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no matter the delivery mechanism...then I have a few suggestions for practices that I think need to be brought back into common practice.

Death is death...so it shouldn't matter, in terms of capital punishment, whether you die by lethal injection, shooting, hanging, or are drawn and quartered.  Who cares? Death is death.

Death is death...so let's just legalize chemical weapons already.  Hell, guarantee them under the 2nd Amendment.  If I have a right to stand my ground, I should be able to do it with sarin gas.  Better not come after me, bub...you'll get yours.  And why should you care? Death is death, after all.

Death is death...so from now on, we should ignore any death that might occur at the hands of forced labor camps, political prisoners, terrorist attacks, rape, torture, and any other of these so-called "crimes against humanity."  Doesn't really matter, does it? Death is death.

Death is death...so spare me those arguments from those of you who think the terminally ill and in grotesque pain should be able to "die with dignity."  Screw it...no matter what the pain, no matter what the emotional and financial cost, deal with it...hey, death is death.

Death is death...whether it happens you are kid shot in an elementary school or an old man of 95 dying in your sleep.  The "delivery mechanism" doesn't matter, so any perception problems you might have with kid being gunned down are your own problem, because that kid is that same as the 95-year-old.  After all, death is death.

Death is death...only when it comes to what passes for progressive thought.  Because if we all lack the imagination and critical thinking to understand why the use of chemical weapons against children might just be a little different...might not just death as usual...might not even be the same as dying by bomb or bullet...and that there was a legitimate reason to ban those type of weapons in the first place...

then progressive thought is truly dead.

I wish I had an answer for the horror of Syria, nearly two years running now.  And I am opposed to intervention by the U.S. because I don't see it as having any sort of outcome that doesn't do more damage to the region.

But I do know that poo-pooing the use of chemical weapons -- whoever used them -- as falsely equivalent to other sorts of dying is a sad state of affairs indeed.  Over the past few days I've read countless comments that seem to disregard a chemical attack as no big deal, without examining that it actually is a big deal...one that needs to be thoroughly investigated, to be sure.  

We can only hope that it is before this gets any worse.

But if it isn't? Eh, no big deal, right? I mean after all, death is death.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If death is death... (7+ / 0-)

    ...then America's nuclear Arsenal will make future wars quite simple.

    Until someone uses them on America.  But death is death, after all.

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:53:59 AM PDT

    •  Why CAN'T i own WMDs?! (fellow RKBAs back me up!) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PsychoSavannah, Tchrldy

      After all, we need our amazingly deadly weapons to fight off the gub'mint once they start putting us in Obamacare camps. Why should that inalienable right stop at mere small arms? A disarmed populace can't rebel and we've seen what happens to a civilian populace in a country where only the Government is allowed to own Weapons of Mass Destruction.

      RKBWMDs, baby.

      What's that? A posse of hoodie-clad negro street toughs are walking down the sidewalk towards me? WELL LEMMIE STAND MY GROUND CUZ I GOT SOME VX NERVE GAS FOR YOU POT-SMOKING THUGS~

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:25:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's not just about escalation either (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheHalfrican, marina

        some weapons are not just about killing

        they are about terrorizing

        you don't ram planes into skyscrapers to just kill

        you do it to show your enemies that you can do more than just end their lives

        because some things are worse than just dying

        my uncle worked at nuclear reactors. he lived a nice comfortable life. then he retired to a nice comfortable retirement.  but it didn't last long.  

        one day, his doctor told him he had months to live.  the cancer made him go blind, deaf, dumb and shut down his organs one by one until he died from massive organ failure.

        he didn't just die.  

        a couple years later, the same thing happened to the brother of a girl i was friend's with.  her brother was 18 or 19.

        a few year ago it happened to my wife's aunt.  her body fell to pieces over a span of months until she died.

        and when her mother got a tumor in her brain and recovering from the surgery complicated her fragile diabetes and she lost the ability to walk or see and almost became like a child in her mind.

        we have to go see her mom this weekend, because she's been unable to sleep and it's making her lose her mind.  what's left.

        death isn't just death in war.  killing is horrible.  but when you can wound someone with a poison that slowly destroys them until they fall to pieces... that's not just killing.  that's torturing someone to death.

        •  Nor do you target first responders and funeral (0+ / 0-)

          parties just to kill your enemies.

          Terror is terror.

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

          by PhilJD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:01:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  markos is just trying to delegitimize the argument (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dr Swig Mcjigger

            behind engaging in military action

            if dead is dead, then red lines don't matter and there's no legitimate argument for military action

            i get his goal

            i think his means will come back to haunt him

            if red lines don't matter in life, then there's a lot of left arguments that lose their legitimacy

    •  Right on what? (4+ / 0-)

      This is not response to any argument I am familiar with.

      •  It's a response to kos' worst diary ever (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rei, Timaeus, Dr Swig Mcjigger

        and that that diary is atop the rec list is distressing and depressing.

        •  Then none of you understand that diary (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fb, Darmok, Deep Harm, PhilJD, edrie
          •  Indeed (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fb, Chi, Deep Harm, edrie

            I think this diary is nonsensical. It's drawing exactly the opposite of the correct conclusion. It is an atrocity that 100,000 people have been killed in Syria by guns and bombs, including untold thousands of children. That is no less an atrocity than killing the same number of people with sarin gas would be.

            By saying that using gas is some sort of red line, you are saying that blowing people up and shooting them is okay. And no, personally I don't care if you gas me or blow me up with a big fat bomb. And I don't see why you would care either.

            •  It is no way saying that. (10+ / 0-)

              It's saying that killing that predominantly focuses on easily and indiscriminantly making non-combattants en-masse die a long, excruciating, suffering death is NOT the same as conventional warfare.  If you can't tell the difference between raiding a district to kill your enemies with guns (even if you're careless or even deliberately malicious in your assault), and raiding the district by flooding the entire civilian area in poison to kill them all in a horrid manner, I don't know what's wrong with you.

              Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

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

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why make it personal? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mnemosyne, edrie

                I don't get this place sometimes.  There appears to have been a misunderstanding about Kos' diary and now we're accusing each other of having some kind of moral deficiency??  Insanity reigns, apparently.

