The hunt for 'plan B' - planning for 'the day after' in Syria
U.S. Secretary of State Clinton, in Saudi Arabia Saturday, will take part in a Friends of Syria meeting in Turkey on Sunday.
March 31st, 2012
04:36 PM ET

The hunt for 'plan B' - planning for 'the day after' in Syria

By Elise Labott, CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter

Expectations are low for Sunday's Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul, where representatives from more than 70 nations and international organizations will gather to discuss ways to hasten the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad.

The reason is simple. The most critical piece is missing: Plan B.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made no secret of her frustration with the opposition Syrian National Council's inability to offer a vision for a post-al-Assad Syria that all Syrians can sign on to. This week, Clinton said the United States would be "pushing them very hard" to present such a vision in Istanbul.

She's not alone. Many a senior administration official has summed up the SNC in two words: "A mess."

The characterization from European and Arab diplomats may be more diplomatic, but no less critical of the SNC's lack of leadership, organizational skills and ideas.

"They are all over the map, depending on whom you talk to on any given day," one senior U.S. official said. "It's hard to think of what we can do going forward when there is no credible alternative."

Lessons learned from Iraq

More importantly the SNC, made up of mostly Syrian exiles, has not demonstrated it has support inside Syria. U.S. officials are seeing parallels to the war in Iraq, where the United States relied too heavily upon the Iraqi National Congress - a group of exiles run by businessmen Ahmed Chalabi - which was ultimately found to be corrupt and unreliable. When Baghdad fell and the Baath party disbanded, it became quickly apparent the group had no base inside Iraq from which to draw, and the United States was left to run the country.

"The U.S. is hoping these expats can deliver. They are telling you they can, but their actions and infighting are telling you they can't," said the University of Oklahoma's Joshua Landis, who writes Syria Comment, a daily newsletter on Syrian politics. "The Obama administration fears they will implode or be overtaken by actors within Syria who are better connected to forces on the ground. The Obama administration doesn't want to be caught going down the same yellow brick trail as the Bush administration did when it backed the Iraqi National Council only to discover that it didn't have much purchase with Iraqi society."

Radwan Ziadeh, a member of the SNC and the executive director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Washington, said the criticism of the group's lack of vision is unfair given the uncertainty of the crisis. "We can come with a general plan, but how can we come up with a detailed plan?" he asked. "That will depend on the key players who emerge from this and we don't' know that yet. We don't know how the regime will fall."

Planning for 'The Day After'

There is no shortage of projects planning for a post al-Assad Syria. Last year the State Department gave modest funding to an initiative run by the U.S. Institute for Peace, aptly titled "The Day After." The project centers around developing a set of recommendations for key sectors, like how to jump-start the economy, establish security and rule of law and write a new constitution. The participants, who include both Syrian exiles and Western technical experts, have met several times in Europe. Although the Syrian National Council is not officially affiliated with the USIP project, because the leadership was wary of participating in an enterprise funded by the United Sates, several of the group's members are involved - including Ziadeh, who called it an "important tool" in transition planning.

But the State Department quickly became disenchanted with the project. Officials including U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who previously served in Iraq, felt it bore an uncanny resemblance to the Future of Iraq project, a year-long State Department study begun in 2002 before the Iraq war, which assembled more than 200 Iraqi lawyers, engineers, business people and other experts into 17 working groups to study topics ranging from creating a new justice system to reorganizing the military to revamping the economy.

The 13-volume Future of Iraq study was a casualty of the fallout with the Iraqi National Council and was largely ignored during post-war planning, even though it predicted many of the problems that ended up plaguing the United States in Iraq for years to come.

"You can get the same people to do the same project for Congo or Zimbabwe," said Ayman Abdel Nour, who served as al-Assad's adviser from 1997 to 2004 before he fell out with the regime and left the country. "And at the end, who is going to implement this plan?"

Nour, who declined to take part in the USIP project, said technical planning for post-al-Assad Syria must include more Syrians who would actually be running the country, rather than relying on top-down intellectual exercises.

He sees the same flaws with the U.S. approach of relying on the SNC as its primary contact with the Syrian opposition. "The SNC is an important mask, yes," he said. "But it's a front desk that we should only be starting with. These people have been out of Syria for 30 or 40 years and don't know the situation on the ground. This is one of the main problems we are facing."

