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Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vladivostok September 9, 2012.              REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin (RUSSIA  - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
In a New York Times op-ed, President Vladimir Putin of Russia says the question isn't whether chemical weapons were used on August 21 in Syria—the question is who used them:
No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists.
Okay, so let's assume for the moment that Putin really believes the rebels were behind the chemical weapons attack, even though their is nearly essentially universal agreement that it was Assad. If that's really what what Putin believes, then shouldn't his case against attacking Syria be centered on the proposition that Assad did nothing wrong? Well, that's not the case he's making:
A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction.
So, now that the Syrian government is willing to give up control of the weapons that they totally didn't use—the weapons that Putin seems to think are actually in the possession of Syrian rebels—Putin is thrilled that we at long last have the "opportunity" to avoid military conflict? Yeah, right.

If Putin can help bring Syria to the table and resolve this crisis, that's great—the last thing the United States should be doing now is getting into another war in the Middle East. But c'mon—this is giving concern trolling a bad name.

Oh, and by the way, in case you're wondering how Putin managed to get himself an op-ed in the New York Times: He's got a PR firm.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Putin is the ultimate truth teller. (22+ / 0-)

    It he said it, it's the truth.  Putin and Assad claims Syrian Army didn't use chemical weapons - than that ends it.  

    Ultimate proof President Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry are big fat liars.  

    Putin should run as third party candidate in 2016 - he might just get elected. Hell, probably could win Dem primary and GOP primary.

    Glenn Greenwald promotes far-right fringe extremist group The Oath Keepers - https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/statuses/377787818619064320

    by Jacoby Jonze on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:35:07 AM PDT

    •  And have Rand Paul as his running mate! (7+ / 0-)

      Putin is the highest-level Truther I've seen.

      9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

      by varro on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:17:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Putin was right to warn US about the Boston bomber (8+ / 0-)

      I cannot understand why the FBI did not listen to Putin's concerns that Big Bro was being radicalized and why they stopped spying on him, when they clearly have the wherewithal to do so.   No, they spy on peace groups, not potential terrorists, and now the US is supporting "rebels" many of whom are affiliated with Al Qaeda, just like they armed and trained Osama bin Laden/Al Qaeda to fight Russia in Afghanistan prior to 9/11.

      It's sad that Putin cared more about us in Boston than our government did, who let Tamerlan travel to Russia where he was radicalized and come back to do us harm without telling the Boston or Cambridge police about Putin's warning.

      It's sad that the US is supporting "rebels" affiliated with Al Qaeda again after 9/11, and they have the upper hand in Syria and are terrorizing Syrians with beheadings, cannibalism, and ethnically cleansing Christians from their villages.

      Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

      by CIndyCasella on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:39:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Putin is working for a negotiated settlement. (7+ / 0-)

      We know there's about 100 tons of chemical agents in the Syrian inventory, stored at 5 sites. In 2007 there was an accident at one of them that produced casualties.

      But the situation for Assad is that he is up against a Sunni/Salafi operation finianced out of the Gulf States. Mercenaries have been brought in by the tens of thousands. This is similar to the situation in Egypt where 30% of the bodies in recent clashes were Hamas from Gaza, not ordinary Egyptians. The population explosion of recent decades has generated a large group of uneducated, unemployable males -- here seen as cannon fodder.

      Assad's Shiites are getting help from Hezbollah and Iran. But where his Allawi are 12% of the country -- versus 78% -- it is not a war where time is on his side.

      Putin wants any settlement that gets the mercenaries out of Syria. Also Russia has had much better luck long term with Shiites. Better to stay with what works for them.

    •  League of Nations! Burn! /nt (0+ / 0-)

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

      by annieli on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 10:22:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You sound a wee bit skeptical Jedward. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fcvaguy, annieli, Matt Z
  •  Not to worry, Obama's been running rings around (16+ / 0-)

    Putin. Obviously. I mean, this whole last two weeks has been a masterpiece of international diplomacy from the White House. They'll probably teach this in colleges for the next 2 decades.

    And what about Kerry? Meeting up with Kissinger! Just masterful!

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:37:58 AM PDT

  •  I think clarity serves us (21+ / 0-)

    There is a strong consensus that forces of the Syrian government used the weapons (there are also untested allegations of CW use by the rebels earlier.)

    However, the emerging consensus is that neither Assad or his brother authorized such use.

  •  Cue Bon Jovi. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jasan, blueoasis

    YOU GIVE CONCERN TROLLING A BAD NAME.

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

    by TDDVandy on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:42:00 AM PDT

  •  Putin has a PR firm? (12+ / 0-)

    Well, damn him!  PR Firms, Corporate Communications Companies, and Apparatchik Talking Heads are ONLY for (D) and (R).

    The nerve of Putin trying to use the same tools as our corrupt political apparatchiks.  How dare he!

    /sarcasm

    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 12, 2013 at 07:42:56 AM PDT

    •  Putin is a repressive, homophobic pig. (22+ / 0-)

      Just wanted to amek that one clear.  he is an authoritarian.  Pussy Riot in in jail and other.  I'll take "our corrupt political apparatchiks" who allow freee speech and a country thatt is moving quickly ttoward embracing marriage eqaulity over Putin the Pig.   Even is he swims with his shirt off and has a PR firm.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:50:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gotta love Garry Kasparov's (27+ / 0-)

        tweet:  

        Now we can expect NY Times op-eds by Mugabe on fair elections, Castro on free speech, & Kim Jong-un on prison reform. The Axis of Hypocrisy.

        With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

        by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:53:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP, Tony Situ

        Not to mention some believe Putin, a lifelong government worker, is the second richest man in the world with a net worth of $70 Billion.

        1. Vladimir Putin – According to a report drawn up by former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, Putin has access to 58 aircrafts, four yachts and nearly two-dozen homes. At the same time, some of Putin’s political allies have been showing up higher and higher on the Forbes list. So what’s Russia’s big man and oligarch maker worth? Political analyst and Putin critic Stanislav Belkovsky estimates $70 billion — if accurate, good for 2nd place in the world.
        http://www.vocativ.com/...
      •  Don't bring Pussy Riot into this. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LeftistSkeptic

        They committed a hate crime. They desecrated a holy place, the altar of a church. How would you feel about a group of self-promoting "activists" (who are actually performance artists) barging into a temple while people are there praying, removing the Torah Scroll and dancing all over it while singing a string of profanities? What sentence would such hooligans receive in our criminal justice system?  That the the genuine equivalent of what Pussy Riot did. If they had staged their performance in the square outside the church rather than on the altar, it would have been free speech, but that is not what they did. They desecrated a church.

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

        by Involuntary Exile on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:21:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree with you. (3+ / 0-)

          2 years on jail for that?  In the US it would have been 30 days at most.  

          And that was no hate crime.

          Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

          by TomP on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:31:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It was a hate crime. (0+ / 0-)

            You may not recognize it as such because it is not your religion, but it was a hate crime. It occurred on the alter of the church. If someone desecrated a Jewish temple in the US they would be prosecuted under hate crime legislation and their sentence would be longer than thirty days.

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

            by Involuntary Exile on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:44:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It's stunning to see that what constitutes a hate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnathan Ivan

            crime apparently depends on what your religious affiliation is. Do you not consider an altar to be a holy place to the people who worship at it?

            Again, let my state this clearly, if Pussy Riot had pulled their antics in the square outside the church and not on the alter, it would have been political speech, not a hate crime. But that is not what they did.

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

            by Involuntary Exile on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:56:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Reality would beg to differ... (0+ / 0-)

            What about the case of Jeff Olson?

            He wrote anti-bank messages in water-soluble chalk..

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

            FYI - he's facing 13 years in jail.

            His messages didn't impede anyone from their business;  It didn't interfere with anyone conducting a service.. simply a political message.

            Yet the full force of the law is turned on him.  And we all know why.

            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 12, 2013 at 11:42:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Don't forget (0+ / 0-)

            that there is no separation between the Russian orthodox church and the state in Russia.  The Cold War was fought, among other things, to rid the world of "godless communism."  Mission accomplished and be careful what you wish for.  Russia rebooted and came back up on its original configuration.  Did you really think Russians would create a European social democracy?  There is nothing in their history for that precedent.  Remember that the first item of business after the fall of the USSR was to build Christ the Redeemer cathedral with state funds.  Stalin blew it up in the 1930's.

            •  This is not all Putin's doing, right? (0+ / 0-)

              Some people seem to think that Putin is single-handedly responsible for the anti-gay legislation and the Pussy Riot sentence.  Aren't those a reflection of broadly held views in Russia?

        •  Is this a serious question? (1+ / 0-)

          Entering a public place where there were no religious services in progress and dancing around for a minute or two? In every jurisdiction in the US that would be a misdemeanor at most. It certainly would not result in a 2 year sentence.

          I also haven't heard that anyone removed anything analogous to a Torah scroll. Please elaborate.

          •  Shows your ignorance of Orthodox Christian worship (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LeftistSkeptic

            Orthodox churches such as the one Pussy Riot desecrated are open twenty-four hours a day and prayers are always in progress. Just because a liturgy was not in progress does not mean worship was not in progress.

            Again, I bring you back to the analogy of a Jewish temple while people are present praying, removing a Torah Scroll, dancing all over it for "two minutes", while sing profanities. What would you call that, and what sentence would it receive?

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

            by Involuntary Exile on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:51:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for the condescension (0+ / 0-)

              but I really do understand how church works, honest. Churches of many denominations remain open during most or all hours. Orthodox churches aren't special in that regard.

              I'm still waiting for you to tell me what was removed.

              •  So apparently hate crimes can only occur in (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LeftistSkeptic

                specific churches or temples?

                Pussy Riot desecrated the alter, the place where the priest administers to the faithful what they believe is the true body and blood of Jesus Christ in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Gospels. That place is the most sacred place in the church. When it is desecrated it must be ritually cleansed. This may mean nothing to you, but to Orthodox believers it means a great deal.

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

                by Involuntary Exile on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:04:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  And as I said above, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Johnathan Ivan

                If Pussy Riot had pulled their antics in the square outside the church and not on the alter, it would have been political speech, not a hate crime. But that is not what they did.

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

                by Involuntary Exile on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:05:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I don't (0+ / 0-)

          I don't have any problem with what they did to those right wing religious bigot extremist.

          •  I doubt (0+ / 0-)

            if you can call Russia a right-wing country.  There is a Russian neo-nazi party in the legislature.  There is also a communist party.  The United Russia party governs without a coalition with either.  Russia has socialized medical care, a social safety net, public housing, extensive public transportation, etc.  Russian corporations are often state-owned, like the national railways.  
            The western media do not like Russia because they have chosen to go it alone outside the western banking system.  You will never get a straight story about Russia from the western media because they are not in the group who control western economies.

      •  And back in 'Merika: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Involuntary Exile, UnaSpenser, HCKAD

        We have:

        - An administration that has ruthlessly pursued Whistle Blowers such as Snowden, Manning, etc.

        - An administration whose Department of Homeland Security provided intelligence & tactical advice in coordinating the brutal crackdown (and jailing of many) of the anti-1% Occupy Movement

        - An administration that asserts the right to maintain Secret Kill Lists

        - An administration which has publicly asserted its intention to protect war criminals from the prior administration (how nice to protect the "opposition" eh?) whose actions led to 100K+ deaths, institutional torture, and wars of aggression

        - An administration whose Department of Justice has publicly stated a policy of immunity for the Predators running Wall Street

        - An administration which supports the military dictatorship in Egypt

        Not a whole helluva lot of moral high ground left from which to cast stones.  

        Yes, Putin & Russia are anti-freedom;  But the U.S. isn't exactly a good example of contrast when you peel back the propaganda.

        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 12, 2013 at 08:24:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL! Must. Attack. the United States. (9+ / 0-)

          I tire of the I-hate-America bullshit.  With all of its flaws, I'm glad I am an American.  I'll take this nation over Russia any day of the week.  

          Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

          by TomP on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:33:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Attacking the United States? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LeftistSkeptic, HCKAD

            Did I cite anything non-factual?

            My country, right or wrong, eh?  We're Number 1!  We're Number 1!

            I seem to recall a particular constituency being ridiculed for that.. but only when an (R) is in power, apparently.

            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 Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:41:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, your hatred for this nation comes (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              phenry, dpinzow, Hawkjt, aimeehs

              through in most of your comments.  I never said anything jingoistic, just said that I prefer America to Russia.  Many Americans styruggle to expqand democracy into the economy and other sectors of this nation without falling into your deadend.  There is an American left that is both critical and patriotic.  

              Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

              by TomP on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:44:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  American Left? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LeftistSkeptic

                In this context, do you mean the "Left" that blindly supports candidates based on party affiliation, or, the "Left" which asks the hard questions and wants to hold elected officials accountable, including those with a (D)?

                The facts I cited are not policies which I would expect the "Left" to support or blindly ignore by strategic placement of partisan glasses.

                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 12, 2013 at 08:58:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Based on what I've read of Tom P's writing (0+ / 0-)

                  elsewhere on dKos, he definitely means the latter. The fact that our political discourse has been corrupted by the far right to the point that conservadems are called "the left" doesn't mean there aren't also genuine progressives.

                  "Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous." -- Molly Ivins

                  by dumpster on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 12:22:03 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  expanding democracy into the economy? what (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Johnathan Ivan, LeftistSkeptic

                does that mean?

                is that like the way that our government provided "aide" to the Indian farmers in the form of Monsanto seed and coerced contracts requiring that the farmers be beholden to Monsanto for life? And the democratic expansion into the Indian economy of pesticide-embedded GMOs which wiped out an indigenous, medicinally-beneficial plant? That democratic economic move of driving an epidemic of farmer suicides?

