This is a rush transcript from "The Ingraham Angle," April 13, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: This is a Fox News alert. In the last hour, President Trump announced that the United States has launched what he called targeted strikes into Syria. This launch in retaliation for Assad regime's apparent use of chemical weapons against civilians. It was conducted along with France and Great Britain.
At this moment, we're awaiting a news conference at the Pentagon where we're told that military officials will lay out the specifics of these strikes.
Let's bring in Fox News national security correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, who's standing at the Pentagon -- General Mattis is just stepping up. We'll go to that live.
(Pentagon briefing on Syria strikes segment)
INGRAHAM: All right. Let's go now to John Roberts, who's monitoring the situation at the White House -- John.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Laura, good evening to you. And the president continues to monitor the situation, as the bombs either continue to fall and the missiles continue to strike, or the initial bomb damage assessments are being made.
And tonight, the White House releasing a call for action on Syria, calling on Syria and Syria's patrons to declare all aspects of Syria's chemical weapons program, destroy the remaining chemical weapons stockpiles and dismantle the program and allow secure and unfettered access to the U.N. chemical weapons team to investigate the attack in Duma last Saturday.
The White House also coming out now not with specific intelligence, Laura, but a little more granularity in what led them to believe that there was in fact a chemical weapons attack in Duma last Saturday. A large volume of high resolution reliable photos and video from Duma.
They clearly document victims suffering from asphyxiation and foaming at the mouth with no signs of external wounds. Reliable intelligence that indicates Syrian military officials coordinated what appears to be the use of chlorine in Duma on April the 7th.
Credible medical personnel and organizations have reported symptoms of chlorine and sarin gas. Eyewitness accounts reporting that an MI-8 helicopter launched from a Syrian regime airfield was circling Duma at the time of the attack.
Photos of barrel bombs that were dropped, and doctors and aid organizations on the ground in Duma reporting the strong smell of chlorine and described symptoms consistent with the exposure to sarin gas.
The White House also sending a very sharp message to Russia tonight saying that the Trump administration has made it clear that Russia and Iran share responsibility for the brutal actions of the Assad regime.
The United States will not be fooled by another Russian disinformation campaign, tried to deflect the blame. Russian claims that Assad has eliminated his chemical weapons program are clearly untrue.
And due to its inability or refusal to curb Assad's crimes, Russia must assume responsibility for Assad's behavior. The president did this several times in the past week. They are doing it again tonight, saying ultimately Vladimir Putin is responsible for what happened in Syria last Saturday and ultimately responsible for the American response tonight.
A little bit more color on what happened this week. The president made the decision, Laura, that taking military action much earlier this week. It was then up to his generals at the Pentagon and his national security team here at the White House to provide him with the information that he thought would best address the situation here.
And you heard General Dunford and James Mattis, the secretary of defense lay that plan all out. And Mike Pence, the vice president, went to Lima, Peru, on the president's behalf. The president cancelled the trip earlier this week.
Pence was at a dinner for the summit of the Americas, suddenly got up, left the table, got in the motorcade, went back to the hotel where he made secure telephone calls to the congressional leadership, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and told that he tried to reach the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer several times.
Schumer was on a plane and could not be reached. But as soon as Schumer landed, the vice president got in touch with him to inform him of what was happening. You can also expect that the president talked to Theresa May of Britain and Emmanuel Macron of France just before this whole thing went off as well because he does have their full support in cooperation with these strikes on Syria -- Laura.
INGRAHAM: All right. John, thanks so much.
Let's get reaction from Fox News contributor, Sara Carter. She's president of the Security Studies Group, and Jim Hanson, military analyst and Retired Colonel Douglas MacGregor. All right, guys, a lot to unpack here.
Sara, let's start with you. What is your take tonight? The goal here is to provide a strong deterrence against the production spread and use of chemical weapons. We tried to do that last year. Was it done successfully last year, apparently not but this will?
SARA CARTER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, this is a difficult situation because obviously Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he first launched chemical attacks in 2013 in Ghouta. I remember being on the phone with doctors. Actually, I was talking to a doctor in Ghouta when the attack was launched, and I remember the horror that they were facing then.
