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A Free Syrian Army fighter carries the body of a fellow fighter during clashes in Aleppo in this August 16, 2012 file photo. When some of the rebels took over a government position a few of their fighters were killed by government forces. Five rebels decided to go on a rescue mission to recover the bodies of their comrades. I went with them. We were literally crawling for 150 meters. They used a long stick, on which they attached a hook to drag the bodies a few meters off the street and into very narrow alleyways. Then carried the bodies through the streets, passing them to one another through the holes in the buildings. The whole process took about 4-5 hours; it was a really long day. The bodies will be sent back to the families. One of the bodies was of the brother of one of the fighters. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/Files
No line has been crossed in Syria that wasn't crossed a long time ago.
There is a bizarre obsession with the delivery mechanism of death, as if a wartime casualty cares how it was killed or maimed.

We're seeing it with the neocons and administration officials, who suddenly think its inexcusable that Syria has apparently deployed chemical arms against its populace. And it is! The use of such weaponry is barbaric and beyond the bounds of all civilized behavior. The people pulling the trigger are monsters.

But they were monsters before they dropped their unholy chemical concoction in that Damascus neighborhood. With over 100,000 dead in the conflict, there have been no shortage of monsters. No lack of uncivilized behavior. No deficit of barbarism.

So to pretend that a line has been crossed and that this kind of murder is somehow worse than that other kind of murder is bizarre. War is nasty business. That's why we oppose it and should do everything possible to avoid it. A war casualty doesn't care how he or she died. Not sure why the rest of us should.

But it's not just the neocons who obsess over delivery mechanisms. On the Left, there's much anger regarding drone strikes. Are people killed by drone strikes and less dead than those killed by an F-16 bombing sortie? Or an A-10 straffing run? Or a special ops sniper team? Or a Tomahawk cruise missile? Or a platoon of infantrymen or marines? Or a CIA hit squad?

War is nasty business, and combatants will find the most efficient way to kill the enemy while minimizing the damage done to its own troops. Heck, military planners would be committing occupational malpractice if they didn't seek ways to do that—kill the most enemy without suffering casualties of their own.

And that's the problem with war. It has nothing to do with chemical weapons or drones, and everything to do with the simple fact that war is barbaric and it gets people killed. How that death is delivered is irrelevant.

Originally posted to kos on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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  •  Um, no. (144+ / 0-)
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    Law is barbaric, no question. But the use of chemical weapons is indiscriminate by its very nature. A special ops team is probably not going to strife an entire neighborhood, and if they do, they'll be court-martialed.

    There's a reason we have conventions on warfare that ban these weapons.

    The real question is whether our involvement in Syria is worth the risk in lives and chaos it's like to entail. I think not.

    But chemical warfare is evil in a different way and more profoundly than just war itself. Sorry.

    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

    by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:56:06 AM PDT

    •  so are (46+ / 0-)
      But the use of chemical weapons is indiscriminate by its very nature.
      iron bombs and artillery shells and napalm.  The Syrian army (heck hardly any army on Earth) is capable of the level of precision warfare that the US can employ.
      •  So gassing is OK? -eom- (7+ / 0-)

        The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

        by TheOrchid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:01:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  correction (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac, happymisanthropy

        is NOT capable

      •  Cluster bombs... or my favorite: depleted (20+ / 0-)

        uranium!

        Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

        by The Dead Man on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:38:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thus Far the Chemical Weapons Incident is Pretext (14+ / 0-)

        The Syrian army is holding back US favored insurgent forces.  You have to ask yourself how it would make sense, especially from the standpoint of their own preservation, that the Syrian government would launch another chemical attack in the vicinity of the last one that we accused them of administering and which is being investigated by the UN.

        Suffice to say, the jury is still out on the responsibility for the attack and the exercise of restraint is therefore called -for, at least until the UN can make a determination of cause - before more lives are senselessly lost.  

        It is just as plausible to conclude, given what we know and the chaotic circumstances in Syria, that our government may be jumping to conclusions, perhaps because it doesn't want the truth or lack of it to be revealed, as it is to conclude that the government is justified in its reasoning.

      •  You don't understand (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, CenPhx, AoT, JesseCW, StrayCat

        The third state of matter is the only one with which the U.S. can pretend to have some moral authority.

        The U.S. has a monopoly on the evils of the first state of matter, as you've identified, and so can't gain much traction there.

        The U.S. has more room to maneuver with the second state of matter -- though with napalm, waterboarding, and all, it's probably imprudent to go there. Besides, it's hard to find targets to criticize when institutionalized death by liquid probably hasn't been seen since the Salem witch trials.

        Certain other states of matter would invite too much sci-fi ridicule.

        That leaves gas. Look, as you know, you go to war with the states of matter you have, not the states of matter you might want or wish to have at a later time.

        "Yes We Can!" -- Barack Obama

        by Sucker Politics on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:56:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Chemical Weapons are uncontrollably indiscriminate (8+ / 0-)

        depending on the wind. Clouds of toxic gas can be blown out of target area and kill many more than intended. They also can be persistently lethal. That's why they are considered WMD. In contrast, artillery shells, iron bombs, and naplam are indiscriminate within the target area.

        I didn't write the rules of war. I think the line between WMD and conventional munitions in some cases is very thin.

        As far as whether we should use military force in Syria, I cannot see how any application of limited military force unilaterally can help the situation there. The objectives of airstrikes are unclear. If the intended consequence is to bring about a regime change that is favorable to the west, I seriously doubt that airstrikes alone would cause that. Historically, efforts to target heads of state have been pretty unsuccessful and so have efforts to coerce a population by hitting other targets alone. We can certainly change the balance of the situation, but we have no control over the outcome which may not be favorable to us irregardless of who wins the civil war.

        If we are forced to go farther, putting boots on the ground is not a good idea at this time. Syria is not Iraq. We'd be facing an enemy that is better equipped and organized than the Iraqis were. In order to keep casualties low, our rules of engagement would have to be much loser than in Iraq. That may win the war from a military standpoint, but the collateral damage would be high and would turn much of the population against us in the process.  

        I also don't think we can afford to alienate Russia further. We have bigger problems facing this earth that is going to need their cooperation. If can get them onboard with intervening from a humanitarian perspective, then we could consider more effective and peaceful options.

        •  Unfortunately, there are no rules of war... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul, This old man

          If there were, I would vote for the rules being that all wars be fought on one hundred yard fields with football pads and a pigskin and whoever scores the most points in the allotted time, wins the war.

          Unfortunately, there are no rules in war.

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

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:34:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No rules ? (8+ / 0-)

            So no war crimes ?

            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

            by indycam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:04:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Great news for butchers worldwide! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dr Swig Mcjigger, DSPS owl, MBNYC

              yay!  No more pesky Geneva Conventions!  No more ICC.  (Not that the US would ever stoop to allowing it's war criminals to be tried)

              •  And that's why we say there are no rules (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Buckeye Nut Schell, YucatanMan, caul

                of war. There's just punishment for weaker countries. If it were a rule it would be enforced evenly.

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:27:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  My international law professor used to say (0+ / 0-)

                  that you can look at international law one of two ways.  It is like the elephant dancing:  you can say, wow, that is one clutzy animal that couldn't dance swan lake to save its life, or you could be astonished that it can dance at all.

                  Expecting completely evenhanded application of international law is fairly unreasonable, simply because it always presents a massive collective action problem, in that because enforcement benefits all, but is too expensive for anyone to do alone, it is prone to disruption and railroading (especially given the post WWII structure of the UNSC).  

                  Certainly, if the objective is to have laws enforced uniformly, abandoning the rules is not a particularly good way to start.  IN this particular case, the CWC has mostly been successful, with only a small number of incidents (not all of which were punished, even against smaller countries).  So, I think the notion that a generalized unevenness is not a particularly good argument against enforcement.

            •  There is talk of rules... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MindRayge, YucatanMan, djohnutk, caul

              But are they followed?

              Why do we have a nuclear arsenal again?  Why do we have chemical and biological weapons here in the United States if the rules says we cannot use them?  

              Why do we still have prisoners who have been cleared in prison in Guantanamo?  Why do we get to redefine torture as enhanced interrogation techniques?

              Why did we hang japanese officers as war criminals for waterboarding our soldiers and now when we do it, it is just little a dunk in the water?

              Why did we defend Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1988 and then invade Iraq using the same attack as justification 15 years later?  

              There are no rules in war.  Just declarations by the victors justifying their actions.  We attack targets in soveriegn nations all the time which is against the "rules" of war.  We render high value targets in other countries without that country's permission all the time which is against the rules.

              If nobody follows the rules, are they really rules or are they mere suggestions voluntarily abided by when it is convenient?

              Arrest Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld for authorizing torture and I will believe there are rules in war.

              Arrest Colin Powell and George W Bush for war crimes of attacking a sovereign nation who posed no threat to us and I will believe there are rules in war.

              If there are no consequences to breaking rules then there really aren't any rules as far as I can tell.  Sure they executed Saddam Hussein for war crimes but they would have thought of some other reason if he hadn't gassed the Kurds.  

              We, the United States, the only super power on earth right now, make the rules and we reserve the right to exempt ourselves from those rules any damn time we feel like it.  Those are not rules, that is tyranny.

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

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:44:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If I speed and don't get caught (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Buckeye Nut Schell, MBNYC

                is there still a rule against speeding ?

                There are rules ,
                compliance with the rules is another thing .

                Why do we have chemical and biological weapons here in the United States if the rules says we cannot use them?

                http://en.wikipedia.org/...
                In mid-1969, the UK and the Warsaw Pact, separately, introduced proposals to the UN to ban biological weapons, which would lead to a treaty in 1972. The U.S. cancelled its offensive biological weapons program by executive order in November 1969 (microorganisms) and February 1970 (toxins) and ordered the destruction of all offensive biological weapons, which occurred between May 1971 and February 1973. The U.S. ratified the Geneva Protocol on January 22, 1975. The U.S. ratified the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) which came into effect in March 1975.[Kissinger 1969]

                http://en.wikipedia.org/...
                The U.S. began stockpile reductions in the 1980s, removing some outdated munitions and destroying its entire stock of BZ beginning in 1988. In June 1990, Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System began destruction of chemical agents stored on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific, seven years before the Chemical Weapons Convention came into effect. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan made an agreement with Chancellor Helmut Kohl to remove the U.S. stockpile of chemicals weapons from Germany. As part of Operation Steel Box, in July 1990, two ships were loaded with over 100,000 shells containing GB and VX taken from US Army weapons storage depots such as Miesau and then-classified ammunition FSTS (Forward Storage/Transportation Sites) and transported from Bremerhaven Germany to Johnston Atoll in the Pacific, a 46-day nonstop journey.[21]

                In May 1991, President George H.W. Bush unilaterally committed the United States to destroying all chemical weapons and renounced the right to chemical weapon retaliation. In 1993, the United States signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, which required the destruction of all chemical weapon agents, dispersal systems, chemical weapons production facilities by April 2012. The U.S. prohibition on the transport of chemical weapons has meant that destruction facilities had to be constructed at each of the U.S.'s nine storage facilities. The U.S. met the first three of the treaty's four deadlines, destroying 45% of its stockpile of chemical weapons by 2007. However, official expectations for the date of complete elimination of all chemical weapons was after the treaty deadline of 2012.

                Your question about why we have what we don't have ?

                "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                by indycam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:54:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Good information... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dancing Frog, YucatanMan, caul
                  If I speed and don't get caught is there still a rule against speeding ?
                  Yes but if I speed, get caught and nothing ever happens to me, is there a rule against speeding?

                  It wasn't that the United States didn't get caught torturing prisoners, they changed the definition of torture and admitted to doing it under a different name and nobody has been punished for it.  Combine that with invading a country that did not pose a threat to us, rendering people from foriegn countries without that countries permission, killing our own citizens without do process  when they were in no position to cause eminent danger, even specifically targeting their juvenile children...

                  doing something and not getting caught does not invalidate the rule.  Breaking the rules in plain sight and daring anyone to do something about it and nothing happens.... That pretty much makes the rule null and void.

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

                  by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:44:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I've read about very old laws still (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Buckeye Nut Schell

                    being on the books . They are still the law even if no one understands what they are or what they were for .

                    That pretty much makes the rule null and void.
                    We are saying the same but I see it as an enforcement problem .
                    If there was no law , then there could be no possibility of enforcement .

                    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                    by indycam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:51:51 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Wow, thanks Indy. (0+ / 0-)

                  The amazing part (to me) of all this is that I did not know all this. (I have a point.)

                  But then, who did? And, I have absolutely NO idea who else does/does not have what, regarding Chemical Weapons. Most honestly do not know how many, or the type of nuclear weapons we have. It is no small comfort to me that there are those charged with knowing such information. I know of the work at Ft. Detrick, but only because one of my dearest friends was Commander there. And, of course, I only knew what I (with a Clearance, mind you) was told by him and others.

                  I very much appreciate your effort here. Hug someone you really love tonight.

                  Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
                  Economic
                  Left/Right: -7.75
                  Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

                  by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:49:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  There are, actually (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CJ WIHorse, Yoshimi, JesseCW, jncca

            That they aren't complete, that they dont prevent conflict, that you disagree with the limits to their scope does not invalidate them.

            There are rules in war. They don't make wars good happy wonderful events, but they're there.

            It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic. - WSC

            by Solarian on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:14:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Only the losers are punished for not following... (0+ / 0-)

              rules.   That is not a rule, that is rubbing salt in the wound.

              The only time the victors are punished for not following the rules is when a bigger dog doesn't like who won the war.  That is not a rule, that is an excuse for entering a war.

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

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:48:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

                dumdum or expanding bullets, illegal in war, not used.

                in the Chelsea Manning news you may have missed that the US Sgt who murdered Afgani civilians was just sentenced to life w/o parole.

                Suez Crisis, the, Fr, UK, Isr gang up to take the Suez Canal, are stopped by their ally as a breach of int'l law.

                Enough.

                It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic. - WSC

                by Solarian on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 07:09:12 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Geneva Conventions (6+ / 0-)

            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

            by indycam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:26:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And we follow which ever parts of that... (0+ / 0-)

              rule book we damn well please.  Dick Cheney said he believed that the United States has the right to label a "combatant" a "terrorist," outside the protections of the Geneva Convention

              Since we have a war on terrorism, we don't need to follow no stinking Geneva Convention.

              When Dick Cheney is arrested for not folowing the Geneva Convention, I'll believe there are rules.

              Rules are for fools...  There are no rules in love and war.

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

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:55:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think so (4+ / 0-)

            My guess, and I could well be wrong, is that the low frequency of use of chemical weapons is at least in part due to the well-established international treaties banning their use. Yes, they have been used, but likely less than if they were not banned, don't you think?  

            I'm from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

            by voicemail on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:45:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dancing Frog, caul

              Also, chemical weapons are fairly difficult to make weaponized and degrade quickly and there not a lot of official manufacturers out there selling this stuff because of these supposed rules but...

              You are probably right that the appearance of rules probably does deter their use to some extent.

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

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:02:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  totally wrong (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dancing Frog

            There are rules in war. They are actually called laws of war. Most nations (even ours) have signed on to one or several international laws of war. These laws include treatment of POWs, prohibitions on torture, non-targeting of non-fighting medical personnel, and non-targeting of soldiers trying to surrender. They also include not using chemical or biological weapons. Syria has signed on to an international binding agreement not to use chemical weapons.

            Please see this wikipedia page on jus in bello. It isn't true that there are no laws in war.

            Now, where these rules do and don't apply is another question. I have argued in the past pretty strongly for our diligent application of these rules, particularly with respect to torture. But I would hardly argue that we should respect them less- the lack of respect has brought us "enemy combatants" of Taliban soldiers (no POW status), torture, drone strikes, etc.

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

            by progreen on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:00:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If we can apply the rules when we want to... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              caul

              and ignore them when we want to, they are not rules... they are suggestions.  

              I am not saying there are not words written on paper that says that we can and cannot do this or that.  I am fully aware of the Geneva Convention and other "Laws" in war.

              Who went to jail or even got fired (Hell, who didn't get a fucking medal of freedom) for committing war crimes in the Bush Administration?  How about the Obama Administration?  How about in the CIA?

              Are you saying that we did not torture people in clear violation of those "RULES"?  Tell me one sanction, just one punishment, hell, show me a fucking worthless congressional censure condemning this blatant violation of the international "LAW".

              There are no rules in war because if you are big enough and bad enough, there is not a damn thing anybody else can do about it if you do not follow them.  

              You can say I am totally wrong all you want to but show me just one instance, JUST ONE where somebody with authority from the United States of America was held accountable for torture or any other war crime then I will admit to being "totally wrong" and kiss your virtual ass right here in front of the whole Kosland observatory.

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

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:14:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would argue (0+ / 0-)

                that there are rules, but the most powerful often choose whether or not to follow them. It's like playing basketball with a bully- there are rules to the game of basketball, but at any time the bully can tackle you, take the ball, and say "that wasn't a foul."

                There are rules, but no real referees.

                The problem is that any of these international rules require someone to enforce them. The International Criminal Court in the Hague only works if you can get someone there. There is no police for states. The UN Security Council only works if you can get all major powers to agree (or at least not veto).

                So rules or suggestions...rules for some, suggestions for the powerful.

                I would be thrilled to see any of those who lied us into war, violated rules against preventative war, tortured, targeted civilians, extraordinarily renditioned, and wrote the legal justifications for all of it tried in a court of law. I don't think abandoning the implementation of rules for everyone because they aren't applied to some is the answer.

                Whether or not that is a justifiable pretext for bombing Syria is another question.

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

                by progreen on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 11:05:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  So are incendiary bombs- re: (12+ / 0-)
          Chemical Weapons are uncontrollably indiscriminate depending on the wind.
          March 9-10 1945, Tokyo Japan.  These dates were purposefully chosen- based on weather conditions- in order to create optimal destruction.

          Estimates
          of the number killed are of a higher death toll than that of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

          Being burned or boiled or baked to death or worse living through & with being (purposefully) burned is beyond any agony I can imagine...

          As a teen (volunteer), I stayed at the side of two burn victims during medical therapies.  One burned by napalm, the other an incendiary (jet fuel).  

          Survivors.  To this day I hear their screams.

        •  Except, Sarin was specifically designed as a heavy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dancing Frog, caul

          oily substance that hits the ground and then lets off gas, not prone to drift large distances like Mustard or other early gasses.

          It's horrific area weapon, as indiscriminate as cluster munitions, but it doesn't waft kilometers away from the attack site.

          1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

          by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:50:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  So is a machine gun (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, caul

        For that matter, a bow and arrow is more likely to hit a non-combatant than a sword.

        We make trade-offs all the time between utility and morality. For example, a lot of lives would be saved if the speed limit for cars was 3 MPH.

        I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

        by blue aardvark on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:07:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The US' claimed precision is pretty much a myth (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul

        invented by the Pentagon.  It's been proven incorrect over and over again.  Good percentages miss altogether, blowing up something else or nothing.

        The belief in our "surgical strike capability" is just another lie that the warmongers sell to the American people to get us to go along with their murderous sprees.

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

        by YucatanMan on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:25:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I Could Not Disagree With You More (22+ / 0-)

      Chemical weapons bad. Given. But are you saying it is OK to bomb a place into submission, but use chemical weapons something different? Just another way to kill folks.

    •  indiscriminate by its very nature. (59+ / 0-)

      As are cluster bombs since about 10-30 percent don't detonate and once the enemy leaves the area and civilians return, they can inadvertently trigger them.

      Same with land mines.  

      Help me to be the best Wavy Gravy I can muster

      by BOHICA on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:03:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  more evil (32+ / 0-)

      than depleted uranium?  than white phosphorus? than cluster bombs that when they don't detonate look like brightly colored toys that children are drawn to?  napalm?

      •  More evil (13+ / 0-)

        than an infantry advance into contested territory, a river crossing under fire, a tank battle, absolutely.

        I understand your outrage, but your "more evil" nitpickery is a bunch of posturing, sorry.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:14:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ever live through an infantry advance or bombing (11+ / 0-)

          raid - as a civilian, with your terror-stricken family huddled around you? Well, my parents have. So have my uncles, aunts, cousins. I'm privy to firsthand knowledge of what it's like being a civilian trapped in a war zone, and Kos is right. Dead from a bomb or dead from gas is meaningless categorization. Dead is dead.

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

          by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:03:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So did my mother. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NYFM

            A former boss of mine in Frankfurt fled East Prussia with his family as a child and saw Berlin burning a hundred miles away on that flight. My grandfather was an officer in the Wehrmacht, possibly a war criminal, only got out of Workuta in 1955. A teacher of mine in England had three brothers; one lost at Dunkirk, one died on the Burma Road, the last went down with HMS Prince of Wales.

            I have some idea just how goddamn fucking awful war is, thank you.

            Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

            by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:37:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  My dad was held as a POW by Nazis for four years (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC, grover, mimi

              Look up Sandbostel camp, Stalag X-B. Ninety percent of all prisoners who were held there died. When the British stumbled upon the camp it was so rife with typhus they burned it down. My dad got typhoid fever there, but he survived. Ninety percent of all the prisoners who were held there died. My dad lived thanks to the kindness of a very good man, a German farmer to whom he was assigned as slave labor during the day. (At night he was marched back to prison.) That farmer, at great risk to himself, fed my dad from his own table, and that nourishment saved my father's life.

              My mother came from a family of German pacifists from Russia who were evacuated to East Prussia at the end of the Great War. Toward the end of the Second World War her father was drafted by the Nazis despite being a pacifist, farmer, father of ten, and a breeder of Trakehner horses. He died in the ice bombardment of the Vistula Lagoon during the evacuation of East Prussia, trying to take Trakehners and refugees to western Germany.

              My grandmother, my mother, and seven of her siblings were captured by the Russians and held in concentration camp for fourteen months, then deported to a camp in East Germany. From there they escaped to the British zone just as the last lengths of barbed wire were being strung, permanently closing the crossings. She had to traverse the no-man's-land between East and West five times, dodging bullets, helping her mother carry her younger brothers and sisters over to freedom. On her last crossing she and her sister were captured, but they miraculously escaped. She was sixteen years old.

              My parents met in the British zone, and I was born a stateless refugee. That's how we came to the US, and it's one of the reasons I chose my particular user name.

              More recently, my uncle, aunts, cousins, their children, their extended families and their friends lived through the NATO bombing of Serbia. A cousin's son-in law was killed while on a train trestle over a mountain gorge. The bombers didn't care if there were trains or people on the bridges. They had to dump their loads before they could return to Italy. Almost everyone in my father's home town lost their livelihood when the US bombed a washing machine factory to smithereens. They bombed every factory and every bit it infrastructure they could. The only reason thy didn't bomb the main bridge over the Danube in Belgrade was because the university students and young people continuously occupied the bridge. Had it been bombed there would have been a war crime broadcast live throughout the world. My family still has shrapnel embedded in the trees in their yards and walls of their homes.

              So yeah, let's compare family war stories. I have many more.

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

              by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:02:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My link for Trakehners horses doesn't work ^^^ (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MBNYC, grover

                Here is a corrected link.

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

                by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:10:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  If you don't know who the Germans from Russia were (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MBNYC, grover, drmah, mimi

                here is a link. Not all Germans from Russia were poor farmers. My mother's family was definitely not poor, even after they fled Russia to East Prussia. They weren't made poor until the Second World War took everything from them.

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

                by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:25:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Wow. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Involuntary Exile, Bob Love

                Here's a thought: a lot of folks here and in America in general don't have stories like that. I've thought about diarying my experience with history and how it affects my perspective on discussions like these, would you be interested in making that a common project?

                Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:38:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Perhaps. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MBNYC

                  We are all the product of our experiences. I'm quite certain if more Americans experienced war first hand they wouldn't be so eager to push their children or someone else's into battle. War sucks. Innocent people die. It is always, always, always evil.

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

                  by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:14:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Involuntary Exile

                    My mom's family lost what little they had left after WWI in the ashes of WWII. My grandfather was scarred till the day he died, so were his kids by extension. Never talked about it, but it was there.

                    I still remember being a little tot and asking mom why there were so many parking lots. Bomb damage, she said, and didn't need to explain where those bombs came from or why. Or standing in front of the Berlin Wall and knowing it was evil as a six year old. Or later in England or France hearing the things mom's people did just because we were visiting family. Inescapable.

                    And then you start travelling and see the same thing all over Europe. I didn't really meet a Jewish person till I moved to New York, and thank God nobody held mom's family against me.

                    War is hell, no two ways about it. This is not abstract. I don't want America to have that legacy too.

                    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                    by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:29:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  My mom and her family are rightly proud (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      MBNYC

                      of never having been Nazis. She came from that part of East Prussia that was decidedly anti-Nazi and anti-war because it was home to so many former Germans from Russia. It was the place from which the one and only assassination attempt against Hitler was launched. Hitler worried so much about the loyalty of the East Prussians in that area that he didn't allow anyone to own a radio, not even one to receive his own propaganda. My mother says if you were caught with a radio you would go to prison and possibly be executed. That part of East Prussia is now known as the Masurian Lake District of Poland.

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

                      by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:59:36 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Heh. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Involuntary Exile

                        I don't even know if we had any outright Nazis; but nobility, military, could go either way.

                        I do know that two relatives at least were a part of the Stauffenberg plot and executed for treason against the regime. Not uncommon ancestry in my circle of friends, either.

                        My friend Julia, another aristo, told me the story of how her mom fled East Prussia as a tot and saw the manor house go up in flames. They lost a few folks to Valkyrie as well.

                        She'd love to go back just to see the place, but what would the point be? The past is the past.

                        What I want, and you as well I think, is to spare this country that kind of odium.

                        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:07:27 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  My mom's aristo lineage got "watered out" (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          MBNYC

                          about three or four generations before her, somewhere in the mid-nineteenth century, by dint of being female and through marriage to non-aristocrats. My grandmother's family wealth came from the female line, which, of course, did not get to inherit a title but did get to inherit substantial amounts of money which they took with them into their marriages. I guess anyone from a wealthy East Prussian family has a story about seeing their great manor house  destroyed. When my mom's family was being deported from East Prussia to East Germany they passed by her grandmother's property and saw the great house had been destroyed. All that remained was the "little house" which was not what anyone would consider little. Most people would consider it a mansion as great as most of the country houses of the English gentry of the eighteen and nineteenth centuries.

                          On her father's side, which originated in the Salzburg area of Austria, the loss of title came earlier when the family was expelled for being Protestants in the great expulsion of 1731. As you know, thousands died as a direct result of the expulsion, but the rich and titled were given more time - thirty days - to sell their property and leave. By the late 18th century, thanks to the invitation of Catherine II, they ended up in the Ukraine on the Black Sea where they owned ships and warehouses until the end of the Great War.

                          If your friend Julia is from East Prussia she must know about Trakehner horses. My grandfather Ewald bred them, which is no small deal. It's very nearly like saying he bred Lipizzaners, that's how tightly the stud book was controlled. He also bred champion dogs, cattle and poultry. Mother and Tante claim he would joke that the only mutts he bred were his children.

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

                          by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:38:00 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  They're beautiful horses. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Involuntary Exile

                            I seem to recall there's an estate outside of Potsdam that still breeds them, though.

                            Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                            by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:56:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The Trakehner breed was very nearly wiped out (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MBNYC

                            as a result of the war. I really don't know anything about a breeding program in Potsdam. What I know is that somehow against all odds the stud book, approximately 50 stallions, and a few hundred brood mares found their way to Lower Saxony where the breed was reestablished under the direction of Baron von Schrötter and the Trakehner Verband. Only those horses descended from that foundation stock are recognized by the Verband as Trakehners.

                            It's possible the East German government rounded up all the Trakehners they could find after the war and started a breeding program in Potsdam, but if they're not recognized by the Verband they're not Trakehners. I know that the Polish government rounded up whatever Trakehners they could find and brought them back to Landstallmeisterhaus Trakehnen to try to reestablished the breed in Poland, but those horses haven't been recognized by the Verband.

                            They are very beautiful, athletic horses. It's no wonder they are becoming a favorite for Olympic equestrian events.

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

                            by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 07:05:42 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

          •  so really why bother to stop any of it? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MBNYC

            is the bottom line for that... it is all evil so why take a stand on any being even worse than the rest... either all or nothing? No restrictions or total pacifism?

            We understand that a "Why can't we all be friends and just ban warfare starting tomorrow" is not a not realistic is the other extreme and unreasonable alternative to just shrugging and not doing anything since everyone has  blood on their hands in one way or another and dead is dead... (an even more indiscriminate, capricious, hideous, lingering painful death is arguably worse than some quicker forms like bullets, bombs etc.)

            But realistically why not try and stop things somewhere and then work back to getting rid of more things step by step. And if not now and this? What and where and when?

            Gotta find a place to put your foot down and giving chemical warfare a pass is not a great choice or example... and would not bode well for further steps sooner.

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

            by IreGyre on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:18:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So the agreement is, lets kill some people (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC, Johnny Q

              For having killed some other people. Because, obviously, just threatening to kill them doesn't work. Let's decide what level of heinousness is too heinous to tolerate, and then lets kill those we think are guilty of having been too heinous, and lets kill them in a way that seems to us less heinous but that might, unfortunately, kill some innocent people who had nothing at all to do with the act that has us in high dudgeon. I think I got that about right, no?

              Why is it our fight? And if it should be our fight, should we necessarily intervene anywhere some dictator is killing people with weapons of mass destruction? What if he's only killing thousands by imprisoning, torturing and murdering them in conventional ways? Conventional mass executions can be overlooked but unconventional ones can't?

              Or do we only get involved when there is a possibility we or our friends might be the target? Where does it begin? Where does it end?

              Here's a little factoid: Orthodox Christianity (which I happen to adhere to) has no doctrine of "just war". That was an idea of Augustine's that the Eastern Church never accepted. The Eastern position has always been that wars are sometimes unavoidable but never justified. And that pretty much sums up how I feel about the subject. In this particular case, our entry into the Syrian war in absolutely avoidable, so I think we should avoid becoming combatants. It's not our fight.

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

              by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:07:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  False characterization of you opponents' views. (0+ / 0-)
                So the agreement is, lets kill some people for having killed some other people.

                Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UID: 8519

                by Bob Love on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:06:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Seems like a logical extension to me. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dr Know

                  How is it a false characterization? If we:

                  Gotta find a place to put your foot down and giving chemical warfare a pass is not a great choice or example... and would not bode well for further steps sooner.
                  what foot are we putting down that doesn't involving killing some people? You know this thread is about our probable bombing of Syria don't you?

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

                  by Involuntary Exile on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:48:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Why not stop it all? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Involuntary Exile, Johnny Q, MBNYC

              It's all evil. War is shit. We need to end it all and more war has never succeeded at doing that, so why don't we try not fucking fighting anymore.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:35:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Ever die twitching in torment from gas poisoning? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            drmah

            Any sane person would prefer a bullet to the brain instead.

            Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UID: 8519

            by Bob Love on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:03:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Military incursions, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          worldlotus

          river crossings under fire and tank battles normally involve combat troops fighting other combat troops, not governments and/or insurgents mass murdering civilian populations on purpose.

          Even those of us who hate war understand there's a difference between battles involving combat troops and wholesale murder of civilians.

          •  There mostly isn't though (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, Joieau

            Civilians are generally more likely to be killed in wars, and in larger numbers, even when the aggressor conforms to various "laws" of war. There's a myth that circulates about how we can just make the right rules and spare civilians a bad fate, but it simply isn't true. War kills more civilians than  soldiers, it has throughout history with rare exception, and it will continue to.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:41:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Depleted uranium has been overhyped. (8+ / 0-)

        It has not caused all the cancers that were claimed. White phosphorus is not considered a chemical weapon. Maybe it should be.

        Trying to conflate everything to justify the idea that no weapons are off limits sounds somehow wrong.

        •  The US insists it's not a chemical weapon, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q

          but the US has been known to insist that waterboarding is not torture.

          The claims of the US often directly conflict with objective reality.

          1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

          by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:08:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed (54+ / 0-)

      The effort to impose laws on war -- otherwise known as International Humanitarian law -- is deeply flawed and sometimes futile but essential nonetheless.

      But as you say. use of chemical weapons, although a war crime, doesn't make the bombing of Syria legal, moral, or wise. It's none of these things.

    •  Unfortunately, this is true. (9+ / 0-)
      But chemical warfare is evil in a different way and more profoundly than just war itself. Sorry.
    •  Gas was made illegal under international law (15+ / 0-)

      after World War I.

      The British had stockpiles of phosgene and mustard gas as well as plans to use them should the Germans invade during World War II.

      The world collectively yawned when Saddam Hussein used gas against Iran, and later yawned again when he used gas against the Kurds.

      In fact, in the whole of history since gas was made illegal under the Geneva Conventions, there has not been a single case where the world held anybody to account for the use of gas.

      Libertarianism is just Fascism with a facelift. Scratch the surface of Libertarianism and you will find the notion that corporations should rule supreme, just as it was with Fascism..

      by Walt starr on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:20:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is a reason for the UN too (10+ / 0-)

      Take the situation to the UN.  If the international community is unwilling to act, then so much for the international community's concern with chemical weapons.  

      If the US was actually willing to go along with more international conventions itself, on the ICC, on land mines, etc., it would have more moral authority.  

      The US has lost its moral authority and there is no moral authority in a missile strike.  It's just more war.

    •  To not draw lines on some forms of warfare (16+ / 0-)

      is to ignore a possible method of containing conflicts.

      So fine.  If chemical weapons no longer cross the "red line", how about biological weapons?  How about tactical nuclear weapons?

      I agree.  I don't think Kos (like most of us, including me) has worked through this enough.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:35:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A special ops team is probably not going to strife (11+ / 0-)
      an entire neighborhood, and if they do, they'll be court-martialed.
      Dunno about that:
      A large number of assaults by U.S. Special Forces with AMF mercenaries has been carried out. Other nation's Special Forces have also been involved. An American Seal unit called Task Force K-Bar led by a Navy commodore includes German, Canadian, Danish and Norwegian special forces personnel, involved in raids and surveillance in southern Afghanistan. British SAS Forces were involved in operations along the Kwaja Amran mountain range in Ghazni and the Hada Hills near Spin Boldak. Some raids have been reported and many have not. The pattern is the same: helicopters descend out of the sky in the middle of the night, troops rush into a village, knocking down doors, firing M-4 assault rifles, lobbing Flash-Bang grenades, yelling, searching women, arresting people, tying up suspects with plastic handcuffs, and abducting a group of people to major U.S. bases either in Kandahar or Bagram. The terror perpetrated upon mostly innocent villagers creates lasting fear and resentment towards Americans.

      The list of such egregious 'incidents' is very long : Hazar Qadam, Char Chine, Bandi Temur, Sangesar, Maiwand, Kakarak, Alatai, Zani Khel, Surwipan, Narizah, etc. The typical treatment at the U.S. military facility in Kandahar involves kicking, beating and abusing the detainees.

      "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." - James Madison, 1822

      by Superskepticalman on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:38:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh Christ. (8+ / 0-)

        Yes, that's bad. But as bad as hundreds of people choking to death in minutes?

        No, it's not, and quite frankly, your argument is morally bankrupt.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:41:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Acting is overwrought: you stated categorically (7+ / 0-)

          that:

          "A special ops team is probably not going to strife an entire neighborhood, and if they do, they'll be court-martialed."
          When I pointed out facts impeaching your conclusion, you call those facts
          "morally bankrupt".
          The Syrian "get your war on" supporters are simply not on the ball on meme control this time.

          "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." - James Madison, 1822

          by Superskepticalman on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:47:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's a lie. (3+ / 0-)
            The Syrian "get your war on" supporters are simply not on the ball on meme control this time.
            Are you saying I'm one of them? Because if you are, you should get trollrated to kingdom come.

            Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

            by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:51:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You mischaracterize my facts as "morally (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC, corvo, aliasalias, JesseCW, AoT, Johnny Q

              bankrupt" and then threaten me with gang-HR'ing for disagreeing with you. These are tactics from darker days around here.

              But I need some clarification: I'll concede - and apologize - for the "get your war on" opinion; that was over the top, and I'm sorry I wrote that. Hope you'll accept my apologies.

              But, for your part, you need to tell me (1) why you're so emotionally invested in this country intervening in the Syrian civil war (because your response to the facts I offered support that conclusion) and (2) why it was necessary to attack my facts with insult.

              Fair enough?

              "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." - James Madison, 1822

              by Superskepticalman on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:02:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's fair. (5+ / 0-)

                And I apologize as well for my moment of pique. I didn't mean to offend, I'm sorry.

                There are two issues here: one, is war with Syria justifiable or desirable, two, are ABC weapons – Atomic, Biological, Chemical – in a plane of their own morally.

                I do not want this country engaged in Syria. I've never said otherwise. It is not worth the cost in human lives, and we have no idea what to do after an airstrike. There is a slippery slope here I don't want to go down.

                That doesn't change the fact that the world at large treats weapons of mass destruction as uniquely abhorrent. I agree.

                But that in turn doesn't mean I want the arms of the United States engaged to make that point. It's not worth it for the Syrian people, or for us, but if we go through that door, the price will be too steep for us to afford.

                Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:12:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  MBNYC, got caught up reading comments (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC, Remembering Jello, worldlotus, AoT

              Sorry I thought you were in favor of intervention.

              Another apology; will you accept it?

              "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." - James Madison, 1822

              by Superskepticalman on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:07:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  MBNYC doesn't support intervention (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MBNYC

            One can argue that chemical weapons are morally worse than regular weapons and still not support an intervention.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:44:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for taking up the argument... (0+ / 0-)

          I can't say as well as you what needs to be said here.

          There is a difference. but still... we do not need to intervene in Syria. Perhaps it's time for others to step up?

          Or even as Domestic Elf said in a comment yesterday, we should have immediately worked to shame Russia into doing something about Assad. Tar them with their ally's actions, since Russia says they'll veto anything in the UN. Tar then loudly and often

          Threaten their precious Olympics. Threaten them loudly and often.

          I wish that would be made into a diary...

    •  All weapons of mass fatalities are indiscrimante (4+ / 0-)

      as are the people who deploy them in many cases. What's the difference to the victims between using chemical weapons and bombing a chemical plant or a refinery? How much more collateral damage of innocent parties and misidentified targets do you need to see?

      I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

      by jhecht on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:40:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can survive carpet bombing. (7+ / 0-)

        My mom was born in Germany in 1939, she spent the first years of her life in a bomb shelter.

        The odds of surviving or even preparing for an attack with chemical weapons are a lot smaller. They are tools of extermination, plain and simple. Extermination of human life, any life.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:46:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can survive a gas attack too (8+ / 0-)

          That's why they make gas masks. But guess what? It won't protect you from a bomb being dropped on your head. Or bullets. Or shrapnel. Or fire. If you want to split hairs over the morality of different types of weapons of mass fatalities; be my guest. I find all of them to be equally obscene.

          I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

          by jhecht on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:00:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not when it's done right (11+ / 0-)

          We made a firestorm over Tokyo that burned up all the available oxygen and boiled the canals in a huge area.

          http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/...

          "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

          by nightsweat on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:08:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  How about the firebombing of Tokyo (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pgm 01, JesseCW, Johnny Q

          was that discriminate?

          Your point is really falling apart here.

          •  Okay. (0+ / 0-)

            So can we put you down for repealing all international treaties banning specific kinds of weapons as too barbaric even for the supreme barbarism of war?

            Or would you just like to have a nice juicy flame war and a straw man fight?

            Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

            by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:47:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  68 years ago can't be undone... next gas attack? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MBNYC

            ... being a potential future act ... well that could conceivably be stopped by making any potential user think twice due to consequences... today  and tomorrow are all we can work with... the past is not changeable.

            the whole bad stuff is all bad approach that in effect says nothing can or should be done about any of it in an all or nothing stance seems a bit extreme. If we can't fix ALL of it then we give up and not try to fix what is fixable or stoppable or preventable now.

            Chemical warfare is a good place to draw a line... not the only line but at least one to try and enforce now and it may be more possible to work on the next line and then then next... making more and more things anathema to humanity....

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

            by IreGyre on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:02:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, it can't be undone (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC

              Neither can any other of the war crimes we've committed. But enforcing these things only on our enemies isn't the way to have fewer gas attacks. That's the issue here.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:50:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am not aware of any US nerve gas attacks... (0+ / 0-)

                or mustard gas or others in that category in history... so they do have some standing in saying that another country should not use those things... Germany and the UK on the other hand have used these kinds of gas but no longer do... and all the same I am quite sure that they have the right today to say that others should not  have it or use it and should be stopped if they do and be punished as well.... but with the same logic... does it follow because the US has used White phosphorus and CS and Napalm in the past somehow means they have zero right to call nations who use nerve gas to account for that?

                Why that might be is not altogether clear...

                If other countries can agree on a course of action that can punish Assad and make his regime less able or likely to use it again... and if that course of action... presumable involving the UN also includes participation by the USA then why not? The US has extensive capabilities that would be invaluable if used prudently in conjunction with an internationally agreed course of action.

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

                by IreGyre on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:21:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Aside from WWI there was a the massive (0+ / 0-)

                  use of Agent Orange, as well as the use of white phosphorus.

                  And the UN isn't going to pass a security council resolution on this to approve an attack. There's simply no way. So that "what if" is off the table.

                  If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                  by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:24:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Carpet bombs (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC, corvo, worldlotus, lotlizard, JesseCW

      Much the same effect when applied to a neighborhood.  Kills young and old alike.

      Lord knows we did that to Tokyo and Dresden.

      "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

      by nightsweat on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:04:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tokyo was the US. The Brits (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MBNYC, Dr Swig Mcjigger, worldlotus

        were primarily responsible for Dresden.

        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 Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:09:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We helped, a lot. We even straffed the survivors (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q

          as they tried to clear the rubble in the morning.