                Our "expansion of democracy" via economies is destroying people and the environment around the globe. We're about to expand democracy into the economy with an executive decision to allow a fracking pipeline which promises ecologic devastation right down the center of this country. When it ends up looking like the apocalyptic scene they've got now in Canada, we'll probably end up with two countries because there will be this swath of a dead zone.

                Gotta love this "expanding democracy into the economy" practice we have! Democracy, where property owners and wealth accumulators have all the say while the rest of us perish.

                Boo-yah!

                Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

                by UnaSpenser on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:32:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah! Tu quoque, motherfucker! Take that! (0+ / 0-)

          https://en.wikipedia.org/...

          I'm not sure what point you were trying to make, but I'm pretty sure you didn't succeed.

          •  Actually, a couple of points: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LeftistSkeptic, HCKAD

            1 -- The U.S. has no moral high ground upon which to perch itself and precariously decide who needs to stay & who needs to go.

            The sheer absurdity of attacking Putin for using the very tools our own overlords use is.. to put it mildly, ludicrous.

            2 -- If one is to consider the reality of facts of our government, it isn't difficult to discern that our government does not act out of some ethical or moral compunction.

            Rather, it is simply acting out of the continued policy of Real Politik and advancing the interests of Empire.

            I suspect such evidence would be more palatable under an (R) flavored administration.  

            3 -- Under Bush, the mantra of USA! USA! and 'Merika #1 as well as the phrase "Why do you hate America" was used highly successfully by the (R) flavor.

            At the time, most on the (D) flavor side recognized it for what it was:  Bullshit empty platitudes meant to shut down debate or criticism.

            And here we are: The same tactics, only this time it's the (D) flavor using it.

            Amazing the similarities in policy and empty platitude BS one finds common to both flavors, isn't it?  

            Which flavor is in the White House, not policy, makes all the difference, doesn't it?

            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 12, 2013 at 11:52:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Can we leave it at "not a whole helluva... (0+ / 0-)

          lot of moral high ground left"? All the actors here are self-interested.  

          "Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous." -- Molly Ivins

          by dumpster on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 12:14:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Do not insult the pig... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP

        ...the animal that gives us bacon, ham, chops, leather, and other useful and tasty items, by comparing him to a virtual dictator.

        I know Orwell didn't like pigs, so I'll take that analogy, though.

        9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

        by varro on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:27:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So you take Bush-Obama USA w/ Guantanamo (0+ / 0-)

        Wars of aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Drones, Torture, Guantanamo, Bagram, Black Holes, the CIA, NSA spying on and on and on....over Marriage Equality? Is that truly the line in the sand for you?

        Can we stick to the issues? Please!

        by AnthonyMason2k6 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 11:23:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  From bad to worse (3+ / 0-)

    A possible scenario: Assad is losing control of both his forces and the Hezbollah Militia imported by Iran to fight as Iranian proxies. The gas attack was from loyalists but undertaken without Assad's tacit approval.

    PS- The sarcasm here has risen to exceptional new heights. Kinda reminds me of the old days before everyone got so buzzkill serious...

  •  Depends on what the final deal involves, Jed (8+ / 0-)

    First off, Putin has won some time.

    Second, it's likely that a final deal will involve some dickering. If, for example, the Saudis were forced to stop equipping al-Nusra and the only rebels receiving arms were the legitimate (i.e., Syrian, non-terrorist linked ones), it's likely that the tide of battle would swing firmly to Assad.

    Finally, we have seen zero actual evidence of who committed the attack. Maybe there's universal agreement about who committed the attack inside the Beltway, but out in the hinterlands, having been fooled over Iraq, we like to see the whole pig outside of the poke.

    All of the logic says that the attack was committed either by or on behalf of the rebels, to suck the US into the conflict. So, until the evidence is up on the table, less attitude, please.  

  •  Love your headline. (8+ / 0-)

    No doubt Republicans now will embrace Putin even more.  

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:47:24 AM PDT

    •  The enemy of my enemy is my bestest bud? (6+ / 0-)
    •  I kind of think (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftistSkeptic, HCKAD

      this is beyond our R and D partisan politics TomP.  Was that snark? You know that this administration has appointed lots of chest beating neocon Republicans, especially in the intel/ spooks, 'Defense', der homeland security, area.

      Give it a rest both party's are up to their necks in our nasty insane 'foreign policy'. It's not about Putin or Obama it's a non-partisan geopolitical game that the US is involved in in this region. Sometimes you have to let go of viewing the world through the eyes of partisan 'lesser evils' and cooked up fear and say enough.

      All the powerful interests that want to rule the world are pulling the strings here and the pols persona's are irrelevant. What they do with the power they wield in our country and globally isn't even in our national interest, it's Axelrod's non-partisan inevitable 'world as we find it'. A nightmare world both sides R and D's are busy creating for power, dominion and profit, all for the owners of the place.        

  •  Syria could not possibly have used them... (13+ / 0-)

    Their chemical weapons didn't even exist until earlier this week.

    •  No doubt those rebels (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trix, bear83, Gurnt, Bonsai66

      did it by using their time machine to take the weapons that didn't exist until this week back in time to attack themselves on August 21.

      With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

      by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:51:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But The Rebels could not (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      protectspice, Euroliberal, ybruti

      have done it because they have no training or experience with these weapons even though in 2012:

      The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday.

      The training, which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.

      "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

      by LieparDestin on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:00:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  who cares? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ratcityreprobate, schumann

    whether putin is right, wrong or both of the above?

    if we can get action without killing people, if we can save lives without killing aren't we getting good stuff?

    the point of this action is to make something happen without cost or damage----who cares?

    'words are wind jon snow...'

  •  Please, you're talking about my hero! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phenry, dpinzow

    Well, he has been referred to as a hero around here lately, hasn't he?

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

    by Wildthumb on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:48:49 AM PDT

    •  That's ridiculous. Who here has called Putin hero? (0+ / 0-)

      He's wiley, he's crafty, and he's ruthless. That's exactly the kind of leader the majority of Russians want. Just look at their history over the last one thousand years.

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

      by Involuntary Exile on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:28:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You really shouldn't ask a question (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim Riggs, LeftistSkeptic

        if you don't want to hear the answer.

