SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN) TELLS “CBS THIS MORNING” THAT MILITARY INTERVENTION IN SYRIA IS “GOING TO HAPPEN”
CORKER TELLS ANTHONY MASON AND GAYLE KING: “THERE'S NO QUESTION, THE ADMINISTRATION IS BUILDING SUPPORT AMONG NATO ALLIES, OUR ASSETS ARE IN PLACE”
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker (R) said that military intervention in Syria is “going to happen,” but he hopes that U.S. involvement will be “surgical,” and “proportional to what has occurred,” in an interview that was broadcast live today, August 26, 2013, on CBS THIS MORNING (7:00-9:00 AM) on the CBS Television Network.
“In my mind there's no question that if they have used chemical weapons, it's up to us to intervene,” Corker told co-hosts Anthony Mason and Gayle King.
“There's no question, the Administration is building support among NATO allies, our assets are in place,” Corker added.
Excerpts from the interview are below.
ANTHONY MASON: With us now is Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker. He's the leading Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, good morning. You just heard what Major Garrett said, that officially in the White House no decision has been made yet, but do you think military action in Syria is now inevitable?
SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN): I think it's going to happen. I had a conversation last night with the situation room. There's no question, the Administration is building support among NATO allies, our assets are in place, I don't think there's any question in the Administration's mind that chemical warfare has been used. And I do hope that when we're involved, it's surgical, it's proportional to what has occurred. And I hope we keep, on the other hand, the policy in place where we're supporting the moderate rebels who are opposing the regime and allowing that to be carried out on the ground. But I do think it is going to happen. I think we all know now that the UN mandate, as far as the inspectors, is not really to assess blame, it's just to see if chemical warfare has been used, and I don't think there's any question in the Administration's mind that that is the case now.
GAYLE KING: But Senator, a new poll shows that most U.S. Americans are opposed to U.S. intervention of any kind. Does that affect your position, or should it affect the position of the White House at this point?
SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN): You know, I was just in the area, I was on the Syrian border in Turkey, the Syrian border of Jordan. Obviously I have been in Syria in the past. And I think that - in my mind there's no question that if they have used chemical weapons, it's up to us to intervene. On the other hand I can understand why Americans do not want us mired down in a civil war, and I don't want to see us do that. So I think again, something that's surgical, proportional, that lets the regime know that we're not going to put up with those activities. I think it's important for us to do that. At the same time, I support the policy again of allowing the moderate, vetted opposition be the ones to carry out the activities on the ground, and I think there's a way we can strike a balance here. I hope that's what the Administration intends to do, I think it is, and I certainly support that. Once we've concluded beyond the shadow of a doubt that chemicals have been used on the ground and I think we're probably at that point now.
ANTHONY MASON: Senator, what ramifications if any would you be worried about if there is a U.S. strike on Syria?
SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN): Obviously concerns are refugees that are going into other countries. Right now Jordan is being greatly destabilized. You've got a lot of cross-border activity that is occurring between Iraq and Syria. Candidly, Iraq is unraveling rapidly, and I know this conflict in Syria is exacerbating that. So I think the way we go about this so that we don’t escalate this into something far beyond what it is today is important, my sense is we have that ability and certainly need to not back the regime's use of again, something that all countries disdain, and that is chemical weapons against, especially, their own population.
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