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View Diary: Syrian foreign minister: We will sign chemical weapons ban treaty, allow United Nations inspections (112 comments)

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  •  Diplomacy is working. (29+ / 0-)

    This is good.  Now they will haggle over details.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 12:09:42 PM PDT

    •  Wherein lieth the devil, per proverb (8+ / 0-)

      I'm on a mission! Testing the new site rules.

      by blue aardvark on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 12:20:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True enough. (6+ / 0-)

        still feels like progress, though.

        "People are more than the worst things that they do,"--Chris Hayes

        by chicating on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 12:36:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's because it is (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP, Gurnt, Justanothernyer, Matt Z

          Russia has been shielding Syria for the last couple years and odds are it will continue to do so to an extent but at the very least weapons of mass civilian murder will not continue to be used.

          •  "mass civilian murder" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, JesseCW

            I'm sure you call US collateral damage murder too, don't you?

            •  :rolls eyes: (6+ / 0-)

              gods save us from your self righteous outrage cause surely facts and reason apparently won't.

              Chemical warfare is a whole other level and while I will never be happy, satisfied or proud of war because 'collateral damage' is almost always certain to happen that's not murder. What it is is a damned good reason to be incredibly selective and choosy about choosing conflict.

              Most military forces not only have access to chemical protection they are trained in its use. Civilians not so much which is what makes chemical weapons solely mass civilian murder.

              •  So you don't call it that (1+ / 0-)
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                Johnny Q

                And the idea that the rebel militants had chemical protection from sarin is laughable.

                Civilians not so much which is what makes chemical weapons solely mass civilian murder.
                Unmitigated bullshit. Most irregular forces don't have protection from chemical weapons. You're making shit up.

                You hypocrisy is glaring.

                •  pick an argument and stick to it (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  And really I don't care what the self righteously outraged think about me personally.

                  •  Lol, you switched arguments (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Johnny Q

                    You were pretending that chemical weapons are only used against civilians. That's wrong and you now refuse to even discuss the actual point that I brought up. Instead you made it about how far about the fray you pretend to be.

                    You called the collateral damage from chemical weapons mass civilian murder. You stand behind that even though there is mass civilian murder when conventional weapons are used. You're very good at babbling and avoiding the very issue you brought up.

                    •  no you seem to think the matters linked (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      And I simply do not agree. Collateral damage is just that, collateral; it's not planned or intended for and in the modern age with no tolerance for it even something that is to be avoided.

                      There's nothing unplanned or unintended about chemical warfare. I'm not interested in arguing what ifs with you. What I can guarantee you when chemical weapons are used is that the innocent will die and die in a way I wouldn't really wish on even those that I think have forfeited all claim to the right to live. And they will die in far greater numbers then any armed opposition because they will certainly not have the equipment or the training.

                      I'm not avoiding anything though I do admit to a tendency for verbosity but then again I've always struggled to make my points short and coherent.

                      •  When the US bombs a wedding (1+ / 0-)
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                        there is guaranteed to be civilians killed. That's murder as far as I'm concerned. Knowingly killing innocent people is murder. The same thing happens with chemical weapons, just on a broader scale. Yes, some, most probably, militaries have protection from chemical weapons. But we aren't talking about a situation where Assad is fighting one of those militaries. It's an irregular force and chemical weapons would be incredibly effective against them. And yes, their use is abhorrent, and worse than regular weapons, but it's just as much murder as when the US drops bombs on a wedding.

                        •  except the US didn't INTEND for that happen (0+ / 0-)

                          The whole point of it being collateral damage is it's not intended. When Assad gased his population he INTENDED to kill civilians.

                          There's a huge distinction there that you seem hell bent on erasing.

                          •  Um, if you drop a bomb in a spot where you know (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            it will kill civilians then you intended to kill those civilians. And we have no indication of the intent of the gas attacks, unless you've got some special insight into Assad's mind, or the person who did order them if it wasn't him.