                "Gentlemen, we'll have no fighting in the war room!"

              •  Maybe it doesn't SAY it, but it infers it- (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                NYFM, Timaeus

                The warring world have been saying "OK" to bombs and bullets since their invention. Because the assumption is that death by bullet or bomb is more humane. Quicker. Cleaner.
                It's one thing to have fresh lobster for dinner, quite another to hear it scream in the scalding water.

                Yes, how one dies is important. Not all WMDs are created  equal. It is the extended period of agony we're objecting to in chemical weapon usage. That matters.
                And I know people can suffer agony from most methods of murder, for that is what war is, mass murder.

                It's like if one is a Christian and lovingly pronounces and reflects on how Jesus died for our sins. Isn't that lovely?
                Then, go and research what death by crucifixion entailed. Read a detailed account of the stages of death by that method. That's when true appreciation of the statement you're making comes.

                In Advertising and PR, the saying goes "the medium is the message". This is also true of death.

                Chemical weapons are banned by most countries for a reason. For several reasons. It may be hypocritical or naïve to have rules of war, the Geneva Conventions that the Bush administration so unthinkingly damaged by working outside of them. You can't make war tolerable with rules. The idea is to maintain some semblance of civility, of humanity, amidst the carnage.

                Given my druthers, I'd have no war. Given reality, I'd rather have war with some nastiness banned and not done than war in which anything goes.
                Syria did not sign the ban on chemical weapons. There is no contract to hold them to. And boots on the ground or planes in the air will not undo the horror that has been done. We can only hope we take the time to seek peaceful means to ending violence before raining death on killers and innocents alike.

                Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

                by Gentle Giant on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:43:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes. It is true that this recent chemical (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Gentle Giant, Dr Swig Mcjigger

                  weapons attack was ordered by the Syrian military.  We (or at least most of us) don't know whether the dictator gave the order, but it is, in fact, clear that it was a government attack.

                  That killed hundreds and hundreds (and maybe more) innocent civilians, little girls and boys, in their homes.

                  Peacenik that I am, I'm in favor of limited war here, just as I was in favor of Bill Clinton's strike against Belgrade in the Kosovo disaster.

                  In fact, I would prefer a decisive strike, including U.S. army and special forces dropping in, that does away with the butcher Bashir al-Assad.

                  I've had too many Syrian law cases.  I think we do need regime change here.

                  That is the course that saves the most lives, and prevents the most injury, in the long run, in my opinion.

          •  he compared chemical weapons to drones (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wmtriallawyer, NYFM, jncca

            which is like comparing nukes to land mines

          •  thank you! i got it immediately - and i agree (0+ / 0-)

            with what he wrote.

            EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

            by edrie on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 07:30:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for sticking with this, Armando. (0+ / 0-)

        This diary is such a remarkable exercise in intellectual dishonesty that taking it on feels like dueling against smoke or debating a von Däniken true believer.

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

        by PhilJD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:04:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This objection to "death is death"... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wmtriallawyer, LEP, PhilJD

      misses the point about what to do with Syria. Both warring sides there are going for the jugular while the government has more robust resources for doing so.

      Few conflicts are more vicious or heartless than civil wars, whether within nations with weapons or within families or among communities with words.

      The U.S. is already compromised about taking any sort of even minimalist military action against Syria when it let the Egyptian military off by ending civilian rule when it ousted Morsi. By announcing that the Syrian government had cross the "red line" for the use - by someone - of chemical weaponry inside Syria, all the Obama Administration has done is remove themselves from what little honest broker role it might have fantasized exercising.

      All Syrians themselves know is that previously they were in danger of getting killed either by their own government or one of the numerous rebel groups. Now they get to figure out how to protect themselves from the Americans, British, French, and probably the Turks.

      Whee.

      The real problem for the Americans is the refusal to accept the fact that the Assad regime is the only effective national government that they can work with if the long term goal is any sort of Syrian government that will work with them.  Certainly no radical theocratic regime will, and that is the likelihood if regime takes place at the conclusion of this war.

      But that also means denying the fantasy of the rebels as some sort of freedom loving beatniks or something. These folks are not the ones you hear about in an ABBA single. The ones who aren't ready imposing religious law in the areas they control are otherwise profoundly incompetent at graft and theft. They're the Syrian equivalent of Ahmed Chalabi.

      And all religious and ethnic minorities would suffer in the wake of a rebel win. What would result would be the worst combination of Libya and Iraq: sectarian violence by innumerable armed parties in the midst of nationwide chaos.

      Even Israel should prefer the Assad regime to what might follow.

      What the Obama Administration should do is take a deep breath, take a step back from the brink, and, with others, broker a ceasefire that both sides can live with and that a third party can monitor. Maybe even get the Russians to help removing what chemical weapons are still there?

      But introducing even more weapons, even cruise missiles, into this conflict leads to a multiplicity of results that will rapidly become unpredictable.

      #mytwocentsworth

      "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 11:57:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. If, when, five years or twenty years (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Superskepticalman

        down the road, our intervention in Syria results--as it very well might--in a dozen heavily-armed and vicious mini-states locked in an endless cycle of hatred and atrocity, many of the same well-intentioned "humanitarians" now arguing for that intervention will innocently proclaim

        Who could have foreseen?
        Unforeseen consequences. Chaos theory. Butterfly wings.

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

        by PhilJD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:15:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  People die by the thousands in the U.S... (7+ / 0-)

    ...due to the actions/inaction of many government agencies (the EPA, the FDA, etc., etc....very lengthy list). Here's just one, very big example of this inconvenient truth: "The Economic Terrorists Among Us." (The fact that this reality is not more widely acknowledged in our society--via the media and the government, itself--is really due to little more than propaganda. And, more often than not, propaganda is more about what is NOT publicly stated/acknowledged--at least with any degree of regularity--than what is!]

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:55:48 AM PDT

  •  Bravo! Especially for this: (12+ / 0-)
    then progressive thought is truly dead.
    But, we have been told, how that came about shouldn't matter, since dead is dead.

    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 10:57:05 AM PDT

    •  This diary is more an example (6+ / 0-)

      of Thought being dead.

