this kind of boisterous display of russian and syria's prowess. i think you will see all of those pieces, shannon, but you know, another point that i want
to make that's also watching this very closely as the sun comes up is north korea and kim jong-un. there was recently a u.n. report just two months ago of north korean scientists, missile engineers and chemical engineers being seen around damascus, parts and supplies moving from north korea into syria. you know, it is worth remembering that the israelis bombed a north korean-built nuclear reactor in syria about ten years ago. so kim jong-un and the north koreans are watching very closely, not only for what's happening in syria, but what's happening in the up coming summit between him and president trump. >> well, and jason, that brings me to senator tom cotton, republican, rising star within the party, to his comments in part he says this, president trump ought to sustain the attacks if assad doesn't learn these lessons. for now the pentagon says this is it for now.
and iran's ayatollahs and kim jong-un might want to learn the easy way. how much do you think that jason this was a message beyond just syria? >> well, i believe in the message of peace through strength. i think a strong united states of america, when you have a strong president who will actually do what he says makes a difference and makes the world more peaceful. i mean, look at what happened with barack obama. he drew a red line. they went over it and he did nothing. and the world became less and less safe. you can't trust the russians. look, the russians went into georgia taking nearly 20% or so roughly of their country. they signed a document saying they were going to turn it back over to georgia. but did they do that? no, they didn't. you can't trust the russians. you have iranians who have ne fairous intentions -- nefarious intentions. we give them 100 billion dollars in a ridiculous deal with iran. and now you have president trump
who is going to be viewed by the world that he will actually do what he says he's going to do and that makes the world a safer place. nobody wants to see this military action. but blame that on assad. blame that on those that are supporting him, the iranians and the russians, and they need to know that donald trump will actually take action >> we have heard a lot of talk tonight about the fact that he campaigned and a lot of people voted for him on the fact he was going to extricate the u.s. from a lot of places overseas. it was something that he talked about just, you know, days ago, about us coming home from syria. tonight he says this. he says america does not seek an indefinite presence in syria under no circumstances. as other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home and great warriors they are. congressman, you have been and continue to be one of them, how important do you think that part of his message was tonight? we're going to act when we have to, but we want to get out of there. >> i think it's a good part of the message. we do want to get out of these places. in afghanistan we want the
afghan government to stand up on its own and govern itself and our boys and men and women come home. we want the same in iraq. we want the destruction of isis. we want the same in syria. it's interesting, though, getting behind the desk of the oval office which i have never sat there is a very sobering position. and sitting down realizing that there are massive strategic objectives out there, that the united states plays a vital role in, is very sobering, and seeing in an instance in syria people choking to death on gas, that has a different impact on you when you are the president. seeing the crescent shield, the crescent bridge all the way across the middle east and knowing that the iranians are on the doorstep of israel has a very sobering effect to you. i think the president has responded very well to this call of leadership, this burden of leadership and has said america has a role to play in this world and i'm the leader at the helm. >> the president went on from there to talk about the middle east. he says it is a very troubled
place. america can't solve all of its problems, he said we will be a partner of them and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people. >> i love that quote too. they need to take some responsibility or all of it for their region. they need to work that out. go back to the paris treaty of 1919, western powers messed up the middle east to begin with. we are still there messing it up. there seems to be a recurring theme of our intervention whether it's west europe or the united states is putting a different dynamic in place that's causing a lot of the chaos or at least contributing to it. so we need to try and extricate ourselves from it as quickly as possible, i think. >> and i believe it was rich who talked about this, this response that we've gotten from russia tonight. at least from the ambassador, the embassy here in the u.s. saying we have warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. all responsibility for them rest
with washington, london and paris. but michael, we know from what we heard of the pentagon, they did all the normal back channelling that you do when you have to deconflict an area. they said they didn't coordinate with the russians. they didn't tell them exactly what was going to be happening, but it sounds like we were very careful to make it clear to them, get your people out of there. get away from certain targets. we don't want to escalate this beyond what we have to. so when you hear this from the russians, is it just talk to look tough with their own people? do you think there is some back channel understanding between these two powers, we're trying to keep this from turning into anything more than it has to be. >> oh, sure. shannon, they have a domestic audience as well. you know, putin is a master at -- you know, he's been playing maybe a pair of nines at best the last decade. the economy is in shambles. their military except for a very small elite force is antiquated
and still in all draft force. you know, this is a lot of bluff. but there are some very real considerations, and those were some of secretary mattis's concerns. we do have about 2,000 soldiers on the ground that are relatively lightly armed, partnered with the kurds and some arabs that we had to consider. we also have a number of ships out in the mediterranean. the russians in both their naval and their airbases now have put their most sophisticated s-400 missile systems that can project what's called anti-a 2 ad, antidenial territory type of strategy where they can essentially push our ships and also our aircraft off with these missile systems. so there was a lot to consider here, and that's where i thought you were getting some caution and secretary mattis putting his foot on the brakes a little bit. >> uh-huh. michael, thank you. and panel, thank you.
