The Big Idea: Should the U.S. 'airdrop' millions of phones into Syria?
This photo, of a rally in Syria in April, was shot with a mobile phone.
May 29th, 2012
10:25 AM ET

The Big Idea: Should the U.S. 'airdrop' millions of phones into Syria?

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - Can communication tools stop a war?

That's basically the idea one CNN commenter put forward on Monday. Responding to a story about citizen journalists in Syria, who risk their lives to upload videos and photos of gruesome massacres by the government, a commenter called goingmeta had this to say:

Rather than bombing by air or invading by land or even sending in international observers, we should airdrop about 20 million video cell phones. If there are excesses and abuses, nothing would turn the tide so quickly as giving each man, woman, and child in Syria the opportunity to record them and hold the authorities accountable for their actions.

This kind of thing isn't completely without precedent. In Sudan's Nuba Mountains, as The New York Times reports, an American named Ryan Boyette has been working to arm locals not with weapons but with tools that will help them make digital recordings when bombs fall on the caves in their territory. The Times' Nicholas Kristof writes:

Ryan organized a network of 15 people to gather information and take photos and videos, documenting atrocities. He used a solar-powered laptop and a satellite phone to transmit them to the West, typically to the Enough Project, a Washington-based anti-genocide organization. He also supplied eyewitness interviews that helped the Enough Project and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative find evidence of atrocities, including eight mass graves, on satellite images. And he helped journalists understand what was going on.

The Enough Project's Satellite Sentinel Project, referenced above, also aims to monitor tank movements on the ground in Sudan, hopefully to give warning before an attack on a particular region.

All of this is relatively small-scale stuff compared to the "20 million video cell phones" suggested by the commenter, but it's still one unique example of many. There are efforts all over the world, including those from iReport, CNN's user-submitted news site, to help people document their own lives and submit that news to global media organizations.

One commenter, however, sees limits in this appraoch. It's not a shortage of technology that fuels war, the person writes:

Hold the authorities accountable? How cute. And what about when the authorities then massacre them and their families for daring to speak up? Cellphones and communication are all well and good, but unless they have a means to defend themselves then they're as good as dead.

As this article shows, there is no shortage of cellphones or brave citizen journalists in Syria. Yet as long as we refuse to arm them or even acknowledge their right to fight back, then all they'll ever do is record one grisly massacre after another.

What do you think? Are cell phones a valuable form of international conflict mitigation? Or is that view naive? Let us know in the comments section below. We may pull some of the most interesting thoughts into this post.

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Filed under: Crowdsourcing • Innovation • Internet • Smartphones • Social change
soundoff (377 Responses)
  1. Brent Arnold

    Just send in around 20 A-10s with fighter support and end this thing.

    May 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  2. GayAtheist

    Why don't the people of Syria pray all this away?
    They are Islamist. They worship the God of Abraham, same as the Jews and Christians...Isn't it time for the God of Abraham to swoop down and protect them?

    Why waste my tax money doing what their god should be doing?

    As an American taxpayer, I'm sick of being everyone' s god.

    Either make your god do something worthwhile, or shut up about your god and go Atheist.

    May 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  3. MikeD

    Rumor has it that Syria has long had cell phone/sat phone/radio/etc jamming equipment and employed it near presidential motorcades for example. The issue is how would they get the pictures out. Make sure they have removable media.

    May 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  4. TomGI

    I say do it. It just might help topple that psycho government of the dictator al-Assad. Is his sister his wife? It's funny that he refers to himself as "president".

    May 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  5. PassingThru

    Answer to headline Q: No

    Tax dollars should pay for this.

    May 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
    • YeahBUT

      I get what you're saying – but one smart bomb costs how much and a bunch of throw away phones with cell service would cost how much? I am betting the former is MUCH more expensive than the latter.

      May 29, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
      • KevinP

        Drop a smart bomb on a bad guy, he stops killing good guys. Take a picture of a bad guy, you have a picture of a bad guy. If the world does not get what's going on there, more pictures won't change that. Even if it did change it after 30, or 60 days, it's still a couple of months of bad guys killing good guys unchecked.

        May 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  6. Gary

    The real culprits and enablers here are China & Russia. We walk on eggshells to not offend anyone while the wholesale slaughters of Syrians continue unabated.

    One could say the US appears war-weary after our decade long Iraq and Afghan ventures, but the truth is much harder to illuminate in this shadow-land of political intrigue. The West knows an escalation will ultimately include not only Syria, but Iran and result in a complete remapping of that region of the world. Regime change is the only viable solution. Don't be surprised – the current Syrian and Iranian regimes are poised to fall into the dustbin of history. It would be interesting to look down the road some 18 months... change is coming!

    Russia and China must come to accept the new reality that they are not going to be allowed to successfully play the obstructionist Cold War role in the 21st Century. Just because they also have nukes does not make them great powers.

    May 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  7. PeterTO

    Syrian gov't forces will simply dress up to look like their enemies and then carry out the attacks.

    May 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  8. SingAPsalms

    Why drone strikes? If any civilians are killed, then we'll end up having to pay the family $10,000 for each casualty. How soon we forget. Oh, and if we do get involved, don't expect the other countries to make the contributions and sacrifices that we make. How many millions (or billions) would we set aside to rebuild? Are we even 100% sure that these massacre's are actually taking place? There have been rumors that the pics of what they said happened on Friday were old photos. Also, what about the Syrian girl who's been making videos on Youtube? Is there any truth in what she's saying. How do we know that that all of the violence against the civilians is coming from the govt. and not also from extremists?

    May 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Reply
    • Jack Russel

      Look, we have satellite photos of him deploying Armor and Artillery near his major cities and shelling them.
      We have evidence of the violence from Observers the Arab league sent in.
      Even if the photo is bogus, we have mountains of indirect evidence, even more than we had in Libya.
      Also I never said hit the cities with drones, My suggestion was to use drones to target Tanks, Rocket Launchers and Artillery pieces. Even the odds some. If anything we'd get him to stop shelling cities like Homs, We'd deny him his airspace, in Libya that helped prompt government ministers to defect. Given the risk that his troops can use human shields, either dress in Civilian attire or dress civilians in uniform, hitting ground troops directly is a bad idea, but we could take his armor and artillery out of the game. Precision strikes. If we could make Bashar expose his broadside and show weakness, a fracture within the regime is possible.

