Do you support a “limited strike” against Syria?

Photo/White House
“Questions are already swirling about the endgame as the Obama administration prepares for a likely strike against Syria as punishment for an alleged chemical weapons attack in its civil war.” writes Lolita C. Baldor for the Associated Press.

Capitol View: Franken, Klobuchar: Chemical weapons use must have consequences

National security experts and some U.S. officials question whether a limited strike can have any lasting impact on Syrian President Bashar Assad, or whether it will simply harden Assad’s resolve. And it’s not clear how much the military operation could help the beleaguered and splintered Syrian opposition, or lessen concerns that hard-line rebels may not support America if they do seize control of the country.

A limited, short-term operation, however, may be a compromise between military leaders, who have warned against entering a civil war, and a White House determined to show that President Barack Obama meant it when he said last year that the use of chemical weapons would cross a red line.

The broader objective is to damage the Syrian government’s military and weapons enough to make it difficult to conduct more chemical weapons attacks, and to make Assad think twice about using chemical weapons again.

Senior national security leaders met again at the White House on Tuesday as the administration moved closer to an almost certain attack on Syria in the coming days. The most likely military action would be to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles off U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea. The Navy last week moved a fourth destroyer into the eastern Mediterranean and it is expected that the British would also participate in an attack. Read more

Today’s Question: Do you support a “limited strike” against Syria?

  • reggie

    No to military involvement in Syria. Have we learned nothing from our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan? Libya? Egypt? These are conflicts millennia in the making. The hubris of thinking that our ability to transport weapons and soldiers — or send drones controlled by “pilots” in a windowless warehouse in Nevada or Utah (what a great metaphor for our cluelessness) — can solve them is willful self-deception.

    There’s no such thing as a limited strike if the US is acting unilaterally. What’s happening in Syria, like what was happening in Iraq under Saddam, is a tragedy. If we can’t build support for a humanitarian action through the UN (where Russia will likely oppose anything we propose), we should not go it alone. Somehow as we’ve come to reply on our military might, we’ve let our diplomatic skills atrophy.

    • Do you think it was a mistake for Obama to make the “red line” statement about use of chemical weapons?

      • reggie

        Yes. It was a mistake. There are all kinds of weapons too dangerous to use, and even worse to use them against civilians. But to draw a line — red or otherwise — isn’t going to deter a despot and merely limits the potential actions available to the US.

      • Mark

        The Red Line was a mistake. It is one thing to state our nation’s opinion, but it is quite another to define which actions will result in a greatly escalated response.

  • kevins

    No, No and again No! We do not have to be pushed into an unforgiving conflict by childish emotions, like we were some fragile 7th grader defending himself against words said at the bus stop.There is no protagonist in the Syrian civil war and we stand only to make things worse.

    • mason

      Trivializing the use of chemical weapons to kill a thousand civilians by comparing it to being a “some fragile 7th grader defending himself against words said at the bus stop” is pretty deplorable.

      • kevins

        Maybe re-read my post.

  • Mark

    While the violence in Syria is deplorable, it is not in our national interest to get involved militarily.

    • Do you feel the same way if involvement was done via the UN or some multinational effort?

      • Mark

        If others wish to be involved, that is their choice. Even if we had a broad coalition as in Desert Storm, I still don’t think this is in our best interests.

  • david

    No. Has getting involved in anyone else’s civil war ever worked out well for us? We are not the worlds police, and acting as such is having more harm then good for US citizens.

  • John

    No! This is just more war for Israel. This is not in the best interest of the US. This is just the stepping stone for more war with Iran, again for Israel. We are spending money we don’t have, creating more and more enemies around the world.
    Only 9% of people in the US support wasting more money on bombing innocent.

    • Pearly

      You don’t care for the Jews too much do ya.

      • John

        You mean Zionist’s. No, not particularly.

        • Pearly

          No, I mean the people who live in Israel

          • Hugh Shakeshaft

            Isreal will eventually have to get along over there without the US. We won’t be able to project power abroad forever.

  • PaulJ

    Yes. Firstly because we are the world’s police. And secondly to embarrass our cold war foes (I mean global trade partners) Russia and China.

  • Larry Sanderson

    No. If we want to give money to munition plant owners, let’s just give their kids private jets for Xmas.

