tv Jansing and Co. MSNBC September 10, 2013 7:00am-8:01am PDT
u.n. all of it potentially providing a political exit for a situation that looks increasingly bad both for the president and for members of congress. just now, nbc has confirmed that a group of u.s. senators, including gop senator john mccain and democrat chuck schumer, are working on an alternative resolution to deal with syria and its use of chemical weapons. let's get straight to msnbc's kacie hunt who has more. >> fast-moving developments regarding syria. we've learned senators john mccain and chuck schumer, as you say, are working with a group of other senators to essentially rewrite the resolution the committee passed last week. that old resolution would have authorized the president to use force in syria. this new resolution focuses on a process in the united nations. it basically says if the u.n. were to pass a resolution saying chemical weapons were, in fact, used in syria, and that's an important point, forcing the
international community to recognize that these weapons were, in fact, used, and then the u.n. were allowed to go in and remove the weapons within a specified time frame, by a certain date. if it didn't happen, then the president would be authorized to use force. >> all right. that breaking news coming to us. i know you'll keep us updated as these details come in. we should say that the president still has this major address to the nation planned tonight. this clearly, however, could have an impact on the message. "new york times" columnist nick christoph and political reporter molly ball. molly, what are you making of these late breaking developments? >> this is a situation that's very fluid. it's moving very fast. i don't think anyone could have predicted. at the beginning of this whole saga, the russians were the
villains. they were the ones preventing the international community in america's view from going forward and taking action against syria. now the russians are the ones actually facilitating a dialogue and offering a potential out. i think you do have the administration behind the scenes breathing a sigh of relief. but they're still being very, very cautious because it's very clear nothing is yet settled. >> i think the back story on this is critical as well, nick, because you have john kerry, the secretary of state, making what seem to be kind of an off-handed, not serious comment, that suddenly over the course of hours gained some credibility in congress, with the white house, with the president, and now we have a new proposal being worked on. a new resolution. and we're expecting to hear from john kerry. what would you expect to hear? what could he say? >> well, i mean, i think the administration is embracing it because in a sense it's a political exit.
but it seep seems to me people glossing over to some degree just the challenges of making this work. i mean, dealing with chemical weapons is an extraordinary process. transporting them can be dangerous. dismantling them safely is a long, time-consuming process. i think there's so much reason to be suspicious that there is, that russia in this case, and syria, are doing anything more than try to stall the process. this seems to me like a political situation for both the obama situation and moscow. it's less clear to me this is going to make much of a difference in syria itself. >> when you talk about the political aspect of this, you cannot ignore the fact of this brand-new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll which echoes least one other poll. just 33% think the president, molly, has made a convincing case for military intervention in syria. and that say number, 33%, want their member of congress to support that. even senator mccain before this new proposal was being worked on
said the vote needs to be put on hold. let me play that. >> perhaps this would not have come about if it hbt been for the threat of military strikes. i'm very spectacle and we should be since bashar assad has refused to acknowledge he has chemical weapons. again, put me down as extremely skeptical. but to not pursue this option would be a mistake. >> is it a serious proposal? is it political cover? or are the two not necessarily exclusive? >> we don't know yet. what we do know is sense the president announced a week and a half ago he was going to go to congress, this proposal has not gotten a whole lot of traction. either with the public or with the congress. it was actually -- it's become increasingly unpopular, according to the polls. more and more americans have been set against the prospect of
a strike. more and more members of congress every day coming out against the process of a strike. these furious briefings going on behind the scenes with the white house and the congress were not making a lot of headway in convincing people that was going to be the president's task tonight. now we have this other element. i think it's very much an open question what the president is going to say. is he going to proceed with the case he was trying to make before or has this changed everything. >> what we did hear from jay carney within the last hour or so. and he said the president's message is not going to change tonight. let me play that for you. >> he'll be building support for, calling on congress, as well as the american people, to understand and support the action that he's proposed. we have some potential progress on the diplomatic front because of the credible threat of u.s. military force. >> he had this incredibly high bar to meet. he had to convince an american public. it's far away from the need for
a military strike. now there are serious members of the senate who are saying maybe we don't need it. people who support it, who are saying there's an alternative here. >> it's incredibly difficult to actually work with house members on getting this passed. think it's also going to be incredibly difficult to work with russia and to work with assad in getting meaningful progress. i think in a sense the president has traded the, you know, perhaps virtual impossibility of getting something meaningful through the house to what may well become the virtual impossibility of getting something very serious through damascus and moscow. >> let me bring in congressman adam shift, democrat from california. fast-moving developments just within the last couple hours, congressman, what do you think? >> shrewd of russia to make the offer and shrewd of them to time it when they did. it's shrewd of us to pursue this offer. we have a compelling interest in making sure assad doesn't use
chemical weapons again. we also have a core national security interest, making sure those chemical stockpiles don't fall into the hands of al qaeda or al nushah when the assad regime falls and a limited strike doesn't go to that core concern. it may deter and degrade his capability of using them but it doesn't resolve what happens to them at the end of the regime. but placing these under u.n. inspecti inspection, control and destruction, if that can be accomplished, could meet that core national security interest. so i think it should be vigorously pursued. >> we're looking at general dempsey right now. he has said previously that it could be tens of thousands of troops. there's been estimates there could be more than 75,000 ground troops to secure syria's chemical weapon. this is not as simple as a small team of inspectors and rounding these things up. >> it certainly isn't simple, you're right. but i'll tell you one thing that may come out of this. if it can be successful. in order to try and secure these sites, in order to get u.n.