      May 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • Wes

      If you recall American history, you will remember the French navy sailing into position that caught the British in a pincer that brought about the end of our Revolutionary War, helping us gain our independence.

      May 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  9. momo0828

    I do not believe any of this is going to matter. Neither the US nor any UN or NATO ally will be willing to send anyone or anything to assist the Syrians because:
    1. Syria does not possess any natural resources that can be exploited by the US or any other NATO ally, (other than war); and the Russians and Chinese already got that taken care of. The rebels do not have any money to buy weapons from the UN while the Syrian government can purchase weapons from Russia or China at will; economic sanctions be dammed.
    2. America is not willing to place boots on the ground only to see them being drug through the streets as the locals celebrate in glee on our soldiers’ demise calling them “infidels”. Does Somalia ring a bell? The ghosts of Somalia and the subsequent fallout of that result is what we are dealing with now which had a fundamental change how on the US involves itself with “peace keeping missions.”
    3. The US and NATO ally budgets are tapped out supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and since there are no exploitable natural resources in Syria that would offset the costs of US/ NATO involvement. Syrian civilians will die.
    Bottom line;
    No NATO nation is interested in shedding blood for the common man in today’s world because there has to be “fair payback” to those nations whether it is an exploitable natural resource in terms of a commodity or human exploitation in order for any UN or NATO nation to intervene. Like it or not that’s the way it is.
    So yes we can drop some cell phones; but that won’t change anything other than deaden the public image of the war and lower the awareness of it.

    May 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • 808alvin

      What about real property (real estate) ? Make it a version of a time share for NATO, UN. The people can keep their boundary, borders intact and the world can visit in peace.

      May 29, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  10. NC

    While this won't be a quick fix, it is a great idea. Giving these folks a means to hold the perpetrators accountable is very empowering. Given that what goes around comes around, there is nothing better than having this information available on the internet to accelerate this process.

    May 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  11. Greg

    Do cell phones operating on the Syrian cellular network require SIM cards, as mine did here in the US? If so, would one drop SIM cards along with the phones? Also, suppose the Syrian authorities find a means to deny service to all of these phones? Ultimately, they could just shut down the cellular network, or configure it only to work for government communications. And finally, if the authorities care little for their image outside the country – which seems to be the case – they can just ignore international outrage and continue murdering the civilian population.

    Look at it this way: in the Syrian government I would guess there is a core of die-hards. They will never surrender – they must be killed or captured for the current regime to end. These die-hards can be eliminated by direct military intervention from outside Syria, or by cellphone images of the murder of civilians inspiring a civilian army to rise up within Syria and kill them. Which scenario is likely to cause less extra casualties? I highly doubt that anyone in the Syrian government who's defection would matter would be caused to defect by this cellphone plan being enacted.

    May 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Reply
    • Jack Russel

      If they're satellite phones, they'll work. The only way the Syrians are blocking those is to flood the airwaves with dead carriers, since that would also mess with Syrian command and control I doubt they'd do it. Cell phones would be a step but so much more is necessary.

      May 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  12. Question

    The question is how much proof does the world need before something is done to help and protect its people.
    This should be an allied movement only. The usa should not pull another Iraq. We should go in there with the support of other allied countries so that we are not the only ones responsible.

    May 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Reply
    • TheAnalyst666

      no they shouldnt because then they might start making IEDs

      May 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  13. Just Me

    We already know what's happening. Odds are there are CIA on the ground that know way more than is being released to us. What is needed is decision and action. If the US is going to do something about, then they need to simply do it. Either abandon them and let them know they are on their own, but stop this political maneuvering. All it does is give the massacres time and smoke screens.

    May 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  14. Christina Stauffer

    You know what? Whether or not this idea is feasible, at least it means that someone cares! It means that despite the Teaparty's efforts to turn America into a bunch of cold hearted gun toting money-grubbing anarchists, the people that actually make America great are still thinking of someone besides themselves. There are no easy answers to horrors like Syria and I don't think any intelligent American is unaware of what is going on over there. I'm not sure our American soldiers should take another hit on YET ANOTHER violent Islamic dispute, but it sure is more than time for the UN to get off its ass and do what they supposedly were created to do. How can we put more pressure on them?!

    May 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Reply
    • AbbieDale

      Yea, but what new generations of people around the world do not know is that the Assads have a culture of murderous reign.
      Just because they didnt like people's religion was enough reason for them to murder hundreds of thousands of people. Complete cities were wiped off the map.
      What I mean is: We shouldn't be surprised when the present bombing and shelling continues indefinitely. It's how Assad's mind is made! Like that of his father. He just had bad luck when the resistance brought this out in the media.

      May 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  15. Jack Russel

    Sure we can give them all phones, Like a previous poster said all they could do is record massacre after massacre.
    You can give them guns, but this isn't Libya where you had a resistance lead by elements of the army with international support, You'd be arming the government via confiscated weapons. The best way is do it like we did in Libya, Give them weapons, phones and air support against Government forces. Throw in some drone strikes to give resistance fighters the break they need to gain momentum and put themselves on the offensive. 3 things are necessary, Declaration of a no fly zone over Libya, Predator drone strikes against Government forces, and weapons for the resistance. Phones wouldn't be entirely necessary other than to help track progress in that scenario.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  16. KevinP

    The phones would just be further proof of what everyone knows is happening. Extra proof doesn't make it stop. When someone has rationalized that killing his own people is the right thing to do, pictures of it won't stop him. As much as I hate to say it, the time for talking about this one has come to an end. Time to make them stop. Just don't hang around for a decade trying to turn Syrians into Americans.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  17. Loha Singh

    Excellent idea:
    – also as an experiment on Transparency. This is how the civil rights movement worked – TV cameras caught and broadcasted to the world how black people were treated in the US South; while the US media was lecturing India about its untouchable caste system. Nothing like Transparency to level the field.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  18. duh

    not with my tax dollars, please.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Reply
    • Work.

