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September 7, 2013

Tierney not convinced of need to attack Syria

(Continued)

“Going in unilaterally is not a good idea anyway,” Tierney said, “but when you have that ambiguity out there, you want to make sure people are dealing with the same set of facts.”

Classified information could be put out in such away that there would be a low risk in divulging its source, Tierney said.

“If we have information, let’s get it out there,” he added.

Tierney was critical of the international community, including NATO, the Arab League and the United Nations, for not standing up to the Assad regime. Tierney noted the U.N. “has not even come forward with its report” on the chemical weapons attack.

President Obama said in Stockholm Wednesday that the call to action against Syria is based on the need to enforce international treaties banning the use of chemical weapons in wartime.

Tierney has a problem with a strike on Syria on two fronts — both the legality and the efficacy of a military attack.

He doubts how effective a one-off strike or a “shot across the bow” might be in deterring the use of chemical weapons. More needs to be said about the strategy and what should be done long-term, Tierney said.

He also believes the United States is “on thin ice” legally when it comes to a unilateral attack, since it would go against “the fundamental laws set by international charters.” There is no evidence that Syria’s civil war presents a direct threat to the United States, he said.

Meanwhile, organizations like NATO and bordering states like Turkey are sitting on the sidelines.

Tierney said 100,000 people have died in more than two years of civil war in Syria, through the use of all manner of weapons. He said he has seen footage of what looks like incendiary bombs being used on civilians, including children. Bombing Syria would also put the Syrian people at risk, he added.

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