Lieberman: Libya mission sets precedent
March 27th, 2011
11:41 AM ET
12 years ago

Lieberman: Libya mission sets precedent

Washington (CNN) - Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Sen. Joe Lieberman said if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attacks his own people, an international coalition should intervene as they did in Libya.

"If Assad does what Gadhafi was doing, which is to threaten and go house-to-house and kill anybody 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, I-Connecticut, said on "Fox News Sunday." "We're not going to stand by and allow this Assad to slaughter his people like his father did years ago."

Protests in Syria over political and economic grievances were reportedly met Friday in Latakia, Daraa and Sanamen with open fire from government security forces and armed gunmen, leaving dozens of casualties.

Lieberman said Assad now has one choice: "To negotiate with the freedom fighters in Syria to create an entirely different government there."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States deplores the violence in Syria, but does not expect intervention in the Middle East country.

"There's a difference between calling out aircraft and indiscriminately strafing and bombing your own cities, than police actions which frankly have exceeded the use of force that any of us would want to see," Clinton said Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation," comparing the situations in Syria and Libya.

Clinton said Syria's future remains unclear, but added there are reasons to be optimistic.

"There is a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he's a reformer," Clinton said.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said that given the apparent success thus far in Libya, "this is a moment of historic proportions."

"This will give us a golden opportunity to help with democracy and freedom throughout the Arab world," McCain said on "Fox News Sunday." "It's going to be very complicated and complex in that some of these countries that have never known a modicum of democracy, or even national unity. Egypt is the key. Do not take our attention off Egypt, the center of the Arab world."

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Joe Lieberman • John McCain • Libya
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Nadeem

    Cost of removing one dictator from Iraq:
    – 2 Trillion US dollars and counting
    – 25,000 American lived

    Cost of removing 3 dictators from Egypt, Tunisia, and Lybia
    – Contained within existing defense budget (no additional approriation nessessary)
    – Zero American lives

    Look on neo-cons face as they flip flop and attack the President
    – Priceless

    March 27, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. JorgeM

    No surprise that Lieberman (I-Israel) would be in favor of another war in the Middle East. Unfortunately, Obama and Clinton would likely give him another one, despite Clinton's words. Its so unfortunate that the Obama presidency is turning out exactly how I predicted a McCain presidency would have turned out.

    March 27, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. diridi

    ignore this idiot...o.k...obama did right thing....

    March 27, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. thomas

    Lieberman , please retire! Your lack of wisdom supported Ahmed Chalabi in the great war rip off in Iraq !
    Joe , people need to ascend there freedom on there own soil . Tunisia , Egypt, Libya , Yemen. will find there way.Why don't you work on helping change the right wing in Israel , from arrogance to understanding !
    After all , you soon will be a lobbyist !

    March 27, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. Jenna

    For Lieberman, that precedent only applies to countries who Israel perceives as a threat, excluding Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, and before the deposing of Mubarak, Egypt.

    March 27, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. B

    All this guy does is read the daily newspaper headlines and then state his new policy statement for the day.

    Blow in the wind Lieberman! He and McCain Both.

    March 27, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. John

    It may cost a lot of money.. but for once I think Lieberman is right. Genocides like those in Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, should never have happened in today's world.

    March 27, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. abby

    now lieberman now enjoy the use of international coalation and the arab world to deal with crisis in middleast,but earlier he and bro john mccain criticise prz obama for not going to war they like ik cos its really working out now.obama is smarter than u all right wings

    March 27, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Would some rich republican tell McCain and Lieberman to STFU? If we did not have to pay for Bush/republican unfunded tax cuts, two unfunded Bush/republican wars, unfunded Bush/republican tax breaks for big corporations and big oil, the Bush/republican TARP bailout, and the republican creation of the vast majority of our national debt, we might be in a position to provide more assistance to the groups in the middle east.

    March 27, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Martin

    Yes, of course.

    Because what America needs is a FOURTH war, because three just aren't enough to keep the arms manufacturers in business.

    March 27, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Under President Obama, world opinion and approval of the United States is back up to first place. When W was in charge, we were in sixth place. Too bad that republicans (Lieberman, too) do not understand that Cowboy Diplomacy was good in the 19th century, but not so much in the 21st.

