February 12th, 2012
12:16 PM ET
11 years ago

Lieberman: It's time to take action in Syria

(CNN) - Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut called Sunday for the United States to provide direct assistance to the Syrian people in their struggle to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

"It's time to try to help the brave Syrian freedom fighters to carry out a fair fight," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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U.N. officials estimate 6,000 people have died since protests seeking political reforms in Syria began nearly a year ago.

So far, the Obama administration has recalled the U.S. ambassador to Syria and imposed sanctions, while pushing unsuccessfully for a U.N. Security Council resolution against the Assad regime.

However, it has resisted calls by veteran Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and some Republican presidential candidates to take a larger role in backing the Syrian opposition movement.

Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats and chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, argued that any U.S. effort must be part of an international coalition, similar to the nation's involvement in Libya last year.

He also suggested that U.S. assistance first come through medical help, then later through training, communications equipment, and ultimately, weapons.

The United States has major security interests in aiding Syria, which gets support from Iran, Lieberman said.

Pointing to the recent veto by Russia and China of a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at halting the violence, Lieberman said other countries and coalitions must get involved.

"America ought to take the position that every option is on the table except doing nothing, because doing nothing means hundreds of more Syrians are killed and it means that Iran, which continues to give Assad the weapons with which he's killing his own people, will achieve a strategic victory over us," Lieberman told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

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Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Joe Lieberman • Syria • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    In order for Obama to do anything like this in Syria, you would really need to convince the guy who is really making all of the administration's decisions for America right now...Obama's 2012 Campaign Manager David Axelrod. Talk to him Joe, and good luck with that. Your best approach might be to figure out how this could be used to get money in the hands of as many voters as possible and to have them think this was coming directly from Obama.

    February 12, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. dagoberto

    Joseph, you can pick your family and go to combat Assad in Syria. Good Luck.

    February 12, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Martha in CF

    If Obama decides to help out Syria it won't take long for the redumblicans to start bashing him again........The UN can make this decision just like they did in Lybia................

    February 12, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Ed Fl

    Typical Pro Israel politician lets send more american kids over there to get killed while Israel sits back watching and spending the billions that America sends them every year.

    February 12, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Ted van Tol

    Wrong! It's time for the Arabic Leage to act! Not the USA or Nato.
    Let them solve this problem by there one for once so they can learn how to deal with
    dictators like Asad.

    February 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Blake

    I think Lieberman is not falling for the chickenhawk trap this time like he did on Iraq, but I still think he's wrong unfortunately about intervention. The Administration and high ranking military know intervention in Syria is no Libya since it has one of the largest professional armies in the world designed to fight and possibly defeat (yeah right) Isreal. Any military action won't be cherry picking targets on a coastline whenever they rear their heads. It will most likely be a full scale war similar to the Gulf but with less ally support, no surprise of tanks from the desert and possible Iranian hostilities/interloping. Many Americans and allies would end up as casaulties in fighting fresh after the Iraq War ending and the continuing winding down of Afghanistan. Then again, a lot of Syrians are dieing and have no where else to turn to. Definitely a "pick your battles" situation.

    February 12, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Hey you loony right wingnuts! You were against any action against Ghaddafi, and now you criticize the president. Lieberman has no business in government, as he is a one issue war monger.

    February 12, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. mbwhelton

    Lieberman is wrong. Let the Syrians settle their own problems. Our intervention in Syria will involve us in yet another prolonged conflict. Just like in Iraq, when we disengage from Iraq and Syria, a totalitarian secular government will be replaced by a more totalitarian, fundamentalist, religious theocracy. Both Iraq and Syria would then be aligned with Iran. This would not be in the best interest of the United States, western Europe, or Israel for that matter. We need to formulate our foreign policy in accordance with our national interests, and not Israel or any other country for that matter.

