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Improvised mortar shells that are colored are seen inside a box at a weapons factory in Aleppo September 4, 2013. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib
Let's have a vote about where this community stands on Syria. But before we do that, let me try and condense the two arguments (pro and con intervention):

Interventionists. Those supporting the president's apparent proposal for limited strikes to "degrade" or deter Syria's ability to use chemical weapons against its own people believe that such behavior—the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians (including children)—cannot be left unpunished. The United States has a moral obligation to enforce international standards, as well as support allies in the region more directly affected by the conflict. If we don't act, American credibility will be compromised.

Non-interventionists. The slaughter in Syria is horrific, but our ability to impact an internal Syrian matter is limited. A limited bombing campaign is so incapable of solving the problem, that even its boosters talk only of "sending a message". And if the message is "kill all the people you want, just not with chemical weapons," what happens if and when Assad gasses his own people again? Finally, engaging in the war on the side of rebels dominated by Islamists worked out not-so-well in Afghanistan. What makes anyone think things will be different this time?

Those should be fair representations of both arguments. I've made clear in the past week where I personally stand, but I'm now interested in getting an honest look at where the rest of the site stands. So please vote below.


Do you favor or oppose Congress authorizing a limited military strike against the Syrian government, one that forbids the use of Armed Forces on the ground for military purposes?

26%2601 votes
60%5899 votes
12%1250 votes

| 9756 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  Yes there is josmndsn (14+ / 0-)


      Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

      by Patango on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:45:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Limited in duration, perhaps; not in effect... (15+ / 0-)


        The meme is simple enough: "Regarding Syria, If you support the President, you end up supporting al-Qaeda." No politician, of any party, persuasion, or clique, wants an opponent who will be able to say this in an advertisement.

        by Superskepticalman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:47:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And that intervention has worked out so far: Not. (16+ / 0-)

          From the UK Independent:

          Special report: We all thought Libya had moved on – it has, but into lawlessness and ruin: Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi

          As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.

          In an escalating crisis little regarded hitherto outside the oil markets, output of Libya’s prized high-quality crude oil has plunged from 1.4 million barrels a day earlier this year to just 160,000 barrels a day now. Despite threats to use military force to retake the oil ports, the government in Tripoli has been unable to move effectively against striking guards and mutinous military units that are linked to secessionist forces in the east of the country.

          Such a wonderful future for Syria.

          The meme is simple enough: "Regarding Syria, If you support the President, you end up supporting al-Qaeda." No politician, of any party, persuasion, or clique, wants an opponent who will be able to say this in an advertisement.

          by Superskepticalman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:20:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  All wars are acts of terrorism (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Buckeye Nut Schell, Orla, Lepanto

          The reason I opposed war is not stated in the Kos Non-interventionist reasoning for his poll. I oppose war because our media and government are lying to us, as they did in the last three major wars we participated in.

          The Tribune Washington Bureau news, today, pointed out that the alleged gas attack, according to the US pro-war crowd, has killed 1,429 Syrians. In fact, only killed 281 according to French intel, and only 330 according to English intel were killed. The big number is used to incite war.

          Today in France, the MPs are actually having a debate. Polls in France show 3/4 of the people do oppose war without a parliamentory vote. The French don't believe in war.

          In an interview on television today, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West that military action against the Syrian regime without UN support would be considered an "aggression".

          Putin also said he did “not exclude” the possibility of Russia backing strikes if it could be conclusively proved that the Syrian regime had carried out chemical attacks.

          Assad had nothing to gain from the gassing, IMHO the gassing was done by those who would gain from the bad publicity--those who want regime change. and those who profit from the business of making wars.

          War is costly. Peace is priceless!

          by frostbite on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:47:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your point about the different numbers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            is not particularly telling.

            When did British / French intelligence make those estimates? Two things happen:
            1) More people die from their injuries. Not all deaths are instantaneous
            2) A better count is obtained as more hospitals report deaths. It took hours (days) to obtain accurate count of the dead and wounded after the Boston Marathon bombing - in a city in the United States with a functioning government. It's going to take days to get a handle on something in Syria

            It would not surprise me at all if numbers varied by a factor of 5 with everyone being perfectly honest and reporting the truth as they knew it at the time. No CT is required.

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

            by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:56:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  in case someone wants to read more on the #'s (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

              by greenbastard on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:11:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Here's the key graf (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Three hospitals in Syria’s Damascus governorate that are supported by the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have reported to MSF that they received approximately 3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms in less than three hours on the morning of Wednesday, August 21, 2013. Of those patients, 355 reportedly died. - See more at:
                Roughly 10% had died when MSF gave their report.

                Suppose another X% died later as the results of sarin are not instantaneous.

                Suppose another group died and were never transported to the hospital at all. If someone is already dead, will you transport them through a war zone to a hospital?

                It does not require a CT to have many more casualties than MSF reported at a particular point in time. All it requires is chaos, which war zones have in abundance.

                Occam's Razor, anyone?

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

                by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:33:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks for the great link (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                it's clear that the US is using data from MSF not only without giving credit, but also grossly distorting what the numbers indicated. And MSF also made the comment that any action relating to war should be based on the UN findings.

                It's sad when pro-war advocate think so lightly about the killings of yet more human beings, that they suggest that an independent UN report is meaningless.

                Why is it that as a country, we are so quick to believe the pretty picture of war given to us by the lies and propaganda.

                War is costly. Peace is priceless!

                by frostbite on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:04:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  At some stage "everyone will be (0+ / 0-)

              perfectly honest." blue, I don't think most of us will live to see that day. It would be more realistic to think that some day nobody will believe the pro-war propaganda.

              War is costly. Peace is priceless!

              by frostbite on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:09:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  and by that very logic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Obama has nothing to gain from striking given no regime change will occur and, if it turns out that Assad didn't do it, it could be political suicide for the President and the Democratic Party.  So explain to me, if you're so sure Assad didn't do it and the President knows that, that he'd be willing to go in anyway?  It seems far more likely that we are on that brink of going in because the powers that be 1. Know for certain where the attack came from and 2. That the final political outcome from attacking, despite the unease today, seems to be work the risk.  

            We're not talking about George Bush and Cheney here.  While there was plenty in their history to show they would act for immediate self-gain, there's nothing in Obama or Kerry's history to show that inclination.  

            That said, I'm still basically against striking here but I am far away from the idea that someone but Assad did this.

            •  Again the media and the pro-war (0+ / 0-)

              lied to us in both wars on the people of Iraq. Why should anyone believe that now these people are telling us the truth?

              I really have no idea who did the gassing. I do know who told us the incubator baby killing and WMD lies.

              War is costly. Peace is priceless!

              by frostbite on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:16:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  And Iraq and Afghanistan were supposed to be (29+ / 0-)

        "limited," too.

        See how that went.

        Never a good idea when Cheney, Rove, Bremer, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz think this "limited" war against Syria is a good idea, too.

        The meme is simple enough: "Regarding Syria, If you support the President, you end up supporting al-Qaeda." No politician, of any party, persuasion, or clique, wants an opponent who will be able to say this in an advertisement.

        by Superskepticalman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:49:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But but but (0+ / 0-)

          ... Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are against it. Who wants to stand with them? (And Rand Paul!)

          Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

          by Land of Enchantment on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:26:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That is an odd thing about politics and war (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cpresley, mbradshawlong, maryabein

            Strange bed fellows.

            I don't feel all that good being on the same side as the three people you mention, but I suspect I came to my conclusion for much different reasons.

            But in this case I have to take the same overall position.  Any military action on Syria will be a major mistake.

            •  If President Romney were proposing the exact same (8+ / 0-)

              approach, the "oppose" figure would be a LOT higher than it is now.

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

              by RFK Lives on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:48:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your Comment is Full of Shit n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
              •  So (0+ / 0-)


                Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

                by Boogalord on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:07:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I agree, but I am not snarky. We support our side (0+ / 0-)

                sometimes when we might not the other side.

                I think this is more true of the Republicans. What I like about the Syrian war is that we are having a policy discussion. It isn't just good or bad for the democrats or republicans.

                This war makes no sense to me, but two close friends have made engaging arguments from the left and right on why intervention is a good idea.

                •  It's too weighty of a question to be subject to (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Land of Enchantment, Lepanto, emal

                  considerations of party affiliation.  We're not talking about an appropriations bill here.  We're talking about matters of life and death for people on the other side of the planet,  we're talking about various unintended future consequences, and we're talking about fundamental questions about policy-making philosophies here.

                  Having my intelligence insulted by facile "Munich Moment" analogies from a SoS whose campaign I volunteered for in '04 makes it pretty damned hard to suspend my disbelief and throw my lot in w/ the Blue Team.

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

                  by RFK Lives on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:53:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  was a stupid comment by Kerry, (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mrick, boji

                    , but there's nothing wrong with giving Obama greater benefit of the doubt on the questions that the humanitarian concerns are legit, he's less likely to escalate, and more capable of competently carrying it out.   It wouldn't be the same approach, in other words.  If I didn't have greater trust in Obama to exercise force, there'd be no point in supporting him for President over Romney in the first place, and since i volunteered for both Obama and Kerry in '04, I get to call the shots.

                    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                    by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:42:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  What humanitarian concerns are operative here? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Dump Terry McAuliffe, emal

                      Who will be protected by these missile strikes, and how will they be protected?  What are the goals of this campaign?  How long will it likely take to accomplish them?  How will "success" be defined?  What are the realistic odds of achieving that success?  What are the potential downside risks and how likely are they?  What are potential scenarios that might lead to a deeper involvement?

                      I don't hear any of those essential questions being asked (much less answered) here.  I hear about "sending a message" and "Munich Moments."  I see an opposition that contains at least some elements w/ Al Queda ties.  

                      The more I learn, the less impressed I am by arguments in favor of bombing.

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

                      by RFK Lives on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:13:18 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  no sense arguing (0+ / 0-)

                        either you think chemical weapons on a major scale against civilians raises a new humanitarian concern or not.  Posing it as "what humanitarian concerns?" is disingenuous.  

                        I disagree with your take about the rest of the questions  if what "you hear" is meant to stand for the whole of the debate inside exec branch, congress, and the public, but of course debate is never as good as it should be.  My understanding as to the Al-Qaeda issue is that was partly why Obama previously rejected the idea to directly arm them.  

                        and you're not totally wrong to be less convinced by the arguments in favor of intervention.  it's a difficult issue!  But the case against intervention doesn't get stronger by calling people hypocrites based on incomplete, counterfactual evidence.  Indeed, it's the type of meta-discussion about message sending to which you purport to object.

                        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                        by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:56:42 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Listen to the CSPAN (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I heard these questions pretty much asked and answered.

                        Short version - I like a world without government use of poison gas then one with it.  The strike is limited to the purpose of a sanction but there will be some additional benefit in degrading Assad military capability and aiding regime change down the road.  Be that as it may - that isn't this mission.  We are not taking over the Syrian civil war.

                    •  Benefit of the Doubt About What? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RFK Lives

                      In Syria the issue is not whether chemical weapons have been used, they most certainly have. But it seems far more plausible that they were deployed by the rebels(backed by Saudi Arabia and Israel, the two states most eager for a western intervention in Syria), than by Assad whose us eof such weapons in the midst of a UN investigation could only bring reprisal.

                      The case put forth by the Obama Administration is twofold - 1) based upon the dubious prerogative - not recognized in internaitonal law - of needing to send a message and 2) that of the necessity to degrade certain military capabilities of the Syraan gov't.  However, even assuming Assad is guilty as charge, if the chemical weapons were kept in a small number of easily identfiable locations (which is not the case), or if they could be delivered only through military assets that can be readily located and easily destroyed (also not the case), the issues we are struggling with would be far more straight-forward.

                      But reality is different than the pictures we've painted in our public pronouncements of the facts.  The missile strikes are not expected to eliminate or affect chemical weapons capability of the Syrian gov't.  

                      Hence, an honest assessment of how Assad's gov't or military, if guilty, can be effectively deterred is very different from how their supposed  chemical weapons delivery systems can be taken out .

                      •  Yes, how to either degrade (0+ / 0-)

                        chemical weapons capability or deter them if not possible is the main question.  But insofar as the number of times you've killed bin Laden is zero, your view of what is or is not the case is not interesting to me, and your refusal to accept Assad's culpability based on tautologic reasoning alone already makes your conclusions less credible.  (Even if you're right, you're wrong.)  You're not of course responsible for pushing the invasion, but as a reason not to give the administration the benefit of the doubt per the subject line, you didn't achieve it.

                        As far as int'l law goes, there's a valid objection about the process, but pointing to Russian and Chinese subversion of the goals and obligations of the Security Council to protect their client is elevating form over substance.  A multilateral, limited strike is consistent with the spirit of international law, which is after all, the sum of agreements and practices by independent states anyway.

                        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                        by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:05:17 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  If Romney were President (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TheCrank, leftywright

                we'd be fully embroiled in the Iranian War.

                •  Only after President McCain got us out of Georgia (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Do we remember that McCain wanted to intervene in Georgia, after Georgia had started their border war? Against Russia? McCain just sees no wars he doesn't like.

                  Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

                  by TheCrank on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:42:41 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  If (0+ / 0-)

                Romney was proposing the exact same thing with support from Obama, Clinton, Hagel and Kerry, I think you would get about the same split.

                I watched a bit of this today.  I think Kerry in particular made the case.

                If, this was occurring prior to the false case made by Bush for the Iraq WMDs, you would get substantially more support.  Obama is being painted in Bush, Chaney and Rumsfeld colors and that doesn't work for me.

          •  Racists and bigots against an objectively bad (5+ / 0-)

            idea does not convert it into a good one.

            I suspect that each of them would think it's a bad idea to play in traffic, too.

            The meme is simple enough: "Regarding Syria, If you support the President, you end up supporting al-Qaeda." No politician, of any party, persuasion, or clique, wants an opponent who will be able to say this in an advertisement.

            by Superskepticalman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:41:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Most of the Repubs agree on war (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Buckeye Nut Schell, artmartin

            but with bigger war plans than what has been proposed by Obama.  Those who will vote against Obama's war will give that as the reason for their vote. The Syria war is just a start, Iran and North Korea are also in their dreams.

            War is costly. Peace is priceless!

            by frostbite on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:56:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Some of them are so shallow (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              ... that it's a reflexive No! No!! No!!! to anything and everything Obama does. The twitwits who call him a racist because he got two black dogs. We all know the type.

              I prefer to be more thoughtful in arriving at my own positions and opinions. That means I don't always agree with the President, though I often do. I have seen that silly argument raised here on dK about Syria: You're with Palin! You're with Bachmann!!

              Hell, I'm with Rand Paul & Gary Johnson about legalizing marijuana, too. It doesn't mean I'd ever vote for any of them. It's hard to figure out how to engage in conversation with someone who functions on that level.

              Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

              by Land of Enchantment on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:52:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  No one is saying we'll be greeted as liberators (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Loge, sviscusi

          No one is saying we'll even be greeted.

          Slippery slope arguments are tedious in their similarity.

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

          by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:57:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No one is saying that by bombing them... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            we will achieve anything at good all let alone being greeted as liberators.  

            The BEST case scenerio is that this bombing will teach Assad some undefined lesson about gassing his own people.  That is the best case scenerio.  Not even the biggest supporters claim anything more substantial or measurable than that.

            The worst is that Russia and China will get involved as the did in Vietnam and this will become another quagmire and Assad will give his chemical weapons to terrorists who will then use them against us in our strategic locations throughout the region.  The worst might be that we will defeat Assad and the rebels will take power.  That is all we need in the region is another fundamentalist, extremist group of theocrats who have no idea how to govern but know about religious purity running their country into the ground.

            Russia could take this act as an act of aggression towards one of its allies and they would be correct.  Not only is gassing your own citizen's not a justification for acts of war against a sovereign nation but shooting missles into a sovereign nation who has not posed any threat to your country is a war crime.

            AND all of that assumes that Assad DID use chemical weapons against his own people which is a circumstantial case at best.

            "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

            by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:20:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  So is (8+ / 0-)

          the war that's supposedly over Irag. If people don't think that Syria is related to our war in Irag they are unable to grasp the concept of cause and effect. The US's preemptive neocon foreign policy and it endless war on terra is unlimited in scope as NDAA says the world is the battle field, and the enemy is anyone anywhere who the masters of war decide is a threat to our security. As though dirty energy, FIRE, dirty secret wars (that are not so secret) and corporate globalization are not the real 'security' threat to all humans and the earth we all live on.          

      •  Libya, Kosovo, (6+ / 0-)

        and what should have happened in Rwanda.

        •  Yes on Libya, Kosovo... (7+ / 0-)

          But Rwanda was a much tougher situation. The violence there was person-to-person, and would have been very difficult to stop without a massive on-the-ground presence. Add to this that it happened very quickly. I don't think the world really grasped the magnitude of it until it was basically over.

          Surely, we could have done more than what we did (i.e. nothing), but all these situations are unique. It's hard to make direct comparisons... which is why I roll my eyes when people say that Syria would be another XXX.

          Freedom isn't free. That's why we pay taxes.

          by walk2live on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:25:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I think something more in Rwanda at least should have been tried. Instead, the whole world washed its hands of it and walked away and felt kinda bad while a terrible genocide unfolded in front of us. But it was complex, and I don't know what the right answer would have been, insomuch as there could even be said to be a "right answer."

            Each situation is only itself, and while looking at other situations can sometimes add insights, they can also be used to obfuscate. Syria isn't Libya, Libya wasn't Iraq, Iraq wasn't Vietnam, and none of them have a rat's behind to do with Nazis, really.

            These situations will always have unique factors that have to be considered as themselves, and sometimes there are decent options, and sometimes there aren't. History never actually repeats itself, though it does follow some consistent threads.

      •  Result: Death of US Ambassador ... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Patango, msdrown, scott5js, TexDem

        and endless chants from the right of...


        Right-Wing Troll Notification System Test

        *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

        by josmndsn on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:59:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "This is a test" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Yes, very cute.

          Censorship is rogue government.

          by scott5js on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:02:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You are conflating two different episodes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The ground attacks in Benghazi had very little to do with our conduct in the Libyan civil war, and were entirely avoidable by having had better security protocol in the first place (including a Congress that properly funded US State Department security services). What Benghazi was - a soft target that was created in the wake of the Libyan conflict well after the civil war was over.

          US involvement, and NATO's, in the Libyan conflict ended a bloody conflict far sooner that it would have, and likely with a better result. You cannot shy from force as a means of getting to political ends; it does not always, or even often, work, but it can work.

          Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

          by TheCrank on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:45:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Love the RWTNS Test (0+ / 0-)

          For All Your On-line Shopping! Support Netroots For The Troops with your on-line purchases.

          by TexDem on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:14:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Small wars are still wars nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Tell me what to write. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

        by rbird on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:02:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not an isolated (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          frostbite, emal

          small war. The ME country's may be separate sovereignty's with separate cultures but they are all being targeted in our endless war. Connecting the dots is not that hard. Boundaries between these nation states are fluid just look at Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is not a series of small wars it's the Great Game, the Bush Doctrine or whatever you want to call it. It's about geopolitical dominion for and by the global owners, of the place with the US acting as the enforcer.