So, we haven't seen it as a deterrent since then. I mean, Assad continue to use this, but now we see three nations joining together, France, Great Britain, and the United States, sending a strong message. Not just to Assad but to Russia and Iran, and to the rest of the world as well as North Korea.
Remember, proliferation is what we're really concerned about here. If we're concerned about our national security risk, then this is the reason why the president did this. He was standing on the principle that he told them, if you cross this red line with me, I have to react.
And eventually he did. So, we're going to have to wait and see how this unfolds because we don't know what Russia's reaction is going to be to this. A lot of people are concerned, but, you know what? Bullies are bullies and when you push a bully back, most of the time, they back up, but we still don't know.
INGRAHAM: Colonel MacGregor.
COLONEL DOUGLAS MACGREGOR (RETIRED), MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I find the whole thing perplexing. First of all, just a week after the president announces his intention to withdraw troops from Syria suddenly, the Syrian government that has effectively won the civil war. The civil war is practically over, decides to launch a chemical attack. Seems very odd.
Then we see sarin and chlorine gas used together. That's never happened before. That's the first in the history of chemical warfare. It doesn't make any sense. Finally, we said, we didn't really inform the Russians.
But we know the German press has told us over the last 24 hours of consistent back channel reports between Washington and Moscow. So, I'm quite obvious we made the Russians aware of what was going on and they got out of the way, and we picked targets that in retrospect may turn out not to be what we thought.
So, I think this is another cosmetic attack that makes the morally righteous in Washington feel good but changes nothing on the ground.
INGRAHAM: Jim, South Sudan has had a four-year civil war that's killed tens of thousands of people. Entire villages have been burned with flame throwers, boys and girls locked in straw huts, and lit on fire. There are atrocities committed every day all over the world including in China.
And yet we go in again with a military strike a year after a previous military strike, and I guess, it feels good because they are horrible things happening there. But what do we really accomplish here tonight in Syria? This is not why Donald Trump got elected in my view.
JIM HANSON, PRESIDENT, SECURITY STUDIES GROUP: But President Trump delivered a warning, and Vladimir Putin, Assad, and the Iranians all ignored that warning. He delivered on the promise that he would retaliate if they did. He had to do that. Otherwise --
INGRAHAM: Why does he deliver the warning?
HANSON: And it was the right thing to do. We also have a strategic interest in Iran not becoming a land bridge to the Mediterranean.
INGRAHAM: Maybe we shouldn't have gone into Iraq then. That helped them.
HANSON: That's a bigger story. But what President Trump did here is he delivered the correct message to the correct parties. What was blown up, it's important but it's not the most important thing. The fact that we will deliver on our promises as the United States. And I thought, as Sara, I thought it was great that we put the band back together and that the U.S., the U.K., and France acted in concert. That matters to the world to show that we are now a coalition of some of the strongest countries.
SARA CARTER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely, and it stops that Shia crescent from developing. And that's something else that they're very concerned about is how Iran is moving across the Middle East.
INGRAHAM: And how did that start? There's a lot of dominoes falling in the Middle East. And sometimes what feels good in the moment, the Iraq war, which I was all in favor of, then all of sudden you look four years later, what's ISIS?
HANSON: How we get out matters. The end game in Syria matters.
INGRAHAM: Sebastian, you're so smart. Why did Saddam Hussein -- see I have it all confused. Why did Assad decide to do this now, Sebastian, given the fact that Donald Trump -- his instinct is let's get the heck out of there, trillions of dollars spent in the Middle East, China is on the rise, we don't want to get bogged down there. And then the attack happens. Why did that unfold that way?
SEBASTIAN GORKA, NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGIST: Laura, I know a lot of people are queasy tonight, but look, Colonel MacGregor is being obnoxiously obtuse. The president needs to be listened to. This isn't about Rwanda. This isn't about Sudan. This is a battlefield where chemical weapons are on the loose with multiple actors, many of them jihadists. This is a regime that has committed mass murder. His father was a mass murderer and so is Bashar al Assad.
