Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the Ranking Republican on Senate Foreign Affairs, who had fought determinedly against the Kerry-Obama Libyan slaughter last year, asked at today's hearing whether it is now U.S. policy to call for the ouster of every authoritarian national leader who encounters opposition from within his own people, as we did with Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, Hosni Mubarak and now Bashar Assad. He said that this policy brought us a ten-year war in Iraq, and that the American people want nothing more to do with such a policy. What vital US interest dictates the risk of American lives and money in Syria?
Sen. Kerry later answered Lugar (as had the witnesses), to say that he was "very happy" the Senator had raised that issue. It's true that the American people want no part of a Syria war at present, they said, but a poll taken by the Holocaust Center, among other polls, shows that if the public is convinced that horrendous massacres are taking place, and ethnic cleansing with use of weapons of mass destruction, they will turn around and support a war on Syria.
Witness Ambassador James Dobbins added that, although a Syria war is unpopular, polls show that an Iran war is widely supported. Therefore, the public must be convinced that military intervention in Syria is a cleverer way to defeat Iran.
Senator Webb (D-Va) joined the hearing near the end, and said that any war undertaken in behalf of the [Tony Blair] "responsibility to protect," must legally have the consent of Congress, as his bill demands.