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  •  Um, no. (144+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Swig Mcjigger, doroma, cordgrass, TheOrchid, TracieLynn, DrTerwilliker, PsychoSavannah, Heftysmurf, New Dawning, ericlewis0, david mizner, NMDad, varii, hardart, TheLizardKing, citizenx, DEMonrat ankle biter, FG, Satya1, Justanothernyer, Sky Net, 420 forever, KayCeSF, frankzappatista, Deep Texan, MKinTN, mrblifil, Floande, Habitat Vic, Shockwave, Hillbilly Dem, highacidity, angry marmot, Radiowalla, MRA NY, lowkell, chujb, Hey338Too, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, BlueDragon, kpardue, BachFan, Texknight, Inland, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, pvasileff, Dancing Frog, polecat, Empty Vessel, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Loge, elfling, Aquarius40, Frederick Clarkson, cpresley, psyched, RichM, Vatexia, LaughingPlanet, TheHalfrican, cryonaut, Rogneid, fluffy, rbird, trumpeter, raptavio, ivorybill, Catkin, pamelabrown, NYFM, expatjourno, ichibon, jiffypop, Essephreak, Seeds, ER Doc, TooFolkGR, Paul Ferguson, citisven, Admiral Santa, Lefty Coaster, Lawrence, radmul, wytcld, nspguy, DocGonzo, SoCalSal, sofia, Setsuna Mudo, earicicle, eve, Kysen, bakeneko, Yoshimi, wmtriallawyer, AgavePup, oldliberal, Mindful Nature, sawgrass727, ask, lastman, orestes1963, Dallasdoc, peregrinus, Publius2008, Drocedus, ruscle, LouisMartin, Susan G in MN, annan, JackND, eztempo, AntonBursch, Phil S 33, akmk, jlms qkw, WisePiper, hooper, trillian, True North, Bob Love, General Goose, davelf2, MikePhoenix, xyz, anana, jusjtim35, pileta, lavorare, roberb7, phenry, paytheline, eagleray, qm1pooh, NedSparks, missLotus, TRPChicago, AuntieRa, willynel, FishOutofWater, AaronInSanDiego, Jeff Simpson, priceman, koNko

    Law is barbaric, no question. But the use of chemical weapons is indiscriminate by its very nature. A special ops team is probably not going to strife an entire neighborhood, and if they do, they'll be court-martialed.

    There's a reason we have conventions on warfare that ban these weapons.

    The real question is whether our involvement in Syria is worth the risk in lives and chaos it's like to entail. I think not.

    But chemical warfare is evil in a different way and more profoundly than just war itself. Sorry.

    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

    by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:56:06 AM PDT

    •  so are (46+ / 0-)
      But the use of chemical weapons is indiscriminate by its very nature.
      iron bombs and artillery shells and napalm.  The Syrian army (heck hardly any army on Earth) is capable of the level of precision warfare that the US can employ.
      •  So gassing is OK? -eom- (7+ / 0-)

        The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

        by TheOrchid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:01:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  correction (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac, happymisanthropy

        is NOT capable

      •  Cluster bombs... or my favorite: depleted (20+ / 0-)

        uranium!

        Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

        by The Dead Man on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:38:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thus Far the Chemical Weapons Incident is Pretext (14+ / 0-)

        The Syrian army is holding back US favored insurgent forces.  You have to ask yourself how it would make sense, especially from the standpoint of their own preservation, that the Syrian government would launch another chemical attack in the vicinity of the last one that we accused them of administering and which is being investigated by the UN.

        Suffice to say, the jury is still out on the responsibility for the attack and the exercise of restraint is therefore called -for, at least until the UN can make a determination of cause - before more lives are senselessly lost.  

        It is just as plausible to conclude, given what we know and the chaotic circumstances in Syria, that our government may be jumping to conclusions, perhaps because it doesn't want the truth or lack of it to be revealed, as it is to conclude that the government is justified in its reasoning.

      •  You don't understand (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, CenPhx, AoT, JesseCW, StrayCat

        The third state of matter is the only one with which the U.S. can pretend to have some moral authority.

        The U.S. has a monopoly on the evils of the first state of matter, as you've identified, and so can't gain much traction there.

        The U.S. has more room to maneuver with the second state of matter -- though with napalm, waterboarding, and all, it's probably imprudent to go there. Besides, it's hard to find targets to criticize when institutionalized death by liquid probably hasn't been seen since the Salem witch trials.

        Certain other states of matter would invite too much sci-fi ridicule.

        That leaves gas. Look, as you know, you go to war with the states of matter you have, not the states of matter you might want or wish to have at a later time.

        "Yes We Can!" -- Barack Obama

        by Sucker Politics on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:56:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Chemical Weapons are uncontrollably indiscriminate (8+ / 0-)

        depending on the wind. Clouds of toxic gas can be blown out of target area and kill many more than intended. They also can be persistently lethal. That's why they are considered WMD. In contrast, artillery shells, iron bombs, and naplam are indiscriminate within the target area.

        I didn't write the rules of war. I think the line between WMD and conventional munitions in some cases is very thin.

        As far as whether we should use military force in Syria, I cannot see how any application of limited military force unilaterally can help the situation there. The objectives of airstrikes are unclear. If the intended consequence is to bring about a regime change that is favorable to the west, I seriously doubt that airstrikes alone would cause that. Historically, efforts to target heads of state have been pretty unsuccessful and so have efforts to coerce a population by hitting other targets alone. We can certainly change the balance of the situation, but we have no control over the outcome which may not be favorable to us irregardless of who wins the civil war.

        If we are forced to go farther, putting boots on the ground is not a good idea at this time. Syria is not Iraq. We'd be facing an enemy that is better equipped and organized than the Iraqis were. In order to keep casualties low, our rules of engagement would have to be much loser than in Iraq. That may win the war from a military standpoint, but the collateral damage would be high and would turn much of the population against us in the process.  

        I also don't think we can afford to alienate Russia further. We have bigger problems facing this earth that is going to need their cooperation. If can get them onboard with intervening from a humanitarian perspective, then we could consider more effective and peaceful options.

        •  Unfortunately, there are no rules of war... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul, This old man

          If there were, I would vote for the rules being that all wars be fought on one hundred yard fields with football pads and a pigskin and whoever scores the most points in the allotted time, wins the war.

          Unfortunately, there are no rules in war.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:34:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No rules ? (8+ / 0-)

            So no war crimes ?

            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

            by indycam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:04:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Great news for butchers worldwide! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dr Swig Mcjigger, DSPS owl, MBNYC

              yay!  No more pesky Geneva Conventions!  No more ICC.  (Not that the US would ever stoop to allowing it's war criminals to be tried)

              •  And that's why we say there are no rules (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Buckeye Nut Schell, YucatanMan, caul

                of war. There's just punishment for weaker countries. If it were a rule it would be enforced evenly.

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:27:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  My international law professor used to say (0+ / 0-)

                  that you can look at international law one of two ways.  It is like the elephant dancing:  you can say, wow, that is one clutzy animal that couldn't dance swan lake to save its life, or you could be astonished that it can dance at all.

                  Expecting completely evenhanded application of international law is fairly unreasonable, simply because it always presents a massive collective action problem, in that because enforcement benefits all, but is too expensive for anyone to do alone, it is prone to disruption and railroading (especially given the post WWII structure of the UNSC).  

                  Certainly, if the objective is to have laws enforced uniformly, abandoning the rules is not a particularly good way to start.  IN this particular case, the CWC has mostly been successful, with only a small number of incidents (not all of which were punished, even against smaller countries).  So, I think the notion that a generalized unevenness is not a particularly good argument against enforcement.

            •  There is talk of rules... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MindRayge, YucatanMan, djohnutk, caul

              But are they followed?

              Why do we have a nuclear arsenal again?  Why do we have chemical and biological weapons here in the United States if the rules says we cannot use them?  

