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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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September 2nd, 2013
06:16 PM ET

Analysis: Obama not afraid to use military force, doesn't want to rush to judgment

One of the fiercest critics of the president's decision on Syria may be Frederic Hof, former Ambassador to Syria under the Obama administration.

“The events of the past ten days suggest that there was no administration forethought to the possibility of a major chemical incident in Syria; there was no plan in place to respond to a major chemical attack by a regime that had already demonstrated its deep and abiding contempt for the president and his red lines. The results of this mystifying lack of preparedness have been abysmal,” Hof said Sunday.

"Mr. Hof is making a silly argument here," said Jeremy Bash, who was chief of staff to former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta. "From the get-go the president has been clear: Assad's use of chemical weapons on a large scale is a hideous crime, it crosses a red line, and we've got to respond."

Asking for congressional authorization further clarifies Obama's position.

"He's being very clear, he's saying look, 'Here's where I stand, this is my view, this is what I think we ought to do, who's going to stand with me?'" said Bash.

Obama is being very careful in his approach to Syria, said Bash, who added that during his time with the CIA and Defense Department, "every decision that went to the White House that involved troops, or using military force, he's really scrutinized," said Bash.

"There's no bravado, there's no, 'Hey we're just going to use military force wherever,' but he has used it," said Bash. "He's not afraid to use military force, what he doesn't want is a rush to judgment."

For more of our interview with Jeremy Bash, click on the video above.

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