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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
A Way Out on Syria?
Aired September 9, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Hi, and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.
Tonight, war of words, did John Kerry give the President an unexpected way out on Syria? And will he take it? Listen to what he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Is it possible this could avert a US military strike on Syria?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's possible if it's real. And, you know, I think it's certainly a positive involvement when the Russians and the Syrians both make gestures towards dealing with these chemical weapons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: But does this change the equation? Well, the President's telling everybody it just might. Listen to what he said tonight on NBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This represents a potentially positive development and my preference consistently has been a diplomatic resolution to this problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And this to ABC's Diane Sawyer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE SAWYER, ABC HOST: Are we back from the brink? Is military strike on pause?
OBAMA: If in fact that happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And then there was this to CBS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I don't think that we would have gotten to the point where they've been putting something out there publicly had there not been a credible military threat from the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I think we get the message Mr. President. And here's why the White House is making an all-out effort of military strikes in Syria still an uphill climb in Congress. In the Senate 25 Yes votes, 29 No votes, and 46 undecided. In the House, 25 Yes votes, 161 No's, 239 undecided, and 8 unknown.
This is the game change on Syria and some believe it. Let's get right to our Big Story. The President's next move on Syria, CNN's Jessica Yellin is live in Washington perhaps with more on this. Jessica, I can't really get laid around all this, can you try and tell me in simple, plain English where we are in terms of America's position on Syria?
JESSICA YELLIN, CHIEF DOMESTIC AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is the challenge of the day, Piers. I don't know if even the White House is clear on this right now. But the President is going to give us a speech tomorrow night in which he effectively argues that he is open to this Russia position which is allowing Assad to turn over the chemical weapon, but that's only the -- that's -- we're only in this position because the US has made this threat of the use of force and he will argue that Congress has to authorize him to strike and because that creates the conditions for diplomatic solution.
MORGAN: Right. I think that might -- I think mind around that.
YELLIN: (inaudible) that is.
MORGAN: Not easy is it. I mean, here's my -- I suppose my reaction of this which is if you assume that Assad did unleash these chemical weapons slaughtering 400 children and over a thousand adults and his own people, if you take that assumption, why would you trust that kind of man to hand over his weapons and why would America trust Vladimir Putin in all of these?
YELLIN: Well, and isn't it from the question you raised and I think that the most senior official in government are where you are. I mean the phrase I've heard today is trust but verify. An old term we used to hear in the Cold War era. And so we're in a bit of a -- old two step where on the one hand their -- the Administration is on this track that now just been opened by the John Kerry goof this morning which may have actually been a goof that saves the President from the military strike.
And on the other hand also on the other track of pursuing a military strike for precisely the reason you raised which is that they fundamentally don't believe that Assad can be trusted or that even Russia and Putin couldn't be trusted right now.
MORGAN: And again, call me naive Jessica, but I mean do we assume John Kerry made a gaffe, I mean. It's such a huge monumental gaffe, but then the moment he is being told he's made a gaffe, it turns out to be the potential solution. I just don't believe that's how this all at it was, isn't it?
YELLIN: First of all, it's an issue that has been discussed in private for a long time. That John Kerry has been discussing with Lavrov, the Foreign Minister in Russia and that the President and President Putin of Russia were also discussing last Friday when the President was there in Russia. So we know that it was something that's been talked about behind the scenes.
There are two schools of thought on this. Did John Kerry blurted out by accident, unwittingly. Maybe he was trying to nudge this out there and get it on to those on the world stage so that they could have a resolution. A lot of people think that, I don't know, I'm one of those people who thinks it's a lot more complicated and things actually happen by accident a lot more frequently than we in the media like to believe, Piers. We've always been there to -- they're cooking up a conspiracy when maybe they're not. But in any case if it's an out, maybe we can avoid the military strike, we'll see.
MORGAN: Which would be the odd deal for everybody. So Jessica, thank you very much indeed.
The President is facing quite a challenge then that his support on Capitol Hill on Syria. Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Steve Israel who supports strikes on Syria in principle at least. Welcome to you Congressman. And can you ...
REP. STEVE ISRAEL, (D) NEW YORK: Thanks for having me on.
MORGAN: ... can you try and put this into the correct context? Right now, we are supposed to be working on trust that Vladimir Putin and President Assad are to be completely trusted on the issue of chemical weapons and that should avert war.