        The smart one would be Putin who recognized an opportunity in the middle of a train wreck and jumped in to play hero.
        That, or he sat and watched the US do its best impression of the run-up to Iraq the last few weeks, smirked as the U.S. blew even more global credibility with it's sabre-rattling hissy fit, and then popped up with a diplomatic solution, making himself the hero.
  •  That was a very interesting contradiction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gurnt

    There were a few other things I thought interesting in his op-ed:

    He dwelled for a few paragraphs on the importance of saving the UN, as if he fears the UN becoming obsolete. From my perspective, the UN has rendered itself completely ineffective and irrelevant mostly due to its structure. Its sorely in need of reform, especially at the Security Council level. I'm sure Putin doesn't want to see that happen as Russia is one of the 5 members with veto power. In my view, Russia should have lost its permanent member status after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

    And then this:

    My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this.
    Does anyone really believe that statement? I certainly don't.
  •  that universal agreement (6+ / 0-)

    doesn't include german intelligence, which has concluded that assad neither ordered nor approved of the cw attacks. the msnbc report also is inaccurate, because hrw does not offer any proof that assad ordered the attacks, but that his troops carried them out. it's right there on page 1:

    Based on the available evidence, Human Rights Watch finds that Syrian government forces were almost certainly responsible for the August 21 attacks,
    this is a critical difference. hrw actually comports with the german report. syrian forces carried out the cw attack, but assad had for months been turning down their requests to use cw, and german intel is convinced he didn't approve this attack.

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

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:49:48 AM PDT

    •  Doesn't matter. (7+ / 0-)

      Syria deciding to have WMD's has the ultimate responsibility to secure them.  If somebody went rogue - it ultimately doesn't matter because Assad is denying anybody on his side used chemical weapons.  

      So either he ordered it and they were used, or somebody under his command went rogue and they were used - fact remains the Syrian Military, under the ultimate control of Assad, used chemical weapons.  

      Given Assad denies anybody from the military side used chemical weapons after decades of claiming that Syria didn't even have them - only admitting they have them now, only a couple weeks ago he still wouldn't even admit that, I'm not sure he has any credibility on the issue.

      If it was a rogue element - why not state as much?  The French UN proposal would have made Syria Government admit they were responsible for the gas attack and Syria and Russia balked at that.  They're still pretending that they didn't use gas at all.  So they're covering up for the people that did even if you believe Assad didn't give the order.    

      Glenn Greenwald promotes far-right fringe extremist group The Oath Keepers - https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/statuses/377787818619064320

      by Jacoby Jonze on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:59:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It matters a great deal (8+ / 0-)

        Assad is not going to call CNN and tell them that half of is army is deserting, and the other half is firing off chemical weapons despite his refusal to permit it.

        What he might be prepared to do is give up control of those weapons so that they can't be used in that manner, and gain some international credibility at the same time.

        There are many countries who would either support him more, or oppose him less if he were seen to hand those weapons over to the UN.

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

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:05:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  who cares why? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Willa Rogers

        why was kerry meeting with kissinger on the anniversary of the chilean coup? we don't convict people of murder for denying that some other guilty party did it.

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

        by Laurence Lewis on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:06:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I fail to see how that meeting has any (0+ / 0-)

          relevance to the topic at hand.

          With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

          by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:27:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  because it shows the absurdity (0+ / 0-)

            of trying to make someone complicit in someone else's crimes, just because that person doesn't acknowledge that someone else's crimes.

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

            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:29:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Assad's complicity is not undone (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Justanothernyer

              by his (presumed) failure to authorize such an attack.  Under a mode of criminal liability dating back to Nuremburg, and used successfully for war crimes prosecutions in Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, Assad (in a putative war crimes trial based on the attack) could be held complicit, regardless of his knowledge or authorization, under a theory of Joint Criminal Enterprise.  Such a prosecution would require a showing that the regime, in pursuing its fight against the rebels constitute a Joint Criminal Enterprise to violate the laws of war, that the gas attack furthered the ends of that enterprise, and that, regardless of his knowledge or authorization with respect to this attack, that he regularly exercised authority over the enterprise.
              Such a prosecution would not be easy, but, depending upon the evidence, it would be in keeping with established principles for war crimes prosecution.

              With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

              by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:39:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  good (0+ / 0-)

                take it to court rather than bombing. all accused war criminals should be taken to court, including our own.

                but i do think the german intercepts showing he repeatedly denied permission would weigh in his favor. it isn't just that he wasn't aware, it's that he was actively refusing permission. i do, however, think he could be found guilty of war crimes for some of his conventional slaughter. there is plenty of evidence on him and rebel groups.

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

                by Laurence Lewis on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:44:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'd love to take him to court. In fact, (0+ / 0-)

                  that is part of the French UNSC resolution.  A part which, I might add, the Russians are resisting fiercely.

                  With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

                  by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:01:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  russia protects their war criminal friends (0+ / 0-)

                    we protect ours. that's a given. if the ultimate goal is to get the chemical weapons, everyone should just focus on that, without peripheral issues that might bring down the entire effort.

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

                    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:05:04 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh, while I would prefer a referral, (0+ / 0-)

                      I'm a pragmatist who sees the referral as a bargaining chip to get stronger Council action on the securing and destruction of the chemical weapons cache.  We don't live in an ideal world, so I don't anticipate a referral.  But, I have no qualms about flogging it in order to get a better result on the ground.

                      With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

                      by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:09:25 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  just so (0+ / 0-)

                        it doesn't create enough bad blood to scuttle the entire deal. whatever gets the cw out with the least human costs should be the goal.

                        of course, even if the cw are somehow completely removed and destroyed, we're now arming the rebels, russia almost certainly will follow removal of the cw with sales of s-300s, and the entire war will just get bloodier. first things first, but this is a massive humanitarian crisis, and it will get worse.

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

                        by Laurence Lewis on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:13:13 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Honestly, I could care less either (0+ / 0-)

                          way about the arming of both sides.  What I want are a) the chemical weapons secured and destroyed and b) humanitarian efforts made for the refugees.  As far as the combatants go, a pox on both their houses

                          With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

                          by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:44:25 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  but not everyone can become a refugee (0+ / 0-)

                            and many won't survive trying. that's part of the problem.

                            the best news- as i keep saying- is that everyone has self-interest in getting rid of the cw. any efforts at the u.n. should keep it narrow and focused.

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

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 10:02:51 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

      •  about your sig line (0+ / 0-)

        have their been any diaries here about that?

  •  How Putin made Cheney/Bush into war (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit

    mongers.

    After having read about the brilliance of Obama in tricking Putin into brokering a peaceful solution to Syria.. it hit me..

    Bush/Cheney did the exact same thing!  They didn't want war - despite the rhetoric, beating of war drums, and notwithstanding PNAC's Policies for a New American Century that called for remaking the Middle East (including Iraq and Syira).

    I now realize that my belief in Bush/Cheney being responsible for Iraq was wrong.

    Bush/Cheney only wanted peace.  They were counting on Putin to rush in at the last minute and broker a peaceful solution to Iraq.

    And Putin failed.  Probably intentionally.  Just to make Bush/Cheney look like warmongers.

