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View Diary: UPDATED: Syrian Soldiers Took Babies From Incubators; Left Them to Die (170 comments)

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  •  And what should we do in response? (6+ / 0-)

    Fire missiles at Syrian cities?

    "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 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 05:58:39 PM PDT

    •  No, at some military targets. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight, oldliberal

      A few of his bases, something where it'll hurt a bit. Make him and his guys say shit, let's not do that again (as well as other dictators who are watching). A day or two of concentrated missile launches ought to be enough to make him feel some pain. That is what is likely to happen, and that is likely to be the end of it. And no Americans are likely to get killed, and it makes it less likely that civilians will be gassed in the future (but probably won't solve the problem 100%). Obama has a pretty good track record in foreign policy, and people here are discounting the positive-outcome scenario.

      •  What about the 15% which do not hit their targets? (10+ / 0-)

        No problem? Or big problem?

        His military headquarters and many other supposed target are within cities. 15% misses? 1000 lb warheads into civilian areas?  At 200 missiles, that's 30 1000 lb warheads missing their targets.

        A day or two of concentrated missile launches ought to be enough to make him feel some pain. That is what is likely to happen, and that is likely to be the end of it.
        Maybe Assad will "feel pain" and maybe not. But for sure those killed by our missiles will feel the pain, as will their families.
        it makes it less likely that civilians will be gassed in the future
        by what mechanism is that the case?  That's a western assumption. Not a certainty by any means. It's more like a wish based on a guess.

        The USA has no business intervening in a war where nearly all participants are odious killers. More killing, this time on our hands, will accomplish nothing.

        "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 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 07:08:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have to strongly object to this description: (7+ / 0-)
          The USA has no business intervening in a war where nearly all participants are odious killers. More killing, this time on our hands, will accomplish nothing.
          A lot of these people, specifically the Syrians, on all sides, are not odious killers but are trapped in a civil war situation that can be near impossible to escape.

          Yes, there are odious killers on all sides, but most of the Syrians fighting are trapped in a story that they can't get out of, fighting to protect their family, their village, their neighborhood, their freedom, their families.  Most have suffered, have lost someone or something, have some "just" reason to fight.
          And they are all humans.

          That's the special horror of civili war.  People get trapped in it and can't get out.

          One thing that is certain is that, the longer this continues, the more people suffer, the more people are brutalized by violence, the more will be turned into odious killers by the horrid brutality of the civil war.

          And that is why the international community has a moral duty to do its utmost to stop this civil war, to attempt to help free people from the trap that they are caught in.

          Now, one can disagree on how that is best accomplished, but demonizing them as nearly all being "odious killers" is, quite frankly, a very callous thing to do when one sits safely in a far safer part of the world and has not walked in their shoes.

           

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 07:34:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Should someone have stopped (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PrahaPartizan, JVolvo, Shotput8

            our civil war?

            •  Are we living in the 19th century? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NedSparks, cc, Radiowalla

              "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

              by Lawrence on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 07:54:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There actually have been discussions on NPR and (6+ / 0-)

                articles elsewhere discussing just that.  For example, France or England might have intervened and stopped the killing which was considered horrific and barbaric even at the time.

                We'd be a far different nation today if that happened. I'm not taking a position on that speculative exercise, but the reason for these discussions was in light of the Syrian civil war.

                If someone steps in, halts the killing, enforces the 1920s British-drawn borders, and yet preserves the grievances, much will remain unresolved and killing will likely reoccur in the future.

                "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 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 08:08:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I really don't see what the use in comparing two (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  YucatanMan

                  wars to each that are centuries apart and are very different scenarios.  It would kind of be like comparing the Soviet invasion of Nazi Germany with the Chinese invasion of Tibet.

                  And I would hope the most obvious difference would be immediately obvious to all:

                  slavery.

                  "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                  by Lawrence on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 01:19:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, like I said, I don't endorse the comparison (0+ / 0-)

                    but the point they were making was.... well, likely very questionable, but they were saying something along the lines of:

                    The USA had to go through those battles to become the nation we were. If we'd been interrupted by France or England or Prussia or whoever, there would have been lingering simmering regional hatreds and serious problems for decades, maybe centuries.  And conflicts would continue to break out over and over. The Civil War might never have ended, just decreased intensity.
                    Again, I don't endorse that, but their comparison point was that Syria is made of many various groups, religions, ethnicities, etc.  They have to come to terms with living with one another.  No one else can enforce that upon them.

                    Pretty much, if you carried the conclusion out, it was "let the Arab nations battle it out internally until they come to peace with living together (or everyone is dead, I guess)."

                    I don't agree with that view.

