Your Take: Should the U.S. intervene in Syria?
The recent Houla massacre has amplified cries for the U.S. to intervene in Syria.
June 6th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Your Take: Should the U.S. intervene in Syria?

Every time the death toll rises in Syria, the question seems to get louder and louder: Should the U.S. use military force to remove Bashar al-Assad from power?

Fareed Zakaria isn’t so sure. Writing for Time magazine this week, he makes the case that sanctions and embargos are the way to go.

“It would be morally far more satisfying to do something dramatic that would topple Assad tomorrow,” Zakaria said. “But starving his regime might prove the more effective strategy.”

We opened up the debate on Global Public Square to see if readers agree with Zakaria. Many did, many didn’t, but there were interesting points made on both sides.

One common argument is that the U.S. needs to act on humanitarian grounds.

Tim in Minneapolis: “I know that the U.S. is tired of war and conflict, but America will lose its moral compass if we just sit by and watch innocents killed 100 at a time. The United States had the same public disagreement before we entered World War II to help the Europeans, but we had to stop Hitler, we had to stop evil.”

gingersrule1: “If we don't protect freedom worldwide, we might as well give it up here. If you think watching people get murdered and not even lifting a finger to stop it, you become a part of the problem.”

Reader j. von hettlingen pointed out that sanctions might work, but they would hurt everyone in Syria, not just those in power: “Before Assad's loyalists feel the squeeze, ordinary citizens are already bearing the brunt. They have suffered enough and don't have the perseverance to endure more hardship.”

KDD said the Syrian people need U.S. intervention just to level the playing field:

“As an active member of the Syrian opposition, I want Americans to understand that the intervention of the United States is not requested simply because we can't do the job ourselves. We could, if it were Assad alone that we were fighting. But we’re not. We are up against Russia and Iran, who are maintaining a flow of arms and personnel.”

Many of those against intervention said they are tired of the U.S. being “the world’s police” and that America has enough problems already both domestic and abroad.

H: “Syria is not our problem. I sympathize with the Syrian plight, but that is their problem, not ours. We have done enough for the world and still the Arabs blame us. Let some other country like France, Russia or China solve the world's problems, and let's not spill our own blood or money.”

freddy A: “How naïve! Why does anyone think the U.S. has anything to do with the region or rest of the world? BUTT OUT. Fix our own crap. We are friends with Saudi Arabia, which has less human rights than any other Middle East country. Stop being silly. We are not better than anyone else. Let’s educate our children and fix the economy.”

Anonymous010: “The reason we should not be the world's police force is because the world didn't ask or choose us to be its police force; we inappropriately assumed that responsibility all on our own. How would you feel if your neighbor decided he held jurisdiction over your whole neighborhood and started enforcing his own rules and values with a bigger posse and better guns than anybody else in the neighborhood could afford?”

Other readers expressed concern about what would happen after al-Assad was overthrown.

Bruce Hedley: “Military intervention in Syria comes with much more risk than Libya due to the many ethnic/religious groups caught up in this: Arab, Kurd, Turk, Christian, Sunni, Shia, Alawite, Maronite, etc. Regional destabilization is a real possibility, and are we prepared for that?”

mmi16: “There is no group that is in a position to assume leadership and control in Syria once Assad is gone. Taking Assad out would create another Iraq after Saddam. The Syrian opposition needs to unify itself into something that can assert a level of control in the struggle against Assad.”

One comment, made by Ron, acknowledged both sides of the argument and illustrated how complicated the issue is:

“Yes, U.S. military in Syria would not likely work. Most of our major military interventions since Korea have been profoundly unsuccessful.

But on the other hand, what do we do? Nothing? Sit idle while innocents are being killed in great numbers? Isn’t that what America stands for? Should we just look the other way? Or enter with military force to ‘save the oppressed’ even though we know it will ultimately be unsuccessful, involve us in a lengthy and very expensive occupation, and take the lives of many American personnel? Darned if we do, and darned if we don't.”

Do you agree with Ron? Or do you think America is more “darned” with one particular course of action? Let your voice be heard in the comments below.

Editor’s note: Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Post by:
Topics: Reader Comments • Syria

soundoff (1,152 Responses)
  1. Benjamin Martin

    As I stated here time after time I'm totally against US involvement for many reasons.However for those of you who are so insistent on US involvement by all means if an agent or undercover CIA black ops operative has a shot with a sniper rifle by all means take it.,but let's not get into any more nation rebuilding we can't afford it.Syria isn't worth US military involvement period.The chance of this growing into a war with both the Russians and Chinese is to great.NO THANKS!