The idea that this is irrelevant to America is so a-strategic it beggars belief. The president is not an interventionist. He's not going to deploy 160,000 troops like the Bush administration did. But we have to assert our moral clarity. You do not get to use illegal chemical weapons against women and children. And I was in the White House a year ago and I saw this intelligence. And guess what, colonel, it was the Assad regime that did it. And when a four-star retired marine corps legend like the current secretary of defense tells you that we've seen the intelligence and it was Assad, everybody should take that to the bank. And shame on you for questioning General Mattis retired?
COL. DOUGLAS MACGREGOR, RETIRED, MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I've met General Mattis and I'm happy to question it because I don't think General Mattis meant what he said.
GORKA: You don't have the clearances and you haven't seen it, colonel.
MACGREGOR: Well, you would see surprise it had clearances that I have.
GORKA: Have you seen the intelligence? Have you seen the intelligence?
MACGREGOR: Sebastian, will you please come down for a second?
GORKA: No, it's outrageous.
MACGREGOR: We've been down this road before.
GORKA: Not with this president. Not with this president.
MACGREGOR: We launched cruise missiles in 1999 --
INGRAHAM: One at a time. Sebastian, you can respond in one second.
MACGREGOR: We launched against a factory we said was building missile parts in 1999 and connected to al Qaeda. It was a milk production facility. We've had so much misinformation. It is absolutely not clear what happened a year ago. I completely reject --
GORKA: It is to me. You were outside the building.
MACGREGOR: Absolutely not. And I have spent my life in the military and I have seen intelligence manipulated repeatedly over the last 25, 26 years.
GORKA: I'm glad you know better than this president and his secretary of defense.
MACGREGOR: I think that President Trump needs to listen to the 50 million Americans who voted for them. They did not vote for this and they didn't support this.
INGRAHAM: Let's talk about --
GORKA: I'm glad you speak for all Americans, Colonel. I'm glad you've made yourself a spokesman of 60 million Americas. That's very modest of you.
INGRAHAM: Well, let's talk about the War Powers Resolution because this always comes up every time we launch a military strike, whether Congress should give its imprimatur to the action. And it allows the president to use force on a temporary basis. He can do it on his own, doesn't have to go to Congress, very limited, narrow criteria. Many say tonight that didn't meet that criteria, that this type of strike actually does require Congressional approval. I understand. I can actually make the argument for both sides. I think it's an interesting discussion. Jim?
HANSON: The war powers act has never been tested in the Supreme Court. So there's no ruling.
INGRAHAM: Thank God. The Supreme Court gets most stuff wrong, too.
HANSON: The constitution under Article Two as General Mattis cited gives the president authority as commander in chief to do what he needs to do to take care of Americans strategic interests worldwide anytime, anyplace, anywhere. If he thinks the Syrian regime dropping chemical weapons in a theater where there are U.S. troops on the ground is important enough to bomb them, he's got every right. He doesn't have to ask anybody.
CARTER: Jim just brought up a really important point. We do have troops on the ground. We are still continuing to train. People are still losing their lives in this region, and they're fighting back against not just Assad but Iranian IRGC on the ground. We know that they're watching the Russians. We also have intelligence assets on the ground. So when something like this happens, when we're in direct threat, and I think not just to our men and women on the ground but also to our nation. We have to think of the national security implications of proliferation, and that's something a lot of people are not thinking about. But we had Islamic state on the ground, we have al Qaeda, we have various rebel groups.
INGRAHAM: Did Assad attack ISIS?
CARTER: We did.
INGRAHAM: Did Assad attack ISIS?
CARTER: You mean did Assad attack is? I heard a number of things.
INGRAHAM: No. I heard McCain was going to give the good rebels arms. That never worked out so well.
CARTER: But right at the very beginning, the Free Syrian Army was being promised by the Obama administration that we are going to help supply you. When that didn't happen you saw factions and divisions among the ground.
