What should U.S. do about Syria?
August 21st, 2012
01:47 PM ET

What should U.S. do about Syria?

President Barack Obama has warned Syria not to use or move chemical or biological weapons or else the country risks crossing a “red line” and provoking a U.S. military response. But are there any circumstances under which America should get directly involved in Syria’s civil war?

Writing on GPS last month, Fareed Zakaria noted that there’s much we still don’t know about the Syrian rebels, as well as genuine uncertainty about how coordinated the opposition is, and whether groups on the ground have a sectarian flavor.

GPS welcome readers’ take on whether the U.S. should be doing more to assist the rebels, and what the drawbacks might be. We’ll be posting a roundup of the best responses later this week.

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Topics: Syria

soundoff (722 Responses)
  1. Tahir

    USA has triggered this war and now CNN is weeping on the blood of the people. Long live USA.

    August 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  2. jack hayden


    I just sent an email to all Members of the Parliament of Canada attaching my recent letter to Assad (Aug. 20) as well as my YouTube video.

    If you can, please rally your own government to do whatever they can to pressure Assad to leave.. NOW!!

    We have to stop the madness.

    Jack H.

    https://www DOT youtube DOT com/watch?v=st_wzmFA3tU

    August 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  3. SandraElle

    Let the people in Syria handle their own business!

    Let's take the billions of dollars a war would cost and put new water main pipes in every American city.

    Let's bury all power lines.

    Let's fix our crumbling roads & bridges.

    Let's make our public school system HALF as good as Finland's.

    Let's employ young people to help the elderly, keeping them out of nursing homes.

    Let's fund inner city recreation centers, so kids have a safe place to go.

    Let's leave Syria to the Syrians!!

    August 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  4. dave

    Consider the consequences of possible strategies by the U.S. in this conflict:

    (1) Intervene openly on side of FSA, by declaring a no fly zone over any territory they hold. Consequence 1 would be likely expansion of FSA territory, fast final victory over Assad, and Syrian people's deep appreciation of the U.S. as a friend. Then, if Al-quada militants try to hijack the FSA revolution, U.S. will get cooperation and support from the faction of FSA that U.S. helped put into power. making it easy to root out and destroy Al-Quada in Syria. Consequence 2 would be earning great anger of Russia, China, and Iran with increased liklihood they would actually send army or air force aid to Assad, thereby prolonging and possibly widening war to entire Middle East, if not wider arena.

    (2) Continue present course of siding with FSA, but only providing secret funding and non-lethal assistance (valuable intelligence and communications aid). Consequence 1 to this strategy would be continued miltary stalemate and increased FSA reliance on Al-Quada and other islamists, just to survive. Consequence 2 would be not angering Russia, China or Iran any further, with little liklihood they would intervene militarily in Syria, and thus no wider war.

    (3) Pull back entirely from any involvement in Syria, except verbal denunciations of Assad. Consequence 1 to this strategy would be earning extreme hatred of U.S. by the FSA and its total reliance on Al-Quada and other islamists to survive. Also, surrounding countries like Lebanon and Turkey will eventually have to get involved. Consequence 2 would be a very pleased Russia, China, and Iran, with no liklihood they would intervene militarily in Syria, but with all of Syria as a base for Al-Quada as it lauches attacks on next door Israel and trains for another 9/11 against U.S. Eventually, U.S. will need to intervene militarily in Syria to destroy the Al-Quada power network there.

    Of course, other scenarios are possible and all should be evaluated in great detail for each likely consequence. My point is that the preferred U.S. strategy on Syria is not as simple as many people here make it out to be.

