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View Diary: Obama's One Good Advisor (85 comments)

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  •  That was a year ago so not Power (0+ / 0-)
    •  Samantha Power was part of Obama's inner circle (7+ / 0-)

      since his election as an adviser on his National Security Council. She was there until Obama made her UN Ambassador. She would have been part of the decision to make that warning. I think she figured it would never have to come to actually having to act on it. She intimated in her comments at the nomination hearing that Assad would be tossed by his own people. We have also heard the same from Hillary in the past.

      No one expected Assad to hang in this long.

      Samantha Power is hot to trot when it comes to Syria.

      Power: Syria ‘a Disgrace History Will Judge Harshly’
      Power called the ongoing conflict, which the U.N. estimates has killed more than 90,000 people and produced 1.8 million refugees, “one of the most devastating cases of mass atrocity” she has ever seen.

      “I don’t know that I can recall a leader who has, in a way, written a new playbook for brutality in terms of the range of grotesque tactics that the Assad regime has employed in response to a democratic uprising,” she told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
      “We see the failure of the U.N. Security Council to respond to the slaughter in Syria – a disgrace that history will judge harshly,” she said.
      “History shows that regimes that brutalize their own people in that manner, that totally force it, their legitimacy, that do not abide by even basic norms of human decency, they just do not have the support to sustain themselves,” she told the committee. “So the day of reckoning will come.”

      •  they "thought" (5+ / 0-)

        that overthrowing Assad would be easy.  After all, they were going to provide the "rebels" with whatever assistance they might need.  Well, maybe that's what they thought.

        but maybe what they thought was "see how removing Saddam blew up Iraq?  we can do that in Syria too, with just a minor twist . . . we don't even need to actually remove Assad"

        If the US govt (Power, Hillary, any of the rest of them) thinks that the way to preserve minority rights in the Middle East is by overthrowing the very governments that protect them . . . all in the name of some faux "democracy" . . . well . . . 'scuse my language, but . . . fucking idiots . . .

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 05:55:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  their early successes made them overconfident (12+ / 0-)

        Obama told Mubarak it was time to step down; lo and behold, he did. Because the Egyptian people threw him out.

        Obama got NATO to attack Libya; fortunately for him, that was enough to force Gaddafi out of power, because his grip was already slipping. Then the rebels massacred him.

        Now the administration thinks that it will be just as easy to topple Assad. Why not? It's been a cakewalk for them so far, and they've suffered no adverse consequences for any of their previous policy decisions.

        Samantha Power is seduced by the idea that American military power can be wielded to make the world a better place; and that she is one of the righteous elect who can judge who is good and who evil, whom the US should smite into oblivion.

        Obama's foreign policy people all suffer from the same syndrome. Obama himself is addicted to playing the shining hero, the righteous warrior (who, unlike Bush) will use American military might in the proper way; he believes in all that just war business he spouted in his Nobel speech.

        They're drunk on these ideas. It really is a form of intoxication. I'm reminded of that famous passage from Heart of Darkness:

        it was a beautiful piece of writing. The opening paragraph, however, in the light of later information, strikes me now as ominous. He began with the argument that we whites, from the point of development we had arrived at, ‘must necessarily appear to them [savages] in the nature of supernatural beings—we approach them with the might as of a deity,’ and so on, and so on. ‘By the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded,’ etc., etc. From that point he soared and took me with him. The peroration was magnificent, though difficult to remember, you know. It gave me the notion of an exotic Immensity ruled by an august Benevolence. It made me tingle with enthusiasm. This was the unbounded power of eloquence—of words—of burning noble words. There were no practical hints to interrupt the magic current of phrases, unless a kind of note at the foot of the last page, scrawled evidently much later, in an unsteady hand, may be regarded as the exposition of a method. It was very simple, and at the end of that moving appeal to every altruistic sentiment it blazed at you, luminous and terrifying, like a flash of lightning in a serene sky: ‘Exterminate all the brutes!’
        In the same way, hidden behind all that high-minded, noble-sounding rhetoric that Obama's foreign policy people spout is naked bloodlust, pure and simple.

        That's why they think they can pull this off, and that's why they're determined to pull this off.

        And now they're about to overreach and punch their fist right into the hornet's nest. And they have no clue what's awaiting them.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 06:13:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I think they do have a clue (4+ / 0-)

          Hence asking the most notoriously do-nothing congress evah for authorization...

          •  This. (0+ / 0-)

            And I don't understand all this talk of "judging who's good and who's evil."  Assad's regime has an abysmal human rights record.  No one who knows anything about his government would seriously argue that he's anything but a horrible dictator.

            People are acting like this is a case of America telling another country what kind of government they're allowed to have.  But the Syrian people themselves didn't even pick their government.

            •  You are right. The Syrian people did not pick (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              radarlady, unfangus

              their government. They had "help" from America.

              People are acting like this is a case of America telling another country what kind of government they're allowed to have.
              America has been involved, overtly and covertly, in selecting governments for Middle Eastern countries since the end of WWI. Maybe now, with it's domestic fracking soon to supply all it's energy needs, it can get the hell out of the area once and for all.

