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Syria’s President Assad is depicted as a duck in graffiti in a village in the Jabal al-Zawiya area. The graffiti pokes fun at a leaked email exchange between Assad and his wife Asma in which she refers to him by his nickname “duck.”
Syria’s President Assad is depicted as a duck in graffiti in a village in the Jabal al-Zawiya area. The graffiti pokes fun at a leaked email exchange between Assad and his wife Asma in which she refers to him by his nickname “duck.”
With a missile attack on Syria perhaps just 48 hours away, media reports are flooding us. It is times like these when careful citizens take such reports with a salt shaker close at hand, the lid unscrewed. Not because none of those reports can be trusted, but because of the misinformation accompanying the fog of war. This is thickened by journalists' efforts to be first with the latest scuttlebutt and by governments eager to justify their actions and label those of their enemies uncivilized and worse. The accurate, well-vetted material is intermingled with the disinformation.

Then, too, it's important to be alert against confirmation bias, rejecting reports that don't match our views and accepting what does regardless of how well or badly supported those reports are. Confirmation bias is one reason millions of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11 attacks.

With those caveats in mind, here are excerpts from a few news articles about intervention in Syria and a dozen commentaries on the subject.

• Thom Shanker, C.J. Chivers and Michael R. Gordon at The New York Times report Pentagon Sees Syrian Military, Not Chemical Sites, as Target:

Although no final decisions have been made, it is likely that the attacks would not be focused on chemical weapons storage sites, even though the Obama administration says the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian military is the trigger for the planned attack. They said any effort to target chemical sites risks an environmental and humanitarian disaster and could open up the sites to raids by militants.

Instead, the American assault would be aimed at military units thought to have carried out chemical attacks, the rockets and artillery that have launched the attacks and the headquarters overseeing the effort, the officials said.

The target list might include fewer than 50 sites, according to an unnamed American official familiar with the planning. One possibility: Airfields where Syria keeps its extremely capable Russian-made helicopters. The Times reports those "voices across the administration urging no action have all but silenced [but] an air campaign designed to decapitate the leadership and allow rebels to topple the regime, also has been rejected."

• Alia Malek of Al Jazeera reports Western intervention debate finds Syrians resigned, uneasy:

As the Syrian conflict escalates, with what appear to be chemical weapons killing unsuspecting families in their sleep and talk in Western capitals of armed intervention, M. no longer knows what to stockpile.

Like other Damascenes, M. (who requested anonymity for security reasons) has greeted each new phase of the conflagration with requisite preparation: First, she bought flashlights with rechargeable batteries once the daily electricity cuts began, keeping her home in darkness for hours; then, extra heating fuel and cooking gas which quickly disappeared in shortages as winter drew nearer and colder; rice, lentils, Mazola, and other non-perishable foodstuffs so her family wouldn’t go hungry as grocery shelves emptied; clean water for when there wouldn’t be any; and, as the lira plummeted, dollars from the black market because American currency might be the only way out, should her family need to leave suddenly. [...]

With death now carried by the wind and no one providing or selling any gas masks, M. does not know what precautions to take. She even leaves the windows open.

Additional links to and excerpts from news articles and commentaries can be read below the fold.

• Ben Hubbard, Mark Mazzetti and Mark Lander at The New York Times report Blasts in the Night, a Smell, and a Flood of Syrian Victims.

Interviews with more than two dozen activists, rebels and doctors in areas near the attack sites, as well as an examination of more than 100 videos and photos of the aftermath, back up [the assertion that a deadly chemical attack occurred outside Damascus Aug. 21].
• Nancy A. Youssef at McClatchy reports Arab leaders blame Syria for using chemical weapons:
Pushed by the Gulf states, the 22-member Arab League, after a two-hour session, issued a strongly worded five-point statement holding Syria “fully responsible for the ugly crime" and demanding "that all the perpetrators of this heinous crime be presented for international trials.”

Without directly blaming the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Arab League Secretary General Nabil el Araby said that what happened was a “flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.”

The league also said the United Nations Security Council should put aside its differences and pass the “necessary resolutions against the perpetrators of this crime.”

However, While traveling in Ramallah, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy condemned a possible attack on Syria and said there should be a political solution instead. Fahmy did not outline what such a solution should look like.

• Michael Doyle at McClatchy reports on Why the US won't declare war on Syria
But while a U.S.-led attack appears increasingly likely, the legal underpinnings for lethal action remain ambiguous. Congress won’t formally declare war. The last time it did that was 1941, when America entered World War II.

Lawmakers might consider authorizing force after they return from summer recess Sept. 9, but missiles could easily launch before then.

• And Michael Schofield at McClatchy reports Europe prepares for military intervention in Syria:
While Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made it clear that his nation urges restraint, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC today that strong non-military efforts have not prevented the escalation of events in Syria. He said that even without UN approval, “the great humanitarian need and humanitarian distress” could justify action.

“We have tried those other methods – the diplomatic methods – and we will continue to try those,” he said. “But they have failed so far.”

• Anne Gearan and Karen DeYoung at the Washington Post report Obama administration lays groundwork for probable military strike against Syria:
Vice President Biden said Tuesday, “There is no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons: the Syrian regime.” In a speech to the American Legion national convention in Houston, Biden added that he and President Obama “believe that those who use chemical weapons against men, women and children should and must be held accountable.” [...]

Obama administration officials have begun notifying some members of Congress of a possible military strike, congressional officials said, although the White House says no final decision has been made. The calls are to inform and do not seek permission, one congressional official said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the quiet effort to gain congressional backing.

• Charles Hawley at the English version of the German Der Spiegel reports Syria Intervention May Endanger Merkel's Re-Election
Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to be betting that the horrific images that emerged from last week's apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria will be enough to trump the German electorate's traditional pacifism.

On Monday, she came out strongly in favor of an international response to the massacre last Wednesday. "The alleged widespread use of gas has broken a taboo," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said. "It requires consequences and a very clear response is needed."

Foreign Minster Guido Westerwelle joined her. Saying the use of chemical weapons would be a "crime against civilization," Westerwelle said: "Should the use of such weapons be confirmed, the world community must act. At that time, Germany will belong to those who support consequences."

• Steve Scherer at Reuters reports Italy says Syria has passed 'point of no-return' with chemical weapons
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said that he agreed with British Prime Minister David Cameron in a phone call on Tuesday that Syria's use of chemical weapons was "unacceptable", according to a statement.

"The United Kingdom and Italy agreed on the fact that Syria has gone past the point of no-return with its massive use of chemical weapons," the Italian premier said in a statement.

The attacks are "an unacceptable crime that cannot be tolerated by the international community," the statement read.

• Amos Harel at Haaretz reports: Harbingers of an imminent U.S. strike in Syria are fast accumulating:
Assad, it seems, would be able to withstand such an attack and remain on his feet. It wouldn't stop him from continuing his onslaught on the rebel forces, who are currently preoccupied by infighting. An American strike, aside from countering criticism that Washington is not true to its word, might also serve, to a certain extent, as a deterrent against future chemical weapons use. Intervention might also galvanize the opposition groups. Still, to turn the tide in the civil war, the United States would have to resort to a prolonged air strike, which is the last thing the Americans want, especially since there is no one way to know that Assad's replacement will be any better than the murderous tyrant himself.
Opinion and Commentary

• The Washington PostEugene Robinson. The U.S. must act against Assad:

History says don’t do it. Most Americans say don’t do it. But President Obama has to punish Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s homicidal regime with a military strike — and hope that history and the people are wrong.

If it is true that the regime killed hundreds of civilians with nerve gas in a Damascus suburb last week—and Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Monday that the use of chemical weapons is “undeniable”—then Obama has no choice. Such use cannot be tolerated, and any government or group that employs chemical weapons must be made to suffer real consequences. Obama should uphold this principle by destroying some of Assad’s military assets with cruise missiles.

• The Editorial Board of The New York Times. Responding to Syrian Atrocities:
A political agreement is still the best solution to this deadly conflict, and every effort must be made to find one. President Obama has resisted demands that he intervene militarily and in force. Though Mr. Assad’s use of chemical weapons surely requires a response of some kind, the arguments against deep American involvement remain as compelling as ever.
The NationPhyllis Bennis and David Wildman. Moral Obscenities in Syria:
The threat of a reckless, dangerous, and illegal US or US-led assault on Syria is looking closer than ever.

The US government has been divided over the Syria crisis since it began. Some, especially in the Pentagon and some of the intelligence agencies, said direct military intervention would be dangerous and would accomplish nothing. Others, especially in Congress and some in the State Department, have demanded military attacks, even regime change, against the Syrian leadership, even before anyone made allegations of chemical weapons. The Obama administration has been divided too, with President Obama seemingly opposed to any US escalation. The American people are not divided—60 percent are against intervening in Syria’s civil war even if chemical weapons were involved.

But the situation is changing rapidly, and the Obama administration appears to be moving closer to direct military intervention. That would make the dire situation in Syria inestimably worse.

The IndependentRobert Fisk. Does Obama know he’s fighting on al-Qa’ida’s side?:
If Barack Obama decides to attack the Syrian regime, he has ensured – for the very first time in history – that the United States will be on the same side as al-Qa’ida. [...]

The men who destroyed so many thousands on 9/11 will then be fighting alongside the very nation whose innocents they so cruelly murdered almost exactly 12 years ago. Quite an achievement for Obama, Cameron, Hollande and the rest of the miniature warlords.

The New YorkerDexter Filkins. The Syrian Question:
What can America do? It’s not unreasonable to ask whether even a well-intentioned American effort to save Syrians might fail, or whether such an effort might pull America into a terrible quagmire. In the piece about Obama and Syria I wrote for the magazine in May, I detailed just how daunting those challenges are. But how much longer are we going to allow those questions to prevent us from trying?
Foreign PolicyDavid Rothkopf: Too Little, Too Late:
The reason it is now commonly assumed that it's only a matter of time before the United States and its allies launch an attack against the Syrian regime is because President Bashar al-Assad has left President Barack Obama with no other choice. He must either attack or lose what little remaining influence he might have both in the Middle East and with potential enemies and friends worldwide.

While the rhetoric around the attack has been—and will continue to be—about the intolerability of chemical weapons, that is hardly the only reason the United States will finally take action. Given that, according to reports like those in today's Washington Post, the U.S. and allied military initiative is almost certainly to be both brief and narrow in scope—and therefore of limited effect as a deterrent against future WMD use—one can only conclude that the effort must also serve another purpose.

The pending action is as much intended to protect the president's credibility as it is the people of Syria.

SlateMatt Yglesias. Military Strikes Are an Extremely Expensive Way to Help Foreigners:
Now, before the kill-and-maim-for-the-sake-of-humanity crowd shoots a Tomahawk missile at me, it's worth conceding up front that none of this amounts to a logically airtight case against blowing up some Syrian infrastructure and killing various Syrian bad guys. It is very possible for a given undertak[ing] to be worth doing without being the optimal policy. But I do think it's worth interrogating the larger political and ideological construct that says that spending a few billions dollars to help foreigners is a thinkable undertaking if and only if the means of providing assistance is to kill some people and blow some stuff up. The explosives-heavy approach to humanitarianism has a lot of unpredictable side effects, sometimes backfires massively, and offers an extremely poor value proposition. So whatever you think about killing some Syrians this summer, please consider throwing a few dollars in the direction of a cost-effective charity of some kind.
TruthoutWilliam Rivers Pitt. War on Syria: Twenty Pounds of Stupid in a Ten-Pound Bag:
I'm just going to throw this out on the stoop and see if the cat licks it up: instead of attacking Syria, how about we don't attack Syria?
Crazy, I know; this is America, after all, and our presidents like nothing more than to flip a few cruise missiles at other countries, combined with a few bombing sorties for good measure, because it's a hell of a lot easier than actual statecraft. Besides, it looks good on television, and all those meanies in Congress can't accuse the Commander in Chief of not doing anything. Oh, also, cruise missiles and bombs cost a lot, so if we pull the trigger on Syria, someone will get paid handsomely.
EsquireCharles Pierce. Making War in Syria:
It looks as though the skids are properly greased, and the United States will be making some sort of war in Syria pretty soon. I say "making war in Syria" because that's different than going to war in Syria. We aren't sending troops. We're going to be sending cruise missiles and dropping bombs because that is how you make war without going to war and, if you make war without going to war, then it's a lot easier to pretend back home that you're not at war. Again.

The bipartisan consensus to make war in Syria seems to be growing. John Kerry played the role of Colin Powell yesterday, albeit with slightly more actual evidence on his side. But the proposed response doesn't seem to match the gravity of the rhetoric he used.

National Review OnlineVictor Davis Hanson. Syrian Surrealities
We are now in a surreal landscape in which the Left urges action on suspicion of WMD use, citing the humanitarian issues involved, the larger concerns of the civilized world, and U.S. strategic interests. U.N. weapon inspectors are not allowed in. There is good evidence that Assad is lying about his use of WMD or at least trying to mislead in some fashion not altogether discernible. Where are Joe Wilson, Hans Blix, and Mohamed ElBaradei when we need them?

Where the Syrian WMD came from or where they are stored is still a mystery, given that we were assured long ago by opponents of the Iraq War that Saddam did not pose a threat and thus his WMD stockpiles, if they ever existed, did not go to Syria on the eve of that war.

The ProgressiveMatthew Rothschild. If Obama Bombs Syria, Watch Out!:
The only thing we know for sure is that there are no good guys in this civil war, with the brutal Assad dictatorship on one side and some equally brutal Al Qaeda types on the other.

We have no business in this civil war.

Obama instead should try to bring all sides to the peace table. But he’s resisted that crucial effort at diplomacy, most recently because Assad’s forces had gained too much ground, and the Obama Administration wanted to wait until Assad was weaker and had less leverage. That is a cold and cynical calculus that leads only to more bloodshed.

Moyers & CompanyAndrew Bacevich. Questions for President Obama—Before He Pulls the Trigger on Syria:
First, why does this particular heinous act rise to the level of justifying a military response? More specifically, why did a similarly heinous act by the Egyptian army elicit from Washington only the mildest response? Just weeks ago, Egyptian security forces slaughtered hundreds of Egyptians whose “crime” was to protest a military coup that overthrew a legitimately elected president. Why the double standard?

Second, once U.S. military action against Syria begins, when will it end? What is the political objective? Wrapping the Assad regime on the knuckles is unlikely to persuade it to change its ways. That regime is engaged in a fight for survival. So what exactly does the United States intend to achieve and how much is President Obama willing to spend in lives and treasure to get there? War is a risky business. Is the president willing to commit U.S. forces to what could well become another protracted and costly struggle?

Third, what is the legal basis for military action?

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.


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Comment Preferences

  •  What IS it good for? (23+ / 0-)

    But of course, that answer does seem to be consistently missed by our elected officials.  I think they've got the wrong edition of the textbook.


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:36:36 PM PDT

    •  Say it again! (11+ / 0-)

      One of the greatest songs ever written, IMO.  

      The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

      by Beelzebud on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:46:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  JoeMentum, Kagan, Abrams, Peretz, Rove (16+ / 0-)

      and the other usual suspects all think it's hunky-dory here:

      Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has once again violated your red line, using chemical weapons to kill as many as 1,400 people in the suburbs of Damascus.  You have said that large-scale use of chemical weapons in Syria would implicate “core national interests,” including “making sure that weapons of mass destruction are not proliferating, as well as needing to protect our allies [and] our bases in the region.”  The world—including Iran, North Korea, and other potential aggressors who seek or possess weapons of mass of destruction—is now watching to see how you respond.

      We urge you to respond decisively by imposing meaningful consequences on the Assad regime.  At a minimum, the United States, along with willing allies and partners, should use standoff weapons and airpower to target the Syrian dictatorship’s military units that were involved in the recent large-scale use of chemical weapons.  It should also provide vetted moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition with the military support required to identify and strike regime units armed with chemical weapons.