      LOL – telling response.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply
    • TomGI

      Once the US government gets around to military aid or action against Syria they will spend a thousand times the money on bombs and missiles.

      May 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  19. su3385

    As someone said the problem is "not a shortage of technology"! Nor is this conflict about "genocide", it is simply a revolution. Whether the rebels or the government are right or wrong is not an issue. However, the issue for me is that this is a internal Syrian matter and, obviously, not all Syrians support this movement. The rest of the world needs to mind its own business and let Syria sort this out. Ruby Ridge, McVey, 99%er's, etc. were all about anti-government – our government's response (rightly) was to consider them criminals and deal with them as such! Can you imagine the reaction if France, England, China, or Russia felt the need to step-in and support them?

    May 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Reply
    • Jack Russel

      We don't need to send ground forces in, the problem is Bashar's Army is Ground force and air force, has the backing of Iran and Hezzbollah among others, The rebels on the other hand are Ground force only and have no international support.
      Other nations have already stepped in. Now all that is necessary is to either declare a no fly zone to make Bashar's army ground force only and/or throw in some drone hits to give the Ground force only rebels an airforce, That would balance out Bashar's advantage in artillery and armor. If anything it would make the conflict more balanced so it can be sorted in a fair manner.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
    • Tratra

      revolution with axes to children? simple?

      May 29, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  20. BigdaddyUSA

    Drop cell phones? And whose paying for that? The only people who don't believe Assad is behind the mass murders are Russia, China and Assad. Just drop them into one of the towns.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Reply
    • goingmeta

      Cell phones are very inexpensive compared to the cost of a military operation. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us several trillion dollars as well as thousands of US lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani lives.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Reply
      • mb2010a

        The cell phone idea sounds like a good one...until you think about it a bit more. As with anything the gov't does, the cost will be hidden until too late. A cell phone we pay $100 for here, suddenly jumps up to $2000 each after the government want to order some of the same thing. Take that times 20 million and see what number you come up with. Cell phones are the worst thing that has ever happened to the American people and now you want to dump them on a bunch of poor Syrians???

        May 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  21. SingAPsalms

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Why us? There are plenty other countries that can help. Let them step up to the plate. First cellphones, and what then, American troops? Besides, anything we'd do won't be appreciated. Look at what happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. How much more money is going to be taken from American taxpayers to be dumped in the bottomless pits of the middle east? Enough is enough. Instead of wasting millions of dollars dropping cell phones in Syria, how about cutting down on the cell phone bills here and help US citizens for a change?

    May 29, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Today we are looking at pictures of children that were killed in cold blood by the Syrian government, and your response is that you want a lower cell phone bill????

      May 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
    • SyrianinUS

      I would agree with you if you were speaking about any country but the US. The fact is, the US tends to dictate world politics. That is, the US manages to get involved in almost every major conflict. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but when you set such high standards for yourself, people are going to hold you accountable for it. That's why Syrians are looking to the US, not to Canada; not to Australia; not even so much to the Arab countries. Everyone knows that US politics dominates other countries' political agendas, and that's why Syrians are looking to the US to do something; to prove perhaps that they don't just help other countries when there's a financial or political gain, but rather to establish the justice inherent in American values in the world.

      May 30, 2012 at 1:34 am | Reply
  22. onestarman

    Dropping CELL PHONE TOWERS would be more Difficult. Unless a Network that the GOVERNMENT cannot BLOCK is also Present PHONES are just Rocks to Throw. WIFI DRONES circling the area to provide access would be needed or PHONES that can build a PEER to PEER Network.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • goingmeta

      Perhaps wifi cell phones and wifi antennas that just require an internet connection for the uplink?

      May 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  23. PrezHusseinSux

    I think President HUSSEIN is trying to help is buddies inside Syria whom the Al-Assads were doing a good job of controlling. We should stay out of this one.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  24. JonnyBGood

    Freedom comes at a price. Part of that is information. Cell phones would be great but cell phones with weapons would be better. If the people are willing to fight for their freedom let them. What is it we require of them in order to offer our assistance with weapons or air strikes or something?!

    May 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  25. 60minuteman

    They should cover the entire country with a couple inches of pig droppings. No muslim will want to live there...

    May 29, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  26. jo An

    Yes....cell phones....drop them everywhere..didn't help Trayvan Martin...did it?? Might work in a large group.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  27. truth in numbers

    It is a simple idea with a global outcome.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  28. MommyX2

    GET REAL!!!!!!!!!! The only thing we need to drop into Syria are bombs. They hate the USA and will turn on us in a minute.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  29. Mike K.

    The whole world is (already) watching.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  30. daneke

    Drop the new Facebook phones. They'll go down faster!

    May 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  31. life5678

    Ten times as many people are killed in Africa every year, not to mention millions more intentionally starved to death. Where is the uproar about that? Where are their cell phones? Hypocrits.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  32. Dave T

