By Chris Nolan
After Russian airstrikes begin in Syria, U.S. politicians propose no-fly zones to protect forces trying to overthrow the Syrian government.
On September 30 Republican Senator John McCain appeared on Your World with Neil Cavuto. Assuming that "the Russian fighters are targeting the very groups we are trying to help," Cavuto asked if McCain would shoot down the Russian planes if he were president.
"No, but I would certainly make it clear... Well, I would do a whole lot of things," McCain replied. "David Petraeus testified before the Armed Services Committee two weeks ago; he laid out what we need to do. We need to stop the barrel-bombing, we need to have a no-fly zone, we need to have a buffer zone for refugees, we need to provide certain kinds of help..."
"No, I know that Senator," Cavuto interjected, "but if they are attacking the very guys who we want to see topple Assad, you would let American planes just... pass them and let them do that?"
"No, but I might do what we did in Afghanistan many years ago: to give those guys the ability to shoot down those planes," McCain answered with a smirk. "That equipment is available."
"Who would be shooting them down?"
"The Free Syrian Army."
Also on Fox News that night Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina spoke with Sean Hannity. She said:
I believe we must tell the Russians that we will conduct, we will secure, a no-fly zone around anti-Assad rebel forces that we're supporting. This is a tricky manoeuvre, it's a dangerous manoeuvre, but it's a manoeuvre that we must undertake because we must make it crystal clear to Russia that they do not get to move in to the middle east and become the dominant outside power, which is clearly their intention. Secondly, I would immediately call together..."Can I stop you?" asked Hannity. "Does that mean we might use force against Russian jets?"
"Well hopefully not," Fiorina replied. "Hopefully if we are signalling clearly to the Russians our intention it will not come to that. But if it does come to that, I think we must be prepared."
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said a no-fly zone at this point is "not something that we're considering."
On October 1 Hillary Clinton attended a forum on substance addiction in Boston where she gave an interview to 7News. When asked what she would do in response to the Russian airstrikes, the Democratic presidential candidate said: "I personally would be advocating now for a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors, to try to stop the the carnage on the ground and from the air."
Republican Senator Tom Cotton also spoke against Russia's airstrikes on the Senate floor: "We should make it clear that Vladimir Putin and Russia will not be a power in the middle east. We should pressure our partners to do the same thing. We should establish no-fly zones in Syria and make it clear that any aircraft that enters those zones will be shot down."
Republican presidential candidate John Kasich also voiced support for a no-fly zone on October 3. "You enter that no-fly zone, you enter at you're own peril," he said. "No more red lines, no more looking the other way. If any hostile aircraft should enter that, there will be a great consequence to them."