March 7th, 2012
10:14 AM ET

Military resists calls to intervene in Syria

by Larry Shaughnessy

America is working to remove al-Assad's regime in Syria through diplomatic pressure, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Wednesday, but he warned against U.S. military intervention.

"For us to act unilaterally would be a mistake," Panetta said in his opening statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Syria. He noted there is no consensus among nations for intervention.

Panetta said military options are being considered, but he asked the senators to “recognize the limitation of military force, especially U.S. boots on the ground."

Sen. John McCain, the highest-ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee continued his impassioned crusade to get the U.S. military to use force to help the opposition fighters trying to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. McCain said Wednesday that intervening and pushing out al-Assad would be "a geopolitical success of the first order."

"The United States has a clear national security interest in stopping the slaughter in Syria and forcing Assad to leave power. The end of the Assad regime could sever Hezbollah's lifeline to Iran, eliminate a longstanding threat to Israel, bolster Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, and remove a committed state sponsor of terrorism that has engaged in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," McCain said.

"How many additional civilian lives would have to be lost in order to convince you that the military measures of this kind that we are proposing are necessary," McCain asked Panetta. "How many more have to die? Ten thousand more? Twenty thousand more? How many more?"

Panetta responded that the United States is working to build an international consensus for action.

"What doesn't make sense it is to take unilateral action at this point," he said with equal emotion. "Before I recommend that we put our sons and daughters in uniform in harm's way, I have got to make very sure that we know what the mission is. I've got to make very sure we know whether we can achieve that mission, at what price and whether it will make matters better or worse."

The increase in pressure on the Pentagon to use force in Syria began Monday when McCain, a former Navy fighter pilot, called for the Department of Defense to begin air strikes in Syria.

Wednesday, for the first time, Defense Department leaders spelled out what military options the United States might use should diplomatic and economic pressure fail to end al-Assad's crackdown.

Those options, said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "include humanitarian relief, (a) no-fly zone, maritime interdiction,(a) humanitarian corridor and limited aerial strikes, for example."

Dempsey revealed that the White House has asked the military to provide the president with a military plan.

"The president of the United States through the National Security Staff has asked us to begin ... the estimate of the situation," Dempsey said. That estimate, he explained, will include looking at potential missions, the capabilities of the enemy, and U.S. military assets that are available.

The military has discussed those options with the president and his national security staff, Panetta said.

Dempsey said he is confident the United States could carry out military missions in Syria.

"We're extraordinarily capable. And we can do just about anything we're asked to do," he said. But he made clear that Syria will not be a repeat of the recent operations in Libya.

"They have approximately five times more sophisticated air defense systems than existed in Libya covering one-fifth of the terrain," he said. "All of their defenses are arrayed on their western border, which is their population center. So five times the air defense of Libya, covering one-fifth of the terrain."

Dempsey and Panetta raised the concern that U.S. military action could make matters inside Syria and the entire region worse.

"There is every possibility of a civil war, and a direct outside intervention in these conditions not only would not prevent that, but could make it worse," Panetta said.

One problem is Syria's substantial chemical and biological weapons stockpile. Dempsey said the stockpile is on a magnitude of "a hundred times more than we experienced in Libya."

But Panetta returned again to the issue of international support for use of force in Syria.

"There is no simple solution here," he said. "The reasons for the differences between our approach with Libya and the current approach to Syria are clear.

Although there has been widespread support in the Security Council and the Arab League for military intervention in Libya, no such consensus currently exists with regards to Syria. For us to act unilaterally would be a mistake."

That issue got Panetta in a tight spot when he was being questioned by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama.

"We spend our time," Sessions said, "worrying about the U.N., the Arab League, NATO, and too little time, in my opinion, worrying about the elected representatives of the United States. As you go forward, will you consult with the United States Congress?"

Panetta replied, "You know, again, our goal would be to seek international permission. And we would come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this."

Sessions latched on to Panetta's use of the word "permission," saying, "Well, I'm troubled by that. I think that it does weaken the ability of the United States to lead."

He went on to say, "I do think, ultimately, you need the legal authority from the United States of America, not from any other extra-territorial group that might assemble."

Sen. Carl Levin, the chairman of the committee, tried to help out Panetta: "If you're seeking international coalition, having that kind of international legal basis will help. I think that's what you're trying to say."

"That's what I am trying to say," Panetta responded.

McCain has made an issue of those who urge caution in Syria because the United States might end up helping opposition groups who are not friendly to the America.

"I reject the argument that we, quote, 'don't know who they are,'" he said. "We spend a lot of money on defense and we spend a lot of money on intelligence.

We should know who these people are. And it would be easy enough to find out."

But Dempsey said it is not that simple, noting there are "approximately 100 groups that we have identified as part of the opposition."

"We are not suggesting that part of al Qaeda that has made its way to Syria, has aligned itself or is in bed with the opposition," the general said. "But they are there to exploit it. And that is a factor that we have to consider."