troops in, you're going to need a safe passage. you're going to need a cease-fire. you're going to need a broader discussion about settling the underlying conflict. if that can take place in the context of u.n. efforts to secure and destroy these stockpiles, it may put us on a path to a negotiated end. it also has the possibility, i know i'm being optimistic here, but of bringing our traditional alliances back together. putting us and the british on the same page. building a broader coalition then we've been able to do thus far. >> all right. we're waiting, i want to let people know, for the secretary of state and the defense secretary to speak at this hearing. let me ask you about where you stand right now. has this complicated your decision right? the last i saw, congressman schiff, is you have not made a decision to support military interventi intervention. >> i haven't. i think it was complicated enough as it is. i look at this as a positive development. i look at this as offering to meet our core national security
objectives and removing some of the uncertainty that would accompany the president's course of action. so i think this is a welcome development. obviously, proof will be in the pudding. but i'm encouraged. i think we should pursue it. i think that it holds the prospect of meeting that interest of securing these stockpiles in a way that even a limited action or more extensive military action could not achieve. >> so obviously, the white house is going to have to be tweaking, if not majorly revising, the speech that the president is going to give tonight. what are you looking for? what are your constituents looking for from the president? >> well, i think the president still needs to make a compelling case about why america should be concerned about what's happening in syria. why the use of chemical weapons is really qualitatively different. a threat to us and a threat to humanity. that case still needs to be made. i think the president needs to show receptivity to this offer. i think the american people want
to see if the diplomatic route can be successful. the challenging decision i think for the white house, the strategic one they'll have to make here politically, is do they want to continue pushing for a vote? right now, they're saying they do. but the president said as recently as yesterday that he wasn't confident of the vote and, in fact, the vote is going to be very close in the house. and it may be the wisest course to try to see if this proposal has legs without rolling the dice on congressional approval. >> congressman adam schiff, thank you very much. let's go now to secretary of state john kerry before the house armed services committee. >> very much looking forward to a conversation with you. about this complicated challenging but critical issue that our country faces. and we don't come to you lightly. i think secretary hagel and i particularly come here with an enormous amount of respect for this process. for what each of you go through
at home. so this is good. it's good we're here it and we look forward to the conversation. as we convene at this hearing, it is no exaggeration at all to say to you that the world is watching. they're watching to see how we decide it. and whether or not we have the ability at this critical time when so much is on the line in so many parts of the world as challenge, to governments writ large. it's important that we show the world that we actually do have the ability to hopefully speak with one voice and we believe that that can make a difference. needless to say, this is one of the most important decisions that any member of congress
makes during the course of their service. we all want to make sure we leave plenty of time for the discussion. this is -- so we'll try to summarize the comments and give an opportunity for q & a. i want to open with a few comments about questions i'm hearing from many of your colleagues and obviously from the american people and what we read in the news. first, people ask me and they ask you, i know, why we are choosing to have a debate on syria at a time when there's so much that we need to be doing here at home. and we all know what that agenda is. let me assure you, the president of the united states didn't wake up one day and just kind of flippantly say let's go take military action in syria.
