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We find ourselves in an entirely different situation than Iraq a decade ago. The use of chemical weapons against a civilian population is a step too far for the international community, even though it is gross that we would let hundreds of thousands die by gunfire and rocket, but disease and poison is too much for us.

No one wants this. No one wants to deal with Syria. Because Syria has no oil.

Isn't that a tragedy in itself? If Syria were rich with resources does anyone imagine the slaughter that has taken place between Syrian citizens and Assad's brutal regime would have been permitted to go on as long as it has? If Syria had oil things would be different, but instead Syria has Iran behind it and all of the tangles that regional hegemony entails. Syria also has Russia as it's gate way to that Iranian oil. Syria has a lot of geopolitical problems for America and zero natural resources to plunder, and that is why thousands of Syrians have been permitted to die in their civil war as the international community who has sat idly by suddenly now demands that something must be done in the name of doing something.

None of the countries that claim "something must be done" are actually doing something. The loudest voices against Syria coming out of Europe have been French, as the French president recently stated that he fully supports a military strike even after the British said No. So we have France on our side, and this strike will consist of America buying cruise missiles and firing them at stuff in order to "do something"

And NO ONE has a plan for what happens after we did that something that had to be done.

What is that something? Getting rid of Assad? Getting involved in another middle eastern entanglement for years to come, where we sow a field of cruise missiles and harvest a crop of terrorists decades later? Will the people who live where we are bombing no why? Will they be grateful? Will they thank us for it? History suggests they shall not. No one in the international community can tell us what we should do beyond doing something, and in that, Syria is exactly like Iraq a decade ago.

Unlike Iraq a decade ago we can actually prove that there are WMDs in Syria. Whereas the run-up to Iraq was contrived and drawn out as the Bush Administration tried to convince America that Iraq equals al Qaeda and than shifted the goal to WMDs, Syria Military actually have chemical WMDs and are using them in a civil war against their own people right now. In the past we had more time for debate because Iraq was so clearly contrived by Bush/Cheney. Syria just went chemical last weekend and it truly is a crime, one beyond the normal crime we allow called conventional warfare.

More below the fold

So what is to be done? It seems wrong to say that we should do nothing, and yet rushing into Syria haphazardly with an x-box kind of warfare style seems way worse than doing nothing, or should we be trying altogether different avenues? Do you remove Assad? With who? Cripple his army with strikes? Or just chuck a few bombs at the problem and then go back to not caring that a nation with no resources trapped between Russia and Iran is permitted to murder themselves by firearms and other conventional means? In a sense I think we do have a moral obligation to act, but how? That is the pitfall we now face in dealing with Syria, which presents all of the dangers that Iraq represented a decade ago all over again, a thought all of America seems to understand and have a bad taste for.

When Bush brought us into war in Iraq we struck first. Our forces overwhelmed Iraq, we faced zero resistance. Syria, on the other hand, is an ongoing battlefield that we enter, wholly unlike Iraq a decade ago, we have no Green Zones or for that matter supply lines though each could easily be established, but that's the kicker, once those are established do we ever leave? And how? And there's the catch, once you are there, you own it. If we get involved in Syria and things get worse we shall share in the blame in a region where we already take blame enough as it is. Every step offers another pitfall, but the alternative is to be idle and condemn Syria to death by international apathy.

There is a thin red chemical line between Iraq a decade ago and Syria today. One had no WMDs but had oil, the other has no oil but they have WMDs. What to do? What to do? Well no one knows what to do, but we should at least unleash the military industrial complex for a bit, just to be sure. Cruise missile diplomacy to mask our apathy for a battle field with no resources. In the name of doing something, whatever that is. That is the difference between Iraq and Syria. Nothing more than a thin red chemical line.

   

   


   
Poll

Syria, what should we do?

6%6 votes
57%55 votes
16%16 votes
7%7 votes
7%7 votes
4%4 votes

| 95 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  England Decided Against It (11+ / 0-)

    So the "Step to Far" for the international community isn't quite what you suppose.