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Filed under: Assad • Dempsey • McCain • Middle East • Military • Panetta • Senate Armed Services Committee • Syria
soundoff (709 Responses)
  1. Mysterio

    Posts like this make the internet such a teurasre trove

    May 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  2. kris

    Personally we should act in Syria. Innocent people are getting killed. The problem is there is no oil there so it wont happen. Supposedly the final reason we went to war with Iraq after it was found they had nothing to do with 911 was the due to the monstrosities that Saddam had done. Today the Syrian president is 86,000 people short of hitting Saddam's. So what gives?

    March 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply
    • Frank

      Feel free to personally act. Just don't drag all of us with you, the bill is more than I want to pay both in American lives and money.

      March 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
      • Paquita

        I had a lactation constluanty at Providence when my daughter was born. I was so unsure being my first and only child. The nurse was so sweet and so informative and I took all of her advice and after she finally eat, I don't think she has ever stopped! So that would be an interesting choice. When I was in the Surgical Technician program I got to abserve a stent operation. It was very fascinating, but you have to have such steady hands very tedious veins, so I don't think that would be for me either.

        July 1, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • Catamount

      Human tragedy? Yes. Vital US national interest? No. News flash, dude: Innocent people are dying all over the world. On an average day post surge Iraq more people were dying in Chicago than in the biggest counterinsurgency on planet earth.

      Earth has more problems than the US can solve. Get used to it. And the weaker the US becomes, the less our influence in these tragedies.

      March 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
    • PippiLives

      The US has an all volunteer military that is stretched far too thin as it is. Military personnel are deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq on numerous tours unlike other conflicts like Viet Nam where there was a cap on the number of deployments. Plus it is well past the time for the US to invest in its own citizens instead of paying trillions of dollars for a civil war in a known unstable area.

      And Kris – Our involvement with Iraq/Saddam was a knee jerk reaction to 9/11 and we have been paying the price both in lives and money. I can remember Richard Gere at a fundraiser a week after 9/11 calling for calm and rationale thought and not to act on revenge. It's too bad no one listened to him (and the others saying the same thing) because in hindsight, he was right.

      Enough is enough. You want the US involved? Then I suggest you go and sign up for the Army or Marine Corps; I'm sure either will be happy to have another warm body.

      March 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply
    • Melangell

      Neither you nor McCain care about the people in Syria (you've ignored far to many other of the oppressed). You, just like the Chickenhawks of the far right, want war... never ending war, not caring about the deaths of our own.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Reply
    • Jasie

      Under Obama, we have to ask for permission. His leadership is so weak! I can't fathom how much strength our country has lost under the empty suit.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  3. Metron

    Al Qaeda terrorists are pouring in to Syria from Iraq and other places. Their effort is to overthrow Assad. Assad is killing the terrorists for us. We should not intervene.

    March 8, 2012 at 11:05 am | Reply
    • Frank

      Not to mention if we remove Assad they might just take over and create a richer, better armed Afghanistan issue for the whole world.

      March 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  4. MaryM

    AND that is why McCain is NOT President

    March 8, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • Metron

      No, he's not president because you were fool enough to vote for Obama. Live with it.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply
      • kris

        And I will vote for him again and again and again. Most our current debt is because of the previous administration. Remember when Clinton left office this nation had a surplus of cash and a 5.6% unemployment rate. When George W Bush left office America had a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit. Under common sense that tells me more spending happening under George W Bush than Obama. Second, Bush gave an executive order prior to congressional approval that made America 8.6 billion dollars responsible for Iraq. Obama signed a $1.3 million dollar assistance policy against Lybia instead to prevent our taxes being responsible for rebuilding Lybia. I am sorry but republicans to me these day's sound like a bunch of war, hate mongering, advantage taking, double standard, two faced, fake Christians that only care about helping themselves than any one in need. When a person gets paid to little to provide services that a great portion of the public seeks republicans call them lazy. Democrats call for equality. Executives cry and say that the worker is overhead not what earns the companies growth. And the average American well they hop skip and jump around walking on egg shells just to survive another day in a greedy, me, me, me society. Welcome to an unbalanced, financially unstable America, where religious laws should be created only if a republican thinks of it. No abortion because its morally wrong and non Christian and what about Greed, Sloth, Lust and Envy? Can those be laws to? Don't tax the rich because they worked hard to earn it. Ahh who provided the services that created your goods to provide to the public at levels so you could grow? Hmmm. Bet that would be the employee you undervalue and underpay and wish to stick with more taxes because a new mansion or Bentley seems more important to you than rewarding those that made it possible. You seek a mansion, he seeks a home for his family and you say he is lazy, does not do enough, and needs to be all in for a quarter of in pay. Why are we such tools and why do we lack the common sense to see we are hostages to the very people that extort us each day and tell us we are to lazy. Ahh how did you earn that million than jack ass. Americans, the only way we will see happiness is if you walk out on your jobs and say you've had enough. See how many executives earn that millions when you aren't creating the products or providing the services.

