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The United States Capitol Building at sunset.
When it comes to taking military action against Syria, a strong majority of Americans think President Obama should be required to get congressional approval, according to an NBC News poll: specifically, 79 percent support congressional approval.

That number shows that, as in Congress itself, a substantial number who would require congressional approval are surely Republicans who just don't think this president should ever have the authority to do anything on his own, but many are Democrats who have less cynical reasons (since the vast majority of reasons are less cynical than the Republican one).

On the question of whether the US should take military action, separate from the question of congressional approval, the numbers vary depending on what's proposed. Asked "Do you think the United States should take military action against the Syrian government in response to the use of chemical weapons or not," 42 percent are in favor while 50 percent are opposed. But when the military action is limited to "air strikes using cruise missiles launched from U.S. naval ships that were meant to destroy military units and infrastructure that have been used to carry out chemical attacks," the numbers basically reverse: 50 percent are in favor while 44 percent are opposed. Still, in both cases support is weaker than the 58 percent support for the statement that "The use of chemical weapons by any country is a 'red line,' that is an action that would require a significant  U.S. response, including the possibility of military action."

With the British Parliament's rejection of military intervention and US public opinion in favor of requiring congressional approval, Obama stands the risk of being very isolated if he decides to take military action without going to Congress first.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Congress, as a majority... (4+ / 0-)

    never met a bomb they didn't want to drop.

    •  Ah, but congress CAN be brow-beaten... (8+ / 0-)

      Look at what happened before the first bank bailout vote...and we weren't talking the bombing of innocents back then.

      The best-case scenario would be bringing the matter before congress...having debates for all the public to witness...then a swell of protests (from the left AND right...wait and see) AGAINST this action just before congress votes it down.

      Remember, Iraq basically doomed Republicans in 2006. 2014 is just around the corner...and regardless of bloodthirstyness, none of these slugs wants to lose his or her job just so Obama can drop bombs on Syria.

      Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

      by Love Me Slender on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:33:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I commented yesterday that an (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leonard145b, Love Me Slender

        up or down vote in congress was a possibility. I think that the American people deserve a fair and extensive debate before the dogs of war are launched.

        According to the poll numbers used in this diary, the wording of this poll was pro-war. The answers war based on the government of Syria having used chemical weapons. The UN inspection team has to this point not made that assertion. A less biased question would have had a much higher anti-war response.

        War is costly. Peace is priceless!

        by frostbite on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:36:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  yeah but (4+ / 0-)

      I'd like to see the do-nothing Congress kill this idiocy in its crib.

      •  Putin is cheering. Assad and Iran are cheering!! (0+ / 0-)

        They want your country to vote!
        In the meantime, I watch TV with a glass of wine and Syrians are gassed. Who cares? I don't know them.

        Putin (KGB/USSR) told us that Assad did not do it. He is smarter than Obama. Remember, he helped our beloved Snowden. Btw, Iran confirmed that Assad did not do it.

        I SUPPORT OBAMA ON THIS. Not Putin.

        If we let Assad use chemical weapons with impunity, many (many) nations will do the same thing in the future. This is "real world" my friends, and a dangerous slippery slope. Who would need fancy international treaties to "ban" the use of these weapons? Why not just get rid of the UN? Does this sound like Rand Paul?

        •  Excuse me but lets start with the US of A (8+ / 0-)

          If we are really against chemical weapons then:

          1) Why did George Bush get away with using white phosphorous in Iraq?

          2) Why do have depleted uranium coating our bombs?

          3) Why did we stand by while Iraq used CW against Iran?

          Too many inconsistencies for us to claim the moral high ground.

          "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

          by noofsh on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:11:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  didn't know Obama was prez then (0+ / 0-)

            You probably blame him for Katrina too.  

            Do the mistakes of previous administrations prevent all future administrations from taking certain actions in response to chemical weapons attacks?  

            •  So wait... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Teiresias70, James Kresnik, copymark

              because Obama didn't authorize the colossal mistake that was invading Iraq, he gets a pass on authorizing the colossal mistake that will be invading Syria? Why, because he's a Democrat?  Aren't we supposed to learn something from our past mistakes?

              Assad has been killing his own people for years, but because his troops used gas instead of bullets, we've decided that we really have to show him what we think about it by attacking and killing more innocent Syrians with bombs and missiles. Yeah, that makes sense.