    And for those who still have lingering doubts about Bush/Cheney's desire for Peace.. remember.. Congress authorized it.  

    Bush/Cheney were just following the law and were completely powerless.

    What?  You think Bush/Cheney could just wave a magic wand and make things happen?

    Damn that Putin and Congress for making Bush/Cheney look like warmongers!

    /snark

    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 12, 2013 at 07:49:51 AM PDT

  •  By Putin's logic, wouldn't Assad giving up weapons (7+ / 0-)

    he totally didn't use for unilateral (chemical) disarmament leaving the innocent government open to attack by the rebels with their vast stocks of chemical weapons and delivery systems?

  •  am i the only one who thinks (19+ / 0-)

    that, if the Syrian army launched the attack, that it's largely irrelevant if Assad directly ordered them or not? The fact is that his army has used them, and his actions and statements since then have all but condoned those actions.

    •  No, you are not (9+ / 0-)

      I've made that point several times.  I'm continually surprised and appalled by those who see a difference between Assad personally ordering the attack and someone else in the Syrian military hierarchy doing so.

      •  it reminds me a bit of (9+ / 0-)

        the Sum of All Fears movie -

        rogue Russian general orders massive CW strike. Russian president takes the blame because "looking guilty looks better than looking incompetent."

        As people note - evidence that Syrian forces launched the attack is near undeniable now. But there is the question of whether it was authorized. But the problem with that is that Assad isn't playing with that line.

        I realize that he has PR reasons for not wanting to look like he doesn't have control over his entire military, but you can't have it both ways. Either he's in control, and the Syrian army launched the attack, in which case Assad is at fault, or Assad has to admit that he doesn't have control.

        •  he's embroiled in a civil war (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LeftistSkeptic

          he's not going to confess he's lost control of his army, and embolden the rebel factions. Anyone in his position would say the same things as he's saying, whether they had done it or not. His attitude towards the accusations is not proof of anything.

          What is this new evidence? More muddled chatter supposedly intercepted by German intelligence. The last time German intelligence was telling us that they'd overheard a conversation between Hezbollah and the Iranians saying that Assad had ordered the attack. Well, this new chatter contradicts that. So you'll forgive me if I view this new development with skepticism. Especially since they aren't rushing to present this to the Security Council.

          "Near-undeniable" is just a weasel word for saying "We really don't know, but please believe us anyway."

          Even if he or his army did use them, that's still not a casus belli for an American attack. Quite the opposite, actually: further destabilizing a country with loose CW is extremely dangerous.

          If Obama is really so worried about proliferation of CW, then he ought to be forthright about the consequences of a military strike: further loss of control of the chemical weapons, and the possibility that terrorists will get their hands on those weapons and move them across porous borders.

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

          by limpidglass on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:21:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  He isn't playing that line (0+ / 0-)

          because he is playing the Syria didn't do it line.

          I'm not sure that I understand your point again.

    •  You are probably not the only (5+ / 0-)

      one who thinks it.

      However, if the German report is true then it might increase the chances of a peaceful resolution.

      I'd like to know why we got that from the Germans, and why the NSA didn't have it already, and if they did, why did we not know?

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

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:58:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sure the CIA/NSA/others (0+ / 0-)

        have a whole bunch of evidence that we may not know. They may have evidence that proves he did do it, but aren't releasing publicly for whatever reasons (perhaps it would uncover moles within the Syrian government, for example).

        My position is this: If Syrian government forces used chemical weapons, I think one has to assume it was authorized, unless you can show that it wasn't.

      •  I respectfully disagree. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando

        If it's true that Assad didn't order the attacks it raises a question of who is really in charge at this point. If there are rogue elements carrying out attacks against the Presidents wishes it could make the situation even more fucked than it already is.

    •  open that door (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbastard

      and what does john kerry meeting with kissinger mean?

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:01:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It would definately (0+ / 0-)

      open up some interesting questions about Abu Ghraib and George W Bush.

      "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

      by LieparDestin on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:04:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And really how likely is it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justanothernyer, bewareofme, dpinzow

      given Assad's oh so democratic leanings and his clearly demonstrated compassion and forgiveness  that any of his subordinates would order this WITHOUT his approval?  Really?

      As to Vlad opining about equality, has Mephistopheles started teaching catechism?

      And of course the larger issue is whether or not, given all the very legitimate concerns, we can make this work to at least get chemical weapons out of Assad's bloodied hands.

      Sh

    •  I don;t follow your argument (0+ / 0-)

      Are you asserting that Assad's complicity in the attack is irrelevant?

      You think that has no relevance to discussing how to deal with the issue?

      Well, to say the least, I disagree.

  •  Pooty Poot is really cute! Proof he's a winner! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edwardssl, citizenx, dpinzow

    If not quite the sinner.

    See the steely glint in his eye?

    That's how you know he's not telling a lie!

    Imagine the most profound idea ever conceptualized occupying this space. Now expect exactly the opposite. You'll never be disappointed.

    by Gurnt on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:56:42 AM PDT

  •  I don't think I agree with your assessment, Jed! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gurnt, ukit, Tweedledee5, vonrobkin, fcvaguy

    Which is pretty crazy since I usually do agree.

    I think that 'Syrian didn't use them' and 'we're working with Syria to remove the CW's' can be mutually-exclusive standpoints, because Putin is presumably not stepping in because CW's were being used, but to prevent an attack by those who think that Assad DID use them.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:58:10 AM PDT

  •  Does that face look like one you could trust? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bewareofme
  •  Actually this is a pretty brilliant op-ed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit

    If Vladimir Putin had not written it, I would say it's pretty excellent.
    Sure Putin is a bad guy.
    But even a bad guy can write the truth.

    Try reading it without considering the source is Putin, and you may say its a pretty good op-ed.

    Obama 2012...going to win it with our support!!!

    by mattinjersey on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:06:04 AM PDT

  •  Do we know what Goodies is CIA (0+ / 0-)

    passing to the rebels?

    Can we stick to the issues? Please!

    by AnthonyMason2k6 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:12:22 AM PDT

  •  Let's be Syriaus, ... (0+ / 0-)

    I think he is Putin us on.


    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 Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:16:33 AM PDT

  •  Doesn't this look like a case of good cop/bad cop? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jamaste, dpinzow

    Obama and Kerry get to play the "bad cop," freaking out all over the place, ready to beat the perp within an inch of his life with a telephone book, and in steps Putin as the "good cop" saying that he'll save the perp's life if he gives up the goods.

    That's EXACTLY what's going on here.  Timing is just perfect to keep the Congress in the patsy role.

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

    by polecat on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:16:52 AM PDT

  •  Putin Should... (0+ / 0-)

    Be smart enough to know that this kind of crap isn't going to fly.

    I don't really care what his real opinions are at the moment if he's truly interested - for whatever reasons - in helping broker a diplomatic solution to the issues in Syria.

