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View Diary: Ted Rall Cartoon: War is the Answer. What Was the Question Again? (54 comments)

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  •  And you believe this because....? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jdsnebraska

    Is it because of actual evidence, or because that's the narrative in which you want to believe?

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:37:32 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps 20 years of foreign and military (7+ / 0-)

      policy establishment's pushing for regime change in Syria might color one's beliefs.

      Perhaps Pres. Obama in Turkey (just weeks before it looked like War on Syria was our next fiasco), insisting that Assad must go would factor into that as well. Here: watch him say it: http://live.wsj.com/...

      Curiously, everybody who can somehow get their eyes on international news knows a) al-qaeda has bases and organized troops in Syria, b) al-qaeda-allied Syrian rebels have been caught with sarin in their possession at least three times, and trying to buy 10 tons of the stuff in Turkey, c) jihadists are swarming to Syria....

      Yet, can you recall when we bombed an al-qaeda base in Syria? Even threatened too?

      Of course you can't, because it never happened. For one thing it would upset our dear friends the Saudis, who are financially backing them.

      Yup, that Assad is our problem in Syria and the Middle East, no doubt about it.


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

      by Jim P on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:08:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And yet (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jdsnebraska

        there are so many other pretexts we could have used, including the horrifying number of conventional murders of Syrian citizens by the Assad regime, that your postulate simply doesn't hold water.

        And your CT about our tacit support for al Qaeda since because Saudi is risible, in light of just how many AQ leaders our military and intelligence forces have killed since 2001, and also since 2009.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:15:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your CT theory about my CT theory is (5+ / 0-)

          incredibly fucking stupid, since I don't have one.

          I'm asking a question. Do you know why we've not bombed large concentrations -- we have satellites, we know where they are -- of al qaeda? Do you know why we've said nothing about the Syrian rebels with sarin caught by the Turks? (As widely reported in Turkish press.)

          I don't know. What's your guess?

          Just today a top Turk talked about 'Afghanistan in the middle east' from the threat of aq in Syria. This ain't tiny shit.

          As to the rest, you obviously did not view the video link given you. Nor have you applied your brain to the reality that Syria has been publicly proclaimed a target by leading US politicians, including Obama and Hilary and a slew of others, during the last 20 years.

          In other words, you'll bend over backwards to deny reality. Got it. Adios.


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

          by Jim P on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:19:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your claim that you don't have a CT theory (0+ / 0-)

            is incredibly fucking stupid, because it's pretty obvious you do have one.

            "I'm just asking a question" is Glenn Beck's dodge. Asking questions which suggest that certain theories merit consideration when they don't (for lack of any evidence) is CT wrapped in cowardice of being unwilling to stand by one's convictions.

            So why have we not bombed large concentrations of al qaeda? Two answers:

            One -- We have bombed them repeatedly, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere. (Note: I'm not putting a moral qualifier on that, just stating facts.)
            Two -- "Large concentrations" implies that there are large concentrations to be found, and that when they gather it's in remote areas where a bombing wouldn't kill large numbers of civilians.

            Remember we're not dealing with a nation's forces. We're dealing with a loose association of combatants that numbers, according to anyone'e estimates, in the low hundreds, worldwide. So how many "large concentrations" do you think are out there?

            Indeed, the very fact you asked the question based on a false premise shows the CT you're trying to push as a valid theory (if not as a fact).

            Syria is, in fact, a declared enemy of the US and has been for over 20 years, this is true, including by our current leaders. This doesn't mean that the only thing that stopped us from invading their sovereign territory with direct attacks was Putin's forcing their capitulation on chemical weapons. Because -- and apply your brain to this -- we didn't do so for any other pretext at any point in the last 20 years either.

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:58:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  "Syria is, in fact, a declared enemy of the US" (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ek hornbeck, corvo, TheMomCat

              I can't find any evidence of this. Has Syria issued a declaration of war I somehow missed?

