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A man walks in front of a burning building after a Syrian Air force air strike in Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus in this January 27, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
I've already noted that I don't care about whether government forces used chemical weapons or not. Bashar al-Assad is a monster who has massacred hundreds of thousands of his own people.

I am persuaded by those who call for intervention to try and stop this mass-murderer.

But I am even more persuaded by those who oppose such intervention.

1. We are overstretched.

I would be very sympathetic to engaging, much like we did over Serbia in the 90s and Libya last year, if we weren't coming off a decade of perpetual war, at a cost of over a trillion dollars and thousands of (our own) lives lost. Humanitarian gestures take the kind of resources that we simply lack at this time.

If America wants to be the world's humanitarian police, it should stop pissing away money, lives, and goodwill on military adventurism. So absent Iraq and Afghanistan, I would be all-in. But we can't erase Bush's legacy. Our men and women in uniform have sacrificed enough.

2. Someone else can step up

Europeans are nervous about an escalated refugee crisis on their doorstep, and they have every reason to be concerned. So while the EU can claim an actual strategic concern, the United States cannot. And given that the EU has a larger GDP than the United States, it has the resources to protect its own interests.

Now obviously the EU is a cauldron of competing interests masquerading as a "union", but their inability to manage their own national interests shouldn't be reason enough for the United States to expend limited resources. If Syria poses a threat to European interests, let Europe handle the situation. It's not our problem.

3. What about the long term?

If Egypt looks bad today, a post-Assad Syria could be infinitely worse, with Islamists seemingly making up the strongest elements of the opposition, a pro-Western secular Syria is a pipe dream. Heck, an anti-Western secular Syria appears out of reach.

Yet no one calling for the bombing of Syria can explain what comes next. Drop a few bombs. Kill a few people. With luck, we may not kill too many innocents. But assuming the most precise of bombing campaigns, where only bad guys and a few Syrian Army barracks get leveled, what then? Until this question can be answered, no intervention can be justified. And it's the lack of an answer to this question that has paralyzed Western governments for so long.

4. And what about the rest of the world?

Syria isn't the only place where people are dying. The billions we will spend killing people with bombs could be better spent in every other corner of the world in development projects. We, as Americans, get outraged when we spend a few billions in humanitarian aid, yet don't have the same visceral opposition to even more billions in military ordinance.

Again, I'd be more inclined to support genuinely humanitarian military action if we were just as eager and quick to provide non-lethal developmental aid.

So there you have it. That's why I can't embrace action when emotionally, my heart cries for us to "do something". Wanting to help is laudable. But Syria isn't the only place where people are dying, and getting involved won't actually change anything except "send a message".

Originally posted to kos on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:43 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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  •  Tip Jar (192+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, LaFeminista, jbsoul, undercovercalico, shaharazade, valadon, Mr MadAsHell, Susan from 29, Shahryar, blueyedace2, MKinTN, Mike S, CenPhx, Tamar, Involuntary Exile, AoT, puzzled, hulibow, Siri, DeadHead, Blue Dream, erratic, Catte Nappe, Brecht, operculum, dance you monster, old wobbly, TheLizardKing, willrob, skepticalcitizen, Jim P, blue aardvark, Kimbeaux, willyr, greenbell, i dunno, CharlesII, mchestnutjr, Loge, The Marti, Lorikeet, Cofcos, Karl Rover, artmartin, SneakySnu, emal, WheninRome, OllieGarkey, mathGuyNTulsa, side pocket, vcmvo2, remembrance, Actbriniel, Kevskos, defluxion10, just another vet, 4kedtongue, inclusiveheart, chira2, Orcas George, gundyj, NYWheeler, 3rock, The Book Bear, InAntalya, Chi, imicon, Knucklehead, greenbird, Jason Hackman, citizenx, Gentle Giant, Teiresias70, Drocedus, sturunner, marina, IrishGreg, Floande, msdrown, dRefractor, ZedMont, Sylv, twigg, my2petpeeves, Armando, chloris creator, sebastianguy99, kravitz, memiller, wild hair, Aunt Pat, dkmich, wozzlecat, newpioneer, wxorknot, Aspe4, here4tehbeer, Kysen, Piren, weneedahero, smiley7, Kasoru, JesseCW, gypsytoo, Railfan, koosah, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, Caneel, Onomastic, rb608, Urban Owl, Elizaveta, LakeSuperior, enemy of the people, aunt blabby, Anne was here, AnnieR, StrayCat, JeffW, Blue Wind, TFinSF, verdeo, earthling1, Evil Genius, louisprandtl, basquebob, cpresley, NonnyO, Joieau, beltane, mdmslle, greenearth, bronte17, HCKAD, McWaffle, enhydra lutris, MBNYC, NevDem, Dodgerdog1, lunachickie, Nespolo, Matt Z, jfromga, mimi, citisven, BYw, vigilant meerkat, 3rdOption, hkorens, scott5js, Superskepticalman, LinSea, Odysseus, VTCC73, Joy of Fishes, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, gof, burlydee, rebel ga, RJH, Brian82, lanshark, sandrad23, Curt Matlock, allenjo, SingerInTheChoir, JVolvo, nzanne, ratcityreprobate, alice kleeman, chuckvw, lady blair, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, MizKit, Pandora, joedemocrat, Dragon5616, BeerNotWar, jasan, historys mysteries, kaliope, janetsal, mayim, myboo, kj in missouri, Sunspots, thomask, worldlotus, This old man, PrahaPartizan, GoGoGoEverton, ModerateJosh
  •  Exactly. Is a consensus coalition being built (43+ / 0-)
    Again, I'd be more inclined to support genuinely humanitarian military action if we were just as eager and quick to provide non-lethal developmental aid.

    So there you have it. That's why I can't embrace action when emotionally, my heart cries for us to "do something". Wanting to help is laudable. But Syria isn't the only place where people are dying, and getting involved won't actually change anything except "send a message".

    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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:47:32 PM PDT

    •  I want to see the Arab League step up (28+ / 0-)

      and take responsibility for its people(s).  They have the money and resources and need to provide some stability in the region.

      We can not and should not be engaged here.  Yes, they refugee situation will become unbearable, but those oil rich nations need to step up and start spending some of their own money for humanitarian purposes.  And try to carve out a solution to this constant draining war over secular and religious factions if that is even possible (which I think isn't)

      •  The House of Saud and the Emir of Kuwait? (4+ / 0-)

        The King of Jordan?

        If they were men of honor and integrity who cared about their people, they would have long ago stepped down.

        1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

        by JesseCW on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:29:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually the current King of Jordan (5+ / 0-)

          is reported to be transitioning to a titular role on the order of the modern "crowned heads of Europe".  I don't know how close that transition is... guess it takes a while to change your whole system of government that you've had for 5 or 6 thousand years.

          I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

          by mojo11 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:37:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, for well over a decade now. He keeps (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            historys mysteries

            dismissing or over-ruling parliaments he doesn't like, and he heavily limits who is allowed to run.

            But he hires awesome PR firms.

            Jordan has not existed for "5 or 6 thousand years".

            1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

            by JesseCW on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:31:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Qatar seems better (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rebel ga

              they are also PR masters, for better or worse, and I don't know the situation there well enough to know how or whether the transition to greater democracy (a course all countries including the US need to navigate, I'd point out) is progressing. Al Jazeera is pretty good, but then one hears good things about Russia Today as well...

        •  They are kept in (5+ / 0-)

          power by the US. We protect them with our 'foreign policy' and military might not to mention the interests of the powerful profiteers with their weapons. The last thing the bUS wants in this region is stability and autonomy. If we were into stabilizing these countries we would not be slaughtering, them stirring the pot with covert and overt spooks from hell, drone bombing them and installing our own strong men monsters.

          These puppets do our bidding and keep the any real democratic or humane government from emerging. Plus as a bonus they do our dirty work and are handy as an outsource for torture and reconditioning. Any opposition or fight from the people who live in these places are called insurgents. The people we kill are either collateral damage or would be terrorists.      

          •  and what story will you have for tomorrow, Shahz? (0+ / 0-)

            Because, it seems to me that Arabs (and other Moslems, Druze, etc.) in the region do not take orders from the White House. They rule and mis-rule themselves. Mossadegh, fell, but there were willing partners in the Shah and his people. Did Saddam take orders from the WH? If only. Does the WH set pumping targets in the House of Saud?

            Those who quote Santayana are condemned to repeat him. Me

            by Mark B on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:25:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Orders from the WH? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              frostbite, JesseCW

              I don't think that's the way it works. Saddam was thick as oily thieves with ex head spook Daddy Bush and Co. until they had a falling out among thieves as they say.

              http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

              Failed alliance

              It is a saga that started with a tacit alliance.

              When George HW Bush was vice-president, Saddam Hussein was still seen as a potential partner thanks to his status as the enemy of America's enemy, Iran.

              It was in 1983 that Donald Rumsfeld was dispatched to Baghdad as a friend of the Reagan administration to shake the hand of Saddam Hussein and offer America's help against the ayatollahs during the Iran Iraq War.

              Alliance finally turned into animosity when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and President Bush cobbled together an international alliance of Western and Arab states to remove him from Kuwait but not from power.

              As for The House of Saud
              http://en.wikipedia.org/...
              House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties is a 2004 book by Craig Unger that explores the relationship between the Saudi Royal Family and the Bush extended political family. Unger asserts that the groundwork for today's terrorist movements and the modern wars that have sprung up about them was unintentionally laid more than 30 years ago with a series of business deals between the ruling Saudis and the powerful Bush family. The Saudis received investments and military protection in exchange for cooperation on lucrative oil deals. The author claims that the result has been a shady alliance between "the world's two most powerful dynasties." Unger writes, "Never before has an American president been so closely tied to a foreign power that harbors and supports our country's mortal enemies."
              Then there is the Shah who we via the CIA installed after they 'felled' democratically elected  Mossadegh. I'm sure he and his Sadat were much believed by his people not.
              1953 Iranian Coup d'etat
               http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              In August 2013 the CIA formally admitted that it was involved in both the planning and the execution of the coup, including the bribing of Iranian politicians, security and army high-ranking officials, as well as pro-coup propaganda. The CIA is quoted acknowledging the coup was carried out "under CIA direction" and "as an act of U.S. foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government.".......

              ..... With a change to more conservative governments in both Britain and the United States, Churchill and the Eisenhower administration decided to overthrow Iran's government though the predecessor Truman administration had opposed a coup. Classified documents show British intelligence officials played a pivotal role in initiating and planning the coup,and that AIOC (now BP) contributed $25,000 towards the expense of bribing officials.  

              An interesting historical note I found about Daddy Bush as CIA head spook under Raygun  .....
               
              In his capacity as DCI, Bush gave national security briefings to Jimmy Carter both as a Presidential candidate and as President-elect, and discussed the possibility of remaining in that position in a Carter administration,
        •  Simplistic re Jordan (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kaliope

          I lived in Jordan as an American expat several years ago. Your statement is simplistic. Middle Eastern governance is still heavily influenced by tribal ethnicity with a heritage of assassination as the means to change government. The present king, Abdullah's, grandfather was assassinated by a rival tribal faction in the early 1950's. His father was victim of an attempted assassination by radical Palestinians in the early 70's. Do you really want a country dominated by a single tribal faction? Aren't we seeing enough of that already? Abdullah is persevering in his father's course to transition to a constitutional monarchy, but the country still has significant numbers of radical Islamists who would disregard democracy altogether. Some of them are in the Parliament, and yes, he does over rule them. He may seem overcautious, but keep in mind, he has already had two assassinations in his heritage. And let's remember, he honors his father's pact with Israel, and does not waste his time indulging in inflammatory rhetoric. You want it differently? I say more power to him. I believe he will continue the transition effort as long as he sees that it is not going to produce a radical Islamist regime that will undo the progress he has been able to make. He has an extremely difficult job, but radical Islamists won't do it better.

          •  He was killed by a Palestinian because he annexed (0+ / 0-)

            the West Bank.

            Not "assassinated by a rival tribal faction".

            You're arguing against (small d) democracy.  You're arguing that Arabs are the one ethnic group on the planet not capable or deserving of self governance.  

            You've given full voice to your support for a stinking torture state in which dissent is punished with electrodes.

            I'm not going to ask why you were in Jordan or who you worked for.  Given your views, the list of probables is short enough that the specifics are irrelevant.

            1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

            by JesseCW on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:39:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  King Hussain died of cancer. Not assassinated. (0+ / 0-)

              By anyone. But there was an attempt on his life.

              Also, King Abdullah has been protecting the now substantial population of Iraqis that our stupid, useless war against Sadam rendered homeless and dislocated by the Shiite-Sunni neighborhood fighting in Iraq and which had to flee to Jordan. We sure haven't taken them in in the U Ass of Eh?...

              In the Middle East, all sides of the equation are uneasy about small-d democracy, which to them looks like one man, one vote, one time, and has been proven so in Egypt with the rise of the recently coup'd-out Muslim Brotherhood.

              •  "He" is Abdullah I in that sentence. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kaliope

                I am amazed by the pro-tyrant, pro-dictator, anti-democracy elements here mostly because they only see Arabs as incapable of self governance.

                There are no other brutal repressive torturing Monarchs who they support.

                "one man, one vote, one time" is the tired old right wing excuse for supporting brutal dictators all over the globe for 50 years during the Cold War.  It's sorry recycled Anti-Communist rhetoric.

                1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

                by JesseCW on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:59:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I stand corrected on the matter of assassination. (0+ / 0-)

                  But I am puzzled as to who you refer to in the above comment.

                  For one thing, I am not pro-tyrant, pro-dictator, anti-democracy. Also, the one man, one vote, one time statement I first heard in a discussion at Ohio State University on the Israeli/Arab conflicts back in the late '60's, uttered by a Saudi student and much applauded by his Arab friends in the audience. It was mostly Arab-attended.

                  •  Yes. I am certain the younger sons of the House (0+ / 0-)

                    of Saud (14,000 strong) agreed wholeheartedly with that sentiment.

                    The bulk of the Saudi people don't even have fourth cousins who get to go study in the US.

                    Pro-Monarchy is, by definition, anti-democracy.  

                    Never, ever ever give rich kids the time of day if you want to know anything at all about the countries they come from.

                    But no matter where you first heard it, you're the one repeating it as an excuse to deny people the right of self-governance today.

                    1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

                    by JesseCW on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 01:15:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  They can use Eric Prince's 3,000 soldier army (0+ / 0-)

          now living in Abu Dhabi.

          Abu Dhabi has spent almost as much as Çhina and India on arms purchases.  The US has sold tons of weapons etc to Saudi Arabia, too.  Surely the UAE  and the House of Saud can handle Assad.

          It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

          by War on Error on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:35:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Me too msdrown (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kaliope, annieli

        I've been waiting for many years to see this happen. Thank you for mentioning it.

        I want to see the Arab League step up and take responsibility for its people(s).  They have the money and resources and need to provide some stability in the region.

        For All Those Affected By Violence In The World
        (from an Irish/Jewish girl. Rabbi's great-granddaughter).


        ☮PEACE☮

        Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

        by rebel ga on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:38:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I also want to see this (0+ / 0-)

        OMG, do I ever.  We have done and done and done and done. I think it is about time to let the people on the other side of the world who wear the dresses most of the time and lounge about do some of the fighting. They end up on the sweet side of their Arabic friends while we end up being the shitheads and the bad guys. And...........one of these days, those bombs are going to be headed over this way across the Atlantic!!

        We do not go to Africa when someone is slaughtering thousands; why go to Syria? Heck, they do not even have oil!! Yes, I DO feel for the people of Syria who are being gassed. I just think that some of the Arab League need to step up and handle Assad....or Putin. Someone from here put an excellent suggestion on here a couple days ago--make Russia responsible for shaming Assad. Make Putin responsible for handling him. Give him a time table. If Putin does nothing within a certain time frame, then Putin has shown that gassing children does not bother him in the least, so we boycott the Olympics and hopefully the rest of the Western Countries follow. This would be mud in Putin's eye. Frankly, I LOVED this idea. I want to be certain to credit this idea--it was by Domestic Elf and I thought it terrific.

    •  consensus coalition is code for let (27+ / 0-)

      the US do it and pay for - but shhh, don't tell.  I agree with all four of Kos' points.   Let somebody else do it.

      I have three politically incorrect, straight, white male, grandchildren; and I don't care if you think they're important or not.

      by dkmich on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:27:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let somebody else do it, we have been the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, MizKit, Sunspots

        global police force long enough, far too long.

        I agree with all of his points also.

        If America wants to be the world's humanitarian police, it should stop pissing away money, lives, and goodwill on military adventurism.

        So absent Iraq and Afghanistan, I would be all-in. But we can't erase Bush's legacy. Our men and women in uniform have sacrificed enough.

        "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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:22:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What message? (6+ / 0-)

      are we sending? The water is so murky with our immoral, inhumane global  geopolitical warfare that any message sent is just another attempt to whitewash the endless war on terra. Who really believes that after twelve years of our endless war on terra with it's carnage of death, destruction and torture and  that this is anything but the next installment in these fucker's geopolitical updated PNAC. Our NWO brought to us by the multinational corps and their enforcers the MIC.

      The surreal part is that they have provided the same lead in plot as the Irag war. None of this is humane, our nation's foreign or domestic policy is no longer humane. How can another US backed killing spree stop or do anything but cause more of the same in a region we have spent forever fucking with both overtly and covertly..

      We have installed, armed and supported worse monsters then this one and still do. If a coalition is building I hope that it sees this once again into the brink for what it is another piece of the criminal geopolitical game the US and it's 'allies' who are strategically aliened with us        

      This isn't even about our national interest or 'safety'. It's  multinational corporate global mayhem and it's all about world dominance, power and profit. If they cared about human life or the planets for that matter they would not be wholesale slaughtering the destroying their countries in the ME under the pathetic guise of 'terrrist's are gonna kill yer family' or the silly and unbelievable regional stability'.

      Maybe we should stop buying into the mindset that says perpetual war is necessary and that look at the fact we are the evil that needs to have an humanitarian intervention. The global game that they are playing in the name of security and 'stability' has set the ME on fire. To wring ones hands at Assad's killing of innocents is hypocritical when our own countries pols, military, corporate contractors and spooks are hell bent on keeping their game of death, misery and destruction afloat and profitable.

                       

    •  Send A Message (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli

      Interesting. Maybe like the one they sent to bin laden? Or like, to gaddafi?

      bin laden sleeps with the fishes. I still love saying that.
      I rec'd and tipped this diary.

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:19:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you have a heart you just want the (87+ / 0-)

    carnage around the world to end no matter what actually causes the pain and death

    I always have a real problem with adding to the carnage as a solution.

    It is a very conflicting situation.

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:48:12 PM PDT

  •  Three points. (42+ / 0-)

    1.

    Bashar al-Assad is a monster who has massacred hundreds of thousands of his own people.
    Not to quibble, but "tens of thousands" is a safer estimate.  Probably the greater half from the present conflict, plus the occasional atrocity beforehand; maybe aproaching 100K.

    2. Nobody has any serious claim to having a right to attack Syria lawfully, as no country is in imminent danger of an attack from Syria and the UN hasn't authorized anything.

    3. Okay, Obama, forget the morality of it all; if you launch a significant attack without effecting regime change, people will revile you as a wimp.  Ask Poppy Bush.  And if that regime change isn't successful, sooner or later people will revile you for that too.  Ask Poppy Bush's dullard child.  

    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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:50:42 PM PDT

    •  I think UN law does allow for interventions (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant, twigg, Onomastic

      in cases of genocide and the like. Rwanda comes to mind, as does Bosnia. But IANAL.

      I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

      by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:15:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You keep saying this (6+ / 0-)

        and you never cite anything.

        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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:18:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Chemical weapons (8+ / 0-)

          have been outlawed, by treaty, since 1925

          Genocide is unlawful under international law, and intervention to prevent genocide is lawful.

          None of that means that intervention is always a good idea.

          In the case of Rwanda, it probably was a very good idea, but we stood by while it happened.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          Who is twigg?

          by twigg on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:24:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Umm, the question was: (6+ / 0-)

            Who is authorized to "intervene"?

            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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:29:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  So what you're saying is: (7+ / 0-)

            Any state X can determine that any state Y is in violation of the CW or genocide conventions, and may take unilateral military action against state Y as it sees fit?

             

            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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:32:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Please read this discussion of legalities (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              twigg, Dragon5616, Jyrki

              BBC

              A range of opinions but most (4 of 6, as I read it) seem to think gross violations of the Geneva Conventions or the "Responsibility to Protect" logic could be used to legally protect a small action.

              The other two bring up the idea of putting the issue to the General Assembly as a way to bypass the Russians.

              I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

              by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:40:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And who has the authority to commit (3+ / 0-)

                military force according to R2P?

                You keep citing opinions, some of them remarkably self-serving, and not law.

                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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:45:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  These people are six lawyers who are (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  newliberl, Dragon5616

                  versed in international law. Since IANAL I defer to those who are.

                  Since you seem to believe you know the right answer I am forced to ask what credentials you present. Are you, in fact, an expert in international law? If you are not, why should anyone care what you say when people who are have weighed in?

                  I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

                  by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:47:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Cite the documents (2+ / 0-)

                    and stop engaging in personal sniping. I know of no internationally recognized law that says that we have the unilateral authority to determine whether a CW crime has been committed and to wage war, again without international sanction, against the perp we've identified.

                    Certainly if this is not the case, and you wish to argue the contrary, you can point to the internationally recognized law that says we can, in fact, do all this.

                    C'mon, prove me wrong. :-)

                    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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:51:34 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  OK (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      newliberl

                      You know nothing. Stop making it my burden to find documents and read them as though I were an expert in international law. That's not my area of expertise. I'll defer to those who have made it their profession, which does not include you.

                      You are not entitled to an opinion on this topic because you know nothing and will not learn from those who do.

                      I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

                      by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:57:10 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  In other words (3+ / 0-)

                        you don't have any actual cites for that which you keep alluding to.

                        Which rather suggests it's nothing more than opinion. Nothing wrong with having one, of course...

                        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                        by lunachickie on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:15:47 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I cite BBC interviews with actual lawyers (0+ / 0-)

                          I am not corvo's personal google bot. I believe the NATO and UN charters may be found via Wikipedia.

                          I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

                          by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:28:36 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I read your lawyers; (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Conservative Socialist

                            curiously, they don't all agree among themselves.

                            Curiously, too, I could've sworn that NATO requires sanction from the UN in order to wage non-self-defensive war on behalf of the international community.   Are we even bothering to take this to the UN?

                            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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:34:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Which is what I said (0+ / 0-)

                            Since IANAL, I am not going to judge among them except to note that the majority did think a response could fall within international law.

                            You keep asking for something that's just not out there - a clear, yes or no answer on an issue of law. As though there is no reason for 9 judges on the Supreme Court.

                            The law is messy. It's always messy. How hard is that to understand?

                            I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

                            by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:37:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Hell, I'm asking you to cite *anything* (0+ / 0-)

                            that's an actual treaty or convention.  We may then argue over how clear it is.  

                            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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:39:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well if you want the law (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Jyrki

                            The UN General Assembly adopted the Right to Protect in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. The Security Council endorsed the WSOD's definition of R2P. Here are some links:
                            UN document on R2P

                            Legal brief on humanitarian intervention in Syria

                            Note: I think reasonable people can disagree about whether we are justified intervening, but at least argument. Even though I oppose intervention, I would be dishonest not to admit an argument could be made under R2P.

                            The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

                            by CenPhx on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:08:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And is it in the spirit of the (0+ / 0-)

                            "messiness" of the law to use it as an opportunity to cause more violence, or as an occasion to behave with the utmost restraint?

                            I guess that depends on whether you think war conventions exist to facilitate war, or to restrict it.

                            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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:43:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think that neither you nor I can read (0+ / 0-)

                            the documents with the depth of understanding that someone with an actual law degree can bring to it.

                            I believe that you are capable of finding the UN Charter and NATO charters without my help.

                            There may be other germane documents, but to know what they are, I'd have to be a lawyer. Which I'm not. Which is why I look to those who are. Which you steadfastly refuse to consider, but you won't use Google yourself, which is pretty damn lazy if you're so interested in the documents.

                            Which you aren't.

                            I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

                            by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:46:29 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'll give you a little hint: (0+ / 0-)

                            I've found them.  I've even read them. :-)

                            And I can't find anything in them that justifies our taking action without UN sanction.  Maybe I'm not looking hard enough?  After all, the UN was founded in order to facilitate our waging whatever wars we wanted to whenever we decided we had justification to do so . . . right?

                            That's why I've been asking you to show me what indicates we can do so.  

                            And what does NATO have to do with any of this?

                            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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:04:58 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Where? (0+ / 0-)

                            When one makes a claim it is up to them to back it up. Particularly when asked.

                            Nobody is asking you to be anyone else's "google bot". You're being asked to cite a reference to something you allude to or claim or dispute or debate.

                            And of course, downthread, you take personal potshots and argue in circles, rather than simply provide a link.

                            Why do you not understand that the more information without citation that you push, the less likely people will be to find your information credible? People are not asking much of you--no more than they ask of anyone else.

                            This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                            by lunachickie on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:56:36 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  I think the legal arguments are in that BBC link (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rbird, blue aardvark, Dragon5616

                      It even cites which provisions of the UN Charter have to be invoked and under what circumstances. I'm not an international law expert, but it looks like a case could be made that intervention was necessary to stop crimes against humanity. But as lawyer I know that generally speaking a reasonable competent lawyer can find a way to make almost any argument fit within the broad strokes of a law, given enough time and sufficient motivation. Case in point: John Yoo.

                      The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

                      by CenPhx on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:04:27 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  sooo... (0+ / 0-)

                        are we following those provisions or not?  Because I could swear we're at least supposed to pretend to try to go to the UN first . . .

                        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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:20:29 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  That's a good question. (0+ / 0-)

                          I read the "3 pillars of R2P" but I can't say I am clear on whether we each get to decide for ourselves whether the standard has been met or not. Maybe I better read it again.

                          The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

                          by CenPhx on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:11:32 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I think I figured it out (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Dragon5616, Jyrki

                            Per those legal docs I cited, optimally military intervention under R2P will be authorized by the Security Council. But sometimes the Security Council will be deadlocked, like on Kosovo, even during ongoing atrocity crimes. Then R2P provides the legal framework for the international community to respond, even without Security Council approval. In that case, so long as all the R2P criteria are met, the military action (which has all kinds of limits) is legal. in other words, yes, the US could tell the world it was operating under r2p.

                            The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

                            by CenPhx on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:22:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  argumentun ad ignorantiam fallacy: (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Knucklehead, blue aardvark
                      C'mon, prove me wrong. :-)

                      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                      by enhydra lutris on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:07:47 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't know which of us (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        enhydra lutris

                        you think you're accusing of the fallacy in question; all I'm asking is that he demonstrate that the legal right he claims exists actually exists.  

                        Granted, I base this on the assumption that international law regards violence between/among states to be illicit unless well-defined conditions are met to render it licit.  I'm asking for the articulation of those conditions.

                        YMMV.

                        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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:32:08 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  No, he's asking for evidence of something (0+ / 0-)

                        Ad ignoratntiam is asserting something, then saying it's true because you can't show it's not. He's saying there's no reason to believe something because there's no evidence, so please provide some. These are very different logical positions.

              •  Addressing irrelevancies is not an answer. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CenPhx

                Is intervention legal is the question asked after determining that there is:
                1.  a compelling national interest in doing so.
                2.  a militarily achievable goal that will bring about the end of stopping the killing.
                3.  a high probability of success.

                Anything less is choosing a solution then justifying, selling, and rationalizing a preferred solution. It is a backwards process that reacts to the emotions of a horrific situation. This is exactly how the Bush neocon cabal got their way in 2001-2.

                Time makes more converts than reason. Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                by VTCC73 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:44:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  can you outline a plausible plan whereby we could (0+ / 0-)

            have achieved that in Rwanda? I mean, one that didn't involve you sending 250,000 Americans there. Unless, of course, you'd be willing to drop whatever you're doing in your life, join the Army, and die to prevent one group of people (you never heard of, say Tutsis) from massacring another group of people you never heard of, say Hutus.

            What plan would you use, please?

            Those who quote Santayana are condemned to repeat him. Me

            by Mark B on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:31:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Chemical weapons (0+ / 0-)

            But we have no believability!!!! WE used chemical weapons in Fallujah in 2003-2004, so how dare we go after Assad for using them now??

            Do as I say, not as I do? When that last bunch was in power they did so many things that I knew we would end up being so very sorry for--prison beatings and murders, Fallujah, nighttime renditions, just awful stuff. How do we know they're not doing those things now?

            Sorry, just asking. I supported Obama twice because I so wanted things to be different and believed they would be, but I hear about the drone program and I just wonder.

        •  CenPhx supplies a link (0+ / 0-)

          I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

          by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:34:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Responsibility to Protect (5+ / 0-)

          I don't believe it is codified, but you can read about it here:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          According to the International Commission for Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) Report in 2001 (which was not adopted by national governments), any form of a military intervention initiated under the premise of responsibility to protect must fulfill the following six criteria in order to be justified as an extraordinary measure of intervention:

              Just Cause
          - Is the threat a "serious and irreparable harm occurring to human beings"?
              Right Intention - Is the main intention of the military action to prevent human suffering or are there other motives?
              Final Resort - Has every other measure besides military invention been taken into account? (This does not mean that every measurement has to be applied and failed, but that there are reasonable grounds to believe that only military action would work in that situation)
              Legitimate Authority
              Proportional Means - Are the minimum necessary military means applied to secure human protection?
              Reasonable Prospect - Is it likely that military action will succeed in protecting human life, and are the consequences of this action sure not to be worse than no action at all?

          •  Key point (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StrayCat, corvo, protectspice
            which was not adopted by national governments

            1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

            by JesseCW on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:38:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I thought after Kosovo (0+ / 0-)

              That the responsibility to protect was codified somehow? I'll see if I can find where I read that...

              The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

              by CenPhx on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:06:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Even if that report (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris

            had the force of international law -- and even your citation admits it does not -- then obviously fail on points 3 and 4, and probably all of them.

            I'm still interested in how we assume "legitimate authority" to launch an attack that is neither self-defense nor authorized by the only international body authorized to make such decisions.

            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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:41:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Legitimate authority (0+ / 0-)

              seems to be the least applicable.

              •  well, it's certainly the most unpleasant (0+ / 0-)

                for those seeking an excuse for war. :-)

                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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:46:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I think the fact is that we're not a world ruled (0+ / 0-)

              by law.  We have laws, we have treaties, but we don't have a way to enforce them unless the Security Council approves, which it never does.  

              So it comes down to the same old power politics...which country's the empire of the moment, who's allied with whom, who's opposing, which ones are willing to act, which ones are willing to follow a lead, etc.

      •  Yes, but it has to be authorized by the UN. (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, twigg, JesseCW, Onomastic, StrayCat, rbird

        Russia and probably China would veto any military action that was brought before the UN. So the only option would be to violate international law and invade.

        The only other justification would be if Turkey used the attacks from within Syria (not necessarily by Assad) as justification to call on NATO (i.e. we used 9/11 and the Taliban's sheltering of Al-Qaeda to justify invoking the mutual defense pact and invading Afghanistan).

        Absent those two things, we would be in violation of international law.

        •  Actually, I don't believe it does (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark, Onomastic, rb608

          have to be sanctioned by the UN.

          There are existing treatys that outlaw the deployment of chemical weapons, although I don't know if the US is a signatory.

          However, there does have to be clear evidence, and getting the UN to agree is always a good idea if at all possible.

          None of this necessarily means that intervention is a good idea, merely that it would be lawful.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          Who is twigg?

          by twigg on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:27:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Since we signed that charter, (9+ / 0-)

            we have two legal way to go to war without violating it.

            1) If we're actually responding to an attack, in which case we still must seek UN approval as soon as practicable

            2) With UN approval

            The only remotely grey area is acting in defense of an ally who has been attacked.

            However, the only way to meaningfully sanction a country for violating the Charter is - you guessed it - to get a resolution through the Security Council.  And it's not like we're going to let that happen.

            1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

            by JesseCW on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:37:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think this is right (0+ / 0-)

              Did you see my response elsewhere in the thread (it's a mess at this point)?

              The international community can move forward with limited military action under the R2P, when the Security Council is deadlocked but there are ongoing atrocities.

              The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

              by CenPhx on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:28:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  And the bitch of it is, (6+ / 0-)

            After Bush/Cheney sent Colin Powell to do his dog-and-pony show in front of the UN that turned out to be unadulterated horse shit, what credibility does the US have there in presenting "evidence" of WMD?  

            You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

            by rb608 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:38:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The US won't be presenting the evidence (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rb608

              The UN Weapons Inspectors will.

              The US and the British may submit supplementary evidence as to "who deployed", but I am listening to the UK debate right now, and it doesn't seem like they have much.

              I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
              but I fear we will remain Democrats.

              Who is twigg?

              by twigg on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:48:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  But to my knowledge the UN team is only (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CenPhx

                trying to figure out if the weapons were used, not who used them. Is that incorrect?

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:38:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  nor does it seem that US does either (0+ / 0-)
                But with the botched intelligence about Iraq still casting a long shadow over decisions about waging war in the Middle East, the White House faces an American public deeply skeptical about being drawn into the Syrian conflict and a growing chorus of lawmakers from both parties angry about the prospect of an American president once again going to war without Congressional consultation or approval.

                American officials said Wednesday there was no “smoking gun” that directly links President Bashar al-Assad to the attack, and they tried to lower expectations about the public intelligence presentation. They said it will not contain specific electronic intercepts of communications between Syrian commanders or detailed reporting from spies and sources on the ground.
                http://www.nytimes.com/...

                "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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:30:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  I read an interesting discussion on the legalities (4+ / 0-)

        At the BBC yesterday. FWIW, here's the link

        The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

        by CenPhx on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:23:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Since when in this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Knucklehead, greenbell

        endless war on terra did the US care about or follow any international law.  War crimes are us cause we are at war with anybody anywhere we declare a threat to our interest or 'security'. As long as we have Gitmo and kill lists, and drone bombing and hell holes like Bagram and massacres of civilians we certainly are outside and beyond any universal law and have some nerve citing the UN or any global body that sets the rules of war like the Geneva Conventions. The Law does not apply to US foreign/military policy we are too big and dangerous to reign in.  

    •  The numbers according to the pro-opposition SOHR (13+ / 0-)
      The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented 106,423 casualties since the beginning of the uprisings in 18/3/2011, from the first casualty in Dera'a, up till 9/08/2013.

      The dead include:

      38,660 civilians (including 5,553 children and 3,607 women).

      15,191 rebel fighters.

      2,106 defected soldiers and officers.

      26,853 regular soldiers.

      2,680 unidentified casualties (documented with pictures and footages).

      3,198 non-Syrian and unidentified rebels (most of whom are non-Syrians).

      17,564 combatants from the Popular Committees, National Defence Forces, Shabiha, and pro regime informers.

      171 fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah.

      The 38,660 civilians include rebel fighters who were included in the civilian count until November, 2012. Some opposition and rebel leaders have said that at least half of this number were rebel fighters, and this civilian count reportedly includes civilians killed by all sides.

      This would mean that:

      about 44,500 Syrian government forces and Hezbolah were killed by the rebels,

      about 20,500 rebels were killed by Syrian government forces or other rebel groups (since November 2012)

      about 20,000 rebels (probably more) were killed by Syrian government forces (before November 2012), and

      about 20,000 civilians (probably less) have been killed.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:33:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The UK claims they can bypass the UN (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat

      with the claim that their legal experts make it so.


      One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. --Carl Jung

      by bronte17 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:57:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  but the addendum to #3 is (0+ / 0-)

      if they use chemical weapons and don't respond, people will way you invite other nations later on to use those weapons as well.

      •  It's not our business (0+ / 0-)

        to "invite" or "not invite" "people" to use chemical weapons.  That's the job of the UN.

        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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 11:45:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is no good possible outcome (46+ / 0-)

    whether we intervene or not, so for me, it is an easy decision to say no intervention. Yes, it is a horrible humanitarian crisis, so let's help with the refugees as much as possible, but that's it.

    I'm just Double Tapped the hell out.

    by pajoly on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:51:30 PM PDT

    •  Would you support bringing the refugees here? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Onomastic, jncca

      Wouldn't that be a true measure of our support for the refugees?

      I wouldn't be opposed to bring as many as we could here and perhaps letting some of them stay. I think that is a better humanitarian gesture than letting them fester in refugee camps.

      The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

      by sebastianguy99 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:28:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would support bringing SOME refugees here (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StrayCat, earthling1, AoT, VTCC73, janetsal

        It may not be PC, but I'd prefer the refugees that are supportive of a secular civil government, like the Druze or Christians. In fact, I'd be happy to make a trade: we can send over our Christian Fundamentalists for their science-supporting moderates. I mean, our fundies are so eager for Armageddon...

        I'm just Double Tapped the hell out.

        by pajoly on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:35:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ...when I say some (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StrayCat, rbird, VTCC73

          I think we can absorb many thousands.

          I'm just Double Tapped the hell out.

          by pajoly on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:39:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If our position is to watch the refugee population (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StrayCat

            ...grow, then we should see more people arguing to bring them here. Sending money and food counts, but is hardly sufficient when a conflict is going to be continuing for years.

            Then again, there are refugees from other conflicts around the world so why should we care more about the ones from Syria? If nonintervention is the best course, then why provide assistance only to these refugees? Even moreso, why isn't providing humanitarian aid seen as intervening and why support aid here and not insist on it elsewhere?

            Wouldn't be more morally consistent to just say the heck with them as we do in most other refugee situations?

            The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

            by sebastianguy99 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:52:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  While all of this is true, there ought to be (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sebastianguy99

              a set of solutions that allow people to live securely where they grew up if they want to do so.  Concentrations of like minded people on a large scale, whatever their beliefs are, is a recipe for terror and violence.

              Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

              by StrayCat on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:02:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  It'd be a calculated decision (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sebastianguy99

              The real world requires gray don't you think? It sounds nice to say we should care about all refugees equally, but choices have to be made. As much as we'd like, morality alone is not sufficient. Countries make selective immigration choices all the time; we already do.

              In any event, we do have a history of taking in refugees. I mean, it's pretty much our collective bond.

              I'm just Double Tapped the hell out.

              by pajoly on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:09:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I think we should open our borders to them (0+ / 0-)

              We should allow in anyone who is potentially subject to a chemical attack in their own country.

              Wouldn't be more morally consistent to just say the heck with them as we do in most other refugee situations?
              Well, yeah. But we can stop being an asshole if we want.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:31:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  this is about where I am. (27+ / 0-)

    Especially part 2. The EU wants to be a world power. This is their time to shine, if they want to.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

    by terrypinder on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:53:30 PM PDT

  •  Question... (16+ / 0-)

    Several times in recent history America could or did make a difference. Or didn't.

    Libya

    Egypt

    Mali

    Rwanda

    Bosnia

    Kosovo

    ...Syria

    Where were we JUSTIFIED to intervene (whether we did or not) and where were we not justified and why.

    I look at Syria and I honestly think of Libya and Bosnia and Rwanda and find it hard not to support intervention. Then again I start thinking about our support of the Afghan Islamists against the Soviets and my conviction that those Islamists would turn against us some day...which of course happened.

    I would love someone with more knowledge than I have to analyze the various hot spots where we have and have not intervened (the ones I outline above...we all know Iraq was a sham) and put Syria into perspective.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. NYC's Progressive/Reform Blog

    by mole333 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:53:44 PM PDT

    •  Syria is a different geopolitical reality entirely (12+ / 0-)

      There is no greater intersection of factionalism in all its flavors mated to strategic geolocation than Syria.

      I'm just Double Tapped the hell out.

      by pajoly on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:00:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm certainly no expert, but with Rwanda (11+ / 0-)

      the killing was widespread and was done with handheld weapons - no targets to bomb from afar.  Also, Rwanda is far from the ocean for ships to be as useful as in the other countries.  Troops would likely have been necessary with the risk for casualties.

      Also, after the Somalia disaster (Black Hawk Down), the administration was reluctant to get involved in Africa.

    •  Look a bit closer at Libya for starters. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, StrayCat, Involuntary Exile

      http://www.google.com/...

      Troubles in Mali today are a direct spill-over from the Libyan multi-directional civil war. It is nowhere near resolution.


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

      by Jim P on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:24:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mali (0+ / 0-)

        Yes...Mali was spill over...but intervention from France seems to have helped. Which is why I included it.

        Intervention is never a simple thing but it isn't always a bad thing. I am trying to tease out what legally, morally and practically can be effective intervention vs. what is unjustified or useless/counterproductive intervention.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. NYC's Progressive/Reform Blog

        by mole333 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:52:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  For those who think bombing the snot out of Serbia (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608, JesseCW, mdmslle, StrayCat, BYw, AoT, Euroliberal

      was a good idea, you should try traveling in the region. You might be surprised to find that what the US managed to do was promote ethnic cleansing, not prevent it, and to significantly weaken a potentially strong ally in a critical region. You might also be surprised to find that the Balkans now constitute a threat to Europe in the form of home grown Islamist radicals capable of blending in seamlessly with the European population, just like the Tsarnaev brothers. Unlike migrants from Turkey, the Arab countries, African countries, or Asians they can't be profiled based on external superficialities because they look exactly like everyone else, they speak the same languages as everyone around them, and they sound like Europeans because they are. Like the Tsarnaev brothers, they are capable of wreaking havoc in lone wolf operations. Law of unintended consequences very much in action.

      The embers of war were never extinguished. If NATO ever pulls out, the Balkans will explode. The radical Islamists will not rest until the caliphate is restored or they are dead, which ever comes first.

      "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

      by Involuntary Exile on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:31:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting... (0+ / 0-)

        I have many Russian friends who have given me their side of this issue...and I still feel that the civil war would have gotten worse and worse without our intervention. I think at least in the short to middle term we did a good thing compared with not getting involved.

        But I am not sure about that and your view that if everyone but the locals pulled away we would see a return to the civil war could well be true. I do NOT think it is a hot bed of Islamic extremism. THere are plenty of Muslims there but rarely have they been extremists. I do not agree with you there. ALbania also has a strong Muslim population. Overall the Bosnians and Albanians are more or less like the Turks...Muslims who look to Europe and not to Iran or Saudi Arabia for their inspiration.

        BUT, you might be right that American and EU influence are all that is keeping the Balkans stable. I don't know that and it seems to me that things are not that unstable, but I know the history of the area and know you could be right (paranoia about Muslims aside).

        To me Saudi Arabia (our so-called ally) is much more of a danger than any Balkan Muslim group. But the Balkans could still be an unstable place for other reasons.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. NYC's Progressive/Reform Blog

        by mole333 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:38:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  To understand the civil war in former Yugoslavia (0+ / 0-)

          you have to understand which side each group was on in World War II and how Tito cobbled Yugoslavia together at the war's end. Actually, you probably have to go back further than that to the Corfu Declaration of 1917 and the creation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Creation of a united Yugoslavia was the culmination of both the pan-Slavic and Serb nationalist movements which were born from the frustration of living through the tyranny of a five hundred year occupation by Ottoman Turks while being treated like a political football and expendable buffer zone by the Habsburgs.

          Not everyone, however, wanted a unified Yugoslavia, and chief among those who didn't were the Slav converts to Islam. The Muslim Slavs did quite well under the Ottomans. They did considerably less well under Christian rulers. It was in their interest to remain under the Ottoman Caliphate, but they were a minority and in the end could not prevent independence from the Turks or the creation of a unified Yugoslavia. However, they never gave up their dream of Muslims reestablishing political and economic dominance over their Christian neighbors.

          I disagree entirely that the southern Balkans are not a hotbed of Muslim extremism, but I suppose it depends on your definition of extremism. To me, murdering Orthodox priests and monks who because of their vows cannot defend themselves, then tearing down their churches stone by stone and throwing the stones into the mountain gorges so they can never be rebuilt is pretty extreme. Murdering old people in their beds is pretty extreme. Using terror to drive Christians out of their homes and from the region is extreme. All these things were done and will be done again if NATO leaves.

          There are religious fundamentalists in Iran. There are religious fundamentalists in Turkey. There are religious fundamentalists in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Albania. It's just a matter numbers. Turkey is more secular than Iran, and Kosovo is more secular than Turkey. But all you need is a small cell of radicals to topple a skyscraper. The US knows full well that radical cells are scattered over the region. That's why NATO has no plans of leaving any time soon.

          "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

          by Involuntary Exile on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 01:16:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We did intervened in Rwanda. We funded (5+ / 0-)

      a counter-terror that saw tens of thousands butchered and shrugged and said "eh, at least it's not millions".

      But then we kept on funding groups like m23 until just a couple months ago, pouring fuel on a massive war that raged for a decade and a half throughout the Congo basin and which saw millions killed.

      So, there's that.

      It would be interesting to hear how your game plan for "intervention" in Egypt would play out.

      1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

      by JesseCW on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:43:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You assume... (0+ / 0-)

        You assume I have a game plan for Egypt. I included it largely because it is a pretty clear case for not intervening.

        I am not aware of anything we actively did that supported the genocide in Rwanda. Do you have supporting evidence? I am not doubting, I just would like to see the basis of your claim. The main criticism I have heard over and over is that we did nothing.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. NYC's Progressive/Reform Blog

        by mole333 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:20:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We didn't support the genocide of the Tutsi. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CenPhx

          We have supported some pretty nasty shit committed by Rwanda's forces since then, including running cover at the UN .

          The First Congo War was launched by Rwanda with US backing in 1996.  It was intended to remove Mobutu, who was a horrific dictator the United States helped rise to power during the Cold War, and to "deal with" a couple million Hutu who had fled Rwanda after the end of the Rwanda civil war.

          Some of those Hutu were genocidal maniacs who were raiding across the border as well as killing hundreds of ethnic Tutsi inside Zaire/Congo each month.

          Mobutu once asked his troops why they needed rations when they had guns and the people had food.  When I say he was a monster...and in 1995 he ordered that all Rwandans be expelled.

          But that doesn't change what resulted from the war that was launched.

          Rwandan Army forces entered the Congo and systematically dismantled refugee camps.  They slaughtered civilians when Hutu militias fled.  They installed a hated puppet government in place of Mobutu, opposition to which would be the driving cause of the Second Congo War.

          Our "solutions" wound up costing millions of lives. They let to over a decade of war.  They are one of the primary reasons I oppose these Clintonian games as much as I did Bush's invasions.

          This is a really good place to start -

          http://congojustice.org/...

          1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

          by JesseCW on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:04:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            I know we have done MANY wrong moves...I was not aware of the background on this particular one. Sounds like that was another case of two bad choices?

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. NYC's Progressive/Reform Blog

            by mole333 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:08:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think it's more (yet another) case of how easily (0+ / 0-)

              "lesser evils" can become "greater evils".

              Oh, these guys are less genocidal than the other group, so we help them out.  Once they gain power, though, they get down to wholesale killing.

              So, we've got to decide - do we admit we fucked up?  Or do we keep going?

              It's not human nature in general to readily admit errors, but we've seen it's just about impossible for most of the people running our foreign policy.

              1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

              by JesseCW on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:12:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Right on! No one can foretell what people will do (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mole333, Involuntary Exile, CenPhx

      under differing circumstances.  Every plan, assumption and projection by the neocons, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq were wrong, not because they were crazy or stupid, but because they had very little real knowledge of these cultures, and even less about human nature in general.  Humans do not live in ideological boxes.

      Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

      by StrayCat on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:07:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is definitely true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StrayCat, CenPhx

        Too often governments act based on assumptions that do not really understand the cultures on the ground. Now that can in some cases be understandable, but it also makes it very hard for your plans to succeed.

        I am not always opposed to intervention. But I think you bring up a good point. The neocons who have dominated our polices for far too long do not really understand the situation from the point of view of the people we are dealing with. They only look at the situation from our own strategic perspective. That makes sense as far as it goes, but ultimately you have to understand on a real level all sides of a conflict to come out ahead in that conflict. I think that is what we are missing. I don't necessarily think we are always wrong in what we do, but I do think we act without full understanding from all sides what we are doing.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. NYC's Progressive/Reform Blog

        by mole333 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:26:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It is bullshit to pretend that we are (6+ / 0-)

      disinterested and purely humanitarians. Both sidea, technically all sides are killing people, including civilians. To intervene purely to protect human life is to put troops on the ground cordoning off each force so that they may not kill other humans.

      1) Good luck with that
      2) That is not remotely our intention or desire.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:20:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is a mess... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris

        So you see no advantage to anyone for us to intervene? We can't do any good (whether that is defined based on humanitarian or strategic concerns)?

        That is important. I think the basis of intervention however we do it is that we can benefit ourselves and/or the Syrians and/or the region in some way. IF there is no way we can do any of that, then that would be an argument against intervention. I feel that is what you are saying and if you (or someone) can support that argument it is an important one.

        I am coming to this without a clear sense of where I stand. My default is to support intervention but I know enough to realize that the anti-intervention folk have some very good arguments and I am very interested in hearing them and seeing if they can convince me.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. NYC's Progressive/Reform Blog

        by mole333 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:32:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We are just continuing the PNAC agenda, (0+ / 0-)

          hoping to either depose Assad, or to weaken his defences against the rebels in order to prolong the war and weaken the state overall. We have no non-ulterior motives.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:25:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  "Syria isn't the only place where people... (66+ / 0-)

    ... are dying."

    Indeed. Want to intervene in a place where slaughter is really underway and has been for years? Try to the Congo where it is said that five million have been killed. Why is that not getting any attention?

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:54:04 PM PDT

    •  rhetorical question since we can make a (26+ / 0-)

      pretty good guess at the answer. Sadly.

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:57:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As usual MB (13+ / 0-)

      you make way to much sense to be ignored.

      I have to admit at the time I wanted direct intervention in Rwanda because I was sickened and the pitiful UN force there was unable to respond. Plus the leader of the UN team there at the time was a Canadian (Romeo Dillare) who after the fact was profoundly impacted by what he saw.

      •  1000 American ground troops in Rwanda (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        undercovercalico, CenPhx, Knucklehead, gof

        could have stopped the genocide in its tracks.

        My own failure to advocate for that is the greatest moral failing of my life. I've made it my business to try to understand--far too late--what happened in Rwanda... and what the international response should have been.

        If I felt the Syrian crisis was likely to devolve into another Rwanda, I would be fighting for our intervention with every fiber of my being, and damn any realpolitik concerns.

        Nothing is ever more important than stopping genocide, whatever it takes, but Syria isn't Rwanda and the crisis there isn't genocide. Chemical weapons are horrific, and a million Syrian refugees more awful still, but those who are equating Rwanda and Syria miss the point in a particularly terrifying way.

        (a note to undercovercalico: please understand that your comment was just a convenient place to attach mine. My comment is in no way directed "at" you.)

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

        by PhilJD on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:55:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just like they did in Iraq and Afghanistan. (0+ / 0-)

          Time makes more converts than reason. Thomas Paine, Common Sense

          by VTCC73 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:50:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please look into what happened in Rwanda (0+ / 0-)

            more carefully.

            A handful of UN peacekeepers, with strict orders not to engage, were sufficient to at least slow the genocide in most places they were stationed. The murder of the Belgians is the exception, but the general point remains.

            1000 American or international soldiers, operating under no such no-engagement constraints, absolutely could have stopped this.

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

            by PhilJD on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:07:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong kind of weapons (7+ / 0-)

      And an end to war would mean that prices of commodities would go up.

      And we're a racist nation that doesn't really care about black people getting killed.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:03:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because we don't get involved in conflicts (15+ / 0-)

      on a strictly "humanitarian" basis. That's simply the pretext given to justify military involvement, but the media and the blogosphere, even left wing sites, spend all their time debating it on that level.

      What I find especially puzzling...where's the debate of the energy politics involved?

      The Guardian: Peak oil, climate change and pipeline geopolitics driving Syria conflict

      Behind the facade of humanitarian concern, familiar interests are at stake. Three months ago, Iraq gave the greenlight for the signing of a framework agreement for construction of pipelines to transport natural gas from Iran's South Pars field - which it shares with Qatar - across Iraq, to Syria. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the pipelines was signed in July last year - just as Syria's civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo - but the negotiations go back further to 2010. The pipeline, which could be extended to Lebanon and Europe, would potentially solidify Iran's position as a formidable global player.

      The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan is a "direct slap in the face" to Qatar's plans for a countervailing pipeline running from Qatar's North field, contiguous with Iran's South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, also with a view to supply European markets. The difference is that the pipeline would bypass Russia.

      Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have received covert support from Washington in the funneling of arms to the most virulent Islamist elements of the rebel movement, while Russia and Iran have supplied arms to Assad.

      •  I have huge doubts that a pipeline (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erratic, Onomastic, enhydra lutris

        is motivation for this. There are other places to run a pipeline, such as through Turkey, through Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and so on.

        I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

        by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:18:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You realize the difference between (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ukit, JesseCW, CenPhx, StrayCat, enhydra lutris

          Syria and the countries you listed, right? The rest are allies of the US.

          Which isn't to say I think that the pipeline alone would be a reason that some are pushing for war, but it's certainly in there.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:23:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But Qatar, likewise, is nominally a US ally (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris

            As is Iraq.

            In fact, of all the nations involved, only Syria is not a US ally, and they are not the producers of the oil in question, so their participation seems not vital to the project.

            I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

            by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:50:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, pipeline(s) are important to the (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blue aardvark

              region and are probably a contributory motive or partial cause to damn near everything, including Chechnya. Moving oil or gas from where it is to where it is best sold is a very big effing deal and all the players have their preferred routes. Being a middleman is also a potential goldmine.

               Cordoning off Iran is another very, very big thing to the US, and, hence, to its allies as well.

              There ae many motives and goals for everything in the region, but pipeline projects cannot be ignored.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:32:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The pipeline in question is to transport (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CenPhx, StrayCat

          Iranian oil via Iraq and Syria, in direct competition with Qatar and Saudi Arabia's plans.

          Pipeline to Syria Ups Ante in Proxy War with Qatar

          Iraq’s agreement to allow Iran to build a pipeline through its territory and on to Syria is in direct competition with Qatar’s similar designs for a Syria pipeline that would connect to Turkey. This pipeline is another proxy in the Syrian conflict theater and Iran’s response to its loss of ground here. It is also a sign of Iran’s growing foothold in Iraq. Qatar will respond in kind.

          This week the Iraqi Cabinet green lighted Iran’s $10 billion pipeline project, which will supply gas from the South Pars field (which is the largest in the world, and which, as mentioned above, it shares with Qatar) to Syria and beyond to other export markets. There is talk of extending the pipeline to Lebanon.

          The first part of the pipeline—some 225 kilometers—through Iraq will reportedly be completed in June 2013. The pipeline will connect the southern Iranian port of Assolouyeh to Iraq and then to Syria—for now. It will have a 110 million cubic meter/day capacity. The plan is to give Iraq 20 million cubic meters/day of Iranian gas for its power plants, with 20-25 million cubic meters/day going to Syria.

          In a direct slap in the face to Qatar’s plans, Iraqi authorities also said the pipeline could eventually be extended to Europe.

          If you read the Guardian piece linked above, they describe the origins of the uprising as having to do with economic factors and even food shortages stemming from climate change. But given the heavy involvement of Qatar along with Saudi Arabia on one side and Russia and Iran on the other, it's difficult to see how this isn't a major factor behind foreign intervention.
    •  Not enough resources to plunder? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      El Zmuenga, rb608

      Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

      by The Dead Man on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:15:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Did we not provide training and support (4+ / 0-)

      to those engaging the Lord's Resistance Army?

      I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

      by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:16:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How much oil does the Congo have? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      msdrown, rb608, Knucklehead, Matt Z, JVolvo

      Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:25:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  For the same reason (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat, JVolvo

      we didn't get involved in Rwanda.

      Or Darfur.

    •  Thank you. I've made the same point several times (9+ / 0-)

      in the past few days.

      45,000 people are dying in the Congo every month from hunger and disease, a disproportionate number of them kids... but there's been no clamoring for an American intervention there. I've yet to see a cogent explanation as to why perhaps 1500 (highest estimate I've seen) horrific deaths from chemical weapons in Syria are somehow a worse crisis than millions of deaths in Africa.

      None of the possible explanations I privately consider are flattering to those who maintain that Syria is somehow qualitatively worse.

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

      by PhilJD on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:39:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Decreasing our "attention" may be a good thing. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat, AoT

      It looks like we finally stopped funding M 23.

      1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

      by JesseCW on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:44:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But didn't we send them (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat, Kane in CA

      Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner?

      And the CIA of course.  Probably.

      I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

      by mojo11 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:56:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Meteor Blades (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx, Meteor Blades
      Why is that not getting any attention?
      It`s called "Dark Africa" for a reason.
      If we can`t (see) the carnage, it`s not happening.
      Two of my brothers spent over 30 years in Africa.
      One of my nephews is an African (by place of birth).
      One in public service, one in private.
      Although they deny it makes a difference & they back me all day long, I do hesitate to talk much about them.
      For thirty years I know they tried to make the world a better place.
      My older brother (by just a few years) who at the near end of his career & based in Tunis was head of the Bank of North African States (Algeria, Morocco Libya & Egypt)
      He ended his career as consul to the Canadian mission to the UN based in the UN building in NY.
      And for all his troubles he had a heart attack in NY & the world is not a better place, so far.
      I feel that I was deprived of the companionship of that brother for so many years, & for no material accomplishment.
      He did survive to write his memoirs & I still send him stamps for his collection I`ve been trying to add to since I`ve been doing while we were teenagers.

      My younger brother who spent his career life in Africa also & who was instrumental in settling conflicts between warlords in Mogadishu but did spend most of his time in Djboutsi.
      He ended his career in another colonial devastated country,
      surprisingly in the South Pacific, New Caledonia.
      Luckily for us, he`s a snow bird & visits me every year from his winter base in Yuma.
      I wanted to add a question,
      Where the hell is Idi, oh & Baby Doc

      In my opinion if you can`t stop the shit in your inner cities, don`t be dropping bombs in other`s

      Mr. Blades, it`s alway nice to talk to you & I hope you understand I talk to you like you were one of my brothers.

      Maybe one day I`ll mention another one of my brothers.
      Presently he is gone missing in the vastness of the Great Canadian White North.

      I`m already against the next war.

      by Knucklehead on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:03:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Congo, where Have I heard that bgefore ... (0+ / 0-)

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:24:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  These arguments (0+ / 0-)

      don't impress me much unless someone is really calling for intervention there.

    •  aww, easy, the people there kill each other (0+ / 0-)

      mana a mano with f'n assault weapons they can buy for nothing, They can hide in the dark under the greenery of the jungle vegatation and are not accessible to "clean surgical cuts" from remotely guided drones.

      If the blind look for something black in the dark ... you know... they miss seeing the obvious.

      Civil Men Are For Civil Rights

      by mimi on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:44:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  mimi (0+ / 0-)

        Who makes those f`n assault rifles?
        The makers of the most weaponry on the planet.
        Why waste an expensive drone to hunt down people in the greenery of a jungle.
        Once the profit is made, who ever cares who they kill.

        Nice talking to you again.

        they miss seeing the obvious.
        My seeing eye dog dosen`t bite

        I`m already against the next war.

        by Knucklehead on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:51:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'd support doing something there, too! (0+ / 0-)
  •  I am just not convinced (9+ / 0-)

    a missile strike will make the Assad regime stand down very much. So it makes them pause, for a short time and then ramp up against the rebels and citizens later.

    And we do not need to be committing full in anywhere right now.

    I think a missile strike will be largely symbolic accomplish nothing and probably hurt civilians by accident in the process.

  •  I agree (12+ / 0-)

    I don't think that the US has a legal mandate under international law to be the world's humanitarian police. The US of course cannot ignore the strategic complexities of the Middle East, but I fail to see how military intervention is going to resolve any of those problems. The domestic conflicts in Syria and most other countries in the region don't fit neatly into the kinds of good guys vs bad guys script that Americans are accustomed to watching on TV. The conflicts arise from complex ethnic and sectarian differences.  

  •  Certainly "someone should step up" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chira2, rb608, HCKAD

    and that someone, by charter and by purpose, is the United Nations. The fact that the UN is doing what it always does in a crisis situation (yes, I call the gassing of children a crisis situation) speechifying, blowing winds, scrambling its bloated bureaucracy, but in the end not taking any action.

    The UN is not - or should be- a sacred cow. It is long overdue that this Cave of Winds in Manhattan is held accountable, the lives and suffering of millions depend on that.

  •  Can't allow Assad to get away with this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM

    Under any circumstances.

  •  I think Syria over everywhere else because (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    artmartin, blue aardvark

    of the ramifications--the conflict could draw in Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Iran, Iraq just to name a few if nothing is done.  

    The region is already destabilized.  Destabilization will not stop until there is some resolution to the conflict in Syria, one way or another.  Yes, it could turn into a further civil conflict between competing interests if Assad goes, but it might be better to start down that road than to have him come back into power.

    I dunno....it's complex.

     

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:57:47 PM PDT

    •  Then let them all fight it out (10+ / 0-)

      instead of expecting the Iowa National Guard to do it.  

      Kos is 100% correct.  Our troops have faced multiple deployments over the last decade and they have fallen most heavily on national guard units and even if they aren't directly impacted they are most certainly indirectly impacted.

      Like the MN NG which went back and back again to Iraq and then they say well they're not going to Iraq this time so they send them to Kuwait to support activities in Iraq and they drive the hell all over Iraq but they are technically based in the Kuwait so no one can say they are in Iraq.

      •  This one won't involve our troops (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Swig Mcjigger, erratic

        at least as it seems to be developing....this is more like when we bombed Serbia and everything is done through the air.  

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:15:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That requires support (0+ / 0-)

          And often the NG plays a big role in the support.  That means some NG unit that already been deployed abroad 4 or more times gets deployed again.  

          •  No boots on the ground (0+ / 0-)

            that seems to be the plan.  We can do everything through existing assets in the region without having to move troops closer.  If NATO makes this their mission, we can use Incirlik in Turkey, the Brits' base in Cyprus, and our assets in Europe and the Gulf.  

            To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

            by dizzydean on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:33:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But even our other assets often need (0+ / 0-)

              logistical support which often involves deploying other support troops.  Of course, they may have been pre-deployed but all that means is that this has already been costing us money.  I mean we just can't get away from pouring tens of billions down a sink hole in middle east and I'm fed up with it.  

              I mean go rent Lawrence of Arabia.  Nothing new under the sun.  We can't make these people play nice with each other.  They have to sort out their own problems.  The west has spent the last 100 years failing to help them do that.  

              •  Well, no. The West has spent 450 of the last (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                StrayCat

                1000 years trying to take everything they have and rule them with an iron fist, directly or through proxies.

                1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

                by JesseCW on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:01:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Well, I'll agre that we've been wasting money on (0+ / 0-)

                defense for years.  But, the fact still stands that, like Libya, we can use existing assets without bothering that poor kid in Iowa.

                And you should see Lawrence and note how the Brits screwed the Arabs at the end.  Or better yet, read his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

                To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                by dizzydean on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:15:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  But existing assets have to be resupplied (0+ / 0-)

                  And that often involves the NG.  They may not be the glory fly guys but they're maintaining equipment, flying cargo planes, doing a long list of support of activities that are taken for granted.  Or they may get called up to relieve in some other part of the world because the US is moving other units around.  Like my cousin we called up after 9/11 and deployed to a nation in Asia totally uninvolved with combat but it still cost him his job and his marriage.  Collateral damage dontcha know.

            •  Who was it that said that plans in war last up (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CenPhx, schnecke21

              until the first engagement?

              We planned to go into Iraq and be greeted with flowers and candy by the people after Sadam fell.