              Why do we still have prisoners who have been cleared in prison in Guantanamo?  Why do we get to redefine torture as enhanced interrogation techniques?

              Why did we hang japanese officers as war criminals for waterboarding our soldiers and now when we do it, it is just little a dunk in the water?

              Why did we defend Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1988 and then invade Iraq using the same attack as justification 15 years later?  

              There are no rules in war.  Just declarations by the victors justifying their actions.  We attack targets in soveriegn nations all the time which is against the "rules" of war.  We render high value targets in other countries without that country's permission all the time which is against the rules.

              If nobody follows the rules, are they really rules or are they mere suggestions voluntarily abided by when it is convenient?

              Arrest Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld for authorizing torture and I will believe there are rules in war.

              Arrest Colin Powell and George W Bush for war crimes of attacking a sovereign nation who posed no threat to us and I will believe there are rules in war.

              If there are no consequences to breaking rules then there really aren't any rules as far as I can tell.  Sure they executed Saddam Hussein for war crimes but they would have thought of some other reason if he hadn't gassed the Kurds.  

              We, the United States, the only super power on earth right now, make the rules and we reserve the right to exempt ourselves from those rules any damn time we feel like it.  Those are not rules, that is tyranny.

              "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:44:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If I speed and don't get caught (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Buckeye Nut Schell, MBNYC

                is there still a rule against speeding ?

                There are rules ,
                compliance with the rules is another thing .

                Why do we have chemical and biological weapons here in the United States if the rules says we cannot use them?

                http://en.wikipedia.org/...
                In mid-1969, the UK and the Warsaw Pact, separately, introduced proposals to the UN to ban biological weapons, which would lead to a treaty in 1972. The U.S. cancelled its offensive biological weapons program by executive order in November 1969 (microorganisms) and February 1970 (toxins) and ordered the destruction of all offensive biological weapons, which occurred between May 1971 and February 1973. The U.S. ratified the Geneva Protocol on January 22, 1975. The U.S. ratified the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) which came into effect in March 1975.[Kissinger 1969]

                http://en.wikipedia.org/...
                The U.S. began stockpile reductions in the 1980s, removing some outdated munitions and destroying its entire stock of BZ beginning in 1988. In June 1990, Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System began destruction of chemical agents stored on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific, seven years before the Chemical Weapons Convention came into effect. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan made an agreement with Chancellor Helmut Kohl to remove the U.S. stockpile of chemicals weapons from Germany. As part of Operation Steel Box, in July 1990, two ships were loaded with over 100,000 shells containing GB and VX taken from US Army weapons storage depots such as Miesau and then-classified ammunition FSTS (Forward Storage/Transportation Sites) and transported from Bremerhaven Germany to Johnston Atoll in the Pacific, a 46-day nonstop journey.[21]

                In May 1991, President George H.W. Bush unilaterally committed the United States to destroying all chemical weapons and renounced the right to chemical weapon retaliation. In 1993, the United States signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, which required the destruction of all chemical weapon agents, dispersal systems, chemical weapons production facilities by April 2012. The U.S. prohibition on the transport of chemical weapons has meant that destruction facilities had to be constructed at each of the U.S.'s nine storage facilities. The U.S. met the first three of the treaty's four deadlines, destroying 45% of its stockpile of chemical weapons by 2007. However, official expectations for the date of complete elimination of all chemical weapons was after the treaty deadline of 2012.

                Your question about why we have what we don't have ?

                "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                by indycam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:54:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Good information... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dancing Frog, YucatanMan, caul
                  If I speed and don't get caught is there still a rule against speeding ?
                  Yes but if I speed, get caught and nothing ever happens to me, is there a rule against speeding?

                  It wasn't that the United States didn't get caught torturing prisoners, they changed the definition of torture and admitted to doing it under a different name and nobody has been punished for it.  Combine that with invading a country that did not pose a threat to us, rendering people from foriegn countries without that countries permission, killing our own citizens without do process  when they were in no position to cause eminent danger, even specifically targeting their juvenile children...

                  doing something and not getting caught does not invalidate the rule.  Breaking the rules in plain sight and daring anyone to do something about it and nothing happens.... That pretty much makes the rule null and void.

                  "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

                  by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:44:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I've read about very old laws still (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Buckeye Nut Schell

                    being on the books . They are still the law even if no one understands what they are or what they were for .

                    That pretty much makes the rule null and void.
                    We are saying the same but I see it as an enforcement problem .
                    If there was no law , then there could be no possibility of enforcement .

                    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                    by indycam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:51:51 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Wow, thanks Indy. (0+ / 0-)

                  The amazing part (to me) of all this is that I did not know all this. (I have a point.)

                  But then, who did? And, I have absolutely NO idea who else does/does not have what, regarding Chemical Weapons. Most honestly do not know how many, or the type of nuclear weapons we have. It is no small comfort to me that there are those charged with knowing such information. I know of the work at Ft. Detrick, but only because one of my dearest friends was Commander there. And, of course, I only knew what I (with a Clearance, mind you) was told by him and others.

                  I very much appreciate your effort here. Hug someone you really love tonight.

                  Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
                  Economic
                  Left/Right: -7.75
                  Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

                  by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:49:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  There are, actually (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CJ WIHorse, Yoshimi, JesseCW, jncca

            That they aren't complete, that they dont prevent conflict, that you disagree with the limits to their scope does not invalidate them.

            There are rules in war. They don't make wars good happy wonderful events, but they're there.

            It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic. - WSC

            by Solarian on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:14:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Only the losers are punished for not following... (0+ / 0-)

              rules.   That is not a rule, that is rubbing salt in the wound.

              The only time the victors are punished for not following the rules is when a bigger dog doesn't like who won the war.  That is not a rule, that is an excuse for entering a war.

              "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:48:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

                dumdum or expanding bullets, illegal in war, not used.

                in the Chelsea Manning news you may have missed that the US Sgt who murdered Afgani civilians was just sentenced to life w/o parole.

                Suez Crisis, the, Fr, UK, Isr gang up to take the Suez Canal, are stopped by their ally as a breach of int'l law.

                Enough.

                It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic. - WSC

                by Solarian on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 07:09:12 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Geneva Conventions (6+ / 0-)

            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

            by indycam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:26:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And we follow which ever parts of that... (0+ / 0-)

              rule book we damn well please.  Dick Cheney said he believed that the United States has the right to label a "combatant" a "terrorist," outside the protections of the Geneva Convention

              Since we have a war on terrorism, we don't need to follow no stinking Geneva Convention.

              When Dick Cheney is arrested for not folowing the Geneva Convention, I'll believe there are rules.

              Rules are for fools...  There are no rules in love and war.

              "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:55:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think so (4+ / 0-)

            My guess, and I could well be wrong, is that the low frequency of use of chemical weapons is at least in part due to the well-established international treaties banning their use. Yes, they have been used, but likely less than if they were not banned, don't you think?  

            I'm from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

            by voicemail on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:45:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dancing Frog, caul

              Also, chemical weapons are fairly difficult to make weaponized and degrade quickly and there not a lot of official manufacturers out there selling this stuff because of these supposed rules but...

              You are probably right that the appearance of rules probably does deter their use to some extent.

              "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:02:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  totally wrong (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dancing Frog

            There are rules in war. They are actually called laws of war. Most nations (even ours) have signed on to one or several international laws of war. These laws include treatment of POWs, prohibitions on torture, non-targeting of non-fighting medical personnel, and non-targeting of soldiers trying to surrender. They also include not using chemical or biological weapons. Syria has signed on to an international binding agreement not to use chemical weapons.

            Please see this wikipedia page on jus in bello. It isn't true that there are no laws in war.

            Now, where these rules do and don't apply is another question. I have argued in the past pretty strongly for our diligent application of these rules, particularly with respect to torture. But I would hardly argue that we should respect them less- the lack of respect has brought us "enemy combatants" of Taliban soldiers (no POW status), torture, drone strikes, etc.