              What is the military objective here? According to the White House, this would be a "limited engagement" and regime change isn't the goal. Well, what is the goal? What will launching cruise missiles accomplish, exactly? How will this advance America's interests? What threat to our existence does Syria pose that requires us to unilaterally attack them?

              We aren't responsible for making sure every one else in the world behaves according to our moral code, which itself is a sick joke with when you consider how we've behaved pretty much since the birth of our nation.

              And how are we going to pay for yet another military boondoggle? It blows my mind that we don't have money to do what we need to be doing for the good of the citizens of our own country (heath care, education, jobs and wages, environmental management, infrastructure management, etc.), but we always manage to find whole boatloads of money when we decide we have to punish some bad guy in another part of the world by blowing shit up.

        •  No, my friend, that is warmongering fantasy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          copymark, phrogge prince

          Iraq used gas with impunity in 1980 and somehow "many (many)" nations did not do the same thing in the future.  

          These calls for how the use of gas is so beyond the pale that it justifies a nuclear strike against Syria would have a bit more resonance if they were accompanied by calls for the United States to eliminate its stockpiles of gas -- or at least force its allies to stop selling it to other countries...

          http://news.sky.com/...

        •  Powell made 254 flase claims in the runup to the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lepanto, phrogge prince

          Iraq war...........

          https://www.youtube.com/...

        •  I certainly don't care. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Kresnik, minox, phrogge prince

          Let em cheer.

          If Syrians want to gas each other, knock yourself out.

          Maybe if they all killed each other in sufficient numbers we could finally get some peace in that part of the world.

    •  They also never met an Obama policy (6+ / 0-)

      They didn't want to screw with.  What a conundrum for them!

    •  But it's OBAMA wanting to bomb (5+ / 0-)

      the baggers will line up against it and enough Dems will be against it for it to go down in the House.

      And the best news is the baggers will primary all the GOP hawks that voted for it.

      Why?

      Because OBAMA!

      and FREEDOM, or something.

      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 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:42:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Republicans probably remember 2006... (0+ / 0-)

        Not wanting a repeat performance in 2014, I suspect they will not stamp their approval on this action...especially with public support so low.

        But it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong on something :)

        Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

        by Love Me Slender on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:47:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What I find depressing (28+ / 0-)

    What I find depressing is that Democrats (70%) were less likely to want congressional authorization than Republicans (90%). Still a supermajority there, thankfully. However, the willingness of Democrats (both public and pols) to support everything O does is rather troubling, especially when his plans (like this one) seem so poorly thought-out--and also illegal.

  •  Hillary Clinton (14+ / 0-)

    Any Democrat in Congress that is thinking of ever running for president should remember that Sen. Clinton's voting in favor of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in 2002 probably cost her the party's nomination (and presidency) in 2008.

  •  It is an interesting situation because (15+ / 0-)

    most Members who are in favor of military action don't seem to really want this Syria albatross to be counted in a real vote, and those who oppose are probably a minority.

    The Republicans will want to use any military intervention that Obama might take against the Democrats in 2014 so they can't really participate in a vote if they want to make that a really effective wedge issue in the next Congressional election.

    Similarly, most Democrats who support the President are probably not keen on having a recorded vote of their support, either.  I think that a lot of people on the Democratic side are still sort of reeling from the beating that Hillary Clinton took within the party for having voted for the Iraq War and would rather just not make that sort of record.

    I'm betting that there will be no House vote held.

  •  Here's the "Change" you can believe in.... (9+ / 0-)
    “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” candidate Obama told The Boston Globe in late 2007. He added that the president can only act unilaterally in “instances of self-defense.”

    So I guess the POTUS has changed his mind on this.....

    Let's "Hope" he follows through with his original statements regarding engaging in conflict.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:05:24 AM PDT

  •  Well, at least the French support "action" (0+ / 0-)

    Syria strike still "on the table" in France after U.K. lawmakers yank Britain out of Obama's coalition

    PARIS French President Francois Hollande said his country could go ahead with plans to strike Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons despite the British parliament's failure to endorse military action.
    When only the French support something you better think twice (or three times). Une blague, vive la France!

    Perhaps Obama should convene a special session ASAP.