ISRAEL: Well, two things Piers. Number one, it's clear that the credible prospect of force to deter and degrade Syria's chemical weapons capability prompted Russia to step up to the plate and propose a path forward. Now, we have to make sure that that path forward is credible. And so the President of the United States should engage Putin robustly. We need to vet this out. We need to make sure that this is not a subterfuge and the Administration has always said, and I have always agreed with the prospect that a diplomacy is always the preferred outcome. If there are -- if there's meat on these bones, we are to take the deal. But first, we have to establish whether there is meat on these bones.
MORGAN: Right. I mean, why does this leave the voting position here?
ISRAEL: Yeah. It's a new development. I was in a briefing today. I was also with the White House Chief of Staff earlier with the smaller group of members of Congress, and the proposal was very intriguing. And so, the message that we gave to the Administration both in the briefing with -- bipartisan briefing among House members, and in that smaller meeting with the chief of staff was we need to vet this out. We need to see if this is a credible path forward. This can't be endless, this can't take months to vet out, but the Administration does have an obligation to test the Russians, and if they're going to be constructive, we are to pursue it diligently.
MORGAN: The problem here, it seems to me for Barack Obama is that he has zigzagged his way on Syria now for 18 months. You know, originally, it was going to be regime change, or to get rid of Assad, then he reign back from that, then it was -- there's a red line, and the red line got crossed, once it got crossed, he said we're going to have to do strikes, and then wait a minute, I'm going to go to Congress, and now suddenly he's (inaudible) his hand in with the Russians and Assad. And there are many Americans when they're watching this scratching their heads going, "What the hell is going on?"
ISRAEL: Well, it wasn't the President of United States who used chemical weapons against the Syrian people and slaughtered 400 children and over a thousand others. It wasn't the President of the United States who continue to escalate this. It was Bashar al-Assad. And the President of the United States hoped that diplomacy would work. He hoped that our international partners and the Russians and China would be able to dissuade Bashar al-Assad from escalating this. And here is what happened. Assad used chemical weapons once, nobody said no. He used them twice, the international community looked the other way, he used them again and again and again until he engaged in the most catastrophic use of those chemical weapons on August 21st.
You know, any parent knows that when you have children who misbehave and you don't tell them they're misbehaving, where there's no accountability and no punishment for grotesque misbehavior, you're going to continue to misbehave. It was Bashar al-Assad who set the terms of this debate and who has brought us to where we are now. I hope that we can use diplomacy to avoid the use of military force. But if that fails, we cannot afford to live in a world where chemical weapons are used as an ordinary tool of combat in the war.
MORGAN: And are you of these politicians in America, the ones like John McCain to see much more proactive action in the civil war on the ground that perhaps even committing boots on the ground.
ISRAEL: No. No, in fact, that I am concerned about the resolution that the Administration did sent to the House of Representatives. I'm more in line with the resolution that passed in the Senate specifically no boots on the ground, no deployment of combat forces, a swift and certain process that is contained and confined at one strategic objective and that is the deterrence and degradation of Syria's chemical weapons capability. Not just to keep chemical weapons from being used by the regime, but to keep them from being used by other elements in Syria in this internecine battle and to prevent their proliferation to North Korea which will use them because they're watching what's happening in Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah.
MORGAN: Congressman Steve Israel, thank you very much indeed.
ISRAEL: Thank you, sir.
MORGAN: Now, a Democrat who strongly opposed for these strikes in Syria, Congressman Alan Grayson joins me. And Congressman, you heard what Steve Israel have to say there. Obviously, I guess everyone's position on this is changing pretty rapidly because a lot of people are buying in now to this idea that if Assad and Putin can be trusted to deliver on this consent of handing over all the chemical weapons in Syria, then that could be the end of any need for military action. What is your view?
REP. ALAN GRAYSON, (D) FLORIDA: Well, it underscores the fact that the administration has not come up with any plausible means to prevent another attack while diplomacy like this may very well accomplish that. But the element that you're leaving out of this is public opinion. The public has adamantly opposed to this attack.
The Washington Post whip count has 26 in favor, 240 against. Today, the Administration picked up one vote in the House. The opponents picked up 16. And our dontattacksyria.com website is getting close to 100,000 members of the public who have signed our petition against this attack. There's simply no way regardless of what happens otherwise that the public is going to tolerate or countenance another war in the Middle East involving America.