          When will the people globally draw their line in the sand? Enough with acting like every nasty ass thing that the US and it's 'allies' decide is a threat to our 'interests'  is some kind of necessity cause 'terrist's are gonna kill yer family', humanitarian intervention, we need to stabilize the region as it's a 'security threat' Can you not grasp cause and effect? Can you not think like Obama's touted 11th dimension long game and connect the  global game afloat being implemented by these madmen. Nothing small about this war or any of them they are all part of our endless war.          

          •  I think this post is misplaced (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I am opposed to military action in Syria.  My one-liner was in response to another one-liner up near the top.  Here's the complete exchange, starting from the first post.

            No such thing as LIMITED act of war nt
            by josmndsn
            Yes there is josmndsn
            by Patango
            Small wars are still wars nt
            by rbird
            All wars, even small ones, have all the accoutrements of war: death, dismemberment, horror, destruction, hatred, and the suffering of the innocent.  Leaders should take great pause when considering even "small" wars.

            Tell me what to write. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

            by rbird on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:11:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  It is interesting (5+ / 0-)

        to hear people complain about THE END RESULT in Libya  , for one thing it is still playing out , and for another

        On July 7, 2012, the National Transitional Council, in power since the Libyan civil war, supervised democratic elections for a 200 member General National Congress to replace the Council.[1] The assembly will choose a prime minister and organize parliamentary elections in 2013.

        So if they do not instantly become a liberal utopia and elect john stewart as president , it is a failure? That sounds rather neoconic

        Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

        by Patango on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:15:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Kos's (14+ / 0-)

      "anti" argument rests entirely on pragmatism, or lack thereof -- not a word about morality (the inevitable killing of civilians, for example) or legality (the bombing would be illegal under international law).

      •  yes, and also too: the 'pragmatic' anti- argument (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        as he frames it rests almost entirely on the idea that "limited strikes" will be ineffectual-- ie we know in advance that they can't address any of the admin's own stated aims.  But I don't buy that.  This is about regime change.  Notwithstanding some of what Obama, Kerry et al are now claiming, if you listen to the rest of what they're claiming, and especially their signals to the GOP hawks in past 24 hrs, they DO believe that these "limited strikes" can begin the process of ending the Assad regime.  

        I think "limited airstrikes" are the new "no-fly zone", from the Libya example.   Yes the UN resolution in that case said only "no-fly zone," but that was after the Russians and Chinese made it clear that they'd veto a resolution that was any more explicit about regime change.  But at the same time there seemed to be broad wink-wink signals that the NATO forces would not stop at grounding Ghaddafi's puny air force, but would immediately start going after ground targets too, and ultimately simply act as the rebels' air support.

        In this case, too, I hear "limited airstrikes" and I think, yeah, "no-fly zone"...

        The Syria intervention needs to be either opposed or supported as what it is, a bid at regime change, ill-advised or not.


      •  true (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but this isn't Bosnia,
        nor is it Iraq, or Libya

        religious factions in the middle east will never stop warring against one another, and the world will never stop asking, "What is the U.S. going to do about it?", just as the president reiterated this morning in the news conference.

        This burden is now Putin's to carry, in my view.

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

        by Sybil Liberty on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:12:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  didn't the pundits say the same about the Balkins (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Great Cthulhu

          in the 1990s?

          •  congressional republicans said it, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            they were obstructing Bill Clinton at the time, if you recall, otherwise they would have done what they usually do under a republican president. Clinton went in spite of congress, but then, BC had NATO forces, the treaty & UN support. Obama doesn't even have the UN, Putin does.

            No, I do not recall pundits saying it, but that's really not the point.

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

            by Sybil Liberty on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:37:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ps (0+ / 0-)

              also, in the Balkans the atrocities had risen to the legal definition of genocide - confirmed/verified.

              Assad may be well on his way, but he isn't there yet.

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

              by Sybil Liberty on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:02:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  This is exactly why we can NOT (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr MadAsHell, chira2, rabel, cpresley, jkusters
          religious factions in the middle east will never stop warring against one another, and the world will never stop asking, "What is the U.S. going to do about it?
          get involved.  We will only look like an aggressor and it will backfire on us.  

          Unless and until these religious factions learn to live together, there is NOTHING the U.S. can do, nor the rest of the world.  

  •  Someone who has a good track record on the (39+ / 0-)

    issue of war in the Middle East, Juan Cole, has this up today

    A US attack on Syria will Prolong the War

    Longer war means more deaths of innocent civilians.

    "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

    by Calvino Partigiani on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:33:34 AM PDT

    •  Not Necessarily (0+ / 0-)

      There is still a serious debate on whther the nuclear bombs on Japan caused more or less casualities.  It is clear there were fewer American casualties by dropping the bombs and ending the war quickly.  What is not clear is that overall casualties were increased or decreased.

      •  not if you ask historians. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cocinero, the fan man, rbird, jncca

        US/allied casualties in invading Japan could have been 1 million, if things went badly.  Or as few as 50,000.  With no bomb, it comes out that dropping one bomb could have saved even as few as 50,000 American lives - the public would be livid!

        Whats CERTAIN, is that between 10 and 15 million Japanese citizens would have died of starvation and firebombings between August and November 1945, when the invasion of Kyuushu would have happened.

        Compared to the 300,000 that died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which was better?  300,000 died from two horriffic bombings, or 15 million from starvation over several months?

        We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

        by ScrewySquirrel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:45:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just wondering... in this argument, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          does anyone contemplate whether, if the bomb had NOT been used, the Rosenbergs would have still gone ahead and sold atomic secrets to USSR?  Have not researched this, there may be valid (and more informed than mine) opinions around...

          I do not challenge the rest of your argument, that there was less overall death due to dropping the bomb.  Getting Japan to surrender took TWO bombs... which IMO means if conventional warfare remained the approach, Japan would not have surrendered, even after experiencing the slaughter of millions of its citizens.

          Adjusting to living in a police state. 1984 is here.

          by ceebee7 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:56:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And would the cold war have remained cold? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            scott5js, happymisanthropy

            Brutal as it was, the atomic bombs in Japan showed the world the horror of nuclear warfare, and essentially helped scare us straight. Without that example, might the USSR or USA been more trigger-happy during the cold war? We'll never know of course, but it's another thing to consider.

            Freedom isn't free. That's why we pay taxes.

            by walk2live on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:29:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  yes, quite likely (0+ / 0-)

              there are a few potential flashpoints in Our Timeline that could have triggered WOrld War III:

              Berlin 1947
              Korea 1951 (if we cross the Yalu or if MacArthur get sto use the bomb)
              Hungary 1956
              Cuba 1962
              6-day War 1973
              Able Archer 1983

              without an A-Bomb in 1945, It's most likly Stalin refuses to allow the Berlin Airlift and WW3 starts right there.

              We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

              by ScrewySquirrel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:45:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Per my above question, if we had NOT (0+ / 0-)

              dropped the bomb, the Russians might not have gotten it for many years... other nations as well.  In that scenario, there would not have been a cold war, at least as such, as the U.S. would have dominated the rest of the world by virtue of being the only nation having the bomb.  The rest of that scenario is obviously only speculation...  Interesting to contemplate, however.

              Russia's gaining nuclear capability provided the context for the next 40 years.  Which, of course, was the Rosenberg's purpose in providing the info to them Russkies...  They knew a political balance between capitalism and socialism would stymie American attempt to dominate.  At least that's how the stories are told they've I've read...

              Adjusting to living in a police state. 1984 is here.

              by ceebee7 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:34:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  'Tis a morbid calculator of war that uses children (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbastard, 3goldens, The Marti, chira2

        for numbers.

        The meme is simple enough: "Regarding Syria, If you support the President, you end up supporting al-Qaeda." No politician, of any party, persuasion, or clique, wants an opponent who will be able to say this in an advertisement.

        by Superskepticalman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:51:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why Truman really used the Atomic Bombs (4+ / 0-)

        Germany had already fell and Japan was well down that road.

        Why did Truman drop two atomic bombs on Japan, then?

        It was to frighten and slow down the Soviet Union.

        Stalin was already moving into Europe and occupying nations and he had his eyes on China and Japan, too.

        the bombs were sent as a message to Stalin to slow down and think about it.

        •  It was essential for the U.S. to end the war be- (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aaraujo, lunachickie

          fore the USSR could invade and occupy Hokkaido.

          Postwar international rivalry was already discounted into the decision to nuke Japan.

          The meme is simple enough: "Regarding Syria, If you support the President, you end up supporting al-Qaeda." No politician, of any party, persuasion, or clique, wants an opponent who will be able to say this in an advertisement.

          by Superskepticalman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:56:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  True... I've seen plenty of informed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          opinions that say Truman used atomic bombs to show Russia he was not afraid to do so.  OTOH, doing so may have been the ultimate action that resulted in the Rosenbergs' decision to sell atomic secrets to Russia.

          Adjusting to living in a police state. 1984 is here.

          by ceebee7 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:00:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not giving up (0+ / 0-)

          Last night I was re-reading a book entitled "World War II Through German Eyes" by James Lucas. One thing that struck me is how Nazi leaders clung to a hope of winning, even in April 1945, in spite of evidence to the contrary. Goebbels and others figured Stalin and the western allies would have a falling out and Germany could choose sides. Actually he was right, but premature, and the falling out came after the war.
          I would think the Japanese thought like the Nazis, but even more so. After all, Japan has always been a pretty insular nation.
          btw I do think this country's Right Wing is similar. Republicans believe they can destroy the Affordable Care Act if they just hold out.  The Religious Right is losing here, so they are using Russia and Africa as beachheads to make a comeback here. The Koch brothers believe they can prevail if they just keep spending on campaigns.

          Censorship is rogue government.

          by scott5js on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:26:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  If you listened to Zbigniew Brezinski (sp?) (9+ / 0-)

        this morning, (a guy who has a lot of credibility with the military and political community), it was his opinion too, that such strikes would essentially lead to extending the war.

        The strikes being suggested are not expected by anyone to simply 'end' the Syrian conflict.

    •  That's important but not the only issue (5+ / 0-)

      If Assad wins, there will be a bloodbath as he takes revenge on those who opposed him.

      If Al Qaeda wins, there will be a long slow bloodbath as Syria is converted into Arabia circa 700 AD but with modern weapons.

      If Hezbollah wins it means Syria will become Lebanon. That might not be such a bad option for the Syrians but I wouldn't want to live in NE Israel.

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

      by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:42:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We have to destroy Syria in order to save it. (14+ / 0-)

        This version of the Best and the Brightest seems no better and certainly no brighter than the original. Neither they nor their DKos supporters give any indication they've considered what happens after American "humanitarian" intervention.

        Whether we intend to prolong the war, that's a very likely outcome. Who benefits from that? Are we fighting on behalf of al-Quaeda? ...or is our desired conclusion a Syria fatally and permanently splintered into warring mini-states, locked in mutual hatred and spiraling into an endless abyss of ethnic cleansing and escalating violence?

        There are few possible near-term futures for tormented Syria that aren't even worse than the awful present. If we add to the carnage, we hasten the realization of one of those futures.

        The ardent advocates of Peace Bombs might stop to consider that.

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

        by PhilJD on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:54:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  By even considering intervention we aid (5+ / 0-)

          the opposition. I am surprised no one points that out, but you can bet Assad & command are taking protective measures to ensure the NSA can't find them. If I were Obama, and they told me where Assad was going to be sleeping tonight, the temptation to put two B-2 bombers worth of bombs on that spot would be largish.

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

          by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:00:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is not obvious to me (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Osiris, blue aardvark

          "There are few possible near-term futures for tormented Syria that aren't even worse than the awful present. If we add to the carnage, we hasten the realization of one of those futures."

          I am undecided, though certainly leaning against this.  A limited strike arguably changes the balance of power - but in what way I don't think anyone knows.  

          To say this will prolong the struggle carries with it the conclusion that Assad is going to win and we should let him win.

        •  What's missing is the playing out (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark

          of what happens if we do nothing scenario.

          I doubt you think that doing nothing will make things better either.
          Nothing will be a green light to Assad  that there never will be an intervention for any reason.   Green light to putin to I expect.

          Anyway  maybe we can increase humanitarian funding for Syrian refugees in Turkey.

          tho,   enablinging Syrians to flee the civil war, whether from conventinal or chemical weapon attacks might also prolong the war?

          So best to do nothing about refugees to I expect.

    •  There isn't a sentence in Cole's article... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...that displays any particular expertise about the region, which is impressive since he really is an expert about the region.  For instance, there's no inkling about why a negotiated solution would have any chance of success without US intervention, which makes his thesis (perfectly sensible in isolation) that US intervention would make a negotiated solution impossible somewhat meaningless.  It appears to me to be impossible already.  Cole is just another pundit, starting from what he wants and saying whatever he thinks will bring people along with him.  That's fine--after all, persuasion is what makes our polity go--but his persuasion doesn't come with any expert cachet at least in this article.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:43:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cole's no dummy Rich, but his is a story (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rich in PA

        without a plot or well drawn characters. I've seen better from other experts of the region.

        Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

        by the fan man on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:08:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This leaves two possibilities (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the fan man

          Either his expertise goes against his instincts so he's relegating his expertise, or nothing in his expertise gives him a privileged perspective about what to do.  I suspect it's the latter.

          You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

          by Rich in PA on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:48:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  More about the outcome than what to do. Who (0+ / 0-)

            knows how military action will change the civil war. All educated guesses and speculation with very little to go on.

            Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

            by the fan man on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:17:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Cole's assessment is all psych, no substance. Not (0+ / 0-)

      that psych assessment isn't important, but there is no substantiation to his analysis. Assad isn't backing down as we have seen, jihadis have taken over the front lines. America's military attack will not remove Assad and as horrible as this may sound, that may not be the best thing at this point for the Syrian people anyway. An attack may bring Assad to the negotiating table. At the very least it will hopefully degrade his ability to use chem weapons w/o opening the door to rebels seizing them.

      PS I am not in favor of attack, but the calculus is changing daily re reports of Putin wavering and defections from Assad's regime. Sadaam's biggest mistake is not believing we would invade. Assad may make the same error regarding our attack and his allies resolve to stay with him.

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:02:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Respect Juan Cole. Still Support Military Strike. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My response is that this Civil War will be of long duration whether we take action or not. If I felt that it would hinder a possibility for peace that was imminent, I would be against it.

    •  I think that Cole is correct, in part... (0+ / 0-)

      US intervention would/will most likely prolong the conflict. In addition, such intervention would carry the significant risk of further internationalizing the conflict. Not in an "oh my god, WWIII!!1!" kind of way, but in a manner similar to that in which incremental and half-assed foreign interventions prolonged and deepened the communal conflict in Lebanon.

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

      by angry marmot on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:35:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Reading that moved me into the undecideds (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calvino Partigiani

      But Cole bases much of that on the assumption that a US strike would diminish the prospects of working out a negotiated settlement. I'd seen no signs that there even remote  prospects for a negotiated settlement from the combatant groups. Have I missed something?

      "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:00:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cole comments on both sides seeing no way out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calvino Partigiani

        and no end in sight, as the factors that move them towards finding a resolution, eventually.

        He then goes on to say that this strike now emboldens the rebels, and they are now counting on this move by the US, and thus increases the time to get to the above.

        Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

        by greenbastard on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:16:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Interventionist Argument - isn't this the same (16+ / 0-)

    thing we criticized the Neocons for using, when the (R) flavor was in power?

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:34:17 AM PDT

    •  All arguments for intervention (10+ / 0-)

      are interventionist, by definition. You just equated all wars now and forevermore with Iraq. I don't think that is good logic.

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

      by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:43:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Allow me to be more specific: (13+ / 0-)

        When Cheney / Bush were in power, they advocated our invasion of Iraq due to WMD.

        Cheney / Bush were roundly criticized as war mongers.

        Today, we have a (D) advancing the same arguments (Chemical Weapons).

        I am equating Cheney's policy of rearranging the Middle East with Obama's policy of rearranging the Middle East.

        It's the same thing.

        Only, this time, a good number of those cheering will be Democrats.

        The Policy Is The Same.

        The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

        by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:49:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right (11+ / 0-)

          Because there was zero evidence Iraq HAD WMD.  In fact, there was considerable evidence that the alleged existence of those weapons was manufactored by the US administration.

          In this case, the whole WORLD knows Syria has chemical weapons - the Syrians themselves do not deny it. Nor do they deny the attack took place. There's even been speculation that the attack in question was the act of a "rogue general in charge of some of Syria's chemical weapon stocks."

          •  Zero evidence? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greenbastard, emal
            Because there was zero evidence Iraq HAD WMD
            Didn't the highest levels of our government, at the time, reassure us Iraq had WMD?

            Secretary of State?

            High ranking military / intelligence officials?

            The President?

            Yes, yes they did.

            And the same cast of characters (position wise) are now telling us the same story.  The only difference is the war mongering is being led by (D) today.

            The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

            by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:08:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Touche (0+ / 0-)

              You utterly destroyed my first sentence.

              In this case, the whole WORLD knows Syria has chemical weapons - the Syrians themselves do not deny it. Nor do they deny the attack took place. There's even been speculation that the attack in question was the act of a "rogue general in charge of some of Syria's chemical weapon stocks."
              Iraq and Syria are in the same hemisphere. Strike that, they are in two of the same hemispheres.  At that point, the similarity kind of ends and you have to start thinking critically instead of spouting bumper stickers.
              •  Funny that... (0+ / 0-)

                The policies remain the same, don't they?

                As for chemical weapons:  How's that ban Obama instituted as Commander-in-Chief against the use of Depleted Uranium & White Phosphorous as offensive weapons working out?

                Oh.  He hasn't banned them, you say?

                But surely we must do something about Syria's Chemical Weapons, eh?  Being a moral leader and all that.

                Plus.. let's not forget PNAC.  Nor should we forget Obama in 2011 calling for Assad to get out of the way of ... (wait for it).. Democracy.

                Critical Thinking?  Based on past actions by the U.S., and statements by Obama, in the context of PNAC's 90's era planning.. I'd say .. critically..

                This Is Not Change.

                But who knows?  Mayhap all that historical evidence is just.. a coincidence.

                And yes.. Syria has Chemical Weapons.  They openly admitted as much in 2012.  Now.. show me where they openly said they used Chemical Weapons against their own populace?


                The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

                by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:00:21 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You seem to be trying far too hard to say that (0+ / 0-)

                  Republicans and Democrats are the same. That may be convenient for simplifying your thought, but it's not the case. They are at core different strategies of very similar class interests, and they have significantly differing histories. They are clearly not good and evil or night and day as some of their supporters claim to think (perhaps do?) but neither are they distinguished only by tribal signifiers.

                  I like how Jonathan Schwartz at A Tiny Revolution characterized it: the sane evil people and the crazy evil people.

        •  Let me see (19+ / 0-)

          Difference one: Iraq didn't actually have CW. No one disputes that Syria does.

          Difference two: We sent thousands of troops into Iraq. We won't send any into Syria. Don't go slippery slope on me; no one is going to hold a gun to Obama's head and force him to do what he has said he won't do.

          Difference three: Bush & Cheney spoke of their intention to spread Democracy by force. Obama makes no such statements and is not even trying to cause regime change

          Difference four: Obama is not trying to re-arrange the Middle East

          Difference five: Joe Biden's former employer is not going to be getting multi-year non-compete contracts to supply occupying troops in Syria

          Difference six: Cheney sent Douglas Feith over to the CIA to try to compel them to lie to support the desired war. No one can point to a similar person this time around

          I'd say that's enough differences, but if you want I can probably do another half-dozen.

