Clinton says the U.S should be willing to take in more Syrian refugees as long as they are thoroughly vetted.
“To the United States I think our role in NATO, our support for the EU, as well as our willingness to take refugees so long as they are thoroughly vetted and that we have confidence from intelligence and other sources that they can come to our country we should be doing our part. And we should back up the recent donor’s conference to make sure we have made our contribution to try to deal with the enormous cost that these refugees are posing to Turkey and to members of the EU in particular.”
ANDREA MITCHELL: Secretary Clinton, I want to talk to you about red lines. Because former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a recent interview that President Obama’s decision to stand down on planned missile strikes against Damascus, after Assad had used chemical weapons, hurt the president’s credibility. Should the president have stuck to his red line once he drew it?
HILLARY CLINTON: Look, I think that the president’s decision to go after the chemical weapons, once there was a potential opportunity to build on when the Russians opened that door, resulted in a very positive outcome. We were able to get the chemical weapons out. I know from my own experience-as Secretary of State-that we were deeply worried about Assad’s forces using chemical weapons, because it would have had not only an horrific effect on people in Syria, but it could very well have affected the surrounding states-Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey. So getting those chemical weapons out was a big deal.
MITCHELL: Should he have stuck to his guns or did it hurt U.S credibility?
CLINTON: I think as commander in chief, you’ve got to constantly be evaluating the decisions you have to make. I know a little bit about this, having spent many hours in the situation room, advising President Obama. And I want to just add to something that Senator Sanders said. The United States had a very big interest in trying to help stabilize the region.
If there is any blame to be spread around, it starts with the prime minister of Iraq, who sectarianized his military, setting Shia against Sunni. It is amplified by Assad, who has waged one of the bloodiest, most terrible attacks on his own people, 250,000 plus dead, millions fleeing, causing this vacuum that has been filled, unfortunately, by terrorist groups-including ISIS.
So I think we are in the midst of great turmoil in this region. We have a proxy conflict going on between Saudi Arabia and Iran. You know, one of the criticisms I’ve had of Senator Sanders is his suggestion that Iranian troops be used to try to end the war in Syria and go after ISIS-
MITCHELL: Your time is up, Secretary-
CLINTON: Which I don’t think would be a good idea- but overall a lot of the forces at work in the region are ones that we cannot directly influence, but we can try to bring more help.