                            And honestly, we've set up a beautiful little system where people in power and their minions get to do all sorts of horrible things and then cry about how they didn't really mean to do them, even though they clearly made the choice to do so. As far as I'm concerned a drone pilot has just as much culpability for the children who die in a strike as the American service man who went on a house to house rampage and killed all those people in Afghanistan. We've built up an ideological edifice to excuse murder. That's what this is about. I'm not saying that Assad, or who ever it was that ordered this, is good, just that we've killed so many innocent people and refuse to take any blame for it. And it's bullshit and pretending like it's not intentional is nonsense. That's my issue here. Gross hypocrisy. And you're claiming that chemical weapons are "mass civilian murder" plays right into that.

                          •  this is a ridiculous argument of yours (0+ / 0-)

                            and a ridiculous opinion but it's your opinion to have.

                            I completely disagree with you but I'm not going to argue in circles with you.

                          •  So they didn't intentionally drop the bomb? (0+ / 0-)

                            If you take an action that you know will kill a person then you intended to kill that person. Unless you have some other definition of intent that I haven't heard of.

                          •  you're mixing and matching definitions though (0+ / 0-)

                            yes people are intended to die but the civilians are not among those.

                            Really how can you not see this? I mean are you seriously saying you think that every time the military plots an operation they are cackling and saying 'well I guess it's time to kill some random people again?'

                          •  What does cackling have to do with it? (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm not mixing and matching definitions. You're using a different definition. I could care less how much a drone pilot might feel about killing people. That has nothing to do with whether it is done intentionally. I never said it was done maliciously, which is what you seem to be equating with intentionally.

                          •  intent has everything to do with it (0+ / 0-)

                            if the military launches an operation to kill Senior AQ commander Senior Someguy and as a result everyone else in the car dies too  that's not the same thing as gassing innocent people even if there actually are innocent people in the car.

                            Collateral damage is horrible but not murder.

                            Chemical warfare is horrible and is murder because it's 'warfare' aimed at civilians.

                            PS killing someone intentionally is malicious (except for some narrow exceptions).

                          •  You're using a novel definition of intent (0+ / 0-)

                            If I pull a trigger on a gun knowing that is will kill a person then no matter my goal ultimately I intended to kill that person. If you take an action that you know will kill a person you intentionally killed that person. You're basically saying that because killing those people wasn't the end and only part of the means then it wasn't intentional. That's simply wrong unless you have a completely new definition of intentional. You're arguing that the ends justify the means, which has nothing to do with whether the actions are intentional.

                          •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

                            I do not understand what point you are trying to make.

                            If in the course of a police shoot out a bystander is hit are the police to blame?

                          •  If they accidentally hit someone, then it (0+ / 0-)

                            was not intentional, clearly. If someone bombs a wedding then it's not an accident that innocents will die. They are knowingly performing an action that will kill someone. That's intentionally killing someone. You can't pretend that we just accidentally are killing civilians, because we know it happens when we strike certain targets. And yet we do so anyway. That's intentionally killing civilians.

                          •  that attack you keep referencing was a MISTAKE (0+ / 0-)

                            it was not aimed at the wedding thus I don't get your argument at all

                          •  "That attack"? (0+ / 0-)

                            There was not just one attack on a wedding. The US regularly attacked weddings in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Not to mention the attack that killed a 16 year-old US citizen who was in a cafe where there happened to be some militants. We regularly knowingly kill civilians. There's also Fallujah, if you want an extreme example. Do you seriously think that the US military refrains from bombing based on the presence of civilians? We wouldn't bomb anything.

                          •  Look, without getting into the weeds (0+ / 0-)

                            here's the thing: you're chafing at means of war that you find indiscriminate. That's great. I'm pro-chafing on that front. It's civilians that always wind up paying the deepest price for war.