    In the end it seems that the real issue is a long-running policy evidenced prior to 9/11 that was looking to produce region-wide political transformation.

    According to General Wesley Clark, this policy had a specific order of accomplishment:

    Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and then Iran.

  •  All your points are good. (9+ / 0-)

    And tragic.  And shameful.  And true.

    Yet, I believe we can't do nothing.  But what should the "do" be I think no one is sure.

    •  I think we can be fairly certain that lobbing a (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, 3goldens, aliasalias, Lujane, JVolvo

      few missiles, likely to hit people that had absolutely nothing to do with gas attacks, is what we should NOT do.

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      by Bisbonian on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:10:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What should we do? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, Euroliberal

      I know what we should do. Investigate the fucking site to determine if chemical weapons were even used. Then investigate to determine who used them.

      People say we shouldn't compare a Syrian bombing campaign with the Iraq occupation. And, obviously, there are big differences. But there's one comparison that is most appropriate: Just as the case for attacking Iraq was based on lies, so is the case for a6ttacking Syria.

      Barack Obama came out the other day, along with Biden and the entire White House PR operation, and declared unequivocally that Assad was responsible for the CW attack.

      This was a bald faced lie. The truth is, they don't know who did it, or even if CW were used. Intelligence officials have leaked to the Associate Press that they don't even know who controls all of Syria's CW stockpiles.

      Back in May of this year, allegations were also made that Assad forced used CW. But the UN team sent in to investigate determined that in all probability, it was actually so-called "rebels."

      This, of course, proves nothing, but that there is an extremely high probability that it was rebels this time too.

      Especially when you take in the fact that the rebels are desperate. All summer they been begging for help. They are not only losing the war, but they're rapidly losing the support of the people as their own atrocities, and those of jihadi fighters and al Qaeda types that have flooded their country, rack up.

      Assad would have been stupid to the point of insanity to gas his own city. He had zero motive. To the contrary, he had every motive not to, especially after Obama went running around drawing red lines.

      I simply can't believe that after all the complete bullshit the US and Israeli intelligence community fed us about Iraq in 2002, that people are blindly excepting their word now. Yes, some of the names have changed. But the same entrenched powers are still in control of the national security state as they were in 2002. The same entrenched powers want to take out Syria and isolate Iran.

      What the fuck is wrong with people? It's as though Judy Miller and Curveball never happened.

      Maybe Assad did it. It's not impossible. But to just accept on blind faith, bases on assertions from two intelligence agencies with a proven track record of lying us into wars,  that he, defying all reason for which he is known to possess, did the one thing that could ensure his defeat, is incomprehensible to me.

      It's good to be open minded until your brain falls out.

      And as for the diarist, I don't even recognize you. You used to be a truthteller. This....diary is nothing but an exercise in moral ambiguity.

      Liberals, progressives, people of good conscience, need to make clear that dropping bombs is not an acceptable instrument of foreign policy.

      I can't even believe I have to say that. Have we become so morally denormalized that we accept the video game, cartoon reality of bombing campaigns as depicted on teevee, without any awareness of the terror they unleash on innocent people? On innocent children?

      What the fuck do you think happens when you starting bombing people? Surgical strikes my ass. It creates mass hysteria, death and chaos.

      There's no such thing as a constructive bomb. Have we fully descended into barbarism now, even on the left, to where we don't know this anymore?

      Are we so stupid now, so brainwashed to think that there's a way to bomb a country without unleashing the nightmare of war?

      Disgusted.

      •  Bullshit. Just pure BS (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radmul
        they don't know who did it, or even if CW were used.
        You're in pure denial.
        •  Am I? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Euroliberal

          Well, by all means, show me the fucking evidence.

          Waiting....