              •  No, Ted. (0+ / 0-)

                Forgive my imprecision -- I mean we declared them an enemy, not the other way around.

                "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                by raptavio on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:06:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  o rly? (0+ / 0-)

                  When did we declare war on Syria, let alone vice versa?

                  Maybe you're confusing us for Israel?

                  Syria in fact used to help us with our renditions!

                  Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                  by corvo on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 06:23:25 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  *facepalm* (0+ / 0-)

                    We haven't declared war on anyone since Japan Germany and Italy.

                    Are you saying we haven't had any openly declared enemies since?

                    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                    by raptavio on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 06:41:51 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Depends on what you mean by (0+ / 0-)

                      "openly declared," to say nothing of "legally declared" . . .

                      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                      by corvo on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 07:09:58 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

                        clearly, a declaration of war ain't it. And "legally declared" is your term, not mine.

                        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                        by raptavio on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 07:54:12 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Congressiona declaration of war (0+ / 0-)

                          happens to be the only legal way to wage war, according to the country's highest legal document.

                          Strange you didn't know that.

                          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                          by corvo on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 06:17:15 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Conflicts, not wars (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Brecht

                            That's what the US does now. Because even in a culture awash in militarism ("thank you for your service") we can't gin up the political consensus necessary to get a Congressionally authorized declaration of war.

                            As for Syria, they haven't even said many unkind words about the U.S. And yes, they were one of our torture outsourcing centers until recently.

                          •  Not strange at all (0+ / 0-)

                            that you're putting words in my mouth to build strawmen.

                            The Constitution does not, sadly, expressly disallow military action without a formal declaration of war, and there are many ways to regard another nation as an enemy that don't involve military conflict.

                            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                            by raptavio on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 09:06:46 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

    •  What narrative are you believing, Kerry's? (5+ / 0-)

      Obama's?  The MSM's?  

      "It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle then it is to be an honest politician."

      by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:39:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's what I believe. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jdsnebraska

        The US threatened and made steps toward military strikes on Syria.

        Sabers were rattled by the US and the door was opened to Syria not getting hit if they gave up their weapons.

        Syria agreed to relinquish all its chemical weapons.

        The US said "Okay" and Syria, Russia, the US and the UN hammered out an agreement without a shot being fired.

        There are two leading 'theories' of how that happened.

        One theory is that US diplomats were pursuing multiple options and had been for some time, and through multilateral action got one of the best results they could have hoped for, which everyone agrees is far superior to actual military strikes to destroy Assad's chemical weapons capacity.

        Another theory is that the Obama administration is slavering for more military strikes wherever they can justify it to feed the massive war engine and Kerry bumbled and stumbled onto a peaceful resolution thanks to the cunning like a fox maneuvering of Putin and they could do nothing to stop Putin's peaceful resolution because they're all incompetent and couldn't think of something like demanding an unfeasible timeline for disarmament, unreasonably intrusive access to their sites and records in the name of 'verification', or inspectors in areas that no inspectors could safely go due to active hostilities between Assad's loyalists and the rebels.

        Given the result was the total capitulation of the Assad regime to US demands, which in every respect other than the meme of somehow Putin "outsmarting" the US into getting Syria to totally capitulate to US demands is a foreign policy win for the US, I am inclined to apply Occam's razor and conclude that it was not rank incompetence that allowed the US to stumble into just about the best of all possible outcomes for the US.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:01:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Keep on believing young fella. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, Bisbonian, ek hornbeck

          "It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle then it is to be an honest politician."

          by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:04:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You can make smug remarks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jdsnebraska

            or, you can try to refute any of the facts presented in the first four paragraphs of my above post, or, you can explain why the final paragraph is unreasonable.

            I think someone who desperately wants to cling to his narrative regardless of the facts might stick to smug remarks, but you're not that sort of person are you?

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:15:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Occam's Razor is a multi-bladed tool. (7+ / 0-)

          Another blade shaves this way: Easy access to the Mediterranean has been a Russian desiderata since Tsarist times.

