Petraeus backs Obama administration on Syria
September 7th, 2013
05:30 PM ET
11 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. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Everybody should back Obama or would you rather stick up for the child murder assed which some idiot demenstrators and politicians are doing, I guess their are a lot of idiots in congress that will be kicked out in 2014 midterms, mostly GOP from the house, it will be dems in control in 2015 . What has the GOP done for you in the last five years. Answer= NOTHING!!!

    September 7, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. discoverhaitinow

    Does spreading terror and limiting the freedom to live and belief should not be tolerated. If Haiti had a Military and I was the President of Haiti, Haiti would be in the front line on the fight against All haters of Freedom and the right live freely in your choice of belief.

    September 7, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Tony in Maine

    But voting no is, for some, just a knee jerk reaction by those afflicted with Obama derangement syndrome. A prime example being Inhofe (R) Exxon who was for it before he was against it.

    There are also progressives who think Assad will listen to diplomacy.

    And then those, like me, who wonder how much Cheney will profit if we distract Syria from what his new venture Genie Energy, is doing on the Golan Heights.

    September 7, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. discoverhaitinow

    If Haiti had a Military force and I was the president, Haiti would be on the frontline on the Waragainst those who hate Freedom

    September 7, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. Ray

    "rejecting the president's request would embolden "Iran, North Korea, and other would be aggressors.""

    So....we need to kill some Syrians to deter North Korea? Pathetic.

    September 7, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  6. ug

    Yep...he was paid to say it...

    September 7, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Stephen Colbert

    Just what we need... David Petraeus coming out of the woodwork. He lost his credibility when he can't keep his oath he made to his wife, allowed some bimbo crazy about him into secret meetings, accorded her super secret security clearances...

    And just what we need from McCain claiming he the the most respected general of our time. Mr. McCain really has no idea. If this does not scream that the Congress is out of touch, then I don't know what would be sufficient for the people.

    September 7, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  8. Refguy

    Most honored? How about Mike Mullen and Jim Stavridis?

    September 7, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Chuck

    Hey Petraus, lets hear more about Benghazi

    September 7, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. abmri60

    How can the US go ahead with striking Syria, without International approval ?

    September 7, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. dervish

    Let's all support McCain's Cannibal Army! Coming soon to a village near you!

    September 7, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  12. Brian Potvin

    It is a joke for McCain to say that Petraeus is “the most respected military leader of our time.” It's fair to say the's the most "high profile" military leader of our time. However, there's no way that it can be said he's "respected" after his scandal. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he was an absolutely phenomenal General, however his scandal prevents him from being "respected", in my opinion. There are MANY MANY other General officers in our time who have been more respected. Schwarzkopf, Franks, Pace, Moseley, just to name a few.

    September 7, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  13. Daniel

    Nothing that a defamed general would say has made me feel any more confident about our invading the sovereign country of Syria. The terrible acts committed on civilians in Syria are to be condemned by the civilized world, but thes have nothing to do with the National Security of the United States of America.

    September 7, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. steven dahl

    "If Afghanistan can become..the New Silk Road, Uhhh, think of the, uhhh, implications, recalling that Afghanistan, uhhh, is BLESSED with the presence of what are TRILLIONS, with an "s" on the end, TRILLIONS of dollars worth of minerals if, and only if you can get the extractive technology, the human capital to operate the lines of communication to enable you to get it out of the country.... The prospects are VERY significant if you can achieve objectives." Patreaus told NBC's Meet The Press.

    September 7, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Marcus

    OMG... We're really going to war aren't we?

    September 7, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Of course he does. He's part of the Military Industrial Complex, and we use our military to bully smaller nations. America does not spread democracy we shed blood to further our interests. Our interest is having the natural gas.

    Gas Pipeline War in Syria
    September 7, 2013 | Filed under: Blog and tagged with: gas war Syria
    Iraq wasn’t about “weapons of mass destruction.” It was about oil. We borrowed the money from the Chinese so that we could make it safe for the Chinese and Exxon to frack Iraq. Bombing Syria is not about “chemical weapons of mass destruction.” It’s about a gas pipeline that has been proposed to take gas from Quatar to Europe – via Syria and Turkey.

    Russia does not want the proposed gas pipeline to Europe, where they export most of their gas. So they support the Assad military dictatorship, their client and puppet, who has blocked it on their behalf.

    The gulf Arabs want a new gas pipeline to Europe. The Turks want the pipeline to Europe. So they support the rebels who are trying to overthrow Assad.

    The Syrians, meanwhile have proposed an alternate pipeline – from the Iranian gas fields, through Iraq, Syria, then north to Turkey. Something Quatar is opposed to. Civil war broke out shortly after the Assad regime signed on for this route, cutting Quatar out and elevating Iran. The Syrian rebels are (of course) bankrolled by Quatar. . .

    We are dependent on Arab oil. The Turks are our allies, as are the Israelis. So the Obama Administration supports Quatar, Turkey and Israel in opposition to the Russians, Syrians and Iranians. Over the ‘preferred’ route of a gas pipeline.

    And meanwhile back in the States, who gets the first LNG export concession to ship US shale gas to Europe ? Quatar Petroleum International and Exxon.

    September 7, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  17. Joe Bradley

    When the middle east counties step up to police their own then we should help by sending food, it's their area of concern, the US has done more than the whole area is worth.

    September 7, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  18. Winston Smith

    He's a military man. He's going to back any proposal that ensures his retirement.

    September 7, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. snowdogg

    "enforce the international laws forbidding the use of chemical weapons

    Which should be the UN's job... not the US's.

    September 7, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  20. onlyfacts

    Patraeus says, 'rejecting the presidents request would embolden Iran, N. Korea and other would be aggressors". What are we scared of? That these countries will come kill us? Well we are taking care of that ourselves and it doesn't appear to be a problem. Google: American deaths by shootings, DUI's, assaults and drugs to name a few. No evil country could do as much harm to us as we do to ourselves. It all comes down to profit for the powerful (1%) and too bad, so sad for everyone else.

    September 7, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  21. marco1

    I have to give his opinion a great deal of credence given the way Obama kicked him under the bus. Agreeing with Obama on anything must hurt.

    September 7, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. Richard Ledford

    A welcome endorsement that can only strengthen President Obama's position with the American people.

    It's not the 'end all' or 'be all' but it definitely tips the scales a bit in the president's direction.

    September 7, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  23. Theo

    He probably beats his kids into submission too

    September 7, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  24. aspblom

    LIES...... There is NO reason for the US military to attack. Oh, wait. IS Syria bombing the US?

    September 7, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  25. Dan

    Patraeus is a great military leader. A lousy husband, but a great military leader.

    September 7, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
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