    August 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  5. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism labeled as Christianity is an off shoot of hinduism, denial of truth absolute by hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by hindu Pharisee's, criminal self centered and promoted with sword by hindu criminal king's and their hindu pagan Magi' fortune teller Prophets to make humanity their gentile, slave, A hinduism, crime against humanity and truth absolute.
    Nazi racist ideology has its roots in hindu, pagan Egypt, ancestral home land of Saxons, meaning tied to or forged with essence, meanings god's, subcontinent never was part of hindu denial of truth absolute but hinduism, racism was imposed by force by hindu's, criminals of Egypt and Persia on nomadic population of subcontinent by declaring themselves to be god's, while native's of Europe were slaughtered to extinction by hindu Gaul's, criminal self centered after they were defeated as hindu, deniers of truth abolute Pharaoh's by the king's of Sudan. Letter X, Hinduism, forgery of word, tied to or forged with. hindu criminal sign of swastika is formed by joining of upright hindu criminal Pharaoh's pyramid and up side down on same axis, invisible pyramid of his hindu pagan Priest, crossing point of both pyramid's creates Swastika above burial chamber of hindu, pagan, self centered Pharaoh. Envisioned by hindu, pagan Zoroaster, preached by hindu, criminal Plato and displayed in Physical form by hindu sanatan, filthy goon Pythagoras. Presence of hinduism, racism is less than 3000 thousand years old in sub continent , not as hindu's, deniers of truth absolute hind, lie of 6000 years in their Hinduism, absurdity. hindu filthy sign of hinduism, pagan ism labeled as Star of David by hindu Jew's, pagan secular s has nothing to do with Israelite but top view of meeting of two hindu, fabricated pyramid to illustrate god hood of two hindu, criminal person's.
    Word Jew is based on Latin word Yahood, Je or Ja, Ye, or Ya, meaning from heart and mind base word for Yes in English, HOOD, habit or habitat, meaning, self centered or a secular, denier of truth absolute, such as King, or Pig, in disregard to truth absolute and Judaism, One who takes a wow to be in violation of truth by his intent, considering himself to be the God, the truth absolute, same as in hindu, denier of truth absolute, word hindu is based on Latin word hindrance, negativity, HAN, great, Hun, to be in greatness and hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity, as in word Jew, a self centered or a criminal, otherwise known as a goon, a shaman. Judaism is not a religion but in opposition, defiance to truth absolute in self center ism.
    In divine language word hinduism, absurdity called religion does not exist, borne out of hindu Judaism, filthy secularism defiance of truth absolute of Persia and Egyptian hindu pagan origin , hindu Jew's criminal secular s pretending to be Hebrew, but Theen Allah, way of truth absolute, source for peace, Shalom among humanity, Quran quantifies it and Hidat explains the La, limit's absolute to reach peace Islam in life. hinduism, corruption of truth absolute labeled a bible has nothing to do with truth absolute but justification of hindu Mithra ism, filthy savior ism, foundation of hindu filthy hinduism,. racism.
    World can never have peace in presence of hinduism, denial of truth absolute, humanity need to work together for elimination of hindu's, criminals and their hinduism, illegality.

    August 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
    • ASaxonMyself

      ... and what does any of that have to do with Syria?


      August 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Reply
      • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

        Every thing, hinduism, terrorism of hindu Jew's, criminal secular s and their hindu terrorist gentiles, slave, Christians of the west.

        August 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Bad Karma Hinduz ®

      The land called India is the rightful territory of South Asian muslims (oooops West Central Asia) bequeathed to them by the Moghals who ruled India for centuries. The land was conveyed to them through a warranty deed the original of which is supposedly in the archives of the British Museum. Time has come now for the hindus to vacate the land. We have an alternate location for them…..the deep abyss of the Indian Ocean. As Don Corleone would have put it….”The Hindus Swim With The Fish” or rather the “Sharks”.

      August 26, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Reply
      • proskistani

        I smell usual Paki crapped diapers!!! Diaper Aid please!

        August 27, 2012 at 7:59 am |
  6. Roland

    It's too complicated, if I had the answer as what to do with Syria I wouldn't be writing comments on CNN.What I can say is that Syria is a bit like Lebanon only much bigger. It has many different ethnic groups and there is likely to be ethnic tensions and conflict.Also Syria is a major ally of Iran and the Hezbollah in Lebanon you would drag hem into the conflict as well. If you think Iraq was bad for US troops then Syria would be much worse.Also Russia and China really it's not a good idea to snub these two powers.Syria represents especially for the Russians one of the few remaining foot holds in this region same with China.They just don't like the Western powers calling the shots over this oil rich region and they want their own puppet regimes.So in general I would say...let the UN take the lead and try to find a diplomatic solution.I don't see a conflict outcome that would be positive for anyone and a occupation would be just a costly bloody disaster.

    August 26, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Reply
  7. Bad Karma Hinduz ®

    LIPSTICK ON A PIG: The Story of India
    Mirror Mirror on the Wall
    Indian Hindus are the slimiest of them all
    The way you let the Shadows Play
    You'd think my hair was getting Gray.
    What's that, you say? A double chin?
    Nah, that's the way the light comes in.

