Sessions: Assad would have feared Bush
September 6th, 2013
02:49 PM ET
7 months ago

Sessions: Assad would have feared Bush

(CNN) – Sen. Jeff Sessions – a Republican who has yet to say whether he'll approve President Barack Obama's plan for military strikes in Syria – said at a town hall Friday that the situation in the conflict-torn nation would be far different if George W. Bush was still in the White House.

Speaking to tea party activists outside Montgomery, Sessions said Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad would have heeded calls from the former Republican commander-in-chief to not use chemical weapons on his people.

"If President Bush had told Bashar Assad, 'You don't use chemical weapons or you are going to be sorry. We are coming after you, this will be a consequence you will not want to bear,' I don't believe he would have used them," Sessions said, adding that he didn't "mean to be partisan about it."

Obama and administration officials say samples from Syria prove Assad used chemical weapons on August 21, killing more than 1,400 people. He's been pressing lawmakers to support his plan for missile strikes to punish Assad's regime for the attack, though members of both parties have expressed deep skepticism at the plan.

Sessions said on Friday, however, that the administration was exaggerating the potential consequences of not taking action against Assad.

"(Secretary of State John Kerry) overstated a number of things," he said. "First he says we have got to respond basically any time anybody violates some treaty and we have got to go to war and use some military action. That is not so. He basically said you have got to support us or the country will be damaged and I don't agree with that."

Sessions did not say for sure what his vote would be on authorizing the use of force in Syria.

McCain gets an earful from voters on Syria

Tea party members attending the event appeared torn on American intervention in Syria, though most were wary about getting involved in another conflict overseas. One woman, who said she was a nurse who'd been trained in responding to chemical incidents, said she was doubtful that missile strikes alone could be an effective enough way to prevent another sarin attack.

"We put missiles in there, it's not going to do anything. Boots are going to be on the ground," she said.


Filed under: Jeff Sessions • Syria
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    Yeah. Just like al-Qaida did.

    Derp.

    September 6, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    Assad worked with Bush to secure the border with Iraq, so, no, he would have cut a deal that allowed him to stay, the same way Quadaffi worked with the Bush adminsitration to get what he wanted. Bush enabled far more regimes than he interfered with, a fact the Right does not want to admit, much less discuss.

    September 6, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Dixie

    He is right about Bush. Good or bad he did what he said and everyone knew he ment it. Obama not so much.

    September 6, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    As I said before, the GOP/Teatrolls' obstructionist, destroy Obama at all costs, 5-year temper tantrum is the biggest threat to national security we face right now. Assad doesn't fear that our Congress will authorize action...he bet on it and he's going to win because the GOP/Teatrolls telegraphed for 5 years that they would oppose and obstruct and try to ruin Obama over something like this, even if it meant they had to let someone get away with gassing innocents and children to death. You want to talk about letting the enemy know ahead of time what your strategy will be? Well, GOPers/Teatrolls, you couldn't have done a better job of letting folks like Assad know how you'd respond to Obama seeking authorization for military actions. But but but but "Benghazi!!!!!!!!", right?

    September 6, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. sonny chapman

    Is that the same George W. Bush that "fought" for the country he proclaims to love during the Vietnam War by serving in the TX Air National Guard ?

    September 6, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. just saying

    The Real Tom Paine
    Assad worked with Bush to secure the border with Iraq, so, no, he would have cut a deal that allowed him to stay, the same way Quadaffi worked with the Bush adminsitration to get what he wanted. Bush enabled far more regimes than he interfered with, a fact the Right does not want to admit, much less discuss.
    ---

    yeah, bush really messed up when he got ghaddafi to surrender allcof his wmd after he wasted saddam get taken down. can you imagine if all that was now in the hands of al queada thanks to obama's libya blunder?

    and heaven forbid the middle east not be all in flames like it is now thanks to the feckless obama and his lead from behind, america is the problem approach. ooops sorry, now he wants us to be a bully and do exactly what he spent years criticizing bush for. obama is a royal pos and should be kneeling before george bush begging for his forgiveness for all the lies he has spewed.