                    I believe international force, based upon the Arab League, should be at the forefront. Again, it is because they need to manage their own problems without a stumbling giant slamming down his feet where he doesn't have a clue of what is going on.

                    I just absolutely object to the USA defaulting to the use of military power as the first choice for everything. We're far from having focused serious attention on Syria, in my opinion. And that attention needs to begin with Russia and the Arab League and the nations of the region.  

                    "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 Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 09:42:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  In this case, however, it would be far better for (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      YucatanMan

                      countries not near Syria to be involved because the vast majority of Arab League nations are Sunni-dominated while Syria is not.  The same goes for Turkey.

                      In this, the Arab League would be a far less honest broker than the U.S. and European nations.

                      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                      by Lawrence on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 10:04:50 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I definitely see your point there, but once (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Lawrence

                        the conflict is "settled," Syria and its people still have to live among their neighbors.  

                        This is mostly a philosophical exercise at this point, but an externally imposed truce or settlement may not be suited to the situation at hand.

                        Honest brokers drew the lines which created the jumbled situations in most Arab states today.  British generals and lords with zero concept of the people they were dealing with just drew nice straight lines across deserts.

                        And that's much of the reason we have these problems today: the honest brokering of the English.

                        Anyway, these are interesting points to discuss. I'm sure they'd be more fun over a beer and a friendly group discussion. :-)

                        "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 Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 10:17:29 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yeah, the British-French Sykes-Picot agreement (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          YucatanMan

                          of 1916 was pretty stupid and still driven by a colonial era mindset.

                          However, later, under the French Mandate, the French actually were looking to create 4 separate nations that would have better reflected ethnic and sectarian lines.  The plan actually made a lot of sense, but was scratched under Sunni Arab pressure, the looming WW 2, and the fact that Turkey had snatched away Hatay Province from Syria.  Turkey snatching Hatay away also reduced the balance amongst religions and ethnicities in Syria, which has played a role in Syria becoming the unbalanced state it is today.

                          In that history one can see that having Sunni Arabs and countries like Turkey involved can be a pretty terrible idea, since they are driven by a sense of nationalism/supremacism that definitely doesn't have the best interests of the Syrian people in general in mind.

                          The best solution at this time, imo, would be a temporary U.N. mandate in which the different regions could decide, via referenda, whether they want to be independent little nations or autonomous regions in a loosely linked federal Syria.

                          But that's not going to happen, obviously, because we live in a pretty egotistical world where everyone is paying way too much attention to their own agendas at the expense of others.

                          And yeah, this kind of stuff would be more fun to talk about over a drink.  :)

                          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                          by Lawrence on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 10:54:42 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes, agreed! And there are a lot of nations (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Lawrence

                            which would benefit from having some managed settlement of their "nation" into workable situations.

                            The best solution at this time, imo, would be a temporary U.N. mandate in which the different regions could decide, via referenda, whether they want to be independent little nations or autonomous regions in a loosely linked federal Syria.
                            Many of the nations are just a jumble due to the nice straight lines across hundreds of miles.  In today's frame of reference, it was just unspeakably stupid, but in those days... well, grand gestures and all. Hip-hip! Cheerio! ha!

                            "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 Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 11:47:34 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  Depends. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lawrence, elmo

              Would the outcome have been the same?

              If slavery would've stayed in place, I'd say no.

              I would argue that the issue shouldn't be so much about stopping the civil war as much as about stopping the mass slaughter of civilians.

              This is why I don't like the analogy comparing it to the American Civil War.  Neither Lincoln nor Davis killed 1500 civilians, including hundreds of children, in one day, last I checked.

          •  Let's see if you can follow this: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lostinamerica, Brooke In Seattle
            in a war where nearly all participants are odious killers.
            Not all people in Syria. Participants in the war. Not just the civilians trapped in the middle.

            The moral, ethical rebels are isolated and virtually powerless. Those involved in fighting - foreign fighters, Assad's forces, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and literally a few hundred other groups - are all pretty much senseless killers. Atrocities have been documented on all sides.

            I'm not sure whether you've read accounts of what the strike is "supposed to do" (as told by our vaunted media sources), but the concept is to damage Assad "a little" but not "tip the balance" of the war.

            What that will do in reality will be extend the war and the killing.  So, because 1429 died, the war should be extended and the killing continue even longer than likely before?  

            That's just a moral failing.

            If that is the effect, the cruise missile cure is worse than the horrors already perpetuated. We should not be a part of that.

            "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 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 08:02:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you at least support (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jan4insight, Lawrence, elmo, YucatanMan

              some kind of humanitarian effort, then?

              Or would you suggest letting Assad continue to gas his own people by the thousands?

              •  Of course. That should always be something (0+ / 0-)

                we are ready to do. I'm for humanitarian aid for all sides -- the little people are always those crushed in these conflicts.

