February 14th, 2012
09:14 PM ET

Is it time for America to act in Syria?

Today we saw two astonishing videos that capture the horror and heroism of Syria’s fight against a dictator’s brutal force.

In the first, a young boy – we don’t know his name or age – is trapped in the crossfire between rebels and troops until a man, risking his own life, rushes in, picks up the boy, and carries him to safety.

In the second video it appears a group of people are being used as human shields for Bashar al-Assad’s tanks as soldiers chant: “With our blood, with our souls, we defend you Bashar.”

The Syrian uprising has already claimed almost 6,000 lives.

And there are reports that 400 children have been killed in Syria since late January.

President Obama is under increasing pressure to respond to the Syrian crisis and remove Bashar al-Assad by force.

But can America afford to join the fight?

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was on Capitol Hill today to discuss massive military cuts to our armed forces that could result in “acceptable risks.”

The Pentagon plans to slash nearly $500 billion over the next decade despite the fact next year’s budget is already $32 billion less than the 2012 budget.

America spent roughly $600 million to take down Qaddafi’s air defense system.

But with about 4,000 surface-to-air missiles, 5,000 tanks, more than 500 Russian MiG jets and a ground force of more than 300,000 troops, Syria's air defense is much larger than what we saw in Libya.

And the Syrian leader seems to have no interest in caving to worldwide condemnation.

Already facing charges of slaughtering civilians in Homs, Bashar al-Assad responded today with another round of shelling on a city that is almost entirely without electricity and in desperate need of food, water and medicine.

Arwa Damon, one of just a handful of western journalists in Syria, spoke to OutFront from an undisclosed safe house today.

Filed under: OutFront Exclusive
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. ted

    It is disheartening to see that the Arabs and their religion of Islam seem so impotent when it comes to helping their brothers in crisis. The Arabs seem more content to walk around in flowing robes than willing to help their brothers in need. This situation is one for them to solve, after all the US is the 'great satan' and seen as a invading Crusader in the mid-east. The situation is heart breaking and worst of all, The Arab League is impotent to solve any problems.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  2. Andrew

    when will we learn that we cannot come to everyone's aid?
    we are already deep in debt with our current situations around the globe.
    why the USA? is there no other nation or nations in the Region that are willing to step in and help the civilians of Syria?
    why not Russia or China?
    were expected to travel halfway across to Planet to intervene ?
    what is provoking all this inhumanity within Syria in the first place?
    maybe i am missing something or not seeing the bigger picture right now.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:45 am | Reply
  3. Pete

    The situation in Syria is reaching critical mass. But getting involved in Syria creates a lot of questions. With Israel and Iran both saber rattling, what if anything will our involvement in Syria do to that situation? Does Israel use that to initiate a preemptive strike on Iran? Does Iran out of solidarity with Syria close down the Strait of Hormuz? What about the President’s budget? The projections would make use of the savings from ending our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we get involved with Syria what if any impact would it have on the projections made in the proposed budget? Something needs to be done to end the horror in Syria. I fear that the understandable lack of support the people have for Washington weakens us internationally. I don’t think the arm of the military might of the US commands the respect it once did and, that foreign powers with an axe to grind will be more willing to escalate to see if the American People still have their taste for it.

    February 15, 2012 at 12:35 am | Reply
  4. mike

    are you nuts? this is an arab problem. we cannot police the entire world. i guarantee you if we were killing citizens over here not one nation would step in with troops etc. to try and stop it. we have enough to deal with on all fronts and if some idiot running a country that has no major bearing on what happens in our country kills his citizens, shame though it is, let it be

    February 14, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Reply

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