  • Ralfy

    It was a horrible act taken by a deplorable regime locked in a power struggle with an unknown number of adversaries with unknown agendas. As horrible as this chemical attack was, it is not our duty to respond. The U.N. and the Arab League own the responsibility for meting out punishment and ensuring it doesn’t happen again. The U.S. should limit it’s involvement at this point to humanitarian aide to civilians.

  • Jim G

    No. What’s the definition of a limited strike? Then what if the Syrians counter strike? Limited strikes can have unlimited consequences. Are we just going to throw a few hundred missiles in there to show resolve, or do we have specific military objectives: hopefully limiting the Syrians’ chemical weapon capacity? I doubt these weapons are easy targets. The positive outcomes are few, and the negative possibilities are many. I still say no.

  • davidz

    Who gives us the right to initiate punitive actions for an internal Syrian action? We should not be the world’s police: we don’t do a very good job of it. We may be more capable than any other country when it comes to the use of military force, but we don’t really have a very good track record of using the other tools in our toolbox (diplomacy, moral authority, bully pulpit, etc).

    And if the authority is “it’s the right thing to do”, why is Syria different than the Congo (where things just as bad have been happening to more people for longer)?

  • mwallek

    No strike, no troops, no drones, no cruise missles. If we want to go in, send pols on the hoof.

    • chucky D

      Right, let John McCain and Lindsey Graham strap on their weapons and get those WMD’s. If we go in, we will wind up in a proxy war with Russia and Iran. If we impose Democracy the most likely outcome will be another Lebanon — with Hezbollah in charge. Congress should definitely debate this issue.

  • Hugh Shakeshaft

    No. Only if the decision went through both the house, the senate, and the UN. Even then, let someone else take the lead for once. We’re broke.

    • Peter Tobias

      I agree that house and senate should approve any US action first, but in the UN Russia and China would stop any meaning ful international answer with their veto. To the cost of air strikes by planes or drones: I don’t expect it to be any significant amount part of the military budget, comparably to the cost for the US attacks in Libya.

  • Steve

    No; we don’t know who used the nerve gas and we don’t know who will replace Assad…Steve

  • Gary F

    Think President Obama will actually ask Congress, like Bush did? Or is he above all this? I mean, he is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

  • JQP

    No. Call Israel and tell them to fire a missile. Heck we funded their military for decades … time they do something for us.

    • Oh, THAT will end well.

      • JQP

        Yeah. but … you gotta wonder “WHEN” it will happen though, not “IF”.
        So far peaceful co-existence hasn’t been established in the Middle East – even among Islamic-Islamic neighbors.. Maybe as the Arab-spring “government from the ground up” replaces politicalogical govt from the top down … the countries will be more “get along” oriented. But…. most people would argue that will never happen.

        • Agreed, but why “poke the bear?”

  • Gary F

    If we get rid of Assad, then who takes over? Haven’t we been down this path before?

    What good with a few precise air strikes really do? That is, unless you can actually hit Assad. And if we miss, then what?

    So then what’s next? The Sudan? Somalia? Egypt?

    • Dog Whistle Politics

      No one is talking about getting rid of Assad. It’s about dissuading him from using weapons of mass destruction against his own people (or against any people).

  • kennedy

    When innocent people are being gassed by a military force, they need to be stopped. If the US government is absolutely certain of the facts, it is a duty to respond in some way with more than just words. Meaningful action from the UN is unlikely since several nations have veto power. Gathering and leading an international response is a high profile role with much risk, but it is the right thing to do. Even if it means standing alone, I do stand behind protecting the innocent.

    • Gary F

      So we are helping Al Qaeda?

      What happens when civilians are killed? How about if Al Qaeda people are killed?

      What would Israel do? What would Iran do? Russia?

      With no approval from the UN or US Congress, who is the real cowboy now?

      • R RS

        Al-Nusra terrorists are allied with al-Qaeda – see this shocking video:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsq5ZRir-0k

        I guarantee that many who watch it will change their minds about supporting strikes against Assad.

