Should the U.S. take action in Syria?

Note: This video contains graphic images, viewer discretion is advised.

NPR’s Mark Memmott writes, “Claims by the opposition in Syria that President Bashar Assad’s forces used chemical weapons during an attack Wednesday near Damascus — killing scores of people, they say — are being followed Thursday by word that:

— “The French foreign minister has said that the international community would need to respond with force if allegations were proven that Syrian government forces carried out a mass chemical attack on civilians.” (The Guardian)

— Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is also urging that action be taken “to prevent further chemical strikes.” (The Wall Street Journal) “This event is one that cannot be ignored anymore,” Mr. Davutoglu said.

Still, as the BBC’s Nick Bryant reports, “meeting in emergency session, the United Nations Security Council failed to reach an agreement on a toughly worded statement condemning the alleged atrocity in Damascus. … Once again we saw the usual divisions between the Russians and the Chinese on one hand and the Americans, the British, the French on the other.”

The Assad regime rejects the allegations about use of chemical weapons. There have been countercharges that opposition forces might have deployed such weapons or staged the videos that popped up Wednesday on the Web — videos showing scores of people who had allegedly been victims of a chemical attack. United Nations inspectors are now in Syria to investigate earlier reports about the use of chemical weapons, and the regime alleges that the opposition is trying to influence those inspectors.

On Morning Edition, Financial Times correspondent Abigail Fielding-Smith reported from Beirut that “my gut reaction and the reaction of most of the analysts I’ve spoken to is that … these videos — there are simply too many of them, and too many of them involve children who … I don’t see how they could be coached to act [out] those kinds of things. … It just seems highly implausible that the entire kind of range of symptoms that we’ve seen and people in distress are some kind of movie.”

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports that Assad’s forces “pressed on with a military offensive in eastern Damascus on Thursday, bombing rebel-held suburbs where the opposition said a chemical weapons attack the day before killed over 100 people.”

Today’s Question: Should the U.S. take action in Syria?

  • Larry Sanderson

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Think of the munitions factory owners! They have not had a good war for ages.

  • Gary F

    Should we go into Darfur? Egypt?

    There is no strategic or business reason to get involved in Syria and we truly don’t know who the opposition is and would the other people who might come to power be any better.

    • JQP

      private Business interests are NEVER an acceptable reason to go to war.

      • Gary F

        If they were to bomb and gas a General Motors/General Mills/General Dynamics/General Electric/General Tire factory in Syria, then we just let it happen?

        I guess so, we don’t even come to the rescue for our consulates in Benghazi.

        • JQP

          You could send the military to extract the personnel … but the idea of opening up a can Whoop-War because a commercial plant got bombed is ludicrous on its face.
          the military is for national protection, not overseas corporate expansion.

          What next … the Starbucks in Moscow gets assualted and we.,.. what .. .attack Russia … get real.

  • PaulJ

    Syria is a proxy for the Russians. If we fight them in Damascus over chemical weapons they’ll just become more intransigent in Tehran over nuclear weapons. But if we don’t, and the genie is let out of the bottle, the global system could collapse and we’d be fighting more wars than we are now.

  • Jim G

    War is hell and civil wars are the tar-babies from hell. My gut says we better stay out of this one. Our country has asked it’s soldiers, marines, and sailors, less 2% of our citizens, to fight more than their share of the world’s wars during the past thirteen years. Thirteen years of war is enough war. Until our country starts sharing the human costs of our foreign escapades by expanding military service to all economic classes we need to avoid all wars, especially messy civil wars. However, we are not powerless. Let’s use whatever non-military means we have to punished the beasts that allowed this to happen.

  • david

    No. If the UN takes action, and individual US soldiers want to volunteer, then let them.

  • JQP

    no …. send lawyers guns and money.

  • Sue de Nim

    At this point, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we do, it’ll be costly and would risk aiding some unsavory characters among the Syrian opposition. If we don’t, our failure to help will be one more talking point for al-Qaeda’s recruiting drive.

    • Gary F

      And if we do, we provide another talking point for AQ.

  • James

    Where is UN Ambassador Samantha Power? During her confirmation hearing, she testified that the failure of the
    Security Council to act on Syria is a “disgrace that history will judge
    harshly.” Then, she skipped the UN emergency meeting on Syria.

  • John

    No, No more wars for Israel!