he didn't choose this. we didn't choose this. we're here today because bashar al assad, a dictator, who has chosen to meet the requests for reform in his country with bullets, bombs and napalm and gas. because he made a decision to use the world's most heinous weapons to murder more than, in one instance, more than 1,400 innocent people, including more than 400 children. he and his regime made a choice. and president obama believes and all of us at this table believe that we have no choice but to respond. now, to those who doubt whether assad's actions have to have consequences, remember that our inaction absolutely is
guaranteed to bring worse consequences. every one of us here, we, all of us, america, will face this, if not today, somewhere down the line, when with the permissiveness of not acting now gives us that license to go do what he wants. and threaten israel. threaten jordan. threaten lebanon. create greater instability in a region already racked by instability. where stability is one of the greatest priorities our foreign policy and of our national security interest. that brings me to the second question that i've heard lately. which is sort of what's really at stake here. you know, does this really effect us. i met earlier today with steve shabbat and had a good conversation. i asked hip, you know, what are you hearing. i know what you're all hearing. the instant reaction of a lot of americans anywhere in our country is, whoa, we don't want
to go to war again. we don't want to go to iraq. we don't want to go to afghanistan. we've seen how those turned out. i get it. i'll speak to that in a minute. but i want to make it clear at the outset, as each of us at this table want to make it clear that what assad has done directly affects america's security. america's security. we have a huge national interest in containing all weapons of mass destruction. and the use of gas is a weapon of mass destruction. allowing those weapons to be used with impunity would be an enormous chink in our armor we have built up over years against proliferation. think about it. our own troops. benefit from that prohibition against chemical weapons. i mentioned yesterday in the briefing many of you were there and some of you, i've noticed,
from decorations. otherwise i know many of you have served in the military. some of you still in the reserves. you know the training we used to go through when you're, you know, learning. i went to chemical, nuclear, biological warfare. i remember going into a room and have a gas mask and they make you take it off and you see how long you can do it and it ain't for long. those weapons have been outlawed. our troops have never been subjected to it. because we stand up for that prohibition. there's a reason for that. if we don't answer assad today, we will irreparably damage a century-old standard that has protected american troops in war. so to every one of your constitue constituents, if they were to say to you, why did you vote for this? because you want to protect american troops. because you want to protect america's prohibition. and the world's prohibition
against these weapons. the stability of this region is also in our direct security interest. our allies. our friends in israel, jordan and turkey. all of them just a strong wind away from being injured themselves or potentially from a purposeful attack. failure to act now will make this area more combustible. and will certainly pave the way for a more serious challenge in the future. you can just ask our friends in israel and elsewhere. in it's really, they can't get enough gas masks. there's a reason prime minister has said this matters. this decision matters. it's called iran. iran looms out there. and that moment is coming closer in terms a decision.
they're watching what we do here. they're watching what you do. and whether or not this means something. if we choose not to act, we will be sending a message to iran of american ambivalence, american weakness. it will raise a question. i've heard this question. secretary of state, as i meet with people and they ask us about sort of our long-term interests and the future with respect to iran, they've asked me many times, do you really mean what you say. are you really going to do something. they ask whether or not the united states is committed. they ask us also if the president cuts a deal will the congress back it up. can he deliver? this is all integrated. i am -- i have no doubt. i talked to prime minister netanyahu yesterday. israel does not want to be in the middle of this. but we know their security is at
risk and the region is at risk. i also want to remind you, you have already spoken to this. your word is on the line too. you pass the syria accountability act. that act clearly states that syria's chemical weapons threaten the security of the middle east. you've voted for it. we've already decided the chemical weapons are important to the security of our nation. i quote, the national security interests of the united states are the national security interests of the united states -- are at risk with the weapons of -- the chemical weapons of syria. the fourth question i've been asked, why diplomacy isn't changing this dynamic. isn't there some alternative that could avoid this. and i want to emphasize on
behalf of president obama, president obama's first priority throughout this process has been and is diplomacy. diplomacy is our first resort. and we have brought this issue to the united nations security council on many occasions. we have sent direct messages to syria. and we've had syria's allies direct messages. don't do this. don't use these weapons. all to date to no avail. in the last three years, russia and china have vetoed three security council resolutions condemning the regime for inciting violence or resolutions that simply promote a political solution to the dialogue, to the conflict. russia has even blocked press releases. press releases. that do nothing more than express humanitarian concern for what is happening in syria. or merely condemn the generic
use of chemical weapons. not even assigning blame. they have blocked them. we've brought these concerns to the united nations. making the case to the members of the security council. that protecting civilians prohibiting the use of chemical weapons and promoting peace and security are in our shared interests. and those general statements have been blocked. that is why the president directed me to work with the russians and the region's players to get a geneva 2 peace negotiation under way. and the end to the conflict in syria, we all emphasize today, is a political solution. none of us are coming here today asking for long-term military -- i mean, some people think we ought to be. but we don't believe there is any military solution to what is happening in syria.
