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Local Experts Respond To Obama’s Iran, Syria Conference

Michael Provence, associate professor of Middle Eastern history at UC San Diego, specializes in Syria. He spoke with "Evening Edition" about President Obama's news conference today.

Guests

Retired Marine General Joseph P Hoar, General Hoar, he was one of eight retired military officials to sign an open letter to the White House urging against military action in Iran.

Michael Provence, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History at UC San Diego, he specializes in Syria

Transcript

During his first news conference of the year, President Obama today defended his choice not to use military intervention in Iran and Syria. This sits well with former Marine General Joseph Hoar of Del Mar, one of eight retired military officers to address an open letter to the White House urging against military action in Iran.

Hoar said on KPBS Midday Edition he opposes war with Iran in part because of changing attitudes toward the military.

"Since we’ve ended conscription in this country, very, very few people have any personal interest in going to war," he said. "Only about a million people serve in the military, only 5 percent of the American population know anybody in the military. It’s very unlike the Vietnam War when everybody between the age of 18 and 25 was a potential conscript to go to war in Vietnam. This now has become someone else’s responsibility for the vast majority of American people."

Hoar also said the war in Iraq was unnecessary, and said going to war in Iran would be very expensive, raise gas prices and cause disruption around the world.

On KPBS Television's "Evening Edition," Yasser Al Saied, the head of the Syrian-American Council in San Diego, said Syrians want American troops to create a safe zone in Syria.

"We want to have more structural support to the Free Syria Army, the army that's deflectors of the Syria army," he said. "That's supported not by means of giving arms. It's just to allow them to seek help by the surrounding countries."

He said they want the U.S. to influence other countries around Syria to remove blockades and allow help to go through.

Michael Provence, an associate professor of Middle Eastern History at UC San Diego, specializes in Syria. He told "Evening Edition" national security was supposed to be a weakness of the Obama administration, but it has turned out not to be.

He added there's no reason or strategy for intervention in Syria.

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