      It has nothing to do with the argument Markos presented.

      •  Doesn't it? (4+ / 0-)

        Because I read Kos' diary, and this one, and thought this diary touched upon Kos' subject matter pretty closely.

        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 11:24:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Explain why you think so (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GoGoGoEverton, OLinda, Darmok

          Because I find it to either completely miss the point inadvertently, or disingenuously misstate the point.

          Perhaps you can explain what you think Kos meant and what you think this diary means.

          •  You are the one who is proposing (6+ / 0-)

            that the diarist misses the point.  It is only right that YOU should explain precisely why.

            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 11:29:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The diarist misses the point (8+ / 0-)

              in that he mistakes, or deliberately misstates the point Kos was making.

              To wit, Markos was arguing that a retaliatory strike and more will cause death, destruction and "pain and suffering" and absent a better understanding of the objective of the military strikes, or more, the focus on the mechanism of death misses the larger point - the idea is to lessen the pain and suffering AND death.

              The diarist thinks Markos is saying it does not matter how you die. That's not true at all.

              He is saying before you cause more death, destruction and pain and suffering, make sure you have an objective to achieve and the means to achieve it.

              Because the retaliatory death, destruction, pain and suffering is also death, destruction, pain and suffering.

              So do you think the diarist addressed THAT?

              I'm sure he did not.

              •  I quote Kos (10+ / 0-)
                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.

                Note that I supply full context.

                Kos quite explicitly argues that chemical weapons are no worse a way to kill than others.

                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 11:45:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "That other kind of murder" (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  edrie

                  that comes from all wars.

                  Including retaliatory strikes.

                  I will grant you that the last graf muddies Kos' point, which is, imo, that a retaliatory stirkes, and more, that cause death, destruction and pain and suffering are not cost free in moral terms.

                  That "other kind of murder" should be the big issue now.

                  How does it help reach the objectives? Is it worht it?

                  That was his point.

                  I'm sure of it.

                  •  And my bigger-than-Markos-picture (0+ / 0-)

                    of the whole fucking thing is this:

                    the rebels have guns with which to fight back.  "Fair" fight is not a term I would apply to the disgusting concept, but "fairer" for the folks trying to take that country away from the madman who currently runs it.  The  rebels have bigger weapons too....all conventional though.

                    But chemicals?  ONLY the government has them.  And the government used them.  Over-the-top disgusting.  There is no antidote for them either.....at least with a gunshot wound you can go to hospital and perhaps recover.  Same with lost limbs and burns.  But chemicals?  You aint' got a chance.

                    So THAT is part of why chemical warfare is higher on the murder scale.

                    Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

                    by PsychoSavannah on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:12:41 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  US ain't firing bullets (0+ / 0-)

                      Don;t see the "fair" in your argument even if that is how to measure these things anyway.

                      I don;t think it is.

                      •  None of it is fair in any way (0+ / 0-)

                        That the vast majority of the rebels are civilians means the vast majority of people killed in this civil war are civilians.  ANY action of any kind brings pain and death and suffering - to civilians.

                        My personal druthers would be to assassinate Assad.  But we don't do that, and with good reason.  So, we have a choice.....stop him and let the whole world know that there really is a big bright red line, or not.  The pain and death and suffering continues either way.

                        We are gunshy after Iraq...understandable, but still.  THIS is the kind of shit we should always be stopping.

                        Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

                        by PsychoSavannah on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:13:03 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  there is a small problem here. (0+ / 0-)

                          IF "stopping", you mean cruise missles, then how does that prevent the further spread of chemical weapons.  if we hit them, the chemicals are dispursed in the atmosphere.

                          if we go for assad and his group, then what stops others from using those weapons.

                          negotiated peace - un supervision of the removal of the chemical weapon stock - that is the preferred means that doesn't cause more suffering to those who are innocents.

                          EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                          by edrie on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 07:44:20 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  I really think his point was (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blue aardvark, edrie

                  that Assad crossed the "line" long ago, and that the latest chemical attacks pushes them even farther over the "line."  Kos acknowledges that the chemical attacks are horrible, but argues that it can't tip scales that are already out of balance.

                  I do not feel obligated to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use -- Galileo Galilei

                  by ccyd on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:52:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  blue aardvark, do you really think that those who (0+ / 0-)

                  are blinded, had their bodies torn apart, are suffering would say "OH! that isn't CHEMICAL, so it is OKAY!"

                  markos' point is very clear to me - for those suffering, it doesn't matter the delivery - they are STILL suffering (OR they are STILL dead).

                  as one who has seen firsthand the results of war (markos IS a gulf war vet, btw), i think his opinion is poignantly clear.

                  and i agree with him.

                  totally.

                  EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                  by edrie on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 07:41:12 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Well, tbh, Kos' diary is pretty muddled. (1+ / 0-)

                It definitely isn't his finest piece of writing, to say the least.

                "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                by Lawrence on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:21:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I am so glad you could interpret what Markos (1+ / 0-)

                meant to say, even though that's not what he actually said.  

                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 02:17:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He did say it (0+ / 0-)

                  He wrote more than that one muddied paragraph.

                  Are you really that intent in thinking ill of Markos?

                  Honestly, you really think your unfair and rather ridiculous interpretation of his intent is what he meant?

                  Why would you want to believe that is what he meant instead of the interpretation I posit?

                  •  Well, I can agree with this statement of yours: (0+ / 0-)
                    He wrote more than that one muddied paragraph.
                    Honestly, I am not intent about thinking ill of Markos.  I do however, think ill of what he wrote.  It was neither well written nor is it well reasoned.  Chemicals weapons ARE different.  Which is precisely why they have a different status in International Humanitarian Law.  Kos may not have meant to say what he came across as saying, but the fault then lies with the writer NOT with the reader.  And, if another writer points out the logical fallacies in the first writer's work (as has been done here), that is quite legitimate.

                    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 03:33:34 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  to add to Armando's reply (0+ / 0-)

              Kos is talking about "wartime casualties," and says that in the first sentence.