            "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

            by progreen on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:00:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If we can apply the rules when we want to... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              caul

              and ignore them when we want to, they are not rules... they are suggestions.  

              I am not saying there are not words written on paper that says that we can and cannot do this or that.  I am fully aware of the Geneva Convention and other "Laws" in war.

              Who went to jail or even got fired (Hell, who didn't get a fucking medal of freedom) for committing war crimes in the Bush Administration?  How about the Obama Administration?  How about in the CIA?

              Are you saying that we did not torture people in clear violation of those "RULES"?  Tell me one sanction, just one punishment, hell, show me a fucking worthless congressional censure condemning this blatant violation of the international "LAW".

              There are no rules in war because if you are big enough and bad enough, there is not a damn thing anybody else can do about it if you do not follow them.  

              You can say I am totally wrong all you want to but show me just one instance, JUST ONE where somebody with authority from the United States of America was held accountable for torture or any other war crime then I will admit to being "totally wrong" and kiss your virtual ass right here in front of the whole Kosland observatory.

              "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:14:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would argue (0+ / 0-)

                that there are rules, but the most powerful often choose whether or not to follow them. It's like playing basketball with a bully- there are rules to the game of basketball, but at any time the bully can tackle you, take the ball, and say "that wasn't a foul."

                There are rules, but no real referees.

                The problem is that any of these international rules require someone to enforce them. The International Criminal Court in the Hague only works if you can get someone there. There is no police for states. The UN Security Council only works if you can get all major powers to agree (or at least not veto).

                So rules or suggestions...rules for some, suggestions for the powerful.

                I would be thrilled to see any of those who lied us into war, violated rules against preventative war, tortured, targeted civilians, extraordinarily renditioned, and wrote the legal justifications for all of it tried in a court of law. I don't think abandoning the implementation of rules for everyone because they aren't applied to some is the answer.

                Whether or not that is a justifiable pretext for bombing Syria is another question.

                "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                by progreen on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 11:05:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  So are incendiary bombs- re: (12+ / 0-)
          Chemical Weapons are uncontrollably indiscriminate depending on the wind.
          March 9-10 1945, Tokyo Japan.  These dates were purposefully chosen- based on weather conditions- in order to create optimal destruction.

          Estimates
          of the number killed are of a higher death toll than that of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

          Being burned or boiled or baked to death or worse living through & with being (purposefully) burned is beyond any agony I can imagine...

          As a teen (volunteer), I stayed at the side of two burn victims during medical therapies.  One burned by napalm, the other an incendiary (jet fuel).  

          Survivors.  To this day I hear their screams.

        •  Except, Sarin was specifically designed as a heavy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dancing Frog, caul

          oily substance that hits the ground and then lets off gas, not prone to drift large distances like Mustard or other early gasses.

          It's horrific area weapon, as indiscriminate as cluster munitions, but it doesn't waft kilometers away from the attack site.

          1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

          by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:50:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  So is a machine gun (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, caul

        For that matter, a bow and arrow is more likely to hit a non-combatant than a sword.

        We make trade-offs all the time between utility and morality. For example, a lot of lives would be saved if the speed limit for cars was 3 MPH.

        I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

        by blue aardvark on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:07:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The US' claimed precision is pretty much a myth (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul

        invented by the Pentagon.  It's been proven incorrect over and over again.  Good percentages miss altogether, blowing up something else or nothing.

        The belief in our "surgical strike capability" is just another lie that the warmongers sell to the American people to get us to go along with their murderous sprees.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:25:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I Could Not Disagree With You More (22+ / 0-)

      Chemical weapons bad. Given. But are you saying it is OK to bomb a place into submission, but use chemical weapons something different? Just another way to kill folks.

    •  indiscriminate by its very nature. (59+ / 0-)

      As are cluster bombs since about 10-30 percent don't detonate and once the enemy leaves the area and civilians return, they can inadvertently trigger them.

      Same with land mines.  

      Help me to be the best Wavy Gravy I can muster

      by BOHICA on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:03:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  more evil (32+ / 0-)

      than depleted uranium?  than white phosphorus? than cluster bombs that when they don't detonate look like brightly colored toys that children are drawn to?  napalm?

      •  More evil (13+ / 0-)

        than an infantry advance into contested territory, a river crossing under fire, a tank battle, absolutely.

        I understand your outrage, but your "more evil" nitpickery is a bunch of posturing, sorry.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:14:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ever live through an infantry advance or bombing (11+ / 0-)

          raid - as a civilian, with your terror-stricken family huddled around you? Well, my parents have. So have my uncles, aunts, cousins. I'm privy to firsthand knowledge of what it's like being a civilian trapped in a war zone, and Kos is right. Dead from a bomb or dead from gas is meaningless categorization. Dead is dead.

          "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

          by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:03:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So did my mother. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NYFM

            A former boss of mine in Frankfurt fled East Prussia with his family as a child and saw Berlin burning a hundred miles away on that flight. My grandfather was an officer in the Wehrmacht, possibly a war criminal, only got out of Workuta in 1955. A teacher of mine in England had three brothers; one lost at Dunkirk, one died on the Burma Road, the last went down with HMS Prince of Wales.

            I have some idea just how goddamn fucking awful war is, thank you.

            Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

            by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:37:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  My dad was held as a POW by Nazis for four years (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC, grover, mimi

              Look up Sandbostel camp, Stalag X-B. Ninety percent of all prisoners who were held there died. When the British stumbled upon the camp it was so rife with typhus they burned it down. My dad got typhoid fever there, but he survived. Ninety percent of all the prisoners who were held there died. My dad lived thanks to the kindness of a very good man, a German farmer to whom he was assigned as slave labor during the day. (At night he was marched back to prison.) That farmer, at great risk to himself, fed my dad from his own table, and that nourishment saved my father's life.

              My mother came from a family of German pacifists from Russia who were evacuated to East Prussia at the end of the Great War. Toward the end of the Second World War her father was drafted by the Nazis despite being a pacifist, farmer, father of ten, and a breeder of Trakehner horses. He died in the ice bombardment of the Vistula Lagoon during the evacuation of East Prussia, trying to take Trakehners and refugees to western Germany.

              My grandmother, my mother, and seven of her siblings were captured by the Russians and held in concentration camp for fourteen months, then deported to a camp in East Germany. From there they escaped to the British zone just as the last lengths of barbed wire were being strung, permanently closing the crossings. She had to traverse the no-man's-land between East and West five times, dodging bullets, helping her mother carry her younger brothers and sisters over to freedom. On her last crossing she and her sister were captured, but they miraculously escaped. She was sixteen years old.

              My parents met in the British zone, and I was born a stateless refugee. That's how we came to the US, and it's one of the reasons I chose my particular user name.

              More recently, my uncle, aunts, cousins, their children, their extended families and their friends lived through the NATO bombing of Serbia. A cousin's son-in law was killed while on a train trestle over a mountain gorge. The bombers didn't care if there were trains or people on the bridges. They had to dump their loads before they could return to Italy. Almost everyone in my father's home town lost their livelihood when the US bombed a washing machine factory to smithereens. They bombed every factory and every bit it infrastructure they could. The only reason thy didn't bomb the main bridge over the Danube in Belgrade was because the university students and young people continuously occupied the bridge. Had it been bombed there would have been a war crime broadcast live throughout the world. My family still has shrapnel embedded in the trees in their yards and walls of their homes.

              So yeah, let's compare family war stories. I have many more.

              "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

              by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:02:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My link for Trakehners horses doesn't work ^^^ (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MBNYC, grover

                Here is a corrected link.

                "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:10:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  If you don't know who the Germans from Russia were (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MBNYC, grover, drmah, mimi

                here is a link. Not all Germans from Russia were poor farmers. My mother's family was definitely not poor, even after they fled Russia to East Prussia. They weren't made poor until the Second World War took everything from them.

