Opinion Brief

Should the U.S. intervene in Syria?

Bashar Al-Assad unleashes violence on protesters, and Joe Lieberman backs U.S. intervention. Hillary Clinton says no way. Who's right?

The Arab uprisings have spread to Syria, and President Bashar Al-Assad has responded with vague promises of greater freedoms, but also with brute force. His troops have killed at least 60 protesters in recent weeks. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Sunday that he would support a no-fly zone over Syria if Assad continues to escalate his violence. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rejected that idea. But should the U.S. consider intervening in Syria, too?

Yes, toppling Assad is in America's interest: The key difference between Syria's "murderous government" and Libya's, says Gordon Chang in Forbes, is that getting rid of Assad is in America's interest. He's a "key ally" of Iran and a "direct threat to Israel," while Libya's Moammar Gadhafi is mostly a thorn in Europe's side. So we should do more than "deplore" his brutal crackdown, "we should do all we can to stop it, if not for the Syrian people than for ourselves."
"A no-fly zone... over Syria?"

No, one intervention is bad enough: We can't possibly get involved in every "purely internal" dispute in the world, says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. And "intervening in Syria would be even more insane than the Libya intervention." Setting up a no-fly zone in Libya was a relative "cakewalk"; doing the same in Syria would be much harder and could easily spark a wider war.
"Joe Lieberman: Hey, let's go to war in Syria too!"

We don't have to invade to support democracy: Even if we don't step in directly to topple Assad's "rancid regime," we have non-military tools to weaken it, says Josh Block at Progressive Fix. We should ramp up sanctions and criticism, and send the U.S. ambassador to the scene of one of the massacres to demand a United Nations investigation. That alone would boost the brave protesters standing up to "Assad's thugs." At the very least, "America owes them that much."
"The case for supporting Syrian democracy"

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