Meet the Press   |  April 28, 2013

Panel examines the conflict in Syria

A Meet the Press roundtable looks at the conflict in Syria and the administration’s handling of the situation.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> other big matters are usually right under the surface like syria . you heard senator mccain talking about his own call for action to do more after he thinks the administration has been late here getting into syria after a couple of years. how did you react to that? what do you think the president's next moves have to be?

>> i'm much more focused on the future as senator gillibrand and i just came back from jordan and turkey and met with the refugees. we met with the rebels. and i'm convinced that, first of all, the president knows that we can't do this alone. he's been good at reaching out to leaders. just met with king abdullah . we don't want to put bats on the ground. senator mccain made that very clear. we need to up our game. we need to up our game where the aid goes. too much of it is going to assad-controlled regions. that we have to make sure we're starting to do more with night goggles, armor, all kinds of things, and we have to keep these possibilities of senator mccain raised clearly on the front burner with the no-fly zone, with arming the rebels, but we cannot do this alone. it is an incredible scene what's happening in jordan. 2,500 refugees a day coming in.

>> the interesting thing, mike murphy , as a political matter, this is something that will divide democrats. but republicans, too. and that's one of the things senator mccain has been speaking to.

>> no, it's a complicated situation with a lot of difficult politics around it. i've been enjoying at least as an observe esh of washington the red line because the red line has turned into about a mile wide. it's a problem for a president when you draw a red line , the world is watching, including the iranians. the political problem is the country has total fatigue for this kind of thing and there's a military problem. this is a lot easier to get into than get out of. what are the minimal things if they don't work? does it lead to escalation? the turks will be the key. you would need a big partner to really do it. there's no way to do it alone.

>> let me get you on the record. what are you thinking about?

>> first, the revolution of the rebellion has to be accepted by the people of syria . it becomes a lot less effective in the long term the more it's driven by the united states of america . however much we may or may not want to get into it. it's also clear that we have to be careful in accepting the intelligence that we're getting. we know from the past that we were a bit eager in other wars to get into, specifically iraq. so we have to make sure that once we're going to get involved in that kind of serious way that our intelligence is right and that we have evidence to back it up.

>> but i'm concerned the window of opportunity is closing. the people of syria feel we have let them down. we are the world's champion of freedom. they are fighting for their freedom. tens of thousands of them are being killed and they're waiting for our help. i think we have an obligation. no one is for boots on the ground . we have an obligation to lead the world and intervene in a smart way through arming the opposition that is not affiliated with al qaeda . al qaeda is only strengthening and the situation is getting worse by the day. the window is closing.

>> well, either way and that is the concern but i can tell you there is regret about that red line comment because --

>> in the white house .

>> in the white house in this respect. you don't draw it. they meant it. they do mean it on the chemical weapons but saying it creates this political conversation. they didn't want to go public last week that they had this early evidence yet. they weren't ready. and yet they knew congress was going to get this briefing and it was all going to get out, so they decide d to go public with it last week because they felt they had no choice, that it was all going to start leaking out. but they're not ready. there is no good answer. the gulf states and the big difference between here and libya , by the way, in libya you had the arab community, the arab league saying, we have to stop th this. the arab league has been quiet on this and i think the united states would like to see that first.

>> go ahead, senator.

>> the other difference with libya is the no-fly zone. libya didn't have the capacity to hit back. assad does. so when we do this, if we do this, we have to deal with other countries and we have to get the support are from the region.

>> we always work the political stuff here and so we find a solution we can believe in. is that a solution linked to reality on the ground? we know the dictator is a jerk. good guy rebels can be hard to find.

>> congressman, i've been thinking what