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Former Navy Commander: US Shouldn't Strike Syria

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Thursday, 29 Aug 2013 06:05 PM

The United States should not launch a military strike on Syria because there are too many potential repercussions, retired U.S. Navy Commander Kirk Lippold says.

"There is a lot of groundwork that needs to be laid and a number of factors growing by the hour that should really make the U.S. and this president take pause as to whether we should get involved in this conflict at this point in time. I don't believe we should," Lippold told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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Lippold, who commanded the USS Cole, the guided-missile destroyer that was suicide bombed in 2000, added the U.S. does not have the authority to conduct a strike against Syria, which is believed to have killed hundreds last week in a chemical weapons strike near Damascus.

"I know that the lawyers for both the British and for the U.S. are working very hard to say that based on humanitarian grounds, we should be able to strike because of the use of chemical weapons," he said.

"[But] until we know for sure that they, the Assad regime, has used them … Face it, the Russians are not going to let the Syrians use those kinds of weapons … unless they have some control over how and when they're going to be used."

Lippold said that despite the saber-rattling now underway about a possible strike, the United States needs "to think through" the possible consequences.

"Right now, the Russians are moving military ship forces and ships into the region. They're sending a clear signal that they are going to engage in this," he said.

"We better make darn sure that what we're about to engage in is not going to pull the Russians into this, [and that it] is not going to give the excuse to Hezbollah to now start a war with Israel."

Lippold said more evidence needs to be gathered — and then disclosed —before the president takes any definitive action.

"The president owes it to the American people and the world to share that evidence with us so that we can go into another Middle East conflict with our eyes wide open," he said.

"While we are very close to the brink right now, there is nothing pressing us in the immediate that requires action in the next few days. We have time to allow other things to work before we begin the shooting war."

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