    June 9, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
  2. Jim

    The question should NEVER be "Should the USA get involved". There are other countries that should share the burden (i.e. Italy and France) as they have an increased stake in the outcome. We (Canada) went to war with the USA in Afghanastan, without question or forethought. The cause was Just, and that's enough for us. In Libya, the USA nailed it. The USA should provide the logistics and (maybe) the odd off shore cruise missle, while Europe and the Arab League (sure – add Canada – we hate to miss a good party), provide the air power. I doubt that 'boots on the ground' would be neccessary. Once the Syrain Leadership sees the world reacting as they did in Libya, they will startt packing their bags, as they saw how Ghadaffi ended up. China's support for Syria is waning as China has a Much larger investment with the world's economy. As for Russia? They would never get involved against a multi-national force. This scenerio is Win-Win as it also would remove Iran's main lacky.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:58 am | Reply
  3. HA Arnevet

    US intervention in Syria: NO
    UN intervention in Syria: NO (The UN has proved worthless everywhere it has sent blue berets.)
    Arab League intervention in Syria: YES
    This is a Moslem problem and must be addressed with a Moslem mentality – not a Euro-American mentality. (That's the US' problem with Bush and Obama (mis)adventures in Moslem (-dominated) countries – different mentalities.)

    June 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  4. .

    NO!

    June 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  5. Alec Wood

    US will not act to save the Syrian people for one simple reason. There's no oil there, and no strategic advantage to taking over the administration of the country for a while. Historically US involvement overseas has been on the basis of national interest, not some great moral imperative.

    June 12, 2012 at 8:17 am | Reply
  6. Me

    No we shouldn't. We have stop being "seduced" by the idea of stoping "EVIL" and defending freedom as a reason to go in, even worst we need to stop using these arguments to feel better about ourselves. Fact is we don't really know who is who, who are these "freedom fighters", who are they linked too? Who is less Evil?
    We gotta be more responsible, and realize that America's greatness does not depend on intervening on foreign affairs.
    BTW let the French deal with it

    June 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • Justin

      Well said..and this is just as easy

      June 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  7. MaghySalah

    The US should intervene in Syria too many people are being massacred. The Arabs can't relay on their own governments to do anything. They are either too busy with their own problems and the rich Arab countries, mainly Saudi Arabia only pretends to care about Arab issues though they had no issue going into Bahrain cause of the threat of the "Iranian influence". Yes, it's not the US's fault but still, if the US wants to stand up for what they believe in as a nation and as leaders of the free world, they should be the most against any bloody massacres. They are torturing and executing children in Syria. What more needs to be said about the horror that is going on there? Shame on the Arab states that can be doing something but don't. All the time, when the US intervenes cause no Arab states stand up and take care of their own issues, the US is always portrayed as "Occupiers" just cause Arab countries are morally weak to do what is right.

    The US under FDR knew about the Holocaust since its beginning but only got involved in WW2, when the US was directly attacked at Pearl Harbor. That is a sad mark on US's history that they knew about millions being slaughtered but yet just stood by cause "It wasn't their war". Another holocaust is going on in Syria, it is not just the US's obligation to take action but all of humanity's. What happened to "Never Again"?

    June 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
    • aaron

      syria is not a holocaust. altho wrong it is not a holocaust. we cant keep stretching to help other countries when we are falling apart ourselves.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:37 am | Reply
  8. Combat Medic

    Lets just worry about our own country we have so many issues of our own that need to be solved before we can spend more money and go to war for another country that in the end we get none of it back.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:29 am | Reply
  9. 0hmama

    One good American out of 300 million. not bad

    June 21, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  10. 0hmama

    There is not enough oil in Syria to have the Americans think about helping the Syrians. Not enough market to sell arms. Jew controlled country. In God we trust

    June 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  11. 0hmama

    A.I.P.A.C idiots

    June 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  12. Guest

    Touched one burner on the stove-hand burned.
    Touched another burner on the stove-hand burned again.
    Not touching the third one.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:43 am | Reply
  13. pvt 17

    You cant measure a military campaign by loss of life, life does not out way the ideals of a free world where all are equal and free to do and say what they want. Iraq and Afganistan were huge military sucess's in Iraq sucide bombers are nothing compared to the genocide that lasted while Saddam was in power, using saran and vx and compounds that are unspeakable on hundreds of thousands, underground tourture facilites, executions on the street and his sons made Saddam look like a priest it would have been a hundred years of genocide kind of like Africa which continues to suffer because we did not do anything but people in the U.S are to stupid to understand they just hate war regardless even though I cant find the differences between Saddam and Hitler both killed their own in mass, both invaded a friend,,, in afganistan aq and the taliban ruled executed females for using profanity for going to school,aq ruled with an iron fist and now the government we created rules most of the country and the taliban wants to make a deal both Iraq and Afganistan better now since our young warriors started the path to a better more stable future where the people will decide the faith,we didnt meet all our goals in any war but in general when you make countries better thats victory, the forces we created stiil stand thats victory, we have relations with former enemies thats victory, we can squeeze Iran thats victory explain to me how we didnt win, explain to me how a task that should have cost us a hundred thousand men only cost us ten thousand and in the future saved millions is a failure, you people have never seen the changes I have in the middle east Im proud of what I did and I will never fire a round for you American pos again Id rather fight for the people of Iraq at least they appericate my sacrifice I hate all you liberals and you anti war protestors who treat Bill Clinton like a god when he let millions die in africa and cursed George Bush for trying to stop decades of massacre from Saddam I hate you and when you call for help when your family needs a hand I hope you burn, I hope you get the same help you offered syria and Iraq I hope you feel the pain they feel comparing your small stupid problems here in the U.S to theirs I hate all of you

