Rubio not ready to call for military attacks on Syria

In an interview with Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times, Rubio says he's "not as far along as they are on it," referring to McCain and others calling for such strikes. "I think the military option in Syria is much different than Libya for a lot of different reasons. It's much riskier, much costlier."


On MSNBC's Morning Joe program Thursday morning, Ambassador Rice said the U.S. is "outraged and horrified" by the daily killings led by Assad, but like the majority of people in the foreign policy establishment in the U.S., she does not support McCain's call to go to war.


"You have to ask yourself, what is feasible?" she said on the cable network. "This is quite a different situation than Libya. There is not a clear-cut opposition that controls a piece of territory, " adding that unlike Libya, the Arab League is not seeking international intervention. Rice says she believes the crisis can be averted through political and not military means, saying the goal is to ramp up economic pressure on Assad. "We have imposed tough sanctions, the Arab nations need to implement them."


Meanwhile, it must be asked: Is there a country that John McCain doesn't want to attack by air? As Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman wrote the other day, "John McCain must have a stack of forms on his desk demanding U.S. military intervention abroad, with a blank space to fill in the name of the country he wants to attack."

It was at this time a year ago that freshman U.S. Senator Marco Rubio started stepping out and getting his voice heard on foreign policy, sharply questioning U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on the need for the U.S. to intervene in stopping the Qaddafi regime in Libya. Rubio joined fellow Republican hawks like John McCain and Lindsey Graham in charging that it was a moral imperative to stop the killing.

Shortly after the Arab League called on the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya in a bid to protect civilians from air attack, the U.S. agreed to become part of a NATO force to attack Qaddafi's forces. "Leading from behind" became the somewhat mocked phrase that led to the ousting of Qaddafi several months later. NATO declared victory and moved on.

A year later, there is inarguably more of a bloodbath going on in Syria, leading some hawks to blast President Obama for not doing more to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Earlier this week Senator McCain became the first member of Congress to call for the U.S. to intervene now.

"Providing military assistance to the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups is necessary, but at this late hour, that alone will not be sufficient to stop the slaughter and save innocent lives," McCain said. "The only realistic way to do so is with foreign air power."

McCain's rhetoric was quite similar to his Libya speeches a year ago. But at this point in time, he does not have Senator Rubio's backing.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.