but make no mistake, no political solution will ever be achievable as long as assad believes he can just gas his way out of this predicament. and we are, without question, building a coalition of support for this now. 31 countries have signed on to the g-20 statement. which is a powerful one. endorsing the united states efforts to hold assad accountable for what he is doing. turkey. saudi arabia. kutter, france, and many others. we're now in the double digits with respect to countries that prepared to actually take action, should they be needed where they capable of it. more than 25 -- i mentioned 31 nations signing on to the g-12 statement. but our diplomatic hand, my
former colleagues, our diplomatic hand only becomes stronger if other countries know that america is speaking with a strong voice here, with one voice. and if we're stronger as a united nation around this purpose. in order to speak with that voice, we need you, the congress. that's what the president did. many of you said please bring this to congress. the president has done that. and he's bringing it to congress with confidence that the congress will want to join in an effort to uphold the word of the united states of america. not just a president but the united states of america with respect to these weapons of mass destruction. now, i want to be crystal clear. some people want to do more in syria. some people are leery about doing anything at all. one goal we ought to all agree on is chemical weapons cannot be
under the control of a man so craven that he has repeatedly used those chemical weapons against his fellow syrians with the horrific results that all of us have been able to see. yesterday, we challenged the regime to turn them over to the secure control of the international community so that they could be destroyed. and that of course would be the ultimate way to degrade and deter assad's arsenal and is the ideal weapon, ideal way, to take this weapon away from them. assad's chief benefactor, the russians, have responded by saying that they would come up with a proposal to do exactly that and we have made it clear to them, i have in several conversations with foreign policy lavrov, that this cannot be a process of delay. this cannot be a process of avoidance. it has to be real. it is exceedingly difficult, i
want everyone here to know, to fulfill those conditions. but we're waiting for that proposal. but we're not waiting for long. president obama will take a hard look at it. but it has to be swift. it has to be real. it has to be verifiable. it cannot be a delaying conflict. if the united nations security council seeks to be the vehicle to make it happen, that cannot be allowed to simply become a debating society. there are many countries and many of you in the congress, from those who wanted military action to those who were skeptical of military action. wanted to see if this idea could become a reality. but make no mistake. make no mistake about why this idea has any potential legs at all. why it is the russians have reached out to the syrians and why the syrians have initially suggested they might be
interested. a lot of people say that nothing focuses the mind like the prospect of a hanging. well, it's the credible threat of force that has been on the force for these last few weeks that has for the first time brought this regime to even acknowledge that they have a chemical weapons arsenal. and it is the threat of this force and our determination to hold assad accountable that has motivated others to even talk about a real and credible international action that might have an impact. so how do you maintain that pressure? we have to continue to show syria, russia and the world that we are not going to stall for falling tactics. if the challenge we lay down is going to have the potential to become a real proposal, it is only because of the threat force we are discussing today. and that threat is more
compelling if congress stands with the commander in chief. finally, let me just correct a common misperception. in my conversation with steve shabbat earlier today, he mentioned this. i've talked with many of you. you told me you hear it. the instant reaction of a lot of americans, and i am completely sympathetic to it, i understand it, i know where it comes from, i only stopped sitting where you sit a few months ago. i know exactly what the feelings are. people don't want another iraq. none of us do. we don't want afghanistan. but, mr. chairman, with all due respect, we can't make this decision based solely on the budget. we can't make this decision based solely on our wishes. on our feeling that we know we've been through the ringer for a while. we're the united states of america. people look to us. they look to us for the meaning
