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Medecins Sans Frontieres says it treated about 3,600 patients with 'neurotoxic symptoms' in Syria, of whom 355 died
No government can be allowed to get away this.

I was against direct Western intervention in Syria until this week.  This week forces loyal Bashar Assad launched the worst act of chemical warfare in at least 25 years, on the opposition-friendly neighborhood of East Ghouta outside Damascus.  The death toll ranges as high as 1,800 and may yet go higher.  Women, children suffocated on their own vomit and died face down in the streets.  Doctors treating patients contracted the chemicals themselves and some have died.

The last time an atrocity on this scale happened, when Saddam Hussein gassed Halabja in the name of defeating "radical Islamists"...the Reagan administration ignored it, swept it under the rug, even tried to pawn off blame on Iran.  Similar voices today are ignorantly claiming that the rebels both have the capability to disperse nerve agent in the air over a wide area, and would use said weapons on their own supporters.  I'll have none of that.  Only one entity in Syria has this capability, and that is the regime of Bashar al Assad.

I was completely against the 2003 Iraq War.  But I absolutely supported the No-Fly Zones enforced over Iraq during the decade after Desert Storm, which effectively protected the Kurds from Saddam's Army.

We can cripple Assad's ability to launch airstrikes and Scud attacks with little risk to either civilians or our own forces.  I don't pretend to know what the endgame is to solving this conflict...but thats no excuse to not try.

10:16 AM PT: Update: Here's the full Press Release from Doctors WIthout Borders

http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/...

Originally posted to Zodiac Rebel on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by More and Better Democracies.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It is time to act. But we cannot do this alone. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity, GAS, marykk

    We need a coalition of the willing, but not a fake one a la GWB.

  •  Fucking bullshit propaganda. (6+ / 0-)

    There is no proof to wage the war you apparently want.

    "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:57:28 AM PDT

  •  Both the United Nations and his country (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    are avoiding their humanitarian responsibilities of resisting, in whatever form necessary, Assad's barbaric use of poison gas against civilians. The pretext for this evasion is "they have to make sure that poison gas was used".

    No, no, no, poison gas was used, look at the lifeless bodies of hundreds of children dead with no wounds to account for their deaths. The United Nations especially, with its prime peace-keeping and humanitarian role, is culpable. United Nations act or disband. America, react or loose your role as a democratic force for the betterment of all peoples.

  •  I suspect the Obama administration, like you (8+ / 0-)

    (and me and many many others), has no idea of an endgame. And as horrendous as this is, its a big damn reason not to try.

    If work was a good thing, the rich would have it all and not let you do it. -- Elmore Leonard

    by voroki on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:58:29 AM PDT

  •  Do you know something the rest of the world (15+ / 0-)

    doesn't, for instance, who exactly it was that used chemical weapons?

    I would think before you issue your call to war, we might want to have that question answered.

    "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

    by MRA NY on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:07:10 AM PDT

    •  The Syrian Gov't has this capability (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZedMont, quaoar, Kickemout, Texas Lefty

      No one else there does.  No one else has nerve agents, no one else has the equipment needed to disperse it in the air over a wide area like this, and no one else would have a military reason to kill thousands in an Opposition-held area.

      If the rebels had this capability AND the inclination to use it, they wouldn't use it on their own fucking people.

      If Assad wants to prove this was some rebel attack, then they'd let the UN team already in-country to investigate the site of this attack.

      In 1994, no one needed a years long investigation to know 800,000 Tutsis didn't get up one morning and decide to fall on their own machetes.

      Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

      by TarantinoDork on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:28:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  as i said, i guess you know things the rest of the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q

        world doesn't know yet.

        "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

        by MRA NY on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:39:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'll address just one point of this rant. (7+ / 0-)
        If the rebels had this capability AND the inclination to use it, they wouldn't use it on their own fucking people.
        How is it that you know that these people are 'their people'?

        Just because they are in areas where al-Nusrah is in control?

        There are several areas where al-Nusrah is in control (for example - Manbij, ar-Raqqa, Tel-Abyad, and near Ras al-Ayn) and the people still living there are not 'their people'. And since they aren't many have been and are being killed by al-Nusrah, even today as you are writing this bullshit.

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

        by InAntalya on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:41:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why do you say that? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BigAlinWashSt, InAntalya, Johnny Q

        The glorious, freedom loving rebels just massacred a bunch of villages in Latakia. Killing entire familes off.

