News

Lawmakers Debate US Military Intervention in Syria

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 7, 2012, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the crisis in Syria and the risks for U.S. involvement.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 7, 2012, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the crisis in Syria and the risks for U.S. involvement.
Michael Bowman

U.S. defense officials are resisting calls from some lawmakers for American military intervention in Syria to end bloodletting and hasten the departure of President Bashar al-Assad.

Echoing President Barack Obama a day earlier, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta argued against a rush to launch military strikes against Syrian government forces. Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Syria’s bloody suppression of its people must and will end, but added the following: “Unfortunately, this terrible situation has no simple answers," he said.

The hearing featured a long, tense exchange between Panetta and Republican Senator John McCain, who urged prompt U.S.-led air strikes against the Syrian military. McCain reminded the defense secretary of the Obama administration’s stated policy of preventing mass atrocities.

Senator McCain: “Would you agree that mass atrocities have occurred and are occurring in Syria?”
Secretary Panetta: “I do not think there is any question that we are experiencing mass atrocities there.”
Senator McCain: “How many more have to die? Ten thousand more? Twenty thousand more? How many more?”

Secretary Panetta responded that, unless the United States acts unilaterally, something President Obama has ruled out, important groundwork must be laid before a military campaign can go forward. “We have to build a multi-lateral coalition. We have got to be able to work at that. It is not that easy. Can it happen today, can it happen now? No, it is going to take some work. It is going to take some time. But when we do it, we will do it right," he said.

Independent Senator Joe Lieberman argued time is running short. “I think if we do not get the international community together in a ‘coalition of the willing’ soon, we are going to look back and say we not only did not do the right thing morally to stop innocents from being killed, we missed an extraordinary strategic opportunity to strengthen our position and the position of free people in the Middle East," he said.

Also testifying was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey. Dempsey said the United States could help enforce a no-fly zone over Syria and distribute humanitarian assistance. He said Syria possesses five times the air defense capability that Libya had last year, protecting roughly one-fifth as much territory. The general also noted Syria possesses far greater stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Alves Tahir Naqqash
March 14, 2012 2:41 PM
I think that the unique country that has interest in helping the Syrian people is US. The other countries are not worried if the people is being killed or not. Some of these countries use excuses such as: oh, no, Syria is a sovereign country and we cannot intervene in it. But the true is: they are not worried if the people is being massacred or not. They are worried only with they economies. I'm Brazilian, but I like the US policy. God bless US and help to save this contries ruled by dictators.

by: Lebanese Sunni Man
March 08, 2012 11:04 PM
God bless the Free Syrian Army. God bless the United States. Please save Syria from Bashar al-Assad. The entire Arab world will be pro-US if it intervenes to save the Syrian people. As we speak hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children are being murdered, raped, tortured, and imprisoned.

by: Make peace or kill yourselves from Israel to Iran. Get your own house in order.
March 08, 2012 3:38 PM
Where was Lieberman/ McCain during the many African atrocities? For them this is a proxy war to promote another agenda - dressed up as a human rights. Assad must go but why must western soldiers die for this? In Europe many died in ww2 - Israel talks holocaust but 90 million + others died. Where is Europe now? North Americans are expected to bleed and then be spit upon.NO MORE.

by: Cuwan al-Muhsin
March 08, 2012 12:48 AM
It is unfortunate that your family is not in Syria, WJP.

by: Somalia man
March 07, 2012 8:11 PM
Let the repels be punished and destroyed, who gives USA the right to overthrown Syrian Presidents, they have no right, USA and its evil allies destroyed Libya where still there is no functional government.

My God Safe Al Asad and the Syrian People from the Western Evil Powers.

by: Russ
March 07, 2012 7:11 PM
This is A Very,Very Good example of Obama's Failed foriegn policies! He is Reckless with our national Sercurity! Defense secretary of the Obama administration’s stated policy of preventing mass atrocities.

by: Igor
March 07, 2012 5:09 PM
Republican Senator John McCain is a dishonest man. In fact heis trying to persude Obama administration to begin the war in Syria and then sink into it so the Rebublican will win the president election. To him peace inSyria or the fate of US soldiers are nothing.

by: Oyajy
March 07, 2012 3:11 PM
If you Americans really believe in your own values and as the most powerful country you must help us, it is a single side war, massacre, epic and shame on the world to watch it, if you really believe that God is blessing you not devil does, so it is you responsibility to relief us, the history is being wrote and if you do not do your move it will be the 21th century scandal and your responsibility will be brushed away soon.
BR for Mr. MacCain

by: John Bird
March 07, 2012 12:42 PM
This is a must win war for US, West and Israel. This is not merely the Syrian people looking up to the world to help them be free from 50 years of a dictatorship rule by Assad family.

If this is the case, then did we ask ourselves why Iran, Hezbollah, Russia, Venezuela and China are supporting the Syrian regime? There is no oil in Syria, right? Then why?

by: domingo
March 07, 2012 9:25 AM
Let the Arabs, including the Turks decide what options or plans they have to resolves the crises in Syria, let them led but the USA should support them if asked including military assistance.
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs