Wicker Outlines Administration’s Failures in Syria
Miss. Senator Addresses Obama’s Statement That ‘There’s No Ultimate Military Victory’
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, today questioned Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford during a committee hearing to review U.S. national security challenges and ongoing military operations.
Below is a transcript of Sen. Wicker’s comments:
“In his farewell speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, President Obama stated that ‘there’s no ultimate military victory to be won’ in Syria. As a member of this Committee for many years, I find this assertion to be astounding. Our Chairman and I, along with other members of this Committee, have made repeated admonitions over the years that decisive action needs to be taken against Assad.
“In August 2012, the President delivered his now infamous red-line statement in which he said: ‘We have been very clear to the Assad regime… that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.’
“A year later, disregarding the counsel of your predecessor, Secretary Hagel, the President canceled airstrikes against Assad, who had unleashed sarin gas on his own people outside of Damascus and continued his gruesome use of barrel bombs on civilians. This dramatic demonstration of weakness by the President left a vacuum in the region that was quickly seized by President Putin. We are now faced with an enduring quagmire.
“Sadly, President Obama’s remark that ‘there’s no ultimate military victory’ belies the reality of the Obama foreign policy that has ignored and belittled the advice of our leaders in the Department of Defense.
“To add insult to injury, the President issued this memo yesterday ordering you and General Dunford to consider climate change during our military planning process. Last weekend we dealt with multiple terrorist attacks on our shores; last night we heard that ISIL may have launched a chemical attack on our troops. It boggles the mind that the President would issue such an order during this critical time in our history. There have been 400,000 civilian deaths in Syria. I wonder what the carbon footprint of these barrel bombs would have been and we could have prevented had we acted decisively?
“Mr. Secretary…I just wish that you had been given the appropriate authority by the President to turn around this Administration’s disastrous and misguided national security strategy.”