Archive for Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Roberts says war with Syria likely

August 27, 2013


U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts said today that it appears the United States is headed for war in Syria, especially in light of recent reports that government forces there used chemical weapons against Syrian rebels.

"I don't see any way out of it," the Kansas Republican said in a speech to the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce during a luncheon this afternoon. "I think (President Barack Obama) has to use military force."

But Roberts said he believes the American people are "war-weary" and he does not believe military action will involve sending ground forces into Syria.

"We're not going to put boots on the ground," he said. "I don't think this president would put boots on the ground anyway. He is taking boots off the ground. He did that in Iraq."

Roberts' comments came on the same day that the White House said it was considering military options, but that those options do not involve taking down the regime of Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad.

During his speech in Lawrence, Roberts indicated that he doesn't believe the president has decided what the aim of any U.S. military action should be. And he strongly urged the president to consult with Congress before taking any action.

"Whatever is done is going to have to be done strategically and with considerable thought, and really change the outcome of what happens in regards to Syria," Roberts said. "I am not sure the president is ready to do that."

Roberts was in Lawrence Tuesday as part of a statewide tour while Congress takes its traditional August recess.

In his remarks to the Chamber of Commerce audience, Roberts also spoke about several other issues pending in Washington, including the possibility of a federal government shutdown if Congress cannot agree on a budget before Oct. 1.

Some congressional Republicans have talked about refusing to pass a budget that includes funding for the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare." And the president has indicated he will not sign a budget that does not include funding for his foremost legislative program.

Starting Oct. 1, people without insurance can start shopping for subsidized coverage in state-based exchange markets. And starting Jan. 1, most adults will fall under a mandate to either have health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

Roberts, who has been a staunch opponent of that program, said he doesn't believe the federal government is ready to implement those provisions.

"Even though it's been three years since the bill was passed, you'd think people would have enough time to at least figure out what the exchange is going to be," Roberts said. "We don't know what the questions (are) that you are going to ask me. I don't know, they don't know. That's the problem."

But Roberts said he doesn't know whether the sharp and partisan divisions over health reform will lead to a government shutdown.

"It may come to that because people think this is such a serious issue," Roberts said. "I still don't think that will happen. I think there will be an alternative. What that alternative is, I don't know, but we will have meaningful dialog in the Republican caucus."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


Richard Heckler 7 months, 2 weeks ago

"While unusually detailed, the assessment does not include photographs, recordings or other hard evidence to support its claims. Nor does it offer proof to back up the administration’s assertion that top-ranking Syrian officials — possibly including President Bashar al-Assad — were complicit in the attack."

Who would the USA attack with no hard evidence?

It seems to me politicians should keep tough talk to themselves rather than back themselves into a corner. Remember Iraq had no WMD's yet GW attacked in spite of NOT KNOWING. 11 years later the USA is mired and has expanded the war based on no hard evidence.

Strategic Errors of Monumental Proportions


juma 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Islam, moslems, mohammedans; whatever they are called all I ask is that all boggers who support this worthless and another involvement in the moslem world just go live there for a year and see the truth!


Trumbull 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This is terrible and brutal what is going on in Syria.

But getting involved in another country's civil war by use of selective force or bombing will likely lead to more chaos and tragedy. I definitely think the UN should go in and gather facts about what happened...which they are now doing. Perhaps justice can be accomplished without further violence meant to serve as justice.


Richard Heckler 7 months, 2 weeks ago

USA intelligence knew of and watched step by step the chemical attack... yet did nothing to interrupt? The question becomes how is it the USA government can launch an attack based on an attack that perhaps could have been subverted?


Richard Heckler 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Where is the Secretary of Peace?

Where is the industry designed around peace and goodwill?


Richard Heckler 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Roberts figures this is the GOP ticket back to the White House. Yes encourage Obama to follow BUSHCO.


The USA military is not in favor of invading Syria. Has been making that case for weeks yet too many white collared politicians don't give a damn. This is how the USA went into Iraq..... against the advice of the military brass.

Strategic Errors of Monumental Proportions


LJ Whirled 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The only reason to bomb Syria would be to prevent further embarrassment for Obama, who shot off his mouth. Given that the press is totally in bed with Barry, I think he needs to shrug it off.

Perhaps we could arm both sides, and make sure they don't leave the area, then bomb whoever is left in a year or two.

Syria might make a nice Palestinian homeland.


jayhawklawrence 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Senator Roberts is a very funny guy with a lot of political talent. It is unfortunate that he belongs to the wrong political party at this time in history. I like the man, but we need to use a different strategy on Syria.

War is usually a bad choice.

The United States cannot become a country that is easily drawn into war.