              Now, I'm sure President Obama has a better plan than President Bush...but that doesn't mean that his plan is automatically 1) going to work and 2) going to stay limited.

              So if bombing does not accomplish what we want (which is still vague), what is the next move?

              You are assuming that NATO gets involved...as of right now (unless things have changed since last night) NATO had no intention of getting involved.

              •  NATO looks like it is getting involved (0+ / 0-)

                http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/...

                The recent use of chemical weapons in Syria “cannot go unanswered,” NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen said yesterday, adding that the 28-member military alliance would continue to assist Turkey and protect the alliance’s south-eastern border.

                “Information available from a wide variety of sources points to the Syrian regime as responsible for the use of chemical weapons in these attacks,” Rasmussen said in a statement after a meeting of NATO ambassadors in regard to the Aug. 21 chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms these outrageous attacks, which caused major loss of life. … This is a clear breach of long-standing international norms and practice. Any use of such weapons is unacceptable and cannot go unanswered. Those responsible must be held accountable,” he said. “We will continue to consult and keep the situation in Syria under close review, and NATO continues to assist Turkey and protect the alliance’s south-eastern border.”

                To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                by dizzydean on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:12:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Until they hit an aircraft carrier (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, protectspice, enhydra lutris

          or some other of our boats in the Mediterranean. This isn't like Iraq where we bombed them for like 11 years before we invaded.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:38:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, an aircraft carrier does not need to be (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dr Swig Mcjigger

            within range of an anti-ship missile to use its assets.  We'll control the skies, so no fighters can get off the ground to deliver a missile.  Plus we have extensive anti-missile capabilities, to include the Aegis type cruisers.  

            See here for what Syria can and can't do:
            http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

            To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

            by dizzydean on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:53:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What about the Russian fleet heading to the (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              Mediterranean? They may not want a shooting war...but if they call for a no-fly zone that keeps the US away? Putin didn't send them there just so they can soak up the last rays of summer!

            •  Those anti-missile capabilities (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dizzydean

              are not so effective against ballistic missiles like the Shahab-2. You are right about the range, although at 1000 km they can reach fairly far. Hitting Israel could be an option for them as well.

              My worry is more along the lines of what happens when Assad knows we're going to attack and he is out of reasonable options. The broader point is that this isn't Iraq. They haven't been worn down by over a decade of bombing. If Assad is really at the point where he feels backed against the wall enough that he's using CW on his people, in the capital nonetheless, then he can also reach other cities in the region with these weapons. If he falls to internal enemies there's no impetus for that. But that's the rationale behind chemical weapons for these sort of regimes, it's the poor man's nuke, if you will.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:05:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This reminds me of the lead-in the First Gulf War (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                We were told (I was there, FWIW) about how Iraq had the bestest military on the world after us and the Russians.  That was before the bombings.  What they had was mostly a bunch of old Soviet equipment and not a whole lot of morale to fight much.  Some, but not much.  Also, their air power was played up as a threat, but wasn't.

                The Syrians do have some advanced stuff--their radar system has recently been upgraded, but their missiles are old and not terribly accurate.  The Shahab-2 is essentially a Scud--not exactly the sort of thing that is likely to hit a ship.  Otherwise, let's not forget they're in the middle of a civil war themselves, so their military is degraded from constant fighting.

                Now, you do bring up the much more realistic and scarier part of the scenario, which is Assad lobbing missiles into Israel or Turkey or even Cyprus where the UK has a base.  

                To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                by dizzydean on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:23:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  The Administration doesn't have a plan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dizzydean

      that would stabilize the region with respect to "punishing" Assad.

      The plan as it has been presented would just create more chaos in the region.

      •  I dunno... (0+ / 0-)

        There seems to be a plan, but things keep changing on the ground to toss it into the crapper.  I think Obama truly wanted to do outreach in the region, but then the Arab Spring happened and we took a hands off approach, recognized Morsi, tried some olive branches to Iran, got out of Iraq, and even brought the Palestinians and Israelis to the table.  Our drone strikes are arguably de-stabilizing.  That Obama has kept his hands off Syria (which Johnny Mac would not have done) says a lot about his hope to work things another way.  Can't say that he can show much success at the moment, but I think there is a plan there....

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:02:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's the thing...there are too many moving parts (4+ / 0-)

          that are out of our control to "plan" effectively.

          There are hundreds of rebel groups, some backed by Al-Qaeda...a power vacuum would only intensify the chaos.

          But regime change isn't our goal! We want to...what exactly? take out some of his military assets?

          So we tip the scales in favor of some rebel group gaining power (but not actively ousting Assad)...but we can't be sure which rebel group. Will they be as kind and benevolent as the Taliban?

          It would be foolish to go into this believing we are going to do anything but cause more bloodshed.

          •  There's the rub, no? (0+ / 0-)

            Is taking out Assad and starting the post-Assad process better than leaving him in place?  I dunno, but it seems that a lot of actors in the play seem to find the status quo untenable.

            My prediction for whatever it's worth:  NATO gets involved, we bomb command-and-control centers, Assad is killed/wounded/flees the country.  The army collapses and all hell breaks loose.  When the dust settles, some sort of coalition of Islamists and moderates sets up a government of sorts with the help of Erdogan.

            To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

            by dizzydean on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:31:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Honestly, if you want to know how I felt (0+ / 0-)

          about the Iraq invasion...

          I did NOT think we should invade Iraq.  I was part of that tiny minority of Americans who did not agree with the invasion.  I was part of an even smaller subset of people who did not believe the Administration's claims, at all.  My views stemmed in part from my previous involvement a decade earlier in helping to convince the American public that defending Kuwait from the Iraq invasion was a good idea.  We did that.  We did it in part with a  Kuwaiti Princess who claimed that she had been raped by Iraqi soldiers.  I found out along with the rest of America several years later that her story was a lie and that she was never even in Kuwait at the time of the invasion.  So, the saber rattling about Iraq and my personal experience led me to be one of the tiny group of people who not only opposed the invasion because it made no sense, but also did not believe a word anyone said about the "dire need" to invade.

          BUT what made me even more nervous were the claims that we would be greeted with flowers; that we would be there for less than a year; and that our invasion of Iraq would be paid for by oil revenues.  That we would get in and get out quickly.  "Quick regime change" was the claim that they made.  On top of all of that, the NeoCons insisted that there would be NO "nation building" efforts made.  STOP right there.  No nation building?  

          The Bush Administration's approach really started to sound unsound on a multitude of levels - not to mention totally fantastical and overly-simplistic given the history of Iraq and the complexities of the region.

          Then I was like, "Well, for fucksakes people if you are going to invade Iraq you have to do it with a total commitment, not some sort of half-assed plan to kind of sort of change the dynamic, but not get too involved."  You are either in or you're out when you attack another country.  There is no way to be only partially involved when you undertake a military affront to another country.  You cannot count on opening that can of worms to only find that your responsibility for opening it is going to be easy and short term duty that you can get out of when you feel like it.  It doesn't work that way.  Sometimes you get lucky, but you cannot count on that.  You must plan for the worst case scenario.

          We went in half assed.  The military did a brilliant job of capturing the country, actually.  That part was a no-brainer, but then all hell broke loose and within a matter of days the infrastructure in the country was nearly in collapse from the looting and there was no public order.  Because we were not going to engage in "nation building" - rolling eyes and sighing.  You know the rest of the story that hasn't ended for us there even now.

          So, here we are contemplating another "limited military engagement" that seems to have no objective other than to mildly scold the Assad regime.  We feel righteous because chemical weapons were used in Syria and the Administration is convinced (by whom?) that the Assad regime has used them.  Where is Colin Powell with the PowerPoint?  Ugh.

          Umkay - so let's say it was the Assad regime - let's just say that is in fact true - what are air strikes going to achieve?  What's the "message" they are sending?  And what of the shift in the balance of power that might occur if we were to disadvantage the Assad Regime?  What about these al-Qaeda factions that are fighting him who really fucking hate us more than our wildest dreams?  Will we walk away when they overcome the Assad Regime and say, "Not our fight anymore"?  Not even remotely likely.  We will get sucked into that vortex so quickly it will make everyone's head spin.

          It the power that be believe that Americans need to commit to this situation and that we need to get the situation under control, then we need to be prepared to actually do that.  And getting the situation under control means that we have to be "all in" - for the long haul - and be realistic about it - prepare for it and do it imagining the worst case scenario of a very long fight.  The American People deserve that kind of honesty here.

          I personally do NOT believe that our involvement will be productive or positive, but I am absolutely convinced that a half-assed measure to send messages with bombs will be much, much worse for us, for the Syrians and for the neighboring countries.

          Anyway, why the hell isn't Russia responsible for this mess?  Syria is their proxy, after all.

  •  Given that the one overarching goal, (13+ / 0-)

    Control of the CW, would involve more than just surgical strikes, it would require ground forces, dropping bombs in Syria would do nothing constructive except make Americans feel like they were "doing something".

    I would rather spend the money on real humanitarian efforts, like helping the estimated 4.5 million displaced persons, the majority of whom are women and children.

    The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

    by CenPhx on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:00:57 PM PDT

    •  Well even your recommendation is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dizzydean

      undefined.  Help the displaced people how?  Throw money at them?  Give them asylum here?  Tell other countries they have to accept the refugees into their nations?  

      All of those things are not simple solutions just like the military one isn't.  

      •  Throwing money at them would be a start. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, CenPhx, worldlotus

        We could provide food, shelter and medicine aid. Giving a bunch of money to Doctors without borders would be a good start as well.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:30:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent question. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, AoT, worldlotus

        The UN Refugee Agency is providing back to school kits clothes, diapers, clean water and sanitation, and care  and support for Syria children until they can hopefully be reunited with their families. More info and donations can be made here: UN Refugee Agency

        The International Rescue Committee is providing medical aid, helping victims of violence, and ensuring the refugees have access to their legal rights. Link

        Most people here are probably already familiar with the work done by Doctors Without Borders and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent.

        Onomastic's diary outlined another way to help I had never heard of but which sounds like it would greatly reducing the misery of refugees.

        Beyond these relief agencies and charities, our government helping out the countries, with money or resources, which are bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis would be imminently more helpful than bombing Syria, don't you think?

        The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

        by CenPhx on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:55:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They don't even know where cw are (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, CenPhx, JVolvo, PhilJD, worldlotus

      Intelligence officials admit they lost track of them...let alone if and who it was that fired them.

      http://m.apnews.com/...

      Over the past six months, with shifting front lines in the 2½-year-old civil war and sketchy satellite and human intelligence coming out of Syria, U.S. and allied spies have lost track of who controls some of the country's chemical weapons supplies, according to the two intelligence officials and two other U.S. officials.

      U.S. satellites have captured images of Syrian troops moving trucks into weapons storage areas and removing materials, but U.S. analysts have not been able to track what was moved or, in some cases, where it was relocated. They are also not certain that when they saw what looked like Assad's forces moving chemical supplies, those forces were able to remove everything before rebels took over an area where weapons had been stored.

      In addition, an intercept of Syrian military officials discussing the strike was among low-level staff, with no direct evidence tying the attack back to an Assad insider or even a senior Syrian commander, the officials said.

      So while Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that it was "undeniable," a chemical weapons attack had occurred, and that it was carried out by the Syrian military, U.S. intelligence officials are not so certain that the suspected chemical attack was carried out on Assad's orders. Some have even talked about the possibility that rebels could have carried out the attack in a callous and calculated attempt to draw the West into the war. That suspicion was not included in the official intelligence report, according to the official who described the report.

      Too many questions and concerns.

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

      by emal on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:18:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My thoughts exactly. (19+ / 0-)

    And more austerity here at home so we can pay for bombs and world-policing doesn't sit well with me, either.




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

    by DeadHead on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:01:25 PM PDT

  •  Can't we all just get along? (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i dunno, worldlotus

    Education is the progressive discovery of our own ignorance. -Will Durant

    by Blue Dream on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:02:08 PM PDT

  •  Sometimes it's better not to intrude (6+ / 0-)

    this is definitely one of those times. I'm convinced that there isn't anything that the US can do militarily that will make the situation better in the long run, either for the Syrians or the US.

    Maybe diplomatically or with our famous intelligence spooks, but militarily in a country where we have no allies or interests, no.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:03:13 PM PDT

  •  Repeat after me: OIL. Ultimately that will define (0+ / 0-)

    whether we go in or rattle the saber and shout choice invective.

    All this talk about MIC is irrelevant.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:03:53 PM PDT

  •  this is a very practical approach. I have no (10+ / 0-)

    argument with it, but people who are very upset about the attacks on civilians in Syria will not be swayed by it (people like my husband).
    Actually, I'm very upset about the attacks on civilians but I'd be just as upset with photos and stories of civilian deaths and massive destruction from our bombing.
    I really see no good outcome no matter what we do.
    I'm with MB:

    Any time there are no good options, better to choose one of them that doesn't include bombing

    While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

    by Tamar on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:03:56 PM PDT

  •  yep (12+ / 0-)

    I was talking with a Republican friend last night (yes, I fraternize with the people on the other side of the yawning divide occasionally).  We actually agreed that there's absolutely nothing good that can come of this.  Bombs won't fix anything--killing people because you're pissed about people getting killed?  It's like the parent paddling a child, all the while yelling "I said, don't hit your little sister!!!"

    I don't know what the answer is, but escalating the body count won't solve anything.

    There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

    by puzzled on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:04:04 PM PDT

  •  That's a fair argument (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, AoT, CenPhx

    we are all repulsed by what has happened in Syria, but I'd like to see us involved in a ceasefire and a call for Geneva 2 talks...to include Iran, instead of our usual push for escalation and war. Can we please break this cycle??

    I supported the Libyan intervention. As a tactical maneuver it was probably one of the better things we've done in years, and I say that knowing that Libyans will have a very hard slog for many years in rebuilding their country.

    Syria is not Libya and it is not Iraq. There are too many variables that could cause even a limited engagement to go terribly wrong and cause a regional conflagration and worse...even a WW scenario.  I think you're right to worry about the aftermath...and if we are to use prior incursions as an indicator, it's pretty clear that we'd be making a horrible mistake if we were to proceed with any military engagement in Syria.

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

    by valadon on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:04:33 PM PDT

  •  The ghost of George Bush and yellow cake (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, Darmok, HCKAD, CenPhx, AoT

    Our history haunts us in the Middle East. Our blatant fraudulent humanitarian stand against Iraq's chemical weapons is now clearly seen for what it was...  a military power grab.
    Our history in this region taints everything we do.

    The United States of America simply has too much fresh civilian blood on its own hands to be credible when pointing fingers about the taking innocent lives.

    The way forward is to look inward and understand  the how and why of our military and diplomatic blundering.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:05:40 PM PDT

    •  Barack Obama is NOT (5+ / 0-)

      George Bush.  The vast majority of us know that.  The world knows that.  Let's stop bringing our past misdeeds into this as though our credibility hasn't been substantially improved since Obama came into power.

      •  It is not a question (8+ / 0-)

        of one man's personality against another. It is an issue about the long term patterns of US foreign policy. Actions taken by prior administrations create constraints for those yet to come. A new president doesn't start with a clean slate.

      •  The military industrial complex (0+ / 0-)

        is still the military industrial complex.  The misdeeds of the past are still very recent.. as in  massive drone strikes and NSA spying on allies.

        Obama and Bush are but different flavors of the same military industrial toothpaste.

        If cats could blog, they wouldn't

        by crystal eyes on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:24:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There was a diary on the rec list yesterday that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        artmartin

        was just three or four sentences that boiled down to "Obama = W", and everyone was thrilled with it.

        •  Actually, it was equating the various (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CenPhx

          justifications for going to war with Iraq to the justifications being touted for going to war with Syria. Not equating the two presidents.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:50:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, but plenty of the intelligence services (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        crystal eyes

        are definitely still stacked with Bush's people pushing for the PNAC plan. Clapper is a Bushie even. That's where Obama gets his info on this stuff. That has a major effect.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:32:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If that were the gist of outrage diaries (0+ / 0-)

          that Obama was trying to act in our best interest but was merely being fed bad data, then that would be a wonderful starting point for debate.  That does not disparage the man, simply expresses frustration with a system that is being cleansed a tiny bit at a time.  

