On Wednesday evening (August 17) Charlie Rose gave Michael Morell a mulligan, so he could ‘splain what he really meant to say on Roses’s show just 9 evenings earlier. On August 8 Morell had told Charlie that he (Morell) wanted to “kill” Russians and Iranians in Syria, and bomb Syrian facilities in order to “scare” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Scroll down to see Ray’s earlier piece on that.)
On Wednesday, soft-ball Charlie helped Morell ‘splain that he did not want to have U.S. Special Forces kill Russians and Iranians; no, he would be satisfied if the U.S.-sponsored so-called “moderate opposition” did that particular killing. But Morell would not back away from his open advocacy of state-sponsored terrorism (bombing by the U.S. Air Force) to scare Assad into realizing he has to go.
The 8-minute segment in which Charlie helps Michael ‘splain it all turns out to be so, well, unusual and transparent, that Ray has transcribed it. If you are interested in things like the fecklessness and brutality of neocon policy toward Syria, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands killed and every other Syrian displaced from her/his home, you may wish to read Ray’s transcription below.
Morell seems oblivious to international law, what’s been going on in Syria for the past five years, and how state-sponsored terrorism can and does fuel, well, terrorism. Remarkable. Or maybe he is just lusting after a job with Hillary.
This segment begins at minute 27:15.
Rose: Now let’s talk about the interview you did with me here. Tell me what you wanted to say so we understand it, because some people interpreted it that you wanted to see three things: That you wanted to see Iranians and Russians punished so that they would be more willing to engage in peace talks; to stop destruction of a state, and that the only way to do it was if they felt some sense of pressure; and you felt the same thing about Assad, and that he had to feel some fear about his own position in order to agree to some kind of transition.
Tell me what you meant to say, because some people who might not have seen the interview, said, you know, you are in bed with the neocons, a warmonger, a Trumpian. So all these things came down on top of you and, perhaps because you did not speak as precisely as you should have or that I didn’t ask the right questions.
Morell: No, no, Charlie, you always ask the right questions. So, you know, one of the things you’re taught as a young analyst at CIA is precision of language and clarity of message. It’s beaten into you and sometimes you don’t, you don’t, you don’t do what your were taught. So I don’t think I was as clear with you and your viewers as I should have been. So let me try to make this clear.
The Syrian civil war has to end, and the reason it has to end is because it is feeding extremism in Iraq and Syria. Even if we get our arms around ISIS and squeeze ISIS down, and down, and down, the civil war will continue to breed extremism. ISIS will go away and some other group will replace it.
The Syrian civil war needs to end, okay? In my view, there is not a military solution to that. And the reason there is not a military solution is because a military solution would end up with the destruction of the Syrian military, the Syrian security services, the Syrian intelligence services, etc., etc., etc., the Syrian police, and if you destroy all of those in an attempt to end the civil war, you are left with a complete vacuum here, a security vacuum, a stability vacuum; you end up with Libya.
CR: Or Iraq.
MM: Or Iraq.
MM: So you don’t want to do that. So there’s not a military solution to this, there is only a political solution to this. And that political solution is, in my view, a transition of power from Assad to a, a, a transitional government that represents all of the Syrian people. That is only going to happen if Assad wants it to happen, if Russia wants it to happen, if Iran wants it to happen. So what we need to do is, we need to increase our leverage over those three people and groups, three people and countries, in order to get then more interested in having a conversation about a transition to a new government.
CR: That’s exactly what the 51 diplomats said in their letter.
MM: And sometimes you use military force for military ends. Sometimes you use military force to give you political leverage. And one of the reasons to be involved in Syria – which Vladimir Putin is now discovering – is that all of a sudden you’re a player in how the game gets discussed around the table.
So what I tried to say was, Look, we need to find some ways to put some pressure on Assad, or put some pressure on Russia, and put some pressure on Iran.. Now, with regard to Russia and Iran, what I said was, what I wanted to say was, Look, the moderate opposition, which the United States is supporting (everybody knows that, right?), the moderate opposition is already fighting the Syrian government, and they’re already fighting Russians and Iranians. …
So one of the wars that’s going on now is the Syrian military supported by Russia and the Iranians fighting the moderate opposition. And the moderate opposition is already Iranians and Syrians. What, what I said is that’s an okay thing, right, because it puts pressure on Iran and Russia to try to see some value in ending this thing politically.
And what I said is that we should encourage the moderate opposition to continue to do that and perhaps get a lot more aggressive.
CR: You weren’t suggesting that the United States should do that, but the moderate forces on the ground.
MM: And I think I came across as saying U.S. Special Forces should go in there and start killing Iranians and Russians. I did not say that.
So that’s Russia and Iran. Now, Assad. How do you put some pressure on Assad, right? And here I did argue, Charlie, that the U.S. military itself should take some action, and what I would see invaluable is limited, very, very, very limited U.S. airstrikes against those assets that are extremely important to Assad personally.
So, in the middle of the night you destroy one of his offices; you don’t kill anybody, right, zero collateral. … You do this with the same rules of engagement we use against terrorists. …
You take out his presidential aircraft, his presidential helicopters, in the middle of the night, right, just to send him a message and get his attention that, that maybe your days are numbered here, just to put some pressure on him to think about maybe, maybe the need to think about a way out of this. Now these issues that I’m talking about here, right, are talked about in the sit room. They’re talked about in national security circles all the time, right. These are debates that people have, and I certainly understand that there are people on the other side of the argument from me, right.
But I wasn’t talking about the U.S. starting a major war with Iran and Russia, and I think that was the way [indistinct: seems to be “… the way people interpreted it.”
CR: And all the rest of it …. [indistinct]
MM: And all the rest of it … [indistinct]
This segment ends at minute 35:30