Syria: Intervention is in Our Interest

The question for another President today, and for all Americans, is whether we will again answer the desperate pleas for rescue that are made uniquely to us, the USA.

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ALESSIO ROMENZI

A building destroyed by a regime airstrike in the Bustan Al Bashar neighborhood of Aleppo.

This article appears in this week’s magazine. McCain rebuts Zbigniew Brzezinski, who argues in his article that Syrian intervention will only make the situation worse.

The strategic and humanitarian costs of the conflict in Syria continue to rise, not just for Syrians but also for vital U.S. interests. Chemical weapons have likely been used by President Bashar Assad’s regime against civilians, and more than 70,000 people have been slaughtered. The -al-Qaeda-aligned al-Nusra Front has gained unprecedented strength on the ground. Iran and its proxy Hizballah are building a network of militias inside Syria. A staggering 5 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes. Meanwhile, cross-border spillover threatens the security and stability of our allies and partners Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon.

I know Americans are war-weary and eager to focus on our domestic and economic problems, not foreign affairs. I also know the situation in Syria is complex and there are no ideal options. But the basic choice we face is not complicated: Do the costs of inaction outweigh the costs of action? The events of the past 26 months have convinced me that they do. All of the terrible consequences those against intervening predicted would happen in Syria if we intervened happened because we did not. This conflict will grind on with all of its worsening effects until the military balance of power shifts more decisively against Assad and his Iranian, Russian and Hizballah backers.

(PHOTOS: Chaos and Killing in Syria: Photos of a Slow-Motion Civil War)

The U.S. does not have to act alone, put boots on the ground or destroy every Syrian air-defense system to make a difference. We could train and arm well-vetted Syrian opposition forces, as recommended last year by President Obama’s national-security team. We could strike Assad’s aircraft and Scud-missile launchers. We could destroy artillery and drive Assad’s forces from their posts. We could station Patriot-missile batteries just outside Syria to create safe zones across the border.

Taking these steps would save innocent lives, give the moderate opposition a better chance to succeed and eventually provide security and responsible governance in Syria after Assad. However, the longer we wait, the worse the situation gets, and the tougher it will be to confront.

For America, our interests are our values, and our values are our interests. Nearly two decades ago, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to support President Clinton as he led the U.S. to stop mass atrocities in Bosnia. The question for another President today, and for all Americans, is whether we will again answer the desperate pleas for rescue that are made uniquely to us, the USA.

McCain is the senior Senator from Arizona

PHOTOS: The Syrian Civil War: Photographs by Alessio Romenzi

PHOTOS: John McCain’s Long Distance Campaign

84 comments
Golestan
Golestan

I can understand Senator McCain's point of view :

The US Military-Industrial complex needs another war to keep rolling And McCain needs that to keep the "campaign contributions" rolling in.

Canongate
Canongate like.author.displayName 1 Like

John McCain is a stuck-in-an-old-Goldwater-rut politician who continues to promote the sacrifice of American blood and treasure on the altar of foreign intervention. For all of his years, he has not seen the folly of so many of our foreign misadventures and the price we pay in blood and the massive debt we now hand to future generations. Senator McCain would now borrow more money to put us in the middle of another fight between Sunnis and Shiites in Syria. Where did politicians of his ilk get the idea they were elected by Americans to solve the problems of the entire world at the expense of the people whose interests they were actually elected to serve? 

“For America, our interests are our values, and our values are our interests”: What? This reads like: “America, we want you to believe in chasing your own tail”, while Washington continues to feed the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned you about. Maybe rather than “McCain’s folly”, he does see this as “In The Interest” of the military industry that now drives a huge segment of whats left of the American manufacturing economy. We’ve become a country in the War Business. I’ve always voted as a Republican “fiscal conservative”.However, somewhere along the way Republican “fiscal conservatism” has come to only mean: “cut taxes” & “no new taxes” --- but then spend like drunken sailor. I guess Senator McCain was a sailor. My own sixty-two year old definition: “Stay out of the problems of other countries and balance our revenues with our spending.” But apparently - as a Republican - that’s just me.