          But let's not pretend that this is what we see day after day on here.  In the vast majority of the sux diaries that rocket up the rec list daily, the open salvo is that Obama is corrupt and evil.  

          •  I don't see those diaries on the rec list (0+ / 0-)

            I see plenty of diaries that see Obama as part of the problem, which agree with to some extent. I also disagree with the president on a lot of things and think he's mostly rightish. Mostly it's supporters of the president who bring him up to defend going to war. But, this thread is dealing with the justifications of this war, not the president. We can talk about the president if you want to, but you're the one who brought him up, not the original commenter.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:30:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  The moral arugments are kissing cousins. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CenPhx

        The supporters of a military strike, which for all intents and purposes Obama will do, use the same type of moral justifications and actions as Bush and his crowd.  The militarism of Bush and Obama are not that far off.  In fact, Obama did not want to follow the Bush retreat plan in Iraq, wanting to keep larger number of troops.  If not for Iraqi objections, escalation in Iraq would have been a real possibility at this point.

        In  terms of their engagement and acceptance of American militarism, the differences are in quantity, not quality.

  •  Since you mentioned Europe, (7+ / 0-)

    it's worth mentioning that Italy, where Syrian refugees have been trickling in for at least the last year, is against intervention until there is a UN resolution.  Here is Christiane Amanpour's interview with Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino.  Despite Cameron's mongering, not much of Europe is actually with him on this new venture.

  •  If the goal is to help the citizens (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, Piren, HCKAD, worldlotus

    of Syria, there must be a better way then bombing the shit out of their country. It seems like the goal is to save face because of some stupid red line. Or maybe it's because John McCain et al said so.
    The media using "imminent" in their reporting tells how they want it to go.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:06:11 PM PDT

  •  Depressing. (5+ / 0-)

    All valid points but I hate to once again stand by and watch innocents viciously murdered. We waited too long in Bosnia and simply looked the other way in Rwanda.  Since then we have cut off so many of our own people who are struggling just  to get by. If we have the money to lob bombs at an evil man we have the money to extend unemployment for good men and women.

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:06:13 PM PDT

  •  1. Did Libya overstretch us? (4+ / 0-)

    The navy air arm isn't even remotely close to overstretched.

    2. Nobody else is going to step up without us. You know this.

    3. The long term? You might not give a crap about chemical warfare being a big deal, but it is the biggest long-term issue facing us right now.

    4. Again, the rest of the world isn't witnessing chemical warfare.

    This is a really weak post, that makes no sense whatsoever without the "Nothing Special About Chemical Weapons" argument that you decided you believed in, oh, two days ago.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:07:31 PM PDT

    •  I thought mushroom clouds were the biggest issue (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TJ, El Zmuenga, greenbell

      Oops, I must have confused Syria with Iran or Iraq.

      Practically every developed nation has chemical weapons.   As sickening as they are, as a practical matter we will kill far more than the 300 or so who have died even with "limited surgical" airstrikes.   Chem weapons are bad, but so are cluster bombs.

      •  Yes, you are confused. Work on that. (0+ / 0-)

        "Just like Iraq because everything is just like Iraq" is a stupid argument.

        Highlighting your habit of making a point not to know things - I just don't understand why anybody would think that's a good way to win an argument.

        And "having" chemical weapons is the problem. Using them in the problem.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:16:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quagmiremonkey

      1. Doesn't matter whether Libya overstretched us. This is a different situation.

      2. You're a mind-reader, apparently.

      3. Who's "us?"

      4. So bombs are the only answer?




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

      by DeadHead on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:21:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  1. Yes, a smaller mission. No ovestretch in sight. (0+ / 0-)

        2. No, I just know something about global politics. You look really silly saying that. I know you don't realize that. Anyone who knows something about the subject does.

        3. The world.

        4. No, we should write a sternly-worded letter.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:18:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Responses: (0+ / 0-)

          1. Because we have nothing better to spend money on, apparently.

          2. How is it that I'm the one who looks silly when you're the one trying to explain to kos what he "knows?"

          3. No, you and those who share your view. You don't speak for "the world."

          4. Yes, because that's the only other option. I understand now. You just wanna bomb shit.




          Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

          by DeadHead on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:39:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  1. "Hey, look over there" change of subject. (0+ / 0-)

            2. "Hey, look over there" change of subject.

            3. I'm not talking about "views," but making a statement of fact.

            4. If you had a plausible alternative, I trust we would have heard it by now. Instead, all you have is to call me a bad person.

            This is weak, even for you.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 02:10:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Battlefield chem weapons are nowhere near (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, DeadHead

      our biggest concern.  Not even close.

  •  Well said! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sturunner, worldlotus

    Best arguments so far! Thanks!

    Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace. ~ Ulysses S Grant

    by vcmvo2 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:07:39 PM PDT

  •  I simply do not trust the US's motives (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark

    International law MUST be enforced. Those laws make the world a better place, and if they are ignored or not enforced, the world becomes a WORSE place.

    But I simply do not trust the US whenever it talks about "humanitarian" motives, nor do I trust it when it yammers about "international law and treaties". The US happily ignored international law for 75 years and even denied the World Court's jurisdiction over the US. If we allow the US to appoint itself as the world's police force, all we will get is "international law" enforced against nations we don't like, and "international law" ignored when it comes to nations we DO like. And that would make the world a worse place.It would simply be a legal fiction protecting superpower imperialism.

    If international law is to be enforced, then it MUST be an international body--whether the UN or NATO, that enforces it.

    I simply do not trust the US to enforce international law. Nor should anyone else.

     

    •  What international law? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, worldlotus

      Simply look at Israel and Palestine to see what a hollow concept that is.    

      For those to whom Israel's treatment of the Palestenians is too emotional an issue to consider rationally, think instead about the strong punishment that Russia received for its treatment of Chechnya or the Chinese for their treatment of Tibet....

    •  To be international law it has to be (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tony Situ, AoT

      administered and enforced ... internationally.

      That seems logical.

      The conundrum is that the Europeans and the rest of the "civilized" world have let the US carry the defense burden for a long time. If you find a case where intervention is sanctioned by international law, no one else can really do a large scale intervention. The keys are carriers and heavy air lift, and Europe hasn't spent the money on those.

      I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

      by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:29:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fails to mention the word "gas". (0+ / 0-)

    A telling omission.

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UID: 8519

    by Bob Love on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:10:26 PM PDT

  •  We might want to check the record (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, worldlotus

    Is there a vital national interest involved? Iraq: Oil Syria: N
    Were questionablle communications intercepts key to the case for intervention? Iraq: Y Syria: Y
    Is the rationale based on WMDs? Iraq: Y Syria: Y
    Would we be replacing a dictator with chaos? Iraq: Y Syria: Y
    Is international law on our side? Iraq: N  Syria: N
    Is the world on our side? Iraq: N  Syria: N
    Are Americans in support? Iraq: Y Syria: N
    Will this be viewed as misuse of American power? Iraq: Y Syria: Y

    And finally, is there a potential for chaos to spill back into that pillar of stability, Iraq? Into Lebanon? Into Jordan?

    The case for intervention is even worse than it was for Iraq. If Iraq went badly, how much worse would Syria be?

     

    •  Americans didn't start out supporting the (0+ / 0-)

      Iraq war either. Although they weren't nearly as against it as they are in the case of Syria.

      Having Obama as president means that the right is going to oppose everything he wants to do, maybe that helps stop a war in this case.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:55:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Polling data says otherwise (0+ / 0-)

        As of March, 2003, 75: 23 invading Iraq is a good thing.

        And even as of May 2000, Iraq an enemy (47) or unfriendly (39).

        No, the US public regarded Iraq as an enemy long before Bush the Lesser decided he wanted a war.

        •  That was after the war started (0+ / 0-)

          And after months of propaganda. Not before all of that, which is what I was talking about. They asked people whether or not it was a god idea in retrospect.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:01:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Evidently you missed the data from 2000, 2001 (0+ / 0-)

            Americans considered Iraq an enemy from the First Gulf War and were quite willing to go to "finish the job," as the phrase went.

            You find data to contradict mine and I'll consider your opinion. But at the moment, it's data vs. opinion. In that circumstance, data wins.  

            •  Americans supported the war (0+ / 0-)

              given a UN mandate, which never happened. With a mandate from the UN a majority supported it, but that didn't happen.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:16:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Right on all points. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, worldlotus

    What a sad state of affairs.  "Something" should be done, to punish Assad and let the world know that there are some lines that can't be crossed.  But there are no good  options, no clear US interests other than making a point, and no "good guys" (secular democrats) to be helped.  Intervene or not, the people of Syria will suffer more.    

  •  What keeps going through my head, even while my (6+ / 0-)

    heart is breaking, is a line from the sixties,
    "Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity."

    I have no answers for what is going on in Syria.  As Kos says, it is not the only place where governments are killing their own people.

    We cannot ignore it, but what can we do that will make a positive difference in the long run?

    Perhaps it is time for the rest of the world to step up and do the right thing.  We do not need to always be the ones to lead the way into one debacle after another.

    We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we refuse to protect the weakest among us.

    by The Marti on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:12:23 PM PDT

  •  I keep asking two questions: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, my2petpeeves, worldlotus

    1) How far are we willing to go?

    2) What happens next?

    I have yet to hear a real answer on either. Which is why i will not support intervention (a nice word for blowing shit up and killing people).

    "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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:12:37 PM PDT

  •  And my responses are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tony Situ, JR, AoT

    1) Absolutely. Bush screwed our military over hard and deep. If Obama chooses to do something, he has to realize it must be a symbolic gesture

    2) Europe can't do it. They haven't bought the necessary toys. They lack carriers and heavy air lift. They could do a symbolic strike, but we can do that, too.

    3) What about the long term for the Syrian people? As fellow members of humanity, I don't want this war to drag on, but I also don't want to see it won by people who will impose a horrible existence on the survivors (Assad: bloody revenge; Al Qaeda: beheadings for not wearing burqas)

    4) A full B-2 payload of bombs costs about $1M (roughly). A symbolic strike would, in fact, be cheap

    My conclusion: we COULD (that's not a should, folks) do a purely symbolic, "don't do that again" strike and blow up some military stuff. Anything else and we risk delivering Syria into the hands of horrible people.

    5) The other player you don't mention is Turkey. They are neighbors, have a huge and modern military, and are a Muslim nation. Turkey is probably the only nation on earth that actually can stop this thing by pure force. Which is, again, not to say they SHOULD - but I think they have more ability to project military force into Syria than the EU.

    I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

    by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:12:48 PM PDT

    •  Iron bombs aren't particularly surgical. (0+ / 0-)

      Unless they're laser-guided.

    •  At this point I can't imagine anything (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark

      more than a symbolic strike will be pushed. And if someone else can do it just as well as we can let them.

      In regards to Turkey though, given that they are neighbors it seems like a bit dangerous for Turkey to take the lead. I would expect that to increase the odds of the conflict spilling over into another country. It seems that France or some other European country could lob a missile or two at Syria and call it a day if it was going to be symbolic.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:53:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        If you want this war STOPPED, there are two countries that can do it.
        The US of A.
        Turkey.

        Neither is likely to want to pay the costs.

        I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

        by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:59:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Russia (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark

          could stop it fairly quickly, but they do not think that the likely outcome would be in their national interest.

          Now if you really want to know who is behind starting the mess in Syria in the first place...

          http://business.financialpost.com/...

          Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria.
          (In my opinion, by the way, the gas contracts are the real reason for all the kerrufle over Iran.    Russia has #1 gas reserves, Iran has #2.   I think that Russia's support of Iranian reactors was a set-up from the beginning as a way to keep a major competitor out of the European market, and it has worked beautifully.)
  •  A smart Arab that I read... (6+ / 0-)

    whose writings would generally not be welcome here, has said:

    We have to bring ourselves a genuine Arab Spring, without foreign help. We have to plant and water the tree of democracy in the lands of Islam with our own hands, independently.
    I agree.

    We are hated and ineffectual, and cannot change the fundamental internal problems that plague the Arab world.

    •  Well said. Too bad the leaders of the (0+ / 0-)

      Arab League are not as forward thinking as this person.  They would LOVE for a US lead coalition to take action . . . just don't ask them to get involved.

      No, I say unless the AL steps up and uses their personnel and their weapons, we should just stay out of it.

      Time for them to take responsibility for the ME.

  •  I'm sorry, but I despise argument no. 4 (4+ / 0-)

    Not quite so much in this context, but whenever I see it used, there's almost always an underlying implication - "we can't help everyone, so let's help no-one." However, the point about development aid as an alternative to military action is spot-on.

    I'm still one of the few Kossacks to support intervention, but I admit point 2 doesn't apply so much across the pond.

    British guy with a big interest in US politics; Economic Left/Right: -3.62, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.13.

    by General Goose on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:13:31 PM PDT

    •  So making things worse is the best option? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx

      There are two problems with this argument for intervention.  

      First, it is a false dilemma.   The alternatives are not "do nothing" and "send in the Marines!"   There are a lot of steps that the international community could take if it had a unified will to so do.   Imprisoning anybody who sells anything to Assad for 15 years would be a good way of indicating our displeasure.    It isn't going to happen, because it is much easier and more profitable to throw bombs around (aside from the fact that there is not universal international agreement that Assad is doing anything wrong.)

      Second, in life a lot of times the best option is to do nothing.   I'm sure that the Iraqis would agree that the cure was worse than the disease.

      If the goal was really humanitarian, we could simply buy Assad off for a fraction of what we plan to spend trying to indirectly cause regime change.     "Here's $4 billion dollars kids, now go live anywhere but Syria."   If that solution doesn't seem as satisfying as "let's spend $100 billion and accept a large amount of colletaral damage just as long as we get that video of Assad with blood trickling out of his mouth" then you might not be operating from a better palace than those who you would have as enemies...

      •  My comment was more a general criticism (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        of argument 4 - the "well, we didn't/can't/won't intervene here, so we can't do this now!" argument strikes me as saying two wrongs make a right. But I disagree with your assessment that it's a false dilemma being posed - I support intervention, but I'm not necessarily saying that we either have to send in the Marines or do nothing.

        British guy with a big interest in US politics; Economic Left/Right: -3.62, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.13.

        by General Goose on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:56:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't understand -- how is intervention different (0+ / 0-)

          from "sending in the marines?"

          Since you are surely not supporting carpet bombing the country in order to protect civilians from harm, what kind of intervention do you have in mind?   The pernicious thing about chemical warfare is that as a practical matter you cannot really eradicate it without eradicating everything else in the country.    We could hit Kadaffi's tanks but these guys are throwing stuff the size of tear gas cannisters.

          About the best option is to go through the international legal process and put the individuals involved on trial, but that isn't satisfying.

          •  Well, you misunderstood the word intervention. (0+ / 0-)

            I DEFINITELY support intervention in the form of aid and political peacemaking attempts (that's intervention, don't forget), but even military intervention does not require "sending in the marines" and putting boots on the ground. Targeted aerial strikes, no-fly zones, and missile deployment from the sea don't necessarily involve sending in marines. Conflating the word intervention with "getting involved in a ground war" is not helpful.

            British guy with a big interest in US politics; Economic Left/Right: -3.62, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.13.

            by General Goose on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:21:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  No matter what else the U.S. does (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    General Goose, AoT

    we should take in a significant chunk of refugees.

    (1) and (3) seem the more compelling, as it's not clear the rest of NATO can do all that much without the U.S. logistical support, and the RoW argument downplays the interest in Syria, the severity and immediacy of the crisis, and the fact we're already at least somewhat involved.  I would think any bombing should be limited to keeping Assad from further mass chemical weapons assaults.  Up to this point, the administration was right to tread cautiously and not openly back rebel groups, even while limiting the Syrian govt's access to weapons.  I don't know what you target to do that, but the question of how you do it answers for me whether we should.  If we have sufficient confidence we can accomplish that limited goal, we should do it; if not, no.  

    I do appreciate a piece that acknowledges this is a tough decision, instead of simple grandstanding one way or the other.

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:13:49 PM PDT

  •  I agree. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, HCKAD, CenPhx, worldlotus

    If the only thing we can figure out to do is blow something up or kill somebody, we're not thinking hard enough. There are always options between nothing and military violence, and history shows over and over that "sending a message" by blowing something up doesn't work.

  •  I Agree With You Kos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx
    Someone else can step up
  •  About 2000, the UN released a study (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic, AoT, CenPhx, worldlotus

    (which link I've lost and can't find) which calculated that a 10-year effort, spending about $100B a year, could give the entire world potable water and a sound agriculture.

    Our current National Security Strategy (LOL) has done nothing to enhance our security, but has gone a long way toward making ever-more enemies while increasing civil war, chaos, and human misery in every nation we've "helped with bombs."

    Crackpot notions of "security" are so deeply embedded in our political and military elites that it is impossible to bring up anything that might actually work. Even during elections, we've heard no "Serious" candidate promote actual humanitarian efforts as a basis for National Security as opposed to military adventurism. There's not one major press outlet that has even questioned a Presidential Candidate, or issued an editorial, demanding we review what is, in reality, our National Suicide Strategy.

    Ain't going to be no terrorist coming at us for making their people able to eat and drink well. If anything, that's going to make us friends. Bombing? Not so much.


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

    by Jim P on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:15:02 PM PDT

    •  A quarter of what we spend on our military (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P, CenPhx, worldlotus

      or less, really. It's sad. We could do so much more for the world if we spent all our military money on helping people. Shit, we'd be more than half way to the $100 billion number if we just got rid of our nuclear weapons and spent the money we spend on them on helping people.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:47:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's what Richard Engel thinks will happen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tony Situ

    with different levels of U.S. involvement:

    http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/...

  •  even if (big if) consensus coalition is built, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic

    one that's not a Bushie "coalition of the willing(sic)", air superiority is the first step, regardless, and civilian casualties will reduced, if the stories of Syrian use of jury-rigged artillery ammunition used as air-dropped ordnance due to shortages is true


    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 Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:18:11 PM PDT

  •  There are definitely some strong arguments (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, Orcas George, Dr Swig Mcjigger

    against intervention. One argument that annoys me, especially from progressives though is the Assad propagandist argument that the opposition are a bunch of radicals and that therefore the alternative would be worse. Why are progressives so quick to buy this argument, the same argument that right-wing dictators have been making in one form of another for 50 years whenever their people rise up?

     I'm sure there are radical elements in the Syrian opposition just like there are radical elements in every civil war or rebellion.

     Propping up dictators and/or allowing them to commit atrocities against their people because we may not like what's on the other side is exactly why we are unpopular in the middle east and around the world.

    •  It's not Assad propaganda (0+ / 0-)

      The "opposition" is not one group, but made up of lots of different groups and some from other countries. The Syria rebel group I think people are talking about when they say the situation may get worse without Assad, is the Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra. It was founded with help from al-Quada in Iraq and has been designated a terrorist organization by the US government. Some truly horrendous actions are believed to have been committed by them in Syria.

      The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

      by CenPhx on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:36:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Its not our problem, is it? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tony Situ, New Dawning, sturunner

    If the US and Western Europe give the green light for every tinpot dictator with a grudge to gas his citizenry en masse like bugs, which is certainly what doing nothing would accomplish, you might change your mind about that.

  •  Number 2 is my reason for opposing intervention. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheLizardKing, erratic

    Number 3 is good too.
    The other two reasons are rather weak, though I'm sympathetic with Number 1.

    But at least these are legit reasons not to intervene.  These are better than the reasons we've seen in many comments over the past few days, such as:
    1. The US is evil too!
    2. Obama is a war criminal too!
    3. Obama only wants to intervene because the MIC is commanding that he do so for their war profiteering activities.
    4. OIL!!

  •  Ok then, let us do nothing and sit back and watch. (6+ / 0-)

    If us doing nothing is indeed the right position to hold, then our national interests will not be impacted in any way.

    I just wish people would stop pretending we aren't already involved in Syria and have been for a long time now. We should also stop acting as if the plan is to invade Syria like in Iraq.

    If we are going to analogize Syria to Iraq, then it is not the Bush 43 invasion that is the analog, but the Bush 41 failure to do something about the gassing of the Kurds that is closer to the present situation.

    I would also ask everyone if it was a nuke rather than chemical weapons would that change your mind and why?

    This is a morally ambiguous situation where neither side has a solid moral foundation from which to argue. The sooner people realize this, the closer we might be able to come to some kind of uneasy consensus. Unfortunately, President Obama doesn't have the same luxury and probably has privy to some information informing his decision that we, or the media, do not.

    Either way, I do not see how we are going to stop people in that region from playing out conflicts that are thousands of years in the raging.  

    The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

    by sebastianguy99 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:21:03 PM PDT

    •  It's one of the oldest neighborhoods in the world (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sebastianguy99, worldlotus

      and nobody gets along with the other folks on their the block.

      "I'll not yield. -- Wendy Davis" "Fear is a habit. I am not afraid. -- Aung San Suu Kyi"

      by sturunner on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:46:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good to see the old "secret intelligence" argument (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, HCKAD

      come back to life.   I so missed that one.   "Gosh, if only you knew what we knew."

    •  "This is a morally ambiguous situation" (0+ / 0-)

      It very much is, and better to sit it out given that we have no firm knowledge of what effects our actions will have except that they will inflict death on someone.

      Unfortunately, President Obama doesn't have the same luxury and probably has privy to some information informing his decision that we, or the media, do not.
      What luxury? And that information and where it came from is exactly what some of us are worried about. The privatized intelligence community didn't just disappear when Bush left office. Someone is lying to the president currently, I guarantee it. Maybe he can figure out who, maybe not.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:56:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You read my mind. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    Now read my sig line.

    Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity -- George Carlin

    by ZedMont on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:21:44 PM PDT

  •  Thanks Kos for the less flippant post. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sturunner, AoT
  •  Would we support Assad if the rebels used Sarin? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    Perhaps not such a rhetorical question:

    http://articles.latimes.com/...

    Testimony from victims of the conflict in Syria suggests rebels have used the nerve agent, sarin, a leading member of a UN commission of inquiry has said.

    Carla Del Ponte told Swiss TV that there were "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof".

  •  This is not for us to fix. We are not The World. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HCKAD

    Other countries need to shoulder these burdens. The US and its taxpayers are not the army against all tyrants. And we have no serious reason to intervene.

    Sometimes we have to let this crap play itself out. Are there not people in the are willing to stand up to local bullies? Does Assad realize these things rarely go in the dictator's favor?

    cheerleaders need not apply.

    by kravitz on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:23:45 PM PDT

  •  This ... What you said. (3+ / 0-)

    My emphasis.

    Yet no one calling for the bombing of Syria can explain what comes next. Drop a few bombs. Kill a few people. With luck, we may not kill too many innocents. But assuming the most precise of bombing campaigns, where only bad guys and a few Syrian Army barracks get leveled, what then? Until this question can be answered, no intervention can be justified.

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

    by emal on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:25:11 PM PDT

  •  British Parliament (8+ / 0-)

    has been debating this all day.  It's been a very good discussion.  Too bad our own Congress can't do this.  As British MP Peter Bone said:

    "Thank goodness we have a British parliamentary democracy.  In the US, you have 100 congressmen begging the president to let them debate the issue. We are so much better off in this House."

    www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23877247
     

  •  Wesley Clark Just Came Out In Favor of Action (3+ / 0-)

    See here:  http://www.usatoday.com/...

    At a time when the U.S. faces many other security threats, not to mention economic and political challenges at home, it is tempting to view action against Syria's regime as a significant distraction. Certainly, it also carries risks. A year after Saddam was bombed in 1993, he deployed Republican Guard Divisions to Iraq's southern border into the same sort of attack positions they had occupied before the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. A few years later, the Republican Congress passed, with Democratic support, a resolution advocating "regime change." You can't always control the script after you decide to launch a limited, measured attack.

    But President Obama has rightly drawn a line at the use of chemical weapons. Some weapons are simply too inhuman to be used. And, as many of us learned during 1990s, in the words of President Clinton, "Where we can make a difference, we must act."

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:27:09 PM PDT

  •  as gridlocked as america is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i dunno, greenbell, HCKAD

    one thing all the pols can agree on is bombing and pillaging in the name of democracy and freedom.

  •  Reuters and a dim glimmer of hope. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i dunno, sturunner, Tony Situ

    Reuters is up with a story saying there is no smoking gun proving Assad directly ordered the chemical weapon attack.

    U.S. security sources and sources close to allied governments say evidence suggests that the initial decision to use chemical weapons may have been made by a field commander rather than in an order from the highest level of the Syrian government.
    U.S. officials ultimately, of course, hold Assad responsible regardless of where the command and control lies, the article goes on to say.
    According to a former U.S. official who is an expert in the region, one possibility is that the Syrian ground commander in charge of clearing out the area which was attacked, under heavy pressure from superiors, may have made the initial decision to use chemical weapons before sending in ground troops. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.
    I take this as an attempt, a very slim chance, to try to find a way out of this mess. Assad could throw his commander under the bus, or the U.S. allies could demand absolute proof Assad gave the order. It's probably not enough, but it seems to show some people are actively trying to slow down the juggernaut.
  •  Jusity killing? Isn't history filled with this (0+ / 0-)

    stuff?  I hope we can find a non-violent way to help this situation in Syria.  The deaths of Syrian people from most likely chemicals is hideous to look at.  

  •  Wait a minute... you listened to BOTH sides (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, worldlotus

    of the argument before making up your mind?

    Are you some kind of space alien or something?

    Non futuis apud Boston

    by kenlac on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:35:37 PM PDT

  •  That is simply not true (0+ / 0-)
    massacred hundreds of thousands of his own people.
    No record like that at all.   There are 100,000 dead in the Surian civil war from BOTH sides.   Assad is terrible, but the jihadist rebels are worse.
  •  What about a one off smack for using CW? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sturunner

    Forget regime change, helping one side.  How about something limited and punitive?

    Still not crazy about it, but I can imagine it working.

    I googled "confirmation bias" and Daily Kos raided my house! And and and smashed my hard drives! Ask CNN, it's all truthy!

    by Inland on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:39:14 PM PDT

    •  But smack who? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus

      Do we really know who used the chemical weapons?  It sure doesn't sound like we know, and if our "proof" is being provided by Israeli intelligence, the proof becomes even more suspect.  

      Members of Parliament in today's debate kept coming back to the question of "who benefits" from this chemical weapons attack.  Most seemed to agree that Assad had no reason to use them, at least not at that moment.  

      So who do we "one off smack," and doesn't any action we take run the risk of making everything worse, especially for civilians?  

    •  Europe could do that (0+ / 0-)

      Or anyone really.

      It's just tossing a couple missiles Assad's way and say "naughty boy, if you do that again there will be some real punishment." Which I'm convinced will happen anyway.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:58:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We are not the world's cop to arrest CW wrongdoers (0+ / 0-)

    after all we haven't ratified the ICC treaty which deals with
    crimes against humanity.
    Civil wars are fought to the bitter end, intervention will prolong the war unless we massively invade which we have zero reason to do so.
    Maybe Erdogan will invade to save his Muslim Brother pals,
    just not us.

  •  Let's at least hear them out first. (0+ / 0-)

    So far I haven't heard this administration claiming the "go it alone" strategy of the Bush era. There are a lot of dangers and issues that need to be overcome when considering doing anything in Syria. But I do have faith that this administration isn't going to go in without having a clear plan forward that is reasonable for all of us.

    Obama knows how war weary this country is currently and how empty our budgets are for any engagement without end. So many negative views on any involvement seems a bit inhumane when I listen to them. We deserve to do something to help this situation so that less innocent civilians are killed. Turning a blind eye is unethical. How many people here have demonized this government for not engaging in some humanitarian effort to save people in other conflict areas? In Africa? In Central America? You name it, there is some place that has left people questioning, "Why didn't we do something then?"

    The least we can do is build a coalition of countries that would contribute towards an effort to end this bloodshed. Sitting by and watching it continue is as good as helping Assad to kill more people. We have done this correctly in the past. It's time to let this administration show us how they plan on doing it before we demonize it.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:45:28 PM PDT

  •  More people should be making point 2. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    msdrown, sturunner, greenbell, AoT

    If the French are ready to roll, go for it. Why is everything always our problem?

    ....no longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

    by TFinSF on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:45:53 PM PDT

  •  Neither Obama, Bill or Hillary Clinton would agree (0+ / 0-)

    with you.

    I assume Obama will take some military action in response to President Assad's use of poison gas on civilians, including children.

    I assume both Bill and Hillary Clinton will publicly support the action he elects to take.

  •  http://www.dailykos.com/blog/soaglow/ (0+ / 0-)

    I agree wholeheartedly

    “The only way evil flourishes is for good people to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

    by soaglow on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:50:34 PM PDT

  •  what about serious economic sanctions??? Far (0+ / 0-)

    less costly than war.

  •  I yearn for the day... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    ...when the first wave of Americans into any conflict zone will be highly trained aid workers, medical professionals with ample supplies and equipment, and reporters with deep regional expertise.

    That being said, I also look forward to a day when no regime would ever think of using chemical weapons. And it may well take making an example out of Assad for that day to come.

    But I really want the UN inspectors to finish their work before we do anything.

    "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

    by JR on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:53:16 PM PDT

  •  Reason number 2 is very powerful, which is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    not to deny the validity of the others, but...

    When we decide to play utlimate cop by ourselves we:

    1. Expend resources better used for legitimate American interests such as our actual defense or -- gee, building a robust and reliable economy.

    2. Put a target on our backs.  Every military action makes somebody angry and makes somebody want revenge. So easy to be the Great Satan when you are always the one running in and flexing your muscles (and sacrificing the fine and committed young people who form those muscles).

    3.  Put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage vis a vis the people whose interests we are protecting. We spend money and take risks and lose people and make enemies.  They don't.

    I'm sure there is a very long list that could follow, but those come immediately to mind.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:53:42 PM PDT

  •  I'm for recalling Congress to get a vote on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sturunner

    approval, then if approved wait for the same from the UK. Then, get as many countries as we can, in addition to France, to join in.

    It would be interesting to see what other countries do if Congress rejects intervention.

  •  Our Armed Forces are tired fighting wars for last (3+ / 0-)

    12 years. I don't think anybody is looking for another involvement with another civil war. There's no good solutions here. However published reports say there's no smoking gun linking Assad to the chemical gas killings.

    http://www.reuters.com/...

    Do we have adequate reason and support for another war and rebuild efforts when our government even can't pay its own employees fully?

    Please no more wars!

  •  What if the goal is to force Asad to negotiate? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    louisprandtl

    The Syrian conflict is a stalemate, with Damascus currently showing some momentum.

    What if American air strikes could blunt that momentum by hitting the government's air defenses, then aircraft, then fuel dumps, then ammunition depots and then armored vehicles?

    What if Assad gets the message that we're not going to let him win, and we're not going to let him lose? Would he choose to continue the stalemate? Or would he agree to a cease-fire and peace talks?

    The "punitive" attacks proposed in response to the use of chemical weapons is pure diplomatic cover. American military action will have a strategic purpose, or it won't happen.

    Now, this may sound like Nixon's attempt to "bomb North Vietnam to the peace table". But it's different. We're a third party in this crisis, using the carrot and the stick to induce the antagonists to give up the fight and negotiate for peace.

    A peace conference is our best chance to marginalize the Islamists. It's the best chance to give the Alawite minority some security guarantees, to let Russia participate in Syria's future rather than meddle, and to start return the refugees from Jordan and Turkey before winter.

    There are no guarantees. The risks are real, the margins of error are slim... but wouldn't that be a worthy use of American military power?

    The great danger is that it won't work, and Washington will be tempted to escalate until it does. But again, the fiction that we're only conducting a punitive mission in response to the use of CW on civilians allows PBO to walk away if the action does not produce results.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:59:34 PM PDT

    •  the historical record on this. (0+ / 0-)

      Interesting point, but I am trying to inventory within my historical knowledge of events where this worked.

