The Cable

Massachusetts senator waffles on intervention in Syria

As troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad stormed the opposition-held city of Idlib Tuesday, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) became the fourth U.S. senator to openly call for U.S. military intervention in Syria ... before he partially walked back those comments in an interview with The Cable.

"Senator, do you support a military intervention in Syria?" The Cable asked Brown in the hallways of the Capitol Building Tuesday.

"Well that's the million-dollar question," he said. "At what point do we do it? Is it 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 killed? At what point do we draw a line in the sand and get involved just based on the humanitarian [considerations] or just our belief that we are a great country and should be helping people?"

"We're at about 10,000 killed so far -- so what do you say?" we pressed.

"I'm at the point right now that I think we should handle it like we did with Libya: Get that coalition and go in and give the opposition a chance to regroup," he said.

"So you're for the U.S. getting involved in another international military intervention in Syria?" we asked. Then the Massachusetts senator appeared to have second thoughts.

"I'm still gathering information," Brown said. "I'm still asking for the appropriate briefings to see what we can do and what the limitations are and how this is different from Libya. And I'll have a more defined statement I think pretty soon."

Brown is not the only GOP senator grappling with the proper way forward in Syria, but other GOP lawmakers at least seemed to have their positions ready at their fingertips. Earlier Tuesday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) confidently told us that he doesn't believe the Syrian revolution is about "democracy."

In another Tuesday interview with The Cable, Senate Armed Services Committee member Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) said she supports increased international pressure on Russia and China but doesn't support U.S. military intervention at this time.

"Right now, I'm very concerned about what's happening in Syria," she said. "There are a number of legislative actions we could take against Russia to stop them from what they are doing."

As for arming the Syrian opposition, Ayotte said, "I think that's something that we should look at doing, but I also think there are other partners that might be in a position to do that, including the Turks."

Robert Giroux/Getty Images

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