Warmongering Neocons Demand American Military Intervention in Syria Now!

The reliably belligerent trio of Joe Lieberman, John McCain and Lindsey Graham pen a Washington Post Op-Ed calling for arming the Syrian opposition and imposing a "no-fly zone."

Senators Lieberman and McCain at a Munich security conference.
Photo Credit: Kai Mork/Wikimedia Commons

As surely as the sun rises from the east, neoconservative senators want more American military involvement in the Middle East. The latest call for more intervention, this time in Syria, is from the reliably belligerent trio of Joe Lieberman, John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

For months, Lieberman, McCain and Graham have been banging their heads against the wall to try and convince people that now is the time to forcefully intervene in what has become a brutal civil war. Today, the Washington Post prints yet another of their calls for military intervention in Syria--five months after publishing an Op-Ed by the same senators that called for intervention in Syria.

The senators get some basic facts right. It is indeed true that “as 2012 draws to a close, Syria is descending into hell. At least 40,000 people, and likely many more, have been killed, while millions have been forced to flee their homes.” The senators also correctly note that “the longer this war grinds on, the greater the chance it could ignite a wider sectarian conflict.”

Additionally, they write that “while recent regime defections and battlefield setbacks suggest that Assad’s hold on power is deteriorating, this conflict could grind on for some time, at an awful and escalating cost to Syria’s people, its neighbors and U.S. interests and prestige.”

All of this is true. But it’s their solution that is deeply problematic. “We must provide weapons and other lethal assistance to the opposition military command,” the senators insist. “We must impose a no-fly zone in some areas of Syria, to include using the U.S. Patriot missile batteries en route to Turkey, to protect people in northern Syria from Assad’s aerial attacks.”

Let’s translate: the senators want the U.S. to send weapons to an opposition in Syria that includes radical jihadists. When the U.S. approved a plan for Qatar to send weapons to Libyan fighters, “American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants.” That concern “has taken on new urgency as the administration considers whether to play a direct role in arming rebels in Syria, where weapons are flowing in from Qatar and other countries,” as The New York Times reported earlier this month.

The neoconservative trio is also advocating for a “no-fly zone,” presumably with the U.S. in the lead of implementing that plan. That would inevitably mean U.S. fighter jets strafing Syria and perhaps attacking the Syrian military to reinforce the “no-fly zone.” Once that happens, U.S. involvement in Syria becomes inextricable, and further militarizes a conflict that has descended into armed chaos.

And there’s also the salient fact that Senators Lieberman, McCain and Graham are primarily concerned with American hegemony in the region--not the rights of the Syrian people. The Syrian uprising for democracy has been turned into a conduit for how the U.S. can overthrow Assad and deal a blow to Iran. If the U.S. becomes more involved, as these senators wish, it will be with the express purpose of shaping a new Syrian regime to bend to the interests of the U.S. and Israel. That will still happen without direct U.S. military intervention, but the chances of its success with American planes in the sky increase exponentially. 

There's no doubt that the Syrian people deserve democracy, but is U.S. military involvement the way to secure that? The answer is no.

As Middle East analyst Mitchell Plitnick observed in AlterNet, “the advocates for US intervention in Syria are represented by a coalition of the same strange bedfellows that pushed for an invasion of Iraq a decade ago: neoconservatives and liberal hawks.” They’re trying to fool the American people again.

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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