        March 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
      • markodavid

        Metron?I nthink Moron....live with it

        March 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
      • scott

        I will live with it and hank god for it everyday fool

        March 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  5. Charlie

    This would be no different than bombing Libyan forces, and we didn't do that either.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:20 am | Reply
    • Gerry

      That is a secarstic comment right? We did airstrikes in Lybia.

      March 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  6. scooter

    This kinda thing has been going on in one nation or another for a long time. The 24/hr news machine needs this stuff to fill space. People go all "must save world" when they hear it. However to trouble needs to be put into perspective. If China invaded Japan, or if Russia invaded Poland, that would be a matter of national importance since both those nations are actually powerful. California's economy is bigger than those little nations. So what goes on in them, though terrible, does not rise the level of "must save world" mode.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:01 am | Reply
    • Sheepleherder

      I don't recall the Japanese or Polish governments slaughtering their own populations. This situation is no different from a local "warlord" killing the nearby villagers and everyone just standing around, wringing their hands, while watching it go down. Africa is full of incidents identical to what is happening here. After the carnage, everyone asks "why didn't someone do anything?". They didn't do anything because they don't care, there's nothing there for the US to care about, period.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:47 am | Reply
      • Frank

        So if there's nothing to care about doing nothing is appropriate, good point. Thanks.

        March 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  7. Jeb

    McCain has always been a warmonger. He should know better given his own military history. Please Sen. McCain, stop banging war drums and instead encourage the rebels in Syria to put down their arms and embrace peaceful means of protest and the ballot box.

    March 8, 2012 at 9:56 am | Reply
    • Charlie

      I hear you. He enjoyed Vietnam. He was also influential in the attacks on Yugoslavia and Libya.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:22 am | Reply
    • Sheepleherder

      "embrace peaceful means of protest" WOW! Did you actually write that?? It a bit hard to "peacefully protest" when the response to you carrying signs as a mortar attack. Aren't you glad you live in the US where you don't get murdered for "peacefully protesting"?

      March 8, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
  8. RetiredVet

    Syria is not our problem, it is the "Arab League"s" problem, let them and the UN figure it out. The US military has enough going on as it is. I feel that if McCain wants to go to Syria so bad then give him and his daughters some M16s and some ammo and let him figure it out himself.

    March 8, 2012 at 9:53 am | Reply
  9. StopNow

    John McCain can go pound sand. If anything is done it should be in agreement with the UN. I agree something should be done, but not USA going in alone. We've done that enough times. USA needs to pay what we already owe for all the previous interventions.

    March 8, 2012 at 8:44 am | Reply
    • Sheepleherder

      Something must be done ... just as long as we don't have to do it. Just like those people in New York who watched the woman get murdered, without lifting a finger to as much as call 911.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
      • r schier

        If you are so worried, stop yapping and get a flight over there and do something about it.....

        March 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  10. gregory21

    Where's the rest of McCain's party backing him. There're waiting so they can blame the President for getting envolved. Let them kill each other, they've been doing it for hundreds of years.

    March 8, 2012 at 8:10 am | Reply
  11. John

    There on there owen!

    March 8, 2012 at 8:08 am | Reply
  12. james

    Let the local folk in the neighborhood handle it. If they are not concerned then we do not need to be. Why is it that the US is the one wanting to get involved. We are broke. And I do not get the feeling of a lot of love from Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Leave it be.

    I voted for McCain but am sorry I did. How many wars would we now be fighting?

    March 8, 2012 at 8:06 am | Reply
  13. iwonderwhat

    We are no better then we were before going into WW2, everyone just sat there while millions of innocent jewish adults and children lost their lives. We are doing the same thing with Syria.

    March 8, 2012 at 8:03 am | Reply
  14. greg

    I am a Republican, but I consider our country very fortunate and lucky not to have elected John McCain as President. We don't need a Hitler as President of our country, and we need to stop using military force to resolve conflicts in other countries.

    March 8, 2012 at 7:51 am | Reply
    • Sayan Majumdar

      @greg, yet, John McCain represents the few among political class not afraid to speak his mind.

      Sayan.

      March 8, 2012 at 8:06 am | Reply
      • greg

        I wish more politician's would speak their mind like John McCain. Then I would know which one's are warmongers or puppets of Israel, and which one's would truly represent the best interests of America.

        March 8, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  15. Bill

    Don't we get tired of going to help everyone only to later, get trash by the same people we helped.
    Afganastan IRAQ Egypt wake up i feel so used every time

    March 8, 2012 at 7:45 am | Reply
    • scott

      couldnt agree more Bill...none of these folks probably remember but on 9/11 mosy Syrians danced in the streets and shouted death to america!!!!!!!!they didnt help us nor did they want too. There own military is killing there own countrymen...if all the muslims are such peace lovers then they need to go into this latest peace loving land and restore it.....not us

      March 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Reply
    • scott

      couldnt agree more Bill...none of these folks probably remember but on 9/11 mosy Syrians danced in the streets and shouted death to america!!!!!!!!they didnt help us nor did they want too. There own military is killing there own countrymen...if all the muslims are such peace lovers then they need to go into this latest peace loving land and restore it.....not us

      democrat,former marine,and all around good guy

      March 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  16. Sayan Majumdar

    The mega X-factor is Russian attitude.

