Sen. Cruz: Attacking Syria Is Not In National Interest


SEAN HANNITY: Here with reaction to this and much more is Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Senator, thanks for being with us. What should the response be from your perspective?

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: Well, Secretary Kerry is right that Assad using chemical weapons is an outrage and it's wrong. But unfortunately missing from his statement and from the president's approach so far has been a focus on what the touchstone should be, which is the vital U.S. national security interest of this country.

The United States Armed Forces is not -- doesn't exist to be a policeman for the world. And I certainly hope the reaction isn't simply lobbing some cruise missiles in to disagree with Assad's murderous actions. Rather, our focus should be on protecting our national security, which leads to two things.

Number one, under no circumstances should we be arming rebels who are affiliated with al-Qaeda. And this administration has already suggested they want to arm the rebels with no reliable means of differentiating al-Qaeda from non-al-Qaeda.

And number two, our concern should be those chemical weapons, preventing them from falling into the hands of Hezbollah, preventing them from falling into the hands of al-Qaeda. That should be guiding our actions, not expressing some moral outrage from a university faculty lounge.

HANNITY: All right. What he is saying is it's more obscenity, yeah, we agree. It's inexcusable, yeah, we agree. But you mentioned firing some cruise missiles. That's been the talk that they're drawing up plans to do so. Is this going to be a so-called therapeutic bombing so they can just check off the box where they crossed the red line and we responded, but that's it?

CRUZ: Look, if the objective is to make a symbolic step then that makes sense. If the objective is to protect our national security, it is difficult to see what a few cruise missiles would do. The focus should be, the only justifiable reason for U.S. military forces to be engaged, for U.S. military might to be engaged, is to protect our national security. And sadly, that has been the missing variable from this administration's approach from the beginning as they allowed Assad to slaughter over a hundred thousand of his people. And their focus hasn't been on protecting U.S. interests.

And you know what's striking, Sean, is that Secretary Kerry and the president have said, they want to go to the United Nations for approval. How about going to the United States Congress? You know, the Constitution gives Congress the authority to declare war. And this president doesn't seem to view it as remotely a priority to go to Congress, to make the case why any military action is in our national security. And I think that's his responsibility to do.

HANNITY: Do you think the president has an obligation at this point to do that before any attack takes place?

CRUZ: I think the president has an obligation to make the case to Congress and the American people why any military action, if there is to be any, is justified and why it's focused on U.S. national security. What it shouldn't be is just a symbolic gesture of disapproval. It should rather be focused on protecting citizens of America.

HANNITY: As we saw in the Arab Spring, as the president himself helped push Mubarak out, they never saw the Muslim Brotherhood coming. Now, if we look, I think the larger question has got to be here, who is going to replace Assad number one, and number two, the Syrian opposition, which was more secular and more pro-American has now given way to the pro-jihadist movement. Isn't it more likely that if Assad is cast aside that the Islamic jihadist al-Qaeda ties take over, with al-Qaeda ties?

CRUZ: Look, that is exactly right. Of nine major rebel groups, seven of them may well have some significant ties to al-Qaeda. And, you know, if Assad is toppled and replaced by a radical Islamist regime, what would be truly dangerous for the United States, for our allies like Israel and Jordan, is for a radical Islamic government to seize control of those chemical weapons and to deploy them against us or our allies. That should be the focus of the president. And as we've seen throughout the Middle East, that has not been the focus of the president.

You know, Sean, it was striking when the protests were occurring in Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood, that the protesters were waving banners that said President Obama supports Morsi, the United States supports the radical Islamic government that is oppressing us. What a sad state of affairs when the United States is arm and arm with oppressive Islamist governments.

HANNITY: We have had a 30-month civil war, over a hundred thousand Syrians are dead, we've got many more displaced, and it seems we have gotten to the point where our allies don't trust us and our enemies don't fear us. When you heard Vladimir Putin's comments, what did you take from that? I took from it, he doesn't care what Obama thinks.

CRUZ: Well, sadly that has been the pattern across the world. Look, if there is one principle that has proved true from time immemorial, it is that bullies and tyrants don't respect weakness. And our friends have sadly grown to learn that the United States under this president has not been a resolute ally. And our enemies have learned that under this president, there is little to fear, and the most dangerous escalation from this is Assad's patron in Iran, which is only seeing these occurrences as further encouragement to continue to develop nuclear weapons, which I think would pose an enormous national security threat to the United States.

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