                But as a nation, we are just too damn eager to get blood on our hands in many conflicts. There are many others who should be stepping up in this situation, but it is just so damn easy to let the USA spend our money, our people, and our weapons so they don't have to shoulder any burden aside from running their mouths.

                Unless we are prepared to send in our own troops and quell the fighting, we should stay out of it. Throwing missiles into cities is a disastrous move -- for the humans in the cities.

                "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 Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 09:26:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  You failed to understand my comment. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elmo

              There are many people now involved as participants in this ethno-sectarian-tribal civil war who are not just "odious killers", but are forced into fighting because of their various fears and pains.

              The majority of Syrian rebels likely are fighting because their town/neighborhood was attacked at some point and they tried to protect it or some friend/acquaintance/family member was killed and/or tortured.

              There are Assad Regime soldiers and Alawite Defense Force militia members who are conscripts or who chose that career as a way to feed their families and are fighting only because they are deathly afraid of what will happen to their families or because atrocities where committed against some friend/acquaintance/family member by some rebel faction.

              The vast majority of Kurds are just fighting to protect Kurdish towns and villages and/or because some friend/acquaintance/family member was killed and/or tortured by either the regime or rebel factions.

              There are Christians fighting on all kinds of sides because they fear that they will be ethnically cleansed if some other side wins or because they had some friend/acquaintance/family member killed by one of the warring factions.

              My point is that a lot of the Syrian participants in this conflict, on all sides, are not inherently bad people or odious killers.

              Instead, just like the civilians on all sides and in between, they have been sucked into this terrible, brutal meatgrinder of an ethno-sectarian-tribal-civil war and are themselves brutalized by it.

              Demonizing them all as "odious killers" just dehumanizes them.

              "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

              by Lawrence on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 02:05:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  If we do nothing (0+ / 0-)

              Assad will continue his escalation of chemical attacks against civilians. Now, since he has large stockpiles and since chemical warfare is so effective in terrorizing civilian populations, I suppose that means it might bring the Syrian civil war to a quicker close. Is that good?

              However, every dictator in the world with a restive population will put chemical warfare back into his toolkit. Is that also good?

              •  That is not a proven sequence of events. (0+ / 0-)

                For example, the US knowingly aided Saddam Hussein in his use of chemical weapons in his wars with Iran.

                The whole world knew that this evil dictator was using chemical weapons.

                At the time of the conflict, the U.N. Security Council issued statements that "chemical weapons had been used in the war," and U.S. intelligence officials both knew of Iraqi chemical weapons use and provided Iraq with satellite imagery to guide strikes against Iranian troop concentrations
                ...

                In 1982, Reagan removed Iraq from the list of countries "supporting terrorism" and sold weapons such as howitzers to Iraq via Jordan and Israel.[29] France sold Iraq millions of dollars worth of weapons, including Gazelle helicopters, Mirage F-1 fighters, and Exocet missiles. Both the United States and West Germany sold Iraq pesticides and poisons that would be used to create chemical[29] and other weapons, such as Roland missiles.

                The war lasted from September 1980 to August 1988.  In my opinion, Reagan should have been impeached for helping in the use of chemical weapons in Iraq/Iran and several other crimes as well. He could have been impeached over Iran-Contra, mining the harbors of Nicaragua and several other things.  

                But he wasn't.

                In any case, the point is this:  Saddam ordered wide-spread use of chemical weapons and killed thousands upon thousands of Iranians with them in the 1980s.  The world knew about it.

                And how many other dictators since 1988 have been bombing their people with chemical weapons?  Ho!  That's it: practically zero.

                Now Assad has used them.  It absolutely does not follow that chemical weapons' use will become widespread.  It didn't after 1988 and that was a far larger use than Assad's.

                What should happen is that Assad should be hauled before the ICC in The Hague and sentenced for war crimes.  As should a lot of the rebels.

                Throwing missiles at people -- killing more people -- in the name of stopping the killing of people is just a sad response. It is bloody and unnecessary.

                "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 Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 09:35:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  US Navy Times article doesn't believe your (10+ / 0-)

        theory will work:

        Do limited, pinpoint attacks have the intended effect of deterring bad actors? That’s another question, and one that many military experts answer in the negative.

        “Assad does not care if we hit a couple of weapon sites,” retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula says in an email. “He has plenty of them hidden.”

        ...

        “He and his associated leadership need to understand they are under the crosshairs,” Deptula says. “The Syrian leadership needs to understand they will be held personally accountable for using chemical weapons in violation of international law. That is what will have an effect on their behavior — and others who might contemplate WMD use — not a token strike with a handful of cruise missiles.

        "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 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 07:16:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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