    If he's just interested in dick waving and finger wagging in our general direction...I'm not really sure that helps out a whole lot.

    What's the Russian equivalent for "Sigh."?

  •  Huh? I see no contradiction in Putin's statements (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit, Euroliberal

    Even if you don't believe Assad used these weapons (I personally think he did) if the u.s. is absolutely convinced he did and is going to bomb syria because of it then getting Assad to give up the chemical weapons he does have will surely mean there's no reason to bomb syria.  

    •  Russia is blocking any and all UN attempts... (0+ / 0-)

      to tie anything less than total and transparent chemical weapons forfeiture/disposal to military action.  

      Basically Russia wants the world to take Assad's word as to where and how many chemical weapons stockpiles he has - eventhough up until two weeks ago he denied having any.  

      Glenn Greenwald promotes far-right fringe extremist group The Oath Keepers - https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/statuses/377787818619064320

      by Jacoby Jonze on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:41:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe Russia and other countries don't (0+ / 0-)

        trust the U.S. after what happened with Libya. Anyway, I fail to see the issue here. Is Assad going to use chemical weapons again, after agreeing to relinquish them? That would be pretty stupid.

  •  So basicaly what is happening is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bewareofme, dpinzow

    that Putin is doing what the US is demanding from them and Syria, Putin is bitching and moaning while he is doing what Obama told him to do and a bunch of Obama hating righties & weirdo leftists are agreeing with Putin?

    Is that about it?

  •  Concern Trolling and bs aside, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, ukit, HCKAD

    I know I'm not the only one who sees him acting shrewdly to appeal to progressive ideals.  He's exactly right that another illegal war is not in Americas best interest.  Just because W made war illegally in Iraq doesn't mean that should be the rule.  This whole 'America' thing was that we are all equally ruled by laws, not kings.  We struggle with that.

    He's also right that American Exceptionalism is dangerous, arrogant, expensive and stupid.  Liberty, equality, and justice are hardly compatible with one jerk always saying he's better than everyone else, and that he'll do as he pleases so nyahhhh nyahhh.

    Is all of this melodrama and event-turning really as unscripted and serendipitous as it sounds?  Will it make work, and/or make us/Syria/Russia safer?  We shall see.

    •  "This whole 'America' thing" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian S

      Yes, time to get back to that, maybe.

      It's interesting that this idea of "exceptionalism" (defined as the right to police the world) is now seen as quintessentially "American" - but the actual Founding Fathers were completely opposed to the idea.

  •  Concern trolling, really? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, CharlesII, Euroliberal, HCKAD

    Seems like a very cynical take on a Russian President trying to open a dialogue and take his case directly to the American people - something that has not happened before as far as I know. I agree that Putin probably oversells the evidence that the rebels were responsible. But I thought overall it was actually a very well-written, substantive column that made the case for America relinquishing its self-appointed role as world policeman.

    The long-standing assumption, expressed in Obama's speech, that America is "exceptional" - that we have the duty to determine who lives and dies in countries on the other side of the world - is an increasingly archaic one. What exactly, is so exceptional about America? As we have increasingly learned  over the years, the U.S. engages in the same war crimes, the same spying, the same mass murders the same cynical geopolitics as the countries it criticizes.

    I realize that some take the more "pragmatic" view that America must step in to fix these situations simply because we have the military power to do so - that without such actions, the world would devolve into chaos. But, as Putin's op ed points out, America trying to play policeman has not generally given us greater peace and stability. Unilateral and arbitrary military action only serves to drive states to arm themselves and acquire WMDs as quickly as possible. Military action makes the U.S. a prime target of international terrorism.

    The benefits to the recipients of our "help" are also quite questionable. If you look at the most successful developing economies, such as China, India and Brazil, one thing they have in common is that they were never the victims of U.S. intervention, while some of the most troubled and backwards nations like Libya and Afghanistan were.

  •  What is the difference? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vonrobkin, ukit

    As long as one more country gives up chemical weapons it's a plus and would be a good example for the US to follow since his has been dragging it's feet on destruction of chemical weapons for decades and bared the UN from inspecting on US soil.

  •  The MSNBC link used to finger Assad is sketchy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit

    http://tv.msnbc.com/...

    They use the number of dead as 1400, which has been questioned, for one thing.

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by CIndyCasella on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:47:08 AM PDT

    •  US toll shockingly higher than reliable counts (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blue Wind, Euroliberal, ukit

      U.S. toll for Syria higher than others

      The death toll given by the Obama administration for an alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack is far higher than confirmed counts of two key allies and a main activist group, which said it was shocked by the U.S. figure.
      Kerry's CW deathtoll: 1,429, including 426 children.

      Britain's CW deathtoll: 350 believed dead

      France's CW deathtoll: 281 confirmed dead

      Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, generally regarded as one of the most reliable sources of information on casualty figures in Syria, says it has confirmed 502 deaths, including 80 children and 137 women. Rami Abdul-Rahman, a Syrian expatriate who runs the organization from his home in Britain, said he was shocked by the White House's count.
      How did the US come up with 1,429?  Clearly, under the circumstances, there is an error bar that would preclude claiming a deathtoll that precise in the 1's place, and by right, the deathtoll should be at least rounded to the 10's place.

      Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

      by CIndyCasella on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:08:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "He has a PR firm." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit, HCKAD

    Like every other corrupt individual involved in politics in the Western World.

    Thanks.

    And boy, are you ever beating the Assad-did-it-and-it's-universally-accepted drum. A survey of the evidence, such as it is, over the past couple of weeks doesn't suggest to me at all that it's certain Assad did it.

    At one level, I guess I don't care, b/c going into Syria is a horrible idea regardless of who did it, but in the interests of accuracy, it would be nice if we would take account of dissenting positions from ordinarily reputable people like Carla Del Ponte.

    She seems to have pretty good bonafides.

    Whereas, one Administration expert, relied on by the SoS in testimony before the Senate, has already been caught in a really stupid lie which undermines her bonafides.

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

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:50:38 AM PDT

    •  Del Ponte's statement was from last May (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eglantine

      and referred to an attack that took place in April. Are you referring to a more recent statement? I've looked and can't find one.

      To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

      by sneakers563 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:30:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, her statement that the rebels used sarin (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sneakers563, HCKAD

        gas was from April.

        What Del Ponte is saying now is the following (as of Sept. 9):

        U.N. human rights investigators hope to get into Syria soon to try to find out who carried out apparent chemical attacks and other war crimes, Carla del Ponte, of the U.N. commission of inquiry on Syria, said on Monday.
        That (determining who launched the attack) would be the job of the human rights investigators, said del Ponte, a former U.N. war crimes prosecutor. The Geneva-based team has more than 20 experts, some of them specialists in military and ballistics issues.
        "It is the commission (of inquiry) who should carry out the probe to determine who used them," del Ponte said.
        This probe hasn't happened yet. In other words, no in-country investigation has even been conducted by Del Ponte and her team yet. What del Ponte is saying, and I agree with her, is that the UN experts should carry out a formal investigation to figure out who the guilty party is, rather than simply grabbing at an answer that some people would find convenient in attempting to prosecute a war.