          Putin has actually achieved that.

          Why would he jeopardize that strategic victory merely to allow a puppet thug like Assad to continue to play with dangerous toys?

          Maybe Kerry stumbled into this outcome, maybe it's the result of negotiations that were already ongoing; either way, this is just about the best of all possible outcomes for Russia as well.

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

          by PhilJD on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:44:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PhilJD, Nada Lemming

            I certainly agree with that latter point: Russia has much to gain strategically as well.

            Of course, as long as the civil war in Syria continues, that goal isn't truly achieved, so it's in Pooty-poot's interests to end it ASAP as well. But that's another side point.

            But I have no problem acknowledging that the outcome was in both US and Russian interests. Once in a while those interests do dovetail.

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:02:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I don't ever WANT to believe anything (8+ / 0-)

      I draw conclusions based on my interpretation of behavior.

      A few months ago it was hard to see the difference between Bush in 2003 and Obama when he was pushing for war. In both cases no intelligence was presented as evidence, much less proof. There was no obvious threat to the US. Both targets were secular socialist Baathist autocrats.

      I will give credit to Obama for backing down in the end. I'm not sure Bush would have done the same in the face of the Russian counterproposal. But cruise missiles never should have been considered in the first place.

      Nor should arming the rebels.

      •  If you believe (0+ / 0-)

        that cruise missiles and arming the rebels are two options that should never have been considered, that's a principled stand and one that we can have reasonable debate about.

        However, that's not the issue on which I'm focused, which is your insistence that the US somehow "desperately wanted" war with Syria and yet were too incompetent to get it.

        I find this explanation implausble for reasons stated above, here: http://www.dailykos.com/...

        I also find your facts are in error in that "no intelligence was presented as evidence" is false in this latter case (it certainly was true in 2003, however). That chemical weapons were used against a civilian population has been confirmed by multiple sources, including by the UN. Nobody, including the Assad regime, denies that they were used. The only question left up for debate at that point is the question of who used them.

        And here's the other facts in evidence:

        They were used in an area controlled by the rebels in the suburbs of Damascus, i.e. very close to the figurative and literal seat of Assad's power.

        The weapon used was Sarin gas.

        Assad has at least one factory which produces Sarin weapons and a known stockpile. This has been known for years, and Assad has since confirmed and admitted this.

        Sarin is highly volatile and when mixed has a very short shelf life -- as in, a matter of days or even hours. Meaning it'd be very difficult to weaponize it and then transport it into rebel hands and then use it before it became inert.

        So given the facts there are two options: an attack by the Assad regime on a direct threat to his seat of power, or a false flag attack by the rebels or foreign agents sympathetic to the same on their own population. The latter becomes much less likely when you consider that a less strategically crucial rebel-held territory would have been a better false flag strike.

        Now we can argue about whether the evidence at hand (and I presented an incomplete list) constitutes sufficient proof, but factually, to say that the evidence of Assad's crimes was nonexistant or as scant as the evidence of Hussein's chemical stockpiles in 2003 is just flat-out untrue.

        Which brings me back to the question: Are you evaluating the evidence, or just believing the narrative you want to believe?

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:13:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ek hornbeck, corvo, TheMomCat

          There as considerable evidence that the rebels manufactured the gas, and that their shells fell short of Syrian army positions. For example, the sarin was not military grade.

          But the truth is, we will never know for sure either way. And you don't kill people, or take one side in a civil war, over a maybe.

          •  Considerable evidence? (4+ / 0-)

            Please -- present it.

            But I take it you concede that there is far more evidence at work here in 2013 than there was in 2003.

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:07:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  In 2003 (0+ / 0-)

              There was zero evidence that Iraq still had WMDs. All there were was Iraq's supposed evil intent (Saddam WOULD do this, MIGHT do that) and the fact that they'd had them in 1991.