    We have many challenges around the world; including the situation occurring there in Syria. Can we learn something from cancer care and apply it to our foreign policy? I believe solving this conflict (of Syria) is like curing someone of cancer. We do not want it to metastasize to other parts of the world.
    Now I realize when something occurs; it is explained by several factors that its percentages are a total of 100 percent. For example, you may have (40 percent of X) plus (20 percent of Y) plus (10 percent of Z), until all factors are equal to (100 percent of something occurring.)
    First, you may have radiation treatment; where it is applied directly to the cancer in a precision procedure? Should our military do the same? The end goal is that you do not want this cancer to metastasize to other parts of the world. With the event of today's Internet, every action will be "heard" around the world. Therefore, you do not want an all right big operation, or large-scale war...We should learn from the wisdom of past great leaders and apply it today. For example, as Theodore Roosevelt once said, "speak softly; however carry a big stick." Why should our leaders words be loud; since each word will be met with like reaction? Besides, we do not want to scare our youth.
    Second, you have the chemo; where it is applied to the whole person. It is suppose to destroy the bad cells; yet should not affect the good cells. This chemo does not get the whole cancer in one try. It may destroys, let us say 90 percent, the first try. Then it may get to 90 percent of the remainder 10 percent, the second try. This procedure is repeated until 100 percent of this cancer is gone. Is this procedure like that of economic sanctions?
    Third, you must keep the good cells as healthy as it can be, given this chemo. We must promote economic, social and political "nutrients" to the good cells. For example, you must realize the Middle East gets very HOT during the summer months. We are approaching summer. Does extreme heat cause certain behavior among people? Many homes there may not have AC. Receiving ACs as well as food, medicine and water; would be greatly appreciated, I am sure... We must keep good cells healthy to prevent this cancer to spread. We must aide the good people of that region with items mentioned above....
    Fourth, cancer cells require "nutrients" to continue to grow. People need food and water. Can this "cancer" be cut off of required "energy" to grow? Similar to control burning to prevent future wild fires; can certain regions of roads and bridges, be cut off? Then you may build walls, with checkpoints, in its place.
    Fifth, Oncologists will order various tests, to see the progress of curing someone of cancer, throughout the ordeal. They will take pictures of the inner parts of a person, to see the progress of the cancerous growth. They may order CAT scans, PET scans or MRis to do this. Can airdropping thousands of smart phones within Syria, for example, be a way to take pictures internally on the progress of this cancerous growth? At the same time, information can be given to promote healthy cells to remain healthy. These phones could forward information on humanitarian aides sites. Another thing that prevents some cancers is the immune system. There are some "immune scouts" within a person that search and finds precancerous cells. These smart phones could work like these "immunity scouts" looking for these pre-cancerous growths.
    Finally, my knowledge of cancer care is limited; however, can we borrow from this knowledge and apply it to our foreign policy? Then perhaps we may help solve our many international challenges across the globe. I believe solving this conflict (of Syria) is like curing someone of cancer. We do not want it to metastasize to other parts of the world.
    These are just my novice foreign policy advice. So please, remember, it is only an opinion.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
    • TomGI

      Too wordy. I won't read your "book."

      May 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Reply
  33. steven

    no more diplomatic talk that plays into the hands of Russia and China, who care little for the tragedy happening to millions of people. ACT! Hell yes, drop cell phones! Drop everything and anything that will help these people being murdered by this madman. Do it NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
    • life5678

      We should be dropping a few well aimed bricks in this country.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • dingleberrydouchbag

      I think you need a few more !'s in your statement.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  34. SyrianinUS

    I agree that phones and all forms of communication devices are not just important; they are crucial to the revolution. If word ceases to go out about the atrocities the Syrian regime is committing, then the world may be misguided to think things have calmed down. However, while these forms of communication keep the revolution alive, they cannot make it succeed. In certain situations, one would imagine that a brutal regime would intimidate it to stop its killing. Clearly, however, this is not the situation with the Syrian regime. It is important to maintain this public awareness of the situation, but in order to move forward and stop the killings, the Syrian regime must be stopped by force. Peacekeeping forces, buffer zones, and arming the FSA are all equally viable options.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  35. Scuromondo

    Cell phones and smart phones require infastructure–i.e. cell phone base stations and towers. Even if a million cell phones appear in the hands of Syrian citizens, if the Syrian government is the owner of the cell phone infrastructure, I don't see how this effort can even get started. Still, it might be a good way for the government to give the U.S. economy a shot in the arm–assuming the phones are purchased from a U.S. company and not, as would likely be the case, from China.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  36. Kitty HaHa

    Maybe we should "air drop" congressional republicans into Syria.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Reply
    • life5678

      Add the left wingers and it's a plan......

      May 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Reply
    • Gordon

      Don't forget the "air drop" the democrats too. They are all worthless.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
    • JonnyBGood

      Nice bi-partisan comment to solve a problem not generated by either party. Nice objectivity. I am sure your response would solve ALL the problems. That way you and your fellow far left wingers could rule like the Syrian dictator.....In your eyes, and his, opposition is the enemy, even when you might be wrong. Go partisans! Right or left if you are partisan you are wrong.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
    • TomGI

      Air drop John McCain, he's itching for a fight.

      May 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  37. Adam Truth

    The US shouldn't help Syria with anything. Syria harbors terrorist organizations and is not a friend of the US. Now that they need help they act nice and send sad pictures of dead women and children to try and guilt trip us into giving them weapons, money, and phones. We have a recession and a huge debt to deal with domestically. Why should we spend money to help people who ultimately hate us and our way of life and will probably use the same weapons against US troops. Syria and its people have created their culture of violence and intolerance and now they can see what a peaceful religion Islam is and how terrible freedom and capitalism are.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • Jack Russel

      Look at what not acting caused in Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo. We help, we risk them not liking us or maybe using it against us. BUT if we do nothing we risk a bigger Humanitarian disaster than the Armenian Genocide. In this case our leaders need to decide and pick the lesser of the 2 evils.

      May 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
      • The Truth

        You are right. It's a catch 22 – damned if you do, damned if you don't. But, you are right that these little turd countries can flare up into bigger problems. History has proved that.

        May 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  38. TWM

    I wonder if this idea will work better than "Obamacare"???? Anyone???

    May 29, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
    • allenwoll

      Political idiot ! ! !

      May 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply
    • Oldsalt

      Yeah, you are probably right ! ! ! !

      May 29, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Reply
    • mb2010a

      What's Obamacare??? Is that like RomneyCare???

      May 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • TomGI

      They told me you were a dummy but I said you weren't. Now I regret saying that.

