tv Washington Journal Michael Eisenstadt CSPAN April 16, 2018 11:50am-12:05pm EDT
c-span.org/landmark cases. >> this week the u.s. supreme court takes up the case with internet sales tax. the goal experts offer a preview of the oral argument in south dakota v. wayfarer. live coverage from the heritage foundation begins at noon eastern here on c-span2. until then comes some of today's "washington journal." >> michael eisenstadt joins us now, director of the military studies program at the washington is to tear it for nearst east policy. mr. eisenstadt, before the latest coalition strikes, you wrote w that the problems in sya will not end with a single set of strikes. what did and didn't the united states and written and friends accomplish what happened on friday night? guess it would probably do them harm and damage of the chemical weapons capabilities. although the department to
defense briefings with the targets that would not i likely result in harm to civilians. there probably were other chemical weapons related to targets we didn't head for thatn reason. our experience in the past is that, you know, for instance after the strike a year ago we didn't stop the regime from using chemical weapons. there was a force for a while and they are using by and large less lethal agents as chlorine rather than staring gas. there may be some beneficial humanitarian results from this. in terms of stopping the regime's military operation, chemicals are really important. they never were a game changer although they were more important earlier in the war. now the regime has such an overwhelming preponderance and the russians and the iranians and hezbollah strongly behind them. chemical weapons really aren't that important. it probably won't affect the overall trajectory of the
military. >> but they're not important, why did they keep using them if a year ago through u.s. strikes and brought international attention, why do they keep using them? >> just because they can. even though they are condemned for doing it and took a strike a year ago when i last used syringe to kill close to 100 people, basically shows they can't be coerced, they won't be proud and it's kind of like dancing on your enemy's grave. it's a way to install into the hearts of the opposition because a lower part of these campaigns is psychological. not just to defeat your enemy militarily but to internalize the defeat of the so fearful that they one of her fight back again. >> host: how would you describe the coalition strategy right w now? deterrence, punishment?
>> i think the defense department and secretary mattis had said the goal was to establish deterrence. therete is a normative use of chemical weapons and enshrined in international agreements and i thought it was eroded. when you think in the context of north korea which is believed to have large chemical weapons stockpiles, they wanted to put this genie back in the bottle again. if this could have implications elsewhere, it's eroded. three days after the strikes, what is yourth assessment of the targeting strategy used here. what specifically was picked to head? >> again, we kind of hit the targets we were able to hit without causing civilian losses. we have the development facility near damascus in my understanding is that is really the main center for chemical weapons in the country. theyey also hit some storage facilities that are used to store it either precursors for
chemical agents in south. a westernized form. so all appearances from a tactical point of view was mission accomplished. the point of view of the overall mission and our policy in syria, i don't see it contributes to our goals of isis, consolidating our successes against isis, by stabilization and de-escalation zones or political transition. it doesn't really address. they're still large parts of our strategy unformed is a work in progress. >> where could you accomplish those goals and hurt the assad regime and drive a wedge between syria and russia? >> one thing i advocated and let me just say i think it's regrettable that we are kind of involved directly in conflict at this point. it would've been much more desirable to have a proxy strategy based on supporting opposition members that we could
ramp up support on to put pressure on the regime. but given that we are involved directly, i think beside getting chemical weapons related facilities, we should have hit ifiv possible delivery means although it's possible they were dispersed as a result of the president's tweet and mysterious new something was coming. they moved their aircraft by the russians on the assumption that we wouldn't strike as a result. probably a correct a assumption and we probably could've hit the units involved building on the successes or are battlefield effects of the chemical weapons. they've been moving with ground forces and a small number of units involved w in that end from people by the same community by and large and if you have biz unit at the headquarters of those units and killed people who are closely tied to the regime come with it are greater psychological effect and also a tangible effect.
