Syria

Former Obama Defense Secretaries Criticize President's Strategy on Syria

Panetta supports idea of US intervention, Gates opposes it, both believe Obama shouldn't have went to Congress

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Former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta criticized President Obama's strategy regarding the Syrian civil war Tuesday, with both agreeing that Obama should not have sought the approval of Congress for a military strike against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

Speaking at a forum in Dallas, Gates and Panetta, Obama's first two defense secretaries,  disagreed on whether the United States should ultimately carry out a military strike in retaliation for a chemical attack that the U.S. says killed 1,400 people. However, both expressed skepticism (and occasionally sarcasm) about ongoing negotiations, led by Russia, for Assad to hand over his stockpile of chemical weapons to the international community.