We are the most powerful nation in the history of mankind. We have to be the example of a country that finds alternatives to war. We have to change history. This is our responsibility. We can do this. We can choose alternatives to war.


purplesage 7 months, 3 weeks ago

As to Liberty275's first comment: probably not. Obama, not Bush, is in charge and he gets a pass on all sorts of things that Bush has nearly been crucified for.

Arm the rebels and get rid of the dictator. There are inherent dangers in weapons being proliferated.

A couple of qeustions: how different from Sadaam Hussein gassing the Kurds is this? What distinguishes this from any of the other middle eastern countries? Will cruise missles fix anything? Unless they can destroy the chemichal weapons stash, no.


seebarginn 7 months, 3 weeks ago

No, Sam, the American people aren't war weary, except those American people who have served in the military or are currently serving. Many Americans couldn't find Syria on a map and are more concerned about Miley Cyrus's presumed effects on children than on Syrian children killed by chemical weapons.


Stop_the_Madness 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Just send a contract killer to Syria to take out Assad. Much better value than wasting our military dollars and effort.


oldbaldguy 7 months, 3 weeks ago

this was one of the dumber things we will have done if it happens. nothing good will come out of this. i hope i am wrong.


Stuart Evans 7 months, 3 weeks ago

oh thank goodness, I was worried that the military industrial complex was winding down; thank goodness we have another place where we can literally blow our money.


oldbaldguy 7 months, 3 weeks ago

when yu make a threat yu have to back it up. that is what is happening here. if we were serious about this we will take out the national command structure. we won't we will attack aviation assets and ADA sites.


TalkSense 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Sen. Roberts said relatively little about Syria during his remarks at the luncheon. Much of his talk was a rambling monologue on various issues, interspersed with random asides and folksy stories about Kansas and himself. Watching him was a little scary. Is he losing it?


okjhok 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Good thoughts by Joe Hyde. I feel what so many posters here forget, or do not understand, is that what drives U.S. military intervention, almost exclusively, is U.S. national security interests. You won't hear that in no uncertain terms from the president, but that's how we operate. When you understand that, you will begin to understand why we operate the way we do.


Joe Hyde 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Last week, Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote that the Syrian civil war is not between two discrete sides, but rather “a deeply-rooted, long-term conflict among many factions,” none of which would advance American national interests in the region if they prevailed. Armed intervention, he concluded, can “change the military balance, but it cannot resolve the underlying” issues fueling the conflict, and “violent struggles for power will continue after Assad’s rule ends.”

Middle East scholar Juan Cole notes that “Syria has stockpiles of chemical weapons, the exact position of which is (sic) unknown; indiscriminate bombing raids on Syrian military facilities could release those chemicals on civilian populations.” He adds that much of the regime’s military hardware is housed in major urban centers and couldn’t be targeted from the air without causing massive civilian casualties. “If you want to see a war go bad real quickly,” he writes, “just kill dozens of innocent civilians in their own home from the air.” Finally, he warns that “flooding Syria with medium or heavy weaponry could destabilize it and its neighbors, including Israel and Palestine.”

(Above paragraphs copy/pasted from Moyers & Company website.)

Food for thought.


50YearResident 7 months, 3 weeks ago

All of you posters that think we should send missiles into Syria should have your husbands, sons and grandsons join the military to help fight the ground war that will soon follow. Then when they don't come home or do come home without arms and legs you can reconsider your opinion. We are not the World peace keepers.


50YearResident 7 months, 3 weeks ago

So, they killed 1300 with chemical weapons, now we are going to kill 5000 with cruise missiles to make them not do it again. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It would be better to let Allah sort it out, not the US.


Roland Gunslinger 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Just so we're clear, one side is the Syrian government, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. On the other side are Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel. Who are the good guys, and what national interest would this serve again?

I'm still waiting for a good argument from the war-hawks in Congress as to why Arabs killing Arabs in Arab countries is my problem.


firebird27 7 months, 3 weeks ago

As much as people may want to put this on Obama (yes he is the commander in chief), a big part of this problem is this nation's interpretations of defending human rights. All nations expect us to do it and because we are economically strong, they want us to pay for it. We continue to work under the myth we are defending human rights when we go to war, but what is really happening other countries want to use the USA as the world police, have us pay for the bills, and have our citizens killed versus theirs.

As awful as it may sound, what is occurring in Syria may be good for this country in the long run. Syrians will think twice about having highly centralized power with a monarchy and be willing to fight at all costs in a war.