                            There really and genuinely aren't a whole lot of means of conducting any kind of warfare that are more indiscriminate than something like sarin gas. It is specifically designed to just spread around and painfully kill whomever is around, like, touching the air, or breathing. Plus probably the first responders, if they're not prepared at all. And by "prepared," I don't mean "gas masks," I mean "full body suits, like those spacesuit-looking things, because it has soaked into every piece of fabric around, and touching it before it degrades can kill you."

                            That other methods of warfare can themselves sometimes kill civilians, especially when they are poorly/wantonly used or the quality of intel isn't good -- that's not really debatable, and it's awful, it sucks, it's a good reason to consider deeply before doing any such thing.

                            But chem warfare is specifically not very usable in any other way but totally indiscriminate slaughter. The tool itself is fundamentally designed to do that, and on a mass scale.

                          •  Chemical warfare is especially bad (0+ / 0-)

                            But it's a difference in scale, not a difference in kind. We knowingly kill civilians. We have killed them en masse in places like Fallujah, or a lot of places in WWII if we want to go that far back.

                          •  It's a difference in purpose. (0+ / 0-)

                            I mean, all weapons are designed to kill people, in this frame. But not all weapons are designed to have to kill people indiscriminately, that's somewhat on their users with many.

                            I think there really is a fundamental difference between something like sarin and, say, white phosphorus. I would never defend the use of either. But the only reason to ever use sarin is to cause the greatest amount of suffering possible to undifferentiated people over a wide area. It has literally no other purpose, no other ways it could be used.

                            Scale matters to me in terms of warfare, too -- I mean, it's all immoral, or at least amoral, but there's a big difference between bombing a building and firebombing Dresden. I still think this goes beyond just being about scale.

                            Your mileage may vary, but it's the core of the argument.

                          •  But the firebombing of Dresden was (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            literally a matter of scale.

                            Ultimately, my point was directed at the idea that the US doesn't intentionally kill civilians. We do.

                          •  I agree with that point (1+ / 0-)
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                            We do sometimes target civilians. Sometimes our intel sucks, sometimes not -- sometimes they're just in the way, as with agent orange, say. Sometimes, maybe it's on purpose. I haven't forgotten US tanks "accidentally" hitting a hotel in Baghdad that happened to be housing lots of journalists, either.

                            But there are uses for shells and uses for bombs and uses for guns -- even uses for agent orange, gross as it is -- that are not specifically about harming civilians. Agent orange is not far off from 2,4-D, which we still use as an herbicide. In a military conflict, bombs and shells and guns can all be used in ways that are not specifically targeted at civilians -- I don't like any of it, but they can be properly used within, you know, whatever the bounds of war are where we all just shoot the people who are shooting.

                            Sarin is a whole 'nuther can of worms. It cannot be targeted carefully. I guess you could use it as an insecticide, but you wouldn't.

                            To clarify in case I said something poorly above: yes, Dresden was about scale. I think that does actually matter, and also I think that chemical weapons like sarin transcend the scale as the only fundamental issue.

                            I'm really just trying to get the conversation to something related to the actual crux of the thing, you don't have to agree with the assessment I'm giving. But I do feel like I've seen a lot of back and forth on this topic everywhere here lately that moves away from the question of whether there actually is something fundamentally different, that we should or should not care about, with weapons that have no purpose that isn't indiscriminate.

                            I mean, not to go all slippery slope -- I mean it as a thought experiment, not a rhetorical comeback or quip -- but what makes using a nuke more hair-raising than firebombing Dresden, in the geopolitical context of it all?

                          •  With nuclear weapons the fall out (1+ / 0-)
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                            lasts for a significant period of time and renders areas uninhabitable for a long time. The radiation and the after effects of such is qualitatively different than any other sort of weapon.

                          •  That's completely fair (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            and something like sarin does degrade in the environment very quickly (though VX hangs out for a while, to be fair.) That is a major difference.