RamonRoman
RamonRoman like.author.displayName 1 Like

I would ask Senator McCain where are his values when the suffering of the Palestinian People is involved?  If he is worried about the death of so many people in Syria, why he doesn't feel any worries about al the suffering of the civilians, still occurring, in Iraq? What about the suffering of the people of Iran if his wishes about bombing it becomes a reality? When are his values attached to wars to find  solutions are going to be defeated by the decent people of the USA?  Finally, I don't  want to justify the numbers of people killed here or there, but mister McCain, if you proportionally calculate the people killed by the Zionists in Palestine with those killed up to this moment in Syria, you really would feel worried by the killing in Palestine. In this moment, mister McCain, the values of the American People, according to the latest polls, are very different from yours.

joshuagenes
joshuagenes like.author.displayName 1 Like

The replacement isn't going to be any better. Sometime you win  by suporting one side and sometime you win by supporting the other but in this case you win by being nuetral. It is not our fight and not our problem.

RamonRoman
RamonRoman like.author.displayName 1 Like

@joshuagenes Joshua, of course there is a big difference with the replacement. In this moment the reality is that Assad is a dictator, nobody denies that, but a secular dictator where all religions practice and worships its gods without interference. Total difference with Saudi Arabia or the other Muslim dictatorships friends with the USA, you know why. In Israel proper, you don't see Catholic, protestants or Muslims churches, except in the occupied territories. Now, people as McCain and your President have forgotten everything about the terrorists of Sept 11 and want to arm these same terrorists to fight against Assad, Have you asked yourself why? Is Syria a friend of Israel? Is Iran a friend of Israel? Do you know what the Golan Heights are, and according to International Law who is the legal owner? The majority of you, citizens of the USA, don't count when the Zionist in the congress rule the American international policies.

jbwillikers
jbwillikers

Let's do it the easy way. What countries doen't he want to interveve in?

LitaAnn
LitaAnn

McCain, as a conservative, which you are not, (you are an entrenched politician now) Syria is no different tham Egypt or Libya or any of these other countries.  Most of the good people have fled Syria and the government of Syria and the rebels both appear to be bad guys.  Why you politicians think you can manage muslim extremists on either side is beyond me.

GregStewart
GregStewart

You were wrong in Bosnia too, McSame.  Read your whole article and you simply don't make the case....not that you ever intended to. 

Johnno66
Johnno66

Mr. McCain needs to be primaried in the worst way. I was amazed when he managed to hang onto his seat last cycle. He represents the worst parts of both parties. He is the entire case for term limits.

rickroberts
rickroberts like.author.displayName 1 Like

Wow, we really dodged a bullet when this man was defeated in 2008.

AlexanderScipio
AlexanderScipio like.author.displayName 1 Like

Yo, John! Women now can serve in combat. Send YOUR daughters to Syria. THEN come back and discuss my kids with me - and NOT BEFORE. There is not ONE DAMN THING in ANY muslim nation worth the life of ONE American. 

JamesTrammell
JamesTrammell like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Vital US Interests.

By that he means ensuring profits for the military contractors he and his buddies have invested in...

Or does he really want us to believe that by removing a dictator only to have him replaced by yet another unstable Islamic nation run by fundamentalists in the name of humanitarian aid is a good idea?

thult
thult

John McCain is anxious for the Muslim Brotherhood, just like in Libya, Egypt, Iran, to begin burning Syrian churches while raping and killing Christians in Syria!  This is little different from John McCain wanting to destroy America through his efforts to legalize our overrun by TENS of MILLIONS of illegals, and the efforts of his wife and daughter to undo our Judeo-Christian bedrock tenets through their non-stop efforts to promote abortion on demand and their further activism in promotion of the GLBT agenda!  John McCain has spent a lifetime trying to discredit his Navy Admiral father's core beliefs, all a part of proving himself to be a real "maverick!" 

ThomasG.Wilson
ThomasG.Wilson like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Dear John:

Please take up fly fishing.

Signed:

The Public

AndrewHoffman
AndrewHoffman

Syria did not use chemical weapons, if anything the rebels used them in attempts to frame Syria.

Rebels were also probably to blame for the bombs in Turkey.