      Serbs?  Not sure what made Serbs retreat.  Some claimed it was the Russians telling Serbs they wanted them to back down.

      Saddam.  No

      N. Vietnamese.  No.

      Nazis.  No.

      Japanese.  No.

      Gernada.  No.

      Reagan shelling Beirut.  No.  

      In general, it seems that only total defeat of an enemy will gain in capitulation.

      •  In WWII the U.S. was a belligerent party to the (0+ / 0-)

        conflict. In Vietnam we chose to support one side against the other and wound up doing their fighting for them.  Grenada was either a "rescue mission" or a simple act of colonial conquest (depending on your party affiliation).

        Serbia is a good example of using air power to "level the playing field" between two belligerents. We never threatened to invade and occupy Serbia. We just made it very costly for them to occupy Bosnia and Kosovo. The Russians didn't tell them to stand down. Moscow merely said, "we're in no position to help you".

        The '91 war in Kuwait was never intended to bring Iraq and Kuwait to the negotiating table. It was intended to eject Saddam Hussein's army and get the oil flowing again.

        Reagan's intervention in Beirut in '82 holds the most pertinent lessons for us. I would also look hard at Bush-I's parting gift to Bill Clinton - the 1992-93 humanitarian mission to pacify Somalia.

        Reagan was still operating under a (misguided) Cold War imperative to demonstrate "resolve" to the Soviets. Clinton was an inexperienced 1st-term president with an inexperienced Secretary of Defense (Les Aspin) and a Pentagon brimming with over-confidence in the wake of their victory in Kuwait.

        I don't see any of those factors in play at this time.

        I think PBO has demonstrated that  he's capable of ordering precise, limited action - and resisting the  "mission creep" that led to the 1993 debacle in Mogadishu.

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 05:57:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A different frame of Reference... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    Wouldn't a sudden return of a shooting war in the Middle East allow the military to kinda blow up their sequester?  I figure Congress will be crawling over each other to show their 'Patriotic Support' of the military by passing special funding bills for the military.

    They will pass with either no Republican Demand for an offset, or will offset with greater cuts to social survival programs.  

    Having said that, I wonder about the Military's motivation for being so ready for another shooting war...

    ... the watchword of true patriotism: "Our country - when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right." - Carl Schurz; Oct. 17, 1899

    by NevDem on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:04:16 PM PDT

  •  You know, about that red line... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, CenPhx

    I think that's why we're going to light them up. Because just like the sequester gambit, the president didn't think someone would be THAT crazy. Wrong! He's got to stop doing that. He should have said, "If Syria resorts to chemical weapons it would be cause for grave concern." And left his options open. But let's be honest. He fucked up. And that's no good reason to go to start killing people. Machetes, sarin, its a fine comb that can sort the difference. Dead is dead.

    "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." -- Irish Proverb

    by Our Man in Twisp on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:06:03 PM PDT

    •  and if he said that (0+ / 0-)

      he would have been painted (possibly rightfully so) as being soft on WMDs. Saying it would be a grave concern is tantamount to saying that if you use WMDs then nothing is going to happen to you. I mean, unless you think that should actually be our position.

      •  But they've defined even the pressure cooker (0+ / 0-)

        bomb a WMD, so they've already totally muddied the definition.

      •  I don't think so (0+ / 0-)

        If you say "grave concern" and then it happens and then you blow three Syrian air bases into confetti then something did indeed happen to you. And if we say "grave concern" and nothing happened, then nothing happened ... as our choice would be. But saying "red line" well, you then have no choice. We have no choice now. Threat credibility is on the line. And that really sucks because this will accomplish nothing. It risks much. I mean, just go through the posts above. We are nowhere near united on this. That alone is cause for caution. The president put himself in a box, which he is prone to do.  Maybe he can make a case that because nerve gas was used then we have to do something (what?) but I think the argument is not that. I think the argument is that we said "cross that red line and kapow!"

        Better he be painted soft on "grave concern" than soft on not following up on a "red line" threat.

        "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." -- Irish Proverb

        by Our Man in Twisp on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:02:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My short rebuttal (4+ / 0-)

    Here is my short rebuttal to your points:

    1) If we were to actually send in troops on the ground, I may agree with you. But there are no indications that this is the case. Lobbing some missiles or dropping some bombs doesn't seem to be a very strenuous use of our military power. At least compared to what it COULD be.

    2) I disagree that it's none of our business for one important reason: This is about more than Syria. Some of the biggest arguments for going into Syria are both 1) We can't say using chemical weapons are a red line and then nothing, and 2) people shouldn't be able to use chemical weapons without repercussions.

    Now, I suppose one could disagree with the second point and say Obama should have kept his mouth shut on the first point. But the fact is: Obama did paint a red line, and I think it's arguably dangerous to set the precedent that we won't respond to the actual use of WMDs merely because it's inconvenient to us to do so at that time.

    3) See my response to #2 to the answer to this. This is about answering the use of chemical weapons as a sign both to Syria as well as anyone else who might use chemical weapons. Whether one agrees that that's a legitimate reason, that's one thing. But that is one of the primary arguments in favor of a strike.

    Also: nothing is going to stop Syria from spiraling downward it seems. I suppose that's an argument that we shouldn't bomb, because it won't make a difference. But also it's not like bombing will create a spiraling that isn't already occurring either.

    4) And here we come to the problem of your whole analysis: you dismiss the fact of whether chemical weapons were used or not as irrelevant in your first sentence, when the entire basis of the debate over whether we should take action or not is based entirely on the contention that chemical weapons were used.

    It'd be like sitting there on December 8, 1941 deciding whether we should go to war, while declaring that the fact Pearl Harbor was bomb is irrelevant to the discussion. It's the very reason for the discussion.

    •  We Should Intervene (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      varii

      This is unlike Iraq where we planned on going in with troops on the assumption that Iraq has WMDs when no proof was given.  If the UN finds that Syria used chemical weapons on its own people because it was easier and less messy than conventional weapons but more cowardly, then the US has to do something.  Russia and Iran supporting Syria will look like hypocrites to the rest of the world when both countries have had to deal with their own people being gassed in recent history.   To me that is like Russia and Iran saying using chemical weapons is ok.  If the whole world shrugs on this all bets are off on any other country in the future using chemical weapons.

      "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

      by rssrai on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:46:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What!?! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus
    Europeans are nervous about an escalated refugee crisis on their doorstep, and they have every reason to be concerned. So while the EU can claim an actual strategic concern, the United States cannot. And given that the EU has a larger GDP than the United States, it has the resources to protect its own interests.
    Excuse me. Europe outside, maybe Germany, is dead broke. The English spent the lot backing up the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Libya, etc. Cameron is all for backing the U.S. in Syria, but meanwhile he is throwing crippled people under the bus, privatising the NHS, trying to frack hell out of the water supply...and for what? To try to get a better debt ratio after years of making war aand paying for it. We're f*cking bankrupt and, if we interfere in Syrian politics, one set of people or another will come over and blow up the Tube. No thanks.

    “The universe implodes. No matter.” -Liam Williams

    by northsylvania on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:10:17 PM PDT

  •  Heck, you don't even need (5+ / 0-)

    any other reason than the first:

    1. We are overstretched.
    This is madness. Our country is falling apart from the inside out. Our government is gutting every single benefit and anything else that's good about this country. We don't have the money for another fucking WAR.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:10:48 PM PDT

  •  agree with this whole heartedly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    we can not accomplish good, so no point in the US killing anyone.

  •  Side note on earlier posting. (3+ / 0-)

    While driving to work,  listening to BBC interview Red Cross leader in Damascus on the chem attacks.  She feared the bombings would worsen the violence.

    But then an interesting comment.  She understand the nature of the chemical attack and was appalled but then she said the number of victims is small to the thousands of victims killed through bombs and guns.  Seemed she didn't want to elevate the deaths of chem innocents over and above the slaughter of innocents with conventional weapons and leave a false impression of what is going on.

    And here is a point out of that which she didn't make.  The administration is rumored to be planning days of bombings on multiple targets (at least 50).  Those bombings may end up killing more innocents than the chemical attack.

  •  It's Friday August 30th in Syria. (0+ / 0-)

    Anyone here the cruise missiles yet? Red lines are hard to see sometimes. Might want to try another color.


    Reality occupies a dimly lit corner somewhere on the edge of town. I drive by every now and then on my way to visit mom. That’s where the cookie jar is.

    by glb3 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:30:18 PM PDT

  •  I agree with kos on this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, Kentucky DeanDemocrat

    My reasons:

    1 - It's not our fight; it's internecine strife between their various factions and we don't have the first clue what it's all about since the reasons are lost to the mists of history.  Stay the fuck OUT of it.  I'm really tired of hearing stories about "Whoops, we messed up the target and got a family or a wedding or private function instead of the military target again."  That's not how to win friends and influence these "enemies" the paranoid politicians keep talking about.  The US military and US government have created these "enemies" [read: criminals who belong to various little criminal gangs that are euphemistically called "Al Qaeda-like" groups because that name was brainwashed into many of us like one of Pavlov's experiments, so somehow we're supposed to react with fear and let our politicians take our rights away in the name of security.... wrong, wrong, wrong!].  I don't want our elected officials to approve any more war of any kind anywhere.  Period.  Full stop.

    2 - The US is still drowning in debt from the illegal and unconstitutional Bushista wars.  We just simply cannot afford more military action anywhere; in fact, we desperately need to cut military budgets and spending.  It will be many years before loans or other debts from the illegal Bushista wars are paid.  Don't get into any more stupid, fucking, immoral, unethical, dishonorable, illegal, and unconstitutional wars of choice based on lies until AFTER we pay off the war bills for George the Lesser and whatever Obama added to his expenditures by continuing the unconstitutional and illegal Bushista wars.  [That's so many years down the road I'll die of old age long before those bills are paid off.]

    3 - Besides not being able to afford another illegal war, we need to spend our tax dollars here at home for things like education, repairing or creating new infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.), switching to a not-for-profit single-payer health insurance program (could be run like Medicare or could involve a Medicare buy-in) and a whole long list of things that could improve the lives of Americans in the US.  It's past time to end the warmongering credit card spending spree that can only benefit corporations, military-industrial complex, banksters, and Casino Wall Street.
    ~~~~~

    To Pollsters:  Ask a sensible question that's not front-loaded as a push-poll question.

    Do you approve of the US military dropping bombs in Syria?

    Yes
    No

    Normal people will answer No.
    ~~~~~

    Really.  NO individual person in her/his right mind wants war.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:30:41 PM PDT

  •  Wow Syria intervention just got voted down in UK (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CenPhx

    per Twitter.

  •  Thank God you wrote this diary - for me it's (0+ / 0-)

    a clarification. I can agree with you aon this one nd I think it is good that you used clear cut formulations for what you wanted to say.

    I have drawn from your first diary (the one others called flippant and the one which made me angry) the opposite from what you say here right now.

    So, thanks.

    Having spent the whole day to find all the "best images" of attacks and wars of the last 30  years in which either Iraq, Iran, the Kurds, the US, Libya, Syria and Egypt were involved, I can only say, also "surgical strikes" like the four day attack on Libya is not something I wish on anybody.

    Civil Men Are For Civil Rights

    by mimi on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:39:52 PM PDT

  •  Kos, stick to politics (3+ / 0-)

    Your analysis is sophomoric.

    Gas is a horrific way to die and the damage done to survivors leads to a life of torture. Gas is not an effective weapon against the military. It's an agent of mass death and terror against civilian populations.

    The U.S. made a grave error when it enabled Saddam Hussein's gassing of Iranians. The U.S. has failed over and over in the middle east since the 50's when we conspired with the U.K. to overthrow the elected government of Iran. The U.K's failures go back for 100 years.

    The blood spilled in the middle east is blood on our hands because of our historical involvement.

    I don't favor a weak response. I don't favor getting involved in a protracted war. I favor holding the people in command responsible.

    The people who in the chain of command who gave the orders to gas civilians should pay.

    The Nuremberg conventions should be enforced.

    If the powerful paid the price for wars, wars would cease.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:47:04 PM PDT

  •  No. More. Wars. Period. (4+ / 0-)

    That position is not open for change or persuasion. I'm sorry people in Syria are being slaughtered but slaughtering more people isn't the answer.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:51:26 PM PDT

    •  really? just lay down and die whenever anyone (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      MargaretPOA

      tries to kill you? Really?

      Pacifism is the product of a puerile, oh never mind

      Those who quote Santayana are condemned to repeat him. Me

      by Mark B on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:33:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wait, somebody tried to kill US? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus

        I must have missed that part.  

      •  Who said I'm Pacifist? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus

        I served in  Persian Gulf War number 1. No, I'm not a Pacifist and I've never "laid down" when somebody has tried to hurt or take advantage of me. I've seen too much. More slaughter isn't the answer to slaughter. I was against Bush's wars and I'm against this potential action by Obama. No, I'm not a Pacifist but I think I know what most people think about making assumptions. But thanks anyway for throwing unfounded insults at me. Flagged.

        "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

        by MargaretPOA on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 06:34:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Cameron just lost the vote (6+ / 0-)

    on Syria intervention in UK
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

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

    by valadon on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:55:44 PM PDT

  •  and what do we do if Assad starts putting Sarin in (0+ / 0-)

    Tel Aviv? Because if you don't do something here, he'll have no incentive to keep his Sarin out of Tel Aviv.

    Those who quote Santayana are condemned to repeat him. Me

    by Mark B on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:37:33 PM PDT

  •  A long and winding road to the right conclusion. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kentucky DeanDemocrat

    For me, it's much simpler... I just say
    Fuck War.

    Nuclear Reactor = Dirty Bomb

    by olo on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:39:12 PM PDT

  •  Hoping President Obama listens (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you Kos for writing this piece.  Given that the British House of Common voted NO for British military intervention, if President Obama starts sending missles into Syria without congressional support or world support, we are back to the days of GWB.  Given the fact that a UN team is in Syria, lobbing missles doesn't seem smart either but downright dangerous for them.  They could easily be taken hostage or killed outright.

    Obama risks his presidency and his support within the U.S. and the world community if he goes ahead with this badly conceived plan.  

    How sending missles stops future gas attacks makes no sense and however feel good for some to strike at the Asad regime for the use of lethal gas isn't clear to me.  This is neither a smart idea for a nation exhausted by continuous war and hubris.  

    I sent an email to the WH urging that more time be given to allow the weapons inspectors time to do their job and our congress to debate the necessity of military action.  

    Yes, I know our congress has done little other than get paid and go on vacation or its favorite legislative idea, defund Obamacare for the millionth time. but Obama risks his legacy by losing his patience, striking out before all the facts are known and we have some consensus among our allies and congress about the wisdom of this dangerous move

    Hoping NO DRAMA OBAMA prevails as he contemplates the next steps with respect to Syria.  

    Legacy and the good international will President Obama has gained can go up in smoke with missles hitting anything on the ground in Syria.    

  •  The GOP is ready to pounce (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    I am not saying that as a way to add to the case Kos is making, but its true and it has been bugging me all week.  

    I too want us to do something.  I too think wish someone would act so we don't have to.  

    I am too busy to take in all the thinking on this over the last few days.  But it seems to me, listening to NPR in the car, that the GOP is aligned on all sides here.  Some are saying its unconstitutional to do anything without congressional approval.  Some are calling for swift, swifter action.  Some are calling for dialogue.  Whatever Obama does, they are aligned to disapprove loudly.  

    So, that is what Obama faces on this one -- roughly the same he faces no matter what he does on any issue.  There will be loud moaning from the GOP if he so much as ties his shoes in the morning.  

    The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

    by not2plato on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 05:42:18 PM PDT

  •  I am not a pacifist or an isolationist, but I (0+ / 0-)

    think military intervention ( at this time) is an absolute disaster waiting to happen.

    The price of anything is the amount of life we are willing to exchange for it.

    by theslinger on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 07:41:27 PM PDT

  •  Enumerated opposition (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    This is probably the first logically laid out justification I've seen for opposing an intervention in Syria written in terms that resonate with me.

    Those who ignore the future are condemned to repeat it.

    by enigmamf on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 09:19:45 PM PDT

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