    Vladimir Putin (now back in ‘saddle’) needs to be convinced of safeguarded Russian interests in Syria (Russia’s last few strongholds among prosperous Middle East nations) post ouster of Assad regime.

    Sayan.

    March 8, 2012 at 7:31 am | Reply
  17. ReGroupAtHome

    The Cause of Liberty?
    Making the best choices on behalf of the safety of young United States military is strongly urged and preferred at this time, limiting only the most valiant fights that benefit the cause of liberty for Americans as being the only reason why we engage in military combat.

    This is a question of law.

    Every day we linger in an undeclared war in Afghanistan, and risk the life of another soldier and even in Iraq where most Americans do not realize that we still have soldiers present until late spring – and consider engaging into military action in Syria – just after considering Libya –

    My God America, which actually benefit any of us here at home for the cause of liberty?

    If that answer is none, then bring our soldiers home.

    No more strength, no more diplomacy, no more undeclared war at pain of criminal charges filed against Mr. Obama for treason.

    That is what the Constitution sets out for us on this day in 2012.

    Now – you can believe my words – or your can continue to listen to these men that have "ruled the world" for the last few decades in their war chests and caused the unprecedented loss of hundreds of thousands of young soldiers from 1950 forward in UNDECLARED war.

    Make a choice.

    Make it right.

    March 8, 2012 at 7:29 am | Reply
    • Catamount

      The undeclared war in Afghanistan? Since you seem like a nice guy, let me help you out. Apparently you missed public law 107 40 passed by the 107th Congress 18 September 2001, whose short title is Authorization for the Use of Military Force: “…[T]he President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

      Note that this authority is not time or geography defined, ergo the Global War on Terror. License to kill, baby! It’s an all-volunteer force. If you’re scared, don’t volunteer. Stay at home. For me, all I expect from the government is to ensure domestic tranquility and provide for the common defense. All this welfare entitlement redistribution of wealth is beyond the scope of the constitution.

      March 8, 2012 at 8:23 am | Reply
      • r schier

        However the financial contribution to such idiocy is not "voluntary" – I want my $ to "stay home" as well.....

        March 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  18. netanyoho

    The US has backed itself into this corner by always fukkkkin with every other country instead of letting them handle their own situations!!!

    March 8, 2012 at 7:29 am | Reply
  19. dori

    The one thing we can take comfort in is that we have the brightest to lean on during this alarming crisis. Between Hillary, McCain , Feinstein and Pannetta, and the bold leadership of Presient Obama, we can't get a better group of minds to resolve this. That in itself is reassuring during such a scary moment in history

    March 8, 2012 at 7:14 am | Reply
    • netanyoho

      Complete unadultrated BS! The group u mention above are all a bunch of stupid amateurs that have always had it their way. Now it is time for the US to pay the piper. WWIII is just around the corner!

      March 8, 2012 at 7:32 am | Reply
  20. bertrand

    if israel is our best allied, why there is not isreal troops in Afghanistan?

    March 8, 2012 at 6:59 am | Reply
    • netanyoho

      Israel was smart enough to stay out of that trash country in the first place! To bad the US wasn't. Iran is the key to all of these countries as it is the strongest. Iran was the one we should have DONE over 30 years ago! Now it is too late and Obama knows it!

      March 8, 2012 at 7:36 am | Reply
    • netanyoho

      Israel was smart enough to stay out of that trash country in the first place! To bad the US wasn't. Iran is the key to all of these countries as it is the strongest. Iran was the one we should have DONE over 30 years ago! Now it is too late and Oboma knows it!

      March 8, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply
  21. Stuck in the Middle

    I love the way republican rattle their sabres then pounce on Obama when he acts as they've requested. They pushed and pushed for our involvement in Libya then attacked Obama the second we got involved.
    Note to the GOP Americans aren't as stupid as you think we are?

    March 8, 2012 at 6:51 am | Reply
  22. DOES IT MATTER

    I think Panetta meant to say, "America should not act at all."

    March 8, 2012 at 6:36 am | Reply
  23. Jenny Villareal

    US, HAVE TO KEEP THE POWER IN THE WORLD, THE ONLY WAY TO DO THAT IS KEEP BEEN THE EMPIRE, IF US DOS NOT GOES IN, WILL BE A MISTAKE, THE WORLD WAIT A STRONG RESPONSE FROM US, NO FROM ARABIA, NOT FROM KWAIT, NOT FROM ANY OTHER COUNTRY, BUT FROM US, THE WORLD LIDER COUNTRY.

