Hillary Clinton stands with Obama on airstrikes, arming Syrian rebels

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considering a 2016 presidential bid.

Story highlights

  • Hillary Clinton backs President Obama's decision to launch airstrikes in Syria
  • She also supports his decision to arm moderate Syrian rebels to fight ISIS
  • As secretary of state, she called for arming the rebels as early as 2011
Hillary Clinton publicly backed President Barack Obama's authorization of Syrian airstrikes during a panel discussion in New York Wednesday and attempted to dismiss previous disagreements she had with the Obama administration on Syria.
Clinton, Obama's former secretary of state, said the President gave a "very clear explanation and robust defense of the action he has ordered" regarding airstrikes against the terrorist group ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
"The situation now is demanding a response and we are seeing a very robust response," Clinton said. "It is something that I think the President is right to bring the world attention to."
The United States and a coalition of member countries conducted their second day of airstrikes in Syria and Iraq on Tuesday, targeting terrorist cells and organizations in the region.
The Clinton Global Initiative panel on developing children's brains was hosted by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who started the panel with a series of questions for Clinton on Syria.
Clinton has not always agreed with Obama on his policies in Syria. As America's top diplomat, Clinton urged the President to arm Syrian rebels and made clear that she disagreed with Obama's decision not to arm them in her much-talked-about memoir.
But on Wednesday, Clinton dismissed her previous disagreements in light of the current situation.
"Whatever the debates might have been before, this is a threat to the region and beyond," Clinton said. "I can't sit here today and tell you that if we had done what I had recommended we would be in a very different position. I just can't. You can't go and prove a negative."
She added, "I think you can always argue back and forth. Certainly when I was in the administration we had some very good discussion, debates even on what to do and how to do it starting in Syria... I was on one side of the debate, others were on other side."
Earlier in the day, Clinton's husband -- former President Bill Clinton -- echoed his wife, telling CNN's Erin Burnett that he supports the airstrikes.
"I personally believe the way they have thought this through and planned it and limited our involvement, avoids ISIS achieving their objective of suckering us into their fight," Bill Clinton said. "We should give support for people who are fighting for their lives."