        Christians have been either forced to leave their villages or killed for 2 years now.

        Just because you put it in bold does not make it a fact.

        Mass gravesof civilians in Latakia.

        Where is the West's concern that foreign fighters are flooding into Syria and committing war crimes?

        You do you want to stop the killing or do you want to feel good about yourself because you support lobbing a few bombs to 'send a message'.

      •  again, "neurotoxic symptoms" =/= Sarin nt (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        InAntalya, BigAlinWashSt, Johnny Q
        •  Point to me where I said Sarin in that post (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZedMont, quaoar, Texas Lefty

          Indeed it might not have been.  Could have been Tabun or even high-grade insecticide in sufficient quantities.

          The death toll here is the real factor.  These hospitals claimed that they took in 3600 patients within a three-hour span, with a 10% mortality rate of those admitted (countless more died immediately in the streets.)

          None of those substances can kill on this scale without refined dispersal weapons...air-burst rockets, bombs, aerial sprayers.  The rebels simply don't have that.  They're scrounging for AK-47 bullets and party til dawn anytime they manage to capture a rusty T-55 tank.  While the rebels in the Idlib and Aleppo areas have some conventional war capability (still nothing that could pull this off)...the rebels in the Damascus area are pure guerrillas.

          Further, the timing of the strike coincides with exactly when the regime claimed it was launching artillery on the Ghouta neighborhood in a so-called "counterterrorism" operation.

          Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

          by TarantinoDork on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:08:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  These toxins can easily be disbursed (3+ / 0-)

            with little or no technology. Aum Shinrikyo used plastic bags.

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

            by InAntalya on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:18:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, and they killed 12 people, not 1200. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quaoar, happymisanthropy

              Which is precisely my point.  Unless you have the means to launch it properly (such as specially modified rockets with warheads designed to 'spray' the agent over the course of its trajectory) in the air and over a wide area...it'll kill less than fertilizer and fuel oil.

              Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

              by TarantinoDork on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:30:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are now arguing against your own point (0+ / 0-)
                •  How? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Texas Lefty

                  The one example InAntalya could point to of nerve gas as deployed by terrorists killed a handful of people because they didn't have any means of dispersing it other than poking holes in bags with umbrellas.

                  But when nerve agent is deployed by a professional military with specialized dispersal weapons...as in Ghouta last week and as in Halabja in 1988....it kills on a massive scale.

                  This is precisely my point.  No rebel group in the country could kill on this scale even if they wanted to.

                  This is basically boiling down to people arguing that Tutsis were falling on their own machetes to make Hutus look bad.

                  Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

                  by TarantinoDork on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:46:35 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The rebels could certainly find a way (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    InAntalya, limpidglass, BigAlinWashSt

                    to disperse a chemical insecticide in a "meaningful" way. They've been practicing with this sort of crap for over a year. They have heavy weaponry, SAMs for some time now. They have weapons warehouses/caches....WESTERN TRAINING, AND COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORT.

                    They're not just some looneys with machetes.

                    •  TarantinoDork also completely ignores the fact (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      protectspice, BigAlinWashSt, mickT

                      that al-Nusrah is a part of al-Qaeda, which has decades of experince in planning and carrying out complex 'operations'.

                      9/11 is just one example of what they are capable of planning and carrying out.

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

                      by InAntalya on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:25:05 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Nothing like this. Ever. (0+ / 0-)

                        9/11 was airline tickets and boxcutters.  Mumbai was AK-47s and hand grenades.  Madrid was mining explosive and cell phones.

                        Tinker toys compared to whats needed to launch a chemical attack like this.  I suggest deferring to Drobin on this.

                        Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

                        by TarantinoDork on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 06:13:01 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  It was not insecticide. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      TarantinoDork

                      First, the symptoms are wrong. Second, the fact that second hand contamination from exposed victims were enough to cause symptoms and even deaths among medical personnel points to something far deadlier. Thirds, to do this kind of damage with insecticide, you would need tens of tons of pure chemical, which is not available outside of chemical plants.

                      "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

                      by Drobin on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 03:26:29 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Moreover, it was outdoors (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sky Net, TarantinoDork, Texas Lefty

                The Japanese subway attack took place in confined spaces packed with people. The quantities of sarin (if that is what was used here) would need to be tens of thousands of times larger than what Aum Shinrikyo used in Tokyo. Synthesizing those kinds of quantities is not a bench-top undertaking, even if you could somehow get you hands on the precursors, which themselves are tightly controlled.