    March 8, 2012 at 6:15 am | Reply
  24. Maltese Falcon

    Well, at least they are against intervention. That is better than nothing.

    March 8, 2012 at 5:04 am | Reply
  25. Maltese Falcon

    Maybe it's something in the District of Columbia water supply. They're obviously nuts.

    March 8, 2012 at 4:47 am | Reply
  26. Saber

    I am not for going to war in Syria! Not for any reason. This is one fight we need to clearly stay away from and let the UN handle this mess. What this article is not telling folks is what happened just a few short weeks ago with regard to Russia and China. There is a real possibility our involvement in Syria, (however noble they may be), could be considered an act of war against a Russian and Chinese ally. This is the last thing the US needs is to involve themselves in a war that could possibly draw in the combined forces of Russia and China. Regardless of their equipment not being as advanced as the US Military's, they have more equipment and personnel. This is a simple numbers factor, they have more! For this, I have to agree with Panetta, we need to stay clear of this thing for the time being and see what is going to materialize and gain any allies we can before taking any kind of action which will involve war. Just my humble opinion.

    March 8, 2012 at 4:42 am | Reply
    • M.D.

      Spot on Saber.

      March 8, 2012 at 7:32 am | Reply
  27. Hide Behind

    Those who do know history are like babies born this morn, what country in rest of world is invading or has forces fighting in 10 foreign nations and has funding forces killing Iranians by a bi party passad Bill of some 10 million per yr? Mc Cain has had to try and prove he has a pair for his cowardly conduct in Viet by appearing on camera denouncing US. If his father had not been the Admirai in charge of cover up of cowardly attack on USS Liberty he would of been charged with treason. Also was part oe keyton 5 money scandal and only thing saved his butt then was another false hero.John Glen and other Senators. wars are profitable for Repubs and Demns, Diane Feinstein sat in on legislation that gave her and husands security firm 100s of millions frem Afggan and Iraq. US military with 3yrs service actual wages hgher than over 20 million working familys or more than 34 milion americans, mercenarys attacking poorly armed nations, Remember less than 10 per cent are combat and never saw Iraq or Afghan.

    March 8, 2012 at 2:02 am | Reply
  28. BringItON

    I have seen wars and not the ones that hollywood so awsomely portrays americans winning. I have lived the carnage and to those experinces all I learned was that humans will never conceive,and strive to achieve in its natural form; if that ever exists, the notion that living in harmony is wet dream of a zit-popping teenager from Kansas. I can't wait for the day to see it all crumbling down. I will laugh and cry, as to "I told you so, mother..$#@^."

    March 8, 2012 at 1:22 am | Reply
  29. BringItON

    We are all going to feel the sting of nuclear war. I totally welcome this "armagedon". You cowards are on this bandwagon of correctness, you don't even know who you really want to support. I welcome the collapse of this flawed infrastucture of political backstabbing. At the end, there will be less of us to even fight, and those who survive will be exterminated by the goverment, because your worth as a human will be less than zero.

    March 8, 2012 at 1:13 am | Reply
  30. BringItON

    Ths is what is going to happen. Russia is going to give Iran a nuclear weapon. Even if the world flips all they want, there is nothing you or I can do about it. US is totally overwhelmed with debt and political puppets, we are not going to last long, and our opinions won't matter. An attack fro Israel is their last chance to "prevail"; but just for a short time. Every jew on this planet is going to have a bulls eye on their foreheads, even if you are simpathetic to Israel. When this crap starts, I know for fact those that support warmongering are going to tuck their tails in and call for mama. are you afraid of death? Embarce the inevitable, you and me don't have control anymore, interest group does!!!

    March 8, 2012 at 1:02 am | Reply
  31. obinna

    Or,let me speak in the language that the Republicans might understand. The language of economics. Forget the humanitarian angle,let's talk american economic interests. How much does it cost America to setup, field and sustain a military operation over time? Juxtapose that against the new contracts the US defense industry will get to replenish used munitions and probably to outfit a new Syrian army after the US forces demolish existing military infrastructure, together with contracts US companies will get to rebuild Syrias infrastructure destroyed in the fighting like power plants,airports, railway lines,telecoms services,etc, which are all legitimate targets in a conflict. Whatever the difference is between the two will probably determine whether the US goes in or stays out!

    March 8, 2012 at 12:56 am | Reply
  32. booo

    the us does not support it's military anymore – particularly the democrats... so they should not be committing them to anymore wars.

    March 8, 2012 at 12:55 am | Reply
    • cigarman

      Most Americans do support our Military. We do not any longer trust or support our Politicians. If our Politicians would lead us in battle, then I could trust them a little bit. Most of the Politicians who want a war or two going all of the time, have interests in building war machines, Mercenary Companies, munitions, ETC. Actually Most politicians are afraid to go to war themselves. John McCain is the worst offender himself. He is no war hero. Google McCain and get the truth. Anyone advocating war should have to go fight right alongside the soldiers, we certainly do not need these politicians here in the U.S. during war. We need them out there fighting.

