Gates, Panetta question Obama's Syria strategy

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Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 12:00 am

DALLAS (AP) - President Barack Obama's first two defense secretaries on Tuesday night questioned his Syria strategy and said they would have told him not to seek Congress' approval for a strike on President Bashar Assad's forces.

Speaking at a forum in Dallas, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta disagreed on whether the United States should ultimately carry out a military strike in retaliation for a chemical attack that the U.S. says killed 1,400 people. But both men said Obama shouldn't have asked Congress to approve a strike, and both were skeptical and sometimes sarcastic about the current Russia-backed negotiations to have Syria turn over its chemical weapons.

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