          It's clearly different enough.

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

          by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:05:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Beg to slightly differ on difference 1 (0+ / 0-)

            Many knew (at least many here at dkos) that Iraq had CW as we had sold (see rummy handshake) them to them during their Iran - Iraq battles.  Just recently, it was confirmed that the US also greenlighted the use of them.

            Now one may argue that by the time of the Cheney  War on Iraq,much of those CW could have been degraded by and or destroyed by previous inspections/ wars.

            No imho much of The real bag of lies for the Cheney Bush Preemptive War on Iraq really tied into the  

            Iraq=AQ=9/11 connection.

            And uranimium /nukeyoular weapons threat. Mushroom clouds, yellowcake. Colin Powell's UN presentation had it all..they threw out every bit of stove piped cherry picked piece of intelligence from discredited sources like Curveball.

            The Cheney Administration threw everything but the kitchen sink out there to justify their preemptive war doctrine...and as was confirmed (many suspected and few warned prior) once the disaster played out most of if not all was a huge bag of crap..which cost billions in American treasure ...but most importantly human treasure.

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

            by emal on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:15:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The difference is that in this case (10+ / 0-)

          Assad has used these weapons multiple times, and we have warned him not to.  

          In the case of Iraq, the existence of the weapons was a lie.  Would you look at it differently if Saddam Hussein had used chemical or nuclear weapons in 2002?  I would.

          (I understand that Saddam Hussein used them in the 80s.  Don't know what to say about that except that president Reagan and Don Rumsfeld were never my favorite human beings.)

        •  Well, Syria actually HAS WMD (7+ / 0-)

          and has even used them.

          And Bush advocated all out, troops on the ground, shock and awe, where Obama isn't.

          And Obama asked Congress.

          So, it's not the same at all.

          Which is not necessarily to say what we ought to do in Syria, it's just to demolish your argument.

        •  I think public polls show (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lunachickie, Eyesbright

          that Democrats are more opposed to attacking Syria than Republicans are.

          "Today is who you are" - my wife

          by I Lurked For Years on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:11:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps, but I don't quite see the parallel. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark, scott5js

          In Iraq, our invasion was preemptive based on the suspicion that Iraq had WMD.  The question then was whether military action was required to prevent their use.  As we now know, the whole basis for deciding to move forward preemptively was based on lies - any policy that is based on bad or false evidence would be invalid on its face.  

          In the case of Syria, we have pretty good evidence that chemical weapons were actually used.  Their existence isn't really in question.  So, the question being asked now is whether some type of military response is necessary because of the WMD use.  There may still be questions as to who actually used the sarafin, and what we ought to do about it.  I think the situation is completely different than Iraq.

          What is troubling to me - and this is where I see the parallel - is that in neither case am I hearing enough about the consequences and aftermath of a military action on Syria.  I see it here on DailyKos - there is a lot of "war gaming" on what the possible subsequent actions Syria might take, or Iran, or Russia, or al-Queda, etc., and I'm sure they've done it in Washington behind closed doors, but I hope the Congressional debate digs deeper into this.

          As in Iraq - besides the fact that we shouldn't have gone in to begin with - how a military action would complicate the entire Middle East situation seems to be discounted so far.

          The most violent element in society is ignorance.

          by Mr MadAsHell on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:31:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well Frankly The Comparison Falls Apart (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CS in AZ

            As soon as you get to the word "invasion" which is the fourth word in your comment.

          •  Well what troubles me is that (0+ / 0-)

            comments seem to discount the fact that we have some brilliant and experienced people at the head of state that haven't asked exactly the same question we all are BUT have tons more highly classified data than we ever will.  They know the risks and frankly some of those risks involve legacy and political future for the entire Democratic Party.  It's treated as if this is just some macho whim by the administration and we have no evidence that is the case.  We've instead seen evidence of very thoughtful acts and an attention to detail and consequences far beyond any other modern President.  

            •  same thing could be... (0+ / 0-)
              They know the risks and frankly some of those risks involve legacy and political future for the entire Democratic Party.  It's treated as if this is just some macho whim by the administration and we have no evidence that is the case.  We've instead seen evidence of very thoughtful acts and an attention to detail and consequences far beyond any other modern President.
              Applied to the GOP when they are in power and doing the war mongering.

              Bottom line:  Syria poses no threat to the United States.  At all.  Period.  Syria has shown ZERO interest in attacking the United States.

              Yet we persist in saber rattling - recall Obama talking about Regime Change in 2011.  That's two years ago.  

              It was just to start setting the table, go through the faux "deliberations" and "hard decisions" bullshit to get to the end result that's been planned all along.

              And the American public, by and large, is so dumbed down they can't even recognize it's the same damn policy being advanced that was advanced under Bush.

              WMD, Chemical Weapons, bad dictators.. same charade, same game, same outcome.

              The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

              by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:10:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, this always bothers me. (0+ / 0-)

              We do need to acknowledge what we don't know, and I'm sure there is a considerable amount of information that would blow our minds.  

              But whether all that will change the fundamental policy question, well, that's one more thing I don't know.  What I am comfortable with is that we cannot approach Syria as "another Iraq."  And that was my only point.

              The most violent element in society is ignorance.

              by Mr MadAsHell on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:05:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Obama & Regime Change: CNN circa 2011: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vetwife, emal

          For those who have short memories, here's Obama warning Assad to get out of the way and embrace Democracy.

          "President Assad now has a choice: He can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests; release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests; allow human rights monitors to have access to cities like Daraa; and start a serious dialogue to advance a democratic transition. Otherwise, President Assad and his regime will continue to be challenged from within and isolated abroad," he said.
          Sure sounds like an awful lot like Bush spreading Democracy, doesn't it?

          My how quickly most folks forget.

          What a lucky stroke of fortune that Assad has Chemical Weapons!  Now the U.S. can overtly involve itself.

          Waking Up Yet?

          The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

          by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:58:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Obama & Chemical Weapons: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Let me know when Obama bans the use of Depleted Uranium and White Phosphorous as offense weapons.

          Then I'll have a little faith that Obama gives a damn about chemical weapons.

          The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

          by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:01:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Should he just ban nukes too? (0+ / 0-)

            Having the weapons and using them are two WAY different things.

            •  and you know what? (0+ / 0-)

              I'm about tired as hell of hearing that depleted uranium is being used as a chemical weapon.  The true definition of a chemical weapon is one in which the CHEMICAL properties of a weapon are directly used to kill or injure.  Depleted uranium's main purpose is target penetration because of the metal density.  The word "depleted" is there because the radioactive properties of that metal are such that they are extremely reduced.  There is no fission going on.  The military is not using DU shells and bombs so that they can cause cancer and suffering of future generations.  They are using them because modern day enemies are hiding behind highly fortified and armored shelters that regular warheads are having a hard time penetrating.  

              Nasty weapons?  Yes of course but they are not being used with the intent of random killing of innocents as with nerve gases.  War zones are dangerous places.  Unexploded ordinance, crumbling buildings, exposed volatile substances, etc. are all much more devastating to future populations than the effects of DU.  

              Let's keep this debate real.  

              •  Yeah well.. try to find some stamina because (0+ / 0-)

                I don't give a damn what the primary function of the weapon is.

                I tend to consider the results.  And DU is something which gives, and gives, and gives.  Like Agent Orange, for example.

                White Phosphorous is another horrific weapon which I also consider disgusting.

                The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

                by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:04:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  That's true... (0+ / 0-)

              Though I said nothing about our nuclear arsenal.

              I was talking about White Phosphorous & Depleted Uranium, which the U.S. has used.

              I don't mind if we have White Phosphorous or Depleted Uranium.. but let's treat their usage the same as we do our nuclear arsenal.

              The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

              by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:02:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Neither cause mass casualties (0+ / 0-)

                and neither are used to do that.  They are absolutely not WMD's or poison gas.  They are weapons of war, neither even considered banned by any international consensus.  Your assertion is hyperbole.

                •  Mass casualties? (0+ / 0-)

                  Fallujah would beg to differ.  DU continues to inflict massive harm.  Do a google on Fallujah birth defects then tell me that DU is an acceptable weapon.

                  As for mass casualties.. what would you call our massive bombing of Iraq?  If mass casualties is the bar with which you judge weapons.

                  The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

                  by Johnathan Ivan on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:02:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sure some did (9+ / 0-)

      but critical differences were that the use of WMDs was in the case of Iraq, a hypothetical and a false one at that, and the policy (regime change via invasion) didn't comport with the stated goal (democracy/no wmds).  

      Was Clinton's bombing of Iraq's chemical weapons facilities in response to the expulsion of inspectors "neocon?"  Had we stopped there, good.  I don't know of too many people who were objecting to the no-fly zone in 2003, and that required more manned airpower than anyone's suggesting sending to Syria.  So, I suppose I supported "war" in Iraq without even realizing it.  Learn something new everyday.

      Having higher confidence in Obama's assessment of intelligence than Bush's is also not unreasonable, and if there were a contradiction, so be it.  I lived through "you supported intervention in Rwanda and the Balkans, why not Iraq," in part because it wouldn't have really mattered if I had changed my mind, although the reasoning throughout is consistent -- some limited, tailored military intervention to promote a human rights objective, and not all military use is limited, tailored, or promoting of a human rights objective.

      So, yes, if the reason for objecting to the neocons was that they supported the use of military power, or even unilateral military power, sure (i think the issue with Iraq was more going solo in the guise of enforcing UN resolutions, but no matter); but that wasn't the only reason people could have or did object to them.

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:45:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ever heard of (6+ / 0-)

        Project For A New American Century?

        Odd how Cheney/Bush/Obama's policies seem to (it's a coincidence I'm sure) align to the Policy objectives for the ME that PNAC outlined in the 90's.

        Of course the excuses are slightly modified, but the Policy objectives & results are the same.

        The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

        by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:51:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have in fact heard of it, (6+ / 0-)

          though " / " is a pretty thin argument, and many of the leading lights of PNAC are around today and don't have very nice things to say about Obama (which I'm sure proves it's all "kabuki.")

          Conversely, there is a long standing doctrine of liberal human rights intervention.  Some believers in that sadly saw what they wanted to see with the Iraq invasion and supported it.  You could fault Biden and Kerry for that, but the notion that it all derives from PNAC is ahistorical and largely is built from imputing "goals" to Obama there's very little evidence for, besides your bootstrapping.  

          But the biggest problem with your argument is that it really has nothing to do with Syria, to wit, whether Assad's actions and position justify a military response and if so, whether the proposed response makes sense in light of it and is nonetheless in the U.S.'s interest.  The situation is serious enough that it's not a good opportunity to sling mud.  I'm conflicted enough about supporting strikes, and uncertain enough about the outcome, I don't have a strong desire to trumpet moral superiority, and so should you with respect to acquiescing in the face of them, even if that ultimately proves to be the right outcome.

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:02:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thank You (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Loge, Eyesbright, Osiris, artmartin

        We kept Iraq in check for a decade with Northern and Southern Watch.  I don't remember the huge outrcry from fellow Liberals during these operations (which routinely engaged the Iraqi's and their ground troops)  Now Obama proposess an even more limited role in Syria and he is a warmonger and worse than Bush.  

      •  The UN hasn't even verified the use of CW, (0+ / 0-)

        let alone whom they might have been used by.

        We have a lot of supposed "evidence" that Assad used CW, based on incoherent chatter that has been provided us by various intelligence sources. None of this has been presented to the UN; many of the details remain classified.

        Nor is there any urgent, overriding need to go to war. American interests are not threatened by waiting several months for the UN inspectors to do their job. There is no imminent threat whatsoever.

        Now it's true that someone took a potshot at the UN inspectors in Syria; but again, there's a civil war going on, so who knows who that might have been; the Assad regime certainly isn't in complete control of all Syrian territory. And the proper response to that is not to immediately order a military strike, but to find out who did it.

        Still the inspectors finished their work and are now analyzing the samples. And if they find out that CW has been used, then the US will be in a much stronger position to demand a full investigation of who did it. Even Putin would not be able to object at that point.

        Regarding the Iraq example: there was no civil war in Iraq at the time Clinton bombed Iraq. In Syria, we are intervening in such a war and our attack will affect the course of that war in unpredictable ways, that could spill over into other, neighboring countries.

        We could end up empowering rebel factions that are even more extreme and dangerous than Assad. We could end up making it possible for terrorists to get their hands on his CW stockpiles, if he loses control over them. None of these were factors in Iraq circa 1998. Iraq was under the full control of Saddam.

        Also, Clinton did not send troops into Iraq, nor was there ever any possibility that he would.

        The fact that the administration won't rule out sending US troops is deeply troubling. They claim they have no plans to send troops to fight in the civil war--but that still leaves the possibility that troops could be deployed in other capacities, perhaps to support the rebel factions.

        Sending troops, even in a non-combat capacity, into a hot civil war where (so the administration claims) CW have been used is an extremely risky proposition.

        If even a single American soldier is killed, the US will invade Syria and topple Assad before anyone can blink. That's a virtual guarantee.

        And the administration has not answered any questions about this possibility--which is a very real one.

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

        by limpidglass on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:51:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Uselessness (14+ / 0-)

    the shorter term for "intervention in Syria".

    •  It will give the Villagers a non-Viagra woody ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, corvo, TJ, lunachickie

      so, there is that I guess.

      /snark, while shaking head in disgust

    •  Exactly why I oppose it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milkbone, sjduskin, maryabein

      There are a few added bonuses...

      Without international backing, either through the UN or NATO or the Arab League, or a judgment from the Hague, it's a unilateral act of war, to which Syria has every right to respond.  We can't very well complain if they use their anti-ship missiles to close down the eastern Mediterranean.  "No fair!" is not a legitimate argument.

      It's a religious war.  Both the Sunni and the Shi'a have been up to nasty shit already.  Even if we SAY we're acting on behalf of the "ultra-clean" secularist rebels, what we do will be seen as coming in on the side of the Sunni.  Picking sides in a religious war isn't the way to calm things down or work for peace in the region.

      What's more moral?  A unilateral action with murky motivations - are the bombs really meant as a "message" for Iran?  Or pursuing legal action at the Hague or the UN, with the result maybe being a united front against the use of chemical weapons?

      No to bombs.  They are NOT a solution to a complex problem, they only increase the complexity and difficulty of the solution.

      Tell me what to write. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

      by rbird on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:27:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, I'd also add (9+ / 0-)

    that the evidence actually presented by the Administration is a bit on the thin side for a war.  How about those satellite photos you mentioned, SoS?

    •  you wanna tell Syria what we'd bomb (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright, artmartin

      two weeks or so before it's approved?

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:46:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wait, what? (12+ / 0-)

        Are you saying Syria does not know where its CWs are?

        That's pretty silly no?

        •  they don't know what we know, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and if the proof is available, and compelling, by other means, the satellite photos are unnecessary to the case. The case against intervention is not so crazy it needs to be bolstered with "maybe Syria didn't do it."  

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:52:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They do know (6+ / 0-)

            we are openly discussing missiles.

            I would think they would assume CW facilities would be targets.

            If international support is not a goal, then of course who cares about compelling evidence.

            I mean Adlai Stevenson's whole jag about missiles in Cuba was really ineffectual right?

            I don;t see the merit to your viewpoint here at all.

            •  well, cuba hadn't fired them yet. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eyesbright, Osiris

              all i'm saying is there are plausible enough reasons not to share with an open session of congress that it doesn't support the inference the evidence isn't there.  Maybe show the photos, whatever, the point is, hanging the objection to lack of sufficient evidence Assad is guilty is a ridiculous basis, just as much as the fact that Assad is guilty doesn't completely answer all of the specific questions relating to an attack.

              what we do choose to target is a difficult question, one i am not qualified to answer.

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:09:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My objection does not hang on that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I objected to your objection to showing them.

                That made no sense to me.

                •  i wasn't replying to you, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  carlos the jackal

                  so you are objecting to the objection but not to the object of the objection, so, objectively, i object.

                  Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                  by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:26:38 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't see the relevance of that point (0+ / 0-)

                    Does it matter who you were replying too?


                    •  it doesn't have to be a compelling reason, (0+ / 0-)

                      just a reason, to rebut the conclusion that the administration doesn't have adequate intel, in light of the totality of the remaining evidence.  the whole point is with looking at the fact of not showing  or not showing some photo in isolation as indicative of anything, without completely exhausting alternative possibilities or figuring whether that makes sense.  besides, as long as the syrians know we are not going to bomb everything, i think there is a secrecy interest in which targets we've flagged.  i don't purport to read Kerry's mind so don't know why he didn't show the photo, but the possibility i raised is at least as consistent with the rest of the evidence as anything else, without requiring suspension of disbelief.  Whether it's the secretary's reason for not showing the photo, and whether that's correct in all instances based on armchair deduction, is not really important to me.

                      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                      by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:22:44 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  WTF? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, lunachickie

        Lame.  If the Syrians did it, they already know the sites they used. The only reason to withhold those photos would be that they don't exist.

        •  What's of dispute? (0+ / 0-)

          There is no dispute Syria has CW and the missiles available for delivery.  The intel that pins this down to who ordered and did this is the issue and that evidence is likely highly classified for damned good reasons.  It's internal communications more than likely eavesdropped on or it's stuff leaked out by embedded agents or informers.

    •  Sat photos (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, rbird

      are nothing - who is illuminating the maps, labelling the areas of control? How can they be accurate, without any real time on the ground intel?

      It can all be spun. If there is 'audio'...that can be spun too, or taken out of context, mistranslated. This sort of thing has happened in the not-too-distant past, involving parties which we are currently relying on for intel.

      But I beleive that the evidence is so contrived that only the Congress will fall for it. The rest of the world must not be invited in. Why? Why, if it's beyond such a "reasonable doubt" to quote FrankenKerry?

    •  You do know that there's a strong (0+ / 0-)

      likelihood that the damming evidence they possess involves deeply embedded agents and sources and that making that evidence public could put people in grave danger.  

      Yesterday as Rand Paul was grilling Kerry you heard Kerry chide him a few times that the discussion needed to be in the classified sessions.  That tells me we are just hearing the tip of the iceberg.  That Rand Paul can be trusted with that info is what's disturbing.

  •  I oppose, as framed. (35+ / 0-)

    Were this a true international response, I wouldn't oppose it.  Unilateral response on the part of the U.S., however, isn't appropriate in my view.

    Cake or DEATH? Oh, I'll have cake, please.

    by wmtriallawyer on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:35:23 AM PDT

    •  My objection is different than yours (12+ / 0-)

      But I also reject the framing of these choices.

    •  My feelings exactly. (17+ / 0-)

      I'm not COMPLETELY opposed per se (I'd like more information and evidence first as well as trying diplomacy and going to Congress) but as Kos worded the question I'm opposed.

      Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

      by Matt Z on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:38:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That gives countries who are all-in for Assad... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright, Osiris, untorqued

      ...a veto over what should be done, which is ridiculous.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:44:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's the problem (12+ / 0-)

        The next time somebody uses chemical weapons, we have now established a precedent that the United States, and only the United States, has the moral power and obligation to punish or correct the situation.

        Is that really a precedent we want to have? Because while the use of chemical weapons violates international law, unilateral action to somehow respond to it pretty much violates international law as well.