              This diary mentions

              Death is death...whether it happens you are kid shot in an elementary school or an old man of 95 dying in your sleep.  
              as if that is an argument that relates to kos's diary. It isn't.
          •  Sure (9+ / 0-)

            Kos' argument was that Assad was no more a monster when his minions killed with gas then he was when they killed otherwise.

            This diary is that choice of weapons and methods does matter, that using weapons which destroy entire communities is worse than guns and bombs.

            I find that this diary therefore touches upon Kos' pretty near the bone.

            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 11:31:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  thank you. Nt (10+ / 0-)

    "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 10:58:36 AM PDT

  •  agreed (8+ / 0-)

    of course it matters. seems obvious to me most people in america agree.

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

    by Deep Texan on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:00:01 AM PDT

  •  Yeah. (12+ / 0-)

    What's that old concept about pain and suffering that we used to care about?

    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

    by MBNYC on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:00:03 AM PDT

  •  so so agree (7+ / 0-)

    Andrew sullivan has a long link up...its so amazing.

    A journalist from the new Yorker has this awesome argument with himself on why we should engage and help... and why we  should not.

    Its too hard to find....I'm at work on my droid.

    I wish I had time to link to it and find it.

    I guess never again does not apply to anyone else?
    We just stand by and rant stupid idiocy like no wag the wag.
    And other nonsense not worth repeating while he gases children.

    "My Mom is my hero, my angel and I revere her to no end.." Christin, July 6, 2013

    by Christin on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:00:10 AM PDT

  •  I take the point (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Shahryar, blue aardvark

    That War is War, and the mechanism by which suffering ensues, is secondary to the cause.  the discussion of means Weapons systems), misses the point about the cause (war).

    various weapons systems and tactics have been labeled as morally transgressive, and all have been used.   Social tolerance of the means of war is subjective and subject to changing mores.  War however, is not.  

  •  I believe a better point is "no death" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, PhilJD

    Drawing a line at how people die is odd, yes. From my point of view don't use chemical weapons, don't use drones, don't use grenades, don't use bullets.

    Seen from that perspective it's reasonable to say "death is death", that dropping a bomb or using chemical weapons is immoral, insane and murder.

    Dear NSA: I am only joking.

    by Shahryar on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:05:35 AM PDT

  •  This particular turn has come as a bit of (14+ / 0-)

    a surprise to me.

    I understand that we're all self-selected to be fixated on the politics of this situation, and we're, of course, primed by the worst kind of neo-con bullshit to be suspicious of the rush to war.  That's all for the good, of course.  We've got to do everything we can to avoid the horrendous path we've been taking in Iraq and elsewhere.  

    But downgrading the taboo on chemical weapons doesn't strike me as a particularly good long-term antiwar strategy.

    I get it: An automatic trigger for intervention can be a recipe for disaster, and there is, of course, arbitrariness and politics to the force of outrage.  

    By all means oppose all of it, all the senseless and stupid and cruel parts of warfare.  And don't for a second believe there's an automatic trigger that demands a particular kind of intervention. Keep shining a light on it all, because all of it is the stuff of nightmares.  But be careful what you downplay.

    •  It is UPGRADING (6+ / 0-)

      the taboo on starting wars except as a last resort.

      The willful misunderstanding exhibited by this diary and the approving comments is stunning in its disingenuousness.

      •  Your argument seems to be (3+ / 0-)

        that all arguments against Syrian intervention are good and all arguments against those arguments are bad. Because you are not engaging the diarist on the merits. If I misunderstand you, proceed with enlightenment.

        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 11:26:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's simply a lie (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          urovermyknee

          The diarist presents no merits.

          I explained the point as I understood it, an argument against an armed attack as a response to an armed attack as a moral or justifiable act.

          What is the objective of the armed attack is the question presented.

          It seems that your view is that anything in support of an armed attack in Syria is good and that any arguments against are bad.

          Maybe you can enlighten me.

          •  That's pretty smug of you to dismiss this diary (3+ / 0-)

            I do perceive merits.

            The argument is whether or not an attack via chemical weapons merits a different response than an attack via bombs and bullets.

            That is what Kos' diary is about. It is also what this diary is about.

            The diarist explicitly states that he does not advocate an attack on Syria, merely that he thinks that keeping chemical weapons on the other side of a line is a good thing. This diary is not in support of attacking Syria, it is in support of the continued prohibition, however tenuous, of chemical weapons.

            Since the diarist says

            I wish I had an answer for the horror of Syria, nearly two years running now.  And I am opposed to intervention by the U.S. because I don't see it as having any sort of outcome that doesn't do more damage to the region.
            your attempts to conflate horror at chemical weapon use with support for an attack on Syria indicate that you have not, in fact, actually read the diary.

            You aren't engaging the diary on the merits. I have yet to see you write anything displaying minimal comprehension.

            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 11:37:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pretty fucking smug of the diarist (0+ / 0-)

              The paragraph you highlight show the willful misunderstanding of Kos' point.

              Hell, most of the comments do too.

              That the diarist does not support a retaliatory strike is irrelevant to Kos' point. He was not responding to this diarist.

              He was responding to the arguments for a retalaitory strike.

              •  If Kos makes a bad argument in support (6+ / 0-)

                of a good cause, it remains a bad argument.

                Treating chemical weapons as no different than other weapons is a bad argument. Kos needs to find other, better arguments, and such do exist.

                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 11:42:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If you insist on willfully misunderstanding it (0+ / 0-)

                  Then sure.

                  Properly understood, it is a very good argument.

                  Indeed, a moral argument.

                  •  Because there is no room for discussion (0+ / 0-)

                    and disagreement on this site.  Certain people set the Conventional Wisdom and if you are a "progressive" you will agree, no questions asked, no differing opinions allowed, no nuances permitted.  Those who dare voice their opinions, if outside the conventional wisdom, are either "lying" or "willfully misunderstanding" or "rallying the base" or any other of a number of dismissive titles.  The conventional wisdom can't be wrong, ever...because so many good progressive see the rationality in it and really anyone who is smart and thoughtful and progressive can't help but agree.  

                    OK.  I get 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 02:32:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If you misunderstand the argument innocently (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      edrie

                      Then I should not criticize you.