    February 12, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. gg

    time for middle east goverments to start taking care of thier own,if these countries want to kill each other let them,if this was saudi-arbia whos side would the west back,the people or the goverment

    February 12, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. WhereIsPalin

    It sounds so easy......doesn't it Joe?

    February 12, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Marry

    Four and The Door in fantasy land again?
    Ted van Tol good idea –but they are VERY hesitant – sad.
    As to some of the others – The President thinks before he acts. A very nice trade (among many others) of him! I admire the Syrian people – they are more than brave and when they win their freedom – they more than deserve it! Time for the UN to get together – the difficulty and very easy to see – to many conflicting interests that have to be worked through! And that costs lives!

    February 12, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. organically

    The United State spends $10 billion a month in Afghanistan, time to get out and start spending those billions on America's schools, hospitals, highways, and a modern electricity grid.

    February 12, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. labandme

    He doesn't get it. The citizens of the U.S. don't want to get involved or risk our children's lives for muslims killing muslims. We have to get rid of these stupid old men.

    February 12, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. muhammad shurafa

    Why do we thnk Assad is the problem and his abdication will bring peace.
    Today Ayman Alzawahiry called for the support of the rebels against Assad.
    The rebellion is fueled by insurgents, Al-Qaeda included, funded by Saudi money.
    It is a mistake to call them freedom fighters but fighters wishing to establish a salafi reime modelled after Wahabi relogiom.
    Charaterizing the rebels as freedom fighters is a grave mistake that requires more thinking than what Senator Lieberman is saying just because the Syrians are ot accomodationg to Israel.

    February 12, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. Willie Floyd

    Thankfully we now have a pres. who thinks before he acts. I don't think we have to worry about him, only"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread".

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    February 12, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  16. Hughie

    Boy, senator, I'm SO SO glad you didn't suggest that we send troops to that country.

    February 12, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. Joop Kaashoek

    Who started the insurgency in the first place? Was it really Syrian freedom fighters or did certain government foment the uprising?

    February 12, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. GI Joe.

    The right-wing warmongers need to sign up THEIR kids to go to Syria. Same for "can't make a decision on anything but more wars" Lieberman.

    Send Israel to help. Let them use the money they beg from us to get it done.

    February 12, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. yianni

    If the USA helps the Syrian opposition, then may be we can help Hamas too. Mr. Lieberman please go join them and fight with them to overthrow Assad. But please ask the majority of the Syrian people first. Do they want a situation similar to Iraq? Ask the Christians and the minorities of Syria who if they are not butchered from these Islamist rebels, they will definately loose everything and become refugees.

    February 12, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. vic , nashville ,tn

    When its comes to Foreign policy I don’t agree with Mc Cain gang but we have to help Syrian people
    More than 100 nations don’t like what is going on Syria, its good sign we have to do something to help Syrians but not direct

    February 12, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. semper fi

    Lets sit this one out. Enough of our sons and daughters have spilled their blood and given their lives for ungrateful nations.

    February 12, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. John Lannefeld.

    Senator Lieberman is the most pro-Israeli member of congress, understandable given his own religious views. He will continue to support Israel at the expense of the United States and continue to undermine a balanced foreign policy in the Middle East – what a relief when he finally leaves the senate! The Israeli lobby is extremely powerful and wields it will despite the opposition of the majority of Americans. Let the pro-Israeli congressmen send their sons and daughters to fight and see how much support they offer.

    February 12, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. Catdog

    Lieberman is a turncoat stooge for the Israeli lobbyists and nothing more. We should listen to him as much as we listen to that crazy guy shouting on the corner that world is coming to an end.

    February 12, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. CoJo

    ah, come on, John McCain who is on the arms committee says it would be a mistake to put americans in Syria. Doesn't Lieberman listen to ANYONE?

    February 12, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Walter

    Provide support to whom? There is no organized resistance in Syria to provide support to even if we wanted to. Obama is going to follow the UN, and since China and Russia said "do nothing," that's exactly what he's going to do.

    February 12, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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