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. Naco

    Lieberman thinks of Israel first, not the USA

    February 12, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Mohammad

    Lieberman doesn't care about the Syrian people, otherwise where was he from the 400 children whom Israel murdered in Gaza lead operation in and around Charismas eve of 2008. Where is he now from the people dying today in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia for same reasons?

    February 12, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. Indy

    Four and the Door

    From this day forward you can't blame Obama anymore, Axelrod is your new target !
    Syria is the most difficult foreign policy decision and the most complex situation there has been in many years and we can be thankful that there is a man in the Whitehouse that will make a very thoughtfull and intellegent decision as many countries futures are at risk and this is no place for people like Santorum or Romney. Obama will make the right decision at the right time for the right reasons.

    February 12, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Bill

    The bottom line is how much OIL does Syria contribute to the world supply.

    February 12, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. Art Barnes

    That is Right Mr. Lieberman, get the entire White on Your side, we will be bless if we do something about this. Art

    February 12, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. James

    Nobody wants to "help" in Syria because there's nothing to gain there. Americans are very naiive and willing to believe that America gets involved in the third world to save human lives. They still think this is why we invaded Iraq. These interventions serve a specific purpose – they are economic and political calculations – whatever that can be done to maximize profits for the financiers that pay for the campaigns for those in Washington. Meanwhile, the average American is told we are in this to help people be free. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this case, we have NOTHING to gain in Syria by getting rid of Assad. Syria offers no natural resources, it is no strategic location for U.S. military bases (we're already set up all around Iran), and really, Assad is just a liability for the Iranians. Assad helps make Iran look bad. America can leverage this opportunity to make things even worse for Iran, and they realize this completely. That's exactly what's happening. The freedom and democracy chanting in Congress is just to line up the sheep – so the average American is convinced and plays along. Hitler did the exact same thing to unify Germany – play the nation and patriotism card to get people's sympathy to the state.

    February 12, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Daniel

    If China and Russia hadn't vetoed the UN resolutions against Syria, the U.S. wouldn't give a damn about em. Obama is being suckered into the idea that moving Assad out will gain us an ally in the Arab world against Russia and China.The ugly reality is that the Assads were the closest thing to an ally we could hope to expect in the region, just like with Gadaffi in Libya: he was a thuggish nuisance, but ultimately did our bidding without needing to be bribed or coerced to do it.

    If we get involved directly, a ground confrontation with Iran (or at least Hezbollah) is all but certain and we're neck deep in the war that will put the final nail in our economy's coffin and I suspect that is precisely why Russia and China made sure those resolutions failed: to draw us into a war that will financially cripple us. I hate to sound like that slug-man in Return of the Jedi, but "it's a trap!"

    Don't do it.

    February 12, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. Dixie Independent voter

    Stay out of it. I feel for those losing family. But (!) look at Iraq. After we sacrificed our own sons and daughters, that country is returning to the same mess it was before. Though he's a worse speller than I am, I agree with gg.

    February 12, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. tupperhouse

    I had to read in foreign newspapers that the Syrian Oppostion in London is not made up of all Syrians. The Arab league is also not united. America's brutal dictator allies, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait toe the western line, but Iraq that has experienced America's help does not. Lieberman is a war monger whose allegence is to Isreal not the average American citizen.

    February 12, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. amarjeet

    I appreciate Liberman views on Syria violence. America has always supported people voice as per tradition & history since its birth. America cannot get away from responsibility in Syria with Assad is murdering its people by mobilizing its forces & heavy armor procured from Iran or other countries supporting the regime against democratic forces. It is now time for action in coalition with likeminded countries to initiate action against Assad in Syria who has been given ample opportunity to stop atrocities & murdering its own people. It is time for UNSC to ban use of heavy military weapon systems in own country & against own people globally through UNO. Both Iran & Syria want to devoid the world from Oil resources which are natural wealth given to humanity not just specific regions and so are the freedom of expression, liberty, freedom of religion, peaceful assembly & right to life which is under direct threat by Assad in Syria like Libya. America must act strongly & united with coalition to ensure world order is not destabilized & people butchered in their own countries with own armed forces. It is a fight for human rights which are birth right & fundamental to all human beings & everywhere. Russia & China are not supporting by fear of analogy of similar situation in their own countries not because they do not intend to help people of Syria. America alone can provide leadership & lead for action against Assad as was done in WWII & Libya lately.

    February 12, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. Ed Peters

    If Sen. Joseph Lieberman thinks that the US should take action, then he, his kids, his friends and his friends kids should go. I'm sure a collection could be taken up to pay for their air plane tickets!

    February 12, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. Vadim

    Arab League is a bunch of self-preserving wealthy bigots, and they are useless by the way. If Lieberman were really as Pro-Israel as some are calling him, he would not just push for "medicine, training, and weapons" but would push for a Libya – style warfare ASAP. If I were Obama, I'd organize a full blown Nato-led campaign, letting the Arab League clean up the casualties.

    February 12, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. BroadCasting

    Liberman doesn't care about Syrians. He cares only about Israel. Anyone who can't see that is an idiot. You won't see Liberman picking up a gun and fighting for the Syrian people. Too much American blood has already been shed for Israel.

    February 12, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Dennis

    Joe:Why don't you grab a rifle and go join the freedom fighters in Syria,okay?...Take Mitt Romney,and Rick Santorum with you,since they are boasting of wanting to attack Iran.The U.S.has seen enough war for awhile.Time to take a break from combat and regroup our forces for the next major outbeak.

    February 12, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Not Policeman of the World

    Joe, people like you, Palin and others need to s hut up and stay home. US needs to worry about US for a change. If you are so concerned you go there and protest.

    February 12, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. dog101

    NO, NO, for America to get involved, let the Arabes taking care of there problem, the Saudis can started by showing some Care!Not!!!

    February 12, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. Molly

    No more WAR!!!!!

    Obama 2012!!!!!

    February 12, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. amarjeet

    Why GOP with majority in Congress does not give preemptive permission to President Obama to act against Assad in Syria being supported by GOP members of vital say in the House of Representatives. GOP in case of Libya objected to operational lead to NATO coalition action in Libya & now they are keeping silent on the issue vitally affecting the American people, Oil imports, American interests & security of its allies?

    February 12, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. Gmclenuth

    Joe: Did you forget that we don't go into countries that don't have oil.

    February 12, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. ElSid

    OK Mr Liberman, the Israeli agent in the US congress, has ordered us to go to war in Syria. It is time to go to war.

    February 12, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. aoadb

    If Lieberman says it's time to intervene, that is a very reliable signal to back away as far as possible.

    February 12, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. safari

    Lieberman, put on a uniform, get a couple of buddies from the Senate, like McCain, DeMint, etc., and go to the mideast and fight. We've lost too many good people from this Country, over there. You want to fight.....GO!!!!

    February 12, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. Raj

    What else does Isreali proxy as you are in US want us to do? Make a list! Go in Syria, Bomb Iran, Kill Quadafi(done), Kill Sadam(done)!!

    February 12, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. Diogenes

    Who will send support to American taxpayers when they fight to throw off the yoke of oppression caused by the special interest lobbies in BOTH parties

    February 12, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. pgupta

    It is time to help syria. Every human life is precious. Please save human life. US should help syria as they are helping Iraq and Afghanistan.

    February 12, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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