    September 6, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    I don't know Jeff Sessions. Personally, I would think that the world would agree we should never have elected Bush to such a lofty position of power to begin with.

    September 6, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. truth hurts but reality bites

    Data Driven
    @truth hurts but reality bites,
    Wow. You're giving a vote of SUPPORT for Assad? Can't you continue to despise Obama without going that far? Hey, I don't think we should bomb Syria either, but there is a lot we can do to make life unbearable for him. It starts by reminding the UN of their responsibilities on the prevention of chemical warfare.
    Obama's reputation is not the only one on the line.
    --

    Nobody is supporting Assad. I could just as easily say you are supporting Al Queada and jihadi terrorists if you oppose Assad because they are the majority of the fighters in Syria. Pictures and videos of summary executions coming out of Syria prove there is far worse awaiting Syria and us should Assad fall. What do you think would happen to non-muslims in Syria if these people took over?

    Do all of you that advocate for taking Assad out think a Syria with 1,000 tons of chemical weapons in the hands of jihadis is a wonderful improvement in the situation over there? Obama attacking Assad could blunder us into this nightmare scenario. Al Quaeda's dream come true thanks to Obama.

    September 6, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh I don't know about all that...
    I'd be more afraid of somebody who can stand in front of a mike and crack jokes whilst Seal Team 6 was infiltrating bin laden's compound on HIS command. The most delicate and important mission of his presidency: the killing of bin laden. A mission whose failure would've been placed directly on his shoulders, and one which no one else advocated nor supported.
    I also would be more afraid of someone who has without missing a beat or breaking a sweat made mincemeat of every single Republican attempt at derailing his presidency and bringing our country to it's knees.
    Don't let the placid smile fool you....

    Bush was an idiot and his unchecked idiocy did scare the hell out of me however.
    Stupid Gone Wild.

    September 6, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    I am sure Assad would have feared a 12 year unnecessary war with Bush. I am sure Assad would have been shaking in his boots when Bush said, "You're fer us or agin us." In his defense, Bush was adept at ducking away from thrown shoes.

    September 6, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    In other words, if Bush were in the White House he would support a punitive military action. But since Bush is no longer in the White House, then he cannnot support military action.

    September 6, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    -Sessions said on Friday, however, that the administration was exaggerating the potential consequences of not taking action against Assad.

    "(Secretary of State John Kerry) overstated a number of things," he said. "First he says we have got to respond basically any time anybody violates some treaty and we have got to go to war and use some military action. That is not so. He basically said you have got to support us or the country will be damaged and I don't agree with that."
    ***************
    Kerry stated over and over that the action would be limited in scope, and nowhere in his remarks did he state this was setting the precedent for continuous military action. I realize he is playing to the Tea Party crowd in his homestate, but this is ridiculous, even for Sessions. It was Bush's supporters who set the precedent for saying that people were either with them or against them, and that any criticism of his deicsions was tantamount to giving aid and comfort to Al-Queda and the Taliban.

    September 6, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Just goes to show that the Bush Administration's policy was shoot first and ask questions later. The days of cowboy diplomacy are over.

    September 6, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Sen. Sessions, what did Bush do when given that PDB "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.?" He turned a blind eye and we got hit.

    September 6, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. Bill

    Sessions is a buffoon.

    September 6, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Ann

    Yes Mr. Sessions you are so right especially since it was George W. Bush who captured Osama Bin Laden

    September 6, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. lew todd

    Sessions is an idiot...

    September 6, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Anthony in California

    Dixie
    He is right about Bush. Good or bad he did what he said and everyone knew he ment it. Obama not so much.