    • david

      I thought I read doctors without borders estimated 355 civilians killed in these alleged gas attacks. The attacks themselves are not so alleged as who the culprit was. Regardless as precise as our weapon systems are supposed to be, I can see over 355 civilian casualties from any attack we do. I think getting involved will only make things worse on many different levels.

      • kennedy

        Standing idly by while chemical weapons are used on civilians may be less controversial, but that doesn’t make it right. I understand the desire to keep the US out of the Syria conflict, especially considering outcomes of similar recent events. But isolationism is a simple answer, and international politics are complex. The US is a world power and has a role in international events. And events in Syria justify a military response.

  • Meredith

    No to US military action in Syria. Killing people to show that killing people is wrong doesn’t make sense as a foriegn policy and isn’t morale.

  • Dog Whistle Politics

    Yes. The use of chemical weapons cannot be allowed to pass with impunity, otherwise nations like Iran will develop WMD knowing that the West is all talk and no action

    • John

      What if our media and the government are lying? What if the Syrian rebels received chemical weapons from our government to be used to cross the “red line”? What if Iraq never had WMD’s?

      • Dog Whistle Politics

        What incentive is there for them to lie at this point? I find it hard to believe that it’s part of a master plan of the US government to let 100,000+ Syrians die and then fake a chemical weapons attack in order to create the circumstances for a limited, tactical strike. I don’t see the incentive for the government or the media.

        • John

          Simple, to create more US debt. The Banksters profit from our military actions. We reach the debt ceiling, again, in October, 16.7 trillion dollars. If the 10 year bond goes up to 5%, we as a country will not be able to afford the interest payments (1 trillion per year) on the debt. This will crash the dollar. Thats the plan.

          • Dog Whistle Politics

            Is your last name Birch?

          • Pearly

            lol!

        • Walt

          What’s the incentive for a limited tactical strike, to teach them a lesson? The US drone tactical strikes have killed many civilians. It doesn’t work. We should just stay out of it, its a civil war.
          We should also cut all aid to Egypt and Israel.

  • Ellie

    No, we should stay out of Syria. The U.S. invaded Iraq based upon non-existent chemical weapons. And what about the chemicals our govt. is using against us–by allowing toxic substances into our products and our waters, by allowing big corporations to pollute our landscapes and waterways, by using chem trails to affect weather patterns, etc. Drone warfare makes for a kind of “sterile’ war for those who manage the remote control functions, but is still deadly for the people who are in the way.

  • Rich in Duluth

    No.

    There is no humane way to kill masses of people, therefore, if Assad’s use of tanks, gun ships and bombs didn’t trigger a response from the U.S., this shouldn’t either.

    The U.S. should have a consistent position against violence to achieve political change or to oppress people. We should be using diplomacy to marginalize those nations supplying war materials to oppressive regimes (the U.S. included). Any military action should be the responsibility of the United Nations, which should be the world’s police.

  • jerryb1

    I wonder if anyone has seriously considered the possibility of offering through the United Nations an arrangement to accept title to the entire inventory of chemical weapons held by Syria for witnessed destruction as a means of eliminating this potential danger to the Syrian population?

    It seems to me that such a proposal would effectively reduce the current danger in a very peaceful manner and at a price far lower than that required for on-site destruction within Syria.

    The psychological advantage of such a maneuver would be priceless.

    • Peter Tobias

      I think it wpould be worth a try, but Russia and China can easily say NO without justification, as they would to a UN action against Syria.

  • Peter Tobias

    No action should be taken against Syria without congressional debate and authorization. There is no immidiate danger to the US, and letting a president decide alone leads us further to an “imperial presuidency”. Just read what Biden and Obama wrote and said BEFORE 2009.

  • Peter Tobias

    “imperial presidency” not “imperial presuidency” –
    I hope congress debates the question and decides on a appropriate spanking for Assad, to discourage future use of chemical weapons.

  • R RS

    For those who are still convinced Assad used chemical weapons on the same day the UN inspectors entered into the fray, you need to think over very carefully whether that makes any logic or sense. I suggest you see the numerous videos on You Tube and other sources which show that it was al-Nusra terrorists who used those weapons. Further, you may want to consider this:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-09-04/syrian-war-what-youre-not-being-told

    Please avail yourself of videos like that one and you will change your mind about supporting yet another wasteful and needless war in the Middle East.