          •  From AP (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aliasalias, Lujane
            The official conceded there are caveats in the report and there is no proof saying Assad personally ordered the attack. There was no mention in the report of the possibility that a rogue element inside Assad's government or military could have been responsible, the senior official said.
            And more...
            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.
            You should really read the whole article. And then tell me who's in denial.

            Look, I made clear that Assad might be responsible. I just want to see credible evidence.

            And a claim from Mossad about a phone call is nothing close to credible.

  •  There would be no boots on the ground... (7+ / 0-)

    that for one is a certainty.  No, none, zero, zilch, foreign troops would ever go into Syria.

    All strikes would be airborn.  Planes launching from carriers in the Mediterrian to surgically hit military sites, possibly troop concentrations and air bases, is more likely.

    Would it be enough to tip the balance of power over to the resistance and remove Assad?  Unknown, given the support of Iran and Russia.  

    Would it lengthen the conflict? Possibly.  

    Would the winners be any better than the losers?  Who can say.

    In the end, it is all but certain the U.S. will attack the Syrian military for using chemical weapons.  But it is more likely that that attack will be a one-off strike against military targets thought to possess chemical weapons with the warning that more will come if they are used again.

    As you say, Syria does not have oil.

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:33:02 AM PDT

  •  I vote no involvement in Syria right now. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Losty

    I have a different view of the world than many here. I see our military as a tool to be used to advance American interests. Not American corporate interests, but American interests. The interests of the American people as a whole.

    I supported the Bush decision to send forces into Afghanistan because they hosted a terror group that attacked us, the American people.

    My feelings on Iraq were more ambivalent. Bush lied about WMD's, that I thought was always reasonably obvious, but everyone just ignored the obvious and we invaded. That said, the U.S. had already been in a "kind of" state of war with Saddam ever since he invaded Kuwait. Clinton, and then Bush, were quite aggressively enforcing the no fly zones. Imagine if a foreign power enforced no fly zones in the US. We sure as hell would consider that a state of war. So we were already in a state of war with Iraq and what Bush did was needlessly escalate it when what we really needed was to draw down. There was no American interest in enforcing those no fly zones. No benefit to the people of the US. Our military isn't a tool of goodwill or charity, nor should it be.

    So back to Syria. I set aside all the moralizing nonsense about "doing something" for people because I simply reject the use of the military for those purposes.

    I see absolutely no interest in intervening there at all. No benefit whatsoever to the American people. It's our military. We pay for it. It should serve us, not the MIC or the UN.

    •  Except, you also want to be the dominate force... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, ExpatGirl, Claudius Bombarnac

      in the world.  You can't do that if you don't let the others play in your yard.

      The U.S seems to want it both ways.  It wants to dictate to the world what it considers "red lines" and "acceptable behaviour" but doesn't want to be responsible for enforcing these lines and behaviours.  So you are expansionist in some areas and isolationist in others.  

      That is an unworkable formula.  If you want to dictate terms to the world, you've got to use your big stick to benefit your freinds and punish your enemies.  You can't just take the "what's in it for me" approach and expect the rest of the world to go along with it.

      Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

      by LiberalCanuck on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:39:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The US has lost it's position as the dominant (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias

        player in the MENA playground. It has become the school bully who was kicked out but still returns to throw rocks across the fence. It has lost respect all across the region.

        How is it possible to get any lower than the 3% approval rating for Obama and a confidence rating of 1%?

        July, 2013, Zogby Research Services (ZRS) conducted a nationwide face-to-face survey of 5,042 Egyptian adults

        - President Obama, who had earned high marks among Egyptians following his “Address to the Muslim World” delivered at the University of Cairo in 2009, has now dropped to a 3% positive rating. Confidence in the United States is at 1%.
        - Egyptians are divided on the matter of how important it is for their country to have good rela­tions with the United States, with 48% saying it is important and 51% saying it is not important.
        - Two-thirds of all Egyptians feel that the United States was too supportive of President Morsi. And more than 8 in 10 feel that “Egypt was harmed by the U.S. policy of support for Morsi.”
        - When asked about their reactions to the calls by some American politicians to “suspend U.S. aid until there is a legitimately elected government in Egypt,” 18% respond that “it makes me happy,” 24% say “it makes me angry,” but 56% say they “don’t care, because Egypt doesn’t need U.S. aid.
        - Only 36% agree that the United States has some understanding, while 62% say that the United States has little or no understanding of Egypt and its people