          We sent 527 bombers, the Brits sent 722.  We provided the majority of fighters.

          Hard to put that on "mostly" them even if it might just be technically true that they dropped more than half the tonnage.  It was a fully a joint operation.

          Now, Hamburg, that was the Brits.

          1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

          by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:21:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I just bought this movie (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, worldlotus, NYFM

        'Emperor' about Hirohito and Douglas MacArthur, set in immediate post-war Japan. Highly recommend it, by the way.

        A dramatization, sure, but the recreation of the moonscape of Tokyo in 1945 was chilling. Never seen anything like it, and I remember the devastation you could still see in Europe from WWII into the eighties and nineties.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:23:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Firebombing is barbaric. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MBNYC, worldlotus, JesseCW

        Unless there's some military target involved, and I've never heard of that being the case.

        So, I don't know how this enters into the argument. We did it once, so it's OK?

        •  We did it more than once (6+ / 0-)

          Is it acceptable to propel a slug of steel through the air at speeds beyond the speed of sound, penetrate the body of another human being, shatter their bones and send dirty slivers of metal and bone and cloth into their vital organs severing blood vessels and starting the basis for a painful death by sepsis unless treated with modern drugs?

          How about hitting a village with a bomb that tears limbs from bodies and sets fire to the clothes and skin of the people caught in the blast, except where the pressure wave explodes their lungs and stops their hearts?

          When looked at by a reasonable person, all these weapons are intolerably cruel. The point is that we're being cute if we think we can pick and choose which are acceptable and not acceptable based on their barbarity.

          I exempt from that only biologics and nukes which are extinction weapons and which have effects far beyond their immediate use.

          "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

          by nightsweat on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:10:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  And indiscriminate strikes against civilians are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC, DSPS owl

      illegal, too: although kos's point can be turned around to say that we've been seeing lots of that with conventional weapons.

      I googled "confirmation bias" and Daily Kos raided my house! And and and smashed my hard drives! Ask CNN, it's all truthy!

      by Inland on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:08:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes (10+ / 0-)

      frankly I am amazed by the folks who are diminishing the special hell of chemical weapons.  After world war I, one of e most hellish wastes of human life in the twentieth century, where only about 1% of the deaths were the result of chemical weapons...the folks that used them agreed to ban them.

      The folks who used them, after one of the most futile, stupid and barbaric wars of the twentieth century, saw chemical weapons as so specially evil as agreeing to ban them.  They didn't ban war, they didn't ban artillery...but they did ban chemical and biological weapons.  Europewho've reals who who thought nothing of sending tens of thousands to their death on a single day of trench warfare found chemical weapons so obscene as to ban them, that's how bad chemical weapons are.

      And yet there are folks here who seem to think that they know better than those who actually experienced chemical weapons.

      It's obscene.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:27:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Empty Vessel, Aquarius40, tytalus

        All Quiet on the Western Front; people should read it. In World War Two, we could at least identify the bad guys; WWI was just slaughter, the biggest self-inflicted disaster in human history, and still, all we really took out if it was that these weapons cross every single ethical line.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:31:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am truly appalled by what I am (6+ / 0-)

          Reading here on DKos.  I oppose intervention, as you do.  But listening to the folks who don't seem to be overly bothered by a violation of one of the few fucking limits to war that was ever agreed upon.  There are precious few rules to war. NoThe problem is not that there are too many.  Add to that the staggering number of two wrongs mean nothing can ever be right arguments.

          What I truly don't understand, is that for the most part, the people who seem most willing to ignore the the Geneva protocols now are the same folks who scream about torture and the need to prosecute bush for war crimes.

          Both actions are evil, and both are wrong.  It's not that fucking complicated.

          We do not have to be apologists for chemical weapons to oppose intervention in Syria.

          The moral failure by Kos and many others here is staggeringly profound, IMHO.  

          The willingness of people to downplay The obviously special evil of chemical weapons just because to do so helps their non-interventionist position disgusts me.  

          Just because an argument helps support a political position does not make it right.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:43:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So why are willing to ignore the UN? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lotlizard, Johnny Q, DSPS owl

            If we want international treaties to be enforced we have to also work with the international community to enforce them, not just play lone ranger when it suits us but of course not when it doesn't.  

            •  What part of I oppose intervention (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC, edwardssl, jiffypop, pgm 01, tytalus, IreGyre

              Did you fail to read or understand?

              I support ALL international law, not just what is convenient to me at any given time.

              To say chemical weapons are a special kind of hell does not mean that I support intervention.

              "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

              by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:53:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They are one special kind of hell (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Johnny Q

                but we don't seem to oppose most of the others.  What Kos may be getting at is how hypocritical our standards have become.  We had a chance after WWII to begin the process of reducing the various special kinds of hell and that effort has fallen by the wayside.   That's one reason it's becoming difficult to uphold the chemical weapons ban.  Pretty much anything goes anymore.  Just war theory?  That's for wimps.  We strike where we want when we want, don't count the bodies, and classify the details.  

                •  Nice rant (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MBNYC, tytalus, Gator Keyfitz, IreGyre

                  What it has to with me, I couldn't begin to guess.

                  I oppose nukes, landlines, white phosphorous...and chemical weapons.  And I oppose intervention in Syria, as I have said several times.

                  But just because there are other forms of terrible death, it does not make the death by chemical weapons any less terrible, or the violation of that particular Geneva convention any less a violation.

                  "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                  by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:21:45 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  The case for "the obviously special evil (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            poligirl, worldlotus, Johnny Q

            of chemical weapons" has yet to be persuasively argued.

            What Syrian lives will be saved from poison gas by lobbing a few Tomahawk cruise missiles at military sites from a safe distance? If we were serious about saving lives from horrific chemical attacks, we would commit the 75,000-100,000 ground troops needed to capture and hold Assad's chemical weapons depots.

            Lord knows I'm not advocating that, but that's what it would take.

            No, message by missile is just America's subtle way of reminding the world that, in Phil Ochs' words, we STILL are

            the biggest and toughest kids on the block  
            'Cause we're the Cops of the World

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

            by PhilJD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:58:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then I see you care not for (0+ / 0-)

              The experience and view of the people and nations that experienced chemical weapons....cause they, against all the evil of war, saw chemical weapons as specially evil, worthy of ban.  But you know better.

              "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

              by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:00:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  and every one of those nations--on either side-- (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                worldlotus, poligirl, JesseCW, AoT, Johnny Q

                had stockpiles of chemical weapons 20 years later.

                Every one of them would have used those weapons in WWII, if they felt it would give them a clear advantage. They were constrained by geopolitical realities, not "morality."

                As I said, make the case. Don't just assert it as given-truth. I'll listen. I'm being very clear that I have no quarrel with people who DO see chemical weapons as a special case. This is far too serious to bicker over.

                But you know better.

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

                by PhilJD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:07:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You know what (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MBNYC, IreGyre

                  I do know better, and none of those countries, even Germany, used those weapons of last resort.  I beleive that all nukes, landlines, white phosphorous, napalm, chemical weapons etc should be destroyed forever.

                  But the failure to destroy those weapons says nothing, ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY NOTHING, about those who have chosen to use those weapons.

                  A gun is bad, but it is not even in the same world of evil as walking up to a child and shooting them in the head with that same gun.

                  Evil people, people willing to deal death in the hundreds of thousands and be OK with it, those same people saw the special evil of chemical weapons...and never USED them again.

                  They, and I because I have read their words, do know better than you.

                  "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                  by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:18:01 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  and yet you argue against intervention in Syria... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    poligirl

                    despite the fact that--in your view--a moral Rubicon has been crossed.

                    I'll tell you this: I do have moral lines that nothing will induce me to cross. If some monstrous nation or "terrorist" EVER unleashes weaponized smallpox on humanity, I will fully support the most overwhelming American and international response imaginable...

                    short of crossing that same line ourselves.

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

                    by PhilJD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:34:56 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  My opposition. Is simple (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      MBNYC

                      We will make it worse, not better.  If we could make it better, I would support intervention.  But we can't.

                      For the most part, we cannot make it better because of the conditions on e ground in Syria.  To a smaller extent, we cannot make it better because we, as Americans have stopped caring about the Geneva conventions, about what is right, about the few laws of war that actually exist.

                      While the active conduct of war crimes by Bush and Co is far worse...the moral failure of progressives to recognize and champion the Geneva Protocal on chemical weapons is also part of the problem.

                      We are a nation that has decided that it is above the Geneva Convention, that we can selectively read it and decide when it is, or is not applicable, or right.

                      The Geneva convention does not demand that we invade Syria, but at a minimum, I would really like for progressives to stop downplaying just about the only anti-war, anti-brutality international agreement ever made.  

                      The WORLD agreed that chemical weapons were a particular evil--and Kos and a bunch of progressive coach jockies on DKos have decided that, really, it isn't any worse than any kind of war.

                      I don't mean to be rude, but I will be.

                      Where the fuck do you get off?  Where the fuck do you get the balls to tell the world...well actually death is death, and if we look at is philosophically, there is nothing worse than be killed by a bullet or by Sarin.  

                      In a world where war is epidemic, where peace is rare...you want to philosophically object to the one fucking thing the world has agreed is beyond redemption and should be held particularly evil.

                      On what planet is that a progressive, anti-war argument?

                      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                      by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:50:50 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  They only banned their use against (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Johnny Q

                each other.

                They still stockpiled them.  It was MAD.  Use them on us, we'll use them on you.

                Use them in your colonial possessions, well, shit, that's your business.

                1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

                by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:36:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  But we did learn rather a lot (0+ / 0-)

        about the value of good gas masks. My grandson has two - right about $20 apiece - from BudK or Army Surplus, with both Israeli and UN filters. One Israeli civilian model (not so bulky), one Czech military model (big, but bad). Plus an old military surplus one I got years ago for working with celastic (acetone) on some puppets. It doesn't seal so well anymore. The two new ones came with nifty carrying packs, in case we happen to encounter tear gas at a peaceful demonstration against the NC Repukes busy abrogating our rights as fast as they possibly can. Because the local pigs are indeed known to deploy chemical weapons against peaceful men, women and children using the flimsiest excuses they can come up with...

        "Moral."

        Anyway, I recall endless fluff pieces on the cable news in the lead-ups to both Iraq wars about civilians stocking gas masks and filters and how they learned to don them properly in 30 seconds flat in household evening lessons, where they attached to kids' backpacks for taking to school. Because "everybody knew" Saddam had chemical weapons and wasn't shy of using them.

        Did the Syrian/Lebanese public somehow manage to opt out of all this war-prep since the early 1990s? With all the various nasty rebel groups and Assad visiting indiscriminate death to identified 'enemies', 'others' and each other over all these months and years, they didn't bone up on the protocol or buy any new filters?

        I don't know. I do know that this seems awfully convenient, and I don't like the alignments here one bit. Send in the drones and cruise missiles, kill ten or twenty times as many innocent civilians (a gas mask won't help if the building falls on your head), and pretend that's somehow...

        "Moral."

        •  I oppose intervention (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MBNYC, Ronald England

          But I do not need to minimize the hell of chemical weapons to do so.

          Obviously, we need to confirm that it was Assad who did it before invading, even if we were to invade, which I oppose.

          But there is one difference between now and the beginning of the guld war.  Unless you think Doctor's Without Borders is lying...chemical weapons were used against civilians in Syria...recently.

          Yes, Iraq used chemical weapons in 88, but the justification for the gulf war was that he had them in 2002, and WAS going to use them, not that he had already used them.

          In Syria, chemical weans have been used, that is not in debate.  That is a profound difference than in the lead up to Iraq.  

          I oppose intervention, and I have no doubt that the MIC will use the fear of chemical weapons for their own purposes.  But they were used, most likely by Assad (that must be confirmed).  That is different.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:00:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I have a vague memory of disagreeing with you.... (4+ / 0-)

        on something.  I definitely don't here.  The false equivalencies and the "we did bad things so we can't condemn this bad thing" arguments from so many here are painful to read.  Yes we should wait for the investigation, and yes we should think of a series of ways short of boots on the ground intervention....but tolerate chem weapons?  For fuck's sake.

        To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

        by joesig on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:33:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I honestly don't understand (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ronald England, MBNYC, offgrid, joesig

          How any progressive, any human for that matter, can treat chemical weapons as just another sort of death.

          I'm not sure what disagreements we've had in the past...but there is no way views on chemical weapons should have fuck all to do with rox/six, primary wars, or anything else.

          This shouldn't be complicated.

          In thinking about this, I think it is similar to the idiots who choose not vaccinate their children.  Having never experienced polio or measles, they forget the horror of them, and forget the lessons of history.

          It seems to many people have forgotten the lessons of WWI.  That as hellish as war is, there are some things even worse.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:40:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Only...many of them argued that such bans (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q

        only applied to their use against "Civilized Nations".

        The British may have used them in Iraq - they certainly were deployed there for that purpose.  There is doubt as to whether they were used.

        We should all know what Italy did to Ethiopia - and that Italy was not sanctioned at all by any European neighbor for doing it.

        1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

        by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:34:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Somewhat inclined to agree with both of you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC, worldlotus

      Kos is kinda right, but so are you MBNYC. It is a sad row we till when we plant the seeds of war, is it not?

      Regulate banks, not vaginas

      by MinistryOfTruth on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:43:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Honestly? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, Dr Swig Mcjigger

        Almost any war is morally indefensible, unless fought in defense.

        But are there things even more morally corrupt? Are these weapons on that level of depravity? If so, what do we do about it?

        Like Meteor Blades said yesterday, there are no good options.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:52:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Never bomb the night watchmen and janitors (0+ / 0-)

          Bomb only the people in command who permitted and authorized the war on the Syrian citizens no matter if it is by use of chemical attacks or AK-47 or Artillery shell.

          That is Kos point, the Syrian government has been killing their own citizens and it does not matter to the dead how they died. It only matters to the living how those people were murdered and how or what we as human beings will hold the Syrian government accountable or not.

          There is no up side of Chemical, Biological, or Nuclear weapons use. The dead are dead.

          War is horrible, but sometimes you must kill the evil to save the rest of humanity.

        •  Since a war requires an aggressor (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q, MBNYC

          there has never been a moral war. However, it may in some cases be moral to involve one's country in a war.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:54:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The use of cluster bombs is barbaric (11+ / 0-)

      and we're selling $600M worth of them to Saudi Arabia.

      Over half the world has banned them but not us. And why should we? Hell, selling them around the world is one of our most profitable businesses.

      The Human Rights Watch page on cluster bombs puts it this way:

      [Cluster munitions] pose an immediate threat during conflict by randomly scattering thousands of submunitions or "bomblets" over a vast area, and they continue to take even more civilian lives and limbs long after a conflict has ended, as hundreds of submunitions may fail to explode upon impact, littering the landscape with landmine-like "duds.


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

      by Jim P on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:00:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So is the use of white phosphorus (6+ / 0-)

      So is the use of fire bombing.

      So is a gun.

      So is starving people.

      So are bombs.

      Even without chemical weapons massacres happen.

      We're willing to kill over a war crime and yet we can't be bothered to arrest the people who committed them.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:04:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do get the argument that a gun can be (0+ / 0-)

        used in a fashion that will pretty reliably avoid civilian deaths, if the person using it has been taught to value human life.

        The rest?  Not so much.

        1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

        by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:38:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  exactly right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC, IreGyre, progreen

      chemical weapons are not about the means of causing death. they are about the order of magnitude their use represents. if their use becomes commonplace, the level of escalation they can cause, especially in that part of the world, represents an exponential increase in the risk of wider conflict.

      there is a reason those weapons were not used in WW2, even though that war featured total conventional war on civilian populations. all sides knew that they were vulnerable to retaliation and wanted no part of crossing that threshold.

    •  it's not about "death"; it's about the rule of law (8+ / 0-)

      or the lack of it.

      International law must be enforced. International law makes the world a better place, and the lack of international law (or the failure to enforce it) makes the world a worse place.

      But to allow the US to self-annoint itself as the world's police force, is just as bad. Not only has the US itself ignored international law for 75 years (and refused to accept the jurisdiction of the World Court), but we have ALWAYS clamored for enforcement of international law against nations we don't like, while thwarting attempts to apply international law to nations we DO like.  To allow us to turn international law into politics, makes the world a worse place. It just gives a legal figleaf to superpower imperialism.

      That is why any attempts to enforce international law MUST be international, either from the UN or NATO.

      The American fox simply cannot be allowed to police the global henhouse.

    •  Kos is quoting Haber... (5+ / 0-)

      ...the guy who invented chemical weapons.  "Death is death, no matter how it is inflicted."  Not a great beginning to any discussion, quoting the guy who not only invented it, but supervised its first use.

      There are other ways besides bombs.

      Find out who used it, who ordered it, and put their names on a list of people to be tried for war crimes.   It might be "justice delayed," but that's better than blowing up people who did not give the orders, who did not participate. The bombs will only kill ordinary soldiers, they won't be able to reach those responsible.

      Mark down the guilty and remember them for a future judgment.

      Besides, the Syrian civil war is taking on aspects of a religious war.  It's already spread to Lebanon.  Egyptian clerics have called for a jihad against the Syrian regime.  Do we really want to pick sides in a religious war?  That's what we'll be doing if we bomb Syria.  We should be trying to isolate the violence, restrict it, not add to it.  Smashing things up is the perfect way to aggravate the situation.

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

      by rbird on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:34:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  WMD Threaten Us (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC

      Also, chemical weapons are a bigger threat to US residents than other weapons and wars in foreign countries. Banning types of weapons is another way to manage war prevention that is not manageable in banning conventional warfare.

      Yes, wars without WMD are also threats to US residents, as Afghanistan's neverending wars (featuring the one started by the US, in which our CIA created the Qaeda) amply demonstrated in 2001. And economically most US residents are harmed by any war in our global economy (though the 1% comes out ahead from wars, or we wouldn't have them). And of course all wars are morally wrong, which hurts everyone when any human is hurt by them.

      But WMDs are all that, and even worse. And are a kind of war that at least we sometimes do something to stop. Which is better than shrugging it off as business as usual.

      Markos is plain wrong here. It's one of the worst false equivalencies I've seen on this site. He was wrong about a false choice between ending NSA violations and ending stop and frisk, too. Honestly, he's sounding like his younger Republican self.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:17:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So are cluster munitions. So are land mines. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnny Q

      So is a rain of white phosphorus.

      Now, to be fair, the rest of the world has conventions banning these - but we refuse to sign them.

      1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

      by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:28:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  special ops team????? (0+ / 0-)

      This is the problem with action movies and games... people think they're reality.

      Do you know what special forces does for the most part?
      Things like calling in drone strikes, training local "US Friendly" forces, setting bombs.......

      A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

      by cdreid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:28:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The money quote: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC
      The real question is whether our involvement in Syria is worth the risk in lives and chaos it's like to entail. I think not.
      I actually agree more with kos on the point he was making, but recced you for putting the situation into the right perspective.

      If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

      by MikePhoenix on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:49:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's Horseshit! (0+ / 0-)
      As MrBigDaddy wrote yesterday, "but phosphorus
      and deplete[d] Uranium rounds are OK?  Here is the thing, war is madness.

      You cant civilize it. Its madness."

      The distinction between dead by chemical weapons and dead by more conventional weapons isn't clear.  That line is obliterated when it comes to nuclear weapons.

      If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

      by stewarjt on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:15:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It just seems worse because we can't see: (0+ / 0-)

      the mangled limbs, the eyes gone, the heads blown off.  

       if you look at war statistics you will see most of the killing  is indiscriminate:   The foot soldiers who die thinking they are patriots, the mothers, the children, the dogs, the journalists, the doctors and nurses.  Most indiscriminately killed by drones,  bombs, guns or by other "patriots" .  

      Dollarocracy is not Democracy

      by leema on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:34:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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

      Suggesting that because the end is the same the means (process) is irrelevant is, IMHO, a ridiculous over-simplification and shit-poor rhetoric.

      By the same token I could equate twisting arms verses water-boarding, and I wonder is Markos would really walk down that slippery slope with John Woo.

      I could go on and on, but I will leave it at this:

      War is hell. War is cruel. War kills innocents. But there is a difference between rocks, bullets, poison gas, bombs and nuclear weapons, and if we are going to dismiss these distinctions, I'm wondering what is expected when people who think war is an easily justifiable act and means to an end get ahold of that logic.

  •  ... (25+ / 0-)

    "The enemy," resorted Yossarian
    with weighted precision, "is
    anybody who's going to get you
    killed, no matter which side he's
    on, and that includes Colonel
    Cathcart. And don't you forget
    that, because the longer you
    remember it, the longer you might
    live."

    Help me to be the best Wavy Gravy I can muster

    by BOHICA on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:58:02 AM PDT

  •  I don't know, Markos. (47+ / 0-)

    I think there might be some value in the sense of taboo around certain types of killing.  I get what you're saying -- there's a pretty flimsy separation between acceptable  and unacceptable practices in war.  But I rather like that there's a feeling of disgust that attaches to chemical weapons, nukes, etc.  Maybe we need to work on expanding that disgust to the rest of it?