        Cake or DEATH? Oh, I'll have cake, please.

        by wmtriallawyer on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:47:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm totally happy with that precedent (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dillonfence, Osiris, untorqued

          First, because I don't expect to see a lot of cases of that sort, especially if we set the precedent here, and second, because it's the proverbial right thing to do in my opinion.

          By the logic in your second paragraph, those countries opposing meaningful action to punish regimes that use chemical weapons should themselves be in violation of international law.  

          You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

          by Rich in PA on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:49:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Punish? Ourselves, first? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          antirove, gustynpip, dhshoops, rbird

          A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war, according to senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program.

          Those officers, most of whom agreed to speak on the condition that they not be identified, spoke in response to a reporter's questions about the nature of gas warfare on both sides of the conflict between Iran and Iraq from 1981 to 1988. Iraq's use of gas in that conflict is repeatedly cited by President Bush and, this week, by his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, as justification for ''regime change'' in Iraq.

          Though senior officials of the Reagan administration publicly condemned Iraq's employment of mustard gas, sarin, VX and other poisonous agents, the American military officers said President Reagan, Vice President George Bush and senior national security aides never withdrew their support for the highly classified program in which more than 60 officers of the Defense Intelligence Agency were secretly providing detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for airstrikes and bomb-damage assessments for Iraq.

          Iraq shared its battle plans with the Americans, without admitting the use of chemical weapons, the military officers said. But Iraq's use of chemical weapons, already established at that point, became more evident in the war's final phase.

          In early 1988, after the Iraqi Army, with American planning assistance, retook the Fao Peninsula in an attack that reopened Iraq's access to the Persian Gulf, a defense intelligence officer, Lt. Col. Rick Francona, now retired, was sent to tour the battlefield with Iraqi officers, the American military officers said.

          He reported that Iraq had used chemical weapons to cinch its victory, one former D.I.A. official said. Colonel Francona saw zones marked off for chemical contamination, and containers for the drug atropine scattered around, indicating that Iraqi soldiers had taken injections to protect themselves from the effects of gas that might blow back over their positions. (Colonel Francona could not be reached for comment.)

          C.I.A. officials supported the program to assist Iraq, though they were not involved. Separately, the C.I.A. provided Iraq with satellite photography of the war front.

          Col. Walter P. Lang, retired, the senior defense intelligence officer at the time, said he would not discuss classified information, but added that both D.I.A. and C.I.A. officials ''were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose'' to Iran.

          ''The use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern,'' he said. What Mr. Reagan's aides were concerned about, he said, was that Iran not break through to the Fao Peninsula and spread the Islamic revolution to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

          Colonel Lang asserted that the Defense Intelligence Agency ''would have never accepted the use of chemical weapons against civilians, but the use against military objectives was seen as inevitable in the Iraqi struggle for survival.'' Senior Reagan administration officials did nothing to interfere with the continuation of the program, a former participant in the program said.

          Iraq did turn its chemical weapons against the Kurdish population of northern Iraq, but the intelligence officers say they were not involved in planning any of the military operations in which those assaults occurred. They said the reason was that there were no major Iranian troop concentrations in the north and the major battles where Iraq's military command wanted assistance were on the southern war front.

          The Pentagon's battle damage assessments confirmed that Iraqi military commanders had integrated chemical weapons throughout their arsenal and were adding them to strike plans that American advisers either prepared or suggested. Iran claimed that it suffered thousands of deaths from chemical weapons.

          The American intelligence officers never encouraged or condoned Iraq's use of chemical weapons, but neither did they oppose it because they considered Iraq to be struggling for its survival, people involved at the time said in interviews.

        •  This is the case in any event as only the US (0+ / 0-)

          has the combination of power and desire to punish or correct the situation.

          Your alternative precedent in the real world is that no one does so.  

          •  only the US' political class has said desire. (0+ / 0-)

            The people, so far, do not.

            An attack that has the political class further thumbing their nose at the desires of their employers, the electorate, is corrosive to our democracy.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:14:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  As opposed to no response (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          period? Is the only response one that the UN approves of?

      •  Why bother with the U.N. at all then (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        antirove, 3goldens

        since we already know what is right?

        How many times have we intervened to protect Israel?

  •  My vote in favor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of authorization does not then say that Obama should act upon it, just that the power is fully his should he see it as necessary.  I like that the time period for the authorization's use is long.  

  •  Military intervention is wrong for so many reasons (13+ / 0-)

    Why not try a little diplomacy for a change. Hard edged diplomacy.

  •  we have to prove to despots everywhere (31+ / 0-)

    that if they're going to massacre their people, they can only do it by socially acceptable means. or else we'll blow up some stuff, and pat ourselves on our backs and feel really good about ourselves. and that'll teach 'em!

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:36:26 AM PDT

    •  As opposed to doing nothing, which has (5+ / 0-)

      struck fear into the hearts and thwarted the ambitions of villains throughout history. "Lo, I would gas another village, but in response, the world might shake its head and go its merry way, so I am undone!"

      •  it's just possible (13+ / 0-)

        that there are options other than the binary of doing nothing or blowing stuff up.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:44:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm still waiting to hear more specifics on (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Osiris, Spit

          this ephemeral "third way" that goes beyond: Step 1: Diplomacy with China and Russia, Step 2: ?, Step 3: Profit!

          •  as opposed to (6+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Vetwife, PhilJD, 3goldens, rbird, jkusters, emal

            blow stuff up, profit?

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:59:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Ephemeral? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Let me provide you a real world example:

            UN Security Council Resolution 678 of 1990, authorizing the use of force against Saddam's Iraq.

            •  is that an option? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              From where I sit, Russia will never, ever support intervention in Syria. Is UN support (even given substantial proof) on the table? I don't believe Putin when he says they are open to supporting intervention if it's proved.

              "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

              by progreen on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:30:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That was said in 1990 (0+ / 0-)

                Why not try and find out.

                •  do you need an actual vote to be convinced? (0+ / 0-)

                  As far as I can see, this constitutes "trying". I'm all for show-votes in the congress (see where people stand, hold them accountable), but in this case it seems clear where everyone stands.

                  "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                  by progreen on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:24:38 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's trying to authorize military force (0+ / 0-)

                    not engage in diplomacy.

                    Resolution 678 was not the start of the process. It was the end of it.

                    The idea that diplomacy is over not 2 weeks after the attack is incredibly absurd.

                    •  ok (0+ / 0-)

                      what is the diplomatic solution to a state having violated the laws of war and used prohibited weapons? Syria has already been isolated, sanctions are not effective tools for a state in civil war. They have already broken the international standards- how is there a diplomatic solution to this? Them promising not to do it again?

                      The problem isn't the Syrian civil war. The problem isn't Assad as authoritarian dictator. Each of those problems ought to be, and have been, addressed diplomatically. The problem is the Assad regime's violation of the rules of war and the precedent of the use of chemical weapons.

                      What is the diplomatic solution to that particular problem?

                      "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                      by progreen on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:50:54 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  So you are arguing for regime change (0+ / 0-)

                        not what the President has proposed.

                        •  no (0+ / 0-)

                          I am arguing for the use of force as a punishment for violating the laws of war and as a deterrent to future violations. Weapons of mass destruction ought not to be used- if they are not the "red line" of a descent to total war, what is?

                          Regardless, my question wasn't rhetorical. I'd like to understand your perspective on the use of diplomacy here. I believe in diplomacy, I just don't see how it can be used in this situation. If you have some ideas, I would be interested- my own operating assumption has been that diplomacy cannot work for the problem of the violation of the rules of war in the use of chemical weapons. If there are diplomatic options I haven't considered, I would reconsider my (currently very tepid) support for this intervention.

                          "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                          by progreen on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:53:09 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Even Kerry speaks of Geneva 1 (0+ / 0-)

                            Honestly, I don't even understand your argument.

                          •  I'm not sure (0+ / 0-)

                            what you're referring to as "Geneva 1," but the relevant Geneva in my book is the Geneva Protocol (Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, 1929). The action by the Syrian government was a violation of that Protocol.

                            Let's review the debate here. kingfishstew criticized the argument for using diplomacy as "ephemeral" for lacking substance. You presented

                            UN Security Council Resolution 678 of 1990, authorizing the use of force against Saddam's Iraq.
                            as a "real world example" of diplomacy. I brought up that I didn't think a UN Security Council Resolution was an option due to Russia's intransigent opposition. You argued that the same was said in 1990, we should "try and find out." I stated that the US government has indeed tried to get a Security Council resolution and provided a link to evidence of the same.

                            At that point in the discussion, you stated

                            That's trying to authorize military force (0+ / 0-)
                            not engage in diplomacy.
                            Resolution 678 was not the start of the process. It was the end of it.
                            The idea that diplomacy is over not 2 weeks after the attack is incredibly absurd.
                            by Armando on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:38:15 AM PDT
                            That was odd, considering your original "real world" evidence for diplomacy was also a Security Council resolution authorizing military force, though you did state that it was the "not the start of the process. It was the end of it".

                            So, now we were back to the original point by kingfishstew, which was that the calls for diplomacy in this situation lack specificity and are, in his words, ephemeral. The closest we have to an example of real-world diplomacy in this discussion is what you imply as the unspecified process of negotiation leading up to Resolution 678 in 1990.

                            At that point, I brought up the point that this situation- that is, the violation of the Geneva Protocol and use of chemical weapons- does not have apparent diplomatic solutions. Implied in my argument was that the 1990 Gulf War was in response to the invasion and occupation of Kuwait had diplomatic solutions (attempt to encourage the Iraqis to leave, then threaten them to make them leave). These diplomatic means were tried until reaching the endpoint of resolution 678. However, I believe this situation to be different- because the problem is not the occupation of a country, nor even the continued civil war, but rather the use of prohibited means of war.

                            Here is my argument, concisely: the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad regime is not a problem with a diplomatic solution. We can do nothing, or we can respond punitively.

                            I am open to hearing what you see as diplomatic tools that can be used in this situation. In my perspective, the two main punitive tools available to us are sanctions (which I argued against) and military force (direct or indirect, and of varying strength levels. I don't believe sanctions will work, so I think the only options are do nothing as we have been- and allow continued use of chemical weapons and violation of international rules of war until those rules truly become completely meaningless- or to strike militarily. Despite ample evidence of potential negatives, I think we should do the latter. Again, however, I am incredibly persuadable on my viewpoint in this situation- are there diplomatic tools that I'm not seeing?

                            "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                            by progreen on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:36:45 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Geneva 21 is the (0+ / 0-)

                            agreement reached on Syrian negotiations.

                          •  ah (0+ / 0-)

                            Geneva 21 makes more sense.

                            Yes, I think the Syrian civil war should be dealt with diplomatically.

                            But again, I'm not in favor of us interceding in a civil war, I'm in favor of upholding international rules of war prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, and for punitive measures when a state violates said rules. Had chemical weapons not been used, I would not be in favor of US action.

                            Now, your recent diary does present a much more compelling case. The idea that we will violate international norms in order to uphold international norms is a pretty convincing argument that we shouldn't do this. It would mean a case for war does rest on American exceptionalism.

                            Hm...I'm back to undecided.  

                            I can't get away from the idea that the use of chemical weapons is a slippery slope (though I do hate slippery slope arguments) that requires punitive measures. But unilateral action doesn't support international norms either. Still is it the worst thing if states are afraid to use chemical weapons due to the possibility that the US will launch a punitive strike? Does anyone really fear the UN? Will Russia ever truly back punitive action if Syria continues using chemical weapons?

                            "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                            by progreen on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:36:50 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  That is what the President has proposed (0+ / 0-)

                          "Asshat has got to go".  But not with the help of American troops.  And so far - not by arming the rebels.  I think that is pretty clear.

                    •  I was wrong (0+ / 0-)

                      Given the current "out" of having Syria turn over their chemical weapons to Russia, it appears there were diplomatic solutions I was not considering. I am now squarely opposed to intervening until this chemical weapons disarmament is explored.

                      Thanks for the discussion, if you read this. It helped me clarify my views and has helped change them.

                      "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                      by progreen on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 11:39:41 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  And yet, no one has presented a plausible one (0+ / 0-)
        •  Like what, for instance? n/t (0+ / 0-)
        •  Obama has been willing to talk to despots (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eyesbright, Osiris, Loge

          and he has, in fact done so, Burma being one example and, at least initially, Iran.  I don't see any evidence that Obama is unwilling to use diplomacy where there is potential for progress.

        •  They are..... (0+ / 0-)

          love to hear the list.

      •  sometimes there are no good choices (8+ / 0-)

        It's a hard lesson.

        "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

        by Rikon Snow on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:45:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I wonder what drones look like on the "socially (6+ / 0-)

      acceptable" scale to the rest of the world?

      That's a serious question, though I suspect the answer is relatively obvious from the increasingly large portion of the planet on the receiving end.

  •  US considers surgical strike on UK (16+ / 0-)
    US considers surgical strike on UK over sale of chemical weapons to Syria, but won't seek regime change in London.
    Some say incinerating Buckingham Palace would send a message and next time Britain will think twice before selling nerve gas. I don't know.
    9 questions about Britain
  •  No (33+ / 0-)

    I am a NON-military interventionist.

    Aggressive diplomacy to build international support for pressuring Syria on international norms is my view.

    I am neither of what you describe.

    I reject your choices.

    •  Whenever I have tried to argue that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, YucatanMan, 3goldens

      I'm told bluntly it can never work by the interventionists. So taking that stance into consideration I have to oppose.

      "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 Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:42:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I reject their unsupported statements (8+ / 0-)

        And counter there is no reason not to prove their assertions right.

        Let's try.

        The missiles can always be launched later.

        •  It's not as if we haven't waited already (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and after we strike then what, more of the same.

          In the end it will be a negotiated peace, when that will be, it could be a very long time.

          "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 Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:47:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It is unlikely here (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fladem, progreen, Eyesbright, Osiris

        Russia has already vetoed every attempt to get any resolution through on Syria. There is little sign that they're going to change their stance, given that Putin is still constantly arguing some kind of false flag thing.

        But I'm all for keeping trying. I just think that pinning much on getting anything through the UN -- I mean, it's probably not going to happen.

        Which means moving to other diplomatic approaches is the only likely way forward there.

        What I personally have chafed at are people acting as though there has been no "real" attempt at diplomacy or international consensus thus far. I've been watching things unfold in Syria the whole time, and there have been many, many diplomatic attempts by many actors -- visible ones, which means that the backroom ones have probably been even more constant. Assad is uninterested thus far, and Putin is solidly backing Assad.

        •  Why are you chafing at that? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You argue there has been a real attempt?

          The Secretary of State has been out talking about Munich Moments and urging AUMFs.

          I find your argument unsupported to put it kindly.

          •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eyesbright, Osiris, sviscusi

            Third veto by Russia and China of UN resolutions on Syria, 2012

            Russia veto, June 2013

            Believe me, I can find you tons of stuff here, Armando. This conflict has been a major flashpoint for international diplomatic work for more than two years. And this is not the first use of chemical weapons by Assad, it's just the biggest and most obvious.

            That said, Putin may be softening up today, if newer media reports are solid. It's worth trying, and trying, and trying. It's also not something I'm going to pin too much hope on, given the recent past around this same topic.

            •  We're talking about now (0+ / 0-)

              unless you think that all past diplomacy was just a prelude to the events of August 21.

              Speak to me of what has happened since THAT date.

              •  We disagree on this, then. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                To me, it is absolutely relevant -- that June veto was after evidence of another chemical attack. IIRC, language around that was left out at the UN specifically to try to placate Russia into finally doing something, and they vetoed anyway.

                But here, then: Aug 28

                Most real diplomacy doesn't happen in public view. Do you seriously think we haven't been talking to Russia?

                It's fine to disagree here, but yes, I think that the diplomatic efforts made around all of the bloodbath going on in Syria are absolutely relevant to what can be expected in current diplomacy. Geopolitics never happens in a vacuum.  

            •  From your first link (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              "Diplomatic efforts at the United Nations Security Council to address the Syria crisis suffered a potentially fatal blow on Thursday when Russia and China vetoed a British-sponsored resolution that would have punished the Syrian government with economic sanctions for failing to carry out a peace plan."

              Not about CWs.

            •  From your second link (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens, maryabein

              "Russia nixed a British-sponsored Security Council resolution over the weekend that voiced “grave concerns” with Syria's military offensive in Qusayr. The veto earned a sharp rebuke from State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

              The comments come as Bashar Assad's armed forces are rolling back rebel forces in the western half of the country. Russia said Monday the Syria army should be allowed to wrap up its operation, confirming once again that the United States and Russia are on opposite sides of the two-year-old conflict that has left some 80,000 people dead.
              “The proposal that the international community should raise its voice at a time when the Syrian army is finishing a counter-terrorist operation against insurgents who have been terrorizing the population of the border-lying Syrian town for several months can hardly be called timely,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said, according to the ITAR-TASS press agency."

              Not CWs.

              •  Actually, yes CWs. (0+ / 0-)

                Specific reference to them was left out on purpose, to try to get Russia on board, but the "grave concerns" in the resolution included French evidence of sarin use by Assad at Qusayr.

                That evidence wasn't as easy to pin on Assad at the time, though it was probably Assad. It wasn't airtight enough for the UN, but that is exactly why "grave concerns" were there, and Russia knew that.

                •  So if it is airtight now (0+ / 0-)

                  then let's give it another go.

                  The Russians voiced a different objection to the resolution.

                  •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

                    We have to keep trying. But I assume much of the real work is not happening in the public eye on this.

                    Much has already happened, diplomatically, that doesn't exactly give me great hope that Putin is going to have a change of heart here, unless we have some really great means for arm twisting in some little room with no cameras.

                    Then again, they did stop arms shipments just now. Of course, they framed that like it was about payment. They're playing diplomatic hardball, have been through the whole thing, and I hope we're up to that maneuvering here.

        •  The UN isn't the only game in town (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Spit, maryabein, jkusters, emal

          There's NATO, Turkey's a member, the Arab League, and the International Criminal Court at the Hague.  That's just off the top of my head, I'm sure there are other coalitions that could be formed.  Will it be easy?  No.  Will it require considerable upper body strength to twist all those arms?  Yes.  Is it lazy?  No.

          Is military intervention the lazy approach?  Yes.  It requires much less work on the part of the Administration to give the order to bomb than to parlay, argue, fuss, bribe, and otherwise cat-herd the various parties into unified action.  I'm not a lazy person, so I naturally have a deep disrespect for this approach.  Besides, IT IS AN ACT OF WAR.  I don't care if the intention is for a limited military action involving aerial robots and stand-off missiles, because war, it never changes in this one aspect:  it's unpredictable.  What a war leader intends and what happens are usually two completely different things.

          Tell me what to write. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

          by rbird on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:55:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            From what I can tell, we have been working those angles, too, and I hope we continue to do so. War is the last resort for urgent situations when all diplomatic efforts on all levels have failed, and I don't see that we're there yet, personally.

            But I think the UN -- either authorizing any military action or authorizing heavier negotiation tactics -- is an unlikely route here, unless we're finding pressure points with Putin in backrooms. Which is possible.

            If we can get Putin or another powerful actor in the region to pressure Assad into not using the weapons and publicly condemning them, maybe there's a way here. I'm dubious, and that would have to happen very much out of public view, but I'm closed to nothing at this point except ignoring the use of sarin in civilian populated areas.