    No, Dixie.. Bush shot from the hip without thought. Reckless and dangerous. Heck, our own country feared Bush and what hole he'd drive the car into next. But our adversaries didnt fear Bush. He was cronies with all of them. Even the Bin Laden's and even Al Queda. Osama definitely didnt fear Bush. Obama thinks about what to implement then Congress obstructs it. Pretty simple. So now even Russia sees how treasonous the Republicans in Congress are, to the point theyre trying to lobby them to go against Obama.

    September 6, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. stars

    So he think Bush was billy bad ass. So why is Bush scared to leave the country.

    September 6, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Peoples State of Illinois

    Russia protects its ally, Syria, just as America protects its ally, Israel. We need to keep our extra large noses out of it.
    -------------------–
    Couldn't have stated it more bluntly than that myself. Russians are not going to sit on their thumbs while the U.S. bombs a strategically important ally in the region. The real question is what will that reaction entail. The Russians have been moving surface ships into the area, just like the U.S but not as many. There are reports of at least two Russian subs lurking about.

    September 6, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. just saying

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes
    Just goes to show that the Bush Administration's policy was shoot first and ask questions later. The days of cowboy diplomacy are over.
    -–

    yeah, getting un approval, congressional approval, including many democrats like hillary clinton and then getting around 50 other countries to help. ypu that was one real lonesome cowboy acting all alone. as opposed to obama, no un approval, no congressional approval with even many democrats opposed and zero allies lining up to help. obama is a world wide joke at this point! george bush has made him look like the bumbling community organizer he is.

    September 6, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Donna

    Anthony in California
    Bush shot from the hip without thought. Reckless and dangerous.
    --

    Right.... as opposed to Obama who shots from the LIP without thought. Wildly reckless and dangerous for a President of the USA as we are now finding out.

    September 6, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    If Bush were still in the White House? The same Bush that ignored the Clinton counter-terrorism transition team that tried to warn him about Osama bin Laden?

    The same Bush who went to his ranch instead of heeding the warning of the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing?

    The same Bush who said he basically didn't care where bin Laden was, never had any real strategy for Iraq or Afghanistan and cut taxes during wartime – NEVER done before in our nation's history?

    If Bush were still in the White House, Assad would have laughed in his face if Bush had told him to do or not do ANYTHING.

    September 6, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. TONE

    Republikkklans all of them should be tried for treason they switch from war hawks to traitors to commie sympathizers, chickens

    September 6, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    -just saying

    The Real Tom Paine
    Assad worked with Bush to secure the border with Iraq, so, no, he would have cut a deal that allowed him to stay, the same way Quadaffi worked with the Bush adminsitration to get what he wanted. Bush enabled far more regimes than he interfered with, a fact the Right does not want to admit, much less discuss.
    -

    yeah, bush really messed up when he got ghaddafi to surrender allcof his wmd after he wasted saddam get taken down. can you imagine if all that was now in the hands of al queada thanks to obama's libya blunder?

    and heaven forbid the middle east not be all in flames like it is now thanks to the feckless obama and his lead from behind, america is the problem approach. ooops sorry, now he wants us to be a bully and do exactly what he spent years criticizing bush for. obama is a royal pos and should be kneeling before george bush begging for his forgiveness for all the lies he has spewed.
    ************************
    Wow. Your psychosis just gets bigger by the day. You are proud of the fact that Bush negotiated a deal with Quadaffi, a man who ordered the deaths of over 200 Americans? You seem to be forgetting all of that in your zeal to rewrite history to suit your warped opinions, conveniently blotting out the parts about where we made deals with devils that Bush left the Mideast in flames. He was hated and reviled for talking about democracy and then propping up every POS in the region. His Mideast policy was never about democracy, it was about conducting business, business that was conducted over the bodies of people killed on the Pan Am Flight over Lockerbie,who were ignored when Bush cut his deal with him. You insult the memory of the dead with your worthless comments. Since you can't ever offer an alternative vision without resorting to insults, just STFU. You have nothing to offer except boring, kneejerk reactions.

    September 6, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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