      •  the treaty signed by 190 nations draws the line... (0+ / 0-)

        the US does not draw the line unilaterally... what others do or do not do about what is supposed to be a near universal renunciation of the use of these weapons is another question. Only a handful of nations can project the sort of military power that a response would require... others would need to ally with the resources and capability of one of these few global reach powers... and some of them are a bit on the barely able side.

        so if the US does nothing... then most others would end up doing nothing at all.

        It is like the League of nations... it became a toothless joke when it failed to act and was outed as a club with no bite... when there was no will there was no way to make its declarations stick....... and if the consensus now is to just pretend that treaties that declare certain weapons or acts as totally unacceptable and worthy of direct and swift sanctions or action... can just be quietly laid to rest that is a very dangerous precedent for the future... a future that goes in the wrong direction. The right direction is to make the current agreements stick and get the US to sign on to more of them... as soon as can be managed... mines, cluster bombs, white phosphorus, napalm, depleted uranium etc. Regressing in what is tolerated does not bode well for the future... Dictators everywhere take heart... you can stock up on the latest as well as old favorites in chemical suppression technology for insurgencies without real fear of international approbation.

        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

        by IreGyre on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 01:03:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent piece by Larry Wilkerson on TRNN (6+ / 0-)
    The Most Sought After Chess Piece

    Larry Wilkerson: With Saudi Arabia heavily funding the opposition and Iran backing Assad, the Syrian civil war has spiraled into a global struggle for power with the potential for greater catastrophe -   August 30, 13
    ...
    WILKERSON: Well, General Dempsey's comment is wise, sagacious, and smart. I wouldn't want to touch this tar baby with my left hand and then get my right hand, my head, my feet, and everything else ensnarled in it, which is probably what we're going to do.

    Let's back up for a moment. First of all, Syria is not in the national interest of the United States of America. That's a major point to be made. It is in the humanitarian interest of the United States that the killings stop. And the best way to do that is through diplomacy, hard talks, an embargo on arms that's as enforced as our current sanctions regime against Iran is, for example, or our embargo against Cuba is. And forcing people to sit down and talk, including the Iranians, the Syrians, the Saudis, the Turks, the Russians, the Chinese, all the people that have a dog in this fight, they'll all sit down and talk. That's the only way we're going to end this is with a political solution. If it means Assad stays in power for a little bit longer and an interim government comes in to share power with them, so what? As long as it stops the killing.

    A few cruise missiles aimed at a red line the president ineptly laid down with regard to chemical weapons is not going to do anything except exacerbate and add and increase in violence. So this doesn't make any sense. General Dempsey is absolutely right that it's not in the interests of the United States to be ensnared in this civil war and ultimately probably a much wider regional conflict.

    DESVARIEUX: So, Larry, it sounds like you're advocating for a political solution. And in your opinion, is this the most constructive foreign policy for the Syrian people themselves?


    More at The Real News
  •  I'm heavily leaning towards no military interven- (10+ / 0-)

    tion.

    The most persuasive arguments I've seen are these 11 from YES magazine.

    Their final point resonates the most:

    11. Yes, there is a better way. Tried, true, and boring though it may be, diplomacy often works. As Bennis told Democracy Now! this week, Syria has become a venue for a war between the United States and Russia, and between Iran and an allied United States and Israel.

    What's needed, she says, are peace talks involving not only the parties who are fighting, but their backers as well. We need "all the forces on the two sides coming together to talk," she says, "rather than fighting to the last Syrian child, to resolve these wars."

