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View Diary: Syria: Conspiracy Theories and Disaster Hyperbolism (245 comments)

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  •  You are suggesting that high explosive bombs (9+ / 0-)

    are no worse than chemical weapons.

    Chemical weapons are far worse as you can kill far more people with chemical weapons.

    A shell filled with sarin has a much larger area of effect than one filled with high explosives and there is no shelter from it.

    "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

    by Quanta on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:29:48 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Sigh (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and they'll all still be dead.

      There aren't enough facts surrounding THIS "chemical weapons action". That's the real problem overall, not whether one type of weapon is worse than another. That argument was foisted on the nation to justify it and it's thin gruel, given the totality of these circumstances.

      This war-drum beating over the pithy, ridiculous, contorted justifications grow tiresome quickly. If this were W. threatening this action, you'd all be screaming from the rooftops the same things the majority of the rest of the country is already yelling right now:


      This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

      by lunachickie on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:38:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suggest you read the memoirs (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas, NedSparks, KayCeSF, Lawrence

        of the people who lived through large scale chemical warfare, who are also the ones who created the conventions against their reuse.

        A thought experiment: is it worse to shoot a person in the head or torture them to death.

        They're both still dead.

        47 is the new 51!

        by nickrud on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 06:06:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  it seems (6+ / 0-)

        that you've put out a request for specific examples of "sweeping it under the rug" and then sidestepped it by stating that it is insufficient cause when it is pointed out that the "dead is dead" argument does minimize the importance of chemical weapons.  

        There is no treaty that all but a handful of the countries of the world have signed banning the use of bombs. None banning the use of bullets. There is one banning the use of chemical and biological weapons.

        I'm not saying that using chemical weapons is sufficient reason to bomb Syria, nor that it is wise to do so. I'm actually undecided on where I fall on this one (I was opposed enough to Iraq to get arrested doing civil disobedience). However, arguments that the use of chemical weapons doesn't matter, or that "dead is dead" are not persuasive when arguing against a strike against Syria.

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

        by progreen on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 06:13:41 PM PDT

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        •  It's gotten terribly macabre at this point (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          onionjim, wu ming, caul, Teiresias70, JVolvo

          hasn't it?

          At some point I expect someone to write a diary listing the various horrible things people can do in war and rating them from bad to worst. Is mass rape above or below chemical weapons? Are nuclear weapons the very worst, or would nano weapons theoretically be worse? Do nano weapons realy just count as chemical weapons, or vice versa? Do we multiply the number of dead by the suffering of each person to get the badness?

          Ultimately, chemical weapons are worsethan bombs in my mind. And dead is dead.

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

          by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 10:24:54 PM PDT

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          •  it's not just macabre, it's irrelevant (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, wu ming, Lawrence, JVolvo, poco

            It's not about chemical weapons killing people--it's about chemical weapons being illegal under international law. International law MUST be defended---the world is a better place because of it, and the world gets worse if international law is not defended or enforced. Countries that use chemical weapons--under any circumstances and with whatever effect--MUST be punished for it under international law. Otherwise there is no "law" at all.

            So in that sense, I guess that makes me an "interventionist".

            BUT . . . .

            The United States MUST be prevented from appointing itself the world's police force. We ourselves have ignored international law for 75 years and have refused to accept the World Court's jurisdiction when WE were the subject of international law. Allowing the US to act as the global cops will only insure that international law will only be enforced against countries we don't like, and not against countries we DO like.  That is simply superpower imperialism under a legal figleaf.  And it cannot be tolerated. International law MUST be enforced by international bodies like the UN or NATO. The world cannot allow the "sole remaining superpower" to unilaterally enforce international law, on its own whim and using its own criteria.

            So in THAT sense, I am an "ANTI-interventionist".

            The world must act to prevent the use of illegal weapons and to preserve the rule of law. Not the US.

            •  But it isn't about international law (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wu ming, caul, JVolvo

              Because the enforcement of the law must be within the law or there is no law, is there? But international law, like all law, is political first and foremost. So there's no where to go from there.

              A question for you, do you know if any country has ever been punished for using chemical weapons? I've asked it numerous times and haven't gotten an answer. Syria can't be the first country to use chemical weapons, right?

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

              by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 11:09:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  that's actually a good question . . . . (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT, caul, mickT, JVolvo

                The short answer---no, no country has ever been punished for using chemical/biological weapons.

                The long answer: accusations of use of CBW have tended to fly pretty freely. Right off the top of my head, I can think of:

                the Allies accused Japan of using biological weapons in China during World War II

                China accused the United States of using biological weapons in the Korean War

                the UN accused Egypt of using chemical weapons during the civil war in Yemen

                Vietnam and Russia accused the US of using chemical and biological weapons in the Vietnam War

                Cuba accused the US of using biological weapons against Cuban agriculture from 1964 to 1980

                Nicaragua accused the US of using biological weapons against the Sandinista economy in the 1980's

                the US accused the Soviet Union of using chemical and biological weapons in Laos and Vietnam in the 1970's (the so-called "yellow rain")

                Iran and Iraq both accused each other of using chemical weapons in the 1980's during the Iran-Iraq War

                Chad accused Libya of using chemical weapons during their border wars in the 1980's

                Vietnam and Thailand accused each other of using chemical weapons during their border fights in the 80's, and during ITS border fight with Vietnam, China also accused the Vietnamese of using chemical weapons

                and South Africa was accused of using chemical weapons during its intervention in Angola

                I think I recall some accusations being made during guerrilla fights in the Phillipines and Ethiopia, too

                Most of those accusations were never substantiated.  Some of them, however, were: Japan definitely used biological weapons in China, Egypt definitely used nerve gas in Yemen, and Iraq definitely used nerve gas against Iran. Rather than punish the Japanese units for war crimes, the US classified the whole thing and brought the Japanese officers to the US to help with the American biological weapons program. There were some UN noises about punishing Egypt, but nothing ever happened. And of course the US protected Saddam from punishment after the Iran/Iraq War.

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