MORGAN: Well, we look at (inaudible) CNN ORC poll from September 6 to 8, the question was, "Should Congress pass resolution to authorize military action in Syria." Yes, 39 percent, no, 59 percent. But of course, public opinion being against something like this isn't necessarily the sole reason why you would choose to do it or not if you're a President of a country like the United States, isn't it?
GRAYSON: Well, it's the public that ends up paying for it and the public that ends up bleeding for it. So I'd have to say that if the public is against it, then that's not a good reason for us to go to war. Listen, I think that we're giving way too much leeway to this idea that elites in Washington, DC can decide in favor of war or in favor in peace. I think the public is entitled to it say. The public is asserting itself at dontattacksyria.com and other websites like it. In fact, the public polling vastly understates the adamancy of the opponents and an individual who is saying the public money ...
MORGAN: OK, OK, now let me ...
GRAYSON: Let me say one more thing about this.
GRAYSON: An individual -- a Republican member of Congress told me today they have received over a thousand e-mails from its constituents, the number in favor of attacking Syria is three.
MORGAN: Well, but it is part of the problem in this public opinion debate that actually maybe because of the catastrophic errors if not willful errors majoring the Iraq crisis and the American public are very skeptical, you know, this so-called empower with the evidence that turned out to be bogus. They believe the war was fought on a full premise as they don't really trust the Administration now when they say this guy is using chemical weapons when in fact it would look like 20 seasoned objective observer that he has done and therefore it's in a different position, this is not the same.
GRAYSON: We're finished.
MORGAN: And therefore we should have military action. Could you hear me there, Congressman? I think we may have lost you.
GRAYSON: No, I'm here.
MORGAN: Oh, I'm sorry. Can you hear me?
GRAYSON: Right, there was an interruption from (inaudible).
MORGAN: Let me just very quickly repeat what I said. Is it -- Could this just be a post Iraq crisis of confidence amongst the American people that they simply don't believe the Administration.
GRAYSON: That's not the problem. The problem is the Administration is saying things that are unworthy of belief. I indicated this Saturday in Washington -- in the New York Times that the Administration has not released any of the underlying e-mails, intelligence, reports, any of the information that they claim would justify this war. They've already changed their story regarding the casualty count which they have been spreading for more than a week now. Now the story has changed in that regard.
GRAYSON: And I think that the reason why people are finding it difficult to believe the Administration's detail is because the Administration is not releasing those details even to people like me who have classified clearance.
MORGAN: If -- I mean look, clearly we know that somebody gassed all these people. We know that somebody gassed 400 kids and over a thousand adults. If you were all given ...
GRAYSON: Actually, the Administration has walked that back today. And if you want more details, you can check with it.
MORGAN: You don't believe it happened.
GRAYSON: No, no. I said that the casualty count is now radically different from what it was before. Now the Administration is saying that many of those people in those shrouds did not die from a gas attack, they died from the nine-hour bombardment of conventional munitions that took place that night.
MORGAN: OK. If you were given incontrovertible evidence by the Administration, by the intelligence authorities to your satisfaction that Assad had indeed ordered a chemical weapons attack on his own people. Would you then support military action?
GRAYSON: Well, of course that's not where we are but the answer is no. This is what Barack Obama, the candidate refer to in 2008 as a dumb war. This is a war that does not accomplish anything useful and in fact is counterproductive if we just choose to engage in it, which we will not.
MORGAN: Congressman Grayson, thank you very much indeed.
GRAYSON: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming up, one of the architects of the war in Iraq, why he's supporting President Obama this time. And the former senator who is blasting the President for asking Congress to back him. Paul Wolfowitz and Joe Lieberman joining me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE ROSE, PBS HOST: Will there be attacks against American bases in the Middle East if there's an air strike?
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA: You should expect everything. You should expect everything, not necessarily through the government, it's not only -- the governments are not only -- not the only player in this region. You have different parties here, there are different factions, they have different ideology, they have everything in this issue now. So you have to expect that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: President Assad's interview to Charlie Rose across in Syria has been creating some unexpected alliances on both sides. Joining me now the Deputy Secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush Administration, Paul Wolfowitz and former Senator and Homeland Security Chairman Joe Lieberman. He's currently a Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Coalition for American Security. Welcome gentleman to both of you.
Paul Wolfowitz, how much responsibility do you feel -- it's very tricky question this, but I'm going to throw at you anyway. For the lack of trust in this Administration's claims about chemical weapons used by Assad and people saying what is all because of alliance of Iraq.