Ausama Monajed, a member of the SNC who has taken part in the USIP project, said while it's important to reach Syrians inside the country, it is unrealistic to expect those under deadly siege by the government to be thinking about the day-after. "The majority of the people can't talk about tomorrow, they are worried about today," he said. "They are in the middle of it and cannot see the bigger picture at this stage. There is no stomach for anyone in the inside to look at a health policy when they are being shot."

Reaching inside Syria

The realization that the crisis will drag on for some time without a viable plan for a post al-Assad Syria that is connected to Syrians on the ground has prompted a re-thinking of U.S. planning.

"The next ruler of Syria is likely to emerge out of the battlefield. The Assad regime will have to be pulled down by force. The Syrian who emerges from the fierce competition underway among opposition leaders within Syria will have developed loyalty, a broad following, leadership, and strategic vision," said newsletter writer Landis. "The spoils are not going to go to the Harvard grad or someone at USIP. No American political party works that way. They give it to the people that worked for them and the ones that win."

Trying to learn the lessons of Iraq, Ambassador Ford and others have concluded the exiles they are currently working with will not be able to get the economy running, turn on the electricity, or fix a pothole "the day after."

While not abandoning the SNC entirely, senior officials say the Obama administration in recent months has begun to cast a much wider net for Syrians who can run Syria the day after al-Assad falls. The United States could no longer put all of its eggs in the SNC's basket.

President Obama himself suggested the shift earlier this week in South Korea when, after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, he said the U.S. would start aiding opposition groups inside Syria. Officials said non-lethal aid will include secure communications equipment to help opposition leaders on the ground communicate better with each other and with the outside world.

While in Syria, Ford amassed a network of opposition contacts on the ground that has been hard to tap into since the embassy closed and he left the country in February. Now he relies on Skype and other communications technologies to reach those inside. He just wrapped up a multi-city tour in the United States to appeal to Syrian expats who still maintain ties inside the country.

Fred Hoff, the administration's coordinator for Syria, is also pounding the pavement, meeting with Syrians worldwide who have access to "technocrats," the professional class currently inside the country or who have recently left who have both on-the-ground experience and the authority to pick up the mantle during the transition. It could be anyone from a former finance minister who can work on a program to prevent looting to a civil servant in the health ministry to a former military official who can offer ideas for disarming the militias.

Ford and Hoff also are increasing their outreach to Christian groups, business associations and revolutionary councils inside Syria, which are organizing civil resistance, providing services to the people and are increasingly becoming the de facto representation of the Syrian opposition.

Syrian activist Ammar Abdulhamid, a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, is trying to bridge the gap between the exiles and those Syrians on the ground. He's bringing together small groups of Syrian experts to brainstorm ideas for a transition, which he is feeding to opposition groups on the ground in Syria who the United States is now trying to reach. "We don't have a political agenda and aren't tabling a plan," Abdulhamid said. "This is to raise public awareness and highlight the issues we are going to be facing once Assad falls. There needs to be a public debate and we want to empower Syrians to do that."

Molham Aldrobi, a member of the SNC who serves on the Muslim Brotherhood's Executive Council and has taken part in both the USIP and Abdulhamid's projects, believes the opposition on the ground will eventually produce the "alternative" the U.S. and others are calling for. But he said more support for the opposition is needed, and that will determine who follows Assad and how much influence the international community will have on that person.

"Bashar al-Assad needs to know the world means business and so do the Syrian people," he said. "The longer it takes, the more unstable this region will be and the worse the situation will be in the future. Or else the international community may find they won't like who gets in. Because that person is going to say, 'hands off, this is mine.'"

soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. Lucson

    Gastroenterologist would be the field that I don't think interests me very much. The sdeuits, diagnosis, treatment, and disorders of the stomach and intestines is not something that I am completely grossed out by. I think the field I want to go back to is Orthopedics. I worked for an Orthopedic knee surgeon and loved it. I was the receptionist there but I was still allowed to go into the rooms and learn from the Medical Assistant and the Doctor. I would like to now go back as a Medical Assistant and Medical coder because I think with all the knowledge I have now it would help the patients more and this is exciting for me.