                      Buk, if after having the argument and your mistakes in understanding the argument  explained to you, and you PERSIST in misstating the argument, then what is it?

                      IS it not WILLFUL misunderstanding?

                •  So you're A-OK with the firebombing of Dresden? (0+ / 0-)

                  “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

                  by lucid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:54:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Since I cited it elsewhere as a bad thing (1+ / 0-)

                    ... no.

                    That chemical weapons are bad does not mean that other things are not also bad.

                    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 12:22:45 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Sorry - missed that (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Darmok

                      While Markos' diary might have been ineptly titled, I do agree with Armando here though. I think the diarist and many defending him are missing the point.

                      In my book, war is the moral obscenity period. I see no difference in the manner of indiscriminate murder. And especially in this context - one in which the US has been indifferent to chemical weapons use for many years - I find it quite hypocritical that we would somehow see this specific instance of chemical weapons use as a moral outrage.

                      Address the causes, not the consequences of war.

                      “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

                      by lucid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:38:27 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  One would think that a conviction that poison gas (0+ / 0-)

                is not just a particularly horrific way to die, but is qualitatively different--and worse--than other horrible deaths, would compel the diarist to support American intervention in Syria as an absolute moral imperative.

                The diarist avoids that clarity though, wanting to be deemed "moral" for drawing a line at the use of chemical weapons... and wanting to be deemed "moral" for opposing intervention as well...

                as though there is no conflict between the two.

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

                by PhilJD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:42:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Armando, (0+ / 0-)

        My comment isn't in the least disingenuous.  If it misunderstands Markos or this diary, then it doesn't do so willfully.

        And I certainly don't want to give comfort to the folks who would wish to bring us closer to war.

  •  if 'dead is dead' (4+ / 0-)

    than why would anyone take issue with guns? i mean, killed with a knife is no different than with a gun, right? dead is dead no matter the delivery mechanism.

    anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

    by chopper on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:08:22 AM PDT

  •  Two Different Questions (9+ / 0-)

    First, we'll assume you're referencing Kos' diary here.

    Second, Kos is talking about how we perceive death dealt by others, often among their own people.

    Your examples primarily deal with how we deal out death.

    How we perceive deal dealt by others will determine how we react to it.  And Kos' questions are relevant if we are to make informed decisions about our response and if we are to learn and grow as a society into something better.

    We conveniently overlooked Iraq's use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war for the simple reason that we supported Iraq in that conflict.  We've overlooked the use of chemical weapons by the rebels in Syria just a few months ago.  But now, when they MAY have been used by the government, we are VERY concerned.

    Kos is right to push us to examine our motives in this.  And, by extension, you are wrong to suggest we shouldn't do so, because ... other death stuff.

    You are right that we need to examine how we deal out death -- abortion, the death penalty, street violence, health care, distribution of resources, climate — all are involved in how we deal out or tolerate death.  But that is entirely a different question.

    Kos asks how we should determine how to react to violent death caused by others.

    You are asking how we should deal it out ourselves.

    Both questions worth asking.  But neither should be confused with the other.

    •  Agreed. I recced Kos' diary, and this one. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koseighty

      Because the fact that the same words can be used to describe two very different paradigms doesn't mean those paradigms are not different.

      Both of them are worth discussing, both are worth our strong attention.

      I was going to add a comment to the diary directly, but your analysis is better than mine would have been. Thanks.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:56:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Indiscriminate (6+ / 0-)

    that is the big thing that kos failed to take into account and its indeed a very fundamental oversight.

    the whole premise of the laws of war (the laws of whats allowed and whats not, in war; not whether the war is allowed in the first place) is the concept of discrimination between combatants and noncombatants.

    WMD arent outlawed because of their killing - entirely conventional carpet bombing is as bloody - but beacuse their way of working precludes any chance of "discriminate" application against "military targets only".

    this is so substantial a concept that it is indeed deeply troubling that it can at all be overlooked by so relatively many commenters, on both sides of the issue. If we lose sight of that concept then we are a lot closer to barbarity than I thought.

    •  War is indiscriminate death (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      basquebob, lucid, edrie
      •  No, it isnt. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z, PsychoSavannah

        The plague is indiscriminate death. Old age, too.

        war is organized murder, by definition not indiscriminate.

      •  Really? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z, Evil Betty, Gator Keyfitz

        Do you really suppose that every soldier and every general kills without concern as to who is being killed?

        Would you care to back that argument up?

        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 11:28:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well so long as they are concerned (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lucid

          That makes the indiscirminate killing all better.

          Do you really deny that there is INEVITABLY indiscriminate killing in war?

          WTF?

          Talk about the death of progressive thought.

          •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gator Keyfitz

            That there is indiscriminate killing contained within war is quite a different thing than war consisting of nothing else than indiscriminate killing.

            In fact, the whole point of "laws of war" is trying to keep the killing as discriminate as possible. That's the entire point of the Geneva Conventions.

            That's part of why we have smart bombs as opposed to iron bombs. No one, looking back, really thinks Dresden was a good thing. To say nothing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

            The effort will never succeed perfectly, but it still must be made. And that "continually striving for the perfection of what must remain imperfect" is the freakin' essence of the enlightenment and most progressive thought.

            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 11:50:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If it contains it (0+ / 0-)

              Wait, so the fact that it ius not ALL indisicrminate killing makes it all better?

              •  Yes, precisely (0+ / 0-)

                War is evil. Unless you are a pacifist, though, you believe that it is sometimes a necessary evil.

                When it becomes necessary to wage war (not that I'm advocating that we are in such a situation as regards Syria), a war with less indiscriminate killing is less evil than one with more indiscriminate killing. Matters of degree do matter.

                And that's the whole point of banning chemical weapons, forbidding the use of child soldiers, treating prisoners humanely, and so on.

                Some might argue that attempts to limit the evil of war make it more likely as more palatable, like that old Star Trek episode where war was waged by computers. Let's leave that one for a different diary.

                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 11:59:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  My facebook status update on Monday: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rachael7

        So can someone explain to me clearly why the use of chemical weapons in war is a greater moral obscenity than war itself? How is it more of a moral obscenity than the firebombing of Dresden? The dropping of nukes?

