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View Diary: Radio intercepts convince German intel that Assad neither ordered nor approved the chemical attack (320 comments)

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  •  The "casus belli" is the same as it ever was (2+ / 0-)
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    sneakers563, PhillyJeff

    I oppose a military strike on Syria, just to be clear. I am not saying the reasoning they have given up to now has been enough to justify dropping American bombs, or that the rationales provided are convincing.

    But I do think it's important to keep to the facts and reality in arguing against it, and claiming that Assad personally was not responsible for a chemical weapons attack on a neighborhood of civilians in his country, so therefore nothing can or should be done, is a weak argument that doesn't even make sense.

    Imagine the derision if something like that happened here and people tried to say "well poor Obama, he's the victim here, he didn't say they could!" So he's blameless then, for losing control of the military and the country's weapons, for the lives of his citizens, and so everyone should just shrug and go on about their day. Come on, no one would accept such an argument. Assad is the leader of the country, ostensibly in control, therefore he responsible for its actions and for controlling its military and weapons.

    But that's all irrelevant anyway, because the rationale for wanting to drop bombs on them is the simple fact that chemical weapons were used. On a neighborhood of civilians and children. It frankly does not matter whether Assad ordered it, or knew about it and intentionally maintained deniability, or if he's a clueless fool who had no idea what was going on and his military doesn't care what he thinks. Or his military actually doesn't have control of its weapons, and someone else got ahold of some and did it.

    In any of those cases, the justification for the dropping of bombs is the same:

    The attack happened, hundreds died, there is video. Syria's chemical weapons are not under the control of someone who can or will ensure they are not used. Ergo, "something must be done."
    To me the only convincing arguments have to deal with that basic premise. That "something must be done" in response to this event. That's the first thing we have to either agree with, or not. Then if you go with yes, something must be done, then the discussion is about what to do, and what the objective is. Who is to blame and why it happened ARE good questions in that case. If Assad really didn't want this, that might be why he's now saying he is willing to bring in outside oversight. We will see.

    I can also see by now that the US posturing and blustering about dropping bombs on them may be part of the strategy to get the situation under control without dropping any bombs. Whether that was planned and deliberate or a happy accident, I don't care. I'm not even convinced yet that "something must be done" -- but I was planning to listen to the President make his case tonight and try to keep an open mind.

    I don't think he likes or wants war. As far back as the Illinois state senate he focused on arms reduction and control. So, we shall see what case he can make, and what he will say now that Syria has moved to negotiate.

    I know he will say that the option to strike must be available, as it's clearly now become the "stick" that is getting them to the table. Removing it at this point would make any move on Syria's part to secure the weapons unlikely, so the threats and drama about how "something must be done" and that 'something' may involve dropping bombs, will certainly continue. This is why he cannot say that if congress votes no, there will be no bombs. It would remove the only incentive for them to negotiate or turn over the weapons.

    So I expect he will ask congress to give him the authorization, and he will say it would be used only as a last resort and he hopes for a peaceful resolution, and he will also leave open the option to drop the bombs even if congress votes no because saying or implying that the US might decide no, something does not have to be done and we are not going to do anything, will end any hope of them giving up the weapons to international control.

    I believe he wants that outcome, unlike Bush, so even though he says many of the words (painfully to my ears), unlike Bush I think he means it and will avoid dropping bombs if at all possible. But I also think he is more than willing to follow through on his threats if they don't. Because he seems absolutely convinced that something must be done.

    My sincere hope is that the 'something' we have to do will not be dropping bombs, and the diplomatic path will lead to better control and securing of a few more of the world's ridiculous arsenal of destruction.

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