    July 1, 2012 at 4:03 am | Reply
  2. Riyan

    He uttered yet antoher gem, showing his still has no understanding of world affairs, let alone the Middle East Considering he has actually travelled the world extensively, is privy to CIA information when he pleases, was the president of the most powerful nation on Earth and is extremely well connected to statesman and members of important international organisations such as the UN I posit he may have somewhat of a better grasp on international relations than some fella writing a blog. I'm don't want to have a go at you personally, I just don't think you should disrespect him so easily. You can disagree with him, but such comments as above and the peanut thing at the end seem a little petty.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:44 am | Reply
  3. Matt

    Well that is a hypothetical for Geoffrey Robertson, plan B, the day after. It is never going to happen. The only reason they accept the plan is Russia and Syria believe they have killed enough people, if it turns out incorrect, they will just redeploy the heavy stuff again. And there is nothing anyone can do because it is blocked at the UN. You are really just back to the beginning before he used the heavy stuff.

    April 4, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
  4. Bandersnatch

    Why not send in the Israeli's?

    What are we paying them for anyway?

    April 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
    • watex1234

      Finally someone with some actual sense! Let em take care of it! They have the man power, the fire power, the nuke power...

      April 2, 2012 at 1:37 am | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        Not a good idea, the post-Assad Syria needs a fiduciary government. The U.N. should appoint a trustee that oversees stability, elections and a transition.

        April 2, 2012 at 4:47 am |
    • jon

      Research israels aparteid policies.

      Investigate AIPAC contributions to politicians.

      Israel is the leading cause of anti-semtism.

      Jewsagainstzionism.com

      Don't support pro zionist politicians.

      Copy and paste. Change perspectives.

      April 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  5. Vera Waitress

    You know why Syria won't be another Iraq? Because we're not going. No way, no how. (We're still propping up last quarter's earnings for all the US war companies.) But now, the party is over. We're broke.

    April 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Yeah some party!

      April 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Reply
  6. Sun Tzu

    The greatest warriors win their conflicts without fighting. And not all conflicts require intervention. If one chooses to fight my recommendation is to pick battles small enough to win but big enough to matter.

    April 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  7. .

    Leave Syria alone. Let the Syrians figure it out for themselves.

    April 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
    • Easy Rhino

      Leave them alone? How un-American!

      It's our duty to maintain a consistent crack-pipe inspired foreign policy and topple the government of Syria as well as destroy their infrastructure no matter what the cost.

      And remember, inside every Syrian there is an American trying to get out. It's a hardball world, son. We've gotta keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.

      April 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Reply
      • Lagos

        Thanks for bringing up an extreme, over the top rightwing view. I suppose you'd prefer the extreme leftwing approach of compassion through stern words and if all else fails, capitulation?

        April 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  8. debra galleahawk

    if i hear how wonderful hiliary is one more time i will gag
    she is just there cause Obamma dont wear the "pants" in the whitehouse period
    so send ole hillary instead while Bozo ears hides in the Oval office

    his promises and words are as fake as HIS ID !!

    April 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Reply
    • Divebus

      You're right. Things were so much better with that idiot Bush and his elephant ears running around blowing things up without a CLUE about what happens after that.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:35 am | Reply
  9. Kat

    Then, um, stay out?

    April 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Reply
    • .

      You guessed 'er Chester.

      April 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      It's seems like such a simple concept. Someone should tell washington!

      April 1, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  10. debra galleahawk

    USA is trillions in debt! weeeeeeeeeeee lets just add some WW3 to it and piss off the whole middle east right ??
    how stupid is Obamma
    and now he thinks sanctions will work
    where did he get his doctrate in a box of TRIX ??

    April 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  11. ud

    If it is another Iraq...then stay out of it this time huh!

    April 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Reply
    • Peres

      Yes the USA should stay out this I think SNC are bunch of terrorist and they very anti American and western soon or later their mask well come out.I know Assad is dictator everybody know it but he is not Conservative Muslim and the day he leave Syrian minorities will pay for it dearly .USA will get nothing for helping terrorist Syrian rebels and is wrong thing to do just like 80s when USA Armed Bin laden against soviet union......

      April 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Reply
  12. watex1234

    Here's an actual thought. Have the Mexican government take all the captured cartel members ship them there, Iraq, afganastan, and all our problems will be solved! While still violent the cartels would take over but everyone would be having barbeques, happy Mexican music, and anouther plus the cross breeding and infiltration of that culture would make more happy go lucky place to be, and it still can be violent....just a happy violent.....

    April 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Reply
    • Sandra

      Hahahahhahahahaahhahahaha!!!!