  •  Please don't compare Syria to Iraq (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExpatGirl, Matt Z

    unless Obama puts 200,000 troops into Syria and plans on transforming the Middle East country by country from there.

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:39:44 AM PDT

  •  Very thought provoking diary. I wish the (0+ / 0-)

    UN had some teeth.  I hate that this country whether it likes it or not has to be "the decider" on world issues.  

    My vote I suppose would be to wait and let the UN try to do it's job - and ignore the screams of people who would say we are weak and relinquishing our power to the UN.  We should also never again draw lines - as that type of behavior creates new problems of their own.

    From what I've seen, the UN has no power - but it should.  I'm just not sure how to go about that change.

    "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth". Albert Einstein

    by Sydserious on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:41:33 AM PDT

    •  ??? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac, JVolvo
      I hate that this country whether it likes it or not has to be "the decider" on world issues.  
      Yeah, look at what they make us do.

      Seriously, why do we have to play "the decider"?

      •  I personally do not know "why", but we always (0+ / 0-)

        are.  It doesn't matter which party is in charge either.

        "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth". Albert Einstein

        by Sydserious on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:27:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't have to be. It chooses to be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JVolvo

        - but only for that which is in it's own best interest. The US is not the "force for good" in the world that is so readily touted as history as shown time and again. It's behavior has been more bully than savior.

        If and when the US strikes Syria it will be for more than a humanitarian response to the use of CW. The real purpose is to attack Assad's forces in order to re-level the playing field in the fight to eventually topple Assad. The US can't supply more arms to the opposition due to the danger of them falling into the hands of the salafis so the only other way is to degrade his military.

  •  According to our own intelligence (7+ / 0-)

    they're not sure it was Assad.

    and regardless of whether it was rebels or the state, I don't see how throwing some bombs around is going to help.

    The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:45:56 AM PDT

  •  There is much more than a 'thin' line btwn (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shrike, clubbing guy, IreGyre

    Iraq and Syria.

    One was a transparently manufactured 'emergency' built on lies to further personal agendas, the other is a legitimate matter of an important international law being broken.

    I find the constant comparison to be disingenuous. I also don't put a lot of stock in arguments that we either intervene in everything or nothing.

    And Obama has already stated the purpose of responding: to send a clear message to Assad and others who might be emboldened by his actions that they better think twice in the future.

    Regardless, it would be outrageous to make any kind of decision before inspectors report their findings.

  •  I still don't get why Clinton's missile attacks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shrike, clubbing guy, IreGyre

    ...weren't considered "going to war", but President Obama's rumored limited strike is "going to war".

    In any case, I don't see how sitting back and watching the death toll rise is morally superior to committing an act of violence in perhaps a hopeless attempt to ensure the death toll doesn't rise at an even higher rate through the use of WMD's. I mean that is the only thing we can possibly do with a limited strike-keep the rate of death down.

    I still wonder if people would hold the same positions they hold now if we were talking about the use of a small nuke instead of chemical dispersion? People say that the method of death doesn't matter, but I think we could see sides switched if the WMD was nuclear.

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

    by sebastianguy99 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:50:41 AM PDT

  •  Forget its Syria (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExpatGirl, IreGyre

    Wherever these weapons get used will be a complex situation.
    The situation is that these weapons were used and that makes it simple.
    Whatever happened in the past is moot.

    The World has decided that chemical or biological weapons are a step to far. It may be a weak and morally unjustifiable limit (or not) but it is a limit. A limit that needs to be enforced if we ever want any limits to mean anything. It is Syria today but it could be any number of countries or groups in the future. This far and no further is not an unimportant principal.

    By all means wait for the UN to verify use this time. But then ...

    They were yours. It doesn't matter if you specifically didn't authorize the use.
    Here is a list of 100 targets in the next hour our killer robots are going to destroy some of them.
    If it happens again you will not get this warning.
    If you feel you cannot control future use get some of your friends on the Security Consul to help.