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

    by Shockwave on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:09:43 AM PDT

  •  very biased, disingenuous poll (12+ / 0-)

    for by asking:

    "Do you think the United States should take military action against the Syrian government in response to the use of chemical weapons or not,"

    It takes for granted that the Syrian government is indeed responsible for the use of chemical weapons, which might well be the case, but remains entirely to be proven.

    In other words, just by the way this poll phrases its questions, it's an instrument of propaganda

    this is indeed our mainstream media !

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:15:58 AM PDT

  •  Hmm, 79% of Americans think (11+ / 0-)

    Obama should get congressional approval before starting military action.  When was the last 3 times such a huge majority had such a strong opinion?  The sequester.   Gun control. And the Public Option.

    Kiss your asses goodbye, America.

  •  What % want Syrian approval before bombing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whizdom, Orcas George

    congress? Symbolically, of course, since we live in an irony-challenged era.

  •  IT's the smartest political move for Obama (10+ / 0-)

    Lay out the case, call an emergency session of Congress and the Teabaggers will vote it down because he's Obama.

    Problem solved.

    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 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:41:18 AM PDT

  •  "100% of Congress Wants to Pass Buck" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Medium Head Boy

    I only wish Congress WOULD take the matter up.  Maybe even cut their recess short.  But instead, Boner asks for "consultation", meaning he wants to let Obama do what he will and then carp later no matter what.

    HEY COGNITIVE INFILTRATORS! 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 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:43:38 AM PDT

  •  It is curious how we are caught in a replay (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, scrambler

    The events that led us into Iraq have become the blueprint for getting ourselves into war.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:43:38 AM PDT

    •  Syria is Not Iraq (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Globe199, mightymouse, scrambler

      Comfortable (and fat) Westerners have had 2 years to watch this situation become more and more violent. And you've done nothing. You all scream, "Stay out!" when even your precious UN has pegged (a now-outdated) number of fatalities at 100,000. Who knows how many of them were children, but when it came to Iraq, there were scores of liberals spoon-clanging about the number of Iraqi children killed due to sanctions.

      NOW, you are all are opposed, covering yourself up with "this is Iraq redux." What's the saying? "First time as tragedy, second time as farce"? Seven million displaced Syrians, but you're all hanging everything on UN inspectors about a chemical attack. The myopia is astonishing, but predictable. When Assad wins and wreaks vengeance on his enemies, you'll all be back screaming that someone should do something. For the children, no less.

    •  Except (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse

      Except that this guy actually has WMD and recently used them.  In other words, not really like Iraq in any way, unless you're talking about Iraq circa 1988.

  •  Well, those are wildly different results (0+ / 0-)

    than the Reuters result (9% approve of a strike) which makes me wonder what the difference is between the NBC News poll and the Reuters poll.

    It's not like Reuters is Rasmussen, or some fly-by-night outfit.

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

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:44:56 AM PDT

    •  CNN last night did a real number with (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein, SouthernLiberalinMD

      images of the carnage from the chemical weapons.  Very heavy-handed and emotionally charged reporting.  

      They had one interview that really confused me with a man who claimed to have walked among the dying as they were suffering.  I was trying to figure out why he was okay and able to do that in the midst of the attack as it seemed like he was claiming he had done.

      Anyway, the video news releases are now emerging and there is going to be an effort to sway public opinion through an emotional humanitarian appeal.

      I expect that people will indeed be moved in their opinions based on what I saw last night.

      •  Wasn't it just last week that they convicted (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SouthernLiberalinMD

        Manning for disclosing pictures of what we did in Iraq?  

        And if Assad says, what the heck, I won't use my chemicals anymore, I'll just turn some assault rifles on a few hundred civilians just because, is that going to be a prettier picture?  

        I mean it's like, it's OK to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians, just use another method.

      •  From 9% to near-50% is quite a leap in a handful (0+ / 0-)

        of days. I don't trust it. I think it probably has to do with how they asked the questions.

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

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:25:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  To be fair, even Bush went to Congress first, (12+ / 0-)

    and Democrats insisted that he do so.  To bypass Congress now would be the height of hypocrisy, not to mention recklessness and disdain for the American people -- not to mention the lives of anybody put into harm's way as a result.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:45:21 AM PDT

    •  Top Comment nominee right here... (4+ / 0-)

      Lest people here forget, 77 U.S senators voted in favor of attacking Iraq...including 58% of all Democratic senators at the time and the next in line to be the Democratic nominee for president.

      If Obama doesn't even give the people's elected representatives in congress a chance to speak for them, he will lose a large share of support across the country. It will doom him and his legacy, to say nothing of the lives lost in Syria.

      Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

      by Love Me Slender on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:52:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The 79% are right (4+ / 0-)

    Even if Congress formally declaring war against a sovereign state is getting to be an obsolete concept, intervening in a civil war is way outside the War Powers Act.

    It doesn't matter that the House is run by childish contrarian imbeciles.  If Congress actually has to take responsibility for something important such as this, it may incentivize them to take their jobs slightly more seriously.

    First they came for the slippery-slope fallacists, and I said nothing. The End.

    by Cream Puff on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:49:38 AM PDT

    •  Bingo! I agree completely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pasadena beggar

      Let them take some responsibility in the decision making.  Congress claims that the power to declare war lies with them, so make a decision.  Congress should come back from vacation, start a debate and take a vote right away.  No screwing around.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

      by noofsh on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:04:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Little Red Hen (4+ / 0-)

    I'm torn in half over this. On the one hand, France is right that "normalization" of chemical weapons cannot be allowed. A message needs to be sent to the world that civilized countries won't abide.

    On the other hand, look at Germany's remarks. They believe that Syria should be punished, yet in the same breath they say they won't participate in any intervention. This is a ridiculous situation, and I think many Americans are tired of the United States being relied upon as the world's police. Everyone knows that if they just sit on their behinds long enough, America will come to the rescue -- again. This needs to end.

    It's as if the world doesn't understand that we're in this together. Last night, I read for the first time the story of the Little Red Hen. There are some lessons in that story that apply here.

    The Republicans are nothing but cowards and scoundrels.  Every last one of them would love to blow Syria to kingdom come.  But they hate Obama.  Their heads are perilously close to exploding.  They don't want to vote against action, because that makes them look "weak" on defense, yet they won't vote for it, because that's agreeing with Obama.  God help them if the campaign in Syria is quick and decisive.

    •  Flinging a couple a missiles into Syria is a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, maryabein, eparrot

      pointless exercise.  There isn't any way possible such a thing could be decisive.

      •  Then what do you suggest? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse

        I'm concerned that the use of chemical weapons will go unpunished.  

        •  The US is not the world Parent (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          maryabein

          If we really wanted to do something we'd kidnap Assad, drop him on the Hague or wherever that international court is and let them charge him with war crimes.

          Oh, but we can't do that because somebody might want to charge an American President with a war crime.  

          •  that would involve (0+ / 0-)

            a lot more death and killing than dropping a few bombs.

            The bottom line is, if we don't do something, it goes unaddressed which is the very thing folks have said keeps us from getting involved in the first place because we didn't address it when Iraq did it.

            So we'd be doing it again, and we'd have another example of chem weapons being used without repercussions.

            If folks are ok with that, then fine, but a pattern is being generated.  I don't know what the plan is for an attack.  I don't know if an attack is a good idea, a bad idea or simply an idea that will result in nothing (to me the most likely option except that at least it would be a response, and sometimes, a response is needed, even an ineffectual one).

            Now politically we could just let France do it...since they seem to want to do it of course Obama will be attacked by the right for that as well for letting the French take action while we stood by.  

        •  good point, but what do you do? (0+ / 0-)

          policing other countries is a bad game.

          best thing is to do one's best to stop the spread of chemical weapons, isolate countries who use them, etc.

          we can't police the world.

          i am not that up on Syria, but it sounds like a confused situation, with multiple sides.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:22:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  So what? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell

          It isn't widespread and it isn't happening in a conflict of nation-states. Its a civil war.

        •  War crimes trial for the individuals involved (0+ / 0-)

          Killing more random people is not a solution.

      •  exactly (0+ / 0-)

        I can respect the people who think we should do something because we can't let the use of chemical weapons go unanswered.

        But if those people (and Obama) want to convince those who disagree of their position, they're going to have to do much better than "we have to make a statement" and "we can't let this stand". I know plenty of good, decent and left-leaning people who think that dropping bombs here is preferable to doing nothing, even if dropping bombs won't accomplish anything other than sending a message. I'm not interested in attacking those people, but I will say that such rationale is a real long way from being enough for a lot of people who oppose action.

        Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to www.edwardgtalbot.com and check out New World Orders

        by eparrot on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:29:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We're not going to fling a couple of missiles n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  If Obama proceeds to war (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, PorridgeGun

    of his own volition it will show that he has completely become a creature of the military/industrial complex, no better than Bush, McCain, Romney or any of the PNC crowd.

    It will also mean that this country is completely lost as a democracy.

  •  I don't think this Congress . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Globe199, mightymouse, PorridgeGun

    Do not think they would authorize Obama having a potty break.  Asking them for approval is beyond ridiculous.

    Republicans - they measure our national success by corporate profit margin, not the well being of the citizens.

    by egarratt on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:54:58 AM PDT

  •  Obama can damn well go to (8+ / 0-)

    Congress and ask for authorization.

    Back in the day, before Vietnam, that's what presidents had to do.  

    I want to know who votes for, who votes against, and who abstains.

    I'm not speaking for the Country, obviously (but I am speaking WITH it--if that 79% number is correct)--but this constant war-making has just got to stop.

  •  That is the best way out for the President (0+ / 0-)

    I can't tell if he was talking loosely about "red lines".  It almost makes no sense to jump all over Assad just because of this one attack when Assad has already killed so many people.

    Perhaps it makes more sense to arm the rebels to a greater degree than we done so far.

    He should definitely take this to Congress.  Let the Congress share in the decision.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:01:42 AM PDT

  •  American Empire must end! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scrambler

    "The president of the United States is elected with the duty to protect the national security interests in the United States of America," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said regarding the Syrian situation.

    Who made America the worlds policeman? Or is America Inc. really just protecting American Empire? Presidents always talk about protecting "the people", when in fact all that America Inc. really cares about is American Empire.

    Obama talks about the "children" that were killed in Syria. How many men, women and "children" has America killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, throughout the middle-east over the last 12 years? Not to mention the "millions" of people America killed in Vietnam.

    America Inc. is the #1 arms dealer to the world. Wall Street greed and Pentagon wars are the "only" things that America Inc. makes any more. American Greed and Wars are the unholy duo responsible for most of the violence and devastation on planet earth. Pentagon bombs, soldiers and now drones rain death upon human beings. Decade after decade for more than half a century America Inc. has been killing human beings. Wall Street greed brings a deluge of poverty and economic injustice upon all of humanity creating much suffering, while at the same time allowing multinational corporations to rape and pillage the biosphere, threatening the entire planet.

    America Inc. spends well over ONE TRILLION annually on "defense" for the Pentagon, Homeland Security, CIA, 800+ military bases around the world, a global surveillance network, countless defense agencies, multiple wars, the list goes on and on.

    America Inc. has been constantly at war since December 7 1941. A footnote - ground was broken on the Pentagon on September 11, 1941(Google it). Karma much?

    America Inc. is in the business of "greed and wars".

    America Inc. is addicted to violence, to greed for the 1%, to endless wars, to American Empire.

    American Empire is madness! How much longer will this insanity continue?

    Obama once said that he was against "dumb wars".

    Nothing is dumber than American Empire. ENOUGH!

  •  check out this emptywheel post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein

    which outlines some more reasons for caution, before the missiles fly to see what is actually going on

    http://www.emptywheel.net/...

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

    by greenbastard on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:05:04 AM PDT

    •  Oh man is this curveball all over again? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scrambler, maryabein

      Our intelligence constantly works off of information from defectors that prove to be inaccurate.

      I have no doubt Assad has CW and some faction under him may have used them.  But I have serious doubt we have a clue where they are located.  

      We could be chasing lots of bad information and that may lead to another 10 year war.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

      by noofsh on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:15:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Go to Congress and the UN (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zinman

    Present your evidence and then go from there.  There is no rush or need to rush any kind of punitive action against Syria.  I actually think waiting is worse for Assad because waiting hurts his military as they are probably avoiding military facilities that are potential targets.