The rebels are losing the war. They're desperate and trying to get foreign powers involved however they can.

azmalhome
azmalhome

they just put a very good about female right. but they never show of it. it's common matter in USA rape and murder.

because bible says "women will be dirty for the long time, if she breeds a female child not giving birth male child"

 USA always is busy to poke them noses for other country, but they're unable to protect own people.it's a stupid things.

http://azmalhome.wordpress.com/

AZWI
AZWI

Everyone is so tired of John McCain and his war hungry, war thirty, warmongering rhetoric! There's no doubt that the Defense & Oil Industries own John McCain! When McCain himself is certainly NO military or foreign affairs expert. McCain is just a bitter, frustrated hatred old man. That has no regards for human like. 

http://exposingreligionblog.tumblr.com/post/30496848783


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9688222


http://pol.moveon.org/mccain10/thanks.html?id=-17340335-0gXtorx


LO2daPEZ
LO2daPEZ like.author.displayName 1 Like

Let our allies take the ball on this one. I have spent the last 11 years of my life fighting in the middle east and I really don't think getting involved in another conflict is going to help our interests. If the cause is that just then why don't others do something about it? Why doesn't the UN get a multinational task force to do something? Why are you so anxious to send more Americans into the fray?  

NickNailor
NickNailor

UN multinational task force? We don't need boots on the ground we need to boot assad and then the terrorists and help prop up a responsible government that syria has not seen in a long long time.We need to learn from what happened in Egypt and and Libya! We don't need to do much with compared what we have to gain.

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove like.author.displayName 1 Like

This 'COUNTRY CLUB REPUBLICAN" AN IDIOT WHEN IT COMES TO WAGING WAR.......NOW WANTS US TO INTERVENE IN SYRIA !!!!!!!!!!!!.......JUST LIKE WE INTERVENED IN EGYPT AND THREW OUR ALLY MUBARAK UNDER THE BUS .......AND INTERVENE IN LIBYA......THROWING OU NEWCOOPERATIVE ALLY KHADDAFY UNDER THE BUS........

YEA, IDIOT MCCAIN, YOU LOSER........INTERVENE AND HELP AL QUEDA USHER A NEW REGIME HOSTILE TO THE UNITED STATES.......YOU ARE A BARAKING IDIOT.......

YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE SENATE TOO LONG......YU ARE DEAD WOOOD......RETIRE AND ENJOY YOUR MILLIONS....

valentine, world.military.political historian.....lol

arvay
arvay

here's the secret to John McCain's "advocacy."

He's in second place on this list.

http://maplight.org/us-congress/interest/J5100/view/all

See, America needs to once again pull Israel's chestnuts from the fire. 

greyngold
greyngold

@arvay This has nothing to do with Israel. They are more than capable of dealing with the syrians. In fact, the Israelis have been outspoken about their beliefs that people need to stay out of this one.

This is about Republicans struggling against their powerlessness to use american power to reshape the middle east. It failed in Iraq, it is failing in Afghanistan, and McCain thinks that the third time is the charm, hoping to co-opt the Arab Spring in the process by helping "prop up" friendly militias. McCain has clearly not gotten the memo that 80% of the fighters are jihadis or islamists.

The syria situation is INFINETLY complicated because of the polarization of parties. There is the Israelis and their interests (generally staying out of it), the American interests (hoping to seperate Syria from being an Iranian ally and thereby starve out hezbollah's weapon supplies, as well as try to minimize the anti-americanism of any replacement government), the fact that the rebels and iranians/hezbollah should be more natural allies than them and the secular Syrian Alawite regime but because of them taking sides with Assad, that just isn't the case, then there is Turkey involved too. Syria is a regional mess that no one know how it will end. The proper solution is to stay the hell out of it - thats the only way that we can possibly stay on good terms with the rebels.

Any involvement of americans will result in a rally-around-the-flag effect for Assad, who can then legitimiately point to foreign invaders/influence (never mind that so many of his fighters are foreigners too...)

urownexperience
urownexperience like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

"Bomb, bomb, bomb - bomb, bomb Iran."  The pinnacle of McCain oratory. 

fitty_three
fitty_three like.author.displayName 1 Like

If Obama had the skills of John McCain, the Korean Peninsula would be in flames right now.

fitty_three
fitty_three

And, of course, let's just bomb Iran while were at it?

urownexperience
urownexperience like.author.displayName 1 Like

Sir, you forgot to mention Russian reaction.Will they idly sit by and let us do this?