                "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:25:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Wow. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Involuntary Exile, Bob Love

                Here's a thought: a lot of folks here and in America in general don't have stories like that. I've thought about diarying my experience with history and how it affects my perspective on discussions like these, would you be interested in making that a common project?

                Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:38:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Perhaps. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MBNYC

                  We are all the product of our experiences. I'm quite certain if more Americans experienced war first hand they wouldn't be so eager to push their children or someone else's into battle. War sucks. Innocent people die. It is always, always, always evil.

                  "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                  by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:14:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Involuntary Exile

                    My mom's family lost what little they had left after WWI in the ashes of WWII. My grandfather was scarred till the day he died, so were his kids by extension. Never talked about it, but it was there.

                    I still remember being a little tot and asking mom why there were so many parking lots. Bomb damage, she said, and didn't need to explain where those bombs came from or why. Or standing in front of the Berlin Wall and knowing it was evil as a six year old. Or later in England or France hearing the things mom's people did just because we were visiting family. Inescapable.

                    And then you start travelling and see the same thing all over Europe. I didn't really meet a Jewish person till I moved to New York, and thank God nobody held mom's family against me.

                    War is hell, no two ways about it. This is not abstract. I don't want America to have that legacy too.

                    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                    by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:29:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  My mom and her family are rightly proud (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      MBNYC

                      of never having been Nazis. She came from that part of East Prussia that was decidedly anti-Nazi and anti-war because it was home to so many former Germans from Russia. It was the place from which the one and only assassination attempt against Hitler was launched. Hitler worried so much about the loyalty of the East Prussians in that area that he didn't allow anyone to own a radio, not even one to receive his own propaganda. My mother says if you were caught with a radio you would go to prison and possibly be executed. That part of East Prussia is now known as the Masurian Lake District of Poland.

                      "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                      by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:59:36 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Heh. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Involuntary Exile

                        I don't even know if we had any outright Nazis; but nobility, military, could go either way.

                        I do know that two relatives at least were a part of the Stauffenberg plot and executed for treason against the regime. Not uncommon ancestry in my circle of friends, either.

                        My friend Julia, another aristo, told me the story of how her mom fled East Prussia as a tot and saw the manor house go up in flames. They lost a few folks to Valkyrie as well.

                        She'd love to go back just to see the place, but what would the point be? The past is the past.

                        What I want, and you as well I think, is to spare this country that kind of odium.

                        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:07:27 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  My mom's aristo lineage got "watered out" (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          MBNYC

                          about three or four generations before her, somewhere in the mid-nineteenth century, by dint of being female and through marriage to non-aristocrats. My grandmother's family wealth came from the female line, which, of course, did not get to inherit a title but did get to inherit substantial amounts of money which they took with them into their marriages. I guess anyone from a wealthy East Prussian family has a story about seeing their great manor house  destroyed. When my mom's family was being deported from East Prussia to East Germany they passed by her grandmother's property and saw the great house had been destroyed. All that remained was the "little house" which was not what anyone would consider little. Most people would consider it a mansion as great as most of the country houses of the English gentry of the eighteen and nineteenth centuries.

                          On her father's side, which originated in the Salzburg area of Austria, the loss of title came earlier when the family was expelled for being Protestants in the great expulsion of 1731. As you know, thousands died as a direct result of the expulsion, but the rich and titled were given more time - thirty days - to sell their property and leave. By the late 18th century, thanks to the invitation of Catherine II, they ended up in the Ukraine on the Black Sea where they owned ships and warehouses until the end of the Great War.

                          If your friend Julia is from East Prussia she must know about Trakehner horses. My grandfather Ewald bred them, which is no small deal. It's very nearly like saying he bred Lipizzaners, that's how tightly the stud book was controlled. He also bred champion dogs, cattle and poultry. Mother and Tante claim he would joke that the only mutts he bred were his children.

                          "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                          by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:38:00 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  They're beautiful horses. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Involuntary Exile

                            I seem to recall there's an estate outside of Potsdam that still breeds them, though.

                            Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                            by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:56:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The Trakehner breed was very nearly wiped out (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MBNYC

                            as a result of the war. I really don't know anything about a breeding program in Potsdam. What I know is that somehow against all odds the stud book, approximately 50 stallions, and a few hundred brood mares found their way to Lower Saxony where the breed was reestablished under the direction of Baron von Schrötter and the Trakehner Verband. Only those horses descended from that foundation stock are recognized by the Verband as Trakehners.

                            It's possible the East German government rounded up all the Trakehners they could find after the war and started a breeding program in Potsdam, but if they're not recognized by the Verband they're not Trakehners. I know that the Polish government rounded up whatever Trakehners they could find and brought them back to Landstallmeisterhaus Trakehnen to try to reestablished the breed in Poland, but those horses haven't been recognized by the Verband.

                            They are very beautiful, athletic horses. It's no wonder they are becoming a favorite for Olympic equestrian events.

                            "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                            by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 07:05:42 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

          •  so really why bother to stop any of it? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MBNYC

            is the bottom line for that... it is all evil so why take a stand on any being even worse than the rest... either all or nothing? No restrictions or total pacifism?

            We understand that a "Why can't we all be friends and just ban warfare starting tomorrow" is not a not realistic is the other extreme and unreasonable alternative to just shrugging and not doing anything since everyone has  blood on their hands in one way or another and dead is dead... (an even more indiscriminate, capricious, hideous, lingering painful death is arguably worse than some quicker forms like bullets, bombs etc.)

            But realistically why not try and stop things somewhere and then work back to getting rid of more things step by step. And if not now and this? What and where and when?

            Gotta find a place to put your foot down and giving chemical warfare a pass is not a great choice or example... and would not bode well for further steps sooner.

            Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

            by IreGyre on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:18:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So the agreement is, lets kill some people (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC, Johnny Q

              For having killed some other people. Because, obviously, just threatening to kill them doesn't work. Let's decide what level of heinousness is too heinous to tolerate, and then lets kill those we think are guilty of having been too heinous, and lets kill them in a way that seems to us less heinous but that might, unfortunately, kill some innocent people who had nothing at all to do with the act that has us in high dudgeon. I think I got that about right, no?

              Why is it our fight? And if it should be our fight, should we necessarily intervene anywhere some dictator is killing people with weapons of mass destruction? What if he's only killing thousands by imprisoning, torturing and murdering them in conventional ways? Conventional mass executions can be overlooked but unconventional ones can't?

              Or do we only get involved when there is a possibility we or our friends might be the target? Where does it begin? Where does it end?

              Here's a little factoid: Orthodox Christianity (which I happen to adhere to) has no doctrine of "just war". That was an idea of Augustine's that the Eastern Church never accepted. The Eastern position has always been that wars are sometimes unavoidable but never justified. And that pretty much sums up how I feel about the subject. In this particular case, our entry into the Syrian war in absolutely avoidable, so I think we should avoid becoming combatants. It's not our fight.

              "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

              by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:07:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  False characterization of you opponents' views. (0+ / 0-)
                So the agreement is, lets kill some people for having killed some other people.

                Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UID: 8519

                by Bob Love on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:06:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Seems like a logical extension to me. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dr Know

                  How is it a false characterization? If we:

                  Gotta find a place to put your foot down and giving chemical warfare a pass is not a great choice or example... and would not bode well for further steps sooner.
                  what foot are we putting down that doesn't involving killing some people? You know this thread is about our probable bombing of Syria don't you?

                  "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                  by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:48:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Why not stop it all? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Involuntary Exile, Johnny Q, MBNYC

              It's all evil. War is shit. We need to end it all and more war has never succeeded at doing that, so why don't we try not fucking fighting anymore.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:35:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Ever die twitching in torment from gas poisoning? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            drmah

            Any sane person would prefer a bullet to the brain instead.

            Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UID: 8519

            by Bob Love on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:03:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Military incursions, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          worldlotus

          river crossings under fire and tank battles normally involve combat troops fighting other combat troops, not governments and/or insurgents mass murdering civilian populations on purpose.

          Even those of us who hate war understand there's a difference between battles involving combat troops and wholesale murder of civilians.

