White House: Lebanon Should Be Free of Syria

U.S. Says Lebanon Should Be Free of Syria (Reuters)

The White House on Monday condemned the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and said Lebanon should be free to pursue its political future free of violence and Syrian occupation. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said he was not trying to link Syria with the car bomb that killed Hariri and at least a dozen other people in Beirut. He said Washington did not know who was responsible.

“We condemn this brutal attack in the strongest possible terms. We extend our condolences to Mr. Hariri’s family and to his many friends and followers in Lebanon,” McClellan said. He said Hariri “worked tirelessly to rebuild a free, independent and prosperous Lebanon following its civil war and foreign occupation.” “This murder today is a terrible reminder that the Lebanese people must be able to pursue their aspirations and determine their own political future free from violence and intimidation and free from Syrian occupation,” McClellan said.

Quite right. One wonders, though, how much we’re willing to do about it. We sent troops, with rather tragic and embarrasing consequences, over twenty years ago to fix the Lebanan mess. More recently, we’ve fought wars to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation, to prevent internal violence against Kosvar Albanians from their own government, and to oust Saddam Hussein from power and establish democracy in Iraq.

Syria is, along with Iran, one of the chief sponsors of international terrorism. Theoretically, the Bush Doctrine would seem to indicate that we’d be willing to use military force if diplomacy is not successful here. One wonders, though, we actually would given how tightly stretched our resources are.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.