      Moreover, the United States and other willing nations should consider direct military strikes against the pillars of the Assad regime.  The objectives should be not only to ensure that Assad’s chemical weapons no longer threaten America, our allies in the region or the Syrian people, but also to deter or destroy the Assad regime’s airpower and other conventional military means of committing atrocities against civilian non-combatants.  At the same time, the United States should accelerate efforts to vet, train, and arm moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition, with the goal of empowering them to prevail against both the Assad regime and the growing presence of Al Qaeda-affiliated and other extremist rebel factions in the country.

      I could've sworn that this sorry group, almost to a person, backed the losing side in the last 2 elections.  I also believe that, to a person, they believed that invading Iraq was equally hunky-dory.

      As to Pierce, I think hammer meets nail here:

      It also raises the question, fairly vital now that we appear to be ready to make some war in Syria, as to whether there is anything we've done in the Middle East since we installed the shah that didn't come back to bite this country in the ass in one way or another. This is a particularly horrific episode in our seven decades of abject Fail in that part of the world. Damn, we're lousy at this.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:00:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And even with this massive, massive (14+ / 0-)

      propaganda campaign, still only 9% of Americans support attacking Syria.

      Bombing the shit out of Syria and potentially triggering a huge regional, perhaps world war, is not something that this country wants. But that doesn't matter. Obama, the unitary executive is the decider.  If he wants to start another war, he just goes ahead and does it, like he did in the disastrous supposed humanitarian intervention in Libya, a country that is now in chaos, two years later.

      I listened to Jay Carney's very careful wording, saying the same thing, over and over, but using very specific words.

      He said that there has been a CW attack is undeniable. But when asked who did it he says "there is little doubt" that the Assad regime did this.

      There is no mandate and no self defense, making it clearly illegal, against international law.  Blatantly illegal.  And there is no mandate from the American people, who will have to pay for all of this and whose blood will be spilled if this sparks a regional or world war requiring troops.  

      And like every other war of choice, there will be blowback. There will be Americans who will pay with their blood and their treasure, what's left of it.  The elites and the 1% won't pay the price.  The little people will -- the same little people who are right this minute saying NO MORE WAR.  The same people who, after having been lied into two other wars, simply aren't buying it this time.  

      But this president wages war easily and frequently and takes us into new wars frequently and escalates wars by magnitudes.  He doesn't care what the people think.  He seems not to care how much danger it puts all of us in and how much it wrecks this country.  

      One of the most significant things with this is the way the photos and videos are being spread all over the world.   And yet, how often do you see photos or video of the carnage, the women and children blown to bits and killed by this president?  Almost never.  He only allows photographic evidence to be used to try to convince an enormously unwilling populace in this country and all across the world to wage yet MORE WAR.  

      But hardly anyone believes the U.S. or U.K. when they start their warmongering and set their sights on yet another country to bomb and overthrow.  Even now the misinformation about "punishing Assad" for using chemical weapons appears to be a cover, another lie, because the Pentagon is saying that the targets are military targets, which will weaken the Syrian military so that it can no longer defend the country against the Al Qaeda terrorist jihadists who are the strongest mercenary forces fighting this sectarian war on our side.  Al Qaeda forces are our allies and these military strikes by the U.S. will give them the advantage they need to achieve the stated goal of Obama, Cameron and others -- to overthrow the Syrian government and to remove Assad from power.  They will be careful not to do it themselves technically, but essentially, I think it's clear, that like they did for the Libyans, they'll just keep clearing the way until they can take Assad out.  The mercenaries aren't getting the job done with the proxy war, and the countries who are really fighting this war through their proxies (who have killed half of those 100K civilians our govt keeps talking about) have decided that they want the job done now.

      There's no solid group of people ready for a transitional government. They disagree on whether the sky is blue.  There is no hope for any better situation for the Syrians. But the warmongers want war and they're going for it, and you are paying the bill, whether you want it or not, and everything else is being cut so that we can wage perpetual war.

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:12:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  responsibility to act doesn't have to be the U.S. (8+ / 0-)

        Ed Husain of the Council on Foreign Relations urged a cautious approach to intervention in Syria. He said it was crucial not to act without certainty that Assad -- and not al Qaeda or rebel forces, which have also been accused of using chemical weapons -- was responsible for the attack.

        "The responsibility to act doesn't mean that it always has to be the U.S. I think we're encouraging a culture in the Middle East of dependency on the United States every time there's a conflict there and there are other global players that have a responsibility to burden some of that."

        "Short of a U.S. invasion, short of U.S. troops on the ground, you're not going to separate fighting factions inside of Syria," he said. "Why would Assad want to use chemical weapons in the northeastern suburbs of Damascas -- Damascus that's under his control -- to kill only, forgive me for being so cold, about 1,000 people, whereas he's killed 5,000 people every month for 16 months without chemical weapons? So why now?"

        "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

        by allenjo on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:24:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The leader of UK Independence Party (4+ / 0-)

          Nigel Farage says that the UK is the most zealous of the group of countries behind all of this. Others say it's the Saudis.

          Prince Bandar, Saudi intelligence, threatened a terrorist attack on the Olympics in Russia if Putin didn't go along with this.  He offered him a partnership in controlling the global supply of oil.

          Putin refused and now the EU Times is reporting that a Russian govt source is saying that Putin has threatened to bomb or attack Saudi Arabia if the US and this coalition of imperialists goes forward with the attack on Syria.

          UK Telegraph:

          EU Times:

          That's a world war we're looking at. And Obama is still gung ho to risk it.  For f'ing what?  There's still no evidence who did this and frankly, I don't trust the US, UK and Saudis not to "fix the intelligence around the policy" again.  Nobody trusts them.  That's why they have been throwing around the good name of Doctors without Borders all across the headlines of newspapers all around the world, and Jay Carney used their name too.  That's why they can't just go kill Assad themselves.  They think it would be too obvious. So they're paying Al Qaeda to do it.  And they think that the whole world can't see exactly what's going on.

          And as for Wes Clark, well it looks like he decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and it looks like he was bought off.  He's been involved in an investment group for months now. Guess what the investment group does? They're war profiteers who will invest in rebuilding Syria.  Now why would Syria need to be rebuilt unless we already knew we were going to destroy it long before this false flag chemical weapons attack?  And now he's out there carrying the water, to some extent, but he's not willing to go along with the bogus comparisons to Kosovo.

          Reconstruction of Syria. This was back in April before either CW attack (the first of which was exposed as having been a false flag attack carried out by the Free Syrian Army, and people from France and Israel told the media it was Assad.  Reconstruction is a very specific term which means rebuilding after you destroy it by war.  It's a war profiteers business.  A lot more people will get rich from this war just like they did on Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction. You know, like that military headquarters in Afghanistan they built and the military said they'd never use it and said it would most likely be destroyed.

          L.A. Banker to Announce Syrian Reconstruction Fund

          A Los Angeles banker, the head of a Middle Eastern investment bank and retired General Wesley Clark plan to announce Monday the formation of an investment fund to help rebuild Syria.

          The fund will be a collaboration between Avenue Ventures LLC of Los Angeles and Gulf Financial House, an investment bank in Bahrain. A press conference to provide more details has been scheduled for Monday in Beverly Hills.

          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:10:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  might as well post all of it... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KayCeSF, Tweedledee5
            The fund will aim to provide reconstruction and investment capital in Syria once the regime of current President Bashar al-Assad falls. A release previewing Monday’s announcement claims a lack of such post-revolution investment in other nations, such as Egypt and Libya, has led to continued instability in those countries.

            "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

            by Sybil Liberty on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:15:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well there's fair use (0+ / 0-)

              and the link, which allows everyone to read the whole thing so we don't violate fair use rules.

              You've now just created a copyright violation.

              Not to mention that you haven't addressed my point at all. Why were they planning reconstruction well before April of this year? It takes a substantial amount of time to set up an investment firm.

              "Justice is a commodity"

              by joanneleon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:33:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Even if there were incontrovertible proof (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Of CW attacks by Assad, few would want to do anything about it.   At the end of the day, American care little for human rights.  Look at how popular the mirderous regime of Sisi was received here.  