            •  Except for military action... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Spit, maryabein

              ...we are in agreement.

              I do not wish to ignore the use of sarin against civilians, but military force is a wrong choice, in my opinion.  There are many reasons I oppose it, both specifically to this circumstance and in general.  I'll try to summarize them below.

              In this instance...

              There don't seem to be many good actors on the ground at the moment, other than the Kurds to the west.

              The conflict is morphing into a religious war.  We don't want to choose sides in such a conflict, since it will exacerbate any attempts to make peace or achieve anything diplomatically in the region.  A strike at Assad will be perceived as choosing sides.

              Is it really about sarin and Assad?  Some statements from the Administration seem to indicate that this is an attempt at sending a "message" to Iran.  That's never a good reason to drop bombs.

              Military action won't accomplish anything.  It won't hinder Assad in any meaningful way.


              I'm not one for collective guilt.  Bombs, even the advanced robotic weapons and GPS-guided missiles, are very blunt objects.  If we want to punish Assad, let's punish him, not his people.  We have long memories, we can wait, and when we finally can act, let us dispense justice on the guilty.

              There are other arguments, but then I'd be writing all day.

              Nice to have a civil discussion on this topic.

              Tell me what to write. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

              by rbird on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:38:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I very largely agree (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                with everything you've written here. I think where we probably differ is that sarin, to me, really is a very, very, very red line. I do realize that direct chemical warfare has occasionally been ignored in the past, and I think that was stupid then, too.

                I have a solid chemistry background, and IMO we do not want a world where anybody thinks that the international community is going to just sort of sit there and shrug at civilians being gassed with sarin. There are very few "WMD's" that actually deserve their reputations. This is one of them.

                That doesn't mean that it's a green light to war. It does mean to me that the geopolitical stakes go way beyond Syria and the particulars of its civil war -- I absolutely think it would be a mistake in general to involve ourselves in what's looking to be a broad sectarian-religious mess in one of the most centrally important areas of the Arab world since the days of the Ottoman Empire. I mean, you want a *%^(# mess, here it is.

                I don't know the right answer, at all. I do think that we absolutely need to make sure that it's clear that using something like sarin will not simply be shrugged at by everybody with any power to do anything. I don't want to live in the world where that's normal.

                Russia is the best key to this diplomacy, and in that regard, this probably couldn't have happened at a worse time in leadership there. Putin doesn't really care what anybody thinks about anything, so far as I can tell. Russia's politics have been hair-raising lately on any number of fronts as it is.

                Thanks for the good discussion on it right back atcha. I really do think there are any number of points of view here that are completely solid, that I respect and think bring up really important thoughts and concerns. I like to hope that many of us can be thoughtfully learning from each other while we consider all of this.  

          •  The only thing the Arab League is apparently (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            good for is cheerleading the U.S. into taking action.  But HELL NO, they won't possibly participate in strikes against Syria.

            They will just commit us.  And for that reason alone, I say NO.

    •  I'd take your choice (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaFeminista, Armando

      but that's not exactly what we're looking at right now.

    •  I agree completely, except that I think (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, polecat, antirove, DeadHead, emal

      "Oppose" military intervention has room for NON-military aggressive diplomacy and international agreements on pressuring Syria and Russia. (and Iran) (and...)

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:47:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know this may sound simplistic, but arent (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, highacidity, 3goldens, emal

      all, non-lethal points of pressure worth trying?  Russia is a huge key to Assad's power and we all know there is a lot of discussion going on between them and us, Saudi Arabia and probably others, but what about the Olympics?

      One of Putin's weaknesses is his ego, and the Olympics is his baby.  We could put pressure on so many countries to sign on to boycott if he doesn't stop supporting Assad.  I know some wanted that done over the LGBT laws and violence but unfortunately it wasn't important enough to enough of the participating countries, but the middle east ready to explode is enough, I believe.  

      I assert Putin would be personally injured if his Olympics were going to be a shell of an event.  Why aren't we using all the possible leverage we have?

    •  Share what we know with the Russians. Build a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      antirove, Armando, 3goldens

      consensus and hit Assad where he lives (e.g. Russian patronage).

      This whole thing stinks to high heaven and all I can tell is that Kerry is heavily invested in it.

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

      by polecat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:08:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What can we give Russians in exchange for it (0+ / 0-)

        giving up its naval bases in Syria? They are very protective of those and whatever air, ground and logistical support goes with them. Or alternatively phrased, how might we ensure Russia gets to keep its military assets in Syria even with a possible regime change?

        It's the biggest players on the globe with their proxy assets in the Middle East that keep it roiling on the edge of chaos. Russian, Iran, US, UK, France, China...they all try to advance their causes in destabilized and chaotic political situations where a high powered police state and increasingly well-armed armed rebels are in conflict.

        And we allies have to get our own glass houses in order. Whatever the UK's reason for selling chemical gas weapons to Syria, or any Middle Eastern interests, undercuts its moral authority to judge any other nation or to share in umbrage standing with the US. If we don't call the UK, our best Anglo-buddy, out on that, well that's the worst loss of face, the worst loss of credibility, the biggest lie to our claims of being civilized. That's the red line that truly requires our moral attention and that of the UN. Poison gas only has one very uncivilized purpose--kill large numbers of people of all ages indiscriminatingly. Why not demand this get first priority for our justice league?  Pack up those UK arms dealers who provided the Serin and Vx gas to Syria and drop them off inside Syria's border. Let Syrians sort out what to do with them. Ok, Ok, you win. Just take them to The Hague, ASAP.  Next, the UK demands back, buys back the remaining stocks of poison gas...  Then we can discuss 'intervention'.

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:33:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ultimately Russia will have to pick the winner (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          in Syria, or already has.

          Whether they 'engineer' a coup or support one group or another.  But attacking Syria is going to solve very little, unless we can convince the Russians to "confiscate" any WMD materials that the Syrian Government tries to hide on the Russian base.

          Which I highly doubt.

          These gasses are a lot different than nukes -- at least nuclear material and missiles can be recycled (beaten into plowshares) for peacetime use.  What are you going to do with left-over war gasses?  Make bug repellent?

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

          by polecat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:53:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Sure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      if Obama had not boxed himself in and Assad was such a good target for may reasons other than his total warfare in his civil war.

      I don´t  think there is much room for external diplomatic pressure now that this is seen in most of Syria as an ethnic-religious civil war. There is no stopping those

      •  Exactly Iberian (0+ / 0-)

        There are 2 million refugees , this thing hit CRISIS MODE some time ago

        People have been trying to reason with Assad this whole time , the guy is on a mission to destroy everyone who does not agree with him , because his mommy said so

        Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

        by Patango on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:29:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If we were (or are) going to intervene (15+ / 0-)

    I don't think it should have anything to do with 'American credibility'.  We shouldn't be like North Korea, with our actions driven by a need to feel we've 'saved face'.  Our actions should be driven by what is needful to minimize overall death and destruction.

    I don't believe 'limited strikes' will do any such thing, but will instead, if they have any effect at all, merely further draw out and extend the conflict, allowing for further death and destruction.

    •  The problem is the violation of an important norm. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If Assad were rounding up people and trading them like slaves on the open market, it'd be just as important to strike his slave-trading facilities for world credibility against (chattel) slavery at least as it is for world credibility against nuclear weapons. There are just certain things we shouldn't allow to be done, at least not as brazenly as Assad is.

      In a way, the non-interventionists arguments remind me a lot, word for word, of what the non-resisters (earliest Abolitionists) said about Southern Slavery in the 1820-1840s. Well, it's bad, but there's nothing anyone can do about it, except tell the Southerners they're bad men for keeping slaves. But don't actively help slaves escape, because those escapes will inevitably fail and just make it worse on the poor slaves. And definately it isn't an issue anyone should come to blows over, as they chided people like Lovejoy for trying to defend his presses  from pro-slavery mobs.

      •  That is nonsense (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the Abolitionists did not advocate military action.

        They advocated political activism.

        Word for word your comment is complete horseshit.

      •  If he was conducting a slave trading facility, you (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, 3goldens, PhilJD

        think we should bomb the facility?  You do realize it will not be Assad who gets killed in the bombing, right?

        Certainly, there are things that should not be allowed.  Unfortunately, many of those things are things the U.S. is engaged in.  And it's not up to the U.S. to unilaterally decide both what those things are and what is to be done about them.

        Lowering yourself by comparing noninterventionists to those who failed to fight against slavery does not strengthen your argument by any means.  In fact, it weakens it considerably.  There are, of course, virtually no similarities and it simply makes you look small and incapable of arguing your position in a positive manner.

  •  Why no #falseflag option? (5+ / 0-)

    Did Obama get to you, Kos?

  •  The majority of the US opposes intervention...I'd (8+ / 0-)

    like to see the US Congress actually vote the will of the people for a change.

    Conservatives seem to believe that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less. E.J. Dionne

    by blueyescryinintherain on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:38:17 AM PDT

  •  against! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, marsanges, 3goldens

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:38:23 AM PDT

  •  I voted "Oppose" (13+ / 0-)

    but I think that letting chemical weapons become the new normal will haunt us.

    Bashar Assad is not going to be the last dictator with a rebellion on his hands and an arsenal of chemical weapons.

    It's just that I think that whole "symbolic" thing matters more. If you have no real good choices, choose one of the options where you don't kill anybody.

    This whole situation is terrible and no matter what we do, or don't do, or do half-heartedly, Syria will suffer and thousands of innocents will die.

    Anyone suggesting that "they" want this war needs to explain how "they" caused a massive drought in Syria, followed by the Syrian government selling off their wheat reserves because market prices were high. That food crisis led directly to the rebellion. No rebellion, no chemical weapons.

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

    by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:38:26 AM PDT

  •  Too Bad We Can't Believe Anything The (14+ / 0-)

    leadership of the United States has to say.

    Even John Kerry is sounding like Colin Powell.

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:38:38 AM PDT

  •  Oppose, as is evident from my diaries (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, YucatanMan, blue aardvark, i dunno

    "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 Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:39:03 AM PDT

  •  Our moral outrage is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    reserved for special occasions.

  •  Opposed. (9+ / 0-)

    The administration hasn't made the case as to how any intervention serves the U.S. national interest. Or explained how a limited military strike will remain limited.

    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

    by MBNYC on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:39:41 AM PDT

  •  It's like that great Saul Alinsky quote. (3+ / 0-)

    I feel like thanks to my support for intervention, I've weathered the storm of approval and come out as hated as ever.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:39:55 AM PDT

  •  No good path (14+ / 0-)

    I am horrified by the devastation of civilians in Syria.  I am saddened by both the nerve agents being used, and the fact that Syrians are fleeing their homes to escape this tragedy.  If I thought we could do something meaningful, I would say "Bombs away!"

    However, the situation does not lend itself to an easy solution.  The rebels aren't really much better than the Syrian government, from our point of view, and probably from the average Syrian citizen's as well.  When you factor in the influx of Al Qaeda amongst the rebel forces, our potential pool of allies in the event of a rebel win get far shorter.  I don't support Assad's regime, by any means, but neither would I welcome an Al Qaeda-infested government to replace him.

    Add in the possibility of an air strike missing the correct target, through faulty intel or human error, and my support of an air strike goes to nil.

    I hate to say it, but I think our "help" would only hurt.

  •  Ted Cruz says that by (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chaoslillith, YucatanMan, emal

    bombing Assad the US would be acting as Al Qaeda's air force.

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

    by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:40:02 AM PDT

  •  This is what I keep coming back to, myself. (10+ / 0-)

    If it's so bad for Assad to kill his own innocent people, it's at least as bad for us to do it.

    I don't care if you call it a "limited strike." I don't care if you hedge and say you won't hit anything but chem weapons depots which are fifty miles or more away from major cities. If we call in strikes, we will kill innocent Syrians, probably including children.

    I don't support killing innocent Syrians for Assad. I think it's obvious that we can't have any real good effect by doing this, and it isn't worth the innocent lives we will take to get embroiled in yet another fucking war, not to mention the money it will cost to kill them.

  •  Running about 25% in favor. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, WheninRome, YucatanMan, gustynpip, emal

    That must mean Obama has a mandate.


  •  I vote Oppose (13+ / 0-)

    but we rain down bread on their heads.

    The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. Mark Twain

    by BlueMississippi on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:42:09 AM PDT

  •  Conflict for THOUSANDS of years ... (7+ / 0-)

    Syria has been in a state of war for thousands of years.  
    Bombing them won't change history,but may very well draw other countries in the region into the conflict.

    "Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex." - Frank Zappa

    by Kdoug on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:42:36 AM PDT

  •  I think we're faced with a false choice here. (4+ / 0-)

    Is there not any other means for the US to respond other than blowing things up?

    Are there possible economic sanctions that could be imposed against the Syrian regime? Can a trade embargo not be imposed?

    I just do not accept that we have no ability to punish or discourage acts such as we have seen in Syria other than by military force.

    I oppose intervention, though I understand why others might support such a course in these  circumstances. We cannot ignore the matter. Am I Pollyannaish to want a 3rd option?

    "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

    by aggressiveprogressive on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:44:34 AM PDT

  •  I Think There's Another "Interventionist" (6+ / 0-)

    Argument which states: Regardless of who deployed chemical weapons against civilians in Syria, chemical weapons were deployed against civilians in Syria.

    Targetting / Destroying the facilities used to produce them and/or the locations where they are stored isn't favoring one side or the other, and isn't about punishing anybody... it's about trying to prevent it from happening again.

    •  Can it be done without blowing the weapons (5+ / 0-)

      up and spreading the toxins into the areas surrounding the plants?  That's a question I wish could be answered accurately before it's tried.

      •  A good point, and I think the answer is likely (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OleHippieChick, tytalus, ColoTim

        "no". Dispersal might not be wide, but you'd have a toxic waste dump from hell left behind.

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

        by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:56:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Degrades quickly, actually (0+ / 0-)

          dispersal would be more of a worry, depending on how it's stored.

          •  What's quickly (and I realize that depends on (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            what the chemicals are)?  Minutes?  Hours?  Days?  I realize there would likely be a need for such weapons to be non-dangerous to the victors, because otherwise it would be like a nuclear weapon - nobody alive, but nobody able to possess the territory either.  It doesn't do much good if you can't take the territory.  Just wondering how long till people can go back into the area and deal with the aftermath.

            •  Well, it's actually sort of complex (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Usually, it's not stored as sarin for very long -- most often, they would probably mix it within a day or two of use. It wouldn't remain very stable mixed for more than a couple of weeks, so far as I'm aware. So it'd ultimately depend on whether they have any premixed, and how long it has already been there, and so on.

              It turns to nothing majorly awful just reacting with water relatively quickly, though. I mean, I would guess somebody could get in there with zip risk within a day to a couple of days, depending on how much we were talking. But I would have to look up reaction rates at various temps and things. I do know that it doesn't hang out terribly long.

              The precursors are also somewhat nasty, though in terms of being corrosive or so on rather than being nerve agents. It'd depend ultimately on how they're stored in relation to each other, too. Those are more persistent but less directly dangerous.

            •  Better source (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              National Response Team: Sarin (GB)

              "Persistence: GB is considered a “very low persistent” agent. Vapor: minutes-hours; liquid:2-24 hours. Persistence will depend upon the amount & purity of the agent, method of release, environmental conditions & the types of surfaces & materials impacted. Porous, permeable, organic or polymeric materials such as carpets & vinyl tiles can act as sinks for absorbing GB vapors & liquids, prolonging persistence."

      •  That's a Great Question (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I won't spectulate on it, because I don't have the education or information I'd need to answer it.

  •  I am unconvinced that the sort of intervention (4+ / 0-)

    proposed would be effective, even if it is a joint operation with the UN.

    I am convinced that the proposed action by the US alone is vigilantism, as well as likely not effective for the stated goals.  As such, it is immoral.

    I am damn sure that if we are unwilling to raise additional revenue to fully fund the proposed intervention--including care for our vets--forces our most downtrodden citizens to bear the brunt of a clearly arbitrary sequester and funding of a likely ineffective and clearly immoral military action.  As such it is a goddamn outrage.

    Socialist? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    by Kimbeaux on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:45:06 AM PDT

  •  I oppose intervention (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    An enlightening "pulse of the community" poll might perhaps include the reasons for opposition, for while I'm notionally allied with some here in opposition, we arrived to that conclusion by very different conveyance.

    Purge the CTs, admins...

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

    by angry marmot on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:45:31 AM PDT

  •  Back and Forth (5+ / 0-)

    I am really torn.

    Ultimately, I side with staying out, but I did vote for limited intervention because it's so uncertain what actually will happen if the world does ignore the use of chemical weapons.

    By saying "world" I'm saying that I don't believe at all that the US should do this unilaterally.

    So let me ask, Kossacks, what do "we" do if we stay out and Assad uses chemical weapons again, killing even more or the same number of his own citizens?

    People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. - George Orwell

    by paz3 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:45:57 AM PDT

  •  It's nice to see (3+ / 0-)

    how many oppose this.

    I read a few right wing blogs and they are mostly saying that liberals are all wanting to go to war just to "Praise their Messiah."

  •  I do not believe anything we are told anymore. (5+ / 0-)

    Whether it is our politicians or the msm.

    I am sorry that I have lost faith in our leaders.

    Since I can never be sure of what is happening, I must vote no.

  •  Been there, still doing that (6+ / 0-)
    The Minnesota National Guard’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, was an important part of the 2007 “surge.” As a result of the extension of their tour to 16 months in Iraq, and 22 months overall, the Red Bulls are recognized as having served the longest tour of duty in Iraq of any military unit, active or reserve.

     The Duluth-based 148th Fighter Wing expertly provided real-time surveillance for ground commanders using their Theater Aerial Reconnaissance System.

     St. Paul’s 34th Combat Aviation Brigade was responsible for corps-level helicopter support from 2008-2009.

     In 2009-2010, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Headquarters provided command and control for 16,000 U.S. military Servicemembers operating in nine of Iraq’s 18 provinces.

     With the prevalence of improvised explosive devices on the roadways in Iraq, the St. Paul-based 133rd Airlift Wing provided critical aerial transportation of people, equipment and materiel throughout the region.

     In 2011 the 1st Brigade Combat Team mission in Kuwait was the largest deployment of Minnesota Guardsmen since World War II. The brigad's mission included base management, convoy security, reaction forces, and management of specialized units from the Army, Navy and Coast Guard. The brigade drove 1.35 million miles and escorted 25,970 trucks during 480 missions prior to the last U.S. military convoy departing Iraq.

    Current operations have troops deployed for Operation Noble Eagle (Homeland Security) and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).

    Note that when the 1st Brigade went back to Iraq and drove those 1.35 million miles in Iraq and completed 480 mission in Iraq they were deployed to Kuwait so the Obama administration did not count them as troops in Iraq.

    When they tell me no boots on the ground, I don't believe them.  Besides, my state's troops are still deployed in Afghanistan.

  •  This is about Geopolitics and not CW (10+ / 0-)

    Firmly opposed. There are other ways to punish users of chemical weapons. This is about Geopolitics... Iraq was about Geopolitics...And the next conflict will be about Geopolitics...

    I just cannot believe the crap coming out of this administration...In their whole analysis, or lack thereof, no clear account of what happens if Assad Regime falls, AlQaida affiliated rebels win, or take control of Chemical Weapons...