of our word and they look to us for our values. in fact, being followed up by the inprint of action where that is necessary. we are not talking about america going to war. president obama is not asking for a declaration of war. we are not going to war. there will be no american boots on the ground. let me repeat, no american boots will be on the ground. what we're talking about is a targeted, limited, but consequential action, that will reinforce the prohibition against chemical weapons. general dempsey and secretary hagel will tell you how we can achieve that. and their confidence in our ability to achieve that. we're talking about an action that will degrate assad's capacity to use these weapons and to ensure that they do not
proliferate. and with this authorization, the president is asking for the power to make sure that the united states of america means what we say. mr. chairman, mr. ranking member and members of this committee. i can say to you with absolute confidence the risk of not acting is much greater than the risk of acting. if we fail to act, assad will believe that he has license to gas his own people again. and that license will turn prohibited weapons into tactical weapons. general dempsey can tell you about this. it would make -- it would take an exception, a purposeful exception, that has been enforced since 1925, and make it the rule today. it would undermine our standing. degrate america's security and
our credibility and erode our strength in the world. in a world of terrorists and extremists. we would choose to ignore those ri risks at our peril. we cannot afford to have chemical weapons transformed into the new convenient weapon, the ied, the car bomb, the weapon of everyday use in this world. neither our country, nor our conscience, can bear the cost of inaction. that's why we've come before you, at the instruction of the president, to ask you to join us in this effort. secretary hagel. >> mr. chairman, ranking member smith and members of the committee, the department of defense has responsibility to protect the national security interests of the united states. and general dempsey and i take that responsibility very seriously. that's why i strongly support president obama's decision to
respond to the assad regime's chemical weapons attack on its own people. a large scale and heinous sarin gas assault on innocent civilians, including women and children. i also wholeheartedly support the president's decision to seek congressional authorization for the use of force in syria. and i believe secretary kerry outlined those reasons very clearly. the president has made clear that it is in our country's national security interest to do -- degrade assad's chemical weapons capabilities and deter him from using them again. as secretary kerry mentioned, yesterday we outlined a way to accomplish this objective and avert military action. it would require the assad regime to swiftly turn its chemical weapons arsenal over to international control so it can be destroyed forever.
as president obama noted in a verifiable manner. all of us are hopeful that this option might be a real solution to this crisis. yet we must be very clear eyed and ensure it is not a stalling tactic. by syria and its russian patrons. for this diplomatic option to have a shot at succeeding, the threat of u.s. military action, credible, real threat of u.s. military action, must continue, as we are talking today and will continue to talk and discuss throughout the week. it was the president's determination to hold assad accountableable. the fact he put military action on the table that enabled this new diplomatic tract to maybe gain some momentum and credibility. the support of congress for holding assad accountable will give even more energy and more
urgency to these efforts. so congress has a responsibility to continue the debate on using force against the syrian regime. as each of us knows, committing our country to using military force is the most difficult decision leaders will make. all of those who are privileged to serve our nation have a responsibility to ask the tough questions. before that commitment is made. we must be able to assure the american people that their leaders are acting according to u.s. national interests with well defined military objectives and with an understanding of the risks and the consequences involved. the president is an entire national security team. ask those difficult questions before we can conclude the united states should take military action against syria and regime targets. i want to address briefly how we
reach this decision by clarifying the u.s. interest at stake here today and in the future. our military objectives and the risks of not acting at this critical juncture. as president obama has said, the use of chemical weapons in syria is not only an assault on humani humanity, it is a serious threat to america's national security interests and those of our closest allies. the syrian regime's actions risk eroding the long-standing international norm against the use of chemical weapons. a norm that has helped protect the united states homeland. and american forces operating across the globe from these terrible weapons. the weakening of this norm has grave consequences for our troops, our country's future security and for global stability. these weapons are profoundly destabilizing. and have rightfully been rejected by the international community.