PAUL WOLFWITZ, FMR. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: No Piers, they were no lies, everybody saw the same intelligence and a lot of people changed their tune about it afterwards. The real point is look, people are concerned not because of the intelligent I think so much as they're concerned about the possibility of American casualties and on that point I would actually agree with Secretary Kerry who says there's -- this is not Iraq, it's not Afghanistan. I don't think frankly if we don't use manned aircraft there's no risk of American casualties in the strikes at least.
So that's very important difference. I think it's fair of them to emphasize that there's actually though a kind of eerie similarity in one respect not to Iraq in 2003. But in 1991 there were reports that Saddam was dropping chemical weapons on Shia we were flying overhead watching the helicopters that we shouldn't have let to fly.
Those reports were not confirmed until 12 years later but then we had documents that showed that, yes in fact they had ordered chemical weapons against the Shia. By that time, it was all over of course.
MORGAN: Senator Lieberman this is play a couple of courtesy from John Kerry. One is comparing this situation to the Nazis, and then what he said today. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The real issue here is whether or not the Congress is going to stand up for international norms with respect to dictators that have only been broken twice until Assad, Hitler, and Saddam Hussein.
Very short term effort that degrades this capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria's civil war. That is exactly what we're talking about doing. Unbelievably small, limited kind of effort
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You see here's my problem, Senator. How do you say on the one hand, this is the new Hitler we're dealing with? And on the other hand say it's going to be an unbelievably small military action? That's not surely how anyone would have dealt with Adolf Hitler.
JOE LIEBERMAN, (I) FMR. HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: Well, I'm sure John Kerry wishes he hadn't said unbelievably small. I noticed that in the briefing that Tony Blinken, the Deputy of National Security adviser gave this afternoon, he described that an attack as being limited and -- but the size of that's much a better phraseology. But I'll tell you Secretary Kerry had a point that we've been challenged here, not just by the use of gas which links Bashar al- Assad to Adolf Hitler. But by all that happened during the '30s as the US particularly watch drawn by isolation at some back, watched Hitler and the facets (ph) of move forward, and finally come in at a late hour and think out decisively.
I mean this is a real threat. And if we turn away from it, our allies are going to be shaken, our enemies are going to be emboldened. And inevitably, we're going to be drawn into a much larger conflict later on that will cost us more in the lines and treasure. That's what happens when you don't stop a bully, a thug, or murderer when he starts to murder, particularly when he murders his own people and with gas.
MORGAN: Paul Wolfowitz, this is the problem I have with this, is that it seems to be clear, demonstrable evidence this time that Assad or people acting on his behalf have unleashed these chemical weapons on their own people. That would seem to be the general consensus of opinion. And yet the consensus of how to deal with it is terrible but we can't do anything and the best thing is America which has been this great super power, great global policeman suddenly says, "We're not doing that anymore. You're on your own." Is that the sensible way for America to go?
WOLFOWITZ: Frankly, I don't think it is and this is about much more than the use of chemical weapons. I don't think anyone is denying that 100,000 plus Syrians have been killed and more than 2 million have been rendered refugees and most of that is because of the brutality of this regime. And to say that we're not going to take responsibility for what's going on in Syria, we take responsibility when we do nothing. And we have done nothing for 30 months, two and a half years when I believe we had a lot that we could do and still a lot that we can do though not as much as we could've earlier by empowering Syrians to defend themselves to put this regime on the ropes, maybe even get a peaceful resolution of this terrible conflict. But we're not going to get a peaceful outcome as long as Assad can murder at will.
MORGAN: Senator Lieberman, the other flip of the coin of course with the American people is not, you know, it's still over 7 percent unemployed, economy is still in the tank, incredibly expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but no apparent victory into them but lots of bloodshed to American troops and innocent people. And I say we don't want anymore of this, we don't want to be meddling around in the Middle East in perpetuity.
What do you say to the American people who had that view, because clearly from the polls, it's the majority.
LIEBERMAN: Right. So I think we've got to say, first acknowledge that we've had periods like this in our history when Americans have pulled back almost always following tough economic times, and unpopular wars. But almost always that isolationism in fact in overstate the case has forced us later into conflicts that were much more brutal. I also believe Piers that American public opinion on the question of Syria has been much more fluid than opponents of action as a result of chemical weapons would argue.
