U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference from the White House Press Briefing Room in Washington, March 6, 2012.
President Barack Obama fended off criticism from the Republican presidential candidates of his foreign policy, slamming the “casualness” with which they speak about launching a new war.
“What’s said on the campaign trail — those people don’t have a lot of responsibilities; they are not the commander in chief,” Obama said in his first press conference of the year. “When I see the casualness in which those folks talk about war, I am reminded of the costs of war.”
“If some of these folks think that it’s time to launch a war they should say so,” Obama added. “Those who are suggesting and beating the drums of war, should explain clearly to the American people what they think the costs and benefits would be.”
“When I visit Walter Reed, when I sign letters to families who don’t make it home, I am reminded there is a cost,” Obama said. “Sometimes we bear that cost. Sometimes it’s necessary. But we don’t play politics with that.”
Obama said that unilateral intervention in Syria would be “a mistake,” adding that his administration would continue a “careful, thoughtful, and sober approach,” to the use of military force.