        Or for that matter, how is it more of a moral obscenity than Bhopal? Did the US even contemplate revoking the Union Carbide corporate charter?

        War itself is the obscenity. The savageness of corporate greed that feeds it and the many other moral obscenities that plague our world are no less outrageous. Addressing the consequences rather than the causes of a violent, degraded society will do nothing to evince justice.

        “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

        by lucid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:59:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Death is death. But killing isn't killing. (7+ / 0-)

    Yes death is death.

    But "killing isn't killing." It's the manner of killing that's at issue here. We should all oppose killing, and the worse the means of killing, the more we should oppose it.

    War is ugly, demeaning, dehumanizing, evil, bad shit. To the extend it can be made less so, it's a worthy pursuit, but it will never make it right.

    •  If we oppose killing (3+ / 0-)

      then what's the view on retaliatory killing by indiscriminate means?

      I am shocked at the refusal to grapple with the question Kos presented.

      •  I agree with Armando. (3+ / 0-)

        Kos raised an important question.   We all abhor the use of chemical weapons, but it doesn't change the fact that 100,000 people have already been killed in the conflict with conventional weaponry, and our track record in the Middle East leaves little hope that our intervening will do anything other than make a shitty situation even deadlier.

        We're between a rock and a hard place to be sure, but to act like this is a simple decision is doing a disservice to the debate.

        Education is the progressive discovery of our own ignorance. -Will Durant

        by Blue Dream on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:34:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Reply is days late. But grappling... (0+ / 0-)

        can require time. Only love and respect to you, Armando, my comrade. 100,000 dead can become - in the same time, same cost, and same effort - 1,000,000 dead with use of mass indiscriminate weapons of death. Yes, death is death, and we can apply that reasoning to all causes of death including war.

        But there isn't an equivalency between death and killing. Killing causes death. Death is an inevitable part of life, and that fact/truism is how a lot of killing gets dismissed, especially in war. I get that.

        When the means of killing however, the means of causing death, is so great, so beyond the existing means where a regime is pressing a new norm in any perversion that is war... it's something phenomenologically different. We accept in war killing with firearms, fire bombs, guns... we shouldn't accept it but we can't stop war, so there are certain accepted norms for when war happens. We do not accept killing with weapons that are orders of magnitude greater than existing conventional means.

        It's not callousness that prevails in opposition to chemical weapons. It's reasoned belief in practical boundaries that will save more lives that can be lost across those boundaries.

  •  The site has been very slow. First concerns (0+ / 0-)

    that concerns about the NSA were white privilege problems, now this. I think Kos is trolling us.

  •  Can't We Have Both? (3+ / 0-)
    Cake or DEATH? Oh, I'll have cake, please.
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  •  It's true that death is death. (0+ / 0-)

    But innocent life is innocent life. It doesn't matter what mechanisms are used to take innocent life. The taking of innocent life is intrinsically wrong from my standpoint.

    It is wrong to kill civilians and non-combatants. It is wrong to kill others who are not a threat to our own existence.

    This comment in no way justifies military intervention in Syria. I oppose such a move, just as the diarist does.

  •  Wow (7+ / 0-)

    Really?

    Either you are willfully misunderstanding the point or you are dshonestly presenting the point.

    Either way, poor show.

  •  You opposed Kos himself! INB4 THE PERMBAN- (0+ / 0-)

    HOW DARE YOU QUESTION THE KOSLORD

    "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

    by TheHalfrican on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:17:30 AM PDT

  •  The previous 99,000 victims of the Syrian War (2+ / 0-)

    were definitely happier to die by bomb, shrapnel, bullet, burning, torture, disease, suffocation, starvation etc. than by chemical attack.  Smiling in heaven.  

    I think its time we struck the Assad regime and forced them to stop killing civilians with gas, and go back to using bombs, shrapnel, bullets, burning, torture, disease, suffocation, starvation, etc.  I'll sleep better at night.  

    •  what worries me (and i am by NO means saying assad (0+ / 0-)

      should stay) is WHO will replace him when he is gone.

      look at egypt, iraq, afghanistan and libya.

      the concept of the "arab spring" has brought nothing but turmoil and suffering and death since it started.

      not saying people shouldn't stand up against corrupt regimes, but if one is going to take them down, there damned well better be something stable to fill the void.

      as armando and kos point out - to strike without a clear objective that is obtainable is folly.

      EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

      by edrie on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:04:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. (0+ / 0-)

    All forms of killing are not created equal.

    •  Killing innocents by (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darmok, serendipityisabitch

      conventional war means is definitely morally superior to killing innocents by chemical weapons.

      The question is what is the purpose of a military strike in Syria by the United States.

      Any one interested in grappling with that question?

      Or does the diarist and the approving commenters prefer disingenuous misstatements of the argument?

      •  The purpose is punishment (0+ / 0-)

        for killing civilians with bug spray.

        The question is what is the purpose of a military strike in Syria by the United States.
        •  Punishing who? (0+ / 0-)

          Is the stirke going to be a sniper on a roof shooting at Assad? At Syrian generals?

          How does this punishment work?

          •   Assad's assets being destroyed is punishment (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PsychoSavannah

            The link below lists possible targets.

            Washington Post

            It appears most likely that the primary purpose of the strikes would be to “punish” Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his regime for their alleged use of chemical weapons, a ritual meant to deter him from using them again and, hopefully, do the same for any future military leader.

            Some reports suggest that, as part of this, the strikes would also aim to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons, although this is very difficult given that the regime is thought to have huge quantities and to move them around the country. It’s unlikely that the strikes will target chemical weapons specifically, as this risks dispersing the chemical agents.

          •  Ruining Assad's assests is punishing him (0+ / 0-)

            The link below offers possible targets:
            Washington Post

            It appears most likely that the primary purpose of the strikes would be to “punish” Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his regime for their alleged use of chemical weapons, a ritual meant to deter him from using them again and, hopefully, do the same for any future military leader.

            Some reports suggest that, as part of this, the strikes would also aim to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons, although this is very difficult given that the regime is thought to have huge quantities and to move them around the country. It’s unlikely that the strikes will target chemical weapons specifically, as this risks dispersing the chemical agents.