    •  You are making the assumption that Assad has (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo

      no means of defense.

      The World has decided that chemical or biological weapons are a step to far.
      Only a very tiny minority of the world's countries, basically the US and (possibly) France are willing to back up a military attack in response. In any event the Rome Statute of the ICC does not allow for this kind of response w/o authorization from the Security Council of the UN.
      Here is a list of 100 targets in the next hour our killer robots are going to destroy some of them.
      Only 100 targets? That wouldn't even cover a tenth of the area around Damascus. Keep in mind that a cruise missile only carries several hundred pounds of explosives. They are not effective against hardened targets. Airstrikes with joint standoff munitions and B2's would have to be used to be effective against bunkers.

      Here's a Google wikimap of the area around Damascus. You can zoom in and view the hundreds of military targets just in this one area.

      Which targets would you choose? Keep in mind that Assad's military is reported to be moving assets at this time.

      •  This is an Incident Reprisal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IreGyre

        Of course Assad has defences, that is why we use robots.

        I really do not care if we are going to do this basically on our own. I also do not care that we should get UN approval. In the real world the use of these weapons will always be in complex international times with some willing to block action for a variety of reasons.

        Yes only a hundred targets. We are not trying to start a war. Yes there will be very little military significant damage, and yes this is mainly a symbolic attack. That to a large extent is the point. Anything more would not allow Assad an out.

        This reprisal is a clear warning shot. It is then up to Assad on how he wants to proceed. He could even seize the chance to have Russia come in and monitor or remove these weapons for disposal turning opinion in his favour in the West. It would be his choice how we proceed. Another Incident would lead to a more robust response much sooner without the need for as much proof. He can escalate and in the face of our clear warnings and actions lose his Russian support. Russia can not be seen to condone chemical weapons use and another incident would pretty much guarantee that perception.

        By the way it also allows the US to back off of Syria a bit as we can shift more towards a let us see what he will do now posture. That can slow down the war talk.

  •  America World Police MUST end (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LWelsch, Bisbonian

    We can't go pretending that some atrocities in some countries we draw the line and others to hell with them. Since it's just not feasible to be everywhere all the time, we need to quit trying to be some places some of the time.

    Syria starts invading other countries? Then let's talk.

  •  You get the Arab League and NATO to go along (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, 3goldens

    and I may change my mind.  Until then, I say NO to any strikes.  I won't even consider it.

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

    by noofsh on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:00:08 AM PDT

  •  Well done, MoT (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Claudius Bombarnac, JVolvo

    The interesting thing about the thinking about what to do is that it always starts with military action, which then excludes other possibilities.

    Given the way that the US intelligence community faithfully fixed the facts around W's decision to go to war, the first thing we (the US public) should do is demand a look at the evidence for the President's sweeping statements.

    And then look for independent corroboration of that evidence.

    For example, Medecins sans Frontieres has reported cases (without exact numbers) in their hospitals in the war zone that they diagnosed as evidence of neurotoxin exposure and which they, presumably successfully, treated with atropine.  That is one corroborating report that some neurotoxin was used in the area.

    A warzone reporter from Le Monde (and embedded with the rebels) reported a regular series of small attacks with chemical weapons.  Taking the built-in problems of being an embedded journalist into account, his report could be looked at a a minor corroboration.

    But there is more information and  claims out there with no clear source or provenance.  Among the most significant of those are the assertions of the US government that we "know" whatever.

    And of course, Russian and Iranian media in the US have been all over this issue with their own sets of information and opinions.

    It seems to me that an old-fashioned war debate in the Congress is in order.  One in which the facts a put before Congress and the public without the garbage hysteria of "exposing sources and methods".  And see what the situation is.  If it's confused, then members of Congress can offer solutions and debate what to do.  (Yes, I know we are talking about this dysfunctional Congress.)

    Then let the President bring his proposal based on the advice he's getting from Congress.   Forcing them with a strong presiding officer to actually do business in the open instead of grandstanding is going to be a challenge for both Republicans and Democrats.

