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August 27th, 2014
11:50 AM ET

Congresswoman questions Obama's objectives in Syria and Iraq

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) joins Carol to discuss U.S. options against ISIS (referred to as ISIL by Ros-Lehtinen).

Asked why Congress hasn't called an emergency session, Ros-Lehtinen responds "Well, we'll be glad to go back to congress, but the first thing the President as Commander in Chief and as the head of our U.S. government needs to do is to lay out a vision, Carol, of what we're about to accomplish. If we go back to session tomorrow, what is it that we're going to be debating?"

Dancing around a question on what she personally believes the President should suggest, the Congresswoman continues, "Well, I think the president needs to lay out our goals. Why is it in our U.S. national security interest to defeat this cancer? I believe it is. I believe that if we want to ignore the problem and get back to this 9/10 mentality and to think the threat is no longer there it would be a horrible future for the United States and all of our interests throughout that region. We've got to defeat ISIL and I think that we've got allies that are helping us to do it."

Pressed for a more specific answer, Ros-Lehtinen says, "Well, I think that we should have these spy missions over Syria. We've got the technology to know where we're supposed to strike. Now Iraq is a far clearer goal than Syria is, why? Because actually doing these air strikes may end up helping the person who just a few years ago and as of yesterday we said Assad must go, uh, the supposed leader of Syria who has used chemical weapons on his people, who has murdered thousands of individuals, who have forced his own countrymen to flee the country. Now if we do airstrikes and we can do them and I hope the president gets to that point we have to make sure that we don't miss an opportunity again like he did in the past where he didn't work with the Free Syrian army natural allies that we could have had. So many missed opportunities, let's not miss them again."

Later, Ros-Lehtinen is questioned on what she personally believes the President should suggest. She says, "Well, I think that we should have these spy missions over Syria. We've got the technology to know where we're supposed to strike. Now Iraq is a far clearer goal than Syria is, why? Because actually doing these air strikes may end up helping the person who just a few years ago and as of yesterday we said Assad must go, uh, the supposed leader of Syria who has used chemical weapons on his people, who has murdered thousands of individuals, who have forced his own countrymen to flee the country. Now if we do airstrikes and we can do them and I hope the president gets to that point we have to make sure that we don't miss an opportunity again like he did in the past where he didn't work with the Free Syrian army natural allies that we could have had. So many missed opportunities, let's not miss them again."

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Filed under: Anchors • Carol Costello
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