please stick with us. we're going to check in with kristin fisher who has been tracking these talks with our allies all week getting us to this point tonight. she's here now with more on how britain and france have gotten involved, what they are saying tonight. kristin? >> tonight president trump made it very clear that the u.s. is not going it alone in syria, that this is a coordinated effort, with our u.s. and french allies. the president has spoken repeatedly this week with british prime minister teresa may, the president of france, emmanuel macron and over the last 24, 48 hours they have been mulling over their options and now all three are defending their decision to take military action. president macron said quote the red line set by france in may 2017 has been crossed. so i ordered the french armed forces to intervene tonight as part of an international operation and coalition with the united states of america and the u.k. and directed at the clandestine chemical arsenal of
the syrian regime. now for british prime minister teresa may, this is a very first time that she's ever had to authorize troops to combat. she said it was not a decision that she took lightly. domestically she's received a lot of opposition to it. but tonight she said that she really didn't feel like she had a choice that syria had crossed the line, and she put out a statement that said quote there is no practical alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the syrian regime. this is not about intervening in a civil war. it's not about regime change. it is about a limited and targeted strike. so from may to macron to secretary mattis at the pentagon, we are hearing the same thing over and over, that this is a limited targeted strike, aimed at the assad regime and not at russia, not at iran. shannon? >> kristin fisher keeping up on our allies tonight. thank you very much. back to our military experts now. david,ly start with you -- i will start with you, we are getting reaction from both sides of the aisle.
it is kind of a mixed bag. some who think the administration needs to be talking to congress for any further authorization. chuck schumer the top democrat on the senate side is praising limited action to punish and hopefully deter assad from doing this again. but he says he's cautioning the administration into getting us any further into syria. we know that's something the president has said repeatedly he doesn't want. >> yeah, he has. then he said tonight sustained. so there's some conflict on the message; right? i agree -- i can almost look at these two separate events, our involvement in syria that's been ongoing with isis and then a response to -- a limited strike response to chemical weapons usage. i think if we separate those, i think that's what general mattis kind of tried to do. let's get a handle, make it measured, narrow and well defined that this is about the chemical weapons, it is about syria's use. everything else we're doing in syria against isis is a different problem set. let's try and kind of separate these for now. when we talk about the bigger syria problem set, we need to
have the larger objectives. what are we trying to do? there is a lot of dissidence on that. >> there's been a lot of disagreement. even to the level of what this strike would be. congressman i'm sure you have heard more of the inside chatter. it sounded like it was coming to a head with the president wanting to do something much more aggressive. his generals saying let's be precise -- precise about this. he's the commander-in-chief. he has great respect for the military. when it came down to this, it seems like this is potentially a compromise between the two. >> in the words of george w. bush, ultimately the president is the decider. it is mattis's role to be cautious if he feels that's the advice he ought to give the president. but ultimately it is the president's decision. i think that needs to be very clear here too. i do want to talk about something quickly, very broadly, which is the whole idea of syria. there's a lot of talk about let's stay out of syria. let's not do anything.