              What is happening in Syria feels like one of the last gasps of the age of the military dictators. An old way of running the world is still desperately trying to cling to power, but the underlying feeling in the west is that somehow Assad's archaic and cruel military rule will inevitably collapse and Syrians will move forward into a democratic age.

              That may, or may not, happen, but what is extraordinary is that we have been here before. Between 1947 and 1949 an odd group of idealists and hard realists in the American government set out to intervene in Syria. Their aim was to liberate the Syrian people from a corrupt autocratic elite - and allow true democracy to flourish. They did this because they were convinced that "the Syrian people are naturally democratic" and that all that was neccessary was to get rid of the elites - and a new world of "peace and progress" would inevitably emerge.

              What resulted was a disaster, and the consequences of that disaster then led, through a weird series of bloody twists and turns, to the rise to power of the Assad family and the widescale repression in Syria today.

              I thought I would tell that story.

              In 1968 a CIA agent called Miles Copeland wrote a book called 'The Game of Nations' that revealed what went on in 1947. Back then Copeland was part of a mangement consulting team in Washington who were working out how America should contain the threat of communism in the Middle East, now the old European Empires had gone. This was before the CIA existed, and Copeland describes how they got together an odd group of diplomats, secret agents left over from the war, advertising men from Madison Avenue, and "pipe-smoking owls" (which is what intellectuals were called in those days).

              Miles Copeland, Jr. responds to BBC's suggestion that the CIA/OSS was plotting to overthrow the Syrian government without the State Department knowing or approving.

              "The State Department didn't want to know," Copeland continues, " was handed to us that we best shut up about what was happening in [Syria]." Furthermore, Miles confirms that he coordinated the coup in Syria.

              •  So your answer is to just (0+ / 0-)

                let thousands of innocent people die, instead of trying to fix a problem we helped cause decades ago?

                •  Do you think bombing is the fix to the problem? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  How many innocent people have died because of US interventions, invariably using American firepower, since WWII?

                  Killing by CW is no worse than killing with bombs or missiles or mortars or bullets. Death in all cases may come quick or be agonizingly painful for extended periods of time from burns, asphyxiation, crushing, broken and shattered limbs or bleeding. Four US states still have not discarded their gas chambers - that's obscene.

                  A civil war is raging in Syria. Carnage and atrocities are occurring on both sides of the conflict. The following is a report from the very pro-rebel SOHR. Notice the deaths on both sides. Innocent civilians are caught between the two.

                  Syrian Observatory for Human Rights · 6,029 like this
                  Yesterday at 6:24am ·

                      The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented 110,371 casualties since the beginning of the uprisings in 18/3/2011, from the first casualty in Dera'a, up till 31/08/2013.

                      Civilians: 40,146. Including 5,833 children and 3,905 women.
                      Rebel fighters: 15,992.
                      Defected soldiers and officers: 2,128.
                      Regular soldiers and officers: 27,654.
                      Unidentified casualties (documented by pictures and footages): 2,726.
                     Rebel fighters (most of which are non-Syrian and others are unidentified): 3,730.
                      Popular defence committees, National defence forces, Shabiha and pro-regime informers: 17,824.
                      Fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah: 171.

                  The only solution is a political solution. Unfortunately the US is incapable of negotiating in good faith. They always want preconditions that make a complete mockery of the process.
                  a problem we helped cause decades ago
                  Not just decades ago but right now.

                  There is considerable evidence that the sectarian civil war raging in Syria was initiated and exacerbated by outside forces who took advantage of the protests by instigating violence against the regime to cause a severe backlash. It worked. The instigators were mainly Saudi Arabia and Qatar with the implicit support of FUKUS (France, UK, US).

                  •  I think we should exhaust (0+ / 0-)

                    all peaceful options first.

                    But I don't see how doing nothing is considered an acceptable option.

                    •  Stop weapons going in to all parties (0+ / 0-)

                      Unfortunately, the US only calls for stopping munitions to the regime. In their next sentence they call for increasing arms to the rebels.

                      The US is not the solution. The US is the problem.

                      Frankly, I don't think the US really wants a solution. Assad or the rebels - neither is a good choice for them. Better to even the playing field and let them destroy each other - win-win. Not a new concept in the ME. It was the game plan for the Iran-Iraq War the Israelis, US and Saudis employed. A million and a half people died in that conflict.

                      Assad has killed more jihadis in the last year than the US has in the last five. Syria has now become a honeypot for jihadis from all over the world. They flock there and are killed. What better situation for America's war on terror? Unfortunately this could open the gates of hell in the region. World wars have been ignited from small tinder boxes catching on fire.

    •  Wrong (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac, YucatanMan

      National Security Advisor before UN representative.

      And Obama's comments about the UN in his speech Friday also parrot Power's rhetoric.

      I'm pretty sure she exerts a fair amount of influence on his decision making, she is kind of the best friend of his bad twin, the one who sends cruise missiles into Pakistan for the cause of human dignity and justice.

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