      March 8, 2012 at 7:35 am | Reply
  33. BringItON

    What you people fail to realize is that this world is ready for an enema. One, we are overpopulated. Two, too many chiefs not enough indians to go around. Three, I welcome a nuclear war; yes! let's have it. let's get all the talking heads of this world into the frenzy ideopolitical and religious push they want. When there is no one around to boss, who are the going to contol...We are alone in this planet; let survival of the fittest begin, Bring it ON!!!

    March 8, 2012 at 12:54 am | Reply
    • obinna

      Those that speak like you are usually those who cannot survive what they preach!throwing sanity overboard doesn't solve any problems.

      March 8, 2012 at 1:13 am | Reply
  34. Tr1Xen

    I will always have the deepest respect for Senator McCain. He's a truly remarkable person, and regardless of what anyone on the left says, I will always believe that a man who served his country on the battlefield makes a much better commander-in-chief than one who never served at all. I also respect the backbone he has to stand up for what he believes in, even when the leaders of his own party disagree (recall, for instance, the controversy regarding torture of detainees during the Bush presidency). The man has character and integrity, and those are rare traits in Washington. It's too bad he never got to be our president. I've said it before and will say it again–he would have been amazing. That being said, I think he's making the right call here too. Too bad our president is a pushover.

    March 8, 2012 at 12:44 am | Reply
    • g

      ok. i voted for mccain and i am now so happy he lost. obama will win another 4 years because he understand the public is weary of war after a decade in afghan with little to nothing to show for it

      March 8, 2012 at 1:38 am | Reply
      • netanyoho

        so what about the guy that has kept us there for the past three years when he said we would be out of Afghanstan completely no more than two years after he took office. U voted for this turrrrd, REMEMBER?...I did too, but would vote for neither him nor McCain now that I see how much "change" he has done for the country and what "shape" the country is in now!

        March 8, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • EdR

      I give McCain credit for surviving a prison camp. But that's about it. Other than that he crashed three planes, and pick Sarah Palin as running mate. Not very bright.

      March 8, 2012 at 7:14 am | Reply
  35. th

    screw the arabs...let them kill themselves...........maybe they should just burn a few Korans and blam it on thenselves.

    March 8, 2012 at 12:34 am | Reply
    • sam

      You speak for me.

      March 8, 2012 at 6:08 am | Reply
  36. obinna

    Such huge egos the republicans have. Do they think that commencing an operation in Syria without international "permission" won't boomerang on the US like it did in Iraq? ERGO!That one was by a republican right? And that country is still in a shambles! What'll make Syria any different?

    March 8, 2012 at 12:33 am | Reply
    • drewski

      Sessions' point was not that US should wage unilateral war against anyone, but rather, he finds it shocking that the Executive Branch and the Military no longer feel it is necessary to seek the approval of the Congress to wage these wars.

      March 8, 2012 at 2:34 am | Reply
  37. bobcat2u

    There is a consensus with the security council and arab league for military intervention. Good enough. Let the arab league use it's militaties for a change. I for one am tired of our troops being used as the sacrificial lambs. We have bled enough for them. This is their backyard. Let them handle it.

    March 8, 2012 at 12:31 am | Reply
    • toadears

      I agree 100%. Why help any of them? In 6 months regardless of which side wins, they will be burning our flags and calling us the Great Satan.

      March 8, 2012 at 12:37 am | Reply
  38. anti_zionist

    So we are in agreement?

    No more help for Israel.

    It's settled then.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Reply
    • Frank

      I agree, they can have more weapons when they pay market value as far as I'm concerned. I've got nothing against Israel, sort of like them, but they need to grow up and stand on their on.

      March 8, 2012 at 12:04 am | Reply
      • Jerry

        We can stop giving 'em the ol' "friends & family" discount once there is a 100 mile wide "cordon sanitaire" around the State of Israel in which absolutely NO Muslims exist and no Muslim nation, anywhere, possesses nukes, fissile materials for "dirty bombs", nor any missiles or aircraft capable of striking Israeli territory or chemical or biological weapons of any kind, nor the means to make them and ALL Muslim nations, tribes, groups, associations, and individuals forswear ALL forms of violence except those necessitated by the need to execute any and all who break – or seek to, desire to, or advocate for breaking any of the aforementioned conditions. Until and unless such conditions are agreed upon, imposed upon, or rendered moot by the entire Muslim population of the world achieving sanity, rationality, and enlightenment by realizing that there exist NO GODS AT ALL except those we create & impose upon ourselves I'd be perfectly willing to put up the purchase price of two (2) boxes of rifle cartridges each month when my Social Security check arrives; one box for Israel and one box to stockpile here in America against an all-too-likely need to protect this country from idjits like you.