      May 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  39. JiminNM

    How about the Federal Corporation giving up control of the news media in America and free all the enslaved Americans from the slavery of the Corporation. Stay out of Syria and every other foreign country. Leave them alone.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  40. idunno

    Recording authorities (police officers) in the US can land you in prison as a convicted felon.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  41. Kyle

    Its a double edged sword (no pun intended) – Getting information out is very helpful when it comes to troop/tank movements and recording the atrocities is helpful as well in building consensus against them. BUT, when it comes right down to it the thugs that are in control will retaliate, and will retaliate hard to the new threat. The thugs biggest weapon is fear and until they are stopped with weapons that kill, and not just weapons that inform, they wil not stop their blood thirsty ways.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  42. Buck Wheat

    Interesting idea but very weak technical feasability. Phones are not the weak link, it's an open network (something that even starting to become rair in the US too). Not that there are not ways that can be addressed but it takes some more serious enigneering to get a phone to work than, just the phone.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  43. Sean

    Yes they should drop millions of them so that the world can see what is happening for real!!! Then we can take action!

    May 29, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  44. nutstomper5150

    I had that idea about N. Korea a decade ago.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  45. life5678

    Is there really any doubt about what is going on in Syria? what would these cell phones contribute? (Even if Assad left the cell towers functioning once dropped) Better off smuggling in 10,000 grenade launchers to take out the tanks, or 100 assasins to take out the top brass. Better yet, let's stay out of it, let Russia deal with it, they are their friends.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
    • nasa1

      Actually, that's a very good point. Russia has been backing them. Now it's Russia's turn to take the lead and fork out the money. Man, they have all the answers. Let them prove it!

      May 29, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  46. sam2003

    This country needs to unite together again and stand behind a united decision to stand and fight. China will most probably join us, they have way too much invested here in this country to just financially not . Russia knows better, they are trying to play hard ball, Israel have the anti-missile defense system that can knock out anything that we built for them.... Russia knows we will use it. Come on people grow some balls.. Stabilizing a country makes a whole lot more sense , rather then watching massacre after masssacre on TV and the internet. It only took one 911. These people have not done anything but live , work, and breathe. Now they are trying to fight to live, I would think most everyone would be doing exactly as they are given their situation. Yes, it costs money, so does everything. I guess if your not ready to spend the money –oh well, maybe your relatives are not over there fighting for their lives. I don't have to be related to these people to know that ASSAD is another HITLER, MUSSOLINI, and the like. Get in there and help before it's another holocaust or worse. How about another Yugoslavia? How many other countries do we have to watch , wait and see millions of people die before we get the nerve to help......

    May 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • ted

      I agree mostly....but China will not step in.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
    • jbbiz

      Great idea - who doesn't want to start another world war like you are advocating?

      May 29, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • allenwoll

      Assad a Hitler ? . Fu-un-ny ! ! !

      Assad is NOTHING, Syria ITSELF is nothing - Assad is a threat to NO ONE save the Syrians.

      We have but to assure him that we and the world will with absolute certainty deal with him and his when all are finally captured - Dead or Alive - unless he and his crowd surrender TODAY.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  47. BigG

    "There are over 500 million fire arms in worldwide circulation. That is one fire arm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is... How do we arm the other eleven?"

    The citizens should not fear their government, but the government should fear their citizens. You want to fix the balance? Arm the people.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  48. deric8235

    This is just a way to avoid direct military action. which i believe is the only was to solve the issue. Syria is "democracy" per say. My solution to the issue would be international sweeper team to remove al-Assad from power along with top ranking officials. with Syria government already in place elections could be held therefore it wouldn't be like setting up a new government like was the case in Iraq and Libya. This should not be a NATO mission or a UN mission it should be every free countries mission that sits at home and watches people die on CNN and say glad its not me.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  49. Mohamiss Shafik-Kaddir

    Humility and obidience is the path to wisdom , only the Sharia can provide that wisdom , and Islam is the only true path to world peace . Any critisism of Islam is Islmophobia and hate speach . Islam will not be critisized by Infidels .

    May 29, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
    • LOL!

      BAHAHAHAHA! Almost every page of your stupid book talks of fighting, wars, and killing...

      May 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • chandler1

      Mohammed is a child molester. Enough said.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
    • life5678

      It is that EXACT thinking that is causing ALL of the wars in the world at this time. Islam is Freedomphobia, it is Hate speach, it is repulsive.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • Phil

      How can you say Islam is the way to peace when the very religion was founded on killing or outcasting anyone who would not conform to your beliefs?

      May 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  50. SeattleAl

    OK, so you do this and you think the Syrian government wouldn't simply shut down the cell network? Doh!

    May 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • nasa1

      Or shut down the electrical grid that charges the cell phone batteries?

      May 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
      • nasa1

        Shutting down the electrical grid would cause less pollution to the environment. Oh, by the way, do you know that a flock of Canadian geese flying North for the summer give off the same amount of methane gas that would be equally damaging to the ozone layer as the byproduct of the electricity required for all those cell phones?

        May 29, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  51. MIKE


    May 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • Matt Parks

      Why can't you understand that typing in all caps makes you look uneducated?

      May 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
      • Kevin


        May 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  52. jc

    Yes ltourin, I also think it's a great idea. Communications is what everyone needs. For all those who think it's such a stupid idea...where is your compassion for others!! Cell phones would cost nothing for this to be done. Probably 10 cents each.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • MSLSD

      Just because we think this idea is terrible doesn't mean we lack compassion you twit. If anything you are the one who lacks it rushing a dumb idea that could get more people killed.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • Henfer

      And who do you suppose controls the cell phone towers? Walt Disney? This is a childish fantasy.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  53. Upton Sinclair

    Sutter bases this article on an annonymous commentator. That's Sutter's first mistake, or is it? Like lots of other stories, this one is obviously designed to get us to click on ads. It's a bait and switch story. The headline is about [cell] phones, but his only example is with a satellite phone. Satellite phones are way too expensive. But Sutter tries to convince his readers that a satellite phone will work and therefore cell phones could be used. But they won't work when the gov't shuts down the transmission towers. His argument is so lame a seventh grader could see through it. However, it's just deceptive writing to get us to look at ads.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • MSLSD

      Everybody google "ad blocker". Depending on what browser you use there should be an app for it. This way you won't see ads anymore.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  54. MSLSD

    I still don't understand the logic.