          Really, whether human rights are violated is of no consequence for most

          •  Under Bush and Obama (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and other presidents too, but these two guys are human rights violators on steroids, this country has to be on the short list of the top human rights violators in the world.

            We conveniently didn't keep count of how many people we killed in Iraq, but the estimates range from 100K to a million. And that war was based entirely, entirely on lies.  It was, in part, another one of these fake humanitarian interventions.  Remember? Or do you conveniently forget?

            And if you count the people we displaced, forced them to become refugees, we're in the 20 millions range.

            In Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, we overtly violate human rights even up to today.  In brutal and vile ways.

            Now tell me again how we're the great champions of humanitarianism?

            Also, please tell me how attacking military targets in Syria will help the Syrian people?  Tell me how clearing the way for mercenary jihadists to make their way through the country to kill Assad will make their lives better.  Tell me who is ready to form a transitional government to stabilize the country and tell me how you know, what shred of evidence you have that taking out Assad will bring them a better government and a better life.  I'd like to know because all you have are complaints about why we won't go bomb the shit out of Syria and I have never once seen you talk about what purpose it serves and what plan is in place to help the Syrians. Half of the 100K slaughtered were slaughtered by the very people you are supporting.

            "Justice is a commodity"

            by joanneleon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:40:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And I expect (0+ / 0-)

              You don't really care about those violations either

            •  Which is to say (0+ / 0-)

              At the end of the day, kossacks by and large only care about human rights violation by the US. There is virtually no concern about violations by others, no matter how vile.

              The opposition and whether you like then is immaterial.  Here the question is whether it is ok to give a green light to future attacks by various regimes

              •  You don't have (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lost and Found, Tweedledee5

                one shred of evidence to make that accusation, that I don't care about human rights.  Not one.  And I do care about human rights violations by my own country even more than by others, yes. Why? Because when my country does it, I do it. And you do it. So why aren't you making an effort to stop your own country and yourself from violating human rights?  Why are you instead advocating for yet another war and for supporting murderous paid jihadists who slaughtered half of the people killed in Syria in this manufactured war?

                And why won't you ever address the substance in my comments or the questions I ask you?   You're not debating in good faith. You're just spouting warmongering propaganda.

                "Justice is a commodity"

                by joanneleon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:07:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Because your comments. (0+ / 0-)

                  Aren't offered in good faith. "Manufacturers war"?  That's pure CT.  I take your extraordinary efforts to distort the evidence on behalf of a mirderous regime at face value and to decline to engage the more egregious and irrelevant aspects

                  •  Do you have any (0+ / 0-)

                    answer at all to the questions I've asked or are you just all personal attack all the time?

                    It's to the point where whenever I make a comment about Syria I expect to find you in the response thread.

                    And taking a quick look at your comment stream, you're launching personal attacks at a lot of people, unprovoked (they're not attacking you first, you're the aggressor) and also you're throwing conspiracy theorists accusations all over the place.  Almost every comment I make includes some sources. Where I don't provide sources I can provide them, either fact or expert opinion.  I have never seen you provide even one source or cite one fact.

                    This is a proxy war.  That is an undisputed fact. Proxy wars are manufactured wars. That is not CT.

                    "Justice is a commodity"

                    by joanneleon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:26:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Syria proxy war (0+ / 0-)

                      6,970,000 search results on Google and growing.


                      The countries who are hiring, paying, arming the mercenaries don't deny it.

                      Members of the UK govt. for example, the leader of UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, says it.

                      "Justice is a commodity"

                      by joanneleon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:30:58 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Which ones? (0+ / 0-)

                      You've got about a zillion and there's little point in addressing them all.  I was providing links until I realized that were dealing with a hermetically sealed narrative.  So I have up

                      I have never seen a single link ever suggesting that the opposition groups had any chemical weapons whatever.  Inantalya provided some now repudiated rumors of al nusra with sarin in Adana.  Other than that nix

                      Any evidence for the oft asserted theory that Obama is gunning for a war despite the fact that the US has been very slow to get involved?   Or we hear the CiA caused this war or something but never any evidence.

                      Also, whether Iraq or whatever was illegal is not relevant to whether Assad used weapons here.  

                      Finally, those few who think a response is required here have been subject to absolutely rabid attacks, including by you ("pure evil" i think was te HRable term) so I've lost patience.

                      •  No (0+ / 0-)

                        there weren't a zillion. I only posed a couple or a few questions to you but they have always been ignored and the same personal attacks repeated over and over.  I don't understand why you can't just debate civilly and why you feel the need to answer comments that have absolutely nothing to do with you personally by replying with personal attacks.

                        Good night.

                        "Justice is a commodity"

                        by joanneleon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:52:53 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

          •  being a war weary nation (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            has left most of us so very leary of more war. We are still heavily involved in our longest war, with our troops still coming home in body bags, with well over another year to go of that war.

            In this country when children are living with their parents in the woods, I see that as gross violation of human rights of those children. Right here in America.

            That should never happen in a country that engages in global dominance, an unaudited out of control pentagon, MIC,  with a congress that never lacks votes for war funding.

            America does not have to take the lead for everything that is wrong around the globe. There are many nations that could act, nations that are quite wealthy, that have come to rely on the US, unfortunately, with the US always ready to take the lead, bear the costs. That has to end.

            "The responsibility to act doesn't mean that it always has to be the U.S. I think we're encouraging a culture in the Middle East of dependency on the United States every time there's a conflict there and there are other global players that have a responsibility to burden some of that."

            "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

            by allenjo on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:58:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Seven countries (5+ / 0-)
        Ten days after 9/11... Donald Rumsfeld:"nobody's going to tell us where or when we can bomb" ... officer from the Joint Staffs... "we're going to attack Iraq"
        [Six weeks later at the Pentagon, same officer] "I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense's office and it says we're going to attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years. We're gonna start with Iraq, then we're gonna move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran."

        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:24:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wes Clark video (8+ / 0-)

          The comment above and this one have partial transcripts from this Wes Clark video from 2007.

          [In 1991] Paul Wolfowitz: "We learned that we can use our military in the region, in the Middle East, and the Soviets won't stop us. And we've got about five or ten years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes. Syria, Iran, Iraq, before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us."
          Clark: "The purpose of the military is to start wars and change governments? It's not to deter conflict? We're gonna invade countries? [...] Wolfowitz and Cheney and Rumsfeld and you could name a half dozen other collaborators from the Project for a New American Century. They wanted us to destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, make it under our control. [...]

          Now did anybody ever tell you that? Was there a national dialogue on this? Did Senators and Congressmen stand up and denounce this plan? Was there a full fledged American debate on it?  Absolutely not.  And there still isn't.  And that's we're failing in Iraq.  Because Iran and Syria know about the plan. [...] They could hardly wait to move into Iraq so they could move into Syria. [...]
          This wasn't what the American people voted George Bush into office (well they didn't actually vote him into office, but...) it wasn't what many of the people who ... he campaigned on a humble foreign policy.  The most arrogant foreign policy in American history.  He campaigned on no peace keeping, no nation building, and here he is with Afghanistan and Iraq. It's astonishing.
          "Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, if you're an American you ought to be concerned about the strategy of the United States in this region. What is our aim? What is our purpose? Why are we there? Why are Americans dying in this region?

          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:47:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  thanks joanne (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joanneleon, annan

            When I hit the rec button, it doesn't seem to be registering.

            "Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican" .....we all have to stop this war madness.

            I am reading of the countries willing to back a US lead bombing of Syria, why is it not the other way around?

            if the US has to be involved, (and I am not saying that we do, just the opposite, in fact) why are we not the ones backing the actions of the countries that want military intervention there?

            Why is it always the US that is the leader in global military force?

            As our country implodes, and we deal with poverty at its highest level in decades, yet there's never a lack of votes in congress for war funding.

            "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

            by allenjo on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:00:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  To the 9% number, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        artmartin, sagesource

        I have to cite the Quinnipiac poll from June/July in which pollsters asked the more specific question: "Do you think the United States should or should not use weapons which don't risk American lives, such as drones and cruise missiles, to attack Syrian government targets?"