        That's why she and a team are going in there, to confirm it was sarin gas and find out who did it.

        Secondly, she had this to say about Syria:

        Both sides - Syrian government forces and rebels fighting to overthrow Assad - are committing horrific crimes, according to del Ponte, a former chief prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

        "There are no good guys here, they are all bad. That is to say the government forces and the non-governmental forces or the rebels, their crimes are just as serious and incredible. Deaths, torture, I never saw such methods of torture even in the Balkans that I see now in Syria," she said on Monday.

        In other words, doesn't sound like she'd be surprised to find out either side did it, but she's keeping an open mind, doing what investigation she can from outside Syria, and stating firmly that the UN human rights team should be the ones to investigate and establish who the guilty party is. That all sounds eminently sane to me, and I'm with her.  I don't get what all this rushing to judgement is about. Surely the most important thing here is to do a thorough investigation and get the best intelligence we can on what happened.

        At the moment, it seems to me things are far from conclusive. There are multiple reports out there right now, with evidence suggesting 1)it was a CIA-sponsored false flag operation 2)it was a Saudi-sponsored bad idea, with the Syrian side of the operation not even knowing that what they were carrying and storing underground was chemical weapons 3)it was a regime officer who fired a bunch of missiles and launched a chemical weapons attack without Assad or his brother authorizing it, in addition to 4)It was Assad or his brother (the Administration version). Here's a link to a site which has collected a lot of those reports:

        Many collected reports here

        And here is an article 5 days old from Reuters that suggests that we still do not know whether or not Assad did it and in fact are having a hard time proving the case

        This is a slightly older article that points out several holes in the Administration's case

        Then there's this

        Which is still a concern as of today

        Marcy's take on the Administration's attribution problems, five days old

        And then there's this, which brings up some serious questions and is signed by, among others, Thomas Drake and Colleen Rowley

        What all this suggests to me is that the case is still exceedingly murky and I want someone brave, expert, and solidly sensible to investigate it thoroughly before we launch any Tomahawk missiles. Or drones, for that matter.  I would like Del Ponte and her team to get a chance to thoroughly investigate it. She seems like she would do a fair, objective, and accurate job, no matter where the finger ended up pointing.

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

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 01:45:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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

          I thought you were say that Del Ponte was dissenting in the sense that she disagreed that Assad was responsible.  But those quotes sound to me like she would like more investigation before determining whether he was, in fact, responsible.  I suppose she's dissenting in the sense that she disagrees that we know for sure.  In any case, thanks for the clarification.

          I'm sure the rush to judgement is that 1) the President is worried that popular support for reprisals will erode even further as time goes on, and 2) it becomes harder to target things as they get moved around / hidden in anticipation of attack.

          Neither of those things make it right, of course.

          To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

          by sneakers563 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 04:22:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh. Sorry. In retrospect, that was misleading. (0+ / 0-)

            Sorry about that.

            And thanks for asking the question that made me clarify.

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

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 05:24:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, and also (0+ / 0-)

        I trust John Brennan just about as far as I could throw him.

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

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 01:46:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Looks like President Obama got Putin's attention (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dpinzow, just66horns

    That will go a long way to securing Syrian cooperation.  

    Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit http://www.globalshakedown.com.

    by khyber900 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:03:52 AM PDT

  •  Several commenters point out that Putin supports (4+ / 0-)

    vicious anti-gay persecution in Russia.

    And that's bad enough.

    What's even worse is that, with money, arms, diplomatic support, and UN Security Council vetoes, he has steadfastly enabled Assad's butchery in Syria. He is a prime cause of Syria's agony. Putin talking about peace-making in Syria is like Jeffrey Dahmer talking about vegetarianism. His op-ed is stunningly hypocritical. It's a sick joke.

    Yes, of course we must listen to him, because of his immense leverage. And his turn in the last 3 days offers promising possibilities to address the crisis. But let's not forget that he helped create the horror in the first place, and let's not forget that if he really wanted to promote peace, he would withdraw military, economic, and diplomatic support from Assad's murder machine.

    And yes, the US has enabled and committed horrible crimes and been stunningly hypocritical. But right now I'm talking Putin, whose crimes are not diminished by what the US has done. Two wrongs don't make a right.

  •  Discussion in press & WH defensiveness... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HCKAD

    ...about Putin v. Obama, who has the upper hand, who's idea was first is repulsive and self-defeating. The horse race atmosphere here and at yesterday's WH press conference   is utterly disgusting.

    Focus on the facts, limited though they may be, fare debate and deserves to be clear.

    Perhaps it's better to focus on Oct. 1 - the critical go-live date for Obamacare - an event truly impacting Americans and still needing prioritized administration attention. Implementation of Obamacare must be successful and it's something this administration can actually do as opposed to what appears more and more to be merely symbolic action in Syria.  Diplomacy over Syria certainly doesn't seem as well served by our current state of public attention.

  •  Regime Change (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heftysmurf, ukit, HCKAD

    Was /Is the end objective of the Obama administration as was the case in Iraq. The Chemical weapons was merely being used as a pretext for war.

    The accidental diplomacy (someone actually took Kerry seriously - Borowitz) that has led to this point has had war advocates , meaning the "anything Obama does is wonderful" advocates , back pedaling desperately to find some way to put Obama and Co back in a good light.

    The idea that this is in anyway over, is the saddest part. Called it a unplanned interruption. The Chemical weapon excuse will morph into something else. War is something that can be avoided but not if it's the desired outcome.

    What comes after a war has never seemed to be a concern of ours. It is the act itself that always seems to be the end goal was some lofty unrealistic underlying principle that has no basis in reality.

    “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

    by Dburn on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:18:05 AM PDT

    •  Sorry- correction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HCKAD
      What comes after a war has never seemed to be a concern of ours. It is the act itself that always seems to be the end goal was some lofty unrealistic underlying principle that has no basis in reality.
      What comes after a war has never seemed to be a concern of ours. It is the act itself that always seems to be the end goal. There always seems to be some lofty unrealistic underlying principle that has no basis in reality used as the motivation.