      April 13, 2012 at 4:56 am | Reply
  13. watex1234

    The whole situation has comparisons to the start of ww2. Hitler with his youth group of hate time traveling.the alternate realities to form the perfect race of alligator demon people who inhabit a cabin in the woods somewhere in the world hidden with Carmen sandiego orchestrating the greatist jewl heist but to only be stopped by the Borg when they assimilated her cronies. After the Borg left an assault of orcs took place against the evil alligator demon warriors of the Klu klux klan, but they were no match for the impeding zombie apocalypse that in its wake left no living survivors.

    So is it like Iraq, I think ...I think.....I think......oh look a shiny thing..........

    April 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  14. Harry

    You know Paul I fully agree with you about Jon he doesn't have the slightest clue on what is going on, blame everyone except the real issue here being Saddam. As you point out Saddam gassed the Kurds and what is gas yes Jon a WMD as Paul points out. But unfortunately a large number of Americans too still do not realize Saddam had WMD and likely somewhere in Iraq there is still WMD. The USA is the only real super power left and we have to lead the way leaders are suppose too and sometimes by yourself. Look at what Jt_Flyer writes, again he just just jumps on what people think and say considering China only owns about 6-7 percent of our total debt. People like this shouldn't even bother if they don't really know the facts!!! Paul keep on knocking these people who are totally senseless!!

    April 1, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Sadaam was a problem, however, he was handled the wrong way. Having served two combat tours in Iraq myself I can assure that the majority of the evidence was fabricated to justify an unnecesarry ground war. I support the decision to oust Sadaam and the Baath party, but that could have been easily done without flushing the lives of thousands of American men and women. And what have we accomplished? Death, destruction, debt, poverty, and not to mention the lasting affects of PTSD that so many American service members, including myself, will experience for the rest of their lives. Oh, I almost forgot, the lesson to younger generations that will someday run this country that corruption and greed, not morals and values, are what make this country great.

      April 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Reply
    • Jon

      Hey Harry, you must be a real genius, because you seem to be the only one who knows where those WMDs were in Iraq. Everyone else gave up looking long ago. Funny how people pick up on one fact like Saddam gassed the Kurds and they think they know more than everyone else. Somehow though, trillions of dollars wasted, several hundred thousand civilians killed, and tens of thousands of American military families lives destroyed just doesn't register. On the positive side, a lot of people got very rich off the suffering of others and lucky them were never held accountable. In fact they are still pushing the buttons and pulling the levers and clueless people are on these forums ready to facilitate the next useless war in the name of oil, profit, and delusions of grandeur.

      April 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Reply
      • Chris

        I looked, and I couldn't find them. Sure wish Harry had been there.

        April 1, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • FHTEX

      Harry,
      ,
      You are pretty naive about the Mideast! In 1988, Saddam gassed Haladjba, Kurdistan, Iraq, which rebelled with the help of Iranian troops, who were fighting a long war against Saddam at the time. Westerners (including US businesses) provided him with the chemicals, and the US blamed Iran for several years knowing full well that Iraq carried out the attack. Why? Because Iran, once our "friend" in the region, had become our enemy by the time. Then, after Iran was defeated in the Iran-Iraq war and after we tricked Saddam into invading Kuwait in 1990, we used his Haladjba gassing as an excuse to attack him while our then-ally and now-enemy Syria was at our side. All of this It is, of course, consistent with how Ghadafi became went from being our partner in the 1970s to our bogeyman in the 1980s and 1990s before becoming our friend in the years prior to our invasion of Libya last year. Our constant deception and backstabbing in the Mideast either boggles one's mind or makes one sick! (BTW, Saddam's chemical stockpiles were all destroyed after the first Gulf War under UN inspection and there was nothing left in 2003 when we invaded a 2nd time.)

      April 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  15. safari

    Screw Syria! Get the hell out of the mid east! Save lives and money

    April 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  16. Liveforever

    assad, your days are numbered. Can't wait to see your giraffe neck on a stake

    April 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Reply
    • .

      I assume you're going to enlist tomorrow.

      Right?

      April 1, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Reply
  17. TomCom

    Another Iraq, it better not be! How we looked like fools in Iraq. "Oops, we thought you Iguys had weapons of mass destruction. Oh well don't worry, we"ll think of a reason to stay"

    April 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  18. Jesus C

    Hillary Clinton is the most respected and admired women in history. She is unmatched.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
    • TomCom

      She'll run in 2016. Biden won"t run

      April 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Reply
    • debra galleahawk

      GAG ! Puke lol ...

