Homeland Security Chairman: Now We Have to Act So al-Qaeda Doesn't Get Assad's Stockpile
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said President Obama's failure to heed his self-drawn red lines are a perfect example of why the administration's foreign policy is such a mess.
"There's been a lot of talk about Assad and the rebel forces. This administration has had a failure in foreign policy, in my judgment, and that's why we're in the mess we're in today. They drew a red line previously. They crossed that line. Now, he's drawing another red line," Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said this morning on Fox.
"He has no credibility, unfortunately, with our international partners. But as the chairman of Homeland Security, the number one objective and threat that I see are these chemical weapons stockpiles sitting there in Syria that could fall into the hands of al-Qaeda."
McCaul noted that the White House had the opportunity "about two years ago to support the moderate forces to topple the Assad regime. Now, those moderate forces have been hijacked by al-Qaeda, so you have a very difficult, complex foreign policy issue."
"Cruise missiles can't take out the delivery devices, but if they are fired at the chemical weapons themselves, you can cause grave destruction. And I don't think we want that kind of result either," he said. "We need to build up an international coalition if we can't take out the delivery devices, then to secure these stockpiles of chemical weapons and ultimately destroy them."
"...If there's a way to surgically take out these chemical weapons stockpiles, that would be in the best interest not just of Syria, but what I'm more concerned about, the homeland security interest of the United States."
McCaul said the most tragic aspect of Wednesday's chemical weapons attack "is look at those children who were killed by their own president."
"I don't want to see these weapons brought into the United States and turned against Americans, and that's my number one goal. I know the military has warships off the coast of Syria. I know they are giving the president all sorts of targeting planning, you know, briefings. And I will defer to that. But if there's a way to take out these chemical weapons without putting boots on the ground, I think that's the better scenario," the chairman said.
"The prevailing wisdom in the intelligence community is that these are chemical weapons -- nerve agents which, you know, is -- mustard gas is one thing; nerve agents, very debilitating and damaging. And the videos we've seen and the pictures and the first-hand eyewitness accounts we've heard from demonstrate that these are nerve agents that were used against his own people."