    The fact that something horrible is seized upon by the neocons doesn't mean it isn't horrible.  Just means they're opportunistic shitheads.

    •  The treaty makes it a war crime to use chemical (11+ / 0-)

      weapons but all the other war crimes not prosecuted (some of ours and some of others) kind of diminishes the moral authority to determine which war crime shall be a bright red line and which are not. You are right Bindle, they are all disgusting.  

      Tea Baggers Unite and follow that lemming.

      by OHdog on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:28:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  that similarity is from the POV (5+ / 0-)

      of a single casualty.
      Certainly inarguable, actually. Dead is dead.
      all the same to the victim. And as far as presenting that actuality, kos is spot on.
      But that isn't the only POV that matters here.
      Chem weapons are placed in a separate category because they are mass killers by design.
      There is no point in gassing an individual target (victim, casualty, etc).

      These weapons, like nukes, are deployed when indiscriminate killing of the maximum number of people is the desired outcome.
      This is fundamentally more monstrous than disregard for the innocents killed in a drone strike or firefight. BOTH are monstrous acts, but in the former, the goal is the same as for terrorists; kill as many as possible, no regard for soldier vs civilian. In the latter, each individual is just as dead, but they were not deliberately targeted en masse, like they are with chem or nuclear weapons.
      Bottom line, 100000 at least dead already, by a smorgasbord of horrific means, all because Assad is a monster. Many, many more to come. Syria will never be a US ally. Israel will feel no safer. Iran will do what it does for its own reasons. Oil prices will go up. The Syrian people will continue to suffer.
      One great big multidimensional pile of suck.

      Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985 - Harper's Index, 2/2013

      by kamarvt on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:40:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Kubrick's film delved into this over 50 years ago (15+ / 0-)

      From the 1957 anti-war masterpiece, Paths of Glory:

      Soldier 1: I'm not afraid of dying tomorrow, only of getting killed.
      Soldier 2: That's as clear as mud.
      Soldier 1: Well, which would you rather be done in by: a bayonet or a machine gun?
      Soldier 2: Oh, a machine gun, naturally.
      Soldier 1: Naturally, that's just my point. They're both pieces of steel ripping into your guts, only the machine gun is quicker, cleaner, and less painful, isn't it?
      Soldier 2: Yeah, but what does that prove?
      Soldier 1: That proves that most of us are more afraid of getting hurt than of getting killed. Look at Bernard. He panics when it comes to gas. Gas doesn't bother me a bit. He's seen photos of gas cases. Doesn't mean anything to me. But I'll tell you something though, I'd hate like the devil to be without my tin hat. But on the other hand I don't mind not having a tin hat for my tail. Why is that?
      Soldier 2: You're darn tootin', because...
      Soldier 1: Because I know a wound to the head would hurt much more than one to the tail. The tail is just meat but the head- ah, the head is all bone.
      Soldier 2: That's...
      Soldier 1: Tell me this. Aside from the bayonet, what are you most afraid of?
      Soldier 2: High explosives.
      Soldier 1: Exactly, and it's the same with me, because, because I know that it can chew you up worse than anything else. Look, just like I'm trying to tell you, if you're really afraid of dying you'd be living in a funk all the rest of your life because you know you've got to go someday, anyday. And besides...
      Soldier 2: Yes?
      Soldier 1: If it's death that you're really afraid of why should you care about what it is that kills you?
      Soldier 2: Oh, you're too smart for me, Professor. All I know is, nobody wants to die.

      "He's the President of the United States. He is not the Asshole Whisperer." - MinistryOfTruth

      by dannyinla on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:50:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I like this... (4+ / 0-)

      ... sentence:

      Maybe we need to work on expanding that disgust to the rest of it?
      Reminds me of the argument about union wages and benefits. People shouldn't be outraged about others making more and getting benefits, they should instead ask "Why can't we all get those benefits?"
  •  Are you suggestiong... (11+ / 0-)

    ...by this quote:

    War is nasty business, and combatants will find the most efficient way to kill the enemy while minimizing the damage done to its own troops. Heck, military planners would be committing occupational malpractice if they didn't seek ways to do that -- kill the most enemy without suffering casualties of their own.
    that the use of gas is somehow legitimate?  I have to be misreading that.

    Look, I see the point you're trying to make.  But it seems to me that the use of gas makes it more likely that people will die in conflicts precisely because those who use it would be less likely to suffer casualties of their own.  Maybe if they had to be more personally involved they'd be a lot less willing to start conflicts in the first place.

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:59:38 AM PDT

    •  if the choice is to lose a war (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Farugia

      because you don't use all the means at your disposal, meaning that your cities will be sacked, your women gang raped, your children murdered, your freedom and your future taken from you.

      Or to win a war with WMDs...

      I choose option B.

      •  Hell of a defense of the Assad regime... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DEMonrat ankle biter

        ...but at least you're honest about it.

        (Er, what scenario were you actually referring to?)

        The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

        by TheOrchid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:22:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No actual case (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos, MBNYC

          but Nanking was on my mind when thinking of the horrors that can follow occupation.

          If you're going to fight a war; WIN IT. win it in the way that minimizes your loss of lives and treasure.

          I've always hated WWI for the endless pointless slaughter of tens of thousand to gain 65 yards of ground.

          Of course the flipside is that if you use them, then the other side gets to too...if they can get them.

      •  Not even the Nazis used gas (0+ / 0-)

        Not even in their most desperate hour did the Nazis use chemical weapons.  The reason why is because if they had, it would not have prevented them from losing but it would have caused the allies to retaliate in kind.  The result would be many hundreds of thousands to millions more casualties with no effect on the outcome of the war.

        That's the flaw in your logic.  It isn't a choice between losing a war and using WMDs.  It is a choice between losing the war with greater or fewer casualties.

        "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

        by Quanta on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:40:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  WTF? Nazi's built gas chambers (14+ / 0-)

          and slaughtered millions.

          -You want to change the system, run for office.

          by Deep Texan on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:46:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I believe Quanta is referring to battle? n/t (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MGross, TheOrchid, Johnny Q

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:39:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Extermination was a battle (0+ / 0-)

              They fought against the Nazi's repeatedly and many died before they made it to the gas chambers.

              -You want to change the system, run for office.

              by Deep Texan on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:42:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  metaphors are fun. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm not talking in metaphors.

                Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                by corvo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:01:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  the war had a purpose (0+ / 0-)

                  the battle was against jews.

                  the weapon of choice was chemical weapons. it was cheaper and faster.

                  to say the Nazi's didn't use chemical weapons is to stand along side holocaust deniers.

                  -You want to change the system, run for office.

                  by Deep Texan on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:08:05 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Now you're just being obtuse. (4+ / 0-)

                    Of course the Nazis (note correct spelling) used Zyklon B and other chemical agents as part of its extermination campaign against Jews.

                    They did not use it as part of military operations against the armed forces of enemy states, i.e., "on the battlefield."

                    You can take your sleazy "holocaust denier" accusation and file it in an appropriate orifice.

                    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                    by corvo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:13:22 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Um, hopefully, you have not forgotten the gassing (7+ / 0-)

          of millions of Jews, handicapped, mentally ill, Soviet prisoners, Catholics,  etc. etc.?  The Nazis most definitely used gas to annihilate and perpetrate the genocide of millions.

          I see chemical warfare on par with the gassing of citizens by an evil regime.  

          Having said that, I fear it will be a mistake to intervene in Syria, and yet is it not true that the U.S. waited too long to intervene once there was found with early evidence and final proof that the Nazis were, in fact, gassing people?

          I am very conflicted.  

          I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

          by KayCeSF on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:54:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan, KayCeSF
            I am very conflicted
            can say that again.

            It may end up that we'll have to let this all play out in Syria on its own, hope future deterrence comes in the form of the UN getting their hands on Assad afterwards and trying him at The Hague.  I certainly don't know how the use of chemical weapons again all international treaties can be ignored, though.  But I'm not suggesting military strikes are necessarily the best way to do it.

            Conflicted.

        •  had the Nazi's (3+ / 0-)

          developed Nukes first would they have used them to try to win the war?

          The difference being that chemicals in that case just weren't a game changer.

          Likewise the Japanese invented kamikazes to try to avoid defeat. Not a WMD of course, just an example of the weapons that will be developed to try to save the nation.

          They tried banning submarines attacking merchant shipping too. That didn't quite work out.

        •  I suspect that the mechanized nature of (0+ / 0-)

          WWII would make the deployment of gas weapons less useful in the field than it was in the static trench warfare of WWI. I'll let a WWII historian take a crack at that one though.

          "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

          by McWaffle on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:51:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Riiiiight. And, of course, one can always SAY... (5+ / 0-)

        ...that all those horrors will happen unless WMDs are used, so they are ALWAYS perfectly justifiable.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:53:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Churchill had gas and planned to use it. (6+ / 0-)

      Phosgene and mustard gas were stockpiled by the British and they had the plans in place to use them should the Germans invade.

      Later, he stockpiled even more and planned to respond with it should the Germans resort to gas during D-Day.

      Libertarianism is just Fascism with a facelift. Scratch the surface of Libertarianism and you will find the notion that corporations should rule supreme, just as it was with Fascism..

      by Walt starr on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:23:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  couldn't agree more (20+ / 0-)

    on the first point.  

    However, my opposition to drones isn't the methodology.  It's the fact that we are bombing several countries with them right now that we have not declared war on.  And then, like with Yemen, we are surprised that there might be some people in those countries who hate the US.  

    It has made it easier to expand the killing without taking responsibility for it.  This leads to more war.  

  •  Millions of civilians were gassed in WWII (8+ / 0-)

    It does matter.

    •  and the perpetrators (6+ / 0-)

      were held to account at the end of the war. Banning something doesn't mean that it will never happen. Only that there are consequences.

      If banning something was sufficient who'd need courts?

      47 is the new 51!

      by nickrud on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:20:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, the consequences are for losing the war (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KJG52, greenbell, Kevskos, corvo, MBNYC, Johnny Q

        Exhibit 1: Dresden
        Exhibit 2: Nagasaki
        Exhibit 3: Most of the land battles on Pacific islands, which involved white phosphorus and flame throwers, among other horrors.

        Even if the Nazis hadn't slaughtered millions of citizens they would have been tried for war crimes. Even if we hadn't forced the issue the Russians were underrstandably furious over the entirely "conventional" destruction that the Germans visited on their country and would have pushed for war crime trials on that basis alone.

        If the actions themselves actually mattered there would be far more war crimes trials. The fact that any leader who didn't get completely defeated isn't going to submit to war crime trials means that you have to lose for your actions to matter.

    •  Do you have a link for this? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DEMonrat ankle biter

      Asking purely for informational purposes.

      The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

      by TheOrchid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:23:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  Geez, embarrassed I missed that reference. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheHalfrican, Bush Bites, pgm 01, MBNYC

          I was thinking militarily, on the battlefield.  But yes, the Nazis gassed millions.  And in its way, that was more horrific that the millions they killed with shells or bullets.

          The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

          by TheOrchid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:07:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  heck they probably (0+ / 0-)

            intentionally killed millions via mass starvation in the East as part of the 'Hunger Plan".

            can we ban that too?

            •  Sure, why not? (0+ / 0-)

              But to the extent you're asking the question merely as an argumentative foil, it sounds as if you're still OK with the use of gas.  I would have thought your own reference to the Holocaust would have been enough argument agsint its use.

              The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

              by TheOrchid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:15:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  there's that saying (0+ / 0-)

                alls fair in love and war. If you're in a war don't lose.

                It's quite possible that more Jews were shot during the holocaust than gassed. I object to the genocide of the population, then means of the genocide are but a detail.

                the distintion is between war and ethnic extermination.

                what'd the guy say in the movie...

                RULES? In a knife fight?

            •  Not "probably". (0+ / 0-)

              That was absolutely the plan and one reason among many that the USSR had twenty million fatalities, and the Poles lost IIRC a third of their population.

              Still, even degenerates like the Nazis didn't use chemical weapons in combat. Because they were afraid of what would happen if they crossed that line.

              Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

              by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:36:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  It was military and on the battlefield . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TheOrchid

            They used their military to do it ,
            and they made all of the land a battlefield .

            They broke the rules of war in many different ways
            when they did the holocaust .
            1) They killed civilians by plan .
            2) They killed via poison .
            3) They killed those who were in their control .
            4) They refused to report the deaths .
            5) Red cross was excluded .
            6) Genocide .

            ....................
            The thing that confused you was ,
            you were thinking of war not war crimes ,
            you were thinking of the Germans doing a gassing on the battlefield .
            You could not recall that happening .

            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

            by indycam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:21:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Nazi death camps . No link needed . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheOrchid, Radiowalla

        "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

        by indycam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:40:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  let's not forget (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo
    We're seeing it with the neocons and administration officials
    we're seeing it from the President of the United States, the Commander in Chief.
    So to pretend that a line has been crossed and that this kind of murder is somehow worse than that other kind of murder is bizarre.
    A game changing red line i believe it was described as.
  •  Of for fuck's sake (28+ / 0-)

    Not content w/o spouting the tired dishonest anti-left talking point that concern of surveillance = white privilege, you're now spouting the dishonest tired anti-left talking point that opponents of drone warfare are obsessed over the instrument of death.

    Could you point to a single person who has claimed that claim that killing w/drone is worse than other forms of killing?

    We -- opponents of war -- focus on drones because the government -- not us -- has made them the primary killing tool.

  •  Just like the victim of a gun crime (5+ / 0-)

    doesn't care whether he was shot with a revolver or an assault rifle.

    Right, Kos?

    Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

    by NMDad on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:06:04 AM PDT

  •  What gets me is the fact (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MBNYC, OHdog, Kevskos, wu ming

    Assad using chemical weapons on his own people started over a year ago.

  •  White privilege problem nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Dead Man, corvo, cardboardurinal
  •  I agree, and that doesn't even ... (12+ / 0-)

    get into the question of what we would be trying to accomplish. I haven't seen any proponents of action articulate reasonable goals for our military intervention.

    We'd get plenty of blame for the deaths we cause, but what will we point to as the accomplishment that makes it all worthwhile?

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:07:41 AM PDT

  •  Certainly no worse than uranium bullets (9+ / 0-)

    And we consider those the bees-knees...

    It really has nothing to do with the gas being more morally offensive. It's shunned because it is a relatively cheap method to kill a lot of people and countries that spend billions on weapons can't have that. So shun it. You get to be both morally and militarily superior. Win-win for the rich guys.

    •  Yes. That is exactly why Nixon wanted the treaty (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dannyinla, corvo, worldlotus

      banning biological weapons. Little guys can do it and its hard for big guys to defend against.

      Tea Baggers Unite and follow that lemming.

      by OHdog on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:33:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is hard for civilians to defend against (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kevskos, OHdog

        Professional soldiers are generally well trained to resist chemical attacks, or at least to about the same degree that they can resist any sort of attacks.

        After the first year of chemical warfare in WWI, the troops learned how to deal with the attacks. In fact, the people deploying the chemicals did so not so much to cause direct casualties but to slow down the opposing forces, who had to take time to don protective gear, and were less effective due to reduced visiblity and mobility. Plus, to repeat a point from above, gas didn't destroy the ground the way high explosives did, making it easier to advance across newly occupied territory.

        Civilians are much more vulnerable because they have no equipment or training, and in many cases the attack cannot be detected until it is too late to flee.

  •  opposition to droning isn't about delivery method (13+ / 0-)

    but the death aspect of surrounding possible innocents, the death in nations of undeclared wars, and the death of citizens without due process or oversight, or even a check or balance.

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

    by greenbastard on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:09:04 AM PDT

    •  Those concerns are relevant in any kind of killing (0+ / 0-)

      so I don't see how that's special about drones.

      The priest said, "Today's sermon is called 'Liars', but first I have a question. How many of you have read Chapter 66 in Matthew?" Nearly every hand went up. "You're just the group I need to speak to," the priest said. "There's no such chapter."

      by Back In Blue on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:28:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is not... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbastard, Johnny Q, JesseCW

        the argument being made.  Drones just happen to be the method used by this administration.

        "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

        by cardboardurinal on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:13:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm responding to greenbastards statement: (0+ / 0-)
          opposition to droning isn't about delivery method but the death aspect of surrounding possible innocents, the death in nations of undeclared wars, and the death of citizens without due process or oversight, or even a check or balance.
          So what are you talking about?

          The priest said, "Today's sermon is called 'Liars', but first I have a question. How many of you have read Chapter 66 in Matthew?" Nearly every hand went up. "You're just the group I need to speak to," the priest said. "There's no such chapter."

          by Back In Blue on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:41:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  the proof for this Syrian strike seems questionabl (6+ / 0-)

    e at best

    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/...

    Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services,
    But the intercept raises questions about culpability for the chemical massacre, even as it answers others: Was the attack on Aug. 21 the work of a Syrian officer overstepping his bounds? Or was the strike explicitly directed by senior members of the Assad regime? "It's unclear where control lies," one U.S. intelligence official told The Cable. "Is there just some sort of general blessing to use these things? Or are there explicit orders for each attack?"
    Nor are U.S. analysts sure of the Syrian military's rationale for launching the strike -- if it had a rationale at all. Perhaps it was a lone general putting a long-standing battle plan in motion; perhaps it was a miscalculation by the Assad government. Whatever the reason, the attack has triggered worldwide outrage, and put the Obama administration on the brink of launching a strike of its own in Syria. "We don't know exactly why it happened," the intelligence official added. "We just know it was pretty fucking stupid."

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

    by greenbastard on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:11:26 AM PDT

  •  Strange to hear alot of progressives (11+ / 0-)

    make the argument the since war is barbaric putting any limits on it is arbitrary and futile.

    •  That's not the argument (14+ / 0-)

      The point is there is no Marquess of Queensbury in war, in that the central tactic is in fact killing.

    •  I'm not objecting to international limits (11+ / 0-)

      but then why isn't the United States complying with international agreements itself and why isn't it taking this problem to the UN Security Council where it belongs.

      If this is a problem because it violates an international conventions, then you strengthen that convention by taking the violation to the international community.  

    •  It is rather sad. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doroma, Dr Swig Mcjigger, NYFM, trillian

      The issue is people who oppose getting involved in another war are latching on to any argument they can to undermine the justification for getting involved without really considering if they agree with that argument.

      Personally, I'm rather torn about what we should do.  I'm sick of war but at the same time I cannot deny the fact that chemical warfare is vile on a level beyond conventional warfare.

      "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

      by Quanta on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:49:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But why do you think that? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, schnecke21

        My suspicion is that chemical warfare seems more vile only because of the lack of face-to-face contact with the enemy, and the difficulty of either defending yourself or launching a matching counter-attack.

        However, all of this is pretty much moot in a modern war. Being killed by a missile or airplane that you never even see before you are killed, or by a gunship so far above you that you have no way to fight back without high-tech anti-aircraft missiles, or by a plain old cannon that can lob 155mm shells over the horizon with astounding accuracy and rate of fire, is just as horrible as being gassed.

        I also don't buy the indiscriminate nature of the killing as the real objection, since we've had the ability to kill tens of thousands of people pretty much all at once with simple explosives for at least 100 years. The issue with more conventional weapons is that they are much more expensive to manufacture and deploy, and harder to deliver to a remote target, than are chemical weapons.

        Thus, as Americans who have not fought a war on our own soil against a foreign invader since 1812, that seems pretty scary. On the other hand, if your options are to be killed in any of a number of ways in the streets of Syria (or the London Blitz), I don't think it changes your level of dread to know that it's a chemical weapon vs. a chunk of metal.

        I am opposed to all forms of unnecessary killing. I think we should plan to defend our own country, which in some cases means that we need to defend foreign countries so that the attacker isn't able to get to us later. I see no reason that we should pick a side in a war between multiple unpleasant sides just because innocent civilians are being killed. The only thing we can do is to add to the killing, and I can state with 100% certainty that if we start killing people some of them will be Syrian civilians.

        I could get behind a target attack on the leaders of Syria if we had a reasonable chance of success, but even then it's not clear what we expect to happen afterwards. Without a plan, and the time/energy/money to see it through, I don't think we need to get involved in every atrocity that comes along.

      •  maybe, but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, JesseCW

        the fact that some chemical attacks on civilian populations (e.g., nerve gas) are decried while others (e.g., Willie Pete) are dismissed on the basis of a literalist reading of a generations-old agreement ought to give you pause, oughtn't it?

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:55:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Exactly. Well said. nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, chuckvw, Betty Pinson
    •  wow, are you sure? Well said? Or Badly thought? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DocGonzo, AntonBursch

      it shows that Markos hasn't served in war under threat of chemical weapon attacks as many have in the beginning of the Iraq war and were forced in and out of their chemical suits several times a day.

      I can't help it... Markos tries hard to find for his own consciousness a solution to conflicts that don't fit into his theoretical mindset.

      Most people care very much for HOW they die.

      Jesus, have to stop reading here. Makes me so angry.