      April 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Reply
    • FHTEX

      She came, she saw, she screwed up!

      April 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Reply
      • Kwan

        Today we read that Syria was instrumental in gettnig the Brit hostages released. They clearly want to talk with us and move forward together, but are coming up against the boundless belligerance of the world-discredited neocon Bush regime and its pasty pudgy lying henchman like Baloney.Haven't you done enough, destroying the reputation of this country permanently throughout the world, bankrupting US, committing serial treason by lying us into a war and even outing WMD CIA specialists who won't toe your twisted line? You have already tanked your party for the 08 election with a 15 point Pew nosedive, almost nobody coming to voting age would consider voting GOP no matter how pudgy and pasty, and are stuck with candidates trying to lie to cover up positions diametrically opposite to the GOP on every social issue.And you want to continue to be porky bully boys? You are hanging on a revolution where the guillotine will be considered too good for the likes of your gargantuan asses.

        May 21, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  19. Syed

    Can we not get involved in this? We have enough debts to worry about.

    April 1, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Reply
  20. mndude

    Hillary it's the simplest thing you could do....Just dont worry about it.

    April 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  21. Jon

    It's interesting there is a "lessons learned from Iraq" caption. The US learned nothing from Iraq. Relatives of people in the Pentagon got rich from their fat contracts, many of them no bid... billions disappeared unaccounted for... and no one did anything. The whole fiasco was planned in large part by people whose background and allegiances rested strongly with a foreign country... and AIPAC continues as a powerful lobby that congress is completely beholden to. Wolfowitz engineered a huge disaster for the US and Iraq and got rewarded by being made president of the World Bank. If any lessons were learned from Iraq, a lot of people from the Pentagon would be in a jail cell right now.

    April 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • paul

      Sure "jon", blame the Jews and the pentagon for the iraqi "fiasco". don't blame saddam who invaded kuwait and gassed his own people, gassed Jon, Gas is a WMD! what's wrong, your arab buddies crying in their milk again? and who are you supposed to be, "Jon", a muslim apologist or a muslim propagandist or simply a revisionist? what is your agenda, "jon"? The US is to blame, right Jon? not the muslims killing muslims, burning churches, hiding bombs in their underwear and shoes but the blame is on the pentagon, and relatives of pentagon employees and the US congress and AIPAC, but not the muslims, right "jon"?

      April 1, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
      • Jon

        Who said I was blaming "the Jews?". Who is denying that Saddam was a tyrant, who used poison gas? BTW, did you know that when he was doing the worst of his attrocaties, he was a strong US ally! And BTW, lots of Jews were the most outspoken on exposing the idiocy, such as Noam Chomsky. Facts are facts though... people should not be controlling US foreign policy on behalf of the interests of a foreign power. If it were Chinese or other groups, people get that. If Chinese were in the Pentagon causing war on behalf of their country's interests, would opposing that make one a racist? But if people work for Israel from inside the Pentagon, calling this foul is not allowed? The fact is, people are getting very sick and tired of those who think that they can go unchallenged because they can pull the old "anti-sematism" card. Criminals are criminals, and people who let people get away with causing the deaths of hundreds of civilians and destroying the lives of tens of thousands of American military families are the biggest menace to this planet.

        April 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  22. Kay10

    Get over it. This is the New World Order. Obama has this all under control and soon we will have just one leader and everything will be free. We can all just enjoy every minute and just wait for our handout I mean government check to come. Won't it just be the most wonderful thing for us all. Obama will take care of us to the very end.

    April 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  23. joe

    I think we've learned through the blunders of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz that creating a power vacuum in the Middle East is a distinctly bad idea.

    April 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Well said.

      April 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
      • Usman

        Oh my, I love this entry. It's my first time here so I was pretty shecokd when I finally read the part where you revealed why you broke up. Love how it was written. Gay pride! My bro had a somewhat similar experience. He's gay din.Congratulations!

        August 2, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  24. naeco

    Not.Our.Problem

    April 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  25. amerjeet

    Syria is strategically worse than Iraq. Any scenario will make millions spill over to Iran & then Iran spill over to Pakistan, Afghanisdtan & India too which is history track of event in earlier ages.Afghanistan is a habitation of immigrants from countries around when in conflict of same time.Talibans too are product of Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistyan. Silk route to China has been source of taxes & booty by these terrirists & decoits in early days.