          •  There mostly isn't though (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, Joieau

            Civilians are generally more likely to be killed in wars, and in larger numbers, even when the aggressor conforms to various "laws" of war. There's a myth that circulates about how we can just make the right rules and spare civilians a bad fate, but it simply isn't true. War kills more civilians than  soldiers, it has throughout history with rare exception, and it will continue to.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:41:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Depleted uranium has been overhyped. (8+ / 0-)

        It has not caused all the cancers that were claimed. White phosphorus is not considered a chemical weapon. Maybe it should be.

        Trying to conflate everything to justify the idea that no weapons are off limits sounds somehow wrong.

        •  The US insists it's not a chemical weapon, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q

          but the US has been known to insist that waterboarding is not torture.

          The claims of the US often directly conflict with objective reality.

          1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

          by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:08:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed (54+ / 0-)

      The effort to impose laws on war -- otherwise known as International Humanitarian law -- is deeply flawed and sometimes futile but essential nonetheless.

      But as you say. use of chemical weapons, although a war crime, doesn't make the bombing of Syria legal, moral, or wise. It's none of these things.

    •  Unfortunately, this is true. (9+ / 0-)
      But chemical warfare is evil in a different way and more profoundly than just war itself. Sorry.
    •  Gas was made illegal under international law (15+ / 0-)

      after World War I.

      The British had stockpiles of phosgene and mustard gas as well as plans to use them should the Germans invade during World War II.

      The world collectively yawned when Saddam Hussein used gas against Iran, and later yawned again when he used gas against the Kurds.

      In fact, in the whole of history since gas was made illegal under the Geneva Conventions, there has not been a single case where the world held anybody to account for the use of gas.

      Libertarianism is just Fascism with a facelift. Scratch the surface of Libertarianism and you will find the notion that corporations should rule supreme, just as it was with Fascism..

      by Walt starr on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:20:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is a reason for the UN too (10+ / 0-)

      Take the situation to the UN.  If the international community is unwilling to act, then so much for the international community's concern with chemical weapons.  

      If the US was actually willing to go along with more international conventions itself, on the ICC, on land mines, etc., it would have more moral authority.  

      The US has lost its moral authority and there is no moral authority in a missile strike.  It's just more war.

    •  To not draw lines on some forms of warfare (16+ / 0-)

      is to ignore a possible method of containing conflicts.

      So fine.  If chemical weapons no longer cross the "red line", how about biological weapons?  How about tactical nuclear weapons?

      I agree.  I don't think Kos (like most of us, including me) has worked through this enough.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:35:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A special ops team is probably not going to strife (11+ / 0-)
      an entire neighborhood, and if they do, they'll be court-martialed.
      Dunno about that:
      A large number of assaults by U.S. Special Forces with AMF mercenaries has been carried out. Other nation's Special Forces have also been involved. An American Seal unit called Task Force K-Bar led by a Navy commodore includes German, Canadian, Danish and Norwegian special forces personnel, involved in raids and surveillance in southern Afghanistan. British SAS Forces were involved in operations along the Kwaja Amran mountain range in Ghazni and the Hada Hills near Spin Boldak. Some raids have been reported and many have not. The pattern is the same: helicopters descend out of the sky in the middle of the night, troops rush into a village, knocking down doors, firing M-4 assault rifles, lobbing Flash-Bang grenades, yelling, searching women, arresting people, tying up suspects with plastic handcuffs, and abducting a group of people to major U.S. bases either in Kandahar or Bagram. The terror perpetrated upon mostly innocent villagers creates lasting fear and resentment towards Americans.

      The list of such egregious 'incidents' is very long : Hazar Qadam, Char Chine, Bandi Temur, Sangesar, Maiwand, Kakarak, Alatai, Zani Khel, Surwipan, Narizah, etc. The typical treatment at the U.S. military facility in Kandahar involves kicking, beating and abusing the detainees.

      "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." - James Madison, 1822

      by Superskepticalman on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:38:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh Christ. (8+ / 0-)

        Yes, that's bad. But as bad as hundreds of people choking to death in minutes?

        No, it's not, and quite frankly, your argument is morally bankrupt.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:41:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Acting is overwrought: you stated categorically (7+ / 0-)

          that:

          "A special ops team is probably not going to strife an entire neighborhood, and if they do, they'll be court-martialed."
          When I pointed out facts impeaching your conclusion, you call those facts
          "morally bankrupt".
          The Syrian "get your war on" supporters are simply not on the ball on meme control this time.

          "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." - James Madison, 1822

          by Superskepticalman on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:47:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's a lie. (3+ / 0-)
            The Syrian "get your war on" supporters are simply not on the ball on meme control this time.
            Are you saying I'm one of them? Because if you are, you should get trollrated to kingdom come.

            Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

            by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:51:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You mischaracterize my facts as "morally (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC, corvo, aliasalias, JesseCW, AoT, Johnny Q

              bankrupt" and then threaten me with gang-HR'ing for disagreeing with you. These are tactics from darker days around here.

              But I need some clarification: I'll concede - and apologize - for the "get your war on" opinion; that was over the top, and I'm sorry I wrote that. Hope you'll accept my apologies.

              But, for your part, you need to tell me (1) why you're so emotionally invested in this country intervening in the Syrian civil war (because your response to the facts I offered support that conclusion) and (2) why it was necessary to attack my facts with insult.

              Fair enough?

              "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." - James Madison, 1822

              by Superskepticalman on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:02:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's fair. (5+ / 0-)

                And I apologize as well for my moment of pique. I didn't mean to offend, I'm sorry.

                There are two issues here: one, is war with Syria justifiable or desirable, two, are ABC weapons – Atomic, Biological, Chemical – in a plane of their own morally.

                I do not want this country engaged in Syria. I've never said otherwise. It is not worth the cost in human lives, and we have no idea what to do after an airstrike. There is a slippery slope here I don't want to go down.

                That doesn't change the fact that the world at large treats weapons of mass destruction as uniquely abhorrent. I agree.

                But that in turn doesn't mean I want the arms of the United States engaged to make that point. It's not worth it for the Syrian people, or for us, but if we go through that door, the price will be too steep for us to afford.

                Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:12:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  MBNYC, got caught up reading comments (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC, Remembering Jello, worldlotus, AoT

              Sorry I thought you were in favor of intervention.

              Another apology; will you accept it?

              "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." - James Madison, 1822

              by Superskepticalman on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:07:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  MBNYC doesn't support intervention (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MBNYC

            One can argue that chemical weapons are morally worse than regular weapons and still not support an intervention.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:44:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for taking up the argument... (0+ / 0-)

          I can't say as well as you what needs to be said here.

          There is a difference. but still... we do not need to intervene in Syria. Perhaps it's time for others to step up?

          Or even as Domestic Elf said in a comment yesterday, we should have immediately worked to shame Russia into doing something about Assad. Tar them with their ally's actions, since Russia says they'll veto anything in the UN. Tar then loudly and often

          Threaten their precious Olympics. Threaten them loudly and often.

          I wish that would be made into a diary...

    •  All weapons of mass fatalities are indiscrimante (4+ / 0-)

      as are the people who deploy them in many cases. What's the difference to the victims between using chemical weapons and bombing a chemical plant or a refinery? How much more collateral damage of innocent parties and misidentified targets do you need to see?

      I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

      by jhecht on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:40:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can survive carpet bombing. (7+ / 0-)

        My mom was born in Germany in 1939, she spent the first years of her life in a bomb shelter.

        The odds of surviving or even preparing for an attack with chemical weapons are a lot smaller. They are tools of extermination, plain and simple. Extermination of human life, any life.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:46:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can survive a gas attack too (8+ / 0-)

          That's why they make gas masks. But guess what? It won't protect you from a bomb being dropped on your head. Or bullets. Or shrapnel. Or fire. If you want to split hairs over the morality of different types of weapons of mass fatalities; be my guest. I find all of them to be equally obscene.

