Sen. Mike Johanns says the United States needs to be careful in dealing with war-torn Syria.
Johanns says the country can give advice and aid to the rebels fighting against the Syrian government.
“I do not believe we’re at a point where we say to ourselves we need boots on the ground in Syria. I don’t think that’s what it’s about,” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network. “But having said that, this government is completely out of control. I do think that they have crossed that red line that the president talked about. You’ve got a government willing to kill its own people to stay in power.”
President Barack Obama says his administration is preparing to send lethal weapons to the Syrian opposition in his fight against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Obama has stated his administration’s “red line” would be the use of chemical weapons.
The administration has been urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to reassess his support of Assad, emphasizing the mounting evidence that indicates Syria might well have used chemical weapons against the rebels.
Johanns says the United States can provide strategic advice and provide aid to the rebels. He says it must form a coalition to oppose Assad; that it cannot go it alone.
“So, I think the administration really has its work cut out for them, but they need to define what their policy is going to be,” Johanns says. “Saying there’s a red line and then not following up or doing anything about that doesn’t serve anybody and it’s demoralizing to those who do want a stable government in Syria.”
AUDIO: Sen. Mike Johanns discusses Syria. [1 min.]