    April 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
    • Ahmad

      Congrats on the release I'm very much looikng forward to reading it. And if you have to be a fool on a hill (which, I'm quite sure, you're not) you've at least chosen a particularly beautiful hill to be foolish on.

      September 10, 2012 at 2:53 am | Reply
  26. gadzooks

    are there any countries we're not planning to attack ?

    April 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  27. steme

    Worried? More like thrilled. Every intelligence agency gets giant massive boners for this kind of stuff, specially when it happens to enemies.

    April 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  28. Didac

    The US doesn't have to get involved directly; let them solve their own problems or with the help of the EU as it occurred with Lybia.

    April 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  29. Sam

    Syrian regime was killing US troops in Iraq, Syrian regime is behind most of the attacks in Iraq. This is the only relation between the situation in Iraq and Syria. Russia and Iran want to control the area and it's oil through Syria....YES IT IS AMERICA's ""our" problem if we let this happen we will pay the price.

    April 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • jt_flyer

      "Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government."
      –Thomas Jefferson

      You've been brain washed Sam. I'ts not your fault.

      April 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • jt_flyer

      We've been misdirected as a nation.
      "I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be."
      –Thomas Jefferson

      April 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • joe

      Sam you are a victim of spurious propaganda and right wing paranoia. There is nothing to support your position beyond wild speculation. You also need to look at a map.

      April 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • Leroy

      It's THEIR continent and THEIR business, not ours.

      April 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • Blanca

      Girl, don't let fame screw you up, okay? People like you because you are not like the fuomas arrogant guys, don't change. It's hard, but don't change.You actually have a wonderful voice, I don't really know how angels sing, but I'm sure you must be pretty close.God Bless you, if you believe him.

      September 11, 2012 at 12:48 am | Reply
  30. majicmahon

    Kaaaaa-ching for the Republican Chickenhawks!!! War...the gift that just keeps giving....

    April 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • Didac

      Can't you tell that it's the Obama administration that it's aching to get involved?!

      April 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Reply
      • joe

        That's a kind of absurd comment, really, given the stream of information I'm seeing–it's quite the opposite.

        April 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
      • Muniru

        Tom & Heike,We ove the nightly upetdas and know you are tired each night from driving long distances! It seems like just yesterday you were here in Arizona and now 4,000 miles later your all the way Northeast . Safe travels, have fun and we look forward to more sights from the open roads across America.Kris

        June 29, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  31. jt_flyer

    this in not a US problem. Our enormous, colossal, gigantic nation debt is our problem. If anything it's a European problem. Syria borders Europe not the US. Can you imagine France being responsible rebuild Mexico. This is 1954 foreign policy when 3 US states built the majority of the world's products. Ancient history!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Today americans live on Chinese loans.

    April 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Reply
    • Unknown

      Syria is nowhere near Europe. Go look up a map.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Reply
      • Captain

        Well, Turkey has been rooting for EU membership, and Turkey DOES border Syria. It's a stretch, but you could argue Syria borders Europe. A stretch mind you.

        April 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  32. See DOWNLOAD MP4/3GP VIDEOS FOR FREE PLEASE NOTE: U MUST BE 18

    well spoken guys

    April 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  33. amarjeet

    The more weapons are given to rebels and more time will wear out Assad through Gureilla warefare. More civilian deaths & sacrifices will harden people loyalty to invasion & subsequent people Govt. It is adviseable to wait & see more if proper organization of political party comes into being to take over ultimate democratic principled governance as per UNO aspiration & Western ideology. It is good if efforts are made to organize & help in political future shape rather than bombing mission like in Libya.

    April 1, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  34. Dick Hertz

    Let the Politicians fight it out this time. Gutless wonders. Then we'll sit back and watch while our kids are safe this time.

    April 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  35. bbstacker7072

    It won't be if you don't send American troops over there. You can't save the world!

    April 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  36. theoldfool1950

    No, dont do it GW Bush style, do it GHW Bush/Obama style. Go in, blow hell out of the right places and let NATO go in and put it back together. Another Iraq? NEVER. Another Libya? Why not? Low investment, high return.

    April 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  37. roy

    War just in time for Romney if elected president 10 more years.