If you look at the polls at different times, if you talk about a limited action which is carried out by the American military from offshore as it were without boots on the ground and involving some international support, the support is actually over 50 percent and the various polls that have occurred in the last two or three weeks. I tell you just to say something that, you know, I'm going to say because I believe it. I believe that if on the Saturday afternoon, the day after Secretary Kerry gave the impassioned, I thought compelling moral argument for us to respond to the Syrian's use of chemical weapons against their own people.
If the President had come out on Saturday and instead of saying, "I'm sending it to Congress". He said what we all expected, "I've ordered an attack against Syria, limited and decisive". I think today public opinion would be very positive about what had happened and that's what happens when there's leadership and I think the President took a really large risk for himself and for our country by just throwing this action to Congress when he himself argued on. I think he's absolutely right. He has the legal authority without Congressional authorization to take exactly the kind of action he has argued is necessary in Syria.
MORGAN: Variable -- Varied mix messages from the President which is never a good thing in any leader. Stay with me a bit longer. When we come back I want to know what you think the President should say tomorrow night when he addresses the American people to back strikes on Syria and whether the Russians are to be believed in his apparent rescue plan to avert military action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If we can accomplish this limited goal without taking military action that would be my preference. On the other hand, if we don't maintain and move forward with a credible threat or military pressure, I do not think we will actually get the kind of agreement I'd like to see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: (inaudible) President Obama interview to Wolf Blitzer today but we now spoke to former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and former Homeland Security Chairman Joe Lieberman. We've got some tweets piling in as a result of this debate, one I have from @forme saying, "Please, have one of these politicians answer the question what is the proof that it was Assad who used the chemical weapons. I'm curious." Sir Lieberman, this is part of the problem. There is not yet the inconvertible evidence as being presented either internally to politicians or externally to the public which makes them 100 percent satisfied Assad could do this.
LIEBERMAN: Well first, part of the problem I think, Piers, is the lack of trust in government generally as a result -- government in Washington as a result of the dysfunction partisanship by the illogical rigidity going on here and it plays right into this debate. Secondly, you know, I'm not a senator anymore so I don't get to classified debates, the classified briefings. I've talked to colleagues who were there. I've listened to what's been said publicly.
To me, it's incontrovertible that chemical weapons were used against the Syrian people. They were used by the Syrian army which is under the direction of Bashar al-Assad and that he has exercised over time a personal control of these weapons. So, there's no indication that the opposition which Assad says had carried out this attacks. They don't have the capacity to do it. So, I must say the one thing that gives me some hope in Congress in this debate is almost nobody with exception of Alan Grayson slightly earlier in this program takes issue with the fact that a chemical weapons attack occurred in Syria and it was carried out by the Syrian army directed by Assad or people very close to him.
MORGAN: And now, Paul Wolfowitz, Barack Obama makes his big address to nation tomorrow night. We're all expecting it to be this huge tub-thumping, rowdy cry to arms to support military action. Now, this is vast span of -- thrown (ph) in the works of the Russian master plan to coerce the Syrian president into handing over his chemical weapons. Why shouldn't the American people trust either Vladimir Putin or President Assad of this? And if the answer is they shouldn't, why is President Obama going along with it?
WOLFOWITZ: Well, look I think he's exploring it. I think President's Reagan dictum here applies, "Trust, but verify." And verification is absolutely critical. But to be honest, I think part of the problem here is far too much emphasis has been placed on this one final publication of use of chemical weapons. Whoever used them -- and I mean quite certain they were used and it seems probable who used them, but 100,000 people have been killed in a country that is critical to the whole region, 2 million refugees of destabilizing neighboring countries. Iran which is a declared enemy of the United States is 100 percent backing Assad.
I think what the President needs to say is that not that we have no stake in this civil war. The contrary, we have a stake. There are Syrians who are ready to fight. We don't want Americans fighting and dying. And frankly, there are other countries ready to pay for it. But if we don't help those Syrians now who are prepared to fight, I think Senator Lieberman is absolutely right. Five years from now or ten years from now, we may in fact see boots on the ground and dead Americans. And I don't want to see that.
MORGAN: Paul Wolfowitz and Senator Joe Lieberman, thank you both very much indeed. Coming up, he wrote the books on Americans. He made history from Benjamin Franklin to Henry Kissinger, to Steve Jobs the last Walter Isaacson about President Obama's place in history plus what Jobs could have thought of Apple today and the new iPhones we're probably going to be hearing about tomorrow.
MORGAN: A critical moment there for President Obama, a moment that could make or break his presidency. Joining me now, a man who knows a lot about Americans who've made history, Walter Isaacson has written about everyone from Benjamin Franklin, to Henry Kissinger, latest book is Steve Jobs. And Walter Isaacson is also former Chairman of CNN and former Managing Editor of Time.
