White House, Washington discussed on Embedded



In washington ben was watching all of this from the white house the videos and pictures posted by syrian activists and ben and other people in the white house believed in this idea called the responsibility to protect an idea that countries have a right to act on other countries if those other countries are committing mass atrocities so it's august twenty sixth two thousand thirteen and so we're waiting outside the oval office and jim coppers there the deny director of national intelligence and he looked kind of unusually agitated and he kind of volunteers that it's not a slam dunk that assad order this come weapons attack and i'm media ly thought well this is weird why say slam dunk because slam dunk of course is the same phrase george tenet the former head of the cia used to describe his certainty that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction in that caused grave damage the reputation of the both because that was wrong but also because after the rock war went bad the bush people kind of blamed tenant so in this moment clapper tells ben the evidence of a chemical attack in syria is not a slam dunk because it hasn't been fully verified yet on the ground then they go into the oval office and clapper tells obama he has high confidence chemical weapons were used and that assad was responsible but then he paused and he said you know but but it's not a slam dunk and even did air quotes when he said it has to clapper jim no one asked you if it was a slam dunk according to ben clapper told us he doesn't remember this exchange but says it totally could have happened and benzes it was at this point he realized just how much this was all about avoiding the mistakes that were made in iraq everybody overland lessons from over learned or learned depending on your perspective but the intelligence fini was the first out of the gate busy say we're not playing the part that we played in iraq right i felt the burden and obama he had to respond to this awful event in syria while bearing the additional weight of the war in iraq which caused his own intelligence community to be cautious his military to be wary of slippery slope is closest allies to distrust us led military adventures in the middle east the press to be more skeptical of presidential statements the public to oppose us words overseas and congress to see matters of war and peace as political issues to be exploited like that is the legacy of iraq right there you know to me that paragraph is not like self pity or even analysis like that is the world that we live that week still thinks keep moving the military starts drying plans but that u n team is still on the ground so like i'm just gonna call kimoon myself so abam calls the un secretary general benz there with him and obama tells bond ki moon you really have to get your people out and ban ki moon is like but we have to verify that this was in fact a seren gas attack an obama mimicking cannot stress you porn is that they get out and again the only reason you would want them to leave is if you're going to bump syria that phone call was on a monday and bon kimoon's team stays in syria for a few more days and in those days a lot happens what's interesting to look back on this whole episode is a series of factors converge of the course of the week that ultimately changed bombs calculus if that team was out he might have bomb syria under tuesday i'm utterly convinced of that.

Coming up next