the reason isis exists right now is because of bashar al-assad's brutality. he creates generations of terrorists and this idea that somehow his oppression and suppression of people is going to lead somehow this rainbows middle east situation is not going to happen. i think these are -- this was a very important move by the president tonight, but long-term these are strategy talks that we're going to have to have as americans, but there's no doubt that tonight, russia got embarrassed and i think we made a very strong statement. >> something else we heard from the pentagon tonight, secretary mattis who has been pressed this week to step up and say are we convinced that this is what publicly people have been saying, that this was assad using chemical weapons on his own people. he said they are fairly confident that there was chlorine gas used, yes. but for now, jason, he said this is a one time strike. we will see if assad tries again with chemical weapons, and this was completely tied to the issue of chemical weapons and not as dave said a broader issues with
isis or anything else or assad's regime, by targeting it that way, do you think that the message is sent about chemical weapons for good? because we had a strike last year. >> yeah, i do think -- you know, we pour a lot of money in this country, the american people fund a lot of intelligence. this is where you have to have the very best intelligence, signals intelligence, you have the satellites that are engaged and then the human intelligence to make sure you are making the proper decisions, you know where the targets are, you can get eyes on it and first hand account. sometimes it is hard to kind of see in the future when you spend literally billions of dollars to do that. hopefully this will make a difference. i think one of the legitimate questions going forward is if we knew about these three facilities before this chemical attack happened, why didn't we take it out before it was used? you know, assad has supposedly over the last year, there are 30 different accounts, some verified, some a little iffy,
but 30 different incidents according to the white house where there were potentially chemical weapons used. maybe what we ought to be doing is something a little bit more proactive so they don't even have that capability. secretary kerry told us they didn't have this capability, but obviously they did. >> well, and now we have a whole other situation after years and years of this civil war going on there, michael, to you, i mean, russia and iran have put down some serious roots in there. terrorism has been, you know, in many areas. it has moved and metastasized. what is left to be of syria? how does this eventually come to any kind of resolution, political, military or otherwise? >> well, we've talked a lot tonight about russia's involvement with syria, and i mentioned a while ago that the syrians are armed and particularly their military is largely aligned with russia, both tactically, doctrineally and from an equipment standpoint.
but make no mistake, iran is equally to blame here. you know, spiritually particularly with the shia sect and of course iran being shia as well, there is a close alignment, very close alignment with iran. there are weekly flights from tehran to damascus. some say even daily flights. there are hezbollah -- hezbollah has expand and grown. iran has its irgc and army on the ground along with other militias that they are shipping in from afghanistan and other parts of the middle east. so i'm absolutely thrilled and i see some of john bolton's fingerprints on this to see the president explicitly call iran and russia out for this behavior. and they are 100% responsible. how does this all of this end and where does it go? i think we have to at some point those two entities iran and
russia have to be responsible actors here and move this country and move this conflict towards some type of peaceful resolution. >> but dave, does that serve their interests? >> i think russia can be pragmatic so russia can sit there and say okay what am i going to gain and lose from this? i think iran is much more ideological. so they are not going to give in as easy to leaving. iran has established themselves on an ideological mission to establish the shia crescent connectover. their goal is to destroy israel. that's not russia's goal. their goal is to expand its influence in the region. it doesn't have to be subject to going through the straits and transiting from the black sea. so they are looking at this strategically positioning of their forces and expanding their influence. they are i think we could influence. iran, no. you can influence via -- only and that could be economic too. >> we are heading into some key
decisions on the iran deal in the next few months, the underlying premise of the obama administration entering that deal was that to bring iran into the world community and be responsible actor. they are not. >> there is another deadline looming. we will talk about that more in a minute. stick around. we're going to wrap our panel for now. >> i'm in washington. this is a fox news alert. the united launching military strikes in syria. attacks in coordinates in response to present sure assad's chemical attack against the people. president trump announcing targeted strikes late tonight. there were reports explosions lit up the syrian capitol. we begin team coverage with our chief white house correspondent john roberts. >> good morning to you shannon. senior administrative officials say the president's