                            But while sarin is there, it kills or seriously harms -- longterm, chronic, at enough dosage -- everybody who comes into any contact with it at all. Civilians, emergency workers -- heck, if the wind manages to shift it around, it can hit the side that launched it, which is why they usually do it from afar or by plane.

                            And once somebody has something that does that, once they clearly are willing to use something like that, the reality is that the only way that other actors can feel confident that their civilians won't get hit is to have a sort of mutually assured destruction thing going on. There is no defending from that, in reality, so the only thing left is to count on deterring through blowback. In the case of nukes, this is why we had the cold war. In the case of chem warfare, it's not necessarily true that it wants to go to some sort of proliferation, but it's not unlikely, either.

                            I disagree that it's the fallout only that distinguishes a nuke. I wouldn't be ok with a firebombing, either, to be clear. The scale of devastation humans bring on each other is maddening on every plane. But taking the worst of the worst pieces out of that is high on my list of "yes, please."

                            Thank you for good discussion on it, in any case. Yes, the fallout does matter, I agree, but I wouldn't be ok with nuclear weapons even if they didn't leave the fallout, honestly. Their only realistic purpose is to slaughter people who are just trying to go about their business as civilians.

                            Nature allows a huge amount of awful; nukes work, sarin works, and the more we understand about physiology, the more ways we can probably come up with to make awful things that screw it up. We don't have to continue making all of the awful things that natural law allows for actually happen.

                            I have to go for now, but thank you for good discussion on it.

                          •  Correction 'ultimate goal' not 'goal ultimately'nt (0+ / 0-)
                          •  Yes. When we bomb a wedding we intend for (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT, PhilJD

                            civilians to be killed.

                            That isn't debatable. We understand how explosives work.

                            "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

                            by JesseCW on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 02:36:42 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But the cousin of the groom met a terrorist once (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT, JesseCW

                            so what choice did we have?

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

                            by PhilJD on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 02:51:58 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  that's a nice strawman (0+ / 0-)
    •  Yes, but haggling over details is part (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, Gurnt, Matt Z

      of diplomacy, so it's okay.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 12:42:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Details? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, Johnny Q, JesseCW, PhilJD
      Russia wants military action to be taken off the table as a condition for an agreement.
      At this point the two sides differ on the core issue. There's nothing resembling a deal. And there's no way the US will be able to get at Article 7 resolution through the security council. Will the US be willing to accept a resolution that doesn't carry the threat of force? Hope so but doubt it. And then there are logistical questions about the actually inspecting Syria's stockpiles.

      Russia, Syria's proxy, is cleverly trying to use this to allow Assad to continue to slaughter. Also shows that Assad doesn't care juch about chemical weapons (and perhaps didn't even sign off on their use), just wants to hang on to power and, to that end, keep killing. At the same time, hawks in the Senate are working on an alternative AUMF, and the Obama admin can use the (likely) failure at the UN to try to rally support in Congress.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm happy the threat of US strikes has lessened but it hasn't lessened all that much, and, more important, if your concern is, as it should be, with the people of Syria, it's not much of a victory at all.

      •  Give diplomacy some time. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, Gurnt, Matt Z, ratcityreprobate, edwardssl

        Things are much better today than last week.

        Core issues can become details.

        This has always been about chemical weapons and jot about Syria per se.  Liberal interventionism here was limited to chemical weapons.  Of course, mass murder will continue in Syria by many factions, as it did before.  

        Assad will slaughter; the AQ-like folks will behead people.  The blood will flow like a river.   But we will not have military action and, hopefully, the chemical weapons will be gone.

        What other outcome was possible that would be any better for Ameircan and Russian interests?  I suspect that there is a side deal about a trying to get a political solution, but it may take one side or another to lose on the battlefield to get there.  The AQ rebels seem unlikely to deal.  The US-supported rebels might.

        In any event, better diplomacy than war (for us).   Not being the world's policeman means we sometimes stand by as others are slaughtered.

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 01:26:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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