              In Syria, there was a chemical attack. That's more. But still falls wayyyy short of what you need to go to war.

              About the sarin, click, then scroll down:

              http://www.hindustantimes.com/...

              •  Jesus. (0+ / 0-)

                Warn a guy before you post a link with images like that.

                I'm glad we're getting some dialogue going, and some concession of points of fact. This is good.

                "At the moment, I am not totally convinced because the people that are helping them are without any protective clothing and without any respirators," said Paula Vanninen, director of Verifin, the Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
                A particularly gallingly ignorant quote, as many of the medical professionals were in fact sickened and some killed by the poison they encountered tending to the wounded. Those men and women were dedicated and self-sacrificing and risked their lives.
                "Of the videos that I've seen for the last few hours, none of them show pinpoint pupils... this would indicate exposure to organophosphorus nerve agents," he said.
                Sarin, of course, is an organophosphate. And initial symptoms of exposure to such nerve agents does include pupil contraction. (I don't know if that contraction continues as the poisoning progresses.) However, such review by video evidence is faulty by nature. Doctors Without Borders reported seeing exactly those symptoms, and of course several independent investigations have confirmed sarin was used.
                Gwyn Winfield, editor of CBRNe World magazine, which specialises in chemical weapons issues, said the evidence did not suggest that the chemicals used were of the weapons-grade that the Syrian army possesses in its stockpiles.

                "We're not seeing reports that doctors and nurses... are becoming fatalities, so that would suggest that the toxicity of it isn't what we would consider military sarin. It may well be that it is a lower-grade," Winfield told AFP.

                Sarin once deployed degrades in a very short period. 30 minutes is usually sufficient to prevent cross-contamination. Nevertheless, many first responders were sickened and killed by the contamination.

                In short, the three skeptics cited in your article are all refuted by the facts.

                "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                by raptavio on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 09:30:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But would you say you have 90% certainty? (0+ / 0-)

                  That's the standard for a guilty verdict in a criminal trial. To go to war, I'd say you need at least that...actually, you need most Americans to have 90% certainty or more. And that doesn't exist vis-à-vis Syria.

                  •  Do I have a 90% certainty? (0+ / 0-)

                    Well, yes, I do. I'd say about 95% -- which, incidentally, would not be enough for me to convict in a court of law. "Reasonable doubt" exists in that last 5%.

                    Do I think it was enough to go to war?

                    I think that even with 100% certainty we shouldn't have gone to war unilaterally. Only a true multilateral force would have been appropriate.

                    However, the fact remains that we did not. We found a path to removing Assad's chemical weapons stockpiles and production capacity, without expending blood or treasure on the battlefield. That this is so refutes your claim of any bloodthirstiness or desperate determination to go to war with Syria on the part of the Obama administration.

                    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                    by raptavio on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 11:35:42 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The Obama Administration (0+ / 0-)

                      surely was bloodthirsty. It was clear from their rhetoric, so familiar from what they did to Libya, that they wanted war.

                      As I wrote, it is to their credit that the Russians and international community were able to shame them into not moving forward. I don't think Bush would have backed down in the same place. But I also think that war would have happened had John Kerry not had a brain fart.

                      •  And now we've come full circle. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Denise Oliver Velez, AnnetteK

                        This was your original claim. But the evidence you presented to support this claim was not really accurate nor complete, as you have (to your credit) conceded along the way.

                        It is undeniable that the Obama administration rattled sabers and made it clear to Syria that it was willing to use military force to remove Syria's chemical weapons capability, but that does not translate, as you believe it does, that they were "bloodthirsty" meaning that going to war was their preferred option.

                        That the result turned out to be the best of all plausible worlds for the US really makes it unlikely that the Administration somehow bumbled into that scenario, nor has anyone shown any sense of shame. In fact, everyone in the administration seems delighted and relieved.

                        In truth, I think you're pursuing a narrative about the Obama administration that is not supported by the facts.

                        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                        by raptavio on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 02:14:51 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

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