    Very Scary Stuff...

  •  I can't agree to the language (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TooFolkGR, Armando, Nowhere Man

    Sorry.  See Armando's note but also those who argue on either side about the effects of a proposed attack as deterrence to dictators and militants around the globe.  THAT to many is as important if not more so than the specific Syrian situation.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:46:45 AM PDT

  •  When those in government who are pushing... (31+ / 0-) intervention include as a big part of their rationale that it's about U.S. credibility and people knowing that the U.S. means what it says, I get really, really pissed. Especially when they themselves admit that the limited action they propose won't stop the targeted government from continuing to do what it has been doing.

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

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:46:50 AM PDT

  •  That isn't exactly my reasoning (4+ / 0-)

    for non-intervention, but I am a non-interventionist all the same.

    “It takes no compromise to give people their takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

    by lucid on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:47:02 AM PDT

  •  I voted for "Oppose" because of the law of (6+ / 0-)

    unintended consequences.  Who the hell knows where this would lead?  For all we know, it could evolve into a war between Islam and the West.  

    Gods, with all the other things we have to worry about, another war would really wreck the fragile economy.  It's climate change that should be occupying our attention, not intervening in Syria.  I"m as upset as anyone about civilians being gassed but as Kos points out, dead is dead.  If you fire on your own citizens, they will fall just as dead.  

    The thing is, the images are so horrific.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:47:30 AM PDT

    •  I agree. Where would it lead? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diana in NoVa

      Where would it end?
      Yes, we hear what the Administration is claiming,
      but I am not convinced one bit.
      Listening to Kerry speak only made my opposition
      This is wrong.
      I'm not sure we are even getting the whole rationale behind
      this desire to strike.
      And if they go ahead, and things go haywire, the GOP
      couldn't be happier to see something torpedo the rest of
      Obama 2nd term.

      "The past is never dead. It's not even past". Faulkner.

      by mchestnutjr on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:17:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Since when has ANY military (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Blue, gustynpip

    conflict we got into or started in the Mideast done any good?

    So yeah, opposed, because rulers in the Mideast seem to like killing people no matter what the reason and then ones that don't kill their own people have no problem killing the people that they deem worthy of killing next door, or in settlements or that look at them funny.

      History, lessons, repeat...etc


  •  It depends (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antirove, gustynpip, Mr MadAsHell

    If US wants to enforce an International standard, then they need to seek approval from the International community.

    We should also analyze our long term goals and objectives.  If the US wants to send a message, they must make sure they don't cause any unintended consequences and destabilize the region more.

  •  I had to put "undecided" (5+ / 0-)

    with the way you have framed this.

    I'd like to see more work building a case for broader international support. I'd like to see more presentation of evidence. I'd like to see lots of diplomacy -- if it isn't going to go anywhere with Syria or even Russia, then I still want to see it going on heavily with other nations, particularly trying to build support within the Arab world.

    I do not think unilateral action is wise here or at this time, no matter what congress says. I also do not think that no intervention is wise here. I will not trivialize the use of sarin, particularly against civilians.

    I don't reject all unilateral action in all circumstances, but I think the burden of proof, the urgency, and the need to have clearly tried everything else becomes extreme. I'm unconvinced by what I see so far.

  •  Sickening To Listen To John Kerry (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK, Chaoslillith, dhshoops

    Apparently the Democrats need to create another war so that they can add some creds to the foreign policy.  So in 2014 and 2016, Democrats can say they too created a War and can brag about it in all the campaign commercials.

    "Obama Kept The Homeland Safe - Vote Democrat"

    "Proud To Be An American, Where At Least I Know I'm Free - Vote Democrat"

    "Abu Gharib, Love It Or Leave It - Vote Democrat"

    "We Must Burn The Village To Save The Village - Vote Democrat"

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:47:47 AM PDT

  •  I incline toward a humanitarian intervention (14+ / 0-)

    strong actions, backed by force if necessary, that supply food, medicine, water,create safe zones, no fly zones, etc.

    We don't work that way, unfortunately.

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:48:09 AM PDT

  •  If the UN or NATO or the Arab League... (6+ / 0-)

    ... agreed to support or participate or if Turkey agreed to send 75,000 troops I may go along.

    US Congress is not enough.

    And I wish we realized that we have a lot more tools than the proverbial hammer.  We are addicted to the military option because we need to justify spending so much on it.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:50:12 AM PDT

  •  What is this thing, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK, dhshoops, gustynpip, churchylafemme

    "American credibility"?

  •  The people of Syria need food (5+ / 0-)

    Not bombs. Send in the UN. And the Arab League.

    •  Arab League has the money, the hardware, the (4+ / 0-)

      connectedness...   The ball really should be in their court.  We should stop acting to keep them out of sight. This is truly far more their issue than ours.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:01:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  US military intervention in any regional crisis (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        where we (or our forces) have not been directly attacked should always be contingent on the invitation and participation of neighboring countries in the region.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:09:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This poll is a good idea, Markos. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, jpmassar, Lady Libertine

    Please consider posting straw polls like this on other topics in the future.

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

    by PhilJD on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:52:01 AM PDT

  •  I'm a semi - interventionist. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Assad regime will not be able to secure their chemical weapons stocks, or the facilities used to manufacture them. I think they need to be destroyed and degraded so that rebels/terrorists can get their hands on them.

    I have a problem with the wording of your poll too. It's not the question I would have asked.

    Someone has to be held responsible for the chain of custody in determining the authenticity of my life. I’m getting a lot of false positives.

    by glb3 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:52:22 AM PDT

  •  Insufficent proof (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robobagpiper, protectspice

    is an insufficient basis for military intervention, especially in a civil war where there is good side.

    Neither is "credibility."

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:53:36 AM PDT

  •  First, you get straight the true purpose (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    which has nothing to do with chem weapons or preventing their use against citizens, but simply preventing Assad from winning.

    Then you answer the question about intervention.

    He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

    by Publius2008 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:53:44 AM PDT

  •  The problem with this debate on this site (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iberian, Dumbo

    At least the one that I have noticed -- happens when a few people who feel quite intensely about it tell others that they aren't really Democrats or progressives if they favor Obama's position -- or variations to that effect.

    It reminds me of the whole Israel-Palestine thing-- best to wear armor.

  •  I've asked it before. (5+ / 0-)

    Can we have one generation of Americans that doesn't have the opportunity to go to war?
    One generation that doesn't know what it's like? That doesn't have to hear our leaders debating something that could deprive them of a future or severely curtail it?

    One generation?

    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 Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:54:27 AM PDT

    •  30 years looks roughly to be about the longest (0+ / 0-)

      time war-free we get here in the good ol' USA.
      Revolution to War of 1812
      1812 to Mexican-Am War
      Mex-Am War to CivWar
      CivWar to Spanish-Am War
      Spanish-Am War to WW1
      WW1 to WW2
      WW2 to Korea
      Korea to Vietnam
      Vietnam to Iraq/Afghanistan

      So, depending on your definition of "generation", no.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:07:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Undecided" doesn't cover it for me (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magster, fladem, Darmok, milkbone, Spit

    "Persuadable" might be a better choice.

    If there were better evidence that Assad was behind the attacks; if there was a better explanation for the goals that a strike would accomplish; if there were better assurances that a strike would do minimal harm to innocent people; if these things could be met, then I could be persuaded to support intervention.

    As it is, I'm voting "Opposed", not because I'm firmly, 100% opposed, but because the arguments in favor of intervention have not been persuasive.

    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

    by Nowhere Man on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:54:54 AM PDT

    •  I will gladly stipulate he was behind the attacks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nowhere Man, emal

      and say we should still stay out of it because that's not the point.  It's a civil war in the Middle East.  Remember the lessons of Lebanon.  These things can go on for decades and become far, far deadlier and bloodier than they have to date, even with the recent bombing, and they can be as impossible to stop as a junkyard tire fire.  There's no good that can come from this.  

      •  This is why I need a better explanation for goals (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm willing to allow for the possibility that the Administration knows the situation in the Middle East better than you or I do. But I'm not going to blindly trust that they do when they're acting as if they don't.

        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

        by Nowhere Man on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:23:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's a case to be made (5+ / 0-)

    ... that climate change underlies the profound social stresses in Syria. Just like the Pentagon's been saying about the destabilizing effects of global warming.

    For the life of me, I can't come up with a story that explains how tossing a few more bombs into the mix will help.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:57:10 AM PDT

  •  When we are using norms about chemical weapons, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, nightsweat, pileta, maryabein, Roxpert

    or words like "credibility" - the grounds are pretty flimsy.  Certainly the norms weren't there in Vietnam or the Iran/Iraq war.  

    And certainly it is sad that we, as a country - both major parties apparently - do not have any other real idea in their collective brains about international leadership than pulling out guns and bombs.

  •  Was leaning toward support (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, Dumbo, pileta, sjduskin, emal

    last week, but the propaganda pushing over the weekend and in yesterday's hearing sent me toward not supporting. Last night Jon Stewart's guest sealed the deal - help the refugees, no more war. Plus, his comparison of the red line to a penis size measuring string pretty much summed up what has been going on - bombing isn't about being macho or bolstering your international cred & that's the new argument coming from the administration (and the jackasses who started the Iraq war) - 'if we don't they will think we are weak' is total bullshit. So no, against.

  •  I stand with Dick Cheney! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That motherfucker knows his bombings.

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

    by The Dead Man on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:01:16 AM PDT

  •  I vote in favor (0+ / 0-)

    Neuter Assad´s air force and try to get some of the gas deposits and delivery units (this second part is really hard). Make clear next time you use gas, yes I know is an arbitrary red line and we are no one to put redlines or act alone and it might no be under international legality to do so(not sure where is the standing once Congress gives authorization), we will also bomb palaces.

    I do have a particular dislike for the Assads and the Syrian secret service, who in my view have funded, promoted and done more terrorism than Bin Laden and his followers.

  •  How come we (and the rest of the American public) (5+ / 0-)

    ... are not being brainwashed by the all-powerful MIC, giant media and corporate cartel conspiracy to go along with the plans to bomb?

    I thought most Americans were like lemmings-to-the-sea ready to be (mis)led by CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, The New York Time, the Washington Post and other corporate-controlled media outlets and MIC interests into backing the bombing?

    I thought for sure that was going to happen because I've read it here!

    Wait... You mean it's not happening? You mean a majority of Americans have hadituptohere with wars in the Middle East and western Asia? You mean a majority of Americans are not lemmings who believe the corporatist and MIC cartel's propagandistic spin?

    Holy shit!

    My eyes have been opened!

    I have seen the truth and the light!


    Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

    by Bob Johnson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:02:44 AM PDT

    •  I agree... (0+ / 0-)

      i think if there's any silver lining to this it's the awakening of many from the MIC propaganda.

      "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are." --Homer Simpson

      by dhshoops on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:13:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Either that, or perhaps more and more Americans (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, edwardssl

        ... are reading the important diaries here of those who possess "the truth."

        Or something.

        There has to be an explanation why Americans are not falling for it, hook, line and sinker.

        Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

        by Bob Johnson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:16:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Humanitarian aid to the victims (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, emal

    is the only thing I'd like to see. WhoTF are we to bomb them? Build them quick, good shelter and massive amounts of food. We are so stupid not to care for the victims and the displaced. We don't seem to know the meaning of the word "humanitarian." All our moves are perverse and cause more harm than good.

    For all that the fiasco in Iraq has cost, if we'd just handed every Iraqi $25K, we'd have come out quickly, well-loved and without body counts.

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes

    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:03:12 AM PDT

  •  So bloody conflicted... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dhshoops, fladem, pileta, Darmok, Spit

    It's both a travesty and par for the course that the international community will sit on its hands.  China and Russia made clear they will veto any international action.  

    This argument that 'something' has to be done, because we're setting precedent when we stop enforcing international law has grown on me over the last week.  As a species we banned the use of chemical weapons DURING WWI.  Can we really start looking the other way now?   Do we seriously want history to show that 100 years after The Great War, we sorta just gave up on these enforcing these laws because we lost the appetite for human decency?

    The United States spends 42 cents of every military dollar on the planet.  With that outsized power comes outsized responsibility.  Recent experience and military adventurism has not served us well.  This probably has a 'boy who cried wolf' effect on the public appetite for any kind of intervention, no matter the conflict.

    At the end of the day, I feel , and we are all well aware, neither option is good, but at least intervention will show that at a few countries still respect and want to enforce international laws regarding war crimes and human decency.

    Of course we may be breaking international law to enforce these important laws... but geopolitics has made this par for the course too.

    With heavy heart, and a level of trepidation,  I have voted for intervention.

    Looking at the results, I see this puts me at odds with many of my kossack comrades.  I hope my opinion can be respected, just as I respect every one of yours.

    Thank you for reading.

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

    by Blue Dream on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:03:14 AM PDT

    •  Pretty much sums up my views (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, Blue Dream

      The UN was supposed to handle this kind of issue, although the problem always existed about what authority it has when dealing with internal issues in a sovereign state.  Born out of WWII, the idea was to prevent another Hitler, but what if a Hitler-like regime executed its own citizens?  

      Moreover, it's likely that no one seriously foresaw that the Security Council would become so bogged down by politics that it be effectively useless in the very situations it was designed to prevent and remedy.

      So, if the UN fails to act because of inherent conflicts, does that render US intervention null?

      We really need to decide whether we're going to effectively turn a blind eye to intra-state atrocities.  If we're going to intervene, we need to develop a strategy for such interventions more than a few days before acting.

      But what to do about Syria in the meantime?

    •  IMO (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blue Dream

      the only reasonable conclusion here at this time is that all of the options suck.

      I think there are really solid arguments any number of directions, and I think that feeling genuinely conflicted here is a good thing, no matter what "side" any individual thoughtful person might wind up coming down on in the end.

  •  You forgot humanists ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, pileta, emal

    ... We could also not go to war, but try to rally the world to help Syrian refugees.

    Why aren't more people talking about that option?

  •  I am opposed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, ratcityreprobate

    TY for this Kos!

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

    by valadon on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:04:13 AM PDT

    •  I would add (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, ratcityreprobate

      that I did support Libya, but I think Syria demands a different solution. Countries are not just abstract things there are different circumstances and logistics involved. I want to see a more diplomatic/political solution.

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

      by valadon on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:07:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This week, we're sending some of our own war (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, sjduskin, maryabein, emal

    criminals to capitol hill to persuade lawmakers why we should crack down on their war criminals by dropping bombs on other countries.

    Am I the only person that sees something wrong with that?  Didn't somebody once say something about motes and beams?

    How can we bitch and moan about war crimes when people like Hayden and Brennan were right there in the thick of it when we COAXED Syria into helping us torture prisoners on their soil (as part of the extraordinary rendition and enhanced interrogation programs of the Bush administration).  

    They're also sending that asshole Clapper up there to brief congress, the same guy who perjured himself just a few months ago.  The same intelligence guy who "informed" the press back in 2004 that the NSA was certain Iraqis had moved their chemical weapons to Syria and that's why we were having such a hard time finding that dagnabbit smoking gun.  The natural next suggestion, which the neocons quickly made, was, well, LET'S ATTACK SYRIA, NEXT!  THEY MUST HAVE THOSE CHEMICAL WEAPONS!

    Most of these guys don't give a rats' ass about chemical weapons.  Just as they didn't care about torture when they used that as a justification for overthrowing Saddam.  "He tortures people at this place called Abu Ghraib!"

    It's all bullshit kabuki theater.  It's an insult to our intelligence.

    •  I heard the voice of Rumsfeld (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein, Dumbo, emal

      this morning on MSNBC!  Was busy cleaning so didn't see if it was a video of him or a live appearance.  That dirtbag belongs in prison for multiple actions as a war criminal, and yet he's given a voice today in the media!  The U.S. media is in full-blown "let's blow up some people" mode.  God, they just make me SICK.  

      "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 Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:43:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The question is do we want this country (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skod, 3goldens, emal

    to be at a state of perpetual warfare, or do we say "enough" at some point?

    We are not the world police force.

    Shit like this is why every time we want to improve something here at home, and so positive things, we're told "we're broke".  

    At some point you have to put your foot down.  Most other countries are too busy building modern societies to waste all of their efforts on perpetual warfare.  

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:05:11 AM PDT

  •  I don't think we know who did what (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, johanus

    And any excuse to not get involved in a war in the Middle East is fine by me. This feels like we're being manipulated, though by whom, I don't know.

    I do know that perpetuating the war machine is insanity.

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
    Dwight Eisenhower

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:05:53 AM PDT

  •  I truly am undecided (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Jarman, pileta

    Short term I think a military strike is the worst thing they can do.

    Long term I think NO military strike is the worst thing they can do.

    So originally I was leaning towards supporting the strikes.  However, I have a nagging feeling that down the road whether the US acts or not will make little or no difference to how they are perceived and how others act as a result, and so you will simply get the short term pain without the long term benefit.  Especially when the proposed actions are so tepid.

    I think the US (and the UN preferably) need to act, but preferably without actually dropping bombs or firing missiles.  That's just going to inflame the Middle East even more even if the actions can be morally justified.

    Here's what I ask myself: what is the best course of action that will stop the slaughter, and prevent the chemical weapons from being used again including in a potentially much larger and more devastating attack?  Toppling Assad doesn't guarantee that.  Punishing him doesn't guarantee it.  Leaving him alone or threatening to send people to war crimes trials doesn't do that.  There are no good options here, and this is why I would never want the job as President.

  •  The pro argument (0+ / 0-)

    The better argument for intervention is that absent a stiff price for the use of chemical weapons, Assad will use them routinely. It's impossible for the rebels to protect population centers that support them from attack with such weapons.

    Other nations and warlords will see that chemical weapons can be both extremely effective and that their use is no longer punished by the world community. We'd be looking at mass proliferation as one side in each conflict acquires them and their opponents respond in kind to deter their use. Eventually the conventions against chemical weapons would fall apart, a nightmare scenario.

    If we strike Assad and he responds by continuing to use chemical weapons, the consequences won't be nearly as bad. It will be clear that he has paid a heavy price for their use and that by using them he has effectively seriously damaged his ultimate chance for success in the war.

  •  I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see so few (0+ / 0-)

    fellow undecideds, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I take heart that those in favor and the undecideds combined are still less than those opposed.

    Mere passive citizenship is not enough. Men must be aggressive for what is right if government is to be saved from those who are aggressive for what is wrong. - Fighting Bob La Follette

    by ProgressivePatriotPA on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:07:52 AM PDT

    •  I am undecided (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but I guess I would say the burden is on those for intervention, and they haven't met the burden.

      I don't understand the politics well enough in Syria to have a firm answer in any event.  The older I get the less I trust simple explanations about anything in the Middle East.

  •  None can give a real point of the message and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    intervention " helping".  It does nothing but show we are a superpower and governments already know that.  Will it stop Assad?  NO.  Does it destroy the WMD's?  No.   Will it bring back the poor civilians who died?  No.   Will it deter the regime?  In their dreams...No.   Will it give us a moral ground?  No..

    The only thing to do is to send humanitarian aid, help the refugees, build up a strong alliance with the international community, and do no further harm.  We have no business sending a message into a war zone that DOES NO GOOD but can and will DO HARM.  What part of this is not understood?  A feel good missle shot....A cowboy moment in time and no real significant results.  