Walter, good to talk to you again. And what do you make of hearing the likes of Paul Wolfowitz outlining why we should be piling straight back into Syria given what we now know about the reality of Saddam Hussein's non-existent WMD?
WALTER ISAACSON, AUTHOR STEVE JOBS, BIOGRAPHER: Well, I do think that, you know, history kind of rhymes but it doesn't exactly repeat itself. You've asked a couple of times tonight whether or not we should trust the Russians. And there's one thing I will trust the Russians to do which is to act in their own strategic interest. And they're pretty good at perceiving what their strategic interests are. So, we've got a look at where are those two strategic interests of Russia clash with ours which is a lot of places and where might they coincide.
They clash with us because it's certainly in the strategic interest of Russia to minimize America's influence in the Middle East. And it's even in their emotional interest to poke and tweak at us which they do quite well, but there is a major area in which we actually have aligned strategic interest. It's not in the -- a national security interest of Russia to have radical Islam arising to the Middle East especially radical Islam movements that have chemical weapons.
And so, I think they're just as concerned about the rise of radical Islam as we are. So, that's a place where we can have a coincidence or confluence of interest and that's why it was very predictable I think that Putin would do this, that the Russians would do this. And they would play this card.
I think Henry Kissinger predicted it. It was in their interest to do something like say, "All right, let us step in and try to solve this problem by having a conference and a way of eliminating the chemical weapons and I think it's in our interest also to think ahead to figure out what they do -- what the Russians might do next and how we'll respond and certainly it's in their interest to call an international conference.
They don't want Saddam Hussein topple, and in fact they realized it's not in America's interest either right away to have, I mean not Saddam Hussein to have Bashar al-Assad topple, because if Bashar al- Assad is toppled right now and you have a radical Islamic groups taking over and they get control of the chemical weapons, that's not in the interest of either side.
So assume the Russians will keep playing this game, they'll keep wanting to be more of a player in the region. They will call for an international conference and they'll keep taking a lead in trying to deal with this chemical weapon problem as a minimize Americas influence in the region.
MORGAN: Let's turn to Apple, they got a big announcement tomorrow. It's the big unveiling of new product. Of course we're expecting new iPhones maybe new iPods, I'm hoping brand new MacBook Pro. So we will have a little best and interesting announcements and where is Apple as a company now? Is the sense amongst many which maybe inevitable that after Steve Jobs died the kind of soul of the business and died with him. Do you think that's a fair criticism?
ISAACSON: I think it's a concern we might have. Steve was a spark, a creative spark, and innovative genius. And as you said, the soul of the company.
During the period from 2001 to 2010, every few years he just blew us away by introducing a totally new product we didn't think we'd ever want, such as an iPod or an iPhone, and then the iPad. All during that decade it's now been more than three and a half years since the iPad came out. And I think what we're looking for is not just can we make the iPhone 5 a little bit better. Do we make another one a little bit cheaper? But can we do something totally different or Steve would have said, think different.
MORGAN: You know that it seems to me it's been the spot is missing. Is something brand-new that just knocks your socks off?
MORGAN: You know, Steve Jobs stand there and it would like, wow. And we haven't had that moment, really since he died (inaudible).
ISAACSON: And what happens is the battle doesn't have those moments. They just get into a commodity warfare with people who are creating Android systems, which is a pretty good as Steve would put a copy of rip off of the old Apple system.
So what Apple has to do is always be more creative. There are many places they could go. I think at some point we're going to have a watch that will probably be better than the one Samsung did. I hope eventually they'll come up with the TV set in which the content, the software, the product and an easy user interface is all integrated. I think he could -- Apple could do things with cameras that would really blow us away.
I'm just hoping that they will think like Steve which means think different.
MORGAN: The trouble is, you probably have to be Steve Jobs to think like Steve Jobs, and that is a problem when he really is such a brilliant man. Walter Isaacson, always good to talk to you. Thank you very much.
ISAACSON: Thank you perhaps for having me, Piers.
MORGAN: On the paperback edition of Steve Jobs we'll just focus out tomorrow.
When we come back George Zimmerman back in the news, again for the wrong reasons why his estranged wife called 911, to make quite extraordinary claims.