INGRAHAM: It's a wild place. Let's face it. Iraq was a wild place. I remember being there in 2006 and I was like it's not exactly the way I thought it would be. It's a wild place that very few Americans understand.
Syria, and Sebastian, you know this also, it is incredibly complex. There are so many different ethnic and tribal conflicts and ISIS offshoots that they fight among each other. They're not even on the same side. And then of course Assad with his murderous tactics. Why didn't Germany join us in this effort tonight? The biggest economy in the EU, such a critical ally of the United States, Sebastian, where was Angela Merkel?
GORKA: The same Germany that told its ambassador in NATO that he is banned from using the word "counterinsurgency" when discussing NATO operations in Afghanistan and it's just a humanitarian operation, that paper tiger.
Look, I have to comment on what Sara says. She's absolutely right, and what Jim is saying. Think of one thing. Everybody out there who's got issues, everybody who has got their tinfoil hat on that the white helmets did it, and Russia said the British did the chemical attack. Do you want to belief that one next?
To anybody who has doubts, think about this one question. What happens when the outside regime uses chemical weapons, as Secretary Mattis said, and as he did last year, and I saw the intelligence for the proof of that being the Assad regime, and we do nothing? What message does that send to Iran? What message does that send to Assad? What message does that send to proxies? Because it sends a clear message as far as I'm concerned that we got away with it and we can do it again.
And where are they going to do it next? In Jordan, one of our most important allies in the region to precipitate a civil war there. Are they going to do it in Tel-Aviv? Are we prepared to let that genie out of the bottle? I, as an American, as a taxpayer, as somebody who believes that these kinds of weapons are illegal and should be responded to, I'm not prepared to pay that price.
INGRAHAM: I understand everything you're saying, Sebastian. But my question is a simple one. We hear a lot about the international community. The international community this, the international community that. We're doing that for international norms. It's the worst thing ever. Of course, it's horrific to use any type of chemical weapons, nerve agent, it's beyond beyond. We can't even comprehend it as Americans. So where is the world community? It's great that we have Britain and France. That's fantastic, I love it, but where the heck is the world community? Where's Japan?
GORKA: Without American leadership, there is no action.
INGRAHAM: Yes, we're out of money. We have no dough. It's not 1995 anymore, Sebastian.
GORKA: So we let children get gassed.
INGRAHAM: I'm not saying that. But if we have a country that is desperately in debt and getting weaker and weaker and weaker according to our debt year after year after year, at some point, somebody's going to have to pay the piper. And about two blocks from here, we've got blocks of people living out on the street, many of them are American veterans.
GORKA: But what has that got to do with national security. What does that got to do with moral rectitude?
INGRAHAM: Moral rectitude is great, but if we are a boke nation at some point the America, forget about what we say on this panel tonight. I'm playing devil's advocate here because at some point the American people are going to say, you know something, I'm not voting for this anymore. They're going to elect Elizabeth Warrant. That's what I'm worried about.
GORKA: Fine. That's democracy. That's democracy.
HANSON: President Trump asked for a way out. He said, I want to leave Syria. We gave the plan to the National Security Council for a way for the regional allies to start taking out of that, for Saudi Arabia to pay some of the freight, for the other Gulf nations. They don't have the capability to do this.
INGRAHAM: They don't have the capability? They have big money. What are we talking about?
CARTER: The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and I can tell you, talking to sources in Israel, talking to sources in Saudi Arabia, there has been a big difference. And I think that shift is important because what Saudi Arabia is most concerned about is Iran. And Saudi Arabia is willing to make amends with Israel to some extent, even offer their airspace.
INGRAHAM: Jared Kushner has actually done great work on that and gets no credit. He's done great work we're going to hear a lot more about in the next coming weeks. Macgregor?
MACGREGOR: I think your viewers should understand that Congress is a rubber stamp. It's not doing its job and hasn't done it's job for decades. It's very comfortable sitting there and essentially turning everything over to the president until something really bad happens at which point in time of course they will blame whoever is in the White House.
Secondly, again, this is a facade. This is designed to look like something. It's nothing.
INGRAHAM: What do you mean? What are you talking about?