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

    by Vetwife on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:08:31 AM PDT

  •  To enforce an international norm we must be ready (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, maryabein

    to consistently and flagrantly violate international norms.  Sounds about right.  

  •  Undecided (0+ / 0-)

    If they could convince me that their strike could disable Assad's capacity to use chemical weapons in the civil war going forward. Otherwise what's the point?

    Notwithstanding the "conventional" murder of civilians that has been going on, I do think innocent civilians are disproportionately affected by chemical strikes and serves as an additional basis for doing something (as opposed to Kos' "death is death" argument).

    I dunno.... it's a fucked up mess.

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:09:36 AM PDT

  •  I dislike the absolute categories. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One need not be a non-interventionist to oppose military intervention in this particular case.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:09:55 AM PDT

  •  I Checked Undecided Because... (0+ / 0-)

    I'm conflicted.

    I guess it depends on a couple of "IFs" for me:

    IF the strike can actually eliminate or severely curtail Assad's future chemical weapons usage and save the lives of many Syrians with minimal civilian casualties and no escalation of the conflict, count me on the "Favor" side.

    IF does little or nothing to stop or curtail Assad's future chemical weapons usage while resulting in significant civilian casualties and escalation of the conflict, count me on the "Oppose" side.

    Since these "IFs" remain, I am left undecided.  I guess that means I'll get attacked by both sides.  Oh Well!  

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:10:21 AM PDT

  •  Optimistic interventionist... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iberian, pileta

    In principle, I support military intervention to degrade a government's (or government opposition force) ability to inflict genocide. It doesn't matter if the genocide is committed by gas or gun, or if the area is in our "national interest" (it has oil) or not, or to which god the civilians pray. I think we have the moral obligation to assist a population that needs time to get out of harm's way.

    Optimistic because my candyland view of military interventions is belied by episode after episode of American military efforts gone awry and expanded as objectives and agendas become conflated and garbled. And the irony of blowing up planes and tanks that we sold these assholes is not lost on me and in no way do I suggest that our hands our clean in these instances.

    In short, Assad is a very bad guy and I'm not convinced that sanctions or diplomacy is going to stop or slow the senseless slaughter of tens of thousands of people.

  •  Ideologically I'm opposed... but still (0+ / 0-)

    undecided due to TOO many realistically possible outcomes BOTH WAYS... Syria continues to publicly issue totally insane statements.  (My neck's getting sore from whiplash.)  I'm not sure ANY negotiation would prove fruitful...  The Syrian gov't. is more out to lunch than the most extreme tea baggers.  Perhaps a small strike could bring them to the table, but there is nothing to make me believe anything other than outright defeat (by whom?) will bring them to publicly admit facts that the world already knows.

    Very glad the Prez agreed to consult Congress.  I believe acting on his own is a guaranteed recipe for political damage; thus he needs to act in concert with massive agreement from other authorities, to save his (and America's) ass, PR wise.  I hope more Euro nations weigh in.

    I also believe the limited strike stated so far could be very effective, mostly in light of Prez's handling of Osama assassination and its surgical and successful outcome... not to ignore the positions of those who questioned his "right" to kill enemies absent due process.  This world has unfortunately outgrown lots of former moral absolutes.

    Adjusting to living in a police state. 1984 is here.

    by ceebee7 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:14:33 AM PDT

  •  The problem is (0+ / 0-)

    that, even though you've tried to write two paragraphs that are framed as neutrally and even-handedly as possible, I still agree with the contents of both of your supposedly-diametrically-opposed paragraphs.

    I really don't think I can respond to the poll either; when I say that I'm very ambivalent about it, it's not because I'm "undecided," but rather because I'm very firm in my belief that we're damned if we do and damned if we don't, and all that's tipping my hand in the "lean no" direction is only that the range of potentially bad unintended consequences seems narrower if we don't intervene.

    Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

    by David Jarman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:15:13 AM PDT

  •  Not a bad description of the pro-con arguments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, ratcityreprobate

    Though a better poll would offer an "other" choice along with undecided.

    I have two comments:

    --I don't think it helps for people here against the bombing (as I am) to make incendiary, overwrought accusations that Obama loves to kill poor children, that bombing is fine with the administration because the targets are brown people or Muslims, that the goal is to steal oil or smash the country into smithereens just because, that this was "created" to distract from the NSA press, that Obama is personally responsible for WP use before he took office, that he's a war criminal just like Cheney, etc.  there are so many reasons to be against this campaign that hyperbole of this kind seems like overkill.

    --I think John Kerry has shown himself to be utterly unsuited to the role of Diplomat-in-Chief.

    "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    by SottoVoce on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:15:43 AM PDT

  •  Voted 'yea'....having the authority and using it (0+ / 0-)

    are two different things.....shit....he could bomb Syria right now.

  •  It's not about chem weapons or kids, it's Iran (0+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, the President very publicly drew his "red line" at Syria's use of chemical weapons. Personally, I think that was a mistake.

    If the U.S. fails to punish Syria in any militarily forceful way, Iran, N. Korea and anyone else with a nuclear or other WMD weapons program - or aspirations for such a program, will see a weak President who will not enforce his tough talk with any meaningful punishments. Without fear of U.S. punishment, these country's will have no reason to discontinue their pursuit of these programs.

    Another residual complication will be that Israel will be even more inclined than they already are to take matters into their own hands with Iran.

    The whole situation in Syria is an f'd up minefield for the U.S. and the West. I think Obama really misplayed this with his "red line" and has made what was a difficult situation nearly impossible.

    The U.S. has to act. And none of those options are good or hold the promise of achieving any significant results.

    But none of this is about the use of chemical weapons or the loss of 1,400 lives. It's about politics and the message it sends to others.

    Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

    by Citizen Earth on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:17:51 AM PDT

  •  "Intervening" in a war we are already involved in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, maryabein, emal

    People urging intervention miss the context.

    Obama says no regime change, yet he authorized covert action to overthrow Assad over a year ago. The CIA has been training and arming the rebels for at least a year - there are U.S. bases in Turkey and Jordan set up for this purpose. It's likely there are already special forces on the ground in Syria.

    Our allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar (both despotic monarchies themselves) have been funneling billions of dollars into the conflict with our tacit approval, sending both weapons and Jihadist fighters into Syria. Saudi Arabia reportedly freed 1,200 death row inmates - rapists, murderers, drug traffickers - and forced them to fight against Assad.

    Qatar and Saudi Arabia, of course, have a great deal to gain strategically from Assad being gone, since Syria is an important transit hub for oil and natural gas. Like the U.S., they will do anything to weaken Iran's influence and prevent the rise of the so-called "Shiite Crescent."

    The rebels, the people we are arming and funding, have been captured on video committing human rights abuses of their own. Torturing prisoners, mass killings, using prisoners as suicide bombers - all of which the U.S. has turned a blind eye to. I watched Kerry insist in the hearing yesterday that the rebels contain hardly any radical elements and are "getting better" - completely divorced from reality. What happens once Assad is gone? Will the rebels have access to chemical weapons?

    These are not the actions of a country interested in peace and protecting human life. A "limited action" for human rights purposes, in a violent conflict the U.S. and its allies are helping perpetuate and has no plan to resolve, makes little sense.

    And finally, maybe we should look at what happened the last time we decided to take military action for "humanitarian purposes." Has anyone paid attention to what's happening in Libya? Or is it only when there's a chance to bomb a country that we care about the people there?

    Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria...
    Libyans are increasingly at the mercy of militias which act outside the law. Popular protests against militiamen have been met with gunfire; 31 demonstrators were shot dead and many others wounded as they protested outside the barracks of “the Libyan Shield Brigade” in the eastern capital Benghazi in June.
  •  The Administration (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, 3goldens, maryabein

    ...must show its work to me to support it.  They are steadfastly refusing to do this about the facts at issue.

    And given Kerry's statement today, it seems that what is really driving this is a Saudi threat to support al-Nusra more if the US does not hurry up and topple Assad.  We should not let the home country of 15 of the 19 9/11 highjackers that has Bandar Bush as a covert operator push around our President like that.

    It's time for Congress to ask just what is the Saudi agenda in all this.

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

    by TarheelDem on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:19:51 AM PDT

    •  In addition (0+ / 0-)

      They're basing their actions and arguments on intelligence whose leaders of said intelligence agencies have a track record of blatant misuse and lies! I have no trust in the "just trust us" agencies. In addition the leaders of these intelligence agencies have voiced they are on board with the action being proposed, and many of them are holdovers from the Cheney administration. The same Cheney administration who they perfected and raised to an art form, stovepiping and cherrypicking of "intelligence" as well as their sales pitch for War product. Not saying this necessarily is the case in this instance, but reason for my mistrust of anything that they tell us is "high confidence".

      That said, it appears from reading this, there is credible information that Assad used CW's in this recent attack..but imho many reasonable doubts, beyond a reasonable doubt. I also believe the record indicates that rebels have used Used CW's too in this civil war. So that in itself poses a reason for doubt.

       IMHO, strong NO, for many reasons. Many reasonable doubts.

      Would prefer more emphasis on humanitarian and diplomatic intervention. No one ever said diplomacy was easy, but wish they spent more time and effort on that, than on cheer leading for war.

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

      by emal on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:28:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm surprised given the comments recently (0+ / 0-)

    that only 60% are definitely opposed.  I guess it makes sense that the ones trying to stop an action already in motion are more vocal. And the ones supporting action do so with reservations.

    Kos should do another poll on surveillance.

  •  Kerry testifiying. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit, emal
  •  I'm willing to compromise (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'd be willing to shift to supporting intervention in Syria, and to try to bring my friends and drinking buddies along, too, if the resolution also allowed us to take out the governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel.

    Both of those governments are also guilty of human rights atrocities.  Our continued friendly posture toward those governments also deeply undermines the credibility of US policy in the eyes of most of the world.  Removing all three governments would offer a genuine chance to reshape the middle east.

    Otherwise, the current proposal is recycled, go-nowhere hand-waving, as both D and R leadership line us up to play mercenary army (yet again) for the Saudis and Israelis, who are both deeply committed to a fundamentally untenable status quo in the region.

    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

    by Minerva on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:21:14 AM PDT

  •  America Is Hungry For Another War. This Time (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats can join and lead the patriotic theme and sing all the War songs.

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:23:40 AM PDT

  •  Against the war in Iraq, for Syrian intervention (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry056, Spit

    But barely. I have read the arguments for and against.

    I'm not pro-intervention all the time. Far from it. I was arrested in a civil disobedience action in the lead up to the Iraq war and spent most of that week on the streets, protesting. I was against the Bosnian, Kosovo and Albanian interventions (though I now believe I was wrong)

    So, here's why I believe what I believe. First, I believe that Assad's regime used chemical weapons. It seems clear from the evidence that chemical weapons were used and it only makes sense that Assad would have used them given the target and the area. I don't believe Obama is lying about that.

    Second, I believe that the use of chemical weapons without response is unacceptable. It is an international norm, and if one regime can do it without response many others will follow. What do international norms and laws mean if you can break them with impunity?

    Third, while I would almost always favor UN or international action on something like this, Russia's false ignorance and willful intransigence in supporting Syria make UN action impossible. Likewise, NATO cannot realistically be involved in an area outside their scope and the Arab League appears unwilling to do anything other than prop up authoritarian regimes.

    So, what I see is that action must be taken and we are the only ones capable of taking it (perhaps with French support).

    However, I am swayed by several things. The lack of British support is troubling. The potential for unintended consequences is sizable; we may end up sucked into a more direct conflict with Syria, or may end up sucked into a regional war; we might empower al-Quada, we might replay Afghanistan and the Soviets. I dislike war in general; cruise missiles and bombs are particularly poorly directed things that cause significant collateral damage. It seems that this will strengthen Assad's hold over Syria by giving him an external enemy. There seems little evidence we can do more than a gesture, and that gesture may not "degrade and deter," and may lead us into worse things.

    Currently, I'm 53% in favor, 47% against. I almost put undecided, but to me that's a cop-out. If I'm not against it, I'm tacitly supporting it. I would be glad to hear opposing arguments that don't hinge on the administration  lying or a general no-war-ever argument. The proposition that Obama is somehow a neoconservative or implementing the neocon agenda is completely absurd. I also dislike the straw man of African conflicts unintervened on- I understand we don't and can't intervene everywhere, this discussion is about this time, now. I also disagree with the notion that "dead is dead"- the use of chemical weapons means something. If I can, I'd love to hear from other people who consider the use of chemical weapons in violation of treaty and law unacceptable, but may not consider US intervention the best way to handle it. Fire away.

    "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

    by progreen on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:27:50 AM PDT

  •  Undecided. (0+ / 0-)

    This cannot be yet another action by the US and a small set of allies that is unsupported in any meaningful way by the international community.

  •  Complex as it should be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    First of all, there is no solution and there is no good response.

    If the US and allies don't respond, not only will the slaughter continue, but the use of chemical weapons will as well. It will be seen as a tacit admission that so long as at least one member of the UN Security Council is willing to let their own self-interest keep resolutions off the table and there's a potentially high cost to be paid by putting troops on the ground, WMDs are a legitimate tool for maintaining power.

    If they do respond, there's a strong chance that the attacks do little to limit Syria's chemical weapons deployment or deter Assad's will to use them, and the gesture will be at best likely meaningless and at worst, polorize Assad's support to cause greater suffering.

    If they do respond, there's also the chance that it continues to escalate, pulling the US closer to direct intervention on the ground, establishing yet another mire in the Middle East which will cost greatly in American wealth and lives to endure.

    There is no right answer. Regardless of what the US does, innocent people will continue to die on the ground in Syria. That isn't the question and it's a silly way to try and weigh it. The question is whether or not intervention will prove the less bloody option in the future. In every option, innocent people are going to suffer and die. How many and for how long is the calculus for this decision, in my opinion.

  •  My Thoughts... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I agree that there's little we can actually DO about the conflict without YET AGAIN committing an unreasonable amount of blood and treasure. I have supported our 'hands off' policy toward Syria up until now for that very reason.

    Conventional warfare, while horrific, is not in and of itself a legal 'crime of war.' Civilian casualties, the same. In a civil war, civilian casualties are much more likely.

    But with the use of chemical weapons, Assad has violated a specific international rule.  Rule violators should be punished. (Banks, anyone? The Bush administration, anyone?)

    In this case, I think Obama's approach is correct. We are punishing the Syrian goverment for the use of chemical weapons on the battlefield. We are going to make some strikes, then stop. We're not getting into a quagmire but we are enforcing the very important rule not to use chemical weapons.

    This will not solve the Syrian conflict. It may help the rebels, it may not. But it will let Syria and others know that chemical weapons may not be used without consequences.

    I do have two concerns: one, that we'll somehow get sucked in anyway, despite Obama's claims that we won't, and two, that Syria will attempt some sort of retaliation against Israel in an attempt to make it into a regional conflict. So this is not without risk.

  •  Disagrre with Kos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    (Repectfully Disagree, of course)

    Poison gas is not the same as killing by another means.  It is the same as dropping a nuclar bomb, fire bombing a city, sourced earth, or the tacits of Gangus Kong (sp?)

    Yes, you can achieve the same effect with conventional weapons, but the amount of effort is different.  And that effort is important in the calculus of everything else.

    This is also the reverse of asymeteric warfare.  Syria can not meaningfully threaten the United States.  And even though there would be cost in terms of material, equipment, and most importantly lives, the damage caused by the US strike will be determined by what the plan is, not what Syria will allow us to do.

    (Long term political issues as well, I know.)

    The US milatry time of involvement will be determined in DC and not in the field, that means we can limit the act of war to what "we" think it should be.

    A US strike is going to come with a long term cost.  Not acting is also going to come with a cost.  Too small an acttack will make it not worth the price.  Too large, not worth the back lash.  

    I have no idea what the right size is.  But WMDs need a firm response.

    Not a perfect answer I know.

    I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

    by Edge PA on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:44:00 AM PDT

  •  I oppose (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    acnetj, emal

    for now.  I am sympathetic to the idea that using chemical weapons is something that ought to be punished, but something about this does not add up.  Why would Assad use chemical weapons right after the inspectors arrived in his country?  

    Regardless, I also agree that it isn't clear what military action does to improve the situation.  

    Bring Assad to the Hague.  Try him for war crimes.  

    Something should be done, but I don't think firing zeh missiles is the right course of action.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

    by Adam Blomeke on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:46:32 AM PDT

  •  additional survey question: should the US pursue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit, maryabein

    a goal of nation building in this context, past the issue of combat.

    second question: is this any different than the division of countries practiced in 20th Century colonialism

    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 Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:47:47 AM PDT

  •  Scoring the evils of the world (0+ / 0-)

    Let's get a scoring in place:

    A. absolutely wrong
    B. sometimes wrong
    C. rarely wrong
    D. rarely good
    E. sometimes good
    F. absolutely great

    Now, let's go through a laundry list of evils, some utterly rejected by today's civilized societies, some receiving a pass under specific circumstances, others tolerated far more than not.

    I assembled a list based on subheaders on the Human Rights wiki page here adding in a few subcategories where it seemed needful. Some redundancies and overlaps are evident already but I'm going to leave them in.

    The list is NOT rank ordered, but intended to show the range of "evils" (my word) or abuses (theirs) as defined by current thought on human rights.

    1. War
    2. Genocide
    3. Employment of WMDs
    4. Possession of WMDs
    5. Ethnic Cleansing
    6. Forced Relocation
    7. Mass Murder
    8. Homicide
    9. Torture
    10. Rape
    11. Sexual Abuse of Children
    12. Child Soldiers
    13. Slavery and Forced Prostitution
    14. Forced Labor
    15. Silencing Dissent
    17. Persecutions of Conscience (religious and ideological, etc.)
    17. Persecutions of Identity (gender, orientation, ethnic, racial, partisan)
    18. Restricting Movement
    19. Imprisonment
    20. Disarming Citizens
    21. Drafting Citizens (adults this time)
    22. Destruction/confiscation of housing, land, possessions
    23. Restriction of rights to work, participate in commerce
    24. Maldistribution of wealth (to extent it crowds out those with less from being able to function in a market society)
    25. Blocking access to necessities of life (water, food, medical attention)
    26. Interfering with Reproductive choice (not just contraception and abortion but right to marry and have kids with whoever one pleases)
    27. Arranged/Forced Marriages
    28. Restricting Free Press, Access to Information
    29. Emergency Suspension of Rights for National Security

    Score away, or just reflect on how many, many different ways human beings can suck toward one another and accommodate themselves to evil and abuse and oppression in their lives and the lives of those around them...

    ...and rationalize even worse situations for people that they'll never see, or speak with, or meet.

    On the one hand, I just handed pro interventionists a strong foundation with that last line: That we can't sleep nights knowing we could ameliorate suffering and correct a wrong - and did nothing.

    On the other hand, I just handed anti-interventionists support for the contention that the first rule for any physician, even metaphorical ones, is "Do not further harm."

    You just have to ask yourself what harms are attached to the likely war/not classical war scenarios that are looming ahead for the people of Syria and figure out whether or not you really will be sleeping better the night after the war/not classical war begins.

  •  For once I'm on the same side as my Republican (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    congresscritter-- against intervention.