MORGAN: George Zimmerman back in the news today, police say the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, but found not guilty of his murder was allegedly a notification with his estranged wife and her father in Lake Mary, Florida near the town (ph) of Sanford. Shellie Zimmerman had filed a divorce last week was the one to call 911.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do have units en route to you ma'am. Is he still there?
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: Yes, he is. And he's trying to shut the garage door on me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he inside now?
ZIMMERMAN: No, he's in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun and he keep saying, "Step closer." He's just threatening all of us with his firearm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Saying step closer and what?
ZIMMERMAN: And he's going to shoot us.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MORGAN: Shellie Zimmerman declined to press charges on George Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara that his client had a gun with him in his car and he's allowed to have a gun with him. He also said that was what he called disagreement in the midst of "heightened emotions." Attorney O'Mara in just a few hours. Colorado voters will decide whether to record to stay and sentence over gun control laws passed last year in the wake of the Aurora movie theatre shooting. I never (inaudible) that on guns -- throw me a favor of you gun control laws America, but my next guest says, "Not a single gun control law is ever been proven to reduce crime."
On the Grill tonight the author of the provocative titled Emily Gets Her Gun, but Obama wants to take yours. Emily Miller, how are you?
EMILY MILLER, WRITER: Good to be here, Piers.
MORGAN: That's a charming image of you with clutching your gun there and ...
MILLER: I think.
MORGAN: Right. Now, here's the thing I found interesting about you. So, your view of guns apparently changed in this pivotal moment in your life when you had a home invasion. Tell me what happened?
MILLER: My boys (inaudible) second amendment, I'm not conservative. So, I voice (ph) and post that gun (ph) in theory but I walked in I was dog sitting for friends and walked in and there's this thug in there who's stealing. And long story short he'd got away but -- their outside there's like 15 of his buddies and when I went to bed that night after the police have come and, you know, dust for finger print the thing I almost worried about would these guys are going to come back. Leave a window open it was a big house.
And so, that's -- the first time in my life I thought, "What am I going to do if these guys come to my house? What am I -- how am I going to defend myself?"
MORGAN: How did you defend yourself against that one guy?
MILLER: I talked him out. I talked to him, he saw my wallet.
MORGAN: So, why would you prefer to shoot him?
MILLER: I wouldn't prefer to shoot. I would never prefer to shoot someone. I hope I never have to but if 15 guys on drug coming back into the house, God knows if they're going to able kill me.
MORGAN: Right, but only one actually came in and you actually fended him also with a camera.
MILLER: And I followed him down the street.
MORGAN: You're under the camera.
MILLER: I got really blessed and lucky.
MORGAN: Or you actually did what happens in most civilized countries of the world. When most homes don't have loads of guns and actually most intrusions either do not end in somebody being shot.
MILLER: Actually, 2 million times a year about, that's the estimate, 2 million times, your guns are used to prevent crimes in defensive move (ph). So that's what I would hope to happen.
MORGAN: I think (inaudible) in this figure. 2 million times a year in America, and yet I never read any examples, where are they?
MILLER: Well, (inaudible) is like -- I mean ...
MORGAN: You don't have any 2 million needs (ph), Emily.
MILLER: We don't read the Washington Times clearly 'cause you read my story.
MORGAN: You're telling me that 2 million times a year, Americans using guns fend off intruders.
And yet I've only ever been sent on Twitter, trust me. The gun advocates are not slow in the uptake. I figure (ph) you set one example every three weeks.
MILLER: Well ...
MORGAN: When were all these things happening?
MILLER: Well, obviously, there's a bias in the liberal media against showing these kinds of stories. They don't weigh in the matters (ph) ...
MORGAN: So is every paper in America liberal media?
MILLER: Not my paper Washington. We -- I publish stories all the time of positive gun ownership when people use guns to stop crimes, and I would hope God willing, if it ever happens to me, that's what will happen. They will leave because they see a gun, they see I'm armed, they see that I will use it, they will leave or they will surrender.
MORGAN: So my argument is, where there are more guns, there's actually more likelihood of a gun being used, and call me old fashion in that theory, but, there is this heartbreaking case. A couple of days ago, an 18-year-old, who for a prank, in a family home with a family friend who've been staying there, hid in the closet and jumped out to surprise him. He happened to be carrying a gun, and because he was startled, he killed her with the gun. Well, that simply wouldn't happen in countries where you're not just overrun with everybody assuming (ph) there's to carry in a gun.