      Civil Men Are For Civil Rights

      by mimi on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:50:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd rather be angry. It's just (0+ / 0-)

        so terribly, horribly sad, if my country again goes to war without the UN, and without any idea of what happens next.  I'm so sad about this.  And some people don't understand why so much of the world doesn't look up to us?

        The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

        by DSPS owl on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 04:11:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's true that death is death, but... (11+ / 0-)

    war is supposed to be regulated by international norms and laws. (The key word here, is supposed to be, it often isn't).

    The Geneva Conventions and other legal treaties state that an attack on civilians is a violation of international law.

    Furthermore, there is an international treaty banning the use of chemical weapons.

    Yet as my link states, cluster bombs and napalm fuel-air explosives are just as dangerous and deadly as poison gas yet not illegal.

    Yes death is death. Unfortunately some mechanisms of death are still legal and usable. And therein lies the tragedy of human existence...as long as there are men, there will always be war. I would want nothing more than my future children to never have to see a war in their lifetimes. But I am drawn to believe that my wish is just a wish.

    •  There is also an international organization-the UN (11+ / 0-)

      Take the issue to the UN.

    •  And there is an international law against torture (14+ / 0-)

      but we are just fine violating it. I'm not saying that two wrongs make a right, but let's have some honesty about why we are going to bomb Syria. And it ain't because we are such fine upholders of international law or treaties. And it ain't because we care about the Syrian dead, because they have been dying and we did nothing. And it ain't about Syrian children, because there are a million of them without food, or adequate clothing, or a place to live, or education, or a real future or PARENTS.

      I'm tired of moral authority being trotted out as a reason to justify bombing another goddamn country. There is nothing remotely moral about our "humanitarian bombing" of Syria.

      The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

      by CenPhx on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:16:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish I could rec this comment more than once (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, DSPS owl

        We do bomb men, women and children, weddings, funerals, social gatherings in several Countries that we have no declaration of war against.
        We say we passed a law making  Drone bombing people in other Countries legal but with that mindset why can't any enemy Country pass a similar law making it legal for them to Drone bomb us?

        We support dictators, and keep setting new arms sales records to oppressive governments like Saudi Arabia while we kill innocent civilians and keep the anger against this Country as hot as possible. Yes perpetual war means perpetual profits for the MIC and money for the owned people in elected offices of this Country.

        Force feeding prisoner(GITMO) ,like the few examples I cited all happen to be violations of law, domestic and international but it's the old 'it's ok if we do it' mentality. Geez what a curse we are upon this world right now that we don't have a countervailing force to keep us in check.

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:46:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There's an international treaty banning marijuana. (0+ / 0-)

      So- this treaty we like, so we should follow- but that treaty we don't, so we should ignore?

      International treaties don't seem very important to a lot of folk around here.

  •  Mutually Assured Destruction only works (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, Joieau, worldlotus, DSPS owl

    when both sides are assured of no destruction if they act.

    I am certain the Assad regime has wargamed US intervention numerous times and given that US intervention means assured destruction of the Assad regime, the most likely reaction I see is a single massive missile attack aimed at Israel with chemical weapon warheads. If the Assad regime is assured of destruction, they will want to take Israel with them.

    And I am certain that Israel has wargamed a chemical attack by the Assad regime numerous times, and I am further certain the solution in the wargaming is to respond with a nuclear attack.

    Tell me where that leads?

    Libertarianism is just Fascism with a facelift. Scratch the surface of Libertarianism and you will find the notion that corporations should rule supreme, just as it was with Fascism..

    by Walt starr on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:17:52 AM PDT

  •  Just waiting for someone to accuse kos of (8+ / 0-)

    being "libertarian."

    That seems to be the new label that certain people here want to stick to those opposed to the impending cruise missile campaign on Syria.

    "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." - James Madison, 1822

    by Superskepticalman on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:18:13 AM PDT

  •  This diary echoes in many ways (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, historys mysteries

    what Josh Levs posted this morning on CNN (currently on their front page).  I think I like the way he phrased the problem, presenting both sides of the argument (i.e. that the introduction of chemical weapons is decisively different as an act of war).  Take a look if you haven't already.

  •  um... (11+ / 0-)

    sure dead is dead, but we don't have the laws of war to protect the dead or even to avenge them.  they are to protect the living from monsters by providing the monsters with a reason not to perform monstrous acts.

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:20:12 AM PDT

  •  Are we at war with Yemen? Syria? Pakistan? (4+ / 0-)

    No. None of them.

  •  sorry, but disagree since end of WW I & Geneva (19+ / 0-)

    protocols  1929

    the world has agreed due to experience of WW i use of chemical agents that chemical agents are FORBIDDEN (especially against one's own people)

    as my grandmother was just telling us the other day, her grandfather told her the stories of the poor boys on both sides killed or damaged by all the chemical weapons used in WW I and how horrible they were

    I respect your former service in the military Kos , but you (nor I ) lived through the chemical weapons horror of WW I

    there is a difference.  Humanity lies, cheats , steals, and we kill each other viciously but our ancestors were wise enough after WW I to draw a line and say that chemical weapons = NEVER AGAIN

    •  Good point. (6+ / 0-)

      Those who witnessed chemical attacks up close saw the post-WWI ban as a no-brainer. It's when we get so far removed from that horror, that we somehow find this ban as a point of debate.

      "He's the President of the United States. He is not the Asshole Whisperer." - MinistryOfTruth

      by dannyinla on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:27:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  After the Geneva Conventions (5+ / 0-)

        were rendered "quaint' by Donald Rumsfeld, seems to me the rules of engagement may have changed in at least some people's minds.

        “The universe implodes. No matter.” -Liam Williams

        by northsylvania on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:45:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure I buy this story (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, DSPS owl

        I do agree that WWI was horrible in a way that really should have caused people to have avoided WWII, but gas was not the only terrible thing that could happen to a soldier.

        You could just as easily be maimed by machine guns (which you were ordered to charge over open ground or be shot by your own officers for cowardice), flying shrapnel from anti-personnel shells, exploding mines or HE shells, etc. Plus, we haven't even gotten to the horrors of trench-mouth, gangrene from living in mud, and all the rest of the things that made that war so terrible.

        Gas is not good, but neither are many of the other things we seem determined to do to each other.

        •  horrible enough google gas masks for dogs & horses (0+ / 0-)

          from WW I time period

          a simple google pic search and there are even gas masks for babies and baby carriages

          •  again, not saying gas is any less horrible (0+ / 0-)

            I certainly don't want to be subjected to any kind of NBC attack, but then frankly I don't want to be subjected to having somebody kill or maim me conventionally either.

            I thought the original issue in this diary was that we'd suddenly decided (as a country) that we had to intervene because chemical weapons had been used, but that the killing that had gone on in the preceding two years was somehow less terrible. I understood Markos to be saying that was a dubious reason to go to war, and I agree. We can discuss whether we should be intervening in a civil war in order to spare civilians, but I think the answer to that comes out the same (for me) no matter how the deaths are being caused.

            I think that the number of deaths, and the indiscriminate nature of them, would both factor in to any decision we make, but to say that we're going to war over the use of chemical weapons - no matter how minor of an attack - but will not go to war to prevent much larger numbers of casualties caused by conventional weapons, is a strange bit of national policy.

            If the Nazis had gassed 60 Jews rather than 6,000,000 of them we would rightly condemn it but it wouldn't be referred to as The Holocaust. Conversely, if 6,000,000 people had been killed by firing squad it would be just as horrible as the actual situation.

    •  Dare I say I agree with you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DEMonrat ankle biter

      and further think some action has to be taken or the banning of chemical weapons IS meaningless.

      Barack Obama: "These guys want to be paid like rock stars when all they're doing is lip-synching capitalism." may21, 2010

      by vc2 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:34:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Chemical weapons in WWI (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DEMonrat ankle biter

      claimed 4% of combat troop casualties. 50% died of flu.

  •  stochastic war is inevitable and nuclear rationale (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, worldlotus

    like the US in WW II to "save lives" creates new days of  living and dying in infamy

    And that's the problem with war. It has nothing to do with chemical weapons or drones, and everything to do with the simple fact that war is barbaric and it gets people killed. How that death is delivered is irrelevant.

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

    by annieli on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:24:37 AM PDT

    •  There comes a time for a people to rise up against (0+ / 0-)

      oppression.  Or are we saying that they should not fight for themselves, their lives, their families?

      History is written by the victors.

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

      by polecat on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:15:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  is it worth pointing out (13+ / 0-)

    that the people killed by our intervention (PC code for deadly assault) will likely be people who had nothing to do with the decision to use the chemicals. Nor the people who delivered them.

    And probably some civilians too.

  •  wonderful wisdom/kos. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, worldlotus

    Don Benedetto was murdered.-IgnazioSilone(BreadAndWine)

    by renzo capetti on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:25:38 AM PDT

  •  The depleted uranium we used in the shells (12+ / 0-)

    is still killing  men, women and especially children in Iraq.

    We have poisened the land.  There is no realistic way to clean it up.  When the winds in Iraq blow the dust, they are blowing death to many of those who live there.

    Time is a long river.

    by phonegery on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:25:39 AM PDT

  •  The logic is beyond me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania

    The only reason I can see for the prospect of strikes is that Obama warned about the use of chemical weapons. I don't know if we were one of the countries who used them in WWI (I expect that we were), but while its barbaric, it's not especially surprising.

    Separately, I'd dreaded the argument Syria's making now: "They've lied about this, before."

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    by Pacifist on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:26:36 AM PDT

  •  I had similar thoughts a few months ago (19+ / 0-)
    You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it [...] -William Tecumseh Sherman

    ...

    6. War Is Hell

    At the heart of the dispute about this policy is the realization that war is the abandonment of civilization.

    By definition, it is messy, cruel, unfair, violent and well, hell.

    We have established rules that attempt to set limits on the evil that men do in war. Against torture. Against targetting civilians. For humane treatment of prisoners. And many more.

    But remember what is in compliance with the "civilized" laws of war—killing. And we can not refine that central cruelty. That is why war must always, always, always be a last resort.

    link.
  •  It feels wrong. (4+ / 0-)

    The red line shouldn't have been defined & now we are in a free fall toward more war and death. It's not right and my radar is going off like crazy.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:30:16 AM PDT

  •  I hate the war in Afghanistan (6+ / 0-)

    But I am glad we don't use chemical weapons.

    I don't think anyone here in America, or the world for that matter-  if we did use them - would just shrug and say - death is death.

    •  The primary question for me (0+ / 0-)

      is who am I to trust in any of this? To be honest, I don't trust any of 'em. Because of this I cannot support Obama's sudden rush to war.

      •  There is video (0+ / 0-)

        of Assad's military firing sarin at rebels.

        And President Obama isn't rushing to war. He's doing what ALL presidents should do. Take a stand against what Assad is doing.

        You're being lied to here.

        •  Did they write "sarin" on the rockets in (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau, Johnny Q, priceman, El Zmuenga

          English?

          Was it being recorded as part of a "how to fire a rocket loaded with sarin" instructable?

          Seriously.  THINK about shit.  

          1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

          by JesseCW on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:58:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The rebels in Syria (0+ / 0-)

          all 1000 or so different affiliations of 'em - aren't in imminent danger of being defeated by Assad. We [the U.S. government] is even officially supporting some of 'em against Assad. I think that is more than enough of an international statement on how we view the ongoing civil war.

          That in no way diminishes my belief that U.S. military involvement in somebody else's civil war is a bad, bad, bad idea. We are "The World's Police Force" by a mile, everybody in the world already knows it. We spend more on our war machinery than the rest of the world combined. There are many nations that could launch a proper military response to Assad, and many more nations that could make such a fuss diplomatically in the UN that he'd end up completely alone in his lonely battle to maintain dictatorial powers. At which point the rebels (or some of the 1000 some odd affiliations of 'em) could march to the palace and make short work of him.

          I don't trust Assad, I don't trust Al Qaeda, I don't trust any of the other 999 or so rebel groups, I don't trust Iran, I don't trust Russia or Israel or Saudi Arabia or John Kerry or even Barack Obama. I am one of the 91% of Americans who opposes military intervention in Syria's civil war.

  •  Yes. And war should be barbaric. (6+ / 0-)

    Civilized people should hate everything about it and not want to wage it.

    In the time that it takes to convince people that entering war may be absolutely necessary, maybe there will have been time to actually determine if that is or is not true.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:33:31 AM PDT

  •  I agree with your premise about death, (27+ / 0-)

    though death by torture and other degrees of suffering can be distinguished and graded.  But with any unnecessary assault by WMD especially, including bombs, there can still be many slow and horrendous deaths, or worse, life-long pain and suffering from various injuries.

    In relation to Syria there is no imminent threat, or I would argue, serious indirect threat, to the nation and we must return to that rule, as well as other past rules which we agreed upon to make war less barbaric than it already is by its nature.

    The chief problem with drones is not the concept itself but rather its indiscriminate use and justification to continue present and future conflicts and abuses and their potential misuse here.

    Another big problem with intervention in Syria is the cost and limitations on commitment.  Do people still not realize that our investment in war and all the associated expenditures related to war and "security" result in the slow death and suffering of thousands of people over time in our own country.  When we are already cutting and proposing cutting social programs which are necessary to the survival of many citizens, not to mention all of the other necessary domestic programs, how can anyone justify further expenditures that lessen the welfare of our friends and neighbors at an increasing number.  Because we don't directly kill them doesn't mean that by choosing unnecessary MIC costs we aren't also choosing to let them suffer and die.  So our killing abroad, regardless of whether or not it results in any humanitarian benefits, which is at best questionable, is also indirectly killing us domestically.  It's time that we made that whole picture clear to the public, although from the polling, maybe they really are finally catching on.

    •  Great comment! (n/t) (9+ / 0-)

      "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

      by gulfgal98 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:43:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks. (12+ / 0-)

        I know that you and many others here and elsewhere on the progressive left understand that Americans have to see more of the big picture and what's happening to this country.

        We've almost entirely devolved into a war culture now created through attitudes of overgeneralization, overcompetitiveness, prejudices, racism, bigotry, hate and greed.  In various forms these attitudes have been instilled in all our major institutions.

        War is destructive and we are being destroyed by it, both literally and figuratively.

        •  Another great comment! (8+ / 0-)

          These two comments are a much needed dose of reality of what war really means.  All we have to do is ask the people of Iraq how much they have appreciated our meddling in their country.

          Lately, I have become involved with a group of local war protestors.  They are all over 65 (one is a 90 year old WWII veteran!) and have been doing this for over ten years.  The atmosphere and reception to their protests has changed over the years.  Once they were reviled, now most people support them.  Educating people about what the war culture has done to our society is very important.

          War has destroyed us as a people and is funneling our public  money to the MIC while we the citizens are being told that we must tighten our belts, shred the social safety net, and share in the sacrifice.  What a crock!

          Thank you again for your comments.

          "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

          by gulfgal98 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:20:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm pleased to return the compliment, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gulfgal98, DSPS owl

            though the truth with which we're having to realistically engage is less than pleasing.

            It's a reassuring sign that passersby are so supportive of your work and I hope that that greater understanding is as widespread as the polling indicates.

            So far political/governmental DC is ignoring the wishes of the people to a greater extent than ever before, on most issues actually, and is relying on a mostly captured media, and other mouthpieces to handle their authoritarianism through propaganda, both overt and subtle.  We have to find more ways to turn that around by countering it with factual logic.  I appreciate your work and all the others in the nation.

          •  Hell, it's even worse than (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gulfgal98, blueoasis

            all that. We are also expected to tolerate the blanket abrogation of our Constitutional rights knowing our government is monitoring 100% of our communications as if we too are enemies of the state, against which the might of the state can be brought to bear whenever TPTB decides it would serve their purposes. Just as Assad has been doing in Syria. Caveat to say I am not convinced he's the one deploying sarin against civilians in a 'burb of Damascus - I don't trust any of 'em.

            Looks and smells a lot like bullshit to me.

            •  As you know, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joieau, blueoasis

              I have been one of the most outspoken about the abrogation of our Constitutional rights.  I probably should have included that in my comment above, but I neglected to do so.

              "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

              by gulfgal98 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:24:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, you did fine. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gulfgal98, blueoasis

                I'm just still seething from the news this morning that Obama knows for absolutely sure it was Assad who did the dirty deed, because the NSA bugged his phone calls. That really rubs me the wrong way, with immediate thought to Conrad Brean's little monologue in Wag the Dog...

                "Who killed Kennedy? I read the first draft of the Warren report. It said he was killed by a drunk driver."

  •  A POTUS has a responsibility that none of us will (7+ / 0-)

    ...ever have. The situation is far more complex than most here are willing to admit lest they exposed their true agenda which may not match their rhetoric.

    There are no good answers here. I think a limited strike to take out weapon systems would be a prudent thing to do. Justifiable or not, people do draw the distinction between armaments and WMD's.

    I would argue that 10,000 killed by machete and rifle fire is a far different circumstance than 10,000 killed by a small nuke or a dispersal of anthrax. But yeah, dead is dead.

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

    by sebastianguy99 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:35:40 AM PDT

    •  I think it is more complex than you acknoweldge (7+ / 0-)

      Example, this paragraph from you:

      "There are no good answers here. I think a limited strike to take out weapon systems would be a prudent thing to do. Justifiable or not, people do draw the distinction between armaments and WMD's."

      A "not good answer" that is "prudent" based on a rationale that may or may not be "justifiable."

      The objective of this would, presumably, be punitive and an attempt at deterrence correct?

      Do you think it will work? If so, why?

      Work to do what?  Not prevent killing right? But to prevent killing by chemical weapons.

      Will it work for that? I think it might.

      But it won't stop killing by the Syrian government or the Syrian rebels.

      When it doesnt work for that, what then? What would be prudent?'

      •  Never claim to be doing analysis Armando (4+ / 0-)

        So it isn't surprising that one can find that I didn't even touch upon what makes the situation complex.

        But thanks for responding to yourself.

        If it is analysis you are really interested in, then I would point you to The War Room for the best real world analysis of the different sides on this conflict.

        s to the point I was actually trying to make,hopefully some will be of like mind and see that 10k dead from hand to hand combat is different than 10k dead from a small nuke. Yeah they're all dead and in equal number, but they are not the same situation. Killing 100 on the subway by automatic rifle vs. sarin gas might produce the same body count, but are two different situations.

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

        by sebastianguy99 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:02:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You wrote the words right? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw, DocGonzo, Johnny Q, JesseCW

          You don;t know why you wrote them?

        •  Wrong. Your example (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q, JesseCW
          ...hopefully some will be of like mind and see that 10k dead from hand to hand combat is different than 10k dead from a small nuke. Yeah they're all dead and in equal number, but they are not the same situation. Killing 100 on the subway by automatic rifle vs. sarin gas might produce the same body count, but are two different situations.
          The only 'difference' here are the weapons used. The result is the same by your own admission. What is WRONG is the reason the weapons are used. Killing of 100 or 10k is where the moral question arises, and where it needs to end. It can never end with more dead people "righteously" killed by remote control from half a world away without even bothering to seek UN sanction.

          That just breeds more killers. We learned that eons ago, didn't we?

          •  Death by rifle is not equal to death by anthrax (0+ / 0-)

            I think it is a really simple point. You can kill 10k in a field with rifles and then use the land after the bodies are disposed of. This is not the case with a nuke.

            Guns have proliferated around the planet and are killing too many people. But let some engineered biological weapon proliferate and billions might die at a rate that is unachievable with guns.

            Being against intervention in Syria is not an excuse to deny common sense. The premise of the diary focused on the how and not the why, by your own admission you are straying from that premise into another discussion.

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

            by sebastianguy99 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:05:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, I'm not (0+ / 0-)

              straying from the subject of this diary. I am saying that quibbling about one means of killing over another means of killing as justification for more killing ignores the moral premise of what Markos is saying here.

              We have no business killing Syrians right now despite the fact that Syrians are busy killing each other in a civil war. I do not find the asserted excuse for our intervention to be convincing, and I very strongly believe that US intervention in the Syrian civil war should be sanctioned by Congress and/or the UN at the very least before our military starts killing Syrians for the crime of killing Syrians. Obama should be convincing THEM, not wasting his time trying to convince me - I think it's bullshit.

              91% of Americans are against US intervention in the Syrian civil war. Obviously, what we think about it doesn't count.

    •  not only a responsibility (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl

      but probably some very sobering information that simply cannot be released because the gathering of it involves human infiltrators and moles and making it public would expose them.  

      I have my own theories about this chemical weapons attack but they'd verge on CT and no, I don't think that the White House is complicit but rather victims as we all are.  I hope my suspicions are wrong but the money and power to be gained by certain right wing world and national political leaders is scary if our response is messy and spirals out of control.   Cough....Putin

    •  And a Safety (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl

      A president also has the safety of the highest possible security, especially during any war or military action. The only consequences a president can expect from decisions to go to war are those threatening their conscience.

