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. Miami1111

    Arab League can't do anything because Assad is backed by Iran. Iran is more powerful than any Arab country. It's going to get ugly....

    February 12, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Dave

    Here is how this is going to play out: The republicans, and Lieberman (because who knows what the heck he will call himself on a day to day basis) will be up in arms because Obama is not intervening. They will claim he has no leadership capabilities. Then, if Obama decides that America will become involved, they will pull a 180 and condemn him for getting involved in another war and cite Iraq and Afghanistan as 'his' wars.

    February 12, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Josef Bleaux

    Just what we need. To get involve in another war. We need to KEEP OUR NOSE OUT OF IT!

    February 12, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. P Rap

    – Do we know who are the rebels?
    – Do they want (not need!) our help?
    – How about after the conflict is over who will kill who?
    – Remember when we helped ben laden against the Soviets?

    February 12, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Roger E.

    same mentality that costs the taxpayer way too much money, results in too many of our youngsters deployed & returning
    in body bags – – for what ? for who ? let the rest of the world deal with those thugs !!!

    February 12, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Calista for First Tramp

    Four and The Door

    Can't wait til Nov 7, when you can change your name to "Eight is just Great!"

    February 12, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. leesan1945

    I'm tired of this tired nonsense coming from another bozo who won't send his kids or grandkids to fight. The Arabs need to police this not us. We've made a mess of the other places we've gone and this clown wants to add to it. My daughter just left on her third tour in a war zone, second in Afghanistan and it's very tiresome hearing the same clods saying the same things about intervention. SHUT UP Joe!

    February 12, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Sean

    Stay out of Middle Eastern countries having civil wars. They hate us and we don't need to arm past and future enemies of America. Russian spends $5 billion a year arming Syria with weapons and it's not a north African coastal country with only a few populated cities dotting the shoreline across from Italy. This country is a total mess and let other Muslim countries help their own. The problem is, they're despised by their neighbors!

    February 12, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. chuck

    Correction: Joe Lieberman is not up for reelection in 2012, he announced that he's retiring.

    February 12, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. jd

    Joseph Lieberman you and your Jewish followers can go to war alone with those non American. we have lost so many young men in the name of freedom on many countries. is time to fix our country and get Obama out of the white house

    February 12, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Common Sense

    He doesn’t care about American lives or even Syrians . Just like majority of other Jewish lawmakers , only thing he cares about is Israel, and how can he do something to benefit their so called holly land ! They took us to the Iraq war, and we all see the consequences of this war and now they are preparing the public opinion for starting new wars aganst Syria, Iran , and others Just because Israel will benefit from these wars !

    February 12, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. jd

    anybody willing to go war. better register himself and family on the Army hopefully not the USA Army we do not need another war.

    February 12, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Wes Monroe

    Obama cannot make a decision on this issue especially in an election year. I voted for Obama in 2008 but I have to say I'm beginning to lose faith and trust in our Commander in Chief..............Obama is either not to be trusted or he is just operating without a clue. If I had to take a wild guess I would have to say Obama knows exactly what he is doing to this country and is following a path filled with dire consequences for the United States of America. So far his policies have not been bipartisn in any shape or form and he is not running a transparent goverment as he promised he would. Obama has lost my vote in 2012.

    February 12, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. jackarouu

    He (also) suggested that U.S. assistance first come through medical help, then later through training, communications equipment, and ultimately, weapons. ???? Don't you think the order of assistance should be reversed?? Assad is killing the doctors along with the babies. Lieberman should accompany those with medical supplies. I'm tired of listening to ARM-Chair politicians with NO sense of REALITY.

    February 12, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. William

    It is not the right time! The Syrian situation does not have the favorable conditions that Libya had because at this time no one is going to march in there and save the day without major casualties. The Obama haters are making rediculous remarks but one thing is for sure Obama and the Military work great together. You can bet that our Military is looking for their best options and an opening to go in and lay the ground work to help that country. The President is the Commander in Chief not Congress. Congress and many people have no clue as to how our Government should work – Look up and read the U.S. Constitution and find out...

    February 12, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Mike

    Lie-berman's opinions have to be taken with a grain of salt. Although he was elected to represent the interests of the people of Connecticuit, he actually represents the interests of Israel over those of the United States.

    February 12, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. alf564

    NO NO NO Hell No we won't go!!!! Let Joe round up John MaC and some of their relatives and move in to stop
    those tanks with hostages tied to the front....Are these 2 guys NUTS??? Just look at Egypt which WE supported
    as Arab Spring...looks like it sprung back at us ....stay home and like one person commented, let the Arab League
    handle their own people .... GET IT JOE AND JOHN ????

    February 12, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. peacedog

    our involvement in libya only created a lawless state. it is time for the un to prove their worth and take charge. it cannot be left up to our young to die in the defense of others' civil wars all the time. we should have learned our lessons in viet nam and iraq. c'mon un, step up and prove yourself. for once.

    February 12, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. TRH

    The neoconservatives are beginning to speak. I was going to go into a litany here, but poster "mbwhelton" above stole my thunder!

    February 12, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. jjg

    Joe is becoming more and more delusional. It may be time to send him to Syria, as it is time for him to leave office

    February 12, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. Been There Done That

    It's time to take action. Yes, follow the policies of isolationism, which Americans never committed to earlier.

    February 12, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. not our business

    ignore syria, and ignore lieberman.

    February 12, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. jennifer in Houston

    Well bless your heart, you really have a short memory Rick. The news is that even if the dingbats on the right make you their candidate the country will come out to vote in droves to ensure you don't get elected.. your foreign policy statements make you far to dangerouse for the White House.

    February 12, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. Vince Caston

    Why does it take the world so long to help these people being slaughtered. After all the protestations about arming the freedom fighters in that would increase the fighting., they always do it anyway. Examples are Bosnia and Libya. In the meantime innocent people continue dying. Until it is a fair fight, women and children will continue to be slaughtered. Old Joe is correct!

    February 12, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. skarphace

    The catch: "Lieberman, .. argued that any U.S. effort must be part of an international coalition"

    This international coalition must include the AL, not just the UN. This is where we are stuck. Unlike with the Libyan situation, the AL has so far failed to act and issue a mandate to the UN to get involved. Until they do, there is absolutely no good that America can do.

    The more weapons and logistics and training we provide to the rebels, the more Russia provides to al Assad. A unilateral effort is lose-lose.

    February 12, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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