    July 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  14. pvt 17

    You cant measure a military campaign by loss of life, life does not out way the ideals of a free world where all are equal and free to do and say what they want. Iraq and Afganistan were huge military sucess's in Iraq sucide bombers are nothing compared to the genocide that lasted while Saddam was in power, using saran and vx and compounds that are unspeakable on hundreds of thousands, underground tourture facilites, executions on the street and his sons made Saddam look like a priest it would have been a hundred years of genocide kind of like Africa which continues to suffer because we did not do anything but people in the U.S are to stupid to understand they just hate war regardless even though I cant find the differences between Saddam and Hitler both killed their own in mass, both invaded a friend,,, in afganistan aq and the taliban ruled executed females for using profanity for going to school,aq ruled with an iron fist and now the government we created rules most of the country and the taliban wants to make a deal both Iraq and Afganistan better now since our young warriors started the path to a better more stable future where the people will decide the faith,we didnt meet all our goals in any war but in general when you make countries better thats victory, the forces we created stiil stand thats victory, we have relations with former enemies thats victory, we can squeeze Iran thats victory explain to me how we didnt win, explain to me how a task that should have cost us a hundred thousand men only cost us ten thousand and in the future saved millions is a failure, you people have never seen the changes I have in the middle east Im proud of what I did and I will never fire a round for you American pos again Id rather fight for the people of Iraq at least they appericate my sacrifice I hate all you liberals and you anti war protestors who treat Bill Clinton like a god when he let millions die in africa and cursed George Bush for trying to stop decades of massacre from Saddam I hate you and when you call for help when your family needs a hand I hope you burn, I hope you get the same help you offered syria and Iraq I hope you feel the pain they feel comparing your small stupid problems here in the U.S to theirs I hate all of you who dishoner my brothers accomplishment

    July 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  15. ok nc doka

    Pvt 17 Calm your mind and heart brother we dont need these peoples love or approval we know what we did, we know things are better let them think their small problems are big and whine about it, not all of them are stupid just most are, still people that understand what it is to live under a dictator understand Amercians are blessed, they are lucky.

    July 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  16. pvt 17

    How can I we won them two wars and they dont even care, you would think that aq destroyed our armies that we built and are running the countries the way these fools talk. If a country invaded America and left an army of half a million men and all we could do is kill hand fulls of people with sucide bombs all these idiots would talk about is how america was beaten and the great empire was destroyed but we go in build an army that has destroyed one of the most brutal dictators in history in saddam and his sons that are no different at all from hitler in any way their the same person different race they did the same things , and in afganistan the taliban is weakened no more bombs in new york no more attacks in air planes at least by real killers just wanna be aq kids that have no real training like the real old hard core aq did they dont care about the kids in afganistan all I hear from these liberal fools is one world then when the time comes to act I guess one world means our kids are better than theirs, thier hypocrits and fools and when they pay the price I hope people give them the same help they offer the people in syria and iraq none let them cry out and feel the pain, they have betrayed us and this great country where all our lives are nothing in comparison to the greatness of our ideals freedom, voting for leaders of our choice, they are spoiled they are stupid and they dont deserve the young men who die for them, American problems ha dont make me laugh, If your in a bad situation here you have the same chance to change it as I did and if you cant dont blame society for your failures

    July 13, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  17. Haggis20

    The cries for America to get involved is a laff. How many tmes have they been involved in other conflicts?Korea, then
    Viet Nam( Orange Agents) Many Americans died with Orange defects. Arming Saddam to attack Iran; 1 million died in that conflict; 2 Gulf wars / million Iraqis dead or suffered from Gulf war syndrom. DU in other words. Need I go on.
    Best to keep out of it . And I mean US& UK as well. Enuff said.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  18. Z

    The United States already have enough enemies. North Korea (which is going so far to threaten us with nukes), Iran, Iraq, and countless others that have distaste for us (publicly or secretly). and why do we have so many enemies? because we try to help EVERYONE. not only is it not our business to intervene constantly, but by doing so, it is only temporary gain. We may gain one ally, but anyone and everyone else that opposes us now hates us. I for one, am not appealed by the thought of being nuked, or in another war, simply because we cant keep our nose out of others business. We have plenty of issues in our own country to solve, let alone world problems.

    April 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  19. Barthorn

    I am absolutely opposed to the US spending any more money overseas until we address the problems here in this country. All of the wars, all of the men and women we have lost or who have been injured all in the name of some political nonsense; I'm over it and I think the majority of Americans are also fed up with these actions. Stop, stop, stop. Fix our issues first. Address hunger, improve education, repair our roads and bridges....there are countless places where our tax dollars should be spent. Come on America, speak up!!

    June 25, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,609 other followers