                In fact, Saddam himself needed assistance from abroad in order to put together his stockpile of chemical weapons. A Dutch businessman, Franz van Anraat, was convicted for selling some of the raw materials to Saddam Hussein.

                I know there are many here who are reflexively against any kind of military intervention abroad, no matter what the reason. Ask yourself if your bias is not perhaps clouding your judgement here. The fact is that it is extremely hard to pull off the kind of attack we have seen here. If AQ was truly capable of doing it, don't you think they would have already, in a Western country?

                Lets face it, the evidence tilts very heavily against the Assad regime. If you are not willing to accept the evidence as conclusive at this point, fine. But soon they most likely will be. Are you then willing to stand by and do nothing while Assad systematically massacres his own people with weapons of mass destruction?

                "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

                by Drobin on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 03:45:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Are you willing to stand by while al-Nusrah (0+ / 0-)

                  and its related radical Islamic groups - financed by Saudi Arabia, etc. with western support and approval - continue to systematically massacre Syrians?

                  When you show as much concern for these people and exert as much effort on their behalf as you do on these recent deaths east of Damascus, I'll take your current 'concern' seriously.

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

                  by InAntalya on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 04:01:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  To be frank (0+ / 0-)

                    A number of us advocated supporting the secular rebel groups from the outset precisely to avoid the rise of groups like al nusrah.  I fail to see how atrocities by one group excuses atrocities by another.

                    •  This is a discussion of concern and (0+ / 0-)

                      as you state 'standing by'.

                      Where does 'atrocities by one group excusing atrocities by another' fit in this discussion?

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

                      by InAntalya on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 10:04:28 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  The Bhopal disaster killed thousands (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            InAntalya

            without any sophisticated dispersal equipment.  And as the Tokyo subway attack showed, sarin can be homebrewed.

      •  The rebels have overtaken arms supplies (4+ / 0-)

        depots. Our al qaeda allies in Syria have committed atrocities where they have had control.

        Our foreign policy elite has held that the destabilization of Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Syria were high priorities since 1995. They also lied to us about WMD in Iraq; have been saying for 30 years that Iran is a year away from having nukes.

        Why trust our authorities? It's indisputable that Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been funding the Syrian rebels, especially the Islamicists. It is indisputable that there's a faction in our military establishment that desires our direct involvement in Syria; settling now for supplying them weapons.

        What line would they not cross?


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

        by Jim P on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:39:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This could get real dangerous if Obama attacks (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          protectspice, Johnny Q, Jim P, Sunspots

          without UN approval, which is the only way he can attack because he isn't going to get that.   That would really piss off Russia and then there's Iran and Lebanon that will side with Syria.  It could open things wide, which may be the plan.  

          "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

          by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:52:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  ..... (0+ / 0-)
        If the rebels had this capability AND the inclination to use it, they wouldn't use it on their own fucking people.
        Many, if not most, of the rebels are not Syrians.  They are jihadists from other countries.    This sort of jihadist rebels would not care about Syrians.  Or do you think they would?
      •  er...Tarantino....I'm sure that some of the (0+ / 0-)

        rebels would, indeed, do such a thing to their own people.  No question about it.

        However, I do tend to think that the Assad regime is reponsible--although we won't know for sure for a while.

  •  Do any of you calling for war know about this? (7+ / 0-)

    "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:09:08 AM PDT

  •  To those who say "do nothing": it's not just (3+ / 0-)

    this incident that matters, it is the precedent it sets. Chemical weapons are a big deal and must be seen as carrying a high price for use. Unfortunately, Obama's "red line" speech followed by inaction did not help. There is no good scenario, just a host of bad choices. Some are worse than others. I would not want to be "the Decider" on this one. I'm sure most world leaders want action, just initiated by someone else.

    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 Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:14:11 AM PDT

  •  this is not a genocide, this is a civil war (5+ / 0-)

    And that lends quite a different color to our responses.

    There is evidence that the rebels have used CW as well. It is not a question of a government slaughtering peaceful innocents by illegal means; it's a civil war where both sides are resorting to illegal weaponry in their desperation to seize victory.

    Many of the rebels have been linked to al-Qaeda; there is a famous video of a rebel commander cutting out and eating the heart of a dead Syrian Army soldier. And these are the groups we're backing with money and weapons!