MACGREGOR: What we hit on the ground tonight is meaningless.
INGRAHAM: How do you know that?
MACGREGOR: The targets that count were the Russian targets. Without Russia, Assad would not exist. Without Russia --
INGRAHAM: Are you talking about Russian troops and Russian facilities?
MACGREGOR: Yes, Russian troops, Russian air force, Russia air defenses, Russian missiles. Iran as well, Iranian troops, they are the critical factor in the victory in Syria. Now, they are going to divide that country. It's over. We are not going to shape the destiny --
INGRAHAM: So Russia and Iran are going to divide up Syria and we're not going to have anything to do with it?
CARTER: But I also think that we were strategic in how we did this, because if we target the Russians on the ground in Syria, if we target Iran specifically, we could end up escalating this to a point --
INGRAHAM: You think. That would be a disaster. Sebastian, last word.
GORKA: Just listen to what the president said. He said very clearly, we are not there to do some kind of intervention like in the Gulf War back in 2003. We are there to make a stand against one of the most heinous forms of weapons known to man that are illegal.
And America, if we do nothing, then America as a nation starts to lose its meaning for what it represents. I know you believe in what that nation represents. You're a believer. You believe in the eternal values that our founding fathers instilled in our founding documents. If those documents mean anything today, we take this action.
INGRAHAM: I think we could all pull out quotes from the framers.
MACGREGOR: It's not funny, Laura. It's not funny.
INGRAHAM: It's not funny but, Sebastian, don't get on your moral high horse with me. Don't play that game with me tonight.
MACGREGOR: You're making it like a joke. It's not a joke.
INGRAHAM: You're raising the flag of the framers. I can quote an Alexander Hamilton and a George Washington to you tonight where they're warning us about getting America entangled in foreign affairs over which we can have little effect. I'm not saying it's applicable necessarily here. But the framers, it's a complicated situation.
Let's now go to Fox News' Jennifer Griffin who just stepped out of a Pentagon briefing we brought you at the top of the hour. Jennifer?
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, we just heard from Defense Secretary Mattis and General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the joint chief. They were joined by the top representatives of the militaries of France and Britain. They addressed what the targets were that were struck.
And we now know that there were three targets struck by both manned airplanes as well as tomahawk and cruise missiles from the Navy. In Damascus, the scientific research center, that's an R and D facility of chemical weapons, was struck, and then there was also a chemical weapons storage facility in Homs north of Damascus and another chemical weapons storage facility near Homs. So those are three sites.
We were told by the defense secretary and chairman of the joint chiefs that this wave of strikes is now other. It was a one-shot message to the Assad regime. It was limited in nature. But Defense Secretary Mattis did say about twice the amount of munitions were used this year as last year's strikes that involved those 59 tomahawks that struck one site where the Syrian air force was based at the time.
So this was designed to send a message. They were very careful to rule out targets where civilians would have been killed. They also obviously were trying not to hit any of the Russian air bases there. General Dunford said that a deconfliction line was used to deconflict the airspace above Syria with the Russians, but targets were not given to the Russians in advance. General Dunford said that the Syria air defense, surface to air missiles, were engaged in the beginning once the U.S. airstrikes began, the U.S. and British and French airstrikes began, but it's not clear whether the Russians actually engaged their air defenses.
So they will have more bomb damage assessment tomorrow. Defense Secretary Mattis said that they expected a disinformation campaign from the Syrian regime and its allies. We've seen some of that disinformation in recent days. Defense Secretary Mattis also said that he was convinced yesterday that at least one chemical agent was used in that April 4th attack by the Syrian regime. He said that they are certain that chlorine was used and it is possible if not probable that sarin was used. But he said that as of yesterday he was convinced that at least one chemical agent had been used by the Syrian regime. He was very confident that the Syrian regime was behind that chemical attack on April 4th. Laura?
INGRAHAM: Jennifer Griffin, thank you so much. And joining us now, Iraq war veteran, I'm delighted he's with us, Chris Neiweem, and Walid Phares, of course, and Don Bramer, former intel officer, Iraq war veteran. Gentlemen, great to see you tonight. We always pray for our troops in harm's way on nights like tonight. And it's a serious time very time we use military force overseas.
