Bill Clinton, Unplugged

by Greg Pollowitz

[GP] How much difference a day makes. Here’s Bill Clinton talking about President Obama’s reaction to Syria, via The Daily Beast:

In sharp remarks directed against his Democratic successor and his wife’s former boss, President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that President Barack Obama risks looking like a “wuss,” a “fool,” and “lame” for not doing more to influence events in Syria.

Clinton, speaking with Sen. John McCain Tuesday night in a closed press event sponsored by the McCain Institute, contrasted Obama’s inaction in Syria to his own action in the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo, which included the bombing of the forces of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Clinton said a president must look beyond public and congressional reluctance to military intervention for the sake of national security and to save lives.

“You just think how lame you’d be … suppose I had let a million people, two million people be refugees out of Kosovo, a couple hundred thousand people die, and they say, ‘You could have stopped this by dropping a few bombs. Why didn’t you do it?’ And I say, ‘because the House of Representatives voted 75 percent against it?’” Clinton said. “You look like a total wuss, and you would be.”

Responding to a question from McCain about how he views Obama’s Syria policy, Clinton said that any president who avoids a military intervention in order to satisfy short-term political objectives would come to regret it in the end.

“If you refuse to act and you cause a calamity, the one thing you cannot say when all the eggs have been broken is, ‘Oh my god, two years ago there was a poll that said 80 percent of you were against it.’ You look like a total fool,” Clinton said.

[GP] But today, Bill has dialed back the rhetoric:

After expressing disagreement with President Barack Obama’s reticence toward further U.S. action in Syria, former President Bill Clinton said Friday he welcomed news that the United States would begin taking a larger role in assisting opposition forces in the conflict-torn nation.

Clinton’s earlier remarks came ahead of Thursday’s White House announcement that the Syrian regime had crossed a “red line” by using chemical weapons, a conclusion that will prompt the U.S. to increase the “size and scope” of its assistance to rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad.

“It looks to me like this thing is trending in the right direction,” Clinton said on MSNBC.

“I think on balance this should be seen as a positive story, that America has information now about the chemical attacks, they clearly know that there are other outside powers trying to shore up Assad and his repressive tactics,” Clinton continued.