        49% Approved, 38% Disapproved, the rest were undecided.

        There's been a recent shift of 5-10 percent against intervention that this older poll doesn't account for, but the "9% support" number totally ignores an important reality: the American public will much more readily support attacks without American casualties. It seems like the Administration is preparing a plan along those lines: long-range missile strikes.

        Will it work? Is it worth it? Is it too risky? Is it our role? All important questions. But the public doesn't oppose a certain amount/kind of intervention to nearly the extent that some say.

        •  Maybe The Public Is Not Opposed, (0+ / 0-)

          but I would like someone to explain the mechanisms in place by which such an attack as is presently contemplated is going to actually accomplish something  say for example, that is in our national interest.  

          Is the attack only going to a one-time reprisal intended to punish and deter any future conduct or is it going to be a sustained intervention designed to weaken Syrian government forces and lay the groundwork for taking Assad out - clearly something that would not pass muster at the UN without more concrete evidence that Assad ordered or authorized the use of chemical weapons.

          As Kerry said yesterday, we've already concluded Assad used chemical weapons, so an attack is a foregone conclusion.  

        •  The risks (0+ / 0-)

          Of not acting need to be considered. That is every dictator with a restless populace will have no reason not to do the same

        •  That poll question (0+ / 0-)

          is not only dishonest and it's confusing.

          There is no possible way not to risk American lives when you wage war and it's wildly dishonest to say that an attack on Syria will not risk American lives. It most certainly will, directly and indirectly, short term and long term. And it does not take into account what every expert is saying -- that this is a highly complex and highly risky situation with good odds of sparking a wider regional war, perhaps even a world war.  

          The question has a mixture of positives and negatives in it that make it a confusing question, especially if it's only read to you once. It's a leading question too.   It's one of the worst poll questions I've ever seen.  I wouldn't give it one iota of credibility.

          Do you really believe that no American lives will be at risk?

          You're cherry picking that poll.  I am citing the most recent one, and I would not put so much stock into it unless there were other recent polls that support that trend, and there are, and the questions in them are a lot more straightforward.  Who sponsored that Quinnipiac poll?

          In fact the polls have been really consistent and they show that Americans don't want more war, don't want to do intervention, and that they don't think that even the war in Afghanistan worth finding.  One of the big reasons this president was elected was because people thought he'd be a president who would not be a warmonger.  The war in Afghanistan still had a lot of support then. But he escalated it hugely and things are worse than ever, and he's negotiating a significant number of troops staying there for decades.  

          You know that one of our war veterans commit suicide almost every hour of every day, right?  About 22 veteran suicides per day.  You know how many brain injuries our veterans have?  How many suffer with PTSD for years, decades or the rest of their lives? And this doesn't even count the mercenaries and other contractors.  We have more mercenaries and contractors than enlisted troops in Afghanistan. So if you want to estimate the real numbers it would be reasonable to guess that they're double what's being reported.

          You realize that since Bush took office, our war and defense spending has doubled?  It's still doubled.  Twelve years after 9/11, longer than both World Wars put together, we're still spending twice as much as we were before 9/11.  And the people, the infrastructure, the whole country suffers for it  except the 1% and the war profiteers and the politicians who become wealthy for their sell out complicity.

          And let's talk about the real picture here.  I challenge you to tell me that any significant percentage of Americans supports that -- the big picture -- whether or not we're using drones and cruise missiles.  You're going to tell me that Americans are in favor of all of that?

          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:03:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you put words in everyone's mouth? (0+ / 0-)

            Find in my post where I personally support any kind of intervention. At all.

            The entire thesis of my post: Americans support some kinds of intervention more than others, and a question asking about "intervention" is too imprecise to reveal much. Your critiques of the Quinnipiac poll, with the exception of your baseless hint of sinister purposes, are a good contribution to the discussion.

            For better or worse, it's entirely possible to launch missiles without risking (your own) casualties. This is the rationale against drones: that they make war too easy/popular because the consequences to Americans, if even traceable to such attacks, are smaller and attenuated.

            You nail the big picture, but big pictures miss detail. Another big picture: Americans hate Congress. But they like certain actions of Congress more than others, on a case by case basis, depending on specifics.

            Your long list of rhetorical questions meant to be condescending toward me comes off terribly. At least it's because you care, though.

  •  So how many (11+ / 0-)

    Hearts and minds can we expect to win from this misadventure.?

  •  These matters get very complex, very fast (8+ / 0-)

    in ways war planners don't anticipate.

    The players are not just US Vs Syria, but Iran, Israel, Russia, China, Iraq, Saudi may have roles to play that make things difficult for the US, Syria and people in the Middle-East.

    These things rarely get resolved as planned.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:40:33 PM PDT

    •  If I were Iran, I'd just play hell in the Gulf. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aspe4, 3goldens

      Sink a tanker and see what happens to world oil prices.  Can you say Depression?  The price of oil would skyrocket and the global economy would crash like it hit a brick wall.

    •  Iran especially (0+ / 0-)

      The two main players here are Russia and Iran.

      Syria is currently one of the strongest buyers of Russian weapons (nevermind the Black Sea Fleet naval base they provide, which is almost abandoned). Putin cannot afford a direct response at the moment, but he'll likely retaliate in some indirect way (like granting asylum to Snowden and friends).

      Iran is not bordering with Syria, but their intelligence services have been very active in the region ever since the 2003 Iraq invasion, with good success; so you can assume that they have entrances with rebels (as well as official ones with Assad, which are strictly on an "enemy of my enemy" basis against US influence).

      This intervention risks to strengthen the recently forged dalliance of Russia and Iran, and produce another fragile and unreliable pseudo-ally like Iraq (which is not opening airspace to this operation, btw; so much for being thankful) where a predictable and manageable adversarial regime was being successfully contained. Strategic objectives are very vague; going to war on a single episode will appear like yet another WMD farce and further reduce US credibility around the world, one can't do that without a clear geopolitical strategy in mind that goes beyond "let's take out another long-standing foe just because we can". I hope Obama has something up his sleeve, but I honestly cannot see it at the moment.

    •  Is there a path to this war NOT expanding? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      just another vet, 3goldens

      I don't see how this war will not expand given all the players.  If Syria strikes back at anything American, Obama retaliates and then Syria strikes back?  What if Hezbollah attacks Israel, or if Iran sends in troops, and then Israel attacks them inside Iran?  If Iran is attacked, will the Shia in Iraq turn on American forces?

      On first news of an attack, fill up your gas tank.

  •  TY for the sources MB n/t (10+ / 0-)

    “Fiction is a lie through which we tell the truth.” — Albert Camus

    by valadon on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:41:58 PM PDT

  •  Yes, polls do show that Americans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    artmartin, Mindful Nature, grich01

    are very much against intervention in Syria. But so what? Half of our adults didn't even vote last election, and of those that did vote, about 45% voted for Mitt Romney (so fuck their opinion) and the rest voted for Barack Obama (who is qualified to make this decision). Americans don't know anything about Syria; 75% can't locate Israel on a map of the Middle East. Shit, 37% can't locate America on a map of America! We're a bunch of fucking morons, in general. So asking the average American if we should intervene in Syria is like asking them the atomic weight of the Cesium atom, or the diameter of Pluto. These polls are garbage in terms of telling us the right path to take.

  •  If there's no war to REPORT... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    just another vet

    ...there's no scoop. No story. No leading bleeding. No war drums pounding in the distance.

    And we can't have THAT. Er, the media whores, I mean.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:44:40 PM PDT

  •  Samuel Johnson: (7+ / 0-)
    Among the calamities of war may be justly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages. (The Idler, no. 30, 11 November 1758)
    Good roundup, MB...

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:45:23 PM PDT

  •  Kiss the midterms good bye. (3+ / 0-)

    Say hello to a GOP senate.

  •  Bottom line: It's not our war to fight. (15+ / 0-)

    We can't get anything done here at home because the war machine is sucking our entire wealth up into a vacuum that only the top 1% of the top 1% will ever see.