Walid, let's get your sense on this. We were talking a little earlier about Syria, like Iraq, extremely complicated place. I think we in America think of the Middle East all as one place. And it's the exact opposite of that. It's like 100 places. Tell us about Syria on the ground and your view of what happened tonight.
WALID PHARES, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: What happened tonight, Laura, what I know and I can see is that this is not a U.S./Syria operation. This is not the invasion of Iraq, this is not the invasion of Afghanistan. For those who are debating and getting very warm about this issue, this is a very specific strike against the Assad regime capacities to deliver chemical weapons.
Now, we cannot judge tonight. If the Syrian regime decides to stop using it, operation is over. If there are reactions, which I anticipate not necessarily in Damascus but other parts of Syria where we have assets, it's a different story.
DON BRAMER, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: I would have to agree. And we did three precision attacks with facilities that are with sarin gas which has a very high density and a very low burn-off rate. So I think if Assad and his folks act out and they take this as the message it was meant to be, then this could resolve itself rather quick. Optimistically, I don't think so. I think that Assad will react and we'll see what happens tomorrow morning.
INGRAHAM: Chris, former intel officer, you're so young, how can you be a former intel officer. But apparently we hit a number of storage facilities. My question is, if we knew the -- this might be a really dumb question, but if you know the storage facilities are there, and we thought they had destroyed the weapons previously, we launched our strikes against the airfield last year, why didn't we do a preemptive strike? Why did we wait until they used the weapons and 40 people were killed, and more badly, badly injured apparently tonight still in hospitals?
CHRIS NEIWEEM, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: That's a great question. There was four military police, I was the intel guy, but close enough. I learned a lot from being around him. But I think that we looked at the multilateral approach and the due diligence of having those walkups and the intel gathering and having all those allies. We've looked at this for a few days, we know what this is. And they've had plenty of opportunities. So right now the quantity of the strike has increased, so we're hitting those facilities designed to prevent those aerial ships from doing this again and those planes from launching. So we're trying to hit him hard enough where he stops doing this.
INGRAHAM: Do we think that Europe is really with us? We talked about this earlier and Sebastian got kind of angry, but my question is a simple one. We have an international consensus against the use of chemical weapons, sarin gas. I don't think -- can we think of a time in world history where sarin gas and chlorine were used at the same time? I don't think so. Weird. That's just weird.
So we have an international consensus you can't use this. Can't do it. We've got children dying, these videos, horrific, the president spoke to that clearly. Where is the international community? Why is the money help? Where is the military help? Why is it that the United States have to carry the load for everyone when the United States has a huge debt level?
And again, Sebastian was like, are you saying we don't have a moral duty? I'm not saying we don't have a moral duty, but we have a moral duty to the next generation and the generation after that that we don't hand them a country that is completely empty of financial future. So I'm concerned about that as the international consensus is clearly supposedly developed. Walid?
PHARES: Laura, the consensus for tonight, we saw the United States, France, and England acting together. This is great. This is emotional even, great. But it's only for tonight, because if you want to go further against the regime, you would be going against Hezbollah, you'll be going against Iran. And who is pressuring us not to change our policy regarding Iran? The Europeans. So they are with us against the chemical weapons, but if we tell them we're going to put serious pressure on Iran --
INGRAHAM: Which is the problem, which is the real problem in the Middle East.
PHARES: Which is the real problem. They're going to say we can't be with you against Iran. We're going to lose the Iran deal. And this is where it becomes very complicated. Let me take us to one other area in Syria. We have 2,000 troops in the northeastern part of Syria. Those troops are now surrounded if you want, strategically by the Iranians, by Hezbollah, by Assad. My concern is what's the follow-up. What is status quo for these troops because now that we have administered one strike, and we're eager to know if the enemy is going to strike back against our troops. That's the biggest question of the night for me.