    Given the outrage over how the (comparatively more moderate) Muslim Brotherhood was supposedly going to turn Egypt into an anti-American Islamic theocracy, people seem remarkably eager to empower a far more radical and violent religious faction in Syria by moving to support the rebels.

    As horrific as this war is, there is, at the moment, no pretext for a "humanitarian intervention" via the use of force.

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

    by limpidglass on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:24:29 AM PDT

  •  A difficult choice, with no good options (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quaoar, claude, Sunspots

    In the short term, chemical weapons attacks are simply unacceptable, regardless of the other issues.

    The long-term question is whether civil society, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights would have a better chance to grow under a post-Assad government, whatever that would turn out to be. Apparently this avalanche has begun, and it is too late for the pebbles to vote.

    I compared this situation to the Church of England and Cromwell theocracies in the English Civil War period in How does Political Islam Compare with Political Christianity?

    It took England an entire century to get from drawing and quartering monks (Henry VIII) and burning bishops (Bloody Mary) to the beginnings of toleration laws and the supremacy of Parliament over the monarch/theocrat. Middle Eastern countries are currently evolving at comparable rates, faster in some and slower in others.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:49:42 AM PDT

    •  I'm not advocating striking to force regime change (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quaoar

      Just to prevent future attacks like this.  Regime change is messy and ultimately a Dayton Accord-like political agreement will be needed.

      But we can do much to mitigate the chances of Assad doing this again.  We can take out his Air Force, which has for two years been used to indiscriminately bomb civilians with conventional weapons.  We can dramatically cripple his capability to launch Scud missiles.  And if need be we can do much to reduce the infrastructure needed to carry out chemical attacks without risking direct assaults on the Sarin caches themselves.

      Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

      by TarantinoDork on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:56:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So these deaths are really just a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q, mickT

        convenient excuse for you to advocate strengthening the liberal, democratic, peace-loving rebels like al-Nusrah.

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

        by InAntalya on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:10:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, thats exactly what I said. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quaoar

          Note I haven't accused you of being a lapdog for Bashar Assad, because I don't actually believe that you are.

          But given your rhetoric I might be perfectly comfortable lumping you in with Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

          Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

          by TarantinoDork on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:18:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  there is evidence that the rebels have used CW (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        InAntalya, Johnny Q

        as well. Why is it that you suggest supporting them, but opposing Assad?

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

        by limpidglass on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:18:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They don't have CW. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quaoar

          I think some of the Al Qaeda-alligned fronts tried a few truck bombs with commercial grade chlorine, plus maybe dropped mortars with high-grade CS (i.e. teargas) in a few instances.   Those are choking agents. Nasty, but couldn't kill remotely on this scale, especially not the way they deployed them.

          Only the regime has nerve agents, and only the regime has been documented to have used them (multiple times prior to this latest, largest atrocity.)

          Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

          by TarantinoDork on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:23:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So there's no reason for the Turkish government (3+ / 0-)

            and military to be installing sophisticated chemical weapons detecters at border crossings or to be making preparations to prevent chemical weapons from being carried across the borders from areas controlled by al-Nusrah.

            I guess those intelligence reports that rebel groups have chemical weapons were all just nonsense.

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

            by InAntalya on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:38:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Organophosphate insecticides, (4+ / 0-)

            Chlorine bombs, tomato, tomahto. There are several industrially available chemicals that cause the same symptoms and fates as military grade nerve agents. I mean, all you have to do is look up the symptoms lists on any health reference site FCS.

            This black and white thinking wrt the significance of basic facts is very troubling.

  •  There is no proof that the gas was used by Assad (4+ / 0-)

    In fact, it would make more sense that this was done by the rebels.

    The Assad regime was winning big time recently with conventional weapons.   The only ones to gain from this are the islamist rebels, as this may provoke an intervention by the Obama administration and war.

    As terrible as the Assad regime is, the islamist rebels have been even worse and have committed horrific crimes, including cannibalism.   In the past, the UN inspector Carla Del Ponte had accused the rebels of using chemical weapons.    

    The whole thing now seems to me more like a manufactured attack, probably committed by the jihadist rebels, aimed to provoke an attack on Syria.    Hopefully, Obama will not attack and we will not have another country destroyed like we ve seen in Iraq and Libya.