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

    by smileycreek on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:50:52 AM PDT

  •  Moral obligation? (0+ / 0-)

    I have heard a lot about this country's moral obligation to keep South Viet Nam independent and non-Communist. Not just in the 1970's either. I heard a neo-con talking about it on the radio sometime in the last 10 years. I have not heard about the moral obligations of nearby countries like Thailand and Taiwan.
    If Syria turns out like Libya I would say that Washington would be doing Syrians a favor. If it turns out like Iraq or Afghanistan I would say HELL NO.
    Is there a clear and workable goal, that is not open-ended?

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:52:20 AM PDT

  •  Against. Strongly. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, maryabein, emal

    While I applaud the President's decision to take this to Congress and while I do understand the White House line of reasoning on the gas attacks I am firmly opposed to the strikes.  We simply cannot continue to meet violence with more violence. Death with more death. The time to act in Syria has long since passed.  

  •  we can destroy his airforce and missile force (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    without and extended war. This will have two effects:

    1) disable future CBW capabilities.
    2) discourage others.
    3) prevent more and more extensive use of CBW
    4) threaten the regime existentially.

    Yeah, it's ugly and unpredictable, but not to do anything is worse.

    And if you don't do it, I guarantee the next one lands in Tel Aviv or New York.

    Those who quote Santayana are condemned to repeat him. Me

    by Mark B on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:58:43 AM PDT

  •  I was kinda undecided... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, emal

    until I tuned into CNN yesterday, where Wolf Blitzer had that piece of shit Bill Kristol and some neo-lib villager (I'm being generous, I used to confuse her with Judy Miller), who just stood there smirking and nodding as Kristol talked out his ass. From watching the three of them, you'd think the reason the public aren't behind military action was because the Obama admin had botched the selling of the idea. "The public aren't there yet" is how they spun opposition to any bombing. Blitzer even asked why Obama hadn't bombed Syria sooner? Then he lobbed softballs at McCain for 10 mins.

    So, as far as any action being taken is concerned, I went from being 55% against, to 70%-80% against, due entirely to CNN's disgusting pro-bombing coverage. At the moment, I'd like to see Dems reject any authorisation, but mostly to see the GOP's senate neocons and the teabagger congress at war with each other.

  •  Using the word "punishment" misportrays the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sixty Something, msdrown

    intentions of both the President and those who would support him.

    The intention, as I understand it, is to take out missile launching capability to reduce the  chance of further chemical attacks by missile launches.

    It's a nuance that folks are ignoring and doesn't lend itself to a simple yes or no vote as laid out above. The results will be skewed because of how the question is presented.

  •  The poll is inadequately worded (0+ / 0-)

    because there is no option for "I favor Congress authorizing a limited military strike against the Syrian government" AS LONG AS IT IS PART OF A UN SPONSORED COALITION OPERATION.

    I would go with that option, but not solo and not do nothing.

  •  Other methods? (0+ / 0-)

    I know Syria isn't a signatory on the chemical weapons ban, but how about Russia and the other Arab nations?  How do they feel about chemical weapons?  They're in a better position to do something about it than we are.

  •  Killing people illegally is bad... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, emal

    ...except when we do it.

    We must punish Assad....
    ...but we must not kill him or overthrow his regime.

    Chemical weapons are a red line...
    ...except for the chemical weapons that we stockpile and have sold to dictators, and helped them deploy against our enemies.

    We must not stand by and allow slaughter in Syria...
    ...unless we are talking about the first 2 years of this civil war.

  •  Your poll is limited and doesn't include my (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Therefore I choose the least untruthful answer.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:22:20 AM PDT

  •  A limited strike accomplishes nothing (0+ / 0-)

    Assuming it actually can be limited in scope it won't make a difference. The only way I want the US going in is if the UN approves it. We cannot be and should not try to be the world police gas or not...

    Progress 365 not just a slogan a goal - 300 progressive seats in the House and 65 progressive seats in the Senate.

    by jusjtim35 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:24:45 AM PDT

  •  No. Why would we want to do this? I (0+ / 0-)

    have seen the reasons proffered and I don't believe them. I don't believe Obama believes them. I have no idea why Obama wants to strike Syria, and I think the reasons given are lies.

    If we want to send a message, use UPS or pick up the phone.

    If we want to send an exploding message, then, why?

    “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

    by jeff in nyc on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:31:22 AM PDT

  •  The lamest arguments to make against involvement: (5+ / 0-)

    1.  Why Syria when we've let so many other 'wars' go on without getting involved for humanitarian reasons?

    -Really?  All or nothing?  We let other people die, so let the Syrians die, too?

    2.  Strategic strikes won't do anything.

    -How in the f*ck would you know that?  A simple no-fly zone over Iraq completely decimated Saddam's military to where he was a dictator of a city, not country, and allowed Bush2 to pummel what was left in one day.  After strikes in Libya, Ghaddafi's rule was drastically cut short.

    3.  We are not the world's police

    -This is more of the Reagan effect, as in the 'f*ck you all, I got mine' attitude.  Yes, we all care about OUR human rights, like the NSA spying on our porn activities, but the rest of the world and all those unfortunates can go to HELL.

    I really can't see how self-proclaimed 'liberals' wouldn't think twice about sitting back and letting this war go on when we could make a difference and end the fighting sooner.  Calling them all 'Islamists' is a chicken shit excuse for looking the other way.  

    'Slower Traffic - Keep Right!'

    by luvbrothel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:32:32 AM PDT

    •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

      There ARE decent arguments to be made over whether our involvement would help or hurt, but there are a lot of bad arguments on both sides as well.

      "The majority of a single vote is as sacred as if unanimous." - Thomas Jefferson

      by cartwrightdale on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:41:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  WTF? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      How do we know strikes won't do anything? You're right, the burden is always on those who oppose military force to prove it absolutely will not work.

      That's some sharp thinking there.

    •  For me... (0+ / 0-)

      I went from "leaning against" to "leaning pro" after watching Kerry's full speech/report the other day.  It was pretty convincing stuff.  And I trust Kerry and Obama, which makes a big difference to me when opposing or supporting military action.

      "The majority of a single vote is as sacred as if unanimous." - Thomas Jefferson

      by cartwrightdale on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:45:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This helps (0+ / 0-)
      I really can't see how self-proclaimed 'liberals' wouldn't think twice about sitting back and letting this war go on when we could make a difference and end the fighting sooner.  
      In other words, "everyone who sees this other than me is a terrible person without a soul and I just hate them!"

      Way to further the debate here, champ.

      •  A Greenwald leaping to conclusions statement (0+ / 0-)

        I said no such thing.  I said there's no explanation how a self described liberal can differentiate the need for humanitarian rights.  Its like Republicans determining who's worthy of getting health care.

        'Slower Traffic - Keep Right!'

        by luvbrothel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:42:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Distinction without a difference (0+ / 0-)

          Your point is that "you can't be a liberal if you don't agree with me."  The classic simplistic personal attack because to you, you're on the side of righteousness and everyone else is Satan's spawn (or an idiot) because they don't view this problem as you do.

    •  I liked your post aside from the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "self-proclaimed liberals" part.  When that charge was levied against those of us who were not enraged against surveillance it pissed me off.

      Neither issue is a litmus test for being a liberal, since each is very complicated.

      •  Point taken (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I understand completely, being one who was not 'enraged'.  Yet, as a liberal, human rights is a universal right.  So many on the Left say Syria isn't OUR problem, WE don't want to put OUR troops in harm's way, the military industrial complex is just trying to rip off OUR tax dollars.  There's a lot of 'ME' in there, which is baffling.

        If we have a chance to end the war, depose a dictator, and let the Syrians decide their own fate, then we should do it.

        'Slower Traffic - Keep Right!'

        by luvbrothel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:51:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  #1, in particular (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've heard that one a lot, recently. Meteor Blades, Kos, etc. I don't get it- seems to lack the nuance I would expect from those folks, who I respect. Obviously we don't intervene everywhere, all the time- we can't. It isn't an argument for why we shouldn't this time.

      However, I'm not with you on the goals here. Regime change shouldn't be our aim. The reason we are getting involved is the violation of international norms and the laws of war from the use of chemical weapons. A punitive strike will likely deter future use of these weapons.

      My belief about the use of violence is that it is appropriate when it will decrease the use of violence. Gandhi notwithstanding, there are numerous examples of violent intervention preventing further violence. Here, violence may prevent some future use of these weapons, decreasing overall violence and supporting the movement of the world towards international law.

      I only wish we could do it in an international forum with backing. Someday perhaps we will do away with the archaic "great-powers-with-veto-power" UN security council, so that no states can escape justice with powerful friends.

      "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

      by progreen on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:02:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would agree (0+ / 0-)

        but this is a different part of the world, far removed from us.  What we see is not how they see it.  The whole region is basically a tribal war, for lack of a better phrase, with a whole bunch of alliances of off-shoots of different factions.  Assad is a Alawite Shia, allied with Iran, and 13% (Shia) control a basically all Sunni population, who aren't going to forget who's bombing them (Iran, Russia, China, Hezbollah, and of course Assad).

        There's so many angles at play, its mind boggling, but I do believe the priority is removing Assad from power.  Cut, or drastically reduce, the killing NOW.  Too many have died already.

        'Slower Traffic - Keep Right!'

        by luvbrothel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:20:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I oppose the remote control warmaking aspect (0+ / 0-)

    If boots on the ground - whether it's a Brigade or a SEAL team or what have you - would be more effective at sending whatever message there is, then we should use that option. Having no casualties on our end would be ideal, but altering your military strategy out of fear of casualties when a more effective response with higher personnel risk might be available otherwise is unacceptable. Either something is worth laying our blood and treasure on the line, or it isn't. Better to leave all options on the table and let Congress vote that up or down on its own merits, instead of trying to split the baby down the middle with the illusion of clinical, detached, remote control war by missile, when for the people on the ground in Syria, it will be very real death that comes to them.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:41:19 AM PDT

  •  the poll doesn't really capture how I feel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I believe both sides have legitimate arguments and both are hurt by talking points - many of which are ridiculously over the top.

    I have always been horrified by genocide and how often the world lets it go on. I wish there were an intervention for it but I can't get on board because I can't see how anything we are planning will really have much effect.

    So I am not in favor of intervention but I am also undecided about what they really should do.  

  •  26% Pro since poll began and holding. nt (0+ / 0-)

    *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

    by josmndsn on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:05:39 PM PDT

  •  undecided (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:13:17 PM PDT

  •  If you are interested in the Middle East, you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    should read the Lebanon Daily Star and give special attention to Rami Khouri's columns. He was on target in 2001, 2005 and still is, see Today's column reads syria is just routine but Egypt is epic. The Egyptian government plan to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood will cause lots of problems, whereas he expects the US to launch another symbolic shock and awe display which will be no more effective than our Iraq shock and awe was in 2003.
    Some say that Assad is winning and must be cut down to size and the US will gain from this debate, but I disagree. General Ali Habib, Assad's former defence minister has fled Syria. Ali Habib is the most senior of Assad's Alawite sect to defect. They are getting out while they can. Alawites, a tiny minority, are scared to death. Those remaining will fight to the end. Many Syrian Christians fear the rebels who include various jihadist groups. Nobody can win this civil war, just like in Lebanon.

    The debate is about political posturing and pseudo-events. Many Americans wonder whether we are governed by cyborgs, idiots or pathological liars (and why the media gives us only slogans). Lebanon has been without a central government for 5 months, Parliament can't meet. Hezbollah can't govern but won't let others govern. The US and our PR obsessed 'leaders' should worry about what will happen in Egypt and about the possible development of a large failed multi-state including both Syria & Lebanon.  Hezbollah is deeply involved in both countries.

    Neither the US nor Israel know how to turn back Hezbollah. The Israelis can keep jihadists out of their country and obliterate sites that launch missiles,  but only those who live in Lebanon and Syria can get rid of Hezbollah. They are hampered by the many foreign fighters in both countries. Shock and awe doesn't work in asymmetrical warfare, but McCain and Kerry can't understand this elementary fact. The tides of history are not in our favor....

  •  Oh, oh good, another war (0+ / 0-)

    another opportunity to spend lots of money and screw up.

    "It's too LATE to stop now!" - John Lee Hooker

    by Rolfyboy6 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:26:42 PM PDT

  •  Russia's the key here. (0+ / 0-)

    As of right now they have no need to do anything, al-Assad isn't in real danger of losing control so Russia can just sit back.  Action by the U.S. could force Putin's hand.  If the air strikes weaken al-Assad enough that it puts his rule in jeopardy, it's in Russia's best interest to intervene.

    Right now I see a limited air strike as the least bad choice.  It will weaken al-Assad's ability to strike from a distance and his ability to deploy chemical weapons.  It will also force the hand of other countries who right now are unwilling to do any diplomatic heavy lifting.

  •  There is also the little matter of a lack of (0+ / 0-)

    proof or ever strong evidence as to who did it.

    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 Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:09:33 PM PDT

  •  The mess in Syria demands we do something, (0+ / 0-)

    but "do something" is not at all the same thing as "do anything." I'm not versed in such diplomatic matters, and I have no idea what to do instead of blowing up stuff. But I'm pretty damn sure that blowing up stuff is only going to make things worse instead of better.

    Blow up too little, and we appear timid, emboldening the oppressors we are trying to eradicate. Blow up too much and we become the oppressors. And I don't see any "just right" Goldilocks amount between those extremes.

  •  There seems to have always been a strong (0+ / 0-)

    strain of messianic thought in American foreign policy. We believe that somehow, more than any other nation, we are destined to save the world -- or at least to improve it, and to rid it of as much evil as we can. We believe this to be our duty and our right, perhaps even our obligation.

    Unsurprisingly, this tendency has not always worked for the benefit of those we were trying to save. There has often been a lot of self-righteousness involved in our various efforts, and a proclivity for taking advantage of the weaknesses we encounter.

    This goes hand in hand with a widespread and almost willful ignorance of the manners and mores of cultures other than our own.

    It's something to keep in mind, before we embroil ourselves in yet another fruitless Middle Eastern conflict. Every culture has virtues faults, and we would do well to identify some our own.

  •  This is a political war between (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sunni Arabs and Shia Arabs. It's been going on for many centuries, since opposing factions claimed to be the only true descendants of Mohammed. Bush/Cheney destroyed the Sunni dictatorship in Iraq, essentially annexing most of Iraq to Iran and making Iran into a regional superpower (and got no access to oil and no military bases either - an epic fail prompted by Ahmed Chalabi, a Shia.).

    It would be impossible for the US or any outside power or coalition end this war. I would like to see Obama and every other politician and pundit make this ancient feud into a teachable moment by describing the political power struggle between Arab factions. It wouldn't help end the fighting in the short term, but it would move the debate from merely listing the current atrocities to the actual historical context that is at the foundation of the fighting. Such a debate could eventually help bring about some understanding and co-existence.

    A revolutionary and evolutionary idea: Too many people - too much consumption.

    by howardfromUSA on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:23:12 PM PDT

  •  Geneva Protocols (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zek J Evets

    John Kerry did an able job during hearings today of staking the Administration's initiative to strike Assad on defending the veracity of the 1925 Geneva 'Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare'.

    In sum, the argument stipulates such international conventions are reduced to mere policy abstractions if not backed by force when violated.  By all accounts I've been able to locate, outside of World War II, the only known use of poison, or 'noxious' gases, was carried out by Sadam Hussein.  This bolsters the Administration's position by eliminating arguments that poison gas use has been unevenly sanctioned (Hussein's regime was eventually crushed through military force, though admittedly not specifically for that reason.)

    It's a decent argument.  Kos, you served, as did I (USMC), and damn well know how horrific toxins like Sarin and VX (and cyanide gas, mustard gas, etc.) are.  The Administration's point is that chemical warfare is particularly cruel and terrifying, hence the adoption of a specific international protocol to ban their use.  Most civilians are probably unaware of this, but a variety of weapons are actually outlawed under international law (shotgun shells filled with glass coming most readily to mind), so land warfare is not quite the free-for-all some here seem to imagine.

    I've consistently opposed our Bush initiated wars, but strongly support the Geneva Protocols.  As a guy who packed MOPP gear, gas mask, automatic atropine and valium injectors during the Gulf War and was subjected to rocket fire, I really can't do otherwise.  I'd like to see this nation vigorously and consistently support international laws intended to suppress at least some of the barbarity to which men subject other men.  I'd like to see us do it even when oil isn't the obvious, underlying concern.  However, I won't let past disappointments, or Syria's proximity to the oil patch, undercut my support for the Administration's current request, for authorization of the use of force, in support of these important protocols.

  •  The subject is a distraction. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine

    Humans need to be discussing, presenting ideas, doing research, and debating what actions to take to create a world without violence, without war.

    When we humans evolved our science and technology to the point of taking the primal powers of the universe, the god-like powers of atomic energy, for example, into our own hands-- we mandated that we must evolve a moral-ethical consciousness to match the physical god-like powers.

    Either we evolve morally, or we assure the death of many life forms on the planet, including homo-not-so-sapiens.  

    Therefore, in light of the imperative to evolve morally, I must say, "No more killing.  No more war.  No more military interventions."

    Even debating possible military intervention is a page out of the past.  Human beings must look forward, must look to what is required for an ongoing future of survival.

    "...capitalism is rudderless. It has no reliable indicators. Everything is rigged..." Paul Craig Roberts

    by dharmasyd on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:03:41 PM PDT

  •  "humanitarian bombing" is an oxymoron n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:43:10 PM PDT

  •  Syria and international law (0+ / 0-)

    The doctrine of humanitarian intervention holds that one state has the right to intervene militarily to protect population in another state. A United States military court recognized as much at Nuremberg. p. 981-982. The doctrine does not require action.  But it would legitimize punishment for use of chemical weapons.

    The doctrine of reprisals allows the taking of otherwise unlawful action to punish and deter violations of the law of war. In World War II, for example, Germany put Canadian POWs in chains, and the Canadians retaliated by doing the same to German POWs. Reprisals are not allowed against civilians and civilian objects, but that leaves a wealth of legitimate military targets. This doctrine, too, would legitimize strikes in response to use of chemical weapons.

    Neither of these doctrines amounts to an obligation, however. They are permissive, that is, they legitimate an attack on Syria, facts permitting, but do not require it. I say “facts permitting,” because there has to be strong and valid evidence in order to invoke them. They aren’t a carte-blanche.

    The use of poison gas has been against international law since 1900, if not earlier. That was entry-into-force date of treaties banning use of "poison or poisoned arms" and missiles delivering "asphyxiating or deleterious gases" in international armed conflict. (Art. 22) and . A 1907 treaty banned nearly identical to one of those earlier ones, use of “poison and poisoned weapons” (Art. 23). Key parts of the two major treaties are known loosely as the "Hague Regulations," not "The Geneva Convention." Turkey and France ratified all three agreements. Turkey and later France controlled the territory that became Syria. Therefore, Syria, too, is bound by those conventions.

    Many allude to a chemical weapons treaty of 1925, calling it the Geneva Convention. Actually, it’s the Geneva Protocol of 1925, and the “Geneva Conventions” are separate treaties entirely. The Protocol didn’t actually ban chemical weapons, but it confirmed earlier treaty provisions that did (see above) and extended the ban to “bacteriological” weapons.

    In any event, the International Committee of the Red Cross found that there is now a rule at customary international law which prohibits use of chemical weapons, even in non-international armed conflict. The customary-law status of this rule makes it binding on Syria.

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