      After 5 years of presidency, all spent waging wars of various intensities around the world, the presidential conscience might not be vulnerable enough to stand in the way.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:24:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We intervened in Iraq and one of the (6+ / 0-)

    "reasons" we used was that Sadam had used chemical weapons on Iraqi citizens. And violence has broken out again within the last 24 hours in Iraq. Our invasion only served to destabilize the region. When are we going to learn from our mistakes?

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:38:08 AM PDT

  •  mass killing has no moral legitimacy (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, gulfgal98, chuckvw, Joieau, Johnny Q

    Violence against humans on a large scale is not even valid in retaliation for other violence.

    Darkness cannot drive out darkness -- only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate -- only love can do that. --MLK
  •  To me the difference isn't so much the delivery (9+ / 0-)

    method as it is who is targeted. Too often chemical weapons get used in areas with high concentrations of civilians.

    Worse, much like the neutron bomb, they kill indiscriminately and leave infrastructure intact. Perfect tool for ethic cleansing.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:47:20 AM PDT

  •  If (7+ / 0-)
    Death is death, no matter how it's delivered
    what about nukes ? If you approve the use of a gun in war time to kill , are you going to say killing with a nuke is just the same same ? If death is death ...

     

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

    by indycam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:49:56 AM PDT

  •  So, if we help these rebels.. and at least one is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q

    aligned with the all-powerful, super-scary SPECTRE-analog Al Quaeda, we'll get a hell of a lot of terror mileage out of that.

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:50:27 AM PDT

  •  There have to be consequences and lines (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator Keyfitz

    Kos - your point is well taken, but...

    1) There will always be mass killings done by governments.

    2) Given its impossible to stop these, you can at LEAST attempt to impose some order on how its done, that is -

    3) Chemical weapons (and their cousin Biological weapons) are so indiscriminate, have a disproportionate impact on children and the elderly, and are impossible to "target', then -

    4) You can at least say if you use chemical weapons, your command structure will suffer damage.

  •  Wow... (6+ / 0-)

    While I can agree with your concluding comment that "war is barbaric and it gets people killed," I do not agree at all with your statement that "[h]ow that death is delivered is irrelevant."

    I think that Samir Khalaf gets at the distinction effectively in his Civil and Uncivil Violence in Lebanon: a History of the Internationalization of Communal Conflict (Columbia UP, 2002):

    Civil violence [civil strife, civil war] is not, or does not always remain, "civil." When inflamed by the atavism of reawakened tribalism, enmity and deep-seated suspicion of "the other," internecine fueds, and unresolved regional and global conflicts, collective violence could readily degenerate further into the incivility of proxy wars and surrogate victimization. It is here that violence acquires its own inherent self-destructive logic and spirals into that atrocious cycle of unrelenting cruelties.
    Sure, the dead are dead. But it should most certainly matter to us if deaths in a conflict are among combatants or non-combatants and whether those deaths occur in a conflict which has passed into "that atrocious cycle of unrelenting cruelties" as the Syrian conflict has.

    I oppose US intervention, but out of a reasoned opinion that any such intervention would make matters worse rather than better. It may be a cold calculus... hell, it is a cold calculus... but it at least weighed the fact that deaths from cruelties committed with abandon and without shame or guilt are indeed of a different order.

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

    by angry marmot on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:52:38 AM PDT

  •  Syria is a roll of the dice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, Johnny Q

    Only neo-cons think otherwise and we know how their predictions went in Iraq.

    Do we want to roll the dice with such high stakes?

    And where are we going to get the troops the DoD wants?

    Pentagon Says 75,000 Troops Might Be Needed to Seize Syria Chemical Arms

    Only Turkey may get this done and although Turkey seems to be on our side, any plan that does not put Turkey front and center is a huge mistake IMHO.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:54:07 AM PDT

    •  I know where they get the troops (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, Johnny Q

      They can deploy the MN NG and IA NG and all other NGs from out here in flyoverland one more time, or two more times, or 10 more times to once again fight for interests that have absolutely NOTHING to do with Minnesota or Iowa, etc.  

      I mean that is the moral thing to do isn't it?  We wouldn't want some preppy neocon's kid at his Ivy school to get his hands dirty would we?

  •  If Germany doesn't join us (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, MBNYC, aliasalias, Johnny Q

    does that mean I'm looking at ordering "freedom patties" instead of hamburgers? Oh! and a slice of "freedom chocolate cake" for dessert.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:54:41 AM PDT

  •  Kos, you are getting wiser - a by-product of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, worldlotus, Gary Norton

    parenthood. Looks good on you.

    Those who fought the war in Afghanistan won it. Get them out of Afghanistan NOW . . . It's long past time. The time has come to repair this country and care for its' veterans.

    by llbear on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:55:05 AM PDT

  •  Well said sir. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    Well said.

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 09:58:37 AM PDT

  •  Agree re: Chemical weapons but- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, worldlotus

    Chemical weapons suck, but they aren't really much different than landmines, cluster bombs, napalm, and many other horrible things we've used in war.

    I can't agree regarding biologics or nuclear weapons because of the unintended side effects.

    Nukes contaminate huge areas with radiation for thousands of years. They cause climate effects with the debris clouds at large enough yields. They are one of the only ways we could commit species suicide.

    Biologics are simply out of control or if in control are effective well beyond the sell-by date.  If you release an engineered virus that targets DNA markers in Ashkenazy Jews then decide you went too far, guess what? It's still out there and will kill any Ashkenazy Jew it runs into.  Or maybe it mutates and targets all Eastern Europeans.

    Unless someone comes up with Ice 9, chemical weapons don't have that same potential.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:04:03 AM PDT

  •  We're all going to die anyway ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MBNYC

    so why does it matter if it is from war, a car accident, suicide. Dead is dead, right?


    I’ve been wrestling with the truth lately. So far, I’ve been unable to pin it down.

    by glb3 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:05:27 AM PDT

  •  Death's one thing, human extinction something else (5+ / 0-)

    Delivery mechanisms ARE irrelevant except to the extent in which they can inflict mass casualties.  In the case of biological and nuclear weapons (not so much, chemical weapons), human civilization could be destroyed.  The TRUE red line that should never be crossed by a nation-state would be the use of biological or nuclear devices.  Thank goodness, no country has done so....EXCEPT US in a brutal and unnecessary way (thanks to Harry Truman).

    America is a sanctimonious country.  We think sending in the missiles "sends the message" that chemical weapons and other WMD are forbidden and usage will be punished.  The only "message" the Arab world gets from our own behavior is that America is a hypocritical and aggressive nation that has never apologized for its morally obscene invasion of Iraq, and feels it can still do whatever it pleases because, you know, TEAM AMERICA, WORLD POLICE!  Fuck yeah!!  

  •  Rwanda, Bosnia, Libya (0+ / 0-)

    These are examples of fraught international catastrophes. In one case we did not intervene, in the others we did and were not involved in protracted engagement (in other words "war.")

    Yeah the numbers on military intervention are low. But what if the question were "do you support taking action against a regime who uses chemical warfare against civilians" the numbers might be different.

  •  War is the failure of diplomacy (8+ / 0-)

    But we have deliberately chosen to have no diplomatic leverage in Syria. So we have no business contemplating entering a war when we can have no control over either side.

    Why can't we Americans get the idea out of our heads that we must respond to any and every crisis?

    This is a tragic situation, but it's not really our tragic situation.  Think of the truly catastrophic destruction our own Civil War would have experienced if the European powers of the day jumped in to use our struggles as a proxy war of their own.

    We can make Syria so much worse than it is now, chemical weapons notwithstanding. God, just back off and let them sort it out themselves.

    The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

    by JenS on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:10:01 AM PDT

  •  Artillery is the great destroyer in modern warfare (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, kovie, MBNYC

    As the people of Hama, Syria, learned back in the day at the hands of Assad's father.

  •  Illegal or not, Britain would have used chemical (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, greenbell, MBNYC, Johnny Q

    weapons if Germany had invaded.

    In a post-WWI world, chemical weapons are like nukes - weapons of last resort.  Desperation.

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

    by polecat on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:11:17 AM PDT

  •  I'm not saying we should (9+ / 0-)

    or shouldn't intervene, but this "death is death" argument strikes me as sort of inhumane.

    I had to put my dog to sleep last year.  Too bad I didn't have any sarin gas on hand, could have saved a few dollars?  

    No?  

    Hmmmmm.

    I get it: some may not agree with just war, and there are no end of flaws in how we do and don't enforce and abide by the treaties we sign.  But it strikes me as a worthy undertaking to ban the cruelest weapons.

    Lots of reasons to oppose military action in Syria, but "death is death" strikes me as the least persuasive--maybe even the least wise.

  •  Just curious... (8+ / 0-)

    if death is death, no big whoop...

    and you are going to die in a war anyway...

    would you prefer a bullet to the head that kills you instantly, or would you prefer a slower neurotoxic death due to chemical weapon poisoning?

    I mean, death is death and all that.

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

    by wmtriallawyer on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:16:45 AM PDT

  •  Death is death, but when your time comes, (8+ / 0-)

    do you want to be tortured for hours or days beforehand, or to go quickly?

    Personally, I'd opt for the over quickly option.  Not the dying slowly and in agony as various chemicals chew through my systems.

  •  I couldn't disagree more (6+ / 0-)

    I will grant you that war is horrific regardless of who dies or how they die. But war is going to continue to occur and there is no way to end all war as much as we wish we could. The best we can do is try to avert wars as they threaten to arise. But war will arise. There has never been a time in human history when there wasn' t a war somewhere.  

    We have tried to identify certain rules, especially after WWII to control certain acts of War. Some, like the convention's outlawing genocide (however ineffective) were designed on a moral basis. Some were designed as self preservation-- like outlawing the use of chemical weapons.

    If a group or a regime flaunts those rules, the question becomes what do we do about it. The fact that the people who died as a result of the use of chemical weapons won't care (because they are dead) doesn't' t change the fact that the deliberate use of chemical weapons should be met with some kind of a response.

    It is amazing that a group of relatively privileged people can sit in the safety of their homes and suggest that because dead is dead, it doesn't' t matter how they died. I expect that type of thinking from say the NRA but not here.

    There should be debate over what the US response should be after the events of August 21. But saying "dead is dead"? I don't get how that contributes to the discussion.

    The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. -Nelson Mandela

    by Tchrldy on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:24:08 AM PDT

    •  Also like the NRA: Why ban semiautomatic weapons? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tchrldy, MBNYC

      You can get killed by a .22 pistol.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:42:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am severely tempted to post a comment (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rich in PA, joe from Lowell, MBNYC

        Using the title from this diary on his front page post about the NRA...but I won't. It would undermine the very important message there and be disrespectful to the victims of the mass shootings in Colorado.

        The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. -Nelson Mandela

        by Tchrldy on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:55:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Who is "We" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Radiowalla, Johnny Q, schnecke21

      "We" should be the international community not the US as global policeman.  The American people should not have to suffer the cost of every one of these lone ranger adventures.  

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

        it does appear that there is a coalition of countries that will be involved.  There is a price we pay to be the "superpower" and part of that price is "leading" responses to events such as that which occurred on August 21.  I am not particularly happy about that mantle of "leadership" but it is a reality that we have created for ourselves.  Is this the time to disavow it?  

        The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. -Nelson Mandela

        by Tchrldy on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:42:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dead is dead (10+ / 0-)

    is the argument people use to discount hate crime laws too.

  •  The red line is an illogical pretext for war (6+ / 0-)

    All weapons used against civilians are horrible. Being ripped to shreds by rockets is no less deadly and traumatic than exposure to nerve gas. CW can contaminate the environment long afterward. So do land mines, that also kill indiscriminately. But, the US has refused to sign onto the treaty banning land mines. So, the red line on chemical weapons, and the professed outrage of US officials over this not that method of annihilating innocents, are pretexts for a hidden agenda.

    Chris Hayes asked a guest this morning to provide a justification for the red line on chemical weapons vers other weapons and, notably, the guest failed to provide one; instead, he resorted to the emotion-generating talking points.

    Drone strikes, unlike other weapons, are conducted from an extreme distance away, making the drone operators immune from a defensive response. People raised in cultures with certain notions of chivalry could view that as cowardly, thus exacerbating hostility from targeted populations.

  •  "drone strikes more deadly… than manned" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, Johnny Q

    "US drone strikes more deadly to Afghan civilians than manned aircraft – adviser

    Study focusing on one year of conflict contradicts claims that robotic planes are more precise than manned counterparts"

    http://www.theguardian.com/...

    "I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." President Barack Obama

    by quagmiremonkey on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:32:25 AM PDT

  •  Military targets vs. civilian targets.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell, marsanges, NYFM, MBNYC

    ....is the dividing line for me, though it's admittedly hard to differentiate sometimes.

    They seem to be wiping out civilians.

  •  Except we're NOT in a war with Syria. (6+ / 0-)

    Syria is having a civil war.

    Drones in theater is one thing, but how about all those countries we're not at war with? Like Somalia and Yemen and Pakistan?

    This isn't war, this is police actions and spookery when we feel like it.

  •  This is wrong Chem weapons are taboo for a reason. (8+ / 0-)

    In the aftermath of World War I, the people who'd spent five years watching people killed by machine guns, artillery, air strikes, fire weapons and chemical weapons looked at the horror...and they didn't write treaties banning machine guns, air strikes, fire weapons, or artillery.

    They wrote the Geneva Protocol to ban chemical weapons.

    Do you think they did that for no good reason?

    Chemical weapons are a unique danger, a unique horror. They cannot be used carefully - they kill people miles away if the wind changes. They leave residues that kill people - not "may cause cancer a decade later," but poison people immediately who happen by. Medical workers in the Syrian hospitals were sickened and killed by just the residue on the clothes and skins of the victims.

    It is a testament to the good that the norm against chemical weapons usage has done that it is possible for people to be unaware of why it is necessary.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:39:42 AM PDT

  •  While I agree with on principle... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell, raptavio, Lawrence

    I do not agree that it is 'just pretend' that 'some line has been crossed'.  A line has been crossed.  Both legally and morally.  Dead is dead - we all get it.  But there is a reason why there are international laws against this.  

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck

    by RichM on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:40:23 AM PDT

  •  We're still dealing with the aftermath of WWI (3+ / 0-)

    Hell, Syria as a creation of the Sykes Picot Agreement and Assad is in power through the Baath Party--a creation based on Attaturk's efforts in Turkey after the fall of the Ottomn Empire--nationalism + modernization +secularism= progress.

    Chemical weapons are part of the mass death the Great War ushered into the world.  Yes, a number of conventions were passed and treaties signed, but these all assumed a handful of countries keeping control of the unbottled genie.  Now, when the genie is busy throughout the world, the failure to deal with the death caused by massively destructive technologies that was continued through the Cold War puts the world in the situation it is in now.  

    Death IS Death and war can be brutal, but the last 100 years of human history have seen far greater brutality and casualties far higher than any other century.  Until we as humanity address these issues we will continue the spiral of unchecked death and destruction.

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:41:07 AM PDT

  •  But if it is "surgical" (0+ / 0-)

    It must be ok, no?

  •  The argument that chemical weapons are not special (5+ / 0-)

    would be a lot more credible if any of the people making it hadn't just suddenly decided they believe it, oh, last Thursday.

    I'm sick of seeing people pick up and discard arguments and principles based entirely on their momentary convenience.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:44:04 AM PDT

  •  The Hell with the Geneva Conventions? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, NYFM, MBNYC, worldlotus

    Additional Protocols

    Make no attempts to limit the effects of war?

    Everyone knows what war is: organized slaughter or the enemy and the innocent.  Efforts to limit what it is should not be dismissed merely because of its inherent nature.

    Just as individuals should strive to rise above their DNA, so should nations strive to rise above their barbarity to other nations and their own people during war.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:44:59 AM PDT

  •  Descriminate vs. indescriminate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raptavio

    Broad vs. targeted. Certain weapons are designed to, can and do kill many more people than other weapons, with the former tending to kill many more non-combatants. It's why cluster bombs, land mines and chemical and biological weapons are illegal, and bullets and conventional bombs are not.

    Death is death, but a canister of Sarin is not a box of bullets.

  •  It must be nice to be so sure of one's opinions (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA, Radiowalla, NYFM, MBNYC

    It is also very easy to point out ways we have behaved badly in the past. But does this excuse us from thinking seriously about what to do when confronted with the realities of the present? Bush and Cheney were dismissive of any alternatives but invasion. Some here are equally dismissive of taking any action now. I don't know what action should be taken. I do think we need to listen to the evidence, analyze it critically ( meaning analytically) and thoughtfully weigh the options. The UN is where we should start. Debate in the security council is intended for there to be a chance for serious consideration and delay. Debate in congress was intended for the same purpose. These institutions have been so degraded by ideology which permits no discussion and contemplation of other perspective that they are practically useless. Moreover people insist on manning up their minds based on speculation, and spurious comparisons to past events.

    Does it mean that we should just throw up our hands and ignore the events of August 21 because well, dead is dead after all.

    The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. -Nelson Mandela

    by Tchrldy on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:47:26 AM PDT

  •  Drones perpetrating assassinations by remote (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marsanges, greenbell, Johnny Q

    control and chemical weapons killing people like vermin are particularly cowardly and mean. The victims don't have a chance to defend themselves. AND, for all we know, they're totally innocent of having given any offense.

    Killing civilians is sort of like kidnapping. Inoffensive persons are captured and killed in hopes of making some more powerful persons relent and do someone's bidding.

    The U.S., perhaps even more than other nation states, claims for the state the authority to terminate lives prematurely, either as punishment for some crimes or because the nation requires a sacrifice. This commitment to the state's right to kill people off puts leaders in a bind when they then wish to argue that other nations' leaders don't have that right.

    So, we've got a somewhat new rationalization. Syrian leaders killing Syrians with gas, rather than just incapacitating them for a few hours (as a crowd control measure), is bad because the leaders of the New World have given the order not to do that and somebody disobeyed. Disobedience is the crime. Which is why the U.S. is not going to seek permission from the U.N. If it were denied, they'd have to disobey. And that would set a terrible example--just when we thought the terrible example of Saddam Hussein, who actually sought permission to invade Kuwait and then discovered he'd heard wrong, had finally been laid to rest.

    •  This is a mix of bad and good argument. (0+ / 0-)

      "Cowardly" has no place in the discussion; Patton was right when he said the goal wasn't to give you life for your country, but to make the other SOB give his life for his country.  Who cares if the victims have a chance to defend themselves?  That just means they don't have a chance to kill us, and I don't want them to have that chance.  The good argument against drones is that some of the people we kill might be innocent.

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

      by Rich in PA on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:03:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No, Marcos, you're wrong (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA, NYFM, DocGonzo

    By this logic, we should not oppose guns because knives kill people just as dead - we should not oppose nuclear bombs because tanks kill people just as dead, etc.  Controlling guns, controlling nukes, and controlling chemical weapons all lead to less death and destruction, even though death and destruction may still occur.  

  •  Kos, you oversimplify and miss (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edwardssl, MBNYC, Lawrence, DocGonzo, earicicle

    very important details.

    I had an earlier exchange with PhilJD over this and, well, I'm going to restate here what I said there:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    I think you underestimate the potential of long-lasting regional harm that contamination of chemical weapons can cause.

    ...

    One of the "big deals" about chemical weapons, apart from long-lasting contamination that can be, at least on a local scale, as deadly or deadlier than that from nuclear weapons, is one that's a bit colder to contemplate:

    They're cheap, and simple.

    Munitions that [one might] rightly describe as "legal" yet "equally potent and horrific" cost much more to produce, and therefore carry a higher cost to deploy on the battlefield. It is, in many respects, a built-in limit on their use. They're also much more technologically complicated, creating a built-in barrier to their use as well.

    It's somewhat analogous to the objections some have to the use of drones to attack targets. Drones remove a built-in 'cost' to manned aerial attacks: specifically, the risk to the life of the pilot.

    Removing these 'costs' and other hurdles removes a deterrent to their use, both in whether to use them at all and how much to use them. And the consequences of having a lower-cost, easier-to-deploy means at one's disposal to kill hundreds or thousands of people are well-known -- q.v. World War I.

    Since the inherent constraints from using these weapons are far fewer, the world community has chosen to impose external constraints. And rightly so.

    It is in not only our vital national interests, but the interests of every living, breathing person on the globe that the international community keep a bright, red, you-shall-not-pass line on the use of nuclear, biological, and yes, chemical weapons in warfare. To reopen that Pandora's box would unleash a horror too terrible to contemplate.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:58:40 AM PDT

  •  Uh, we seem to be skipping one important step.... (7+ / 0-)

    and that would be proof it was the Assad regime who used the chemical weapons.

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:00:23 AM PDT

  •  That's some heavy duty false equivalence (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo, aliasalias
    But it's not just the neocons who obsess over delivery mechanisms. On the Left, there's much anger regarding drone strikes.
    Words fail me.
  •  Nah, it's the old slippery-slope argument. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net, NYFM, earicicle

    Just because it's a slippery slope, one that starts bad, doesn't mean that you shouldn't put a few markers along the way that distinguish the bad from the super-bad.  As for whether someone would rather be killed conventionally or by chemical weapons, I think that if you put the options out there for them they'd choose the former, not that it's a very worthwhile exercise.