    Among the non-military options are having a signatory to the ICC bring the allegations to the ICC and seek the appointment of an investigator.  Pursuing justice in this case instead of geopolitical advantage would be helpful in restoring US credibility.  And make enforcement easier to sell in the UN Security Council.

    Another thing to do is expose where the political pressure for the rush to judgement and war is coming from.  That sort of rashness is not protecting US national security.  It seems more like entrapping Obama into an illegal war to get W off the hook, a very Stalin-like sort of cynicism of making the shame contagious.

    The "we have to do something symbolic because not to do something would encourage the use of chemical weapons" argument loses force when you see that  most countries signed on the Chemical Weapons Convention when they determined that lethal chemical weapons provided them little advantage or national security.  Syria likely retained theirs as deterrence against Israeli attack; it seems to be credible because any crisis sends Israelis out to buy gas masks like inland people rush to the grocery store before a hurricane.  The retention strategy apparently is backfiring.  Any post-civil war Syria likely will sign and ratify the CWC.

    The reality is that the only chemical weapons that nations current consider useful are "non-lethal" ones, like tear gas and pepper spray, for crowd control.

    The hard fact of Syria is that the US cannot produce regime change in Syria.  So we should stop persisting in that illusion.  The US national security institutions have led another President into a Bay of Pigs situation.  The US at the height of its power could not shape world events to the degree it pretended it could.  The Bush disaster have made it even more difficult to shape events; we have lost the moral high ground, credibility, and an ability to do non-military diplomacy.  Hubris, corruption, and incompetence over the past 30 years have taken their toll.

    It's time for the Administration to walk this one back as delicately and deftly as it can.  Getting Congress's fingerprints on that walk-back is as good a way as any.  In that, exposing the facts will also expose the warmongering blowhards.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:08:54 AM PDT

    •  Great comment IMHO. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo

      Two things that you mentioned have also been much on my mind lately:
      1. There doesn't seem to be a process in place for dealing with the use of CW by any country.  So, what you wrote here makes a LOT of sense to me:

      Among the non-military options are having a signatory to the ICC bring the allegations to the ICC and seek the appointment of an investigator.  Pursuing justice in this case instead of geopolitical advantage would be helpful in restoring US credibility.  And make enforcement easier to sell in the UN Security Council.
      There needs to be a process created whereby there is investigation, presentation of the facts, and the perpetrator(s) of the use of CW need to be called to account in front of the rest of the nations and punishment meted out.  Throwing bombs at these folks doesn't cut it and definitely doesn't NOT keep the people in jeopardy from CW safe.

      2. Another thing that's been bothering me is, as you noted, WHO is behind this political pressure involving this "rush to judgement" ?!  It is really obvious that there IS somebody pulling strings behind the scenes when poll after poll shows that the American (and British) people are NOT pushing this.  But somebody is.  We have a right to know where the pressure and "heat" to go to war is coming from.

      Thanks again for a great comment.

      "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

      by 3goldens on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:58:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  give them Napalm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Losty

    and White Phosphorus and Cluster Bombs.  Give them Apaches and AC-130 Gunships and thermobaric weapons.

    Then they can kill as many people as they want and it's fine, just fine.  I don't understand why Assad has such a problem with this . . . there are whole books written about how the US and Israel do it, and why that's OK.  No need to "step outside the bounds of conventional warfare" . . .

    I do understand that Assad might have some desire to kill the Saudi mercenaries without blowing up his whole Country (not wanting to blow up everything was a restraint not faced by the US in Iraq or Israel in Gaza), but them's the rules . . . can't use gas but carpet bombing is go go go . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:24:26 AM PDT

  •  Thin black chemical line is more like it. (0+ / 0-)

    There are no black chemicals in Syria.