    1. Air drop phones.
    2. Pictures taken.
    3. Pictures posted on twitter.
    4. ???
    5. Peace in the middle east.

    Can someone elaborate on step 4?

    May 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Underpants gnomes

      May 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
    • theonioneaters

      step 4) a miracle happens

      May 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
    • Steamr

      Cell phones WON'T work unless they can connect to a cell tower (which the Syrian gov't could shut down). Only possible alternative might be is the military were to send in a drone equipped to ACT as a cell tower, or perhaps alternatively, a manned communications aircraft (orbiting outside of Syrian airspace). Don't confuse satellite phones with ordinary cell phones – they're FAR more expensive, as they need to uplink DIRECTLY to a satellite orbiting overhead, vs a terrestrial cell tower a relatively short distance away.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  55. Mohamiss Shafik-Kaddir

    The only way to stop the war is total submission to Islam . The Sharia is the answer for all nations . Islam is peace .
    Only the World Calliphate can bring peace , with the Sharia , not democracy .

    May 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
    • nasa1

      Another narrow mind from antiquity....

      May 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
    • Nodack

      I doubt this is real. So many people posing as other people nowadays.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
      • nasa1

        To further strengthen your point, millions of cell phones would simply add to the pethora of imposters, etc.

        May 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Nathan

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
    • Upton Sinclair

      I saw a woman in a burka with a covered face buying groceries in Northern VA yesterday. It was about 90 degrees outside. What kind of peace is it, when Islamic fanatics force their wives into such degrading and uncomfortable rags?

      May 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • life5678

      Oh yes this is real. that is the stated sole goal of Islam, make no mistake about.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • steve

      to quote Anthony McAuliffe....NUTS!

      May 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  56. nasa1

    Just remember, this is a two-edged sword. This will also provide the opportunity to not only record actions by 'other nations' including the USA and also open the door to doctored photos and videos that are not vetted....

    May 29, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  57. Rick K

    I suspect there is no Verizon service in Syria

    May 29, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • Joe blow

      I live in Chicago and I barely get service from Verizon....

      May 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  58. Curiousgeorge

    The last commenter in your article is right. But at the same time, why is it any of our business? By the logic of some posters here, we should have nuked the USSR when Stalin massacred millions. Ditto many other armpits in the world. How about the DPRK? or any of dozens of other countries who offend our 'moral sensibilities'. In any event, if we wanted to end the issue in Syria, just whack Assad and the top dozen or so of the leadership. Shouldn't be that hard to do. A few missles would do it.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  59. Joe

    Stop flushing our money down a toilet! I have to write a check today to the IRS and pay a bill to the IRS. Stop stealing my money and wasting it!

    May 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
    • Nodack

      What are you talking about? His is just an idea by some guy posting on the Internet,not an official government anything. Thanks for paying your taxes like you are supposed to do, but you should read the article before posting about it

      May 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
    • twirtzy

      If you feel the government is stealing your money, all you have to do is move.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  60. Mike, Cleveland OH

    Oh, that's brilliant .. send them mobile radio tracking beacons. The US government uses cell phones to (illegaly) track citizens, you think a different ruthless dictatorship hasn't already thought of that?

    May 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  61. Nodack

    I'm surprised the Republican party hasn't chimed in much yet. Do they have a stance yet or are they waiting for Obama to take a stance before choosing the opposite one?

    McCain, Bachman and other Republicans attacked Obama for not getting involved in Libya and insisted on a no fly zone. Then the US met with NATO, UN, Europe and the Arab League and decided to enact a no fly zone. The next day Republicans attacked Obama for his illegal war. Somehow Bush's actual war with Iraq based on lies and fabrications and going against a UN vote of no was perfectly acceptable, but they want to impeach Obama over Libya where we and the rest of the world decided together to act and zero Americans were killed.

    In other words right or wrong has no bearing in Republicans decisions, only politics.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  62. Jay

    I have a hard enough time getting a discount on my own cell phone upgrade. Yet we're willing to drop 20 million of these things to Syrian's for free? Guess I need to live in a war-stricken country to reap the benefits of free stuff!

    May 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • Nodack

      It was just an idea by some guy on the Internet. You are obviously Republican and can't read.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  63. John

    Why are we wasting our money doing this crap when we should be fixing our own country!?!? What is WRONG with the Government!? Seriously, someone please tell me. I'm sick and tired of this crap.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply
    • james higgs

      yes, we should think only of ourselves. especially when the majority of our problems are petty in the light of human atrocity on an entire population... stop being so selfish.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • Brian

      Do you think this article or any of these comments come from the US government? The answer to your question is that our country is full of idiots like you that are as smart as wood!

      May 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  64. Guy Fawkes

    How silly. Even if we got phones and chargers in the hands of everyone it doesn't seem they would be too hard to thwart. Jamming the signals is one option, but more easy is to just cut the electrical supplies so they can't charge their phones. Now they have no phones AND no electricity. Heck, take away the water while you're at it and before you know all of them will support the tyrants.

    Another well thought-out plan. Thanks, CNN, and how about looking outside of your commentors for some NEWS?

    May 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  65. cuseloosegoose

    This article just shows how out of touch with reality many Americans have become. Do you really think that cell phones can stop a conflict that has people dying and killing for their convictions. It takes power and a firm hand to deal with these gang like regimes. That is the only thing that they understand. Cell phones? What a joke.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  66. rudy

    you gotta be kidding? Drop cell phones?
    Is that the best you can do?
    wake up you moron.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  67. Jackola

    I think the author forgot to mention that we also need to send that many (i.e. 20 million) $50.00 gift cards that the Al-Assad regime can collect to activate the phone service. LOL

    May 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  68. M

    And what network are these phones supposed to connect to? I'm guessing the person who came up with this idea forgot about that little detail.