INGRAHAM: Don, Mattis just a few days ago according to the New York Times, description of his mindset, Defense Secretary Mattis is trying to slow the rush to a military strike in part because despite what Ms. Haley, Nikki Haley said, we have the full screen, guys, he feels he needs more evidence to corroborate that President Bashar al Assad's regime was responsible for the deaths. Mr. Mattis is also said to be concerned that a bombing campaign could lead to a wider conflict with Mr. Assad's two main defenders, Russia and Iran. Now, that was I guess just yesterday, not two days ago. A lot of was apparently determined and confirmed over the last 24 hours. But just body language, reading him, do you think he seemed 100 percent confident about what we saw tonight? I mean, to me, I just see Mattis when he's all in.
BRAMER: Game on.
INGRAHAM: Just my body language. I could be totally wrong. He seemed like he was -- he's not saying he's not for it, but I don't know, it just seems like Mattis worried. He's a warrior. You guys are warriors.
INGRAHAM: As a warrior, you know what war is like, as limited as this was.
BRAMER: I think he had a lot on his table tonight. There's been a lot of speculation. Today you heard reports coming out of Syria and Russia that this was all a result of doings of the U.K.
INGRAHAM: The British planted it all, yes.
BRAMER: You bet. So there's mixed stories coming out. Mattis has said we want to move slow. We don't really want to go head to head with Russia. So I think that's why we had the attacks we did tonight where there were three precise hits. So we did it at a time, 3:00 in the morning about where we mitigated any risk of civilian casualties. Most people are away. There were smart bombs that went in the right place.
I think we did it right, but he's a general. He's been around this all his life. Anytime you have a situation where you're going to send troops into war, you're going to think about that. And that's going to lay heavy on your heart. I think he doesn't want to be the guy that brings people in.
INGRAHAM: All right, guys. Thanks so much. Joining us now from Jerusalem is Fox News international correspondent Mike Tobin who has been monitoring the reaction on Arab TV tonight. Mike?
MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we know right now -- first of all that dawn is breaking, so we'll start to get a better idea of what the damage is. There are vehicles driving around the city of Damascus right now with loudspeakers blasting Syrian nationalist songs. We've got a lot people who say the night sky was lit up orange. Loud blasts could be heard all over Damascus.
Reuters in particular said the smoke was concentrated in the eastern part of this city. Syrian state TV claimed that scientific research centers were hit. Reuters is saying that some three scientific research centers were hit, and what we're hearing from the Pentagon is what they're calling a scientific research center was a research and development facility for those chemical weapons.
We've also got out of Syrian state TV information that there was a strike in Homs, and we're now hearing that was a military storage facility that was hit in Homs, and that's about 100 miles north of the city of Damascus.
State TV also claimed that Syrian air defenses did engage at the beginning of this military strike. That was confirmed through the Pentagon. General Mattis said that there was some activity from the surface to air resources inside of Damascus at the beginning of this strike.
Syrian state TV also claim that some 13 tomahawks were shot down. That was not confirmed from the Pentagon. We heard from the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff simply that they just don't have any information to that effect.
So dawn is breaking out here. We're starting to get a better idea of the assessment of the damage. And we do have a statement out of Israel, of course, with a very vested interest of what's going on right now. It's linked to an Israeli official. We know it's a high placed official, but the statement reads, "Last year President Trump made clear that the use of chemical weapons crosses a red line. Tonight, under American leadership, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom enforced that line. Syria continues to engage in and provide a base for murderous actions, including those of Iran that put its territory, its forces, and its leadership at risk." So that's the latest we have out of the region right now, Laura. Back to you.
INGRAHAM: Mike Tobin, thank you so much. Walid Phares, there's a lot to digest there. But one thing that we know is that hundreds of thousands of people have died in the Syrian civil war. There are numbers that we certainly as a country haven't seen since World War II. And there is a Christian minority that previous administration and this administration have spoken about. They have an odd relationship, do they not, with Assad, because Assad like Saddam Hussein, gave protection to the Christian minority. And with Saddam, we had Tariq Aziz, his type adviser, orthodox Christian. And similarly the Christians in Syria I know are very worried about an escalation here because they are actually somewhat protected. What's your sense on that?