        March 8, 2012 at 12:49 am |
      • Jerry

        Er, sorry Frank, my reply was meant for the idgit you replied to. You, at least, seemed reasonable. Wrong, yes, but reasonable.

        March 8, 2012 at 12:56 am |
      • Frank

        No problem. Trying to have a civil discussion too. I've been called worse than wrong on here for sure.

        March 8, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • el_incr

      Moron!

      March 8, 2012 at 12:18 am | Reply
  39. Terry

    The United States cannot serve as the beat cop of the world. We invaded a sovereign nation, claiming they had WMD's, only to find out that our President, Vice President, and the CIA lied to the American People and the World. We spent two trillion dollars, and for what? If John McCain wants to attack Syria, give him a jet plane loaded for bear. Why is it that old men like sending young men to war?

    March 7, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Reply
    • NauticalMan

      "Why is it that old men like to send young men to War"?
      Good question Terry. This old Vietnam Vet learned a lesson there, and it was reinforced by the Powell doctrine. Unfortunatatly those that led us into Iraq did so on false pretenses, and Afghanistan was a debacle made worse by taking our eyes off of it and squandering lives and money in Iraq. Doubt if staying another year, two, five, ten or whatever will make a difference. The British and Russians learned this at great cost. We can not afford another large scale war. Our infrastructure, education, health for instance, are failing us.

      March 8, 2012 at 12:01 am | Reply
      • bobcat2u

        I agree with you NauticalMan. This is another old viet nam vet who learned the same lesson. This is an arb problem. Let the arab league send their own troops into their own quagmire.

        March 8, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • scott

      Jerry Can...he has bullets!!!!!

      March 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  40. papa

    war is a good way to create jobs see you at the front lines

    March 7, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Reply
    • toadears

      Correct. And guess who is broke? Well, not China! Unless they need to call in their debts, then they are.

      March 8, 2012 at 12:40 am | Reply
  41. OtherSFunit

    Send Navy Seals. Kill Assad. The end.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Only two problems with your plan:
      1) Finding Assid. He's seen what happened to Saddam and isn't going to be easy to find.
      2) Instant civil war. Who stops that? Do you have clue how complex just the religious divisions are in Syria?

      March 8, 2012 at 12:38 am | Reply
  42. SlimBO

    What’s happening in Syria is ludicrious and evil this has been going on for months now and no one has stepped in. NOT EVEN THE UN . Ignoring the problem isn‘t the solution. considering that we've just go out of a war the least we can do is offer some support. "In order for evil to prevail good people must do nothing"

    March 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Reply
    • hungryjoe

      reminds me of Clinton doing nothing about the genocide in Africa.

      March 7, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Reply
      • Queef

        Reminds me of Reagan doing nothing during the reign of Assad's daddy, specifically in '82.

        March 7, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Frank

      Evil, so Assad is evil, probably, the people leading the revolt, maybe, the people/person that replaces Assad, probably. Lots of Evil to go around, why should the US decide what evil to support. The US overthrough a democratic regime in Iran, installed a dictator, then was supprised when the next set of evils took over. The US funded and armed a "freedom fighter" in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union. 25 plus years later the US had to kill the same man. Seems to me that the more inovlved the US is the bigger the problem for the US. If we stay of Syria, it will eventually settle itself out (not pretty but true). How many Civil Wars do you want to fight?

      March 8, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
      • Reader

        Bingo! that's common sense for ya. Nice to see a statement like this.... the truth plain and simple

        March 8, 2012 at 3:15 am |
      • cigarman

        You could never become a Politician in America, You make entirely to much sense.

        March 8, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • NauticalMan

      Bravo!!

      March 8, 2012 at 12:38 am | Reply
    • cigarman

      This is why the U.N. exists. The United States is Monetarily broke. The United States have killed enough of our youg people for no reason. We had better stay out of Syria. If John McCain wants war so bad, I will buy his uniform and allow him to go fight with the so called opposition warriors.

      March 8, 2012 at 7:46 am | Reply
      • Dzoenaedi

        Chris Posted on Why, in this long and vibrant disscsuion, has nobody mentioned Alias? It is THE perfect shot at creating a female superhero movie that has ZERO baggage attached to it.Wonder Woman will always have to contend with too-many-cook syndrome, as it's one of the big three DC properties.The Marvel characters, as was pointed out, have to contend with their male name-sakes.But Alias has everything you could ask to take a no-risk shot at making an amazing movie. The character is new enough that everyone has to be introduced to her to some degree, mainstream and in-the-know-nerds, yet she's squarely built into the Marvel universe now.She has the best of all hero journey stories she doesn't want to be a hero, tries her best to do right without her powers, and then in the thick of things steps up to the plate.And to a certain degree, you're not selling people on the idea of a superhero movie, but a thriller where the hero just happens to be able to, later in the movie, fly and toss cars around.And, cameo, Power Man.Also, Thor = awesome. It has to be remembered Thor was the great equalizer. For some (women readers apparently) the realistic human storylines were enough, but for some (male readers apparently) there was always one small problem with the Marvel Universe it didn't have Superman. But damn if it didn't have Thor (first person to say Sentry gets disowned.)