    Besides, I don't think there's a lack of knowledge about what's going on in Syria; it's more of a lack of political will to actually do anything about it. And all the pictures and videos in the world aren't going to convince Russia and China to change their positions. Russia supports Syria because it is a military ally and buys lots of stuff from Russia. China supports Syria because it doesn't want to set the precedent of outsiders getting involved in what goes on inside a country's borders, lest China face intervention of its own somewhere in the future. If these countries are willing to try to spin the deaths of children into it being the fault of the opposition when it's clear it was done by the government, then they've pretty clearly indicated that they've cast their lot in with al-Assad, and showing them more pictures isn't going to change their minds.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  69. elvisg

    Why don't we just air drop 1 million handguns and uzis? Cut right to the chase...

    May 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  70. Jackola

    This is turning into a joke. As if the West does not have enough videos. What if we have thousands more video's that show the atrocities of the Syrian regime? How is that going to help as long as the USA and NATO are not willing to invade because of fears of a prolonged war and even more massacres? Isn't it obvious that the Syrian regime will kill to the last rebel even if it is the last Syrian. Come on people. The only way this will stop is to cease fomenting the opposition with false hope of help by the West. Poor Syrians... how sad.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  71. jt

    no they sould not do that it will cost the usa money

    May 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  72. MSLSD

    Ok so they get the pictures post them on twitter and then what? That magically brings world peace? Is this really what the left believes?

    May 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • M

      Where did you get the idea that this is a left/right issue? My guess is that this is an idea floated by someone who thinks that more publicity of the atrocities of this war can help put pressure on someone to act. I think the proposed idea is unworkable, but I have no problem with the intent.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
      • MSLSD

        Nobody on the right is dumb enough to think of a plan like this.

        May 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  73. Don

    Send in the Drones

    May 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  74. AlCourts

    May 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  75. Jose

    CNN, did you seriously publicize the ramblings of one idiot "commenter" as the premise for a news article?

    May 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  76. Olderbutwiser

    Is every rebel a saint? Should all revolts be supported? While Syria might not have been a democracy it was stable and at peace until some, seeing the results of the Arab Spring to the west, decided it was there turn to revolt. Let us wait to see how democratic countries like Lybia nd Egypt turn out to be before we help throw other countries into turmoil. It does these people no good to throw their countries into turmoil and destruction only to find tehm right back where they started, if indeed they cann even defeat Assad.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  77. mhwood

    It's *half of* a good idea. But it won't work alone. It has to be backed up with something which will make the regime care that everybody knows what is going on. And nobody has been willing to commit to actions that will make them care.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  78. PC

    Worldn't work because the Syrian government could simply turn off the cell towers.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • anotherposter

      Worse yet, cell towers can be used by authorities to localize cell phone users– ultimately giving Syrian government the ability to locate the very brave journalists we would try to empower.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  79. brian

    The problem with this idea is the same problem with dropping bombs. We were able to launch drone strikes in Libya without any worries because the Libyan military had no air power to speak of. They had no jets and no notable ground-to-air weapons. We could just fly whatever we wanted over Libyan airspace and there was nothing they could do about it.

    Syria is a different story. The Syrian military does have jets, ground-to-air missiles, air radar, etc. It would be totally within their means to shoot down any aircraft that we fly over their airspace.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Reply
    • mhwood

      Make that part of the delivery mechanism. A small unmanned vehicle is hit, and...releases 500 phones. Whoops! do we want to shoot the next one down or not?

      May 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
    • TWM

      And whom do you think that Syria got these toys from??? The Soviet Union. We have better toys than they do (i.e. F-15 C, D, & E models; F-22, F117A, B-2, B-52, etc.) We can scramble their radar, tv, radio, internet, etc. all from a single A/C or naval ship. We have stealth technology on our A/C that their obsolete radar technology probably cannot pick up on it's best day of operation. We took care of the Iraqi military back in Desert Storm/Desert Shield and they had some of the same A/C and other weapons that the Syrian AF does and I'm sure the training is just the same. It doesn't look like that big of a military challenge if we get called in to do something, but it should be another nations turn to go in and start the process. We shouldn't have to play big brother ALL of the time. I do believe that this is a real issue that needs addressed by world governments before it gets to a point of mass genocide like late 1930's Germany or 1990's Bosnia.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  80. RealityCheck

    This kind of thinking is exactly the problem with the new "twitter generation". You think that if people tweet enough pictures that all the problems will be solved. No, that's not enough someone has to do the heavy lifting which most likely would be rebels. You can't change the world just by tweets. Your tweets did nothing to stop the sham of an Iranian election even though there was more than enough proof that it was a fraud. I feel terrible for these people but I feel bad for some of you in the US too because you are letting your egotism dictate you actions. You want to sit around the cafe telling people how you saved the world by tweeting without actually doing anything difficult and this my friends is utter nonsense.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  81. Brad76

    I think it's a good idea. /cough

    May 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  82. Joe Positive

    This type of thinking can change the world (dropping cell phones)... Pre-loaded with educational Videos about how change takes desire, communication and education, providing the tools and hope for getting there... allowing them to know the world is there for them... Yes, that kind of power can stop a tank.... People act different in the light of day... so let there be light! – Cameras ... and action!

    May 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  83. amd4008

    Some people are just born with black hearts, AND very lucky to be born in the U.S. This is happening to human beings.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:58 am | Reply
  84. Pete

    [picks up phone]
    phone: Welcome to your new phone! Let's set up your phone service account. Please have your credit card or otherwise billing information ready.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
  85. sally gauthier

    >>>John Bren. SHAME ON YOU!!! Worrying about taxpayers footing the bill? SERIOUSLY?? When babies are being axed? You sound like a real piece of work.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • amd4008

      I'm with you on this one!