  •  Two ships passing in the night? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burlydee, Armando, surfbird007

    Maybe I'm missing something, but to the extent that this is supposed to answer the Kos diary, I'm not getting the reason for the outrage/angst.  

    We're being asked to be more upset about the use of chemical weapons but if there is a hierarchy in violence and our response to it, where were the calls for intervention in the Congo, for example, where millions died?  In Rwanda?  The list could go on and on.

    It seems that we have a terribly inconsistent foreign policy with regard to atrocities that happen within another sovereign state, probably borne out of the reality that there is no easy solution.

  •  War is hell (4+ / 0-)

    It is always evil.

    That does not mean that we cannot make some sort of effort to restrain those who wage it. Because desperate men can do truly horrifying things. I've read a little history in my day.

    I recall the use of the corpses of those who died of plague as primitive biological weapons - load them into catapults and fire them into a besieged city.

    I recall children being lined up and told to march into a field - a mine field. They'd have them say a prayer first.

    I recall setting up machine guns behind the troops about to attack the enemy so that anyone who retreated could be killed.

    I recall refusing to take blacks prisoner and executing them.

    I recall dropping bombs of immense unprecedented power on cities full of civilians.

    I recall using prisoners as subjects of experiments.

    I recall forcing women in occupied territories to serve as "comfort women".

    In fact, I think rape is such a part of uncontrolled warfare that "rape and pillage" is a phrase.

    If the leadership of a nation will not attempt to control their warriors then others holding them accountable enters into the realm of the possible.

    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 11:23:30 AM PDT

  •  Don't confuse wholesale death with retail death - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, serendipityisabitch

    war is wholesale death - with the civilian population, non-combatants, now referred to as "collateral damage" being something like 90% of that death.  Indiscriminate distance weapons of wholesale death are what Kos was talking about and basically he's correct.  Which indiscriminate distance weapon kills those non-combatants is rather immaterial.

    Public execution is retail death - it's rather barbaric in the first place, is unfortunately frequently based on race than actual guilt, and is something you can't say, "Oops, sorry, we'll make it up to you" about - but it is also one person at a time and the person being killed is the person meant to be killed, whether or not they should have been killed.  In that deliberate single-person killing for whatever reason, the method used is important.  A quick and as painless as can be method is execution.  Drawing and quartering, etc. is torturing to death - causing the most rather than the least pain to the person being killed - is something else.

  •  I agree with the premise here that chemical (7+ / 0-)

    weapons do cross a line, that they are different but do not think that the argument is well made in the diary.

    The fact that a group of any sort can release chemicals that wipe out whole towns/villages/cities in a matter of moments is very different than all other weapons.

    yes, bombs are indiscriminate and using them on civilians is also against convention.   but chemicals are not only indiscriminate, they are comprehensive.

    for those that don't get it, try to bring to mind the damage done to london during WWII by bombs - devastating.  now try to imagine that every single soul in london and the surrounding area was killed by chemicals.  are you starting to see the difference yet?

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

    by MRA NY on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:30:34 AM PDT

    •  Thanks. (7+ / 0-)

      That actually makes my point a little better.

      Of course war is awful.  Of course the violence in Syria is abhorrent.  And of course we need to ask where the line is drawn for US action.

      But if it isn't chemical weapons (and everyone agrees that it isn't, let's say for the sake of argument)...then, what is? If Assad or someone else dropped a nuke on civilians is that enough? Or are we simply going to say "death is death" and move on?

      I'm grappling with the question of US intervention myself...primarily because I'm opposed to unilateral action and believe the need for international action is greater than ever (fat chance, given Russia and China's relative positions on this).

      But I don't believe that saying people were dying before and people died now -- just by different, more sinister means -- is an excuse to say that nothing should be done.

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

      by wmtriallawyer on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:36:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I too am grappling with intervention, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        citizenx, wmtriallawyer

        especially since we have stood by as similar things were done elsewhere, only sometimes doing something about it way too late.

        It is kind of a lose/lose situation.  So I do lean toward limited intervention, which seems to be the lesser of two evils, but who can say.

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

        by MRA NY on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:39:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I might add, that I really am against unilateral (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wmtriallawyer

          intervention.  I would prefer a UN or NATO group, but even a hodgepodge of several countries that include some outside the normal us/canada/eu nations would be acceptable.

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

          by MRA NY on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:41:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Explain how you think this responds to Kos' point? (0+ / 0-)

        The line is drawn and then what?

        You say you are grappling with the question of US intervention itself.

        Then I suggest you consider Kos' ACTUAL argument, the death, destruction, pain and suffering that a retaliatory striek, or more, will cause.

        Because that was his point.

        •  Was it? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheLizardKing, Timari, MRA NY

          Because I actually didn't see him reference anything about what death, destruction, pain and suffering a retaliatory strike would cause on the part of the US...which, of course, he would be right about.

          No, he was more concerned about attacking the strongest reason for any intervention (the use of chemical warfare) with the weakest argument I've seen...(i.e., war is hell, everybody dies in war, 100s of thousands have already died, so why does it matter if it is by bomb, bullet or chemical weapon)?

          Had he said "The U.S. shouldn't be killing people to prove it is wrong to kill people by chemical weapons", hell, I'd be behind him 100% and his point would have been a hell of a lot clearer.

          Instead, he was too cute by half, and gave a voice to folks that have been downgrading the use of chemical weapons as no big deal.

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

          by wmtriallawyer on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 11:53:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You're making an assumption (0+ / 0-)

        that the US has the power to control the situation, to make everything nice and safe for innocents and to find and punish aggressors. Afghanistan and Iraq have shown that the US is unable to do any of that. It's time our government started learning from its experiences rather than repeating them.

        •  Where was that assumption (0+ / 0-)

          in my comment?

          In fact, the reverse is true.  

          It is because I don't think we have the power to control the situation at all that I don't think we should intervene.

