Why the military is opposed to strikes in Syria

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 11, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Have you thought about this? What do you think the military thinks about a military strike on Syria? They are the ones that will have to do it if President Obama orders it. Now brace yourself. According to a new "Military Times" survey, U.S. service members oppose strikes on Syria by a three to one margin. Major General Bob Scales joins us. Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Before I ask you about the military, I'm curious for your thought is on President Putin with his op-ed in "The New York Times" for the American people to read.

SCALES: Wow. I mean, this is amazing. He's saying that the resistance gassed themselves? Hey, Greta, where did the Syrians get 1,000 tons of chemicals? I think they got them from Russia, if I'm not mistaken.

And his point about foreigners delivering weapons to Syria -- well, they are. They are delivering truckloads of rifles to the resistance and the Russians are delivering shiploads of tanks, aircraft, fighter jets. And he talks about the U.S. failure in Afghanistan. Excuse me? Does anybody remember the Russians spent 10 years in Afghanistan? You and I have both been there and you see the country side littered with Russian tanks.

And the last point that really sort of torqued me off was this idea of criticizing American exceptionalism. The Russians have their own form of exceptionalism, and they get it by crushing dissent and killing journalists and invading Georgia. I have seen chutzpah before, but I've never seen anything like this.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course the one single naval base that Russia has outside Russia just happens to be Tartus in Syria, their own footprint in Middle East in terms of a base, you forgot that one. But anyway, let me ask you this, three to one the "Military Times" poll, military personnel opposed to a strike.

SCALES: Yes. And I mentioned it last night on FOX. And it's roughly in proportion to the opposition of the American people. It's about 80 against and 20 for. That generally reflects the population. Of course the military understand operations. They have been to Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them 12 or 13 times. And they understand that wars are fought for strategic ends, not just for emotionalism. And so I think that's where that ratio comes from, and I think it's pretty accurate, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you consider boots on the ground if we send military to Jordan to help and train rebels, is that boots on the ground or not?

SCALES: It's not, Greta. Look, we send 40 trained CIA rebels from Jordan into Syria every week. We should send 1,000 a week. We should have a supply line in Jordan going to Syria.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that boots on the ground?

SCALES: No. You're in sovereign territory, Jordanian sovereign territory, not in Syria. So from an international law perspective it is not boots on the ground.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that us getting deep into civil war that somebody oh posed it if we are on the border handing out the supplies?

SCALES: You know, at this stage, Greta, it's the best we can do. The only alternative is to send 100 cruise missiles against Syria. We know that's not going to work. Assad has the advantage right now. Frankly, Greta, he can use without chemical weapons at this stage. And so the best we can do is turn this ragtag rabble of the free Syrian army into real soldiers. We did it in Kosovo in two-and-a-half year. Why can't we do it in Jordan?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we'll see. Of course Senator Kerry will be meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov very soon, and of course the American are going to wake up to that op-ed by President Putin, so there is a lot developing right now through the night. Thank you, sir.

SCALES: Thank you, Greta.