MILLER: But what about the machete. The guy in England who killed a guy with a machete. I mean, people are vulnerable. You know, accidental death is a different issue. Don't get that too much in my book, it's about 700 people a year. It's not that frequent of a crime, and obviously catches people attention because you think a guy who will -- I will never do that. But their picture is this, gun -- there has never been proven whether it's the government CDC study, Harvard study, that any gun -- all these gun control laws that I hear you advocate all the time. They don't prevent violence, they decline violence. And that's what we all want to do is decrease violence, make our children safe or make ourselves safe, or make our cities safer.
MORGAN: But what they do do is they dramatically reduce gun crime.
MILLER: No, they do not.
MORGAN: Yes, they do.
MILLER: Gun crime hasn't gone down 40 percent in the past 20 years while gone ownership had skyrocketed. There's over 300 million guns. As gun ownership is going like this, gun crime has gone like this. Whereas in England, gun crime after the ban went like this and then started going down. There is no parallel between gun -- there is no parallel during gun ownership and gun crime.
MORGAN: Well actually, gun crime in Britain. As he write this out after the Dublin (ph) massacre when they board a new gun control laws, it went out the next five years since as they all came into effect. And then made them twice as hard and so they're going to start jailing people for five years for possession of a handgun. And every single year since then, since 2003, it has gone down significantly.
MILLER: As it has in the United States, while gun ownership is through the roof here.
MORGAN: What about Iowa? Iowa was to give permit, gun permits to legally blind people. And indeed has been doing that including a number of people who are not allowed to drive because they're also blind.
MILLER: With the state issues. So there's no federal ban on that. And I know a lot of these disability groups want to say, "You can't take away their secondary (ph) rights because they're blind." So it's a complicated issue. It's really -- I mean there's no ...
MORGAN: Emily they're blind.
MILLER: I don't want a ...
MORGAN: These people are blind. I interviewed Stevie Wonder. He said to me, "Can you imagine, I'm allowed to go and buy guns. Can you imagine me with a gun?" I think it's actually ridiculous, Emily.
MILLER: But, here's the thing ...
MORGAN: There is he with your lovely gun you want to get your gun. A farmer (ph) doesn't want to take your gun away. You want to stop people killing each other, right?
MILLER: He doesn't care about the blind people.
MOGRAN: Now, we've got people in Iowa who are blind applying for weapons, and they're allowed to have them because it's their right. Not it's not.
MILLER: Can I talk?
MILLER: Once we start having cases of blind people going around shooting people, we can come back and have that debate.
MORGAN: It's something that's going to happen?
MILLER: It hasn't happened yet.
MORGAN: Do you think blind people are going to accidentally shoot people?
MILLER: It's been fully legal in most states right now and they're not doing it because gun owners are responsible, which they train responsibly, which they store responsibly.
MORGAN: So let me guess -- the view is right. You actually think that we can have responsible blind gun owners?
MILLER: I'm going to tell you what.
MORGAN: Yes, Emily.
MILLER: I won't -- yes.
MORGAN: Unbelievable, Emily.
MILLER: Let me tell you why. You can rack a shotgun, never shoot it, scare the hell out of the criminal. Am I allowed to say hell? I don't know.
MORGAN: It's good. You just said hell (inaudible).
MILLER: Well, I may -- they teach me back and so (ph). But anyway, I went with two blind people down to the DC police to see if what happens if they did because you have to be legally blind, you've take a vision test in DC because it took me four months to get a legal gun. You would love DC, 17 steps and four guns ...
MORGAN: I do find -- I actually do love DC I love America. My hat is off (ph) with America or Americans, or in fact, any of your magnificent states, my problem is with the gun law that you're saying is perfectly OK for legally blind people to be marching around with guns. It is ridiculous?
MILLER: Well, the gun lobby (ph) is not -- the gun always now doing that is the disability groups who actually the ones advocating for this. And you know, because they say, why should they not be allowed to have guns. That's not mine, right?
MORGAN: Emily Gets Her Gun But Obama Wants to Take Yours, Emily Miller, the Senior Editor of the Washington Times, good to meet you.
MILLER: You too, thank you.
MORGAN: I look forward to your Twitter following, giving me hug sign in the next three weeks. I will be right back.
MORGAN: Tomorrow night, President Obama may as well -- well prove to be the most important speech with presidency on Syria to address the nation from the White House at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and I'll be here with Wolf Blitzer and the rest of CNN team with a immediate reaction. That's all for us tonight though. AC360 Later, a new show premieres, right now.