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

          by wmtriallawyer on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:03:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You appeared to make it here (0+ / 0-)
            But if it isn't chemical weapons (and everyone agrees that it isn't, let's say for the sake of argument)...then, what is? If Assad or someone else dropped a nuke on civilians is that enough? Or are we simply going to say "death is death" and move on?
            To me, that suggested that you think there is a red line somewhere that should trigger US intervention. (Especially, where you say, "are we simply going to...move on?")  But, there's no point in establishing a red line if there's no possibility that the US could do something constructive with that information.
  •  The amount of illogical conflation in this diary (0+ / 0-)

    is stunning, in the context of how many people are seemingly supportive of it.

    Rape and torture are not 'killing'. Considering something a more emotional death based on their age has nothing to do with HOW.

    The point: If 50k people are killed by tanks, then 50k people are killed by a chemical weapon, and then 50k people are killed by a retaliatory airstrike...who feels better about being dead? Who misses their sons and daughters less?

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

    by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:02:52 PM PDT

    •  The thing is.... (0+ / 0-)

      It takes a lot of tanks, a lot of people, and a lot of time to cause 50 k deaths.  It's also expensive to deploy all those tanks.

      It takes a lot of conventional airstrikes and a lot of time to cause 50 k deaths in that manner.  And it is expensive.

      With chemical weapons, in contrast, all it takes is a chemical weapons battalion with one artillery piece and a mere instant to kill 50k people.  And it is dirt cheap.

      Furthermore, tanks and planes are primarily designed to target and take out enemy machines.  Chemical weapons, on the other hand, are designed to take out people and they kill indiscriminately.

      There's a pretty big difference, tbh.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:39:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's a difference to whom? You, right? (0+ / 0-)

        I think that's the point of Kos's diary...we're making subjective decisions on 'well THAT is really bad, so now we can shoot back or for them!' when dead people are dead people.

        None of what you wrote defends conflating all that other stuff the diary did with killing, but that may never have been your intent or something you wanted to do.

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

        by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 02:28:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  To the international community. (0+ / 0-)

          That's why all but 7 nations worldwide have signed and ratified the ban on chemical weapons.

          I'm just trying to show why chemical weapons are in a different league.

          Someone else did a better job than I did, so I'll quote them:

          * [new]  Gas is worse because: (10+ / 0-)
          it seeps into hiding places where bombs are less deadly.
          it drowns a person over a period of minutes with body fluids or
          it shuts down the central nervous system in a slow agonizing way.
          it can travel unseen through tunnels, draws and ditches
          its damage is body-wide and injury is permanent
          it can be used to "clear" hundreds or thousands of square acres
          it kills friend and foe; it is absolutely indiscriminate
          it kills young more efficiently than the older
          it kills more widely than even cluster bombs
          it can linger for days or weeks in low places
          it can be tasted for the rest of your life if you survive
          it damages all the senses for the rest of your life if you survive
          it is cheap. Poor man's nukes is what its other name is.
          it is noiseless. You do not know where to run to.
          it is horrifying in ways that bombs are merely horrible.
          it is able to destroy entire villages, cites and even countries
          it is plentiful whereas bombs are relatively expensive.

          It is the perfect weapon of horror. It disfigures, causes flesh to melt, causes all body systems to disintegrate internally, and is so widespread when used that no one is safe for a period of hours to days.

          No, I dont think Kos is correct here. If Assad wanted to kill every Syrian with conventional weapons, he couldnt do it. If he wanted to kill every Syrian with chemical weapons, he most definitely could do it. There is a reason gas was banned in 1927. It is the perfect weapon of horror.

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:41:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Obviously not all death is the same (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    But Markos' equation was in the context of Syria.  So I agree with Markos AND wmtriallawyer.  

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:20:30 PM PDT

  •  Who on EARTH (0+ / 0-)

    is "poo poo ing the use of chemical weapons"?

    I think we're really veering away from the topic at hand here folks, which is the ludicrous kickoff to ANOTHER illegal war that will destroy ancient culture, essential modern infrastructure, and innocent civilians. Not to mention the possibilities of regional chaos, financial retaliation from our global business partners who disagree with our hubris, and all the accompanying effects on the global markets.

    The anti-Assad campaign from the beginning has stunk, and though the thought of Uncle Sam stoking regional civil wars for its own interest is still considered CT  around these parts, there is no excuse for so many lawyers and other well (over?) educated people not to understand the concept of cui bono, or if they do, to so fiercely resist an honest accounting of the timeline, the players, the money, the weapons, and most of all, the predictable, blatant (and for the most part proven)propaganda being put out by the raunchiest despots of the Middle East and their western 'helpers'.

  •  Apples and oranges (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Darmok

    The diarist is conflating different circumstances with Kos' conclusion as to one specific circumstance, the Syrian civil conflict. And the circumstances matter.

    The Syrian government attacked and killed defenseless civilians, an act that is universally reviled. Was it be so more worse to kill civilians with chemical weapons as to justify a major change in US policy? The victims were no more dead, no more traumatized. No one who claims the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government is a game changer has offered a clear explanation in support of the claim.

    And what is the proposed response? Firing missiles into Syria, possibly destroying chemical weapons facilities, but also possibly releasing chemical weapons.  And, quite possibly, the US will be aiding rebels who are just as murderous.

    The mark of a leader is to keep a cool head when people like John McCain are screaming for immediate response. Unfortunately, the President seems inclined to listen to people in government who think the solution to every problem is a whack on the head.

  •  I'm still waiting for someone to make the case (0+ / 0-)

    for, as one user put it, "the obviously special evil of chemical weapons," in a persuasive way.

    Why, really, are chemical weapons a bright red line?

    I'm aware of course of the Geneva Protocol banning the use of poison gas. Nonetheless, I distinguish between chemical weapons on the one hand and biological and nuclear weapons on the other.

    I draw the same line most do regarding the latter two, because once the biological or nuclear genii is unleashed, it has the very real possibility of destroying human civilization.

    Chemical weapons have no such capability. I need no reminders about how utterly horrific sarin and other nerve agents are, but the "ingenuity" of the warmongers has devised other, "legal" ways of killing that are equally potent and horrific.

    The argument that our intervention will save lives in Syria is specious. 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. Does anyone here support that?

    If the answer is no, I decline to speculate as to the motivations of the users defending an American show of force in Syria.

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

    by PhilJD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:58:31 PM PDT

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