    Self Denial....is the Hindu play
    Maybe catharsis is another way.

    August 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Reply
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Do not insult a pig, self centered by comparing it to a hindu ignorant human from hindered gutter land india, animal has no sense to be right or wrong like human, "HIS" desire, A hindu denier of truth in his hindu Judasim, filthy self center ism is more hindu, filthy than a hindu pig, filthy self centered.

      August 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Reply
      • proskistani

        Paki diapers to be changed yet again!!

        August 27, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • proskistani

      I smell usual Paki crapped diapers!!! Smelly of Jihadist pee!

      August 27, 2012 at 7:53 am | Reply
  8. fwswisher

    Our role in Libya was played with perfection. But – it's easy to see Syria isn't the same type game. As the top dog in global "influence" what choices will we have when the situation there continues to escalate is the real question! We need to be considering where it's all going – not just todays latest news reports. It looks to me like it won't even stay the same let alone get any better, anytime soon.
    In fact we are a global community, deciding not to decide only masks the truth. What happens if shipping lanes are shut down and oil prices start to strangle out our fragile – global – economy? Many of the contributors here seem to think in black and white answers, but shades of grey is more realistic. I certainly don't have a simplistic answer, but I feel it's a matter of finding the most balanced and best timed approach we can.
    If there is good news, it seems that if Syria get's resolved the region and free world will benefit, so it is really in our interest to help steer the outcome.

    August 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  9. JeffinIL

    Show us some oil. Then we'll be there.

    August 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  10. nick

    if this in europe something would have been done by now

    August 26, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Reply
  11. nick

    if nothing is done
    the smae wil happen agin some where else
    some one has to do something

    August 26, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Reply
  12. Joel

    I find it funny that so many people still think America engages in wars for the sake of "democracy". The U.S. acts as the so called "police state" for one reason, and one reason only: financial and limited-resource gains. We would (and have) install "non-democratic" (to put it lightly) governments if there were benefits for American interests in those countries. When there is money to be made and little need to worry about elections or other political and financial tidbits, you better believe our government would find a reason to get involved. I'm dumbfounded at the people who write here who believe that America has a "moral" right to help other countries solve their own problems within their sovereignty.

    If this is in fact a matter of genocide, the questions quickly comes to mind why the U.S. would engage here when they have not done so in the Congo or Sudan despite years of atrocities occurring in those places. I do believe that there should be an international group that confronts genocides, but it is not the place of our one country to act as the do-all know-all. I truly hope that our country does not get involved.

    On the contrary, it is up to our country, as the leader of the world, to become the main proponent for peaceful action. What do we show young burgeoning nations when we literally seek out battles and show our "modernity" with our new-age destructive weaponry? From afar we use unmanned planes to blast militants and, in the process, hurt innocent individuals. We tear apart families as we sit watching 80" LED TVs. Little boys and girls are left parent-less, and seething; why should we be surprised if they find solace in the comforting arms of terror groups? Intelligence and technology mean nothing if you lack the wisdom to determine cause and effect. We are a silly young sibling nation.

    August 26, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Reply
  13. Cheetahe

    All these chicken hawks are out looking for the next conflict to send our hard earned tax dollars and our youth to cause more mayhem around the world.
    Why these criminals keep on talking about spreading democracy when they only cause civil strife and suffering whenever they get their dirty hands in any region of the world. We should let them volunteer themselves for the causes they espouse. I hope Obama keeps us out of these unnecessary wars.
    I am waiting to see where Mitt and Obama stand about the war plans of the chicken hawks.

    August 27, 2012 at 12:10 am | Reply
  14. Bob

    If we fought wars with every country that oppresses its people in some way, it would leave our country in complete ruin. We're rich and powerful, but we're not THAT rich and powerful. The culture of the Middle East is one of tyranny and oppression, and we can't change a culture no matter how many trillions of dollars we spend or how many of our soldiers we sacrifice. This is ultimately something Syrians must fix for themselves, if it is ever to be fixed.

