Petraeus says Syria needs to be hit to deter others
Retired Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, former CIA director under President Barack Obama, called strongly Saturday for Congress to back the White House on Syria, declaring that military action against the regime is “necessary” to deter “Iran, North Korea and other would-be aggressors.”Petraeus's statement is correct only to the extent the planned attack has some strategic component beyond mere punishment. It the attack is just a few cruise missiles that does nothing to degrade the Assad regime it will be of little to no value.
“Failure of Congress to approve the president’s request would have serious ramifications not just in the Mideast but around the world,” Petraeus said in a four-sentence statement provided to POLITICO.
With Congress set to return from summer break on Monday, Obama’s request is in trouble in the Senate and on a path to an embarrassing loss in the House. He will sit for interviews Monday with six TV networks as he makes his case for military intervention in Syria ahead of an address to the nation on Tuesday.
In his years as U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, Petraeus was regarded by many Republican lawmakers as a god on military matters.
So the imprimatur of the former four-star general could help Obama woo skeptical Republicans, many of whom say their districts are overwhelmingly opposed to intervention. The Petraeus statement follows endorsements of Obama’s measure this week by Hillary Clinton, his first secretary of State; and Robert M. Gates, his first secretary of defense and a holdover from President George W. Bush.