James Jeffrey, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, and Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, join “Viewpoint” host Eliot Spitzer to react to news that President Obama has warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the U.S. will hold his government accountable should chemical weapons be deployed against Syria’s rebel forces.
“Even if we knew where all the weapons were, airstrikes alone are unlikely to knock them out — it might even deliver them, it might even precipitate, then spread the poison around the area,” Cirincione says. “What you’re doing is basically deterring Assad from using this, you’re threatening him that, ‘This is it. We’ve stayed out of this conflict so far — you do this, you cross this line and we’re coming in, we’re coming after you.’”
“We’re at an impasse with the possible use of chemical weapons,” says Jeffrey, who also served as U.S. ambassador to Turkey. “We’ve put a line down in the sand, and we have to be ready to use military force if (Assad) doesn’t back down — and this will escalate the situation very dramatically, very quickly.”