          I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

          by jhecht on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:00:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not when it's done right (11+ / 0-)

          We made a firestorm over Tokyo that burned up all the available oxygen and boiled the canals in a huge area.

          http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/...

          "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

          by nightsweat on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:08:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  How about the firebombing of Tokyo (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pgm 01, JesseCW, Johnny Q

          was that discriminate?

          Your point is really falling apart here.

          •  Okay. (0+ / 0-)

            So can we put you down for repealing all international treaties banning specific kinds of weapons as too barbaric even for the supreme barbarism of war?

            Or would you just like to have a nice juicy flame war and a straw man fight?

            Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

            by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:47:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  68 years ago can't be undone... next gas attack? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MBNYC

            ... being a potential future act ... well that could conceivably be stopped by making any potential user think twice due to consequences... today  and tomorrow are all we can work with... the past is not changeable.

            the whole bad stuff is all bad approach that in effect says nothing can or should be done about any of it in an all or nothing stance seems a bit extreme. If we can't fix ALL of it then we give up and not try to fix what is fixable or stoppable or preventable now.

            Chemical warfare is a good place to draw a line... not the only line but at least one to try and enforce now and it may be more possible to work on the next line and then then next... making more and more things anathema to humanity....

            Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

            by IreGyre on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:02:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, it can't be undone (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC

              Neither can any other of the war crimes we've committed. But enforcing these things only on our enemies isn't the way to have fewer gas attacks. That's the issue here.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:50:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am not aware of any US nerve gas attacks... (0+ / 0-)

                or mustard gas or others in that category in history... so they do have some standing in saying that another country should not use those things... Germany and the UK on the other hand have used these kinds of gas but no longer do... and all the same I am quite sure that they have the right today to say that others should not  have it or use it and should be stopped if they do and be punished as well.... but with the same logic... does it follow because the US has used White phosphorus and CS and Napalm in the past somehow means they have zero right to call nations who use nerve gas to account for that?

                Why that might be is not altogether clear...

                If other countries can agree on a course of action that can punish Assad and make his regime less able or likely to use it again... and if that course of action... presumable involving the UN also includes participation by the USA then why not? The US has extensive capabilities that would be invaluable if used prudently in conjunction with an internationally agreed course of action.

                Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

                by IreGyre on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:21:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Aside from WWI there was a the massive (0+ / 0-)

                  use of Agent Orange, as well as the use of white phosphorus.

                  And the UN isn't going to pass a security council resolution on this to approve an attack. There's simply no way. So that "what if" is off the table.

                  If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                  by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:24:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Carpet bombs (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC, corvo, worldlotus, lotlizard, JesseCW

      Much the same effect when applied to a neighborhood.  Kills young and old alike.

      Lord knows we did that to Tokyo and Dresden.

      "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

      by nightsweat on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:04:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tokyo was the US. The Brits (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MBNYC, Dr Swig Mcjigger, worldlotus

        were primarily responsible for Dresden.

        With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

        by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:09:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We helped, a lot. We even straffed the survivors (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q

          as they tried to clear the rubble in the morning.

          We sent 527 bombers, the Brits sent 722.  We provided the majority of fighters.

          Hard to put that on "mostly" them even if it might just be technically true that they dropped more than half the tonnage.  It was a fully a joint operation.

          Now, Hamburg, that was the Brits.

          1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

          by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:21:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I just bought this movie (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, worldlotus, NYFM

        'Emperor' about Hirohito and Douglas MacArthur, set in immediate post-war Japan. Highly recommend it, by the way.

        A dramatization, sure, but the recreation of the moonscape of Tokyo in 1945 was chilling. Never seen anything like it, and I remember the devastation you could still see in Europe from WWII into the eighties and nineties.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:23:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Firebombing is barbaric. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MBNYC, worldlotus, JesseCW

        Unless there's some military target involved, and I've never heard of that being the case.

        So, I don't know how this enters into the argument. We did it once, so it's OK?

        •  We did it more than once (6+ / 0-)

          Is it acceptable to propel a slug of steel through the air at speeds beyond the speed of sound, penetrate the body of another human being, shatter their bones and send dirty slivers of metal and bone and cloth into their vital organs severing blood vessels and starting the basis for a painful death by sepsis unless treated with modern drugs?

          How about hitting a village with a bomb that tears limbs from bodies and sets fire to the clothes and skin of the people caught in the blast, except where the pressure wave explodes their lungs and stops their hearts?

          When looked at by a reasonable person, all these weapons are intolerably cruel. The point is that we're being cute if we think we can pick and choose which are acceptable and not acceptable based on their barbarity.

          I exempt from that only biologics and nukes which are extinction weapons and which have effects far beyond their immediate use.

          "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

          by nightsweat on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:10:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  And indiscriminate strikes against civilians are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC, DSPS owl

      illegal, too: although kos's point can be turned around to say that we've been seeing lots of that with conventional weapons.

      I googled "confirmation bias" and Daily Kos raided my house! And and and smashed my hard drives! Ask CNN, it's all truthy!

      by Inland on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:08:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes (10+ / 0-)

      frankly I am amazed by the folks who are diminishing the special hell of chemical weapons.  After world war I, one of e most hellish wastes of human life in the twentieth century, where only about 1% of the deaths were the result of chemical weapons...the folks that used them agreed to ban them.

      The folks who used them, after one of the most futile, stupid and barbaric wars of the twentieth century, saw chemical weapons as so specially evil as agreeing to ban them.  They didn't ban war, they didn't ban artillery...but they did ban chemical and biological weapons.  Europewho've reals who who thought nothing of sending tens of thousands to their death on a single day of trench warfare found chemical weapons so obscene as to ban them, that's how bad chemical weapons are.

      And yet there are folks here who seem to think that they know better than those who actually experienced chemical weapons.

      It's obscene.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:27:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Empty Vessel, Aquarius40, tytalus

        All Quiet on the Western Front; people should read it. In World War Two, we could at least identify the bad guys; WWI was just slaughter, the biggest self-inflicted disaster in human history, and still, all we really took out if it was that these weapons cross every single ethical line.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:31:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am truly appalled by what I am (6+ / 0-)

          Reading here on DKos.  I oppose intervention, as you do.  But listening to the folks who don't seem to be overly bothered by a violation of one of the few fucking limits to war that was ever agreed upon.  There are precious few rules to war. NoThe problem is not that there are too many.  Add to that the staggering number of two wrongs mean nothing can ever be right arguments.

          What I truly don't understand, is that for the most part, the people who seem most willing to ignore the the Geneva protocols now are the same folks who scream about torture and the need to prosecute bush for war crimes.

          Both actions are evil, and both are wrong.  It's not that fucking complicated.

          We do not have to be apologists for chemical weapons to oppose intervention in Syria.

          The moral failure by Kos and many others here is staggeringly profound, IMHO.  

          The willingness of people to downplay The obviously special evil of chemical weapons just because to do so helps their non-interventionist position disgusts me.  

          Just because an argument helps support a political position does not make it right.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:43:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So why are willing to ignore the UN? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lotlizard, Johnny Q, DSPS owl

            If we want international treaties to be enforced we have to also work with the international community to enforce them, not just play lone ranger when it suits us but of course not when it doesn't.  

            •  What part of I oppose intervention (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC, edwardssl, jiffypop, pgm 01, tytalus, IreGyre

              Did you fail to read or understand?

              I support ALL international law, not just what is convenient to me at any given time.

              To say chemical weapons are a special kind of hell does not mean that I support intervention.

              "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

              by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:53:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They are one special kind of hell (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Johnny Q

                but we don't seem to oppose most of the others.  What Kos may be getting at is how hypocritical our standards have become.  We had a chance after WWII to begin the process of reducing the various special kinds of hell and that effort has fallen by the wayside.   That's one reason it's becoming difficult to uphold the chemical weapons ban.  Pretty much anything goes anymore.  Just war theory?  That's for wimps.  We strike where we want when we want, don't count the bodies, and classify the details.  