    "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

    by Texas Lefty on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:07:17 AM PDT

  •  don't like the word "approval" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pasadena beggar

    "authorization" is slightly better, but the basic idea is supposed to be that Congress makes the decision of what should happen and then the President executes that plan.  It's not supposed to be that the President makes the decision of what should happen.  

    War is not supposed to be an easy thing for the Executive to initiate.  

  •  minority view (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Globe199, mightymouse

    Much of my family perished during the holocaust--which was never stopped by any nation because such an action would have been unpopular--or a misallocation of resources.  It's always wrong to bring this up--until it isn't.  "Never again" has a ring to it--it kinda means--never again.  Either you punish depravity, or you give it tacit approval.

    Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

    by melvynny on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:13:54 AM PDT

    •  Obama screwed the pooch on this.... (0+ / 0-)

      He surrounded himself with idiots to advise, and instead of telling him 3 years ago to neutralize the Syrian Chem threat ... in cooperation with the Russians. He let a golden opportunity slide.

      Now, the same idiots have convinced him of stupid reflex actions that actually solve nothing.

      I agree, never again, and the only real choice we have now.... with Russian soldiers and contractors on Syrian bases... is to find Assad's location and KILL HIM. And hope his successor is more amenable to negotiation.

      I'm not sure killing Hitler would have stopped the Nazi's, maybe Hitler and Goebbels and Himmler together, maybe.

      But it still would have been worth a shot.

      •  Israel (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Jester

        Israel is the wild card here--they could easily be attacked chemically by many of its enemies if we don't act--they will  likely be targeted if we do act--they will be targeted if the new government is fundamentalist--they feel safe while Arabs fight Arabs--all conflicting realities.  The only card to be played is the humanity one--no easy decision on many levels.  I always resort to "never again"--

        Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

        by melvynny on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:41:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Holocaust was stopped by USSR, US, Great Britain (0+ / 0-)

      I don't get this statement:

      Much of my family perished during the holocaust--which was never stopped by any nation ...
      When the allies advanced to the camp locations, they stopped the holocaust.

      These three countries spent an incredible amount of money and lives to defeat Nazi Germany. They certainly stopped the Holocaust in my book.

      It's terrible it went on so long ... the problem was in the 1930s - these countries underestimated the Nazis and tried to avoid a war ... but once it became clear these countries were totally committed to ending the Nazi regime and hence the Holocaust.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:30:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We didn't go to war over the Holocaust. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, Kickemout

      And nobody would have supported such a war at that time. We went to war because hostile nations attacked us and declared war on us.

      That's always been the standard for war and it should remain so.

      •  should (0+ / 0-)

        Should we have gone to war to stop the holocaust?  Put another way, are you okay with our inaction?

        Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

        by melvynny on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:57:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course not. (0+ / 0-)

          We shouldn't have gone to war to stop slavery either. Lincoln certainly didn't want to and neither did FDR want to go to war over genocide. But we were attacked...and so then we can impose our will as we please.

          The United States should never go to war just because of human suffering. War only adds to human suffering. War, and all that it entails, should be used in self-defense or and self-defense ONLY.

        •  Only this isn't the Holocaust. (0+ / 0-)

          If anything, the rebels are as bad, trying to exterminate the Christians.

          So is it ok to possibly elevate them to power? They have used chemical weapons before (and you weren't here calling for us to support Assad against them), so it's only when it's you and yours that you care?

    •  Nobody did anything about the Shoa? (0+ / 0-)

      Tell that to my great uncle who carried shrapnel wounds from Europe with him to his grave.

      Sorry for the OT, but the whole 'the world did nothing about the Holocaust" whine really pisses me off.

      •  when, how (0+ / 0-)

        When did the world do something?  Did WWII have anything to do with the ovens--or was it a territorial battle?  Did we bomb the rail lines during the war?  Ever?  My cousin was repeatedly told they weren't military targets--yet we bombed the shit out of non military Dresden.  After the war, did we open our arms to any of the survivors?  Yes--500 families--sent to bivouac in Buffalo during the winter.  My friend's mother survived only to commit suicide 6 months into her snow filled rescue.

        Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

        by melvynny on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:46:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  On another note (0+ / 0-)

    what is the difference between chemical death and death by drone or death by machine gun? Is it intent? Do we judge the heinousness of killing by what the killer was thinking (as in the statutory definitions of Murder 1, Murder 2)? Good luck with that.