    Leaving aside the morality of lines in the sand, we fetishize (negatively) unconventional weapons because it only takes a little to kill a lot of people; therefore we need to strongly disincetivize their use, or else people would use them according to their obvious cost-benefit advantage.  So the special sanction against them isn't arbitrary at all; it's towards a wider goal that most people would recognize as worth pursuing.

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

    by Rich in PA on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:01:09 AM PDT

  •  One irony of the situation... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Choco8, MBNYC, aliasalias, Johnny Q, dinazina

    Film of victims of chemical weapons can be shown without pixilation or editing. No gore. People see the dead, their faces, their ages, their genders. It's profoundly sad and disturbing.

    War cameramen and photographers capture thousands of dead bodies, shot with small arms, blown up, beheaded, incinerated, tortured, images  too "graphic" for the public to see. We don't see severed limbs, viscera, bits and pieces of remains unrecognizable as human being stuffed into garbage bags by street cleaners. We don't see the heaps of dead prisoners executed and their bodies abused.

    War is an obscenity cruel beyond our imagining, acceptable only as a last resort and only in self defense. Why are our leaders so keen on it?

    There's none so blind as those that will not see. --Jonathan Swift

    by chuckvw on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:01:52 AM PDT

  •  High altitude B-52 bombing of SE Asia . . . (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, marsanges, Gary Norton, Johnny Q

    you want to talk about indiscriminate killing . . .

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:03:27 AM PDT

  •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Gary Norton, MBNYC

    It was weird to see Biden and Kerry emphasizing so heavily that the victims didn't have any wounds, as if we would overlook it if the people had been killed by bombs instead.

    It's a weird fixation.

  •  I'm going to disagree (6+ / 0-)

    Because clearing minefields by having children march into them is efficient.

    Because executing enemy prisoners is efficient.

    Because tossing the corpses of plague victims over the city walls was efficient.

    Because killing 10, or 100, civilians for every one of your soldiers killed by guerrilla action is efficient.

    Sometimes you have to put limits on the warriors in the name of civilization. And if the likes of Assad won't hold the leashes of their dogs of war then it becomes a valid question if someone else needs to do it in his stead.

    I'm not advocating military action in Syria, mind; but I am taking issue with the idea that war is hell so there is no sense in trying to restrain those who wage it.

    I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

    by blue aardvark on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:05:53 AM PDT

  •  afghanistan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    I'm quite aure that if the US were using chemical weapons in Afghanistan that there would be no one here saying that they're just another weapon in the arsenal and that anyone opposed to their use has a "bizarre obsession" with delivery systems.

    Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

    by Sky Net on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:11:31 AM PDT

    •  Drones are wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sky Net

      Chemical weapons though are to be ignored.

      Drones = Obama
      Chemical Weapons  = Assad

      Blame Obama.
      Assad, no.

      And now we have - whatever means you use to kill is unimportant. We won't raise a finger in protest.

      Self-centered selfish bastards on this site.

      Snowden. Now there's a real world wide concern.

  •  This won't be seen, but. . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q

    As one of the lefties concerned about drones, let's be clear that no one is concerned with the mechanism, but with the fact that this mechanism is treated as non-military by the executive. What is worrisome is not that drones are scary airplanes, but that the executive gets to use drones without triggering War Powers Act or offering a military justification or calling it a state of war.

    I didn't expect you to pull a bogus non sequitur, Kos.

    As for the chemical weapons, there is a qualitative difference between a chemical or biological weapon and a conventional one. These weapons were outlawed internationally because they are designed to be indiscriminate. They are also designed to cause suffering as opposed to just death. They are weapons of terror rather than military advantage. Militarily, they're not a great idea, but they terrify and horrify and demoralize, and that is what they are for.

    As for Assad, he is a bad guy. That doesn't mean that the rebels are good guys.

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:14:47 AM PDT

  •  As Mona Lisa said in "My Cousin Vinnie": (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton
    Imagine you're a deer. You're prancing along. You get thirsty. You spot a little brook. You put your little deer lips down to the cool clear water...bam! A fucking bullet rips off part of your head! Your brains are laying on the ground in little bloody pieces! Now, I ask ya, would you give a fuck what kind of pants the son-of-a-bitch who shot you was wearing?!

    When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.-Mark Twain

    by Havoth on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:19:56 AM PDT

  •  Will someone tell me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MBNYC, Johnny Q

    what bombing Syria is supposed to accomplish?  Other than a lot more dead bodies (aren't dead bodies what we, the Moral Arbiter of the World, have decided are not going to be allowed in Syria?) What the hell business is it of ours how people die in these endless ME wars?  What happened to the voices condemning Bush for bombing Iraq?  Or have they gone silent because when Obama does it's okay?  

    When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.- -John Muir, naturalist

    by miriam on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:20:45 AM PDT

  •  A Modest Proposal (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, MBNYC, aliasalias, schnecke21

    Can't we just agree that we shouldn't use military force unless the US itself is under threat? I'm sorry that Assad is a psychopath, but that isn't something that we can fix and therefore we shouldn't try to do so. What would that be like, anyway? To have the US just be another republic that doesn't feel obliged to be the world's policeman, in the same way that Brazil and India don't try to be the world's policeman?

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:21:09 AM PDT

    •  No, I can't agree to that. (0+ / 0-)

      Because there are times in our history where the transgressions of another country's leaders are so severe, so egregious, so horrific that we, as citizens of the world, must take a stand to stop it.

      "He's the President of the United States. He is not the Asshole Whisperer." - MinistryOfTruth

      by dannyinla on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:32:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I know I would much rather die by a bomb... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, Lawrence

    then writhing in agony poisoned, drowning in bodily fluids that cannot stop....ever watched an insect die after being sprayed with chemicals? I would choose the bottom of a shoe over that any day!

    by this death is death analogy...then why don't we just use nukes and get it over with?

  •  The threat assessment is different... (0+ / 0-)

    ...in that chemical weapons have the potential to expand conflict beyond borders in a way that conventional weapons do not.

    A rogue actor can't schlep a howitzer into Tel Aviv and start blasting, but such an actor could smuggle a chemical weapon into Tel Aviv and kill indiscriminately.

    Once chemical (or biological, or nuclear) weapons are released from centralized control, the risk assessment changes dramatically.

    I'm not saying that events in Syria necessarily justify intervention at this point, but only that the risk assessment of that conflict changes significantly once chemical weapons are in play.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:24:48 AM PDT

  •  The bottom line (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q
    And that's the problem with war. It has nothing to do with chemical weapons or drones, and everything to do with the simple fact that war is barbaric and it gets people killed. How that death is delivered is irrelevant.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:26:37 AM PDT

  •  Context, it's important. I'm a scientist, so.... (0+ / 0-)

    ... the problem is war, the tools are generally irrelevant.

    We decry WMD's, Chem/Bio/Nukes because they are so horrific and "indiscriminate", and yet WE have done as bad or worse with just plain bombs in the past.

    For context, remember, the Nazi's used chemical weapons to kill millions, in concentration camps.

    ...and...

    The Allies killed millions in their homes with iron bombs and napalm. It was war, all out full scale real war.

    Imperial Japan killed millions with bullets, the US killed millions of Japanese with iron bombs, napalm and ultimately 2 baby nukes.

    As KOS points out, all the millions upon millions are dead. Does the tool used really matter in the end?

    The ban on Chem/Bio weapons were put in place because it is perceived that the death they inflict is inhumane, not because they kill. A bullet to the brain is considered humane. But dead is dead.

    Shouldn't the killing bring more indignation than the tool used? Isn't that what KOS is trying to say?

    And why should simply the weapon used, and not the death's inflicted generate this "red line in the sand" that requires the US to play policeman of the assholes of the world?

    Personally, I have no love for the Syrian people, any of them, they've been a very bad force for evil in the region for 50+ years. My gut tells me just let them all kill each other, good riddance to bad meat.

    But I sure as hell don't want the US involved in a pointless reaction to events that simply don't warrant it.

    We BLEW IT... President Obama and the Congress and Pentagon... blew it. The time to act was in the beginning to secure and neutralize the Chem/Bio threat  in Syria BEFORE any of this mess got out of hand.

    IF, we were serious about anti-terror efforts we would have treated the threat appropriately, but instead the truth is out, the leadership actually doesn't give a shit about the WMD threat, they have other fish to fry.... and that fish fry is how to make money off of yet another stupid conflict in the middle-east.

    It is clear not about Chem/Bio threats, and the risk of this shit getting into terrorist's hands. They'd be perfectly fine with a WMD terrorist act, it would give them yet another excuse to end up making even more money of our and the world's misery.

  •  I can't agree with your premise. (6+ / 0-)

    War is a horrible nasty business and that we as a species still choose to butcher and slaughter each other because we don't like someone's religion or ethnicity or skin color is incomprehensible to me.

    I suppose a parent could care less how their child died in warfare - whether it be a bullet or land mine or sarin but I would be particularly horrified if it was a chemical agent.

    I'm not an expert in this field and I don't know how the person dies and what the level of suffering might be from a chemical weapon but my gut tells me I wouldn't want that on my worst eneny.

    So yeah -dead is dead but I don't want to inflict a level of suffering prior to death.

    It takes time to practice generosity, but being generous is the best use of our time. - Thich Nhat Hanh.

    by Frank In WA on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:31:15 AM PDT

  •  Excellent note. 1 addendum tho: killing *civilians (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wytcld

    is arguably, and considered (almost) universally, to be more barbaric than combatants killing each other.

    WMDs have a tendency to kill far more civilians than combatants, and rather quickly. That's one legit reason for the partial mental taboo around them.

    But this is nuance. Otherwise I completely agree with your diary.

  •  No. Markos, you're wrong. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MBNYC, Radiowalla, earicicle, NYFM

    Individually, dead is dead.
    Collectively, as the society of man, there must be some understanding of the conventions of civilizations.

  •  while I recced diary for discussion (0+ / 0-)

    I find it hard to not be abhorred by chemical weapons and its effects upon the living and surviving. of course one who is injured via shrapnel or bullets suffers greatly too.
      War sucks-- Us involvement does not guarantee that Chem weapons will not be used again nor be used even more.  Us Action may or may not make matters worse.
      War is unpredictable best to avoid it.

  •  I don't give three shits about this diary ! /nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    Civil Men Are For Civil Rights

    by mimi on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:52:55 AM PDT

  •  Especially Galling (0+ / 0-)

    Concern for indiscriminate killing of civilians coming from the pious country that dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and its equally pious ally that perpetrated Hamburg and Dresden.  

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:56:04 AM PDT

    •  The perfect should not be the enemy of the good (0+ / 0-)

      Leaving aside the reasonable argument that far more Japanese and Americans would have died in a conventional invasion of Japan that died from the two atomic bombs ... on second thought let's not leave that aside!

      If the world community tolerates the use of poison gas, inevitably the use of it will grow to the point where millions will die from it. Consider World War I. Likewise if the world tolerates the use of atomic weaponry (not just the stockpiling, but the active use; which is not to say tolerating stockpiling isn't also ungood).

      Will millions die from other things, regardless of tolerance of poison gas and atomic weapons? Yes. Does that mean the world should simply tolerate poison gas? Atomic weapons? Because "death is death" and everyone, it seems, in the end dies?

      Marcos makes an argument brilliant in its simplicity. As the saying goes, every complex problem has a solution which is both simple and wrong.

  •  dissent (0+ / 0-)

    with all Due Respect, your pov is 0-2.

    “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

    by ozsea1 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:00:10 PM PDT

  •  Frankly this kind of moral equivalence is Cheney (5+ / 0-)

    like.

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

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:05:16 PM PDT

  •  I think you should read the history (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    earicicle, DocGonzo, Yoshimi, Publius2008

    of the international ban on chemical weapons. The horrors the use of gas brought to the 1st world war shocked the world. Every conflict is not the same and the scale destruction does make a difference to the surrounding populace. By your logic we should drop a nuke on anyone that offends us because dead is dead.  

  •  thank you. i totally agree with you here! nt (0+ / 0-)

    EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

    by edrie on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:27:59 PM PDT

  •  ummm no kos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Publius2008

    you git wrong.  it's not the delivery mechanisms, it's so called collateral damage and the rule of law.  That is why we on the left object to drones.

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

    by noofsh on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:29:36 PM PDT

  •  It's the whole idea that war should be "noble" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shigeru

    and should only be fought army to army with little impact on civilian populations. Noble warfare ended with guerilla warfare a long time ago.

  •  Well, fuck, let the nukes fly! Neutron bombs go! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wmtriallawyer, New Dawning

    Weaponized ebola, yeah!!!! Cluster bombs, rock on!

    What a ridiculous argument. How long did you think about this?

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

    by the fan man on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:39:28 PM PDT

    •  As a matter of fact, yes neutron bombs are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shigeru

      a very effective weapon at killing without destruction.

      You wouldn't weaponize ebola, you have weaponized Anthrax right now, it is quite effective. And we have the antidote for our own troops/people.

      Cluster bombs, land mines, napalm, phosphorus all have their viable tactical military applications.

      It is an interesting psychological debate, but dead is dead.

  •  I appreciate your perspective (0+ / 0-)

    but I personally worry that chemical weapons will kill many more than the combatants. Nuclear weapons cause such devastation that I have to see them as worse than other means of killing.

    Personally, I just don't understand why people start wars, nor how anyone can spend their life perfecting means of destruction.

    the future begins

    by zozie on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:52:06 PM PDT

  •  As the only nation to ever use nukes for real, I (0+ / 0-)

    don't think we have any moral leg to stand on when it comes to chemical and biological weapons.  Kos made the point that victims are just as dead whatever technology was used to kill them.  Perhaps we should concentrate on helping the many refugees from this conflict, that might save more lives in the long run.  What did we ever do for the refugees from Iraq, a situation that we ourselves gratuitously created?    

    They that have power to hurt, and will do none

    by richardvjohnson on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:56:00 PM PDT

  •  I sort of disagree, for one thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shigeru

    how it is delivered affects who it is delivered upon.  This is the whole drones argument.

    He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

    by Publius2008 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:08:00 PM PDT

    •  But drones apparently are more efficient at (0+ / 0-)

      killing only the desired targets than virtually all other methods including artillery, smart bombs, et al.

      “Never argue with someone whose livelihood depends on not being convinced.” ~ H.L. MENCKEN

      by shigeru on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:20:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not arguing against this, it's the best or second (0+ / 0-)

        best argument for drones.  

        The argument against drones is that we would not like such technology used against us, especially without anything resembling due process.

        He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

        by Publius2008 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:29:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Armchair warriors are out in force. (0+ / 0-)

    Oh sure, you "care" about Syria, the same way you "cared" about Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. Please quit lying. Everyone claiming we need to save Syria is about as humanitarian as Kim Jong-Un. You simply want to see the U.S. project power in another Muslim nation.

     Like Libya before it, Syria has a internationally hated dictator who happens to be an easy target. Much like the other nations the U.S. has intervened in, Syria will end up with a U.S.-backed puppet government (Hamid Karzai) or a U.S.-backed dictator (Nouri al-Maliki).

     Nevermind that the United States has its own history of using chemical weapons on civilians, or that it trades chemical weapons to its allies. The hypocrisy of this whole scenario is stunning.

     I dare every one of you pro-war types to go enlist or serve as an aid worker over in Syria. Seeing as how most of you are middle-class white folks, I highly doubt you would ever put your money where your big mouths are.

    •  There are no pro-war people here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Swig Mcjigger

      What I do see however is a huge effort to try and convince people that these chemical weapons were used by the rebels. That's the tragedy here.

      We all keep being told - I know this is hard ...

      Bullshit. Dishonest bullshit.

       

      •  I understand that. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm NOT denying that Assad is using chemical weapons. I am simply asserting my own opposition to any military intervention. I feel very strongly about this.

         To put this into context, if Bush, McCain or Romney had decided to launch military interventions, then this website would rightfully oppose them.

         However, Obama, a Democratic president, is the one banging the war drum against Syria. Since he's a Democrat, the previously anti-war, anti-Republican liberal Democrats, or some of them on this website, suddenly, much like with the NSA, have deemed it okay. This infuriates me!

         I know Glenn Greenwald is unfortunately hated here, but I will link to a very relevant article of his:

         http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/...

         Also here is a good quote from "The Twilight Zone":

           

        Hanford: [at dinner] So what are your world views, Driscoll?

            Paul: I don't have any, Mr. Hanford.

            Hanford: Of course you do, man. We ALL do! Like all this nonsense about giving the Indians land. What we need are twenty General Custers and a hundred thousand men! What we should have done is swept across the prairie, destroying every redskin that stood before us. After that, we should have planted the American flag deep, high and proud!

            Abigail: I think the country is tired of fighting, Mr. Hanford. I think we were bled dry by the Indian Wars. I think anything we can accomplish peacefully, with treaties, we should accomplish that way.

            Hanford: Now, I trust this isn't the path you spoon-feed your students. Treaties, indeed! Peace, indeed! Why, the virility of a nation is in direct proportion to its military prowess. I LIVE for the day when this country SWEEPS AWAY...

            [notices Driscoll's disapproving look]

            Hanford: You some kind of a pacifist, Driscoll?

            Paul: No, just some sick idiot who's seen too many boys die because of too many men who fight their battles at dining room tables... and who probably wouldn't last forty-five seconds in a REAL skirmish if they WERE thrust into it.

            Hanford: I take offense at that remark, Mr. Driscoll!

            Paul: And I take offense at "armchair warriors," who don't know what a shrapnel, or a bullet, or a saber wound feels like... who've never smelled death after three days on an empty battlefield... who've never seen the look on a man's face when he realizes he's lost a limb or two, and his blood is seeping out. Mr. Hanford, you have a great affinity for "planting the flag deep." But you don't have a nodding acquaintance of what it's like for families to bury their sons in the same soil!

        The bold part is my emphasis.
  •  I agree that whatever the line is that needs to be (0+ / 0-)

    crossed has been crossed by the number of dead alone.  

    However, having said that IMAO I do not see why the US needs to be involved. Full stop.  We aren't going to solve it and likely will not like the end result anyway.

    At any rate the debate should be around whether or not to get involved in yet another collapsing remnant of Europe's colonial empires. None of it has worked out well for us in the past. See Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and most of Africa.

    “Never argue with someone whose livelihood depends on not being convinced.” ~ H.L. MENCKEN

    by shigeru on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:19:10 PM PDT

  •  The mechanism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena, New Dawning

    matters in its predictive value of future deaths.  The respnse to the use of chemical weapons now could influence the likelyhood the Assad regime will keep using them.

    Even within the horror that is war, following rules can matter.

    First they came for the slippery-slope fallacists, and I said nothing. The End.

    by Cream Puff on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:22:01 PM PDT

  •  Oversimplified statement that demonstrates (5+ / 0-)

    a lack of empathy and understanding.

    "How that death is delivered is irrelevant."
    Poison gas kills children asleep in their beds, it kills rescuers of the sick and dying, it causes doctors to fall to the ground sick. It causes great suffering before death as it sears the lungs of the victims. People in its path can't run from it, shelter from it, escape it. There is a line.

    Watch the videos of the dying victims and/or listen to the Syrian film maker who came to film the scene at the hospital.


    Syrian filmmaker captures images of death

    Graphic images  from Syria this week show what some believe to be a chemical weapons attack. Opposition activists claim 500 to 1400 people were killed, including hundreds of children. Eyewitnesses report smelling rotting eggs and vinegar. Some survivors reported vomiting and dizziness, while others say those who died had foam coming from their mouths. The Assad government is denying accusations it used chemical weapons on its own people. They say the rebels are to blame. When the attack happened, filmmaker Humam Husari was at home, about 3 kilometres away. He grabbed his video camera and raced to the nearest field hospital. He tells Day 6 what he saw and how he found his friend among the dead.

    It's no use trying to diminish the cruelty of chemical warfare in order to prevent US intervention.

    i don't have any answers as to how to prevent this horror. I think military intervention by the US will add to the suffering of the Syrian people. I don't know that for sure but according to past history I think it will. We need to search for the truth, find out who dropped the gas, first.

    Syrian filmmaker, Humam Husari, when asked "What do you want the world to do?" replied:
    "I want people to search for the truth." So let's do that and let's not try to minimize the horror of a gas attack.

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:23:49 PM PDT

  •  The President made a red line (0+ / 0-)

    comment. Now perhaps that was uncalled for (and I certainly think it was careless without evidently any plan to back that up) but between that and the humanitarian rationale (as in Libya) our response matters to the nations watching.  Do we stand by our words? Do we intervene in humanitarian and war crime crises as we claim we will? Or is it all just talk?

    Russia, Iran, Egypt, even the Sauds will be calculating their own actions upon ours. I don't see any good answers, but to just assume that a military response is by definition, de facto, the worst option is emotional reaction rather than careful analysis.