                •  Nice rant (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MBNYC, tytalus, Gator Keyfitz, IreGyre

                  What it has to with me, I couldn't begin to guess.

                  I oppose nukes, landlines, white phosphorous...and chemical weapons.  And I oppose intervention in Syria, as I have said several times.

                  But just because there are other forms of terrible death, it does not make the death by chemical weapons any less terrible, or the violation of that particular Geneva convention any less a violation.

                  "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                  by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:21:45 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  The case for "the obviously special evil (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            poligirl, worldlotus, Johnny Q

            of chemical weapons" has yet to be persuasively argued.

            What Syrian lives will be saved from poison gas by lobbing a few Tomahawk cruise missiles at military sites from a safe distance? If we were serious about saving lives from horrific chemical attacks, we would commit the 75,000-100,000 ground troops needed to capture and hold Assad's chemical weapons depots.

            Lord knows I'm not advocating that, but that's what it would take.

            No, message by missile is just America's subtle way of reminding the world that, in Phil Ochs' words, we STILL are

            the biggest and toughest kids on the block  
            'Cause we're the Cops of the World

            When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

            by PhilJD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:58:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then I see you care not for (0+ / 0-)

              The experience and view of the people and nations that experienced chemical weapons....cause they, against all the evil of war, saw chemical weapons as specially evil, worthy of ban.  But you know better.

              "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

              by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:00:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  and every one of those nations--on either side-- (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                worldlotus, poligirl, JesseCW, AoT, Johnny Q

                had stockpiles of chemical weapons 20 years later.

                Every one of them would have used those weapons in WWII, if they felt it would give them a clear advantage. They were constrained by geopolitical realities, not "morality."

                As I said, make the case. Don't just assert it as given-truth. I'll listen. I'm being very clear that I have no quarrel with people who DO see chemical weapons as a special case. This is far too serious to bicker over.

                But you know better.

                When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

                by PhilJD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:07:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You know what (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MBNYC, IreGyre

                  I do know better, and none of those countries, even Germany, used those weapons of last resort.  I beleive that all nukes, landlines, white phosphorous, napalm, chemical weapons etc should be destroyed forever.

                  But the failure to destroy those weapons says nothing, ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY NOTHING, about those who have chosen to use those weapons.

                  A gun is bad, but it is not even in the same world of evil as walking up to a child and shooting them in the head with that same gun.

                  Evil people, people willing to deal death in the hundreds of thousands and be OK with it, those same people saw the special evil of chemical weapons...and never USED them again.

                  They, and I because I have read their words, do know better than you.

                  "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                  by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:18:01 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  and yet you argue against intervention in Syria... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    poligirl

                    despite the fact that--in your view--a moral Rubicon has been crossed.

                    I'll tell you this: I do have moral lines that nothing will induce me to cross. If some monstrous nation or "terrorist" EVER unleashes weaponized smallpox on humanity, I will fully support the most overwhelming American and international response imaginable...

                    short of crossing that same line ourselves.

                    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

                    by PhilJD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:34:56 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  My opposition. Is simple (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      MBNYC

                      We will make it worse, not better.  If we could make it better, I would support intervention.  But we can't.

                      For the most part, we cannot make it better because of the conditions on e ground in Syria.  To a smaller extent, we cannot make it better because we, as Americans have stopped caring about the Geneva conventions, about what is right, about the few laws of war that actually exist.

                      While the active conduct of war crimes by Bush and Co is far worse...the moral failure of progressives to recognize and champion the Geneva Protocal on chemical weapons is also part of the problem.

                      We are a nation that has decided that it is above the Geneva Convention, that we can selectively read it and decide when it is, or is not applicable, or right.

                      The Geneva convention does not demand that we invade Syria, but at a minimum, I would really like for progressives to stop downplaying just about the only anti-war, anti-brutality international agreement ever made.  

                      The WORLD agreed that chemical weapons were a particular evil--and Kos and a bunch of progressive coach jockies on DKos have decided that, really, it isn't any worse than any kind of war.

                      I don't mean to be rude, but I will be.

                      Where the fuck do you get off?  Where the fuck do you get the balls to tell the world...well actually death is death, and if we look at is philosophically, there is nothing worse than be killed by a bullet or by Sarin.  

                      In a world where war is epidemic, where peace is rare...you want to philosophically object to the one fucking thing the world has agreed is beyond redemption and should be held particularly evil.

                      On what planet is that a progressive, anti-war argument?

                      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                      by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:50:50 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  They only banned their use against (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Johnny Q

                each other.

                They still stockpiled them.  It was MAD.  Use them on us, we'll use them on you.

                Use them in your colonial possessions, well, shit, that's your business.

                1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

                by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:36:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  But we did learn rather a lot (0+ / 0-)

        about the value of good gas masks. My grandson has two - right about $20 apiece - from BudK or Army Surplus, with both Israeli and UN filters. One Israeli civilian model (not so bulky), one Czech military model (big, but bad). Plus an old military surplus one I got years ago for working with celastic (acetone) on some puppets. It doesn't seal so well anymore. The two new ones came with nifty carrying packs, in case we happen to encounter tear gas at a peaceful demonstration against the NC Repukes busy abrogating our rights as fast as they possibly can. Because the local pigs are indeed known to deploy chemical weapons against peaceful men, women and children using the flimsiest excuses they can come up with...

        "Moral."

        Anyway, I recall endless fluff pieces on the cable news in the lead-ups to both Iraq wars about civilians stocking gas masks and filters and how they learned to don them properly in 30 seconds flat in household evening lessons, where they attached to kids' backpacks for taking to school. Because "everybody knew" Saddam had chemical weapons and wasn't shy of using them.

        Did the Syrian/Lebanese public somehow manage to opt out of all this war-prep since the early 1990s? With all the various nasty rebel groups and Assad visiting indiscriminate death to identified 'enemies', 'others' and each other over all these months and years, they didn't bone up on the protocol or buy any new filters?

        I don't know. I do know that this seems awfully convenient, and I don't like the alignments here one bit. Send in the drones and cruise missiles, kill ten or twenty times as many innocent civilians (a gas mask won't help if the building falls on your head), and pretend that's somehow...

        "Moral."

        •  I oppose intervention (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MBNYC, Ronald England

          But I do not need to minimize the hell of chemical weapons to do so.

          Obviously, we need to confirm that it was Assad who did it before invading, even if we were to invade, which I oppose.

          But there is one difference between now and the beginning of the guld war.  Unless you think Doctor's Without Borders is lying...chemical weapons were used against civilians in Syria...recently.

          Yes, Iraq used chemical weapons in 88, but the justification for the gulf war was that he had them in 2002, and WAS going to use them, not that he had already used them.

          In Syria, chemical weans have been used, that is not in debate.  That is a profound difference than in the lead up to Iraq.  

          I oppose intervention, and I have no doubt that the MIC will use the fear of chemical weapons for their own purposes.  But they were used, most likely by Assad (that must be confirmed).  That is different.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:00:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I have a vague memory of disagreeing with you.... (4+ / 0-)

        on something.  I definitely don't here.  The false equivalencies and the "we did bad things so we can't condemn this bad thing" arguments from so many here are painful to read.  Yes we should wait for the investigation, and yes we should think of a series of ways short of boots on the ground intervention....but tolerate chem weapons?  For fuck's sake.

        To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

        by joesig on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:33:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I honestly don't understand (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ronald England, MBNYC, offgrid, joesig

          How any progressive, any human for that matter, can treat chemical weapons as just another sort of death.

          I'm not sure what disagreements we've had in the past...but there is no way views on chemical weapons should have fuck all to do with rox/six, primary wars, or anything else.

          This shouldn't be complicated.

          In thinking about this, I think it is similar to the idiots who choose not vaccinate their children.  Having never experienced polio or measles, they forget the horror of them, and forget the lessons of history.