You will undoubtedly find shortcomings in my arguments, but I am tired of the USA being put in the position of damned if you do (go to war and making the inevitable mistakes) or damned if you don't (not doing anything). We are the world's major police source, and I think it is time for other countries to take charge rather than us always being the one to do so. We went to war in Serbia when European nations could have taken care of Serbia by themselves. As an American, I am tired our nation playing Lone Ranger to the world.


smileydog 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Bush didn't lie after all. Iraq shipped their WMD's across the border into Syria. An article from 2006:


juma 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I am not religious but why, please tell me why, we should help people who tomorrow will try to kill us in the name of allah.


Richard Heckler 7 months, 3 weeks ago

(Reuters) - Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria's government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says.

About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria's civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.

More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days - just as Syria's civil war has escalated and the images of hundreds of civilians allegedly killed by chemicals appeared on television screens and the Internet.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not.

Taken together, the polls suggest that so far, the growing crisis in Syria, and the emotionally wrenching pictures from an alleged chemical attack in a Damascus suburb this week, may actually be hardening many Americans' resolve not to get involved in another conflict in the Middle East.

The results - and Reuters/Ipsos polling on the use-of-chemicals question since early June - suggest that if Obama decides to undertake military action against Assad's regime, he will do so in the face of steady opposition from an American public wary after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some foreign and U.S. officials - notably Republican Senator John McCain, whom Obama defeated for the presidency in 2008 - have called Obama too hesitant in deciding whether to act in Syria. But several Americans surveyed in this week's poll, including Charles Kohls, 68, a former U.S. military officer from Maryland, praised Obama's caution.



LogicMan 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Who was it that won a Nobel Peace Prize?


smileydog 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Let's not forget that Syria's chemical weapons were received from Saddam Hussein....that's where the WMD's were trucked.


tomatogrower 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Then they better raise taxes to pay for it, and bring back the draft. We can't keep sending the same soldiers there over and over. And it would be irresponsible to put it on a credit card like Bush's wars.


Edward Coan 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Sounds like Vietnam when we started with "advisors".


riverdrifter 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Roberts' comments on the presidents' policy in Syria is tantamount to a compliment. This is a lose/lose situation and not worth the cost of a single cruise missile at $1.4M a pop. The US will get enough blame when Israel deals with Syria (however it turns out) down the road. It's on the Turk's back porch as well and Allah alone knows what they'll do. Whattamess.


mikekt 7 months, 3 weeks ago

They have made ASSADS Personage, as "off limits" for an air strike, so what's the point ?............that our so called Arab Allies will be happy and feel that we wouldn't get used to doing that, or remove them the same way with an air strike ?

ASSAD is safe in the belief that we won't remove him with an air strike, so he'll go right on killing, at will .


Iraq used to be enemies with Iran whom they are now best friends with . Gee,.... what an unintended and very consequential outcome !

And why can't the Arabs, police their own back yards ? Or deal with the Persians of Iran on their own ?

There wasn't much about Ronald Reagan that I liked ........ but he deserves credit for taking it right to Muammar Gaddaffis' home, when he got out of line, with his terrorist stuff in Germany . That put him back in his box quite quickly .

Maybe nobody should abuse power,.... but we also shouldn't squander it .....or put a Hitler Type, like a Saddam or an Assad, on the no target list, ( so we can have the eventual mock formality of a trial for their crimes ), so that they can sleep well in the mean time, after a long day of murdering the innocent with gas or other bombs of convenience .


Ron Holzwarth 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"Roberts indicated that he doesn't believe the president has decided what the aim of any U.S. military action should be."

Huh? Does anyone besides me see anything wrong with that?

Any contemplated military action should have very clear cut goals. I was under the impression that was a basic.


Alceste 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Does Robert's ever meet with plain folk or just outfits like the chamber of con men?

Top 5 Contributors, 2005-2010:

Koch Industries Blackstone Group Amgen Inc Blue Cross/Blue Shield Murfin Drilling

He sure does like sending US ground troops off to die.............


Silver 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Roberts loves wars, look at how he protected W's lies for war. Kansas elected officials, almost as dumb as the voters who elected them. The reason they aren't as dumb is they know how to appeal to pure ignorant voters.


patkindle 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.


Steve Jacob 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Just seems off to me you can overthrow a government and gun down hundreds of citizens and get a slap on the wrist, but use chemical weapons on the same amount of people and we drop bombs. Not saying us getting involved is good or bad, but there is always repercussions.

Then it brings into question why Syria and not Rwanda?


Grump 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Sen. Roberts is wrong. There is another option; the U.S. could recognize that despite the tragedy and horror, what's happening in Syria is beyond our control and that any direct military action on our part will ultimately make the situation worse.


Liberty275 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Another war. Will anyone be protesting this one?


budtugly 7 months, 3 weeks ago

If the president was a republican, the Lawrence liberals would be at 11th and Mass singing "We shall overcome".


Commenting has been disabled for this item.