syria's use of chemical weapons also threat ens our friends and partners along its borders including israel, turkey, jordan, lebanon and iraq. it increases the risk that terrorist groups like hezbollah, which has forces in syria, supporting the assad regime, could acquire chemical weapons and use them against our interests and our people. we must do all we can to prevent hezbollah or any terrorist group determined to strike the united states from acquiring chemical weapons. and we cannot allow terrorist groups and authoritarian ra jeeps to mistakenly believe that they can use chemical weapons against u.s. troops or america's friends and partners in regions without severe consequences. our allies throughout the world must be assured that the united states will stand by its security commitments. and stand by its word. our adversaries must not believe that they can develop and use
weapons of mass destruction without consequence. a world where these adversaries are epboldined instead of deterred is not the world that we want to live in. as president obama said last week. for example, north korea with its massive stockpile of chemical weapons, threatens our treaty ally the republic of korea. directly threatens the 28,000 -- >> and so the defense secretary and the secretary of state perhaps previewing what we'll hear from the president tonight. making a forceful and passionate argument for why the united states would consider military intervention in syria. three key points here that we want to make this decision because it affects america's security, because it affects our troops and because it affects stability in the region. fascinating that even as secretary of state john kerry was saying that, we learned that the senate leader, mitch mcconnell, said he planned to vote no, because he believes a
vital national security risk is clearly not in play. i want to bring back "the new york times" nick christoph and joining us as well, danielle gibbs lachair. and robert chainham, senior bush/cheney adviser. let's talk about the last hour or so. to bring you up to speed, we heard the syrian government was accepting a proposal from russia that there would be control of their chemical weapons from the outside. and then we heard that senator chuck schumer, senator john mccain, other key members in the senate, were working on a new resolution to be voted upon that would avert at least temporarily the threat of a military intervention. but you also heard from john mccain saying we will not accept delay or avoidance. nick christoph, it seems, part of the problem is you're trying to make a deal about someone with chemical weapons who claims
there are no chemical weapons. i just want to remind people of the interview that president assad did just two days ago. >> would you give up chemical weapons if it would prevent the president from authorizing a strike? >> if that is a deal you would accept. >> you imply we have chemical -- it's his problem if he has something. for us in syria, we have principles. we do anything to prevent the region from another crazy war. >> is this a credible alternative -- if you have someone who's suggesting your accession in the first place isn't credible. >> boy, you have to give it a chance and you have to pursue it. at the end of the day, i think it's going to be every bit as difficult for the obama administration to work with moscow and damascus as it is to work with the house and the senate. it did seem to me that a good deal of secretary hagel's testimony, secretary kerry's
testimony, focused almost off topic on this issue a strike that looks less and less likely to happen. it was really aimed at getting leverage with moscow and saying, look, you have to be serious. you're still at risk. >> i'm very curious for your reaction, robert, to the announcement. we know there are a lot people who were undecided. both on the house and senate side. now mitch mcconnell comes out. just as this critical moment of decision. and coming u on the president's speech and says i'm going to vote no. >> that's the million dollar question is whether or not there are congressional leaders as well as congressional members who are willing to at least be open to the president's speech tonight. also, they have some critical questions. i think the critical question really is can we trust the russians, can we trust moscow, can we trust damascus that, a, they will send credible inspectors to be able to gather all of this information, to gather the quote/unquote chemical weapons. secondly, if and when they do gather all the information and gather all of the materials, will they be able to tell us
with a straight face they have all of the information. this is a nice intended proposal, if you will, by the russians. then the question becomes, can we trust them and whether or not they'll give us the information that's authentic. the president is in a tough bind. he himself, quote, put that red line out there, if you will. the question becomes, whether or not he's going to defy members of congress but also the american public which is the latest poll, 60% are saying under no circumstances should we go into syria. >> we know, it was just beingaged by secretary of state kerry, he knowed how skeptical the american people are. joe manchin said this morning on "morning joe" he things aboks a% of his constituents are for military intervention. and the phone calls they're getting, the e-mails they're getting. the president tonight already had a very difficult hill to climb. how does this change what he has to say? what does he have to do tonight? what's his goal? >> yeah, i think he already --
like you said, he already had a very tough job to do tonight. convincing the american people that a strike in syria is in the best interest of the american people. and these latest developments, i'm going to shock everyone and sort of agree with robert that, you know, i think on paper this deal sounds great, but really, you know, trusting the russians and trusting damascus, especially when assad just said two days ago they didn't have chemical weapons, i think it's very -- it's going to be very difficult to move forward. but that being said, i think we do have to acknowledge i think the threat of force is what got us to this place in the first place. as for the american people, you know, there are other conflicts in the past that didn't have the support of the american people. and i think the situation is so fluid, it's moving so quickly. we'll see what happens tonight. we'll see what happens tomorrow. public opinion could shift. honestly, i think when we see the outcome and the conclusion of this, that's when we'll be able to see exactly where the american people stand. i think when it comes to foreign
policy, sometimes it's -- it's very difficult to get the american people to focus on what's really at stake. and so i think it starts tonight with the president's speech but it doesn't end with the speech tonight. i think we really have to wait and see what happens over the next few days. >> we're out time. i've got to ask you quickly, because you've written so much about this, does what we heard over the last hour or so suggest to you that there is not going to be a humanitarian argument here? >> i think they're going to continue to use every argument they can. including the security argument, the humanitarian argument. at the end of the day, i think it's less about the strike and more about working out a deal. >> all right, nick christoph, thank you. thank you very much. very busy news morning. we'll take a quick break, be back with more right after this.