    I am not impressed with the outrage over chemical death. It's phony indignation.

    “The quality of owning freezes you forever in "I," and cuts you off forever from the "we.” ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

    by Miss Pip on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:17:04 AM PDT

    •  It's heinous (0+ / 0-)

      You can kill a lot more people a lot quicker with WMD.  People suffer more, especially if they don't immediately die.  Are you at all aware of the suffering in Japan after 1945?

      There is indeed a difference between sarin and a machine gun.

      •  I'm also aware that the nations who are most (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maryabein

        sanctimonious about WMD are the very same ones who have nuclear weapons and the only reason you have nuclear weapons is to be able to convince potential enemies that you are willing to destroy their civilian population if they mess with you  

      •  Mostly conventional suffering... (0+ / 0-)

        I'm very well aware of the suffering that went on in Japan after 1945.  The suffering caused by the two nuclear attacks were a drop in the bucket of what we caused through purely conventional bombing and blockade.  There's some reason to think that the single bombing campaign of Tokyo on Mar 9-10, 1945 killed more people than the atomic bombing of either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and it's almost entirely certain that over the course of two years of bombing that more people both killed and more people were left homeless in the Tokyo metro area than were killed or left homeless in both atomic bombings combined.

        In terms of overall suffering, the conventional destruction of infrastructure, and the blockade probably killed more civilians through starvation and disease than any kind of direct military action, and had a direct impact on the lives of tens of millions of survivors.  Nor did those end with surrender; tuberculosis rates, for example, remained awful through 1947.

    •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

      That phony indignation evolved from the use of chemical weapons in WWI.  Folks were so horrified both by the amount of pain it inflicted and the indiscriminate nature of the weapons (some are gasses that dissipate OTHERS are liquids that get into the water or crops and last longer than you'd think) that they were banned.

      The idea that this is some newfound silly outrage is itself outrageous.

      One can argue about what type of response, whether it should be military or non-military, but the idea that "chemical weapons..eh, no big diff" is with all due respect ridiculous.

      •  If your child was killed in war (0+ / 0-)

        would your grief be tempered by whether the death was caused by chemicals or bullets? Or would you feel better if your child was killed not indiscriminately, but with specific intent?

        I submit that the outrage concerning the use of poison gas in WWI did not emanate from concerns about ground water. It was the first recognition that maybe the weapons of war may know no bounds. The use of the atomic bomb some 25+ years later proves that those boundaries can be breached.

        Your characterization of my lack of sympathy for those who are outraged by the use of chemical rather than conventional weapons of war is not because there's "no big dif." It's because the death of innocents is horrendous no matter what the vehicle.

        “The quality of owning freezes you forever in "I," and cuts you off forever from the "we.” ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

        by Miss Pip on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 01:29:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Worse case, Republican's have "something" to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein

    try to Impeach him on.... unilateral war starting without Congressional approval.

    If it is real, and the President is convinced it needs to be done, then surely he can convince Congress with the same intel that convinced him, right?

  •  Find it on a map (2+ / 0-)

    No Legislator should be allowed to vote or even voice their opinion unless they can find Syria on a map. That should eliminate about half of the House members.

  •  Obama is becoming George Bush (0+ / 0-)

    The people don't want military action; in any event, they want Congress to approve it first.

    Yet Obama seems bound and determined to go ahead and strike, probably entangling us in yet another nightmare war.

    What is it about seemingly rational people who become president and become enamored with their military toys?  Probably a reflection of some inadequacy (perhaps, in size) on their part.

  •  We Need a VALID Reason to Go (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein

    And "firing a shot across the bow" is NOT one of them.

    You don't use military means to accomplish political ends. This "shot across the bow" nonsense is almost like saying, "OK Bashar -- you've killed over 100k of your people, now you just gassed several hundred. We' re gonna give you a spanking."

    Really?

    Whenever you take military action you want a military result. An AP article said that it is unclear that Assad has control over some of the weapons. One military objective worth considering is:

    Does the US have the capability to remove chemical weapons from the battlefield, regardless of who controls them?