    We should be fighting for universal healthcare, affordable quality education, and to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, before we go fight another god damned war.  

    We've been in a constant state of war since 2001, and it's high time we pull the fucking plug on it.  

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:46:01 PM PDT

  •  Urk (0+ / 0-)

    Military jets are flying over  Eugene so something is up . Happens every time things heat up in one of our  'spheres of interest' .    They usually fly up and down the Columbia Gorge  nearer Portland where the base is .

  •  Fuck no. (7+ / 0-)

    Let me say that one more time, Fuck no.

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:48:04 PM PDT

  •  disinformation more effective than airstrike (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Keeping Assad's forces busy protecting things from airstrikes that may or may not come creates openings for rebels. If they exploit them that could damage Assad more than the airstrikes themselves.

  •  Wow. (8+ / 0-)

    I never figured Eugene Robinson for someone who believes in American Exceptionalism. Learn something new every day.

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:51:20 PM PDT

    •  He has always bought into the "reasonable" concept (4+ / 0-)

      of military obliteration missions.

      His good buddy Chris Matthews has chosen to lead with the Republican threats of not raising the debt ceiling tonight and "Republican chaos" - which I think is really funny because if we get into another Middle Eastern war that debt ceiling problem will only come on faster and more intensely - but does Matthews even tackle that?  No.  Of course he does not.

      People in positions of power in Washington simply have no ability to understand that there are real human lives at stake and they just continue to play the politics without any rational assessment of the reality of military engagement.

      I really believe that we should bring back the draft and I know that pisses off a lot of people who would agree with me up to this point, but I am tired of watching a self-selected group of militarists take over my country.  The only way to stop that trend is to make sure that we have diversity in that population the way that we do in our country amongst civilians.  If you have a better idea, I am totally open, but I can't think of one.  I never thought that I would agree with my Dad on this point, but now I do.

  •  See also George Packer's internal dialogue (5+ / 0-)

    Two Minds on Syria.

    and here we go again....

    Oh, I used to be disgusted
    Now I try to be amused
    ~~ Elvis Costello

    by smileycreek on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:51:35 PM PDT

  •  I'm conflicted on it. If I thought this was (5+ / 0-)

    another "war," forget it. If it's just some surgical strikes for him to get the message, I say it's okay. I do think about those gassed kids, and I don't see any outrage here about that. Drawing the line at chemical, biological, or nuclear war just might be a good idea.

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:54:39 PM PDT

  •  Real goals (0+ / 0-)

    When the strikes happen it will be important to look at them through the lens of the true goal - to EXTEND the war in Syria.

    For us, a low level, conventional war in Syria is a good thing.  Saudi and Qatari advisors are getting good training and both are showing leadership in the region.  More importantly, Iran and Hezbollah are suffering irreplaceable losses of personnel in the fight that they will ultimately lose.

    Remember, the outcome is not in doubt.  Assad and the regime will lose...we will make sure of that.  But we need the opposition to inflict the defeat the same way the opposition did in Libya.  We want to be on the winning side without being the one to pick a winner and suffer the "Pottery Barn" rule.

    Strikes will happen because we want this to stay conventional.  We will send a message that killing is ok, killing with chemicals is not.  This conflict has another 2 years minimum and we want it to play all 9 innings, not get called early.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:55:29 PM PDT

    •  Weird perspective (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilderness voice, Hatrax

      How does weakening Assad "extend" the conflict? If anything, it will shorten it, by making it easier for the confused jihadists to seize Damascus by the end of the year.

      Even if that was the perspective, another 2 years of low-intensity civil war would just bolster Russian arms sales. Iran is not losing sleep on it, because they clearly have entrances with the jihadists as well as historically-opportunistic ones with the Assad regime. Hezbollah might be slightly weakened overall, but their Lebanon strongholds will be unaffected, and again they'll quickly find common ground with an islamist regime.

      And when Assad is taken out, then what? Iraq, Lybia, Tunisia and Egypt failed spectacularly at producing US-friendly regimes. Iraq is not even allowing airspace to be used for this operation, which is quite shocking, frankly. The US will have done Iran's dirty work, yet again, by taking out another nationalistic competitor for local power and replacing it with a more Islamist potential long-term ally. Where we had a manageable, containable and reliable foe, we'll have a messy, fragile pseudo-ally with porous borders. To defend Israel is one thing; to create a lawless wasteland around it, is quite another.

      •  Odd criticism (0+ / 0-)
        Iraq, Lybia (sic), Tunisia, and Egypt failed spectacularly at producing US-friendly regimes.
        And if they had produced US-friendly regimes, you'd be denouncing them as puppet states.

        "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

        by sagesource on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 08:06:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Me? (0+ / 0-)

          No, I'm a realist, I'd have considered it as mission accomplished.

          As an European, my priority is to ostracise and impoverish the armed crazies, so that we don't go back to the '70s/'80s, when Palestinians and Hezbollah were wheeling and dealing through my own continent and shit was blowing up everywhere. For that, I'd like to see Arab regimes that don't finance or legitimise the crazies in any way, and promote westernized societies that can flourish, like pre-Erdogan Turkey.

          Instead, the risk is that these "demo-islamic" states we're currently producing will, in fact, end up being little Pakistans. I'm sorry for my Egyptian friends, but I'd rather have Mubarak back than letting religious parties run that country; and I'd rather have a nationalistic known-entity running Syria rather than an unknown bunch of Wahabists or what-they-have.

          Arab countries are welcome to transition away from dictatorships once they figure out the whole church/state separation thing, but until then, egoistically speaking, I'm not sure they can be trusted to run the show on their own.

  •  I doubt we will get advance notice of any kind ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator Keyfitz

    ... of strike, unless possibly as a very short term ultimatum to Assad.

    This next move won't be taking sides as such (although the brutality of the regime will be mentioned), I think. Rather, it will be imposing a penalty for using chemical weapons.  It will be premised on a great cause of deterrence, for whatever that might be worth in the future. We can be sure it will have support from a wide array of nations ... and not bottomed on any direct interests of America.

    To do nothing in the face of the demonstrated evil of the use of chemical weapons is not an option for a civilized nation.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:59:51 PM PDT

  •  The President needs to consult with Congress (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal, 3goldens, Johnny Q, andalusi

    He really does, before he goes forward with anything like this, especially since such a strike would be wildly unpopular with the American people.  He needs the support to the legislature.

    He should consult Congress because it's the right thing to do, and if you want to be cynical he should consult Congress because it gives him political cover to do so, and puts his critics...and supporters, on record, and put their money where their mouth is.

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:00:12 PM PDT

  •  God Forbid (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, atana, Carol in San Antonio

    another war.

  •  I'm convinced that this is going to happen before (0+ / 0-)

    the end of the week.  I'm equally convinced that there will be some sort of retaliatory action that will have far more impact that is being accounted for.

  •  There has never been . . . . (0+ / 0-)

    There has never been a good war, or a bad peace.  

    I understand that a something must be done beyond what has previously been attempted (sanctions, etc).  Let's show the world the proper way of doing these things and be done with it.  Take out the leaders and some major installations, and then see if the citizens can finish the job.   Just don't do this like a Texan (all talk and bluster, no actual design).

    Republicans - they measure our national success by corporate profit margin, not the well being of the citizens.

    by egarratt on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:04:11 PM PDT

  •  Mixed feelings here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Do not like foreign entanglements generally.  The MIC, yadda yadda.  OTOH, some of my fellow human beings were reportedly snuffed out in their beds by chemicals, and... I don't know, is that different than machetes?  Is it because it reminds one of Nazi methods?  There are no good answers here, just the least evil one.  I guess I would support something.

    You come at the king, you best not miss. -- Omar Little

    by Gator Keyfitz on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:06:47 PM PDT

    •  Worst gas attacked supported by USA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran

      The U.S. knew Hussein was launching some of the worst chemical attacks in history -- and still gave him a hand.


      Maybe we should get out the gas business in total and try non-violent means...