  •  A possible "false flag" operation? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not asserting that it is. I think the Assad government is capable of such attacks. I also think that some of the rebels are quite capable of sacrificing people "for the greater good" to gain Western intervention. And we know that the U.S. and other NATO countries sold such weapons to Saddam Hussein in the 1980s--and then were "shocked" to find him using them.

    Check "Syrian Girl"

    The question isn't whether people have suffered and died in chemical weapons attacks. The question is who did it (and why).

    •  Can anyone point to an actual false flag? (0+ / 0-)

      Show me some incident in the last forty years that killed hundreds or thousands and successfully fooled the world into thinking it wasn't a self-inflicted wound.  I'm genuinely curious.

      Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

      by TarantinoDork on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:55:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The attempted assassination of GHWB? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Reasonable suspicion? How can being wrong 98.6% of the time ever be reasonable?

        by happymisanthropy on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:16:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sky Net

          This is it?  A "proven" false flag?

          I've never been 100% convinced it was Saddam (US determination was based on similarity between device and other devices recovered in failed IIS attacks during the Gulf War) or that those arrested really intended to kill GHWB and not some other Kuwaiti gov't target.

          But to claim the US (or anyone) deliberately planted the explosives so Saddam would take the blame and get a few missiles lobbed into Baghdad is a new one on me.  And if they could do that...why the fuck were those people unable to plant any WMDs for us to "find" in Iraq.

          Also...didn't kill anybody.  One thing to suggest someone was framed of 'wanting' to kill somebody, quite another to actually kill 1200 people and blame it on someone else (and get away with it.)

          Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

          by TarantinoDork on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:39:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Iran: 1953 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sunspots

        According to James Reston in the New York Times:

        In early August [1953], the C.I.A. stepped up the pressure. Iranian operatives pretending to be Communists threatened Muslim leaders with savage punishment if they opposed Mossadegh, seeking to stir anti-Communist sentiment in the religious community.

        I am saying that we should consider the possibility. We should also wonder why the Assad regime would carry out such attacks, given that the U.S. has announced that chemical warfare would be a reason to intervene. One could see Assad doing so as a last gambit on the verge of going down--but that doesn't seem to be the situation.

        •  60 years ago, got it. (0+ / 0-)

          When people were still marveling at this new thing called Television, with its three whole channels.

          Assad's already gotten away with a dozen smaller-scale attacks, with the only US policy consequence being that MAYBE we shipped a few crates of rifles to a select few rebels (or maybe not as there's zero evidence said rifles have arrived.)

          And yeah, I do think you can make a case this was a panic-driven survival decision by Assad.  In recent weeks he'd lost a major airbase outside Aleppo, rebels consolidated gains in Derr Ezzor (effectively cutting off the country east of the Euphrates) and staged a major incursion into Latakia (Assad's birthplace and tribal stronghold) that forced him to divert many forces away from other fronts.

          The targeted neighborhood in question, East Ghouta, is just outside of Damascus and rebels there held up under near-constant Assad bombardment for months.  A few hours before the attack, video surfaced that rebels in East Ghouta manning an SA-8 radar guided anti-air missile platform had hit an Assad helicopter, which would have been at least the second chopper brought down in that area in recent weeks.  

          I think its quite possible he, or others in his chain of command (including Maher al Assad, his brother who commands the 4th Armored Division) decided to launch on East Ghouta for fear it was becoming a launching point for better trained, better equipped secular rebels out of Jordan, and the downing of the chopper was the last straw.

          They may not have been expecting the ensuing carnage to be as large or well-documented as it was.  But it was and here we are.

          We're learning more and more every hour, and nothing has come up to suggest this was any rebel group, secular, Islamist or jihadist.

          Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

          by TarantinoDork on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 01:53:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did you check the Syrian Girl podcast? (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not a fan of Assad. The father of a Syrian friend of ours served some ugly time in one of Assad's prisons. Neither am I a fan of much of the rebel coalition--or its Qatari bankers.

            But I'm curious what you make of what she has to say.

  •  And... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickT, Sunspots, protectspice

    How many Iraqis are suffering today thanks to the U.S. use of Depleted Uranium?

    I suppose it was too soon for Obama to be able to use the ol' WMD excuse for more involvement in Syria, eh?

    It's like the NeoCons never left.  Oh wait.. that should be obvious by now.

    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 Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 01:04:44 PM PDT

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