Can we possibly start a new week without someone suggesting the United States get into a new war? This isn’t a snarky question because now…today…at this moment.. at the height of controversy over the United States’ military involvement in Libya, Connecticut Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman is now raising the possibility of the United States intervening in Syria. No joke:
Senate Homeland Security chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said the U.S. should intervene to help Syrian protestors if officials there turn weapons on the public as took place in Libya on Fox News Sunday.
Lieberman told host Chris Wallace that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad begins to slaughter his own people he could face an international coalition willing to implement a no-fly zone as they have done in Libya.
Lieberman said he would support U.S. intervention “if Assad does what Qaddafi was doing, which is to threaten to go house to house and kill anyone who’s not on his side.”
“There’s a precedent now that the world community has set in Libya and it’s the right one,” Lieberman said. “We’re not going to stand by and allow this Assad to slaughter his people like his father did years ago and in doing so we’re being consistent with our American values and we’re also on the side of the Arab people who want a better chance for a decent life.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the U.S. should give its moral support to the Syrian protestors risking their lives against a “brutal regime” but emphasized that each of the Middle Eastern nations currently experiencing conflict is unique.
Even if Libya is now pointed to as an example of this policy, the fact is that if the United States intervened in an Arab state such as Syria the U.S. would face a wave of nationalism there and resentment in the Middle East unlike what has occurred in years. It would be an Al Qaeda recruitment tool. But, then, Lieberman isn’t running again so he might be speaking differently now than how he would if he was up for re-election where he knew people were parsing each word. And from a policy standpoint, when you parse Lieberman’s words, they don’t make for sound, foward-looking policy.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.