it would've had the deterrence effect it would've gotten would've been perhaps more long-lasting, likely and also we would've affected her ability -- their ability to prosecute the battlefield. i would've pushed for something more broader, but we have to be careful to avoid steps that result in escalation with iran and russia and i supportal that. >> host: where phone lines are roping if you want to join. 202-737-0001. republicans 202-737-0002. independence 202-628-0205. near east policy, explained to viewers whoai aren't familiar wt this does. >> guest: we provide risk for the policymakers. we provide policy analysis in the hope that we might provide value added to the people who making decisions. the advantages that we bring to bear as a lot of us have been doing -- dealing with this issue for decades and has a lot of
continuity and institutional knowledge. >> host: what is your background? tesco and the middle east specialties by trading, masters from georgetown university in arab studies and i also was a reservist for 26 years so i served in 1991 in northern iraq indian turkey. also after 9/11 was mobilized to centcom in various stints in iraq and elsewhere in the region. >> host: with us, talking with fewer viewers for the next 20 minutes or so. thomas is up first and humble, texas. republican, good morning. >> caller: yeah, the worker yeah, i work during hazmat materials, things like that and i didn't seen' no one with any gear on after the bombing. [inaudible] i think we were missing like $5 billion. thank you. >> guest: the akamai thinks
you're in russian personnel in doom, which was the area where theer chemical attacks took the part. my understanding is allotted to use l both chlorine and sarin ae nonpersistent agents. in agents. in other words can evaporate veryicy. quickly. it is possible to enter into an area for a lot of chemical weapons have been used within a few hours or a few days although probably prudence would dictate you not do so because you never know whether there is residue in titles or whatever. the stuff only lasts for a few minutes for a few hours depending on the agent in the air temperature. >> host: rhonda is in pennsylvania. democrats, good morning. >> caller: good morning. i just want to ask of the investigation went through, if they let any and for the investigation in syria. >> yeah, i think what the caller
was referring to is the chemical warfare has sent a team over there. honestly,at i'm not up to date n terms of whether they're able to get on the ground and in the past they've been denied access. sometimes they been allowed access. i don't know if the current state of play is with regard to the inspector. >> host: can you talk about what france and great britain have been able to find out? we've had three things since then onth what they believe was used in those attacks on civilians. >> guest: yeah, there hasn't been a lot of information released about this, and that at least the french have claimedcho have information based on blood tests of people in the vicinity which indicated at least the chlorine and possibly sarin was used. there were reports it was some type of cocktail possibly, maybe something else.
there is still some clarity to be given to this topic. they said they had very credible information, which led them to believe this was the case. one would hope you are not going to launch a strike unless we had very definitive information in this regard. >> host: use of the pictures from the results of those strikes. u.s.a. 76 struck the research and development center before dawn in a community outside of damascus. there is the picture on the front page of "the wall street journal" of the remains of that facility in the bunker and nearby storage site that were hit in that attack. aaron, alexandria virginia, line for democrats, go ahead. >> caller: thank you for allowing me to speak. i just want to clarify, this sounded like you said president trump sort of preempted or give an update or alert to those who had the chemical weapons, which allowed them to move.
i want to know if that is common for u.s. officials to either preemptively put out something that allows the enemy to move their targets. and if so, what is that called in u.s. law or are there any consequences for that? >> host: you are referring to the tweet? tesco first of all, and let me say in 1991 after the invasion of kuwait by saddam hussein, president bush said they shall not stand and televise the fact he was moving towards the iraqi invasion. that's a different situation. that involves major movement of troops in the planet which are easily seen by everybody. for a strike in response to these chemical weapons for instance as we saw in the last week, you know, it would probably have been indications the united states is putting assets in the face even if the president hadn't said anything. i'm not sure what really
impacted had in the end. there are reports that the series but their forces into the defensive mode which made it much harder to hit other aspects that chemical weapons such as delivery means. >> host: did the timing of that, after that first read about this? tesco that is my understanding. but again, it is quite possible almost every time we as forces, all these leaks in the paper that the pentagon is preparing a response, it's possible they would've done things anyhow. in light of the strike last year that the nerve agent, it is possible that they would as a matter of prudence dispersed. we don't know what would've happened if they hadn't said anything. the question is whether they actually use the chemical munitions or regions at the site. the iraqis did that in 91 and so they actually disbursed to munitions in the open field and stuff like that.
according to the pentagon, there's no evidence to munitions or agents themselves were dispersed. but it seemed silly some of their military force was disbursed and if we had the intention of hitting perhaps an aircraft that was used to deliver the agent and they were dispersed in their field by the russians, that would preclude them being targeted. still we don't know at this point. >> host: morgan, nashville tennessee. good morning. >> caller: hi, i was just wondering if we are all just american fools. are you telling me that they use chlorine gas on their people as a public relations event so that it would make their people fear? knowing that this was going to escalate into our bombing them, that is ridiculous. chlorine gas is available everywhere and they don't even know who did it. there was no evidence as to who
did it that was presented. also, they were ready and waiting to go when with the team of investigators. this has shock and awe britain all over it. wmd. we are just being drugged down the hall of warmongering and every bit of our laurels. >> good afternoon. welcome to the heritage foundation. we of course welcome those who join us on our heritage.org website and those who are joining us on c-span tv. for those in-house, we ask a courtesy check the mobile devices have been silenced or turned off in those watching online are welcome to send comments or questions at any time by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. leading our discussion