    March 27, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. vic nashville tn

    World is watching Political Crisis in North Africa and Middle East with great concern This is right time we have to push them to start comprehensive and genuine dialogue there

    We seen youth frustration (young graduates unemployed), political corruption that region

    This is big issue we can’t response with military entire region so far this administration doing a good job
    The sad part is Opinion news organization and republicans try to gain some momentum

    March 27, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Bob in Pa

    Be careful Joe, be very, very careful. You are on the verge of taking liberalism a little too far. We do not need to baby sit the whole World. Ask youself, will you also intervene the next time Israel goes after the Palestinians after 1 too many rocket attacks ? Then ask youself why nothing was done in Darfur or the Congo.

    March 27, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Unlike President Obama, there is no republican who could have built a 28 nation coalition to deal with Libya. Newt took so many opposite positions against his previous positions, it is no wonder Fox gave him the axe. As for Mittens, Little Timmy, Bachmann, Palin, Santorum, terry,va, Boss Hogg, and the lying Baptist reverend Huck; they have all proven they are unfit to lead, and are incapable of coherent thought.

    March 27, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    @terry,va: I would like to buy you a subscription to a newspaper. Apparently you live in an area where you do not have media other than Fox. Goes to show that even those 'rags to riches' republicans do not have access to reality.

    March 27, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    @terry, va: you say obummie, I say Boner. The difference is President Obama is intelligent, and Boner is a barfly. Three months and not one jobs bill out of congress.

    March 27, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. abby

    lieberman should remain quiet with his old school zombie mentality untill prez OBAMA come up with an ideal of what need to be done in syria, Obama is the only creative politician that I see right now

    March 27, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. johnRJ08

    This is nonsense and Lieberman is a fool. The situation in Libya was unique. An entire city was on the verge of annihilation by Gadhafi's forces. Furthermore, Gadhafi had stated publicly that he was going "to no mercy". Comparing the situation in Libya to any other in the Mideast is ridiculous. While civilians have been killed in Syria, some were also killed in Cairo, Bahrain and Yemen. In none of those situations did the rulers threaten to wipe out entire populations as Gadhafi had, nor were any cities being bombed and fired on in random killing attacks.

    March 27, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. annie s

    I have a system. If Lieberman and McCain want it, I just assume its the wrong thing to do. Works so far.

    March 27, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. Dave, Central Illinois

    It's a good thing that President Bush built our defense up enough so that our current president has the resources to call upon when needed. Too bad Obama doesn't have a clue how to lead those forces effectively. Oh, by the way, the current wave of democracy sweeping the MIdeast was made possible by Bush as well. He toppled one brutal dictator, a radical Islamic ragime, and made Gadhafi surrender his WMDs. This weakened other dictators and made todays events possible. Obama is enjoying the fruits of policies he protested. Typical for him....

    March 27, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. KO

    Lieberman never saw a war he didn't like.

    March 27, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. JorgeM

    @Bob in Pa, Lieberman is the furthest thing from a liberal. He's a neocon on foreign policy and opposed the Public Option in the healthcare debate because he worried it would take away from war funding. He's never met a Middle East war he didn't love. In his last election, he ran as an independent because he lost his primary challenge. The reason he won is because the CT Republicans deserted the (R) to vote for him.

    March 27, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. Four and The Door

    Wire Palladin, S. F.
    ...Three months and not one jobs bill out of congress.
    March 27, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
    But unemployment down sharply and the economy improving. Hey! Maybe responsible management is more effective than "Jobs Bills". Watch and learn.

    March 27, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. DENNA

    As long as America never again goes it alone, there's nothing wrong with being part of a multinational coalition if we believe in the case. But one country's problems should NOT ever be just our problem again.

    March 27, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. mike l

    Why aren't we involved in Darfur and the Congo? Because we don't know who to go after in those places. In Libya we can shoot rockets from ships offshore and our planes have close bases to woprk from. Where are we going to fly of jets from in the Congo and jujst what targets are we to shoot at? It's caled logistics. We can see planes, tanks, gun installations in Libya. Where are they in Darfur?

    March 27, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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