Van Jones and Gingrich Battle Over ‘Slippery Slope Toward War’ in Syria

Future Crossfire cohosts Newt Gingrich and Van Jones both voiced skepticism on CNN Tuesday morning over President Barack Obama’s resolution for Syrian intervention, with Gingrich arguing that Congress should push for more clearly defined goals from a strike, while Jones warned them of the consequences of hasty military action.

“Are we really convinced that firing off a handful of missiles is going to decisively change anything?” Gingrich said. “The administration has already said publicly they don’t want to use this to defeat the Assad regime. Well, then what’s the point? If you’re not going to defeat Assad—this is a dictator. He’s not impressed by the fact you can fire a handful of missiles from navy ships.”

“The Congress ought to take this as an opportunity to ask, what are our goals in the region?” Gingrich said. “Is the number one threat in the U.S. an Iranian nuclear weapon, or is it Assad? Is the number two concern in the region the growth of radical Islamism again, which has come back dramatically and is frankly a large part of the anti-Assad movement in Syria? Where do you rank Syria among all the different problems we’re faced with?”

Jones, meanwhile, cautioned against any military action until all diplomatic options had been tried.

“I am so glad this president was smart enough to create a break in the action, but Congress needs to constrain what we do,” Jones said. “No boots on the ground, up humanitarian relief, and exhaust all peaceful options before any bombs start falling. Once you start going down the slippery slope to war, nobody can control what happens.”

Jones drew an analogy to conflicts in urban neighborhoods.

“We always tell kids in the neighborhood, it’s a big man that can figure out a way to deescalate,” Jones said. “Don’t do something out of pride now that may bring you shame later. Why do we tell kids one thing in a conflict, then as adults, we act totally differently?

“[Assad’s] a bully, a thug, he’s done something despicable. But let’s make sure we do the right thing, not just anything, but the right in response; a smart thing, something that will deescalate this conflict, and not put us on a slippery slope to more body bags, more funerals, more war…We need to be as creative in coming up with non-violent solutions as we’ve been in creating all these weapons.”

Watch the full clip below, via CNN:

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