Petraeus backs Obama administration on Syria
September 7th, 2013
05:30 PM ET
7 months ago

Petraeus backs Obama administration on Syria

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus announced Saturday he's behind the White House's plan for limited military strikes against the Syrian government.

In a statement, President Barack Obama's former CIA director called for Congress to support the administration's call for airstrikes against President Bashar al-Assad's forces, warning that rejecting the president's request would embolden "Iran, North Korea, and other would be aggressors."


"Failure of Congress to approve the president’s request would have serious ramifications not just in the Mideast but around the world," Petraeus said.

Petraeus also said that the planned aerial assault "is necessary" to both enforce the international laws forbidding the use of chemical weapons and to "degrade the [Assad] regime's overall military capabilities."

Petraeus’ statement was endorsed by Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), who described the retired general as “the most respected military leader of our time.”

The administration says the Syrian government was behind a chemical weapons attack on August 21.

Though some in the military community have questioned just how effective Tomahawk missiles would be in impacting al-Assad's military assets, Petraeus's stamp of approval could give Republicans and Democrats in more conservative districts the necessary political cover to vote for a controversial resolution.

Petraeus' statement comes amid a renewed push by the White House to sell members of Congress on the administration's plan.

In addition to his scheduled address to the nation Tuesday evening, the President scheduled six interviews with major television outlets for Monday, including CNN's Wolf Blitzer.


Filed under: David Petraeus • John McCain • Obama administration • Syria
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. walter

    they should hire a sales firm to more professionally sell this to us. step one: build rapport, step two: present pitch with appropriate benefits, overcome objections with some bs. Step 3: Close the deal and don' forget to cross sell us another product like an add-on special forces raid on that reactor in Iran

    September 7, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. Casey Collins

    Too bad this has to come down to fly swatting...We don't know what to strike, who to strike and where to strike. I agree something needs to be down, but I don't think we have the intelligence to do it right the first time.

    September 7, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. Mick

    This, from a man compromised in so many ways. His statement is irrelevant, speculative, subjective, and questionable.

    September 7, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. Denise S. Wood

    This should not happen. Awful. Best to find out who is responsible before selecting a target isn't it. Can we get U.N. approval to act? So awful. (So were the machete attacks on children in other parts of the world, alas.... tragic.)

    September 7, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    In this age, this is a major tragedy... This demands action for the Syrian innocents who cannot fight, or run. The holocaust was known after all those innocents men, women and children, FAMILIES were wiped out. THis we see in real time and world should be revolting at the same time. When the Congress wastes time and days have gone by so the evil Syrian leaders and murderers can travel with the death gas, USA, Middle Eastern States, EUROPE, ASIA, and the world are waiting for the next attact. People like R. Paul, are waisting time on the lives of little children. Bet he didn't even think that those canisters of gas are possibly the next Mall, School, Airport, Stadium, Hotels, and Hometown disasters.! This is why the action is NOW. You don't have to "weigh in"... You know better. American saw the proof.

    September 7, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. LukeN See

    This is in Real time with real people. There is no time to debate. The holocaust was not in real time and the innocents that were killed wiped out families. This is not to debated for days, because while the Congress tosses this most terrible act to mankind and against international law, the canisters are traveling, Unless there are "eyes in the sky" watching it 24/7...
    And while the inexperienced Congress hold outs are patting themselves on the back, more innocent men, women and children are being killed. REAL TIME. Lets not see the Malls, Schools, Air Ports, stadiums, Museums in the USA, Middle East, Europe, Asia and the World face such disasters. Russia is a big disappointment to the safety of world peace. We can see all of this on Real Time Videos.

    September 7, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  7. Evergreen

    In this simple statement the retired general has made a compeling arguement for supporting the President. I have now gone from a NO Vote to undecided. I support my President but I am fed up with middle east, every square inch of it.

    September 7, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. freedom

    Patraeus is not to be trusted.

    September 7, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  9. Jerry Schull

    Sure he does.

    September 7, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  10. Name Uche Agonsi

    This Gen. Petraeus straight-jacked endorsement does not seem to have considered some other consequences of the war such as the civilian casualties and eventual activation of a new armed race, amidst worsening world economic woes. Then there is the probable senaio of it igniting another major war in the Middle East. This could happen by counter attacks on Israel and retaliatory measures by Israel that might upgrade hostilities.

    September 7, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  11. Alfredo Aro

    Usually military people like General Petreaus knows just one way to get out of a problem. Through War! North Korea and Iran won't become more or less dangerous than they are if we don't strike Syria. We should worry with this other future problems when they present to us to resolve them. For now Syria is not threatening our national security directly for us to justify that Iran will be more beligerant than they are...American people are looking forward to another strategy that will built our national security in a more lasting and doable way.

    September 8, 2013 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  12. Alfredo Aro

    There are two equal text comments , the first one l made a mistake on the spelling "Petraeus" name. Which l corrected on the second text right below. The second word l corrected the spelling was "belligerent" where it is equally corrected in the second text. thanks

    September 8, 2013 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  13. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    This guy is smart. He also said that citizens have no need to own machine guns. The unhinged GOBP tea potty promptly ignored that.

    September 8, 2013 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  14. Gurgyl

    Obama knows.

    September 8, 2013 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  15. ghost

    NO BOOTS ON THE GROUND. Otherwise, I trust the POTUS. Something needs to be done. The UN needs to be disbursed, if they do nothing. ClINTON 2016

    September 8, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  16. Peace

    @abmri60
    How can US go ahead with striking Syria, without International approval?
    --------
    International approval you get from United Nations. There, there is Russia and China who hold a VETO. They will never vote YES. There is no need even of talking about United Nations. It is the club for Ambassadors who come and go after enjoying all privileges they are provided there.

    September 8, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Give the President the power , wait for the UN findings , the support of countries will grow , if diplomacy fails , measure twice, cut once .

    The failure to find WMD's in Iraq and ten years of war has made us uncertain in what we stand for.

    September 8, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. RJ

    I'll predict the US does launch a strike, but so limited it will be of no consequence. Obama will make claims of upholding the "world's red line" and ignoring the fact that he should have just kept his mouth shut in the first place. Afterwards, he'll sweep the discussion under the rug with his other past blunders.

    September 8, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. zelskid

    No one else besides McCain supports this.

    September 8, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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