      •  If it matters to you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        artmartin, Mindful Nature

        I thought that was pretty terrible too.  And I think Saddam Hussein finding himself at the end of a rope was something like justice.

        Where is the irony in my statement?  Are no Americans permitted to take umbrage at the use of chemical weapons anywhere because of that?  Are we similarly compelled to turn a blind eye to the use of nukes because of Hiroshima?  I'm not really sure what your argument actually is.  

        You come at the king, you best not miss. -- Omar Little

        by Gator Keyfitz on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:43:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Has American morality changed since the A-bombs? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gator Keyfitz

          Since WWII the US has engaged in or abetted the mass slaughter of people in Asia and the Middle East.  Was the Saddam support a one time incident and then we as a nation vowed never again, except until now when the solution to peace is once again to bomb people?

          Yes, there are Americans who are morally repulsed by the use of chemical weapons as many of our immigrant ancestors were subjected to utter mayhem and memories still linger.

          I guess my point is that this  it is a pattern too often.  Why is our national outrage always expressed through a bomb?

          Also, just a side note, I think the US maybe played.  Sorry will have to find the link, but some chemical warfare experts, well, not employed in the field any more expressed some doubt about the attack.  Among the details is how the caretakers were not effected.  It appears that those in close in proximity of victims can themselves become victims--this is typical, not untypical--yet nothing like that was reported.  Other stuff like given the extent of the attack to cause such carnage, the proof cannot be bombed away as some were claiming.

      •  And the people of Syria did try non-violent means (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        first.  And they were shot down in the street.  Or seized and tortured and executed.  Like I said, there is only a least evil course of action.  Violence is awful, agreed.  

        You come at the king, you best not miss. -- Omar Little

        by Gator Keyfitz on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:46:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  When we see The Fast Food Trucks at the Pentagon (0+ / 0-)

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:10:30 PM PDT

  •  Yo. Rox folks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, Johnny Q

    What say you now?

    FYI, not on either team.  Just against War, intervention in the ME and the control of our MIC overlords.

    No War.

    No Bombs.

    No Surgical Strikes.

    Just no.

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:15:55 PM PDT

  •  Rebels fighting amongst themselves, Russia (3+ / 0-)

    gnashing its teeth, and our congress is chomping at the bit to toss missiles into Syria.

    What a screwed-up mess. If only I had the assurance that reason will prevail and diplomacy will trump bellicosity, but I don't. It looks like another costly, humanity-wrecking holocaust about to be visited on many innocent and perhaps a few not-so-innocent Syrians.

    This is very, very bad business, and I'm hammering my congressmen to do the right thing and seek a diplomatic resolution.

    Of course, I'm no megabucks contributor to any campaign, but I do pound lots of pavement for them. Meanwhile, I'm hoping reason will reign and Obama will do the right thing, which is no attack on Syria.

    Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government. ~ Edward Bernays

    by 4Freedom on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:18:30 PM PDT

  •  Congress needs to vote on a possible Syrian (0+ / 0-)

    Intervention. Enough is enough of Presidents just ignoring the Congress when it comes to matters of military intervention. And frankly what will be the end game of a strike on Syria? Both sides in the conflict have blood on their hands.

  •  "...fewer than 50 sites" Say what? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The US may only bomb fewer than 50 sites.  Sounds like regime change to me.  

  •  Why would it be called off? (5+ / 0-)

    Rubes love war because it means profits for Raytheon.  Dems love war because it proves how "tough" and "pragmatic" they are.  The media loves war because it jacks up viewership and ratings.  Military love war because it means faster promotions (i.e., raises).  Those of us who oppose war are routinely marginalized and demonized.   Got any guesses what the demonization du jour will be?

    Clap On, Clap Off, The Clapper!

    by ActivistGuy on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:23:06 PM PDT

  •  plenty to go around in DK (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Then, too, it's important to be alert against confirmation bias, rejecting reports that don't match our views and accepting what does regardless of how well or badly supported those reports are. Confirmation bias is one reason millions of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11 attacks.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:24:00 PM PDT

  •  Oh great another war! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Johnny Q

    So we wind down two wars and start another.  This crap never changes.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:24:42 PM PDT

    •  No, not a war. A few days of launching (0+ / 0-)

      cruise missiles and drones is not a "war". They are going to have this wrapped up by Sept. 5, absolutely.

      •  And suppose Syria retaliates (0+ / 0-)

        OR we hit Russian military forces that are in Syria?  Then we have an escalation and a real war on our hands.

        I say enough of this stuff.  Enough of these wars.

        "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

        by noofsh on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 07:47:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A big crime is about to happen (5+ / 0-)

    Bombing Syria will result in unnecessary civilian deaths and will further destroy that country.   I dont know if Obama has the power to stop that crime, but he should try.   As president of the US he should refuse to give that order.  

    •  If Obama makes the decision to bomb, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      it won't be because he "couldn't stop it". It will be because he disagrees with you, and thinks it is the right thing to do.

      •  Nope..,,it has become obvious that he does (0+ / 0-)

        not want to bomb.   Bombing Syria is probably more insane than the invasion of Iraq.  He is just not in a position to stop it.

      •  Why is it the right thing to do? (0+ / 0-)

        Seems to me that we couldn't care less when Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iran.  I don't recall any US outrage at all.  So you can't say that we react to all uses of chemical weapons.  We also don't react to all attacks on civilians.  No one cared about Rwanda until thousands died and it was essentially too late.

        Nope I think Obama is wrong.

        "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

        by noofsh on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 07:50:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fallows and Spinney: huge mistake (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, 3goldens, chuckvw

    James Fallows short version and medium-sized version, and the original, on why Kosovo is a good parallel and should teach us what a bad idea this is.

    But I think Fred Kaplan in Slate, also quoted by JF ("polemical but accurate"), nails it:

    Coercive diplomacy assumes that carefully calibrated doses of punishment will persuade any adversary, whether an individual  terrorist or a national government, to act in a way that we would define as acceptable.

    Limited precision bombardment assumes we can administer those doses precisely on selected “high-value” targets using guided weapons, fired from a safe distance, with no friendly casualties, and little unintended damage.

    This marriage of pop psychology and bombing lionizes war on the cheap, and it increases our country’s addiction to strategically counterproductive drive-by shootings with cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs.

    Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?

    by UncleDavid on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:33:27 PM PDT

  •  It's not up to the US to respond unilaterally. (3+ / 0-)

    Whatsoever response is appropriate should be decided at the UN, not in the Oval Office.

  •  can someone explain to me how bombing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q, chuckvw

    Syria is supposed to deter Assad from using chemical weapons (if indeed it is the Syrian government that has been using them)?

    Has there ever been a chemical weapons program in history that has been halted simply by bombing the nation that was running it?

    Would an attack not, in fact, serve to motivate the nation to speed up the development of WMD rather than stop it?

    Arms control is not achieved by purely military means; it requires diplomacy and international support. Yet it appears that the administration believes that by attacking Syria on their own, they can either stop Syria from using CW and/or make a cautionary example of Syria for other nations considering using CW.

    Quite aside from the illegal and unilateral nature of this attack, this is the glaring flaw in the administration's logic.

    The administration has explained nothing of its thinking regarding the aftermath of the attack, nor have they explained how they think it will achieve their stated goal of preventing the proliferation of CW.

    All they're saying is 1) We're almost sure Assad used CW and 2) that means we need to prepare to use force. That's the best they can do by way of justifying themselves.

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

    by limpidglass on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:54:21 PM PDT

  •  I have to share this gem. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    From a link from a link:

    Part of what seems to rankle Obama’s critics is the sense that he is reducing the country’s commitments to suit what he regards as its reduced stature. “I think he believes that America’s touch sullies other lands, and particularly lands in the Third World,” Fouad Ajami, a Middle East scholar who has written bitterly about Obama’s reticence in Syria, told me. “There is a mistaken impression of Obama among many people that he is an idealist; they miss the realism at the core of his foreign policy.’’ He added, “Bush believed that freedom is a human calling. Obama doesn’t believe that.”
    Regardless of your current feelings about President Obama, you got to admit, that's some funny shit right there.

