Gary Johnson equates Syrian civilians killed by Assad, US

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Story highlights

  • Johnson has pitched himself as a skeptic of foreign wars
  • And cast Clinton as a hawk

Washington (CNN)Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, in an interview published Wednesday, discussed the massive loss of human life in Syria and equated killings from the government of Bashar al-Assad and those caused by the United States.

Johnson, pressed in his interview with The New York Times, on whether he viewed deaths caused deliberately by Assad's forces as the same as those caused by the United States, Johnson indicated he did.
    "Well, no, of course not. We're so much better than all that," Johnson said with sarcasm, according to the report. "We're so much better when in Afghanistan, we bomb the hospital and 60 people are killed in the hospital."
    Johnson was referring to a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders that the United States admitted it bombed in 2015. The Pentagon said after a military investigation that the action was not a war crime, although it did not allow an independent, international investigation into the killings.
    Johnson has made skepticism of foreign interventions a mainstay of his campaign, ensuring to highlight it in almost every interview he does. But he has had several embarrassing incidents that demonstrated his shortcomings in that area.
    At the beginning of September, Johnson failed to recognize Aleppo, a city at the heart of the Syrian civil war. The embarrassing moment underscored Johnson's lack of foreign policy chops, and he compounded the mistake in a late September interview when he struggled to name a foreign leader he respected, conceding he was having another "Aleppo moment."
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    Johnson also specifically slammed Democrat Hillary Clinton, calling her a foreign policy hawk who contributed to bloodshed overseas.
    "Because Hillary Clinton can dot the i's and cross the t's on geographic leaders, of the names of foreign leaders the underlying fact that hundreds of thousands of people have died in Syria goes by the wayside," Johnson said.
    The Libertarian nominee's criticism of Clinton appears at odds with his running mate, Bill Weld, who told CNN Wednesday he would focus his criticism on Republican Donald Trump.
    "I guess my role will be Hillary, and his role will be Donald Trump," Johnson said.