YehudaElyada
YehudaElyada

Everyone should realize that the only real interest and justification to get involved in Syria is to preempt the possibility that Iran will take full control of the country and thus pinch the Middle-East in two: the northern-Asiatic sphere, stretching from Turkey to Pakistan centered in Teheran, and the southern-Arabic sphere, arcing from Saudi Arabia to Libya with the center of gravity in Cairo. But to succeed in this endeavor, the Western countries should be willing to hold out, physically on the Syrian ground however painful, for the long run. No chance this generation has the strength of character to face an Afghan type situation for maybe 30 to 50 years, until the current Iranian defiance is replaced with a normal Hedonistic secular mentality.

MichaelMarinsky
MichaelMarinsky

McCain while campaigning for Prez: 'We're going to stay in Iraq until the job gets done.'

Guess why I voted for Obama.

LitaAnn
LitaAnn

Because you support marxists or maoists?

megapril
megapril

Pfft... I don't even HAVE to guess man! That Obama - Now THERE's a promise keeper!! And quite the assassin too;)

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is because John McCain has shown such great judgment in the past.  Sorry, Senator.  Americans have no appetite to send our sons and daughters into another black hole in the Middle East.

brianc2221
brianc2221 like.author.displayName 1 Like

If Muslims want to kill other Muslims, who are we to stop them?

Eglen
Eglen like.author.displayName 1 Like

Where does it stop. what middle east war wont we get in to? and why are our allies not taking a leadership role in this conflict? responsibility has a lot to do with proximity  you would think the countries around Syria would send in troops or do more because it affects them the most. what good are our allies if they refuse to put skin in the game? last but not least a lesson from the past we did not start WWI or WWII we got involved because they attacked us, we helped as much as we could from the sidelines "Arsenal of democracy" but we lead from behind and were willing to let the Europeans settle their own affairs, I think we should give the middle east the same courtesy. 

Truth
Truth like.author.displayName 1 Like

This coming from a man who chose Sarah Palin as his VP. Yup. Sounds about right. Lets all start a third war in the Middle East. 

megapril
megapril

McCain is an idiot... That being said I just can't take anyone seriously who uses the word "Truth" in their screen name. That goes for any derivatives of "Think", "Thought", or "Honest" as well, so don't feel too bad...

brianc2221
brianc2221

Joe "Jobs Is a Three Letter Word" was such a better choice. Sarc.

fitty_three
fitty_three like.author.displayName 1 Like

@brianc2221  

sarc misapplied.

and that, my friends, is the mother of all understatements....

brianc2221
brianc2221 like.author.displayName 1 Like

The country would be so much better off if this senile old fool would either retire or die (and I am a Republican).

megapril
megapril

Exactly, because he certainly isn't... RINO.

MichaelMarinsky
MichaelMarinsky like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Senator McCain: In your first executive decision, you chose Bible Spice as your VP. Add that to your beliefs about Iraq, and I would not trust your judgement on anything other than the Senior Special at Denny's.

BTW, Bible Spice gave tacit approval for clinic violence. You were sitting next to her - remember?

megapril
megapril

"Bible Spice"... That's Awesome!

JasonLowery
JasonLowery

We need to stop interfering in affairs that do not concern us.  While I sympathize with the rebels, Syria is not threatening us or the world at large.  America needs to quit squandering blood and treasure on adventures at the whim of old men who sit comfortably in their office.

swagger
swagger

where are the humanitarian aid donations from the 1.4 billion muslim brothers and sisters worldwide?

uncle cranky pants likes wars.  he wants us to get into any war, anyplace for any reason that suits him.  talk about out of touch.  the american people are at least happy about the fact we're out of iraq and getting out of afghanistan because the getting in part for vague goals is easy but it's the getting out of a quagmire after 10 or more costly years is hard.

i think the overwhelming opinion about involvement in syria is HELL NO.

MichaelMarinsky
MichaelMarinsky like.author.displayName 1 Like

Sorry, Senator McCain. You get to cry wolf only once.

Time2Cancel
Time2Cancel like.author.displayName 1 Like

Someone give McCain a rifle and send him to Syria to "intervene".

megapril
megapril

Such a shame. He really should have stuck to the war hero gig he had going for him and kept his big ignorant mouth shut on everything else. He'd probably make a great tour guide over at the National Mall in D.C.