Tags: Defense | Secretaries | syria

Gates, Panetta Question Obama's Syria Strategy

Tuesday, 17 Sep 2013 10:40 PM

 

President Barack Obama's first two defense secretaries are expressing deep skepticism about the president's strategy in dealing with Syria's use of chemical weapons.

Robert Gates and Leon Panetta spoke Tuesday night to an audience in Dallas.

Obama had been pushing for a military strike on Syria in retaliation for a chemical attack the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 Syrians, but that is on hold as a he pursues a diplomatic initiative.

Gates says he strongly opposes any strike. While he's skeptical of Russia and Syria following through on a deal to turn over Syria's chemical weapons, Gates says a strike would throw gasoline "on an extremely complex fire."

But Panetta says Obama has to follow through on his word and carry out a strike or risk damaging America's credibility.

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