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September 11th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Reps. Israel vs. Blackburn: Obama wavering on Syria?

U.S. Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) joined hosts Stephanie Cutter and Newt Gingrich in the Crossfire to talk about President Obama's response on Syria and whether or not to trust the Russian plan for Syria to hand over its chemical arsenal to international control.

Rep. Blackburn said President Obama "wavers between having a military and a political solution" for Syria, while Rep. Israel countered that "we've got to keep all the options on the table."

More show highlights:

What's Russia's motive in Syria?
Cutter, Gingrich, Israel and Blackburn talk about Russia's motive with the new Syria chemical weapons plan.

Rep. Israel: Americans tired of blame game
Gingrich and Cutter talk with Rep. Israel and Rep. Blackburn about President Obama's leadership.

Gingrich: Great if peace process works
Stephanie Cutter and Newt Gingrich agree that a peace plan in Syria would be great, and they give White House Press Secretary Jay Carney an open invitation to come on the show.

Read the live blog and at and see the results of the viewer vote.

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Filed under: Debates • Marsha Blackburn • Newt Gingrich • Stephanie Cutter • Steve Israel • Syria
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  1. Daniel Hirschhorn, Maryland Professor

    Putin and Assad see America’s divisiveness and are are taking full advantage of it

    Russia’s Vladimir Putin got his air time in the New York Times yesterday in his “A Plea for Caution from Russia: What Putin Has to Say to Americans about Syria.” This diatribe is more than diplomatic words of conciliation and negotiation for the sake of peace. It is also a threat and a reprimand. He and Syria are in no position to take that stance now.
    Putin called for Syria to sign onto the chemical weapons’ ban treaty and it did today. That’s good, but it’s only a mass murderer putting his name on a piece of paper. Immediately thereafter, Putin reprimanded the U.S. and our President in the Times. Now Putin and his child- murdering colleague Assad are emboldened to dictate terms and timeframes for Syria giving up its chemical weapons. Putin writes that Americans must “take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction.” How noble. These vultures see America’s divisiveness and are taking full advantage of it. Why is Assad so anxious to do the right thing a few weeks after gassing and murdering children. Did he find Christ last night? (Then again, many dead men walking on death row in prisons do just that!)
    I can’t even believe the absurd criticisms levied by many Congress people, the media, commentators, and others against President Obama for his actions and stance on Syria this week. This divisiveness has only given rise to Putin’s and Assad’s seeming overnight willingness to be reasonable members of the international community. Who cares what Assad says; he murdered children a few days ago! And that makes Putin guilty by association of the same madness.
    The bottom line criticism is that Obama is flip-flopping and all over the map with his stance. Not true at all. He made up his mind on what needed to be done weeks ago. He’s just giving the diplomatic route a little more time; hopefully, very little. Treaties and promises will not change Assad’s behavior, especially in the midst of a civil war; cruise missiles will.
    The night before Congress was to vote on the attack, John Kerry and Putin said Syria might be able to avoid a U.S. military strike IF Assad agrees to give in to U.S. demands on his stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. For Kerry, this meant waiting a few days “to give peace a chance” before a strike. To Putin, it seems to mean long-term negotiations and processes with how and when to shut down Syria’s chemical weapons, requiring quite a long time. This is little more than an arrogant political ploy by Putin and Assad to buy time. And Obama’s critics are really giving them that privilege of time–and already calling the shots.
    Correctly so, President Obama said he would wait a little while for Assad to act properly, and show good faith. He delayed the vote on the military strike ready to be taken by Congress. These actions are what a logical, reasonable man would do. What was his choice? To say “I don’t believe Putin or Assad, and I no longer have time to wait for a congressional vote, so I’m launching a strike tomorrow? Of course not. That sounds like a dictator…like Putin and Assad!
    If Assad does not quickly follow America’s non-negotiated requirements on what to do and when to shut down its chemical weapons’ capabilities, America should unilaterally strike them down and soon. “Leaders” like Putin and Assad only respect strength and aggression. Let us not forget Ronald Regan's iconic approach to the Cold War: the only way is “peace through strength.” Obama is actually trying to follow the lead of the great Republican communicator!

    September 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  2. T Plum

    How come Newt & S.E. are described in their bio's as "conservative" as if that was bad by the way it's stated, yet Cutter & Jones no where is it mentioned they are liberals? I'm sure Newt & SE are proud to e called conservative. Would Cutter & Jones be happy with the moniker of liberal...I think not. How come there was no mention of Jones at one time being a card carrying communist?

    September 12, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Reply

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