PHARES: The reason for why most Christians in Syria, specifically the leadership, because they are the ones that can speak --
INGRAHAM: And the pope of course.
PHARES: And the pope because of the Catholic patriarchs in Damascus, is because they don't know what's the outcome. Whatever is the outcome is a problem for them. The worst outcome is --
PHARES: No, before Iran is the jihadists.
INGRAHAM: ISIS, of course.
PHARES: Second would be Iran and Hezbollah because they saw what happened in Lebanon. And I lived in Lebanon for 15 years during the civil war. They don't see an outcome where the United States and international community are going to help them or help civil society in Syria. We missed that train unfortunately, not just in 2013 when we missed the red line, but since 2011. When we were in Iraq we would have been able to help in Syria. Once we withdrew from Iraq, it would have been very, very difficult.
INGRAHAM: Chris, it is interesting, the president is elected over a year ago. He ran on being a noninterventionist, but these are two very limited, targeted, so far at least with this last one, military strikes. But nevertheless, when you look back on some of his old tweets -- and tweets can really come back and bite you. In 2013, we should stop talking, stay out of Syria and other count countries that hate us, rebuild our own country, make it strong and make it great again. What I'm saying is stay out of Syria. It goes on, if the U.S. attacks Syria and hits the wrong targets killing civilians, there will be hell to pay.
These tweets go on and on, mostly from September, 2013, of course when Obama was still in. Is this just the reality of governance now, the reality of being commander in chief?
NEIWEEM: I think it's the reality of when you step in that Oval Office, and no one can know that except for the president when you're looking at that information and you want to hit hard, you want to be effective without having that ground footprint increased which I think the America public and everyone at the Pentagon is wary off.
INGRAHAM: Yes. There's no ground troops -- we have 2,000 people there. Not to minimize that. That's a lot of troops.
BRAMER: We have 2,000 on the ground there and many, many more in the region. And I'll back up what Chris said. The president doesn't want to go in there. But he's a human being. And when you look on TV and you see the horrible images of these children and these women --
INGRAHAM: But as I said before, we can hold up what the bishops in South Sudan have shown the world community and nobody cares what's happening in South Sudan. We can see this in Nigeria, what happened with the girls who were taken in Boko Haram. There are horrific things, China is still cutting babies out of women's wombs. The have reeducation camps in China. Yes, it's horrible, but there's horrible stuff happening all over the world, not with probably chemical weapons, but with burnings, mutilation, mass rape.
There's only so much America can do. And I'm speaking for what I think are people out there that are worried. And they're worried because they're gun shy because of Iraq. They're very worried about that. And that's one of the reasons Trump won this elect, because unlike the Bushs and unlike Romney and unlike Rubio, he came out and said, you know something, it was a mistake, and we should rethink how we deploy our forces in the Middle East. Honestly I think a lot of people and I think a majority of Americans agree with him.
BRAMER: I'll agree with that. And I think it's a brave new world when the first time you sit in the Oval Office and you open those briefs. There's a lot of things you can talk about on the campaign trail, we've seen it in several administrations in the past. But that first day in when you get that first briefings, it's a whole new story.
INGRAHAM: Sobering. Walid, last word.
PHARES: I think this is a chapter what we've seen tonight. Unfortunately, my statement is not going to be very positive. There will be other chapters.
INGRAHAM: In the Middle East?
PHARES: In Syria.
INGRAHAM: Oh, in Syria.
PHARES: In Syria.
INGRAHAM: In Iraq too?
PHARES: Well, in Syria first, and that could lead to Iraq.
INGRAHAM: Gentlemen, great panel tonight. That's all for us tonight at "The Ingraham Angle." Stay with Fox News for continuing coverage of the airstrikes in Syria. Shannon Bream and the "Fox News @ Night" team have all the reporting from the region and here in Washington and they'll take it from here. Shannon, I know you have a great show tonight, and I know your viewers and mine pray for our troops and pray for our country. Take it away
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