i dbefore i dosearch any projects on my home. i love my contractor, and i am so thankful to angie's list for bringing us together. find out why more than two million members count on angie's list. angie's list -- reviews you can trust. still running in the morning? yeah. getting your vegetables every day? when i can. [ bop ] [ male announcer ] could've had a v8. two full servings of vegetables for only 50 delicious calories. let's go back to testimony and questioning of secretary of state john kerry, as well as secretary of defense chuck
hagel. >> -- readiness crisis, would you agree that it's not possible to anticipate all of the second and third degree -- or third order effects of military action, and therefore it's not possible to determine the final cost a strike against syria in terms of impacts to our combat readiness and the cost? >> thanks, chairman. as you know, america's unmatched in our ability to employ military power. this is conceived as a limited operation and, therefore, well within our capability to conduct it. i share your concern and have expressed it in this hearing room and elsewhere, about the possibility that due to sequestration, the force that sits behind the deployed force won't be ready. so i am concerned not about this, but in general, unforeseen
contingencies will be there if sequestration continues. >> i think the general pointed out last week that having the destroyers there in the region, the cost of having the aircraft carrier task force, we're talking maybe $30 million a week. these numbers add up. they're fungible. but the money has to be found somewhere. generally, what's happening is it's coming out of readiness and -- >> chairman, could i add, just for the entire committee's -- just so you know, i share your concern completely with sequestration. i hope i have been clear about that. we are talking about something here that we've articulated is international interest. my assumption, i hope you would agree, if something is in our international interest, we chose to act on it, we can find the
money to pay for it. >> i have no question that you'll find the money, general, it's just where do you find it, and does it deplete our readiness for other areas? we still are at war in afghanistan. we still have troops over there that we need to see are adequately trained. those who are being deployed. i have one other question. this talk of russia and an international community coming in and taking charge and destroying the chemical weapons. i have heard in the past from our military leaders that this is a very expensive operation. that it would take troops on the ground, whether they be -- whoever provides them, united nations or whoever provides them, there would have to be trooped on the ground, secures these weapons, and knowledgeable people, and the expense of destroying this. and i've heard if whoever takes
it othver owns it, is there any discussion who's going to pay for that? generally, when the international community does something, we're the ones that end up paying for it. and i just -- i feel i have to keep bringing -- >> we'll tcontinue to listen, w are getting reaction from both sides of the aisle to the possibility of russia intervening, getting some international control over syria's chemical weapons and possibly setting the stage for pulling back on the threat of a military strike. let's hear from both nancy pelosi and john boehner just moments ago. >> clearly, diplomacy's always a better outcome than military action. i will say i'm somewhat skeptical of those that are involved in the diplomatic discussion today. >> the fact is, the russians coming to the -- bringing to the
table a proposal that has been discussed by the president and others over time but now has muscle because of the prospect of a threat, is something that i think the president deserves a great deal of credit for. i hope that it works. >> let me bring back our guest from the center for american progress and robert trainham, former bush/cheney senior adviser. your reaction first, robert, to what you're hearing. >> they have every right to be skeptical. they have every right to ask the tough questions. also let's put this in could be text. just a couple weeks ago, we talked about how we don't trust or we didn't trust russia as it related to snowden, eric snowden, the former operative, obviously, that leaked all of the information. so these are really, really delicate dances here we're dealing with when it comes to russia. this is on the post-presidential trip that the president had over in russia where he and vladimir
putin did not sit down or even speak to each other because of snowden. to put all of our eggs in one basket when it companies to tyc the russians trying to police this situation in dam mass cautious they have every right to skeptical about it. >> i think the other thing that boehner said we didn't hear there was the president has not yet made his case to the american people. do you think, daniela, we are hearing a preview, especially from secretary kerry? >> i think we were. to robert's point about russia, i don't think anybody is putting all their eggs in that basket but you have to actually look at the basket and take it seriously with all the necessary caveats. but i do thing what you heard out of secretary kerry just now will be a preview of tonight. again, think the president will make his case for doing a strike, if necessary. but obviously, diplomacy is always in everybody's best interest here. >> we should say, for people just joining us, within the last hour, we learned senator mccain and schumer, among a group of
senators who are getting together to try to find an alternative re resolution to the use of military force and dealing with the chemical weapons in syria. we're going to take a break and be back with more. ♪ for a strong bag that grips the can... get glad forceflex. small change, big difference. [ female announcer ] at 100 calories, not all food choices add up.
