Now that senior U.S. officials are saying missile strikes against Syria could begin as soon as Thursday, the crisis is drawing increased attention from all quarters, and Beck has found himself in complete agreement with an unlikely source.
"I never thought I would say these words, but there is a great article in the New Yorker," Beck said on his radio show Wednesday. "There is a great article in the New Yorker, and it's 'Two Minds on Syria' by George Packer. I read it this morning and I thought, this is right. This is right."
A Syrian opposition fighter holds a rocket propelled grenade as his fellow fighters take cover from an attack by regime forces on August 26, 2013 during clashes over the strategic area of Khanasser. (Getty Images)
The article is written in conversation form between two individuals arguing the United States' options in Syria, and Beck and co-host Pat Gray read the entire article verbatim on-air.
Beck took one point, and Gray took the counterpoint presented in italics.
Here's an excerpt from the piece:
...So you want us to get involved in their civil war.
I’m not saying that.
But that’s what we’ll be doing. Intervening on the rebel side, tipping the balance in their favor.
Not necessarily. We’ll be drawing a line that says dictators don’t get to use W.M.D.s without consequences.
You can’t bomb targets on one side of a civil war without helping the other side.
It would be very temporary. We’d send Assad a clear message, and then we’d step back and let them go on fighting. We’re not getting involved any deeper than that, because I know what you’re going to say—
The rebels are a bunch of infighting, disorganized, jihadist thugs, and we can’t trust any of them.
I’m not saying we should.
And what do we do if Assad retaliates against Israel or Turkey? Or if he uses nerve gas somewhere else?
We hit him again.
And it escalates.
Not if we restrict it to cruise missiles and air strikes.
Now you’re scaring me. Have you forgotten Iraq?
Not for a single minute.
My point is that you can’t restrict it. You can’t use force for limited goals. You need to know what you’ll do after his next move, and the move after that.
It only escalates if we allow ourselves to get dragged in deeper. Kosovo didn’t escalate.
This isn’t Kosovo. The Syrian rebels aren’t the K.L.A. Assad isn’t Milosevic. Putin isn’t Yeltsin. This is far worse. Kosovo became a U.N. protectorate. That’s not going to happen in Syria.
You think Putin is going to risk a military confrontation with the U.S. and Europe?
I think Russia isn’t going to let Assad go down. Neither is Iran or Hezbollah. So they’ll escalate. This could be the thing that triggers an Israel-Iran war, and how do we stay out of that? My God, it feels like August, 1914.
Gray reflected, "What we just read here from the New Yorker was a really honest assessment of what all the points are, and usually you wouldn't get that kind of honesty from the New Yorker."
"Or anybody in New York," Beck quipped. "I think that the key here on this is that all Americans, if they're engaged, are feeling the same thing. This isn't right. This isn't right."
Gray added that when we found mass graves in Iraq, "piles of people who had been murdered, and they estimated 400,000 of his own citizens had been tortured and killed," the left "didn't care."
"People who like this president didn't care about any of the torture and killing in Iraq -- but for some reason with Syria, it's paramount."
Beck said he believes the average American did care about the mass graves in Iraq, and they care about the Coptic Christians and the Syrians.
"But they don't care for us to get involved because they don't believe that it's going to make a difference, and that's huge," he said. "...We are a group of people, left and right, that care, but have learned enough through our actions that we're all questioning."
"We're not that different," he concluded. "We have a lot more in common than we have separating us. We just have to stop talking about the parties."
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