While not directly addressing Bill Clinton’s criticism of the Obama administration’s Syria policy, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday that the 42nd president has offered “valid” opinions on the deteriorating situation in the Middle Eastern country.
President Obama “welcomes the input of every individual out there who has a perspective on a situation like this,” Mr. Carney told reporters.
At an event on Tuesday, Mr. Clinton reportedly said that the current president — or any other president, for that matter — risks looking like a “total fool” if he acts too cautiously and doesn’t take decisive action during a bloody, drawn-out slaughter like the one unfolding in Syria.
Mr. Clinton referenced his own decisions on intervening in Kosovo and Bosnia, and said that it’s often best for a president to “get caught trying, as long as you don’t overcommit.”
There are continuing calls for the U.S. to arm Syrian rebels locked in an intense conflict with forces loyal to that country’s president, Bashar Assad. Mr. Carney said all options remain on the table, but that Mr. Obama will make his decisions based on what is in the best interest of the U.S. and not on “what might satisfy critics at any given moment.”
Having said that, Mr. Carney added that the president “seeks the insight and advice of experts both within the administration and outside of it,” and that Mr. Clinton has raised “valid points” in his critique.
Mr. Clinton’s remarks came at a closed-press event with Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, among the loudest critics of the current American tack in Syria. The comments were reported By Politico, which said it listened to an audio recording made by an attendee at the Tuesday event.