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:57:10 PM PDT

  •  lol... (0+ / 0-)

    That's not graffiti - that's street art! ;)

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:05:43 PM PDT

  •  Haven't we seen this movie before? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, Johnny Q

    Bet I can tell how it will end!

    "I come close to despair because so many of the pieces of the country are broken, and when you see that, you have two choices: You can give up, or you can do something about it." Elizabeth Warren

    by Ed in Montana on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:07:10 PM PDT

  •  link to the target list (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:12:17 PM PDT

    •  Thank you for these maps! n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

      by KayCeSF on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:23:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting article under the first map (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      about what Chris Harmer of the Institute for the Study of War thinks.

      I find myself grabbing everything I can to inform myself.

      Thanks again.  

      I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

      by KayCeSF on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:31:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gen. Wesley K. Clark's remarks about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sybil Liberty

    military intervention:


    Clark said if the mission in Syria is to prevent the Assad regime from using chemical weapons there are two ways to do it: One is destroying the weapons, which is risky because an explosion can spread toxic elements. The other is to punish the Assad regime by "taking something valuable" by hitting communications infrastructure, intelligence, air defenses or radars.

    "The thing is there is no assurance that the punishment will necessarily prevent him from using chemical weapons," said Clark. "Again, it may, it may not."

    Clark said that going into Kosovo, politicians said they expected a short mission. But Clark knew that it was more than likely an "indeterminate" mission.

    "Had I said that, it would have acted to dissuade NATO's determination," Clark said. What's more, "they didn't want to hear it."

    "When you start something like this you have to be prepared for an indeterminate length if you have a political objective," Clark said.

    However, if the objective is punishment, it can be over quickly with a few missile strikes.

    In Full:

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:14:35 PM PDT

    •  punishment seems like a stupid goal (0+ / 0-)

      Really how does it deter someone like Assad?  He is likely to get even more aggressive.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

      by noofsh on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 07:52:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent compilation here MB (3+ / 0-)

    Thank you. Hope and urge you to continue this as this story plays out.

    One more from McClatchy -2 days ago but has interesting background for those wondering. I highlighted a piece about chemical weapons inspection.

    Hannah Allam, James Rosen, and Jonathan Landay

    Chemical weapons policy expert Jean Pascal Zanders warned that any legitimate investigation would not be quick and should be entirely private until finished.

    He noted that beyond getting experts on the ground, investigators would have to collect samples from soil, ammunition fragments and even from victims. After collection, the samples would have to be transported and studied in certified laboratories in three different nations.

    In considering the nature of the Syrian attacks, he wrote on his website, The Trench, which is dedicated to chemical weapons studies, the investigation could be slow.

    “The exact nature of the agent or agents is impossible to determine from the pictures or film footage,” Zanders wrote.

    If confirmed, the Aug. 21 attack in Ghouta would be the biggest chemical weapons incident so far. The administration previously had assessed that the regime had used such arms only on a much smaller scale, and did not respond forcefully.

    Read more here:

    Government of, for, and by the wealthy corporate political ruling class elites. We are the 99%-OWS.

    by emal on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:26:53 PM PDT

  •  UN inspections + rebels' AQ links (4+ / 0-)

    Shouldn't PBO wait at least until UN inspectors come back with their report on the Aug 21 incident? And why is he eagerly aiding and assisting AQ-affiliated groups, previously with arms and now with these apparently imminent strikes?

    These are two key questions that public has a right to know the answers to. Therefore, members of congress and the press need to be asking them emphatically.

    It is important to note that in the previous chemical warfare incidents (since it goes to the question of whether rebels have the capability to launch chemical attacks), UN official Carla Del Ponte said that evidence pointed to the rebels having used risin:

    6 May 2013

    UN's Del Ponte says evidence Syria rebels 'used sarin'

    UN's Carla Del Ponte says there is evidence rebels 'may have used sarin' in Syria
    UN officials insist inquiry 'has not reached conclusive findings'
    Independent, UK

    Our public sphere isn't functioning as it is supposed to. We need some people like Hans Blix in this country:
    Hans Blix: Whether Obama in Syria or Bush in Iraq, The US Is Not the World Police
    Posted: 08/26/2013 6:16 pm

    Nathan Gardels: Based on your experience, and what you've seen in recent days, do you believe the verdict of the Western intelligence agencies that Assad used chemical weapons is credible and reliable?

    Hans Blix: The indications are certainly in the direction of the use of chemical weapons. Also, the circumstantial evidence points to the Assad regime carrying out the use of such weapons.

    However, since the Western powers have asked for United Nations inspections -- and Syria has accepted and inspectors have been put in the field -- we all should wait to see the report of the inspectors before action is taken.

    As we've seen before, the political dynamics are running ahead of due process.

    Gardels: An echo of Iraq under President Bush?

    Blix: In a way, yes. Then, too, the Americans and their allies asked for inspections for mass destruction weapons. Then, too, they said, "forget it, we have enough evidence on our own to act. We are the world police. Our publics are demanding immediate action!"

    I do not go along with the statement by the U.S. that "it is too late" for Syria now to cooperate. That is a poor excuse for taking military action.

    Only last March, the West was satisfied with inspections concerning the use of chemical weapons. Why can't they wait again now? In one month when you have accurate tissue samples we will know for sure exactly which kind of chemical weapons have been used and who possesses such weapons.
    (more at the link)

    I'd recommend including this interview of Dr. Blix in your diary, Meteor Blades.
  •  Possible Target: (0+ / 0-)

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    by Bisbonian on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:32:04 PM PDT

  •  Collateral damage... I just hope (0+ / 0-)

    that whatever "strike" gets made does not end up hitting a bunch of civilians, women, children and other people who can't get out of the way fast enough.  

    "The press just doesn’t know how to handle flat-out untruths," ~Paul Krugman

    by Nimbus on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:34:35 PM PDT

    •  Assad will claim so, regardless of facts (0+ / 0-)

      For Assad this is an existential war. He had zero benefit from holding back on disinformation and propaganda.

      Just as Gadhafi claimed that a child was killed in US bombing of his remote residence - that was later proven to be false.

      Therefore, Assad will make the claim of civilian deaths caused by the US whether there is one or thousands.

      And the Rebel groups will also pursue the same strategy.

      And millions across the Middle East will blame the US.

      And emotions and hatred will grow.

  •  Once upon a time Jimmy Carter was brave enough (0+ / 0-)

    Not to attack, except for that bloodless fiasco where the mission equipment failed in the winds of sand. And those hostages came home free and still alive when Reagan was inaugurated. Enough people, regular non combatant people, are already dead, or maimed, terrified, homeless, exiled, ruined, starving. We do anything, it better improve innocents' lives. It can't be for any other reason or result.
    And the aftermath figured out carefully, unlike some previous  despicabilities.

    Don Benedetto was murdered.-IgnazioSilone(BreadAndWine)

    by renzo capetti on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 07:04:12 PM PDT

  •  Once again, CW are a PRETEXT for war (0+ / 0-)

    There's no reason why the use of CW to kill civilians should prompt action when no action was taken when civilians were killed by other means.

    The US itself kills civilians and children with drone strikes and turns a blind eye to the murder of civilians in other parts of the world.

    The US has a history of ignoring use of CW in some situations and even using CW itself in Iraq in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

    The US position is hypocritical. It's also potentially catastrophic. The proposed strike has enormous capability for unintended consequences once shells begin flying from multiple sources into an area where hostile nations are clustered closely together. Unintended consequences that could expand the attack into a far larger conflagration.

  •  Glorious history of US bombing campaigns (0+ / 0-)
  •  Arab League apparently not supporting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    military strike:

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 08:20:01 PM PDT

  •  That is because it is already happening (0+ / 0-)

    Just not getting reported.  You and I both know that.
    early strikes to begin as early as Thursday.. no backing down and I bet you 10 to one covert boots on the ground already.  Always have been.  Teams were all over the minute that Destroyer pulled up just offshore from the
    Re lIne zone... It is already  happening,

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 08:25:29 PM PDT

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