    August 27, 2012 at 12:31 am | Reply
  15. mgseed

    We all have the luxury being arm chair politicians with hindsight as a guide. It's obvious the uprising is being used by multiple sides inside and outside of Syria for the own means. It is also clear that Assad's forces do target civilian areas for no clear military objective. Even Russian media makes mention of the shelling of neighborhoods where anti-government forces are not present. The moral objective is there and it would be just. But it is also not clear if Syrians would actually be any safer once Assad were gone. Those folks are ripe for an Iraq style bloodletting. And I doubt most Syrians want to see the Turks or Nato in their neighborhood.

    IF I were in charge, I'd be happy to unleash a week or two of tomahawk missiles to level the game a little, but only if Syria's neighbors pay for it. No boots on the ground.

    Lend Lease type of deal, or bombs for oil, or cash and carry, etc.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:30 am | Reply
    • Cameron

      As much as I hate to say this I largely agree with that. We should not be boots on ground and our help isn't free. It's not of matter of money in a profit sense but bombs ain't free and our economy isn't exactly stable. Syria won't be any safer without Assad. It is def a crap shoot.

      August 27, 2012 at 1:50 am | Reply
  16. Alfred von Gesternberg

    Fareed Zakaria is an opportunist carrying water for the Obama administration. It's so sad that he didn't leave his authoritarian reflexes home. The only reason he says "we don't know the rebels" now is because it's more convenient for his master Obama to let Assad kill thousands of people. OH BTW we still don't know who's behind the Anti-Gaddfi opposition.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:52 am | Reply
  17. mardjan

    MO we don'y know the anti gaddafi either. That was a mistake and so is intervening in Syria.

    August 27, 2012 at 5:05 am | Reply
  18. Sam

    I suspect that the question is designed to see whether their media succeeded in manipulating you into thinking what they wanted you to think after reading/watching their filtered version of reality.

    August 27, 2012 at 5:23 am | Reply
  19. taxweary1

    With our economy,unemployment and fuel and food prices ,I think our plate is full,lets clean up our own back yard before we worry about anyone elses!

    August 27, 2012 at 6:39 am | Reply
  20. wellytom

    Why do so many people think these situations have to be 'all or nothing'? It is possible to influence events in these conflicts without committing hundreds of billions of dollars and a coalition of nations...

    Tell the Syrians that they can no longer use the airforce, hit a couple radar installations and put patrols off the coast...anyone remember the Iraqi airforce or the Libyan? Once the msg got out that western fire-power was in the air the Iraqi pilots refused to fly...and the Syrians would do the same...would you fly a Russian built helicopter if you thought there might be a NATO F18 somewhere above? It doesn't necessitate a full scale air war...

    And contact his generals...remind them about Gaddafi and Saddam, make it clear that Assad is gone and its time for them to think about their next career move...I suspect that very few of Assads 'followers' want to die willingly for him and that eventually he will be found hiding in a ditch like a rat, just as Saddam and Gaddafi were.

    The world needs to learn there is still a great difference between bringing down a nation and bringing down a man.

    Unfortunately, the Syrian fiasco is now just a reminder that the 'global community' and the UN are really a bit of joke and tyrants everywhere are probably encouraged by the ease with which Assad can murder and continue to trade.

    August 27, 2012 at 7:25 am | Reply
  21. srobidoux

    This needs to be an educated, serious discussion. Go back to school and stop commenting on things you know nothing about.

    August 27, 2012 at 7:39 am | Reply
  22. r00t4rd3d

    We should be doing absolutely nothing. Let them people deal with their own problems. No more world policing. No more funding world welfare.

    August 27, 2012 at 7:54 am | Reply
  23. proskistani

    I smell usual Paki crapped diapers!!! Typical ISI/LeT propaganda!

    August 27, 2012 at 9:01 am | Reply
  24. Ays

    Just another excuse for the US to divert taxpayer's money to the Military Industrial Complex. After all, those are the ones who donate large amounts to the candidates, to keep them in office. Why don't we simply mind our own business unless action is taken by a wide coalition of other countries. There is no reason for us to lead the charge. The truth is, our government and their supporters are more interested in lining their own pockets tan saving Syrian lives.

    July 19, 2013 at 4:09 am | Reply
  25. Jose Luna

    Stay out of it. Let's not go to war over WMDs again, unless they are used against this country.

    August 26, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  26. Punit Kumar

    War is not the solution of everything. People should change their mentality.
    Punit Kumar

    July 6, 2017 at 4:58 am | Reply
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