    •  No shit. Terrible thing to go to war over, though (0+ / 0-)
      The President made a red line comment. Now perhaps that was uncalled for (and I certainly think it was careless without evidently any plan to back that up)

      I'm not a misanthrope, I'm just very selective about who I'm willing to waste my time on.

      by SpamNunn on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:40:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well may be should say (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SpamNunn

        "hey I take it back"? I am not sure what his motivation for that statement was, but it was very clear. Again I think he needs to seek consensus home and abroad for actions, and definitely express a plan of goals and how to achieve them. But just bombing some bases and leaving isn;t going to do anything.

        Taking out bases/facilities. And with cooperation from NATO and rebels removing the regime, trying them for crimes. Will ensure fewer people die in the long run. And raise our stature among those who seek freedom from repression.

        Unfortunately I do not think there has been a lot of (if any) preparation since he made that statement.  I fear the President is going to have his bluff called by every nation who opposes us now.

  •  Similarly, a... (0+ / 0-)

    simple handgun can make someone just as dead as an automatic assault weapon can. But also, similarly to the WMD question, one is much more indiscrimate and "mass deadly" than the other.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:32:19 PM PDT

  •  So, the bottom line is (0+ / 0-)

    when one side has fighters and tanks and poison gas, and the other side doesn't, the proper thing to do is let them bomb and gas and run them over until they've killed them all.

    The "invisible hand" doesn't regulate the market - it wanks it. -- SantaFeMarie

    by Dinclusin on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:34:34 PM PDT

  •  The objection to drone strikes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q

    ...by the left or anyone else does not have to do with their lethality but with the assertion that they can be used anywhere in the world including the US, on the sole orders of the President and without a state of war, to prevent an imminent act of terrrorism.  Sounds permissable until you understand that the word "imminent" is so loosely defined as to mean anything, as is "act of terrorism".

    What it means is that people who are not engaged in acts of terrorism can be killed on flimsly evidence on the say-so of the President.  With not institutional safeguards except policies made by the President and reviewed by no other branch of government.

    The issue with chemical weapons traditionally has been with the fact that they were originally used on the battlefield as mass weapons for disabling but not necessarily killing large numbers of troops.  Until the development of nerve gases.  After that and the Nazi holocaust (killing was done by mass execution with nerve gas), the objection was that of mass killing.

    In fact chemical weapons as battlefield weapons are so cumbersome to use in response to the results, most nations saw no problem in agreeing to the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Those who didn't kept them primarily for deterrence against mass invasion.  And even for that they prove to be non-credible.

    The fundamental uselessness of chemical weapons tactically or strategically and the international scorn for the few uses of them over the past half century raise serious questions about the motives of whoever has be attacking Syrian civilians with chemicals.

    That said, "non-lethal" chemical weapons are more popular now with law enforcement and in use of crowd control than ever.  Witness the gratuitous use of pepper spray on non-violent demonstrators in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

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

    by TarheelDem on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:34:57 PM PDT

    •  Agree. ChemWeapons = "The poor man's nuke" (0+ / 0-)

      In a conflict between "have" and "have-not" nations, chemical weapons have the power to negate the rich nation's advantage... particularly if used to hit supply areas and transportation hubs behind the battle front.

      When the leader of have-not nation actually deploys these weapons, he is threatening the balance of power.

      That balance is delicate. The leaders of the western democracies all have a pretty good idea of how many casualties their constituents will tolerate in "elective" military missions.

      So even in a conflict the have-nots are guaranteed to lose, the power to inflict significant casualties gives the have-not leader a military deterrent and a stronger hand in diplomacy.

      Behind the sincere outrage over gassing civilians, there is a tacit agreement in the west to punish any former colony that dares to achieve military parity with the former empire.

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:08:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not even the poor man's nuke anymore (0+ / 0-)

        Whatever was done in Syria was not done for tactical or strategic battlefield advantage, but as a stunt for the world media.  Whether the purpose was to sucker the US into a quagmire, make a statement to the rebels that "the world is not going to come to your aid like it did in Libya", or tar the Syrian regime as a criminal actor remains to be seen.  But it seems to serve a propaganda motive more than a military one.

        As a deterrent, they really cannot be used unless your own civilians are fully protected.  And even Israel has a scramble of folks going to buy gas masks when trouble arises in the region.  They are not completely prepared. (Moreover, given the historical use of chemical gas, Israel likely has forgone that technology completely as an option).

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

        by TarheelDem on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:15:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Tactical Nukes". NATO had a "no first use" policy (0+ / 0-)

          but the military planning during the Cold War prescribed use of chemical weapons to disrupt Soviet rear-area supply and transportation points... not to "turn the tide" of a battle at the front lines.

          In the Iran-Iraq war, Iraqi forces initially used gas to attack Iranian troops in strong defensive positions, but soon learned that the weapon once deployed, caused casualties among their own. With experience, Iraq learned to use CW to blunt Iranian offensives by attacking their supply chain, well behind the front lines.

          If Iraq had still possessed CW in 2003, they would have used it to attack U.S. fuel depots and tanker convoys at the border, not to strike directly U.S. armor on the outskirts of Basra.

          These scenarios give western military planners nightmares.

          That's why I suggest that when dictators like Assad use CW as a tactical or terror weapon in civil conflicts, they are perceived as a threat to the established dominance of the western powers.

          They are permitted to engage in all kinds of butchery until they cross that "red line". The big powers intervene when a tyrant "forgets his place" and demonstrates that he might be willing to use CW to level the playing field in future conflicts with superior forces.

          “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
          he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

          by jjohnjj on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:44:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tactical nukes and CW (0+ / 0-)

            ...are only useful for massed formations like those WWII-like tank battles that the US military expectd to cross the Central German Plain during the Cold War.  That is not longer the tactical style of warfare and with precision-guided munitions almost everywhere, dispersal of forces is more the rule.

            The CW bogeyman is used for public propaganda consumption.

            Had Iraq possessed chemical weapons in 2003, they would not have done major damage to what was essentiall multiple dispersed convoys.  And they quickly would have been tracked and destroyed.

            The hysteria about chemical weapons is not because they are seen as a threat to the dominance of western powers but because the western powers want to finish the job of having no chemical weapons stocks in the world.

            And the dictators who follow your logic are just foolish.  Most aren't and have figured out that CW and BW are useless (or more dangerous to the attacker than the target).

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

            by TarheelDem on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 07:13:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Which is why (0+ / 0-)

            The Chemical Weapons Convention has signatories by all except seven nations, with only three more not having ratified it.  And why the dismantling of chemical weapons is almost complete, including the dismantling of US and Russian stocks.

            There is still no specific evidence of who carried out the attacks in Syria or the nature of the chemcal agent or the delivery vehicle.  So positing motives for Assad is premature.  The Baath Party regime is authoritarian but not necessarily driven by Assad alone but by the upper Baath Party elite that includes Bashar Assad, his brother, and older figures who were powerful in the administration of Haafez Assad.

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

            by TarheelDem on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 07:19:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Some things never change. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    delver rootnose

    William Tecumseh Sherman said this in 1864:

    You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. ...

    You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.

    I'm not a misanthrope, I'm just very selective about who I'm willing to waste my time on.

    by SpamNunn on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:38:26 PM PDT

  •  Dead is dead, that's true. (0+ / 0-)

    And there's nothing that will change that this person or that one is no more.  It is final and can't be undone.

    Even if we goofed. Even if we targeted the wrong person or persons.  This is one of the failings of the death penalty as a "legal remedy".  There's always a chance that the guy didn't do it.

    On the subject of drone strikes, this is one of my main objections.  How many wedding parties will become "collateral damage" and how valuable does a high value target have to be to justify that cost?  But my bigger objection to drone strikes is that it dehumanizes the killing.  It turns the brutal, ghastly, bloody business of war into a video game, but this one doesn't have a restart option.  Drop the hammer on the wrong guy in Call of Duty and the worst that happens is that he says something unflattering about your parents in the chat screen.  Pickle off a missile from a Predator, and the guy you take out by mistake is really, truly and actually dead.  And when your shift is over, you stop and pick up a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs and go home for dinner.

    In short, when we start fighting our wars by remote control we make it easier to wage war.  And war should not be easy.  It should not be an enterprise we enter into except as an absolute last resort.  When extrajudicial killing becomes acceptable to us, we have become the thing we hate.

    I served in the army during the Reagan Administration.  I was fortunate; at the time we weren't engaged in anything of any consequence, but we all knew that at any moment we might have to pack up and set off for some foreign field to try and kill the other guy.  We trained for it, and we hoped we'd never have to answer The Question.  In many ways, the war we never fought was more real than the remote control kind because our leader knew that we -- and maybe even they -- might die from it.

    The troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq understand this.  They've had to look through the sights at the guy they were about to kill in real time in the three dimensional world.  That "target" has a face, and it's not altogether different from theirs.  In that moment, the guy who is about to die could be one of them.  In that moment, there is no "othering".  And that makes it personal, makes it real, makes it hard.

    And it should be.  It should be anathema to us to take another life, no matter how it's done.  It should not be a day at the office, half a world away, targeting "probably" the right guy.

    The argument for air/missile/drone strikes is usually that the business of war is killing an enemy without being killed.  And I'm not suggesting that it's better to put our own people at risk by sending them to meet an enemy face to face.  My argument is that we shouldn't be killing anyone unless there is no other alternative. And that means the difficult alternatives need to be exhausted as well as the easy ones. The decision to "terminate with extreme prejudice" is a lot easier when you have no skin in the game.

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:46:29 PM PDT

  •  i don't think it's this simple (0+ / 0-)

    i get that you're just trying to knock down an argument in favor of military action, but i don't think this is the way to do it

  •  Fanfuckingtastic. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Swig Mcjigger

    No-probable-cause dragnet data collection - a "white privilege" issue.

    Nerve gas vs. bullets - no diff. Dead is dead, amirite?

    What the holy fuck is going on here?

    This site's stated mission is absurdly contradictory. You don't get better Democrats by electing more Democrats. The latter is achieved by lowering the bar, not by raising it.

    by WisePiper on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:54:46 PM PDT

  •  Forgetting the lessons of previous generations? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian S, New Dawning, tallahasseedem

    War is nasty business. That's why we oppose it and should do everything possible to avoid it. A war casualty doesn't care how he or she died. Not sure why the rest of us should.

    The people who fought in World War I saw death delivered in every way possible, and on massive scales. Out of that hell, the survivors identified chemical weapons as being beyond the pale. To me, their judgment has thousands of times more weight than today's comfortable moralizing, and we discard their judgement at our peril.

    I'm not advocating for massive military intervention in Syria. I'm just saying that previous generations that had extensive experience with chemical warfare clearly differentiated it from other kinds of warfare, and we should be cautious about so breezily discarding the distinction that they made.  

  •  The world decided after WWI that gas warfare (4+ / 0-)

    was an inhuman horror, worse than war itself. They learned that lesson the hard way. Do we need to relearn it?

    And no, there are many ways to die, and some of them are far more horrific than others. Yes, death is final no matter how it comes. But to pretend that the finality of all deaths makes them all equal is simplistic thinking leading to grotesque nonsense.

    Death after prolonged torment is not the same as a quick bullet to the brain.

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UID: 8519

    by Bob Love on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:55:38 PM PDT

  •  Collateral damage. (0+ / 0-)
    Are people killed by drone strikes and less dead than those killed by an F-16 bombing sortie? Or an A-10 straffing run? Or a special ops sniper team? Or a Tomahawk cruise missile? Or a platoon of infantrymen or marines? Or a CIA hit squad?
    If you're going after, say, an al-Awlaki or a bin Laden, the collateral damage likely by each of these methods is different.

    The people killed are just as dead; but the likelihood of people not really involved getting killed or injured is very different.

    That is why - depending on the objective - some methods are less objectionable than others.

  •  Put me down as another person who rejects the (0+ / 0-)

    premise of this diary. You can argue about whether chemical weapons usage presents the line over which humanitarian intervention is a necessity (I'd argue it comes earlier), but they represent indiscriminate, painful deaths that often leave long-lasting repercussions even after conflict itself is over.

    Death is death, yes, but to say the "how" doesn't matter ignores half the rules of war.

    British guy with a big interest in US politics; Economic Left/Right: -3.62, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.13.

    by General Goose on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:06:59 PM PDT

  •  This is a pretty bizarre discussion ... NO ANSWER (0+ / 0-)

    You can ask why the US didn't retaliate against Serbia when they massacred Albanian civilians in 1913; against the Japanese for the Rape of Nanking, 1937; against the Nazis for the destruction of Warsaw and Rotterdam in 1940... the list goes on.
    America has always been unclear on whether to attack, not as retaliation for a assault on the US, but to defend or protect the innocents of another nation. Some people wanted the US to bomb the showers and crematoria of the Nazi death camps to stop the slaughter of the Jews, We didn't do that either. Arguing on a moral basis if we should or not is a religious question, not a strategic one.
    The simple fact is that before now Syria wasn't considered to be a strategic issue to the US. Sure, Washington would like it if the pro-Iranian government  was gone, but it's starting to really worry now about radical Islamists taking over. Fact is, the US should have gotten involved much much earlier, sending aid, money and weapons to the rebels (Russia and Iran have been doing that freely to the Syrian regime since the get-go) but not doing any military actions. But the US dillydallying has now let the situation get out of control, and it is forced to use the only avenue left, direct force. It was a faulty previous "Syria policy" that led us here.
    As for US support ... about the only outside parties against the US taking military action are the Russians, Iran, Iraq, and Hez'b'allah. World opinion on this matter is vastly different from the Iraq War hype. They've actually seen the CW results, not just made-up s tories. Most countries, at least in the Middle East, are highly supportive of decisive US action. Even the Syrian rebels.
    As for the simplistic question, is death death? Come on... we see 25,000 Americans shot dead every year, have WE really done anything worthwhile to stop that? Nope. Don't want to give up guns, don't want to give up our WildWest frontier mentality (that applies even to hunters, as THERE ARE SUPERMARKETS NOW).  I think only rogue nations have as much gun slaughter as the US does. Yeee--HAAAW!

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

    by fourthcornerman on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:08:57 PM PDT

  •  Might as well bust out the bioweapons too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, mrsgoo

    I mean, what does it matter, right?

    There are very few things actually banned by treaties or international conventions.  Bio and chem weapons top that list for a reason.

    The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

    by Mote Dai on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:09:59 PM PDT

  •  I simply agree with Kos (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, leema, delver rootnose

    many things I have not agreed with but on this, he is correct a zillion times over IMO.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:31:53 PM PDT

  •  How about we try going after the manufacturers (0+ / 0-)

    of chemical weapons? Stop it at the source. Make it illegal to manufacture them in USA.
    Then make it illegal to manufacture land mines.

    This comment is a natural product. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects.

    by blue muon on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:36:38 PM PDT

  •  After WWII there was a theological movement and (0+ / 0-)

    UN Human Rights attempt to define behavior in a  "Just War," calling for humane treatment of non-combatents civilians.  Gassing of your own people, men, women and children who are not part of you military challengers breaks down all understanding to Human Rights.  Shame on Syria!  This is beyond any behavior that the military should have it its arsenal.  

  •  qwatz (0+ / 0-)

    use of chemical weapons is  a crime against humanity and should be responded to by the international community in a violent manner.

  •  Yes and no... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo

    Chemical weapons like atomic weapons are different than "conventional" weapons because they are less discriminating in who they kill. In addition they regularly inflict large quantities of pain before finishing the victim.

    While I agree with the premise that war is horrifying, violent, outdated and cruel, the prohibition on chemical weapons (like the attempts to reduce or eliminate atomic weapons) is a good thing to have and it's no surprise that it's one of the lines we as a world draw in the sand (regardless of whether we, the USA, should actually get involved in Syria or not).

    Images of the gas chambers used by Nazi Germany in WWII still simmer in our collective consciousness and to turn a blind eye to the use of chemical weapons on civilians now could well be viewed as a slap in the face to the veterans still alive who gave so much to rid the world of Fascism. It certainly shows a level of callousness in any government towards the people it governs to use gas of any kind.

    We should never try to minimize the impact of war on humans ever, but some forms of weaponry definitely deserve extra vigilance and condemnation. Chemical weapons are one of those classes.

    Progress 365 not just a slogan a goal - 300 progressive seats in the House and 65 progressive seats in the Senate.

    by jusjtim35 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:17:19 PM PDT

  •  We aren't at war with Yemen (0+ / 0-)

    Yet we deliver our drone strikes there with regularity.

    Yes, war is a nasty business, especially when war hasn't been declared yet we send our drones into a country to kill people.

    Yes, 'the Left" (aren't you a member?) objects to drone strikes when no state of war exists yet in our name people are assassinated by them continuously. Your post here sounds like a defense of the GWOT where borders are ignored and we're just a big ol' killing machine.  Sorry, but this post nauseates me.

    you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    by Dem Beans on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:23:58 PM PDT

  •  One of the very few aspects of war about which... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, mrsgoo

    almost every nation has agreed since the 1920's is that poison gas as a weapon of war is offensive to all humanity and is banned. We have made so little progress over the millenia in trying to eliminate war that I am shocked that anyone would question this tiny ray of light in the midst of all the darkness.

    And would you also make the same point about nuclear weapons?  

  •  I so agree (0+ / 0-)

    I hate the idea that there is some version of an acceptable war!

  •  I'm exremely distraught over he fact Israel's (0+ / 0-)

    intellegence is the source of confirmation of Syria's nerve gas attack. This is Iraq all over again.

    "It's no measure of health being well adjusted to a profoundly sick society"

    by buckshot face on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 04:37:21 PM PDT

  •  well said kos (0+ / 0-)

    it's a bullshit distinction with no real difference, dead is dead.

    it also kinda sorta hints that there's a noble way to kill, and then there's the unspeakable...

    meanwhile millions are breathing toxic gases living in cities with car exhaust, and in the country breathing windborn pesti/fungicides.

    this is what cog-diss looks like, up close...

    why? just kos..... *just cause*

    by melo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:19:28 PM PDT

    •  I have to agree (0+ / 0-)

      All of us living in developed countries are all on track to die from all the chemicals we are exposed to in our lives. The chemicals in our food and the chemicals that polute the air are all major contributors to the fact that 1 out of every 2 men will develop some sort of cancer sometime in their lifetime.
      Instead of Obama worrying about what Assad is doing to his own people with chemicals, he should focus his attention and resources at home and try to improve the longevity of his own people by giving more funding aimed at food with less chemicals and less polution in the air.

  •   Have to disagree. (0+ / 0-)

    Given a choice I'd pick an iron bomb over gas.  I'm not really afraid of death it's the journey there I fear. Or the amount of pain involve.

    I also think there is value creating "rules of war". We aren't going to stop wars from happening so maybe we should try to limit the horror a little IMO. Not doing so seems more cruel.

    In this case I see no good choice other then maybe punishing Asad's military but not to the point that the bad guys get the CWs. I would want to have to make the choices.

    I try not to come here more often then I do.

    by Maroon watch on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:27:31 PM PDT

  •  So, how should we stand against barbarism? (0+ / 0-)

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:53:37 PM PDT

  •  If gas is an acceptable form of warfare ... (0+ / 0-)

    all countries with armies will stock up on gas weapons. If your enemy stockpiles gas and is not afraid to use it, you will stockpile it to. Then wars will use them, and will kill many, many more civilians than conventional weapons, and many more innocent people will die than otherwise.

    Furthermore, if there are lots of gas weapons floating around, terrorists will get their hands on them. I am willing to bet one nerve gas bomb in the right place would kill more people than terrorists killed on 9/11.

    Keeping gas warfare unacceptable is a good reason to intervene in Syria; we don't have to step in on the side of the rebels, but it would be good if we punished Syria in some way for using chemical weapons.

  •  Gas is indiscriminate, uncontrollable & (0+ / 0-)

    leaves permanent damage in survivors that's even worse than damage from conventional weapons.

    Please learn from the history of it's use. It was outlawed for very good reasons.

    Please don't be an apologist for war crimes and war criminals.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 06:39:52 PM PDT

    •  Our surgical drone strikes kill more innocents (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      delver rootnose

      than guilty.

      Our fire bombings and nuclear bombs in WWII killed more civilians than military and caused horrendous suffering and torturous deaths among those not immediately killed.  Hundreds of thousand of them.  Almost all of them civilians.

      When we stand in judgment of our enemies we should remember the dishonors of our own past.  

      We have not righteous ground to stand on.

      And remember that every Icarus is doomed to fall.

  •  CW is poison gas, not napalm, white phosphorous,et (0+ / 0-)

    Germ warfare was used by the Mongols who catapulted
    corpses infected with bubonic plague into besieged cities.
    These methods are called war crimes.
    Making war against enemy civilians is also a war crime.

    The Syrian war is a civil war, I doubt that the international laws of war apply, maybe crime against humanity does but
    Syria has not ratified the Rome Amendment ICC( neither has the US).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    The US has no legal basis to avenge a crime against humanities, though the EU could( having signed it).

    An airstrike would be 'cowboy' diplomacy befitting GW Bush.

    I for one am sick of reruns of High Noon.

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