    29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:29:42 AM PDT

  •  Bombing or doing nothing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo

    We should stop outlining our choices as A. bombing; or B. doing nothing.  This is a false dichotomy set up by the media's need for everything to be black or white and sound-bite-friendly, and it should be discarded entirely.

    Because you are absolutely correct that we would

    sow a field of cruise missiles and harvest a crop of terrorists decades later
    therefore the choices being considered should be A. Anything and everything we can think of other than killing more people; or B. Doing nothing.  Within that first choice there must be some plausible opportunities.

    The idea that Obama must now bomb to save face because of the red line is not helpful - he said there would be "enormous consequences" upon crossing over the line.  He did not say "we will send cruise missiles." Seems to me there is room for "enormous consequences" to mean a host of other options, including blockades of supplies coming in from Russia, no fly zones, dialing up rhetoric to pressure Russia to condemn Assad and remove their veto threat in the UN, and getting down and dirty with our friends in the Arab League to pressure them to act.

    “No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people.” ~ my Senator Elizabeth Warren

    by Domestic Elf on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:31:48 AM PDT

  •  More War Crimes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IreGyre

    The BBC Panorama team have found strong evidence that a Syrian government plane (they are the only ones with planes) deliberately look for crowds of civilians to attack. The particular instance was the dropping of a napalm (or similar chemical) attack of a school grounds just as the students were leaving. At least 4 are reported dead and many horribly burned. BBC News introduced its report with the unusual warning "viewers may find parts of the report particularly distressing" which you should note if you play the following link.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

    Sadly this hit the air just before the cruticial second vote in the Commons and may well have meant a different outcome although napalm is a "conventional" weapon rather than a "poisonous or suffocating gas" which was internationally outlawed by the Hague Laws following the horrors of WWI. The deliberate targetting of unarmed civilians and especially in protected places like schools and hospitals is forbidden by the Geneva Conventions.

    The legacy of Iraq is the total mistrust of intelligence even when there is overwhelming evidence that the chemical (probably sarin) attack took place and that is what the UN's Inspectors will report. They are not going to report who used the weapons but again there is a very strong balance of probability that it was the regime's forces. I put it that way because of course without access to the actual commands it is impossible to state absolutely.

    We are faced with the problem that was the subject of long and serious discussion in the Commons. What military action could be taken and what would be the effect on the civilian population?

    I would suggest that the best method would be for the US to allow the UK to present all the intelligence evidence to the UN Security Council and demand referral to the International Criminal Court immediately. (I recognize the US reluctance to use the ICC would make them presenting such a motion would be difficult).

    Let's not pretend that we do not want regime change to occur in Syria. The time to intervene was two years ago. We are too late. As an international community we have all failed to "protect the children of the poor" and "punish the wrongdoers", the two admonishions above the doors of the Old Bailey courts in London.

    We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:39:11 AM PDT

  •  That's why the Brits (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo

    voted it down.

    We find ourselves in an entirely different situation than Iraq a decade ago. The use of chemical weapons against a civilian population is a step too far for the international community,
    Just because it is your guy is a lousy excuse to support war.
  •  Help the Syrian refugees starting with children.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..and mothers whose husbands have been killed.

    In a sense I think we do have a moral obligation to act, but how?
    That one effort could do more for calming, reassuring, and lessoning the fever that is spreading throughout the region.

    Set up food banks, water depots, and a safe place to rest and heal

    And this thin red line. Rules we've made for ourselves that don't mean shit to a a helpless person stuck in the middle of this tragedy

    I don't have any answers about military stategy except maybe cutting off weaponry and instead offer good will which is severely lacking in this whole deal gone bad.

    Aid and comfort is where we the US should focus our efforts, and not worry if we're not considered "tough on terror".

    Try it, just try helping first. Worry about punishing Assad later

    Imagine if the President came out and said: "fuck all you chickenhawks, we're going to feed, house, cloth and protect those who are the innocents here. Don't get in our way on this. And I the President invite all countries who would like to help in this effort to join me on this"

    Thx for the inquiry on this  MoT

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