some are giant. some not so giant. when managing your weight, bigger is always better. ♪ ho ho ho ♪ green giant okay, who helps you focus on your recovery? yo, yo, yo. aflac. wow. [ under his breath ] that was horrible. pays you cash when you're sick or hurt? [ japanese accent ] aflac. love it. [ under his breath ] hate it. helps you focus on getting back to normal? [ as a southern belle ] aflac. [ as a cowboy ] aflac. [ sassily ] aflac. uh huh. [ under his breath ] i am so fired. you're on in 5, duck. [ male announcer ] when you're sick or hurt, aflac pays you cash. find out more at aflac.com.
it has been a morning of fast-breaking news. france saying will take that proposal to the united nations. and now this from the associated press. reporting that president has agreed to a united nations discussion on russia's proposal for syria's chemical weapons. nbc news working to confirm that report by the associated press. much more ahead on msnbc. that's going to wrap up this hour of jansing and company. thomas roberts s is is up next. >> now the big question could be syria solved, with assad agreeing to that hand over its chemical weapons program to its
greatest ally, being russia. this, as the president puts final touches on an address about a syria strike. the details about what a potential turnover could mean and how does it change the march to military intervention? then florida. george zimmerman has had another run-in with the law. this tyime after an alleged dispute with his wife and father-in-law. then, nyc voters going to the polls. the first step in wheeaning out the contenders. a lot to get you up to speed on. how can i be a more fun mom? hmmm. can you dance? ♪ bum ba bum ba bum ♪ bum ba bum ba bum no. no? can you make campbell's chicken noodle soup? yes! [ wisest kid ] every can has 32 feet of slurpable noodles. now that's fun. mom, you're awesome. oh yeah! ♪ bum ba bum ba bum
♪ we go, go, we don't have to go solo ♪ ♪ fire, fire, you can take me higher ♪ ♪ take me to the mountains, start a revolution ♪ ♪ hold my hand, we can make, we can make a contribution ♪ ♪ brand-new season, keep it in motion ♪ ♪ 'cause the rhyme is the reason ♪ ♪ break through, man, it doesn't matter who you're talking to ♪ [ male announcer ] completely redesigned for whatever you love to do. the all-new nissan versa note.
your door to more. ♪ you really love, what would you do?" ♪ [ woman ] i'd be a writer. [ man ] i'd be a baker. [ woman ] i wanna be a pie maker. [ man ] i wanna be a pilot. [ woman ] i'd be an architect. what if i told you someone could pay you and what if that person were you? ♪ when you think about it, isn't that what retirement should be, paying ourselves to do what we love? ♪ we're waiting for that proposal but we're not waiting for long. a lot of people say that nothing focus the mind like the prospect of a hanging. it's the credible threat of force that has been on the table for these last weeks that has for the first time brought this
regime to even acknowledge they have a chemical arsenal. >> laying out a hard line from the administration after word of a possible deal that could bring the u.s. back from the brink of a possible strike on syria. hi, everybody, good morning. breaking news, with the ap reporting that the president has accepted the proposal for syria to give up its commhemical weap arsenal. the president will speak to the american people tonight at 9:00 p.m. and he's got a lot of ground to cover with this. >> he will go forward tonight and make the case to the american people as well as to congress as he has been that what happened on august 21st was a chemical weapons attack with tear acrrible consequences. that it is undeniable. the responsibility for that attack