      May 29, 2012 at 11:59 am | Reply
    • Bernardo

      I agree with you that saving lives is a good cause for the use of taxpayers money. However, I should point out that babies are getting "axed" (aborted) in America to the tune of 1.5 million per year, and yet many are saying that our tax dollars SHOULD SUPPORT this killing. In the case of a "partial birth" abortion, the baby is born ALL EXCEPT FOR THE HEAD, then a hole is created in the base of the skull and the brain extracted to kill the "unborn" baby. Even though a vast majority of Americans support banning this type of abortion, many politicians, including Obama, refuse to support a ban.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
      • Carl

        The "partial birth" abortions almost never happen and are illegal in most areas anyway.

        The vast majority of abortions are done within the first trimester. The brain of a fetus doesn't even begin to produce myelin or differentiate into white and gray cells, which are two absolutely critical things which make a brain something other than a mass of random cells, until early in the second trimester (with actual functional levels of those things not occurring until birth). Around 1% of abortions are "late term", and some portion of those are going to be due to legitimate medical issues (such as the fetus already being dead).

        May 29, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • life5678

        I know right? 1.5 million murders a years. Life is continuous, from parents to children, it doesn't "start" at conception, there is no fine line, it's passed down without interruption. life is defined by growth, anything not growing is dead. abortion stops the growth, it stop the life process, it kills life. End of story, no excuses.

        May 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • D. Takaki

      Consider this approach:

      The Truth War

      Plan Bravo

      May 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply

    The US media is dangerous - they are morphing form simply reporting the news to making the news –and trying to be a part of the news. This is DUMB; it is DANGEROUS; and it is counter productive. The US media is the largest part of the problem in America with a polarized and partisan government - it is the US media that fan the flames of discontent to dangerous and unhelpful levels.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • M

      I don't disagree with your statement, but what you describe isn't a recent development. It's been going on for well over a century. Much longer, actually.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  87. citizenUSA

    This is the dumbest idea since Kim Kardashian got married. We already have plenty of phone pictures. Do so many NOT believe what's going on? Does somebody need a phone call from a Syrian getting brutalized?

    May 29, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • callum

      Yes, millions of people do refuse to believe this is happening. Just look at the CNN article on the expulsion of Syrian ambassadors. Most of the comments don't criticise Assad, they blame the whole thing on the West – calling it a fabrication by multi-national companies.

      Though I agree that this won't change that. The sort of people who believe that the West are evil and Assad, Gadaffi, Hussain etc. are all lovely people doing their best for their citizens are never going to believe otherwise.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • LJinCO

      There are people out there blaming CIA black ops and Israel for these crimes. It's such garbage. The cellphone drop will shine the light on the brutality of the Syrian regime. Russia will have to support as well.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  88. b in fl

    that is a good idea but, who is going to do anything

    May 29, 2012 at 11:46 am | Reply
  89. D. Takaki

    I've written these that address the Truth War. Your article's premise is flawed; it's both, not communications or fighting. 21st Century warfare is total war. Infowar is not mil to mil... the population is the center of gravity

    The Truth War

    Plan Bravo

    Plan Bravo Appendix

    May 29, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
  90. slk

    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! cell phones/ batteries/ video cameras/ all strait to the UN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    as well as outside press!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    before there is no one left alive.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:41 am | Reply
  91. kjl218

    Wouldn't millions of phone chargers also have to be dropped? And, uh, what about those pesky service plans and providers? How else would the cell phones work? Nice idea in theory, but in reality... I'm just saying.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • Daddy2010

      - begin rant –
      Come on people, enough with the "I'm just saying" already. You said it. No need to tell everyone you said it.
      – end rant -

      May 29, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
      • amd4008

        LOL!!!!! Perfect!

        May 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
      • TWM

        But you forgot to say "I'm just saying."

        May 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Piranha Soup

      People say stupid things.......Im just sayin.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  92. ltourin

    I think it’s a great idea and would put global pressure on Russia, China and Iran.

    On another note, for those that say “give me a free phone instead”. Shame on you. If you live in the United States you are already more blessed than most of the people on the globe. Most of us cannot even begin to imagine the horror of having our children slaughtered for political gain. We just have to “cope” with robo-calls. Shame on you.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • amd4008

      Finally! Someone who has a heart!

      May 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
      • jc

        Yes and thank you!!

        May 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  93. vik

    Not unless you're going to drop cell towers also and then protect those towers. What do you think one
    of the first things we do when we go into a country. Now, satellite phones might work, but good luck
    with that. It's not hard to jam any of those frequencies.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • jc

      We don't have to drop cellphone towers!! The technology is easy! Cheap cellphones cost nothing.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
      • life5678

        Seriously? you don't realize that without the towers the cell phones won't work? Wow, no wonder there are so many crazy ideas written here. America better worry about it's educational system, not Syria.

        May 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  94. JavaJ

    Make sure the phones have Angry Birds on them- that will bring everything to a halt :)

    May 29, 2012 at 11:28 am | Reply
  95. Steve Ong

    yes – but not enough... whats the use of more visibility on these horrific events whenever the world government did nothing but just merely expel the syria diplomats?

    i think we have come to a point where world government starting to fail us...instead of public rhetorics, do more actions

    May 29, 2012 at 11:22 am | Reply
  96. jaysargos

    sure.... if they are air dropped with 10,000 marines!

    May 29, 2012 at 11:22 am | Reply
  97. anthony

    I'm no balistics expert, but I don't think thrown cell phones will pierce through tank armor.

    We already know terrible things are happening in Syria, there needs to be an internationally backed military response. With or without China/Russia.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
    • Piranha Soup

      Russia has a military base in Syria.
      So you are ok with starting a war with Russia ?
      You people are stupid.
      When Americans start getting killed you will scream
      Obama is a warmonger.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  98. iachroma

    absolutely not...

    May 29, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
  99. John Bren

    NO WE SHOULDN'T!!! Especially if U.S. taxpayers would foot the bill.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
  100. FauxNews

    First, the US government should drop millions of phones in my town.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • amd4008


      May 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply
      • ME

        Without actual muscle to back it up, it's probably just as useful. Syria isn't the US in the 60s or India in Ghandi's time.

        May 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
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