    April 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  38. nik green

    The fact that NATO has been fighting alongside Al Qaeda in both Libya AND Syria goes to demonstrate that the so-called "war on terrorism" is as bogus as a 17 dollar bill. Al Qaeda is NOT what has been sold to us. It could easily be an April Fools joke... except the "war on terrorism" has been responsible for the violent deaths of between 1.5 and 2 MILLION innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the last 10.5 years. But it makes handsome profits for the "defense" contractors. Not so long ago, the US used to regard war profiteers as the lowest forms of life, and many were HUNG for treason. Now, the government aids and abets them in their evil quest for loot.

    April 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
    • theoldfool1950

      What's in a name? They call them "contractors" but we know what they are and always have been, merceneries. And they are supported by sunshine patriots who think that shopping is an act of patriotism. I'm with you.

      April 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  39. Lardeau

    Ya let's have another ha ha war for the benefit of our military industry. Cruel April Fools' joke though. We can't afford it. Sorry Mr. Cheney.

    April 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  40. Socrates

    Afghanistan, Irak, Libya, Syria, Iran, who is next Hilary Clinton? What is wrong with this Israeli agent, maybe she needs sex. Hey, Bill, can you help there?

    April 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • paul

      same old crap. drinking already? no sleep?

      April 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
    • yuri pelham

      Time for the hemlock Socrates

      April 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  41. Dave

    It's funny you think you can invade this country and not lose the vision, being bogged down and led to ruin. Like Iraq. HAHAHAHA Stupid congress and all thier greedy war machine profiteers.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
    • paul

      easy to criticize Congress from your 7-11 perch. how does your uncle allow you to work the computer while working in the store? the local islamic center closed on sunday?

      April 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • paul

      smart dave....stupid congress.............who said invade?.................stupid dave............. "muslims good, US and Congress bad"..........sign in bathroom of dave's islamic center

      April 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  42. David Fox

    "Iraq" was a drain on the US money and lives.

    As long as we stay out of Syria, that won't happen.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  43. lex

    Evil dispicable people like Assad have learned to survive. They can try to avoid the mistakes of other evil people, ranging from Hitler to Saddam.

    Perhaps sooner or later oBAMA AND hILLARY WILL COME OUT AND ANNOUNCE THEY WILL LEARN TO LIVE WITH ASSAD. That will happen because nobody really cares about Syria, and the President wants to be "flexible."

    April 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  44. Rachel Golem

    Do you remember when "peace activists" said Syria wanted peace and Israel didn't?

    Now they have their peace.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  45. DK

    We should stay out of this fight just like we should stay out of all others. Our interventions, trying to mold other nations, is a failed policy. We have just created enemies worldwide. Those resources would be better spent on our own internal nation building.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • Bob Ramos

      Amen to what you said. But, we must be part of a true international coalition and lead from behind like we did in Libya. I know that the Syrian people are suffering but we bear no more a responsibility for that than the people in France, England, Italy, etc do. The day when we could afford to be the world's policeman are long gone. I really hope and pray that our leaders learn from Vietnam and Iraq and Afghan and let someone else take the leadership role.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
      • NoName

        I agree completely to "we must be part of a true international coalition." However, you seem to contradict yourself in that we should "let someone else take the leadership role." A coalition implies that all parties work together and there is no one true "leader."

        April 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • BurstBubble

      Amen to what you said. Just to add a little, our nation is no longer the leader of the world. We have little manufacturing and we don't have our own way to get to Space. Thanks to so many of the politicians that sold us out. Getting in another war would just be disastrous. Even if our military is the best our leaders are politically restrained from using them properly.

      April 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  46. dscon

    libs+wars=lost wars=dead civilians(lots)

    April 1, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • Sonny

      Gungho conservatives+wars=hunting for Bin Laden WMD in Iraq, Clinton surpluses to Deficits and finally Great Recession, building schools/hospitals/roads in

      April 1, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Sonny

      Gungho conservatives+wars=8 years hunting for Bin Laden WMD in Iraq, Clinton surpluses to Deficits and finally Great Recession, isolated European allies, abandoned Latin neighbors and neglecting Asia-Pacific friends and ignoring rising Red China (lots of John Wayne patriotism and Rambo machismo though to solve the simple problems of Mideast)!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply
    • theoldfool1950

      You are the problem. You are proof that the neandrathal never went extinct.

      April 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • lib from TN

      And what war has a republican prez won? huh? Grenada? Panama? oh, yes, forgot those.

      April 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
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