      Now that people have realigned themselvves with idea that Obama was back to being multi dimensional Chess master, how are they going to react to the emboldened Assad saying:

      ASSAD CALLS FOR ISRAEL TO DISPOSE OF WMD (!)
      ASSAD: 'REBELS MAY USE CHEMICAL WEAPONS AGAINST ISRAEL AS PROVOCATION'
      ASSAD SAYS CHEMCIAL ARMS DEAL DEPENDS ON US STOPPING AID TO TERRORISTS
      ASSAD ACCUSES TURKEY, SAUDI ARABIA, QATAR OF SUPPORTING TERRORISTS IN SYRIA
      ASSAD: 'REBELS MAY USE CHEMICAL WEAPONS AGAINST ISRAEL AS PROVOCATION - ASSAD'
      ASSAD SAYS WILL COMPLETE DEAL ONLY IF US STOPS "POLICY OF THREATS"
      ASSAD SAYS IMPLEMENTATION OF DEAL MAY TAKE A MONTH OR MORE
      Was this also planned and gamed out? Are we good to go to go back to the default setting of intervention and calling Putin a Putz?

      My position on this is still: stay the fuck out with an added STFU about war,  blanketed by a big thank-you to the diarists who have kept the main issue of the day alive : The NSA.

      “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

      by Dburn on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 11:11:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This statement from Human Rights Watch (5+ / 0-)

    is well worth reading.

    "What Putin Didn't Tell the American People"

    One excerpt:

    There is not a single mention in Putin’s article, addressed to the American people, of  the egregious crimes committed by the Syrian government and extensively documented by the UN Commission of Inquiry, local and international human rights groups, and numerous journalists: deliberate and indiscriminate killings of tens of thousands of civilians, executions, torture, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests. His op-ed also makes no mention of Russia’s ongoing transfer of arms to Assad throughout the past two and a half years.
    But read the whole thing.
  •  Putin is (0+ / 0-)

    Chechnya and Pussy Riot. So, his wagging tongue doesn't really impress me to greatly.

    On the other hand, I am not interested in involving the nation in yet another war.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:34:52 AM PDT

  •  Poor logic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit
    So, now that the Syrian government is willing to give up control of the weapons that they totally didn't use—the weapons that Putin seems to think are actually in the possession of Syrian rebels—Putin is thrilled that we at long last have the "opportunity" to avoid military conflict? Yeah, right.
    The Syrian rebels having and using chemical weapons does not preclude the Syrian government from also having and using (or not using) chemical weapons.

     "...the weapons that Putin seems to think are actually in the possession of Syrian rebels" is illogical.

    BTW, Putin warned of an impending chemical attack on Israel in the op-ed - I see very few people taking it seriously.   I would remind people about the Russian warnings about the Boston marathon bombers, and hope that behind the scenes, this threat is being taken seriously.

  •  Gee. I was arguing with liberals here the other (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justanothernyer, Tony Situ, eglantine

    day who were still using Putin's argument that "the rebels" did it. Apparently some unnamed rebel group must have access to vast chemical weapons stockpiles and sophisticated missile delivery systems and instead of using them on Assad's presidential palace, they chose to use them on their own people, in a suburb Assad has been repeatedly trying to clear of rebel fighters. Funny that!

    Putin and Assad also argue that the rebels are all terrorists. If Assad leaves, there will be chaos. Strangely enough, many dkos people also repeat that argument.

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 10:17:39 AM PDT

  •  Nothing exposes the shabby principles of many (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit, HCKAD

    people, whether on the left or right, than when they are confronted with someone they really want to hate doing something that is practical, sensible, and useful.

    Putin's op-ed is real politics. This diary is closer than the op-ed to concern trolling -- "oh noes, we mustn't give Putin credit for anything! his argument is silly and inconsistent! he hates the gays and he helped snowden and he's KGB, so everything he ever does is wrong, even if by accident it's right". It's pure ad hominem, and it's futile and self-defeating.

    His argument employs some careless rhetoric that really ticks me off, like the phrase "every reason to believe", in place of something that could remotely be construed to be true, even among those who still have doubts about who set those weapons off, but the basic point isn't one of concern trolling. If Assad has chemical weapons, why the hell wouldn't we want to take advantage of this opportunity to get rid of them, whether or not he has used them? Russia's solution is classic diplomacy: Assad doesn't admit to using the weapons, but he admits to having them, and he agrees to dismantle them. The US then has no further excuse for blowing up bits and pieces of Syria, business continues as usual, with Russia having exercised its obligations on behalf of its client state.

    The tribalism involved in the response to Putin's initiative makes me want to puke. "OH MY GOD HE SAID WE AREN'T EXCEPTIONAL." Well, fuckin A we aren't, and any time any politician says so, I welcome it. It's unfortunate that any American politician who said that would be strung up by the punditry, nevermind the voters -- and there'd be a sizable cohort of kossacks in the virtual posse.

    My own feeling is this: Obama played this really well. Putin also played it really well. The two of them working together (whether explicitly or implicitly) might actually get something done about Syria. I don't think either of them has, as a primary concern, the wellbeing of the Syrian people in mind, but then, who the hell with any power does?

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 10:31:13 AM PDT

  •  Crook and Liar (0+ / 0-)

    So, how can we be expected to believe Vlad? He's the head crook and liar in his country. He can't seem to separate truth from his own manufactured lies. The list is endless!
    He's ruled his country with iron grip for 16 years, and manipulates elections, puts rivals in jail, and is corrupt beyond imagination.

    What morons would not see through him?

    I'm waiting for Rand Paul, Sarah Putin, and teddy cruuz to join the russian orthodox church, as they think alike.

  •  who has determined Assad used chem weapons? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Euroliberal

    Call me skeptical, but I'd like to see hard data, not
    reports from people who have heard from informed sources.

    That means detailed mass spec, that means radio intercepts
    with the raws,  that means drone surveillance,

    Lets see the basis.

    Has the UN made this determination?

    •  The UN investigation mandate (0+ / 0-)

      only authorizes answering the question of whether CW were used. The mandate does not call for a determination of who used the CW.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...

      Under the terms of the UN mandate inspectors are only authorised to conclude whether chemical weapons have been used in Syria, without apportioning blame.

      However, the testing of soil, urine and blood samples, as well as of ammunition collected from the area, have also reportedly supplied strong clues that point to the Syrian government as the perpetrator of the attack.

      •  which is a real problem (0+ / 0-)

        i start with data...

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, the UN mandate prohibits them from determining who used the weapons.  
        Which makes this diary's claim that Syria is responsible by referencing the UN inspection ridiculous.

        Similarly, the UN mandate to investigate Iraq's chemical weapons prohibited the determination where Iraq's chemical weapons came from. Likely because it would have shown that it was the Western countries which supplied Iraq with the chemical weapons equipment and materials.

        don't drone me, bro

        by BradMajors on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 08:10:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If Syrian rebels had poison gas they'd hit Assad (0+ / 0-)

    with it, not attack a suburban neighborhood that Assad had been repeatedly trying to clear of rebel fighters.

    ...and if anyone else says the idiotic phrase "false flag," you  will be put on top of a missile containing stupid gas and fired back to Conspiracyland.

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 02:17:46 PM PDT

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