          It seems to many people have forgotten the lessons of WWI.  That as hellish as war is, there are some things even worse.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:40:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Only...many of them argued that such bans (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q

        only applied to their use against "Civilized Nations".

        The British may have used them in Iraq - they certainly were deployed there for that purpose.  There is doubt as to whether they were used.

        We should all know what Italy did to Ethiopia - and that Italy was not sanctioned at all by any European neighbor for doing it.

        1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

        by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:34:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Somewhat inclined to agree with both of you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC, worldlotus

      Kos is kinda right, but so are you MBNYC. It is a sad row we till when we plant the seeds of war, is it not?

      Regulate banks, not vaginas

      by MinistryOfTruth on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:43:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Honestly? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, Dr Swig Mcjigger

        Almost any war is morally indefensible, unless fought in defense.

        But are there things even more morally corrupt? Are these weapons on that level of depravity? If so, what do we do about it?

        Like Meteor Blades said yesterday, there are no good options.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:52:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Never bomb the night watchmen and janitors (0+ / 0-)

          Bomb only the people in command who permitted and authorized the war on the Syrian citizens no matter if it is by use of chemical attacks or AK-47 or Artillery shell.

          That is Kos point, the Syrian government has been killing their own citizens and it does not matter to the dead how they died. It only matters to the living how those people were murdered and how or what we as human beings will hold the Syrian government accountable or not.

          There is no up side of Chemical, Biological, or Nuclear weapons use. The dead are dead.

          War is horrible, but sometimes you must kill the evil to save the rest of humanity.

        •  Since a war requires an aggressor (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q, MBNYC

          there has never been a moral war. However, it may in some cases be moral to involve one's country in a war.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:54:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The use of cluster bombs is barbaric (11+ / 0-)

      and we're selling $600M worth of them to Saudi Arabia.

      Over half the world has banned them but not us. And why should we? Hell, selling them around the world is one of our most profitable businesses.

      The Human Rights Watch page on cluster bombs puts it this way:

      [Cluster munitions] pose an immediate threat during conflict by randomly scattering thousands of submunitions or "bomblets" over a vast area, and they continue to take even more civilian lives and limbs long after a conflict has ended, as hundreds of submunitions may fail to explode upon impact, littering the landscape with landmine-like "duds.


      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

      by Jim P on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:00:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So is the use of white phosphorus (6+ / 0-)

      So is the use of fire bombing.

      So is a gun.

      So is starving people.

      So are bombs.

      Even without chemical weapons massacres happen.

      We're willing to kill over a war crime and yet we can't be bothered to arrest the people who committed them.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:04:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do get the argument that a gun can be (0+ / 0-)

        used in a fashion that will pretty reliably avoid civilian deaths, if the person using it has been taught to value human life.

        The rest?  Not so much.

        1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

        by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:38:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  exactly right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC, IreGyre, progreen

      chemical weapons are not about the means of causing death. they are about the order of magnitude their use represents. if their use becomes commonplace, the level of escalation they can cause, especially in that part of the world, represents an exponential increase in the risk of wider conflict.

      there is a reason those weapons were not used in WW2, even though that war featured total conventional war on civilian populations. all sides knew that they were vulnerable to retaliation and wanted no part of crossing that threshold.

    •  it's not about "death"; it's about the rule of law (8+ / 0-)

      or the lack of it.

      International law must be enforced. International law makes the world a better place, and the lack of international law (or the failure to enforce it) makes the world a worse place.

      But to allow the US to self-annoint itself as the world's police force, is just as bad. Not only has the US itself ignored international law for 75 years (and refused to accept the jurisdiction of the World Court), but we have ALWAYS clamored for enforcement of international law against nations we don't like, while thwarting attempts to apply international law to nations we DO like.  To allow us to turn international law into politics, makes the world a worse place. It just gives a legal figleaf to superpower imperialism.

      That is why any attempts to enforce international law MUST be international, either from the UN or NATO.

      The American fox simply cannot be allowed to police the global henhouse.

    •  Kos is quoting Haber... (5+ / 0-)

      ...the guy who invented chemical weapons.  "Death is death, no matter how it is inflicted."  Not a great beginning to any discussion, quoting the guy who not only invented it, but supervised its first use.

      There are other ways besides bombs.

      Find out who used it, who ordered it, and put their names on a list of people to be tried for war crimes.   It might be "justice delayed," but that's better than blowing up people who did not give the orders, who did not participate. The bombs will only kill ordinary soldiers, they won't be able to reach those responsible.

      Mark down the guilty and remember them for a future judgment.

      Besides, the Syrian civil war is taking on aspects of a religious war.  It's already spread to Lebanon.  Egyptian clerics have called for a jihad against the Syrian regime.  Do we really want to pick sides in a religious war?  That's what we'll be doing if we bomb Syria.  We should be trying to isolate the violence, restrict it, not add to it.  Smashing things up is the perfect way to aggravate the situation.

      Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

      by rbird on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:34:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  WMD Threaten Us (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC

      Also, chemical weapons are a bigger threat to US residents than other weapons and wars in foreign countries. Banning types of weapons is another way to manage war prevention that is not manageable in banning conventional warfare.

      Yes, wars without WMD are also threats to US residents, as Afghanistan's neverending wars (featuring the one started by the US, in which our CIA created the Qaeda) amply demonstrated in 2001. And economically most US residents are harmed by any war in our global economy (though the 1% comes out ahead from wars, or we wouldn't have them). And of course all wars are morally wrong, which hurts everyone when any human is hurt by them.

      But WMDs are all that, and even worse. And are a kind of war that at least we sometimes do something to stop. Which is better than shrugging it off as business as usual.

      Markos is plain wrong here. It's one of the worst false equivalencies I've seen on this site. He was wrong about a false choice between ending NSA violations and ending stop and frisk, too. Honestly, he's sounding like his younger Republican self.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:17:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So are cluster munitions. So are land mines. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnny Q

      So is a rain of white phosphorus.

      Now, to be fair, the rest of the world has conventions banning these - but we refuse to sign them.

      1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

      by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:28:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  special ops team????? (0+ / 0-)

      This is the problem with action movies and games... people think they're reality.

      Do you know what special forces does for the most part?
      Things like calling in drone strikes, training local "US Friendly" forces, setting bombs.......

      A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

      by cdreid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:28:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The money quote: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC
      The real question is whether our involvement in Syria is worth the risk in lives and chaos it's like to entail. I think not.
      I actually agree more with kos on the point he was making, but recced you for putting the situation into the right perspective.

      If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

      by MikePhoenix on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:49:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's Horseshit! (0+ / 0-)
      As MrBigDaddy wrote yesterday, "but phosphorus
      and deplete[d] Uranium rounds are OK?  Here is the thing, war is madness.

      You cant civilize it. Its madness."

      The distinction between dead by chemical weapons and dead by more conventional weapons isn't clear.  That line is obliterated when it comes to nuclear weapons.

      If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

      by stewarjt on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:15:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It just seems worse because we can't see: (0+ / 0-)

      the mangled limbs, the eyes gone, the heads blown off.  

       if you look at war statistics you will see most of the killing  is indiscriminate:   The foot soldiers who die thinking they are patriots, the mothers, the children, the dogs, the journalists, the doctors and nurses.  Most indiscriminately killed by drones,  bombs, guns or by other "patriots" .  

      Dollarocracy is not Democracy

      by leema on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:34:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC

      Suggesting that because the end is the same the means (process) is irrelevant is, IMHO, a ridiculous over-simplification and shit-poor rhetoric.

      By the same token I could equate twisting arms verses water-boarding, and I wonder is Markos would really walk down that slippery slope with John Woo.

      I could go on and on, but I will leave it at this:

      War is hell. War is cruel. War kills innocents. But there is a difference between rocks, bullets, poison gas, bombs and nuclear weapons, and if we are going to dismiss these distinctions, I'm wondering what is expected when people who think war is an easily justifiable act and means to an end get ahold of that logic.

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