Ralph Peters: Most Phenomenally Stupid Misuse Of Our Military I've Seen


BILL HEMMER: You are strong in your opposition to this. Why?

RALPH PETERS: Well, because it's the most phenomenally stupid misuse of our military I've ever seen. No one in this administration has been able to explain what tangible vital security interest we have in Syria or in stopping this fighting. This military demonstration -- and that's what it's going to be -- is about Obama shooting off his mouth about red lines and chemical weapons. Now he feels he has to do something. He doesn't want to do too much, he doesn't want to do too little. He's not thinking through the potential consequences, and I see no, no way, Bill, in which a military attack on Syria is worth it for the United States or will end well.

HEMMER: Alright, let's work through the scenarios then. How do you allow anyone on this planet to use chemical weapons, WMD, and not respond to it, not act?

PETERS: Where's the rest of the world? Where are the neighbors? The Arab League said it doesn't want us to attack. They obviously don't care about poison gas being used on Muslims.

HEMMER: You have the French, and you have the British, and the Arab League did not come out yesterday in support, but there is support among these Arab nations that do it, whether or not it's written on a sheet of paper or whether or not it's declared in a mosque or not.

PETERS: And they have their own agendas. The Saudis back the Salafists. The Turks and Qataris back the Muslim Brotherhood. This is complex and byzantine. It's a local fight, a civil war, a family feud, and, you know, cops don't like getting in the middle of family feuds. To just back it up just a little bit, again what is our vital security interest? WMD? I abhor the use of chemical weapons. It's correct that they're forbidden. They should be, they must be. But Assad's enemies are al-Qaeda and its franchises who've killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of Muslims at this point. And what's the choice? Is it better to be tortured to death by al-Qaeda, be burned alive in your Christian church by al-Qaeda or to be gassed? By the way, I'm still not completely sure the Assad regime was behind the gas attack.

HEMMER: The administration has told us, and Molly Henneberg reported at the top of the hour there that the White House is going to show public proof of it. We await on that. Game this out because you know they're doing this the Situation Room. If we act, what does Hezbollah do? Do they go after Israel? And if so, does it become a broader issue?

PETERS: First of all, Bill, I'm not convinced they're intelligently gaming out what could happen because Obama has no close trusted military advisers. He's got ideologues in there and people thinking politics. But, look, what does the Hezbollah do? Probably, maybe a few token missiles at Israel. I don't think anything big because Hezbollah knows they'd get hammered. I would worry much more about Iran responding asymmetrically in the Persian Gulf.

HEMMER: Alright, that's the next question then. What does Iran do then?

PETERS: Well, you heard Stuart Varney talk about the price of oil going up a few minutes ago. Iran doesn't have to do much to drive maritime insurance companies to cancel policies, basically close down the oil supply from the Gulf, shut the Straits of Hormuz. Or you can attack one ship. There are all sorts of things you can do, and we don't know what they're going to do. But before you use United States military in an attack on Syria, you need to weigh all the potential consequences. You can't do what Bush did in Baghdad or Obama did in Libya. You can't assume that everything's going to come up roses. You have to assume the worst case and prepare for it, and based on the military deployments I see, we are not prepared for a worst case. Are we willing, if worst really came to worst, are we willing for a military confrontation with Iran in the Persian Gulf because Assad used chemical weapons? We've got to think it through.

HEMMER: Will it happen or will it not then?

PETERS: The strikes?


PETERS: Yes, because Obama feels that his personal credibility is on the line. He's going to try to get halfway pregnant. He's already told the Syrians that we're coming, so there's no surprise. They're going to drain out their headquarters, buildings and disperse their weapons. It's going to be a larger, uglier version of Bill Clinton in '98 churning up some sand with cruise missiles and declaring victory. This will not end well.

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