        October 10, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  43. hungryjoe

    I bet if you put a democrats name, like your savior Barry, on that quick vote you would get a different response, it would be flipped, 75% yes, 25% no.....the power of spin....CNN you're the best!

    March 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      You mean Barry the Bionic Douche Bag Dylan?

      March 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Reply
    • toadears

      always remember: Republican war = bad. Democrat war = good. If not a good war, then a Republican made him do it, no matter how long out of office.

      March 8, 2012 at 12:42 am | Reply
  44. thetruth

    I don't know if it's been said before but here-goes. Syria is not like Lybia. There was at least, in Lybia & not now in Syria, a physical structure–central command & control–from which to coordinate & disseminate attacks, strategy & planning. There are still many different groups,Alawites, christians, Shi'a, Druze, muslims, Arabs, palestinians, kurds... , in Syria who are not united & dedicated to overthrowing Assad. He still enjoys popular majority support in the country, despite his murderous bloodshed & torture. The int'l cmmnty is not mandated to act against Assad...Russia & China are still hold outs for political & economic reasons ( they want to protect their investments with Assad the gvnmt). Furthermore the Arab league is not mandated on what to do. Syria is almost totally self sufficient...they can ride out the sanctions for a while. Then their is geo-political implications of attacking Assad. If he appears to be falling from international attack–most likely, Syria will attack Israel & that will undoubtedly draw in Iran & the U.S. & Russia & China–perhaps a prelude to WWIII. In the meantime lets continue to build support in U.N. to provide humanitarian aide & try to find a sol'n that doesn't involve U.S. troops on the ground.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  45. Stevie B

    McCain is a lunatic and needs to retire. He's a cranky old man who has lost touch with America and the world. Thank God he never became president. I can only imagine where we would be now.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Reply
    • hungryjoe

      we would be a hell of alot better off...that is where we would be!

      March 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Reply
  46. Geoffrey Hamilton

    Here is an option, we leave Syria and the Middle East to their own murderous devices. You can't fix that level of crazy.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Exactly !

      March 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Reply
    • hungryjoe

      well said..it is time for the Arab League to put their big boy pants on and do something.

      March 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Reply
    • DaveI

      But by all means send John McCain and his Republican colleagues to investigate...

      March 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Reply
      • DerekL

        Yes, exactly! Those arm-chair worriers. How many of their kids fight on the front lines?!

        March 8, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Queef

      Perhaps not, but we certainly helped to create it.

      March 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  47. FRANK RIVAS

    let's send sessions and mccain on a legal mission jet fighter to syria.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply
  48. kdmiller

    I get sooo tired of our government and military leaders cutting troop numbers and still wanting to play war with other countries, I say make their kids enlist and see how quick they are to cut our numbers

    March 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Reply
  49. rubiconski

    Suddenly Americans care about saving Arabs? Hahaha what a joke!

    March 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Reply
    • JamieIRL

      It is funny, isn't it. Before we went to Libya, Republicans were calling for us to go to Libya. After and during our operation in Libya, Republicans were criticizing the effort/results. Now they are calling to go to Syria, if we don't go they'll criticize it, if we go they'll criticize it. Fuuucking children.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Reply
  50. I'm no Turkey

    Let Syria's neighbors handle this problem. We've supplied enough war materials and training to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Kuwait that they should be the one's getting involved. We've been arming these countries for at least 20 years, so now let them put their new toys to the test. America has nothing to gain from getting involved. Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, etc.. have or are experiencing turmoil and none of them are moving toward a more pro-American position. In fact in the very near future we may be wishing for the days of Middle Eastern dictators. At least they're easier to control then unruly mobs!

    March 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Reply
    • jerry

      the middle east has never been so unstable... very very dangerous and a lot a risk for the world economy... we desperately need qualified adult leadership here...not a 2nd rate law lecturer/community organizer.

      March 7, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Reply
      • scooter

        Only a person who has not lived very long, or is ignorant of that region would say such nonsense.

        March 8, 2012 at 9:53 am |
      • scott

        yeah Jerry but you got bullets!!!!!!!!

        March 8, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
      • scott

        Yeah in Bushes day the middle east was a garden paradise..........

        March 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • FactorX

      Hahahaha you are tallking like U.S controls those sovereign states? Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait know better than to mess with anothers affairs, let alone go into the country with troops wasting ammunition? Tell me a reason they would do it... They have no incentive to go in. U.S does. U.S wants to police the world exceptionally control the Middle eastern region.

      March 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Reply
      • anonisabitch

        do you see saudi arabia, qatar, and kuwait sending their troops in? no, of course not. they bitch and moan untill the US goes in because we are too stupid to realize that we're being USED do King Abdullah's dirty work.

        March 8, 2012 at 3:41 am |
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