AUSTIN (KXAN) - Dr. Jeremi Suri spoke to KXAN about the possibility of US military involvement in Syria, saying it's risky, but also may be necessary.
"There are 2 factors that piqued our interest," says Suri. "The first is that the use of these weapons that are considered off limits. Weapons that can kill a lot of people. Weapons we would be fearful could be used against us. The second is just the depth of the humanitarian crisis. More than 100,000 people have been killed. At a certain level when so many people are being killed in a region that we care about with neighbors that are our allies. This rises to the level of importance to the President."
"I believe it is very important for the president to go into any military conflict with public support and consultation with congress. I think Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam made a mistake of not doing enough of that. I think George Bush made the mistake not doing enough of that. On the other hand, I think it is problematic to say we're going to wait for Congress to come back on September 9th and we might not do anything until the middle of September. It gives Assad the green light to do a lot more bad stuff. And it doesn't make us look very tough."
"But doing nothing is also very risky. If countries and leaders like Assad believe they can use chemical weapons without retaliation. That raises the threshold of killing for us and our allies around the world."
Jeremi Suri has a joint appointment in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the University of Texas at Austin Department of History. Suri was previously with the University of Wisconsin, where he was the E. Gordon Fox Professor of History, the Director of the European Union Center of Excellence, and the Director of the Grand Strategy Program.
He has received numerous awards for his research and teaching, and Smithsonian Magazine named him one of America's "Top Young Innovators" in the Arts and Sciences in 2007. He is the author of four books, including the widely acclaimed biography of one of America's most distinguished diplomats, Henry Kissinger and the American Century (Harvard University Press, 2007). His latest book, Liberty's Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from Washington to Obama, will be the Free Press/ Simon and Schuster's lead non-fiction release in the fall of 2011.
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