    Because chemical weapons transcend the civil war (a civil war we should avoid). These weapons can fall into the hands of AQ (which has a strong presence in Syria) and Hezbollah. These weapons can threaten Israel. It is interesting to note, as we discuss who will be our allies in any attack, Israel is conspicuously absent, which is not surprising since having Israel as an overt participant would roil the mid East waters even more. However, you can be sure that the US is working closely with Israel since Israel has substantial HUMINT capability in Syria.  

    I've spend most of my working life as a systems engineer. A key aspect in developing any system is risk analysis and mitigation. If I'm in Congress, the President would need to convince me that: 1) there's a valid military objective; 2) the risks have been analyzed (which includes war gaming); the security posture of the region after an attack is better than before.

    Otherwise, stand down.    

    •  You seem to answer your own concerns: (0+ / 0-)
      However, you can be sure that the US is working closely with Israel since Israel has substantial HUMINT capability in Syria.
      Therefore, yes, it is likely that both governments would pinpoint actions to take that would have an effect on preventing the future use and possible proliferation of chemical weapons outside the region.

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

      by tekno2600 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:56:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would like to take this opportunity to WARN ALL (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zbob, dhshoops, doubleplusgood

    Just as Obama did not take action to neutralize the Syrian Chem weapons threat when the civil war first broke out 3 years ago.

    We face a far greater threat from the Pakistani nuclear weapons arsenal.

    Let this conundrum over Syrian WMD use, and possible capture by Jihadi terrorist elements of some of the Chem weapons.... be a HUGE FUCKING WAKE UP CALL ... over the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan.

    Do you think for a second that AQ and the Talibanistan terrorists, the flag bearer's of the 8th century are not focused like a laser beam on getting their hands on those weapons?

    Do you think they'd hesitate to use them as terror weapons to try to force (futile of course) the world back into the 8th century?

    We need to be working on the total destruction of the Pakistani nuclear weapons stockpile and manufacturing capacity. It should be.... if you are SERIOUS about fighting terrorism and terrorists.... the number one priority.

    Yet we see no evidence of any efforts. If it takes talking India down from the cliff and get them to disarm also, so be it.

    But do we ever want to find ourselves in the position we are in with Syria.... only with a nuclear Pakistan + terrorists?

    YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

    And our decisions and actions here will telegraph our thinking with a hypothetical Pakistani crisis, civil war, terrorist assault, etc, etc.

  •  I would interpret this to mean that 79% (0+ / 0-)

    - or maybe fewer since for some the response is knee-jerk, say maybe about 65% - do not want any intervention in Syria since the Congress can't manage to approve calling out for lunch and the likelihood of any concerted action on their part is...small.

    Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

    by gelfling545 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:06:01 AM PDT

  •  Fuck to these polls (0+ / 0-)

    Every single question is loaded, they all assume that the gov. has gassed their citizens, as the UN is being evacuated before their job has.... even started?

    It's like the entire premise for this shit has already been fried up and eaten with sauce - and now we're deciding on which just dessert to choose.  Pie or cake? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.....

    UNBELIEVABLE.

     

  •  I want an actual objective before bombing (0+ / 0-)

    punitive bombing raids don't tend to accomplish much in the middle east.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:39:54 AM PDT

    •  To punish crimes against humanity...and hopefully (0+ / 0-)

      one lands on Assad too. That would accomplish something; or maybe it just delays Assad's slaughters machine for a little while; or maybe it just makes us feel less shameful and complicit in Assad's massacres. Take your pick.

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

      by tekno2600 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:45:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That 79% need to be better informed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tekno2600

    The GWOT AUMF already gives the president blank check Congressional authorization for any military action directed against anything he cares to declare "global terror".  It's hard to imagine any military action against anybody at all that the AUMF already in place DOESN'T give the president.  The president could order military action against the Assad regime, or the insurgents, and either way he would have plenty of justification.

    Obviously, we need to repeal the GWOT AUMF.  It was always a travesty to have such an impossibly broad delegation of Congress's power and duty to oversee this nation's use of military force.  More than a decade on, it's a travesty that looks like it's going to become institutionalized, a permanent feature in our govermental landscape.  It may be too late already to repeal the thing, but it will definitely only get harder the longer we put it off and let it become further entrenched as a permanent institution.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:56:45 AM PDT

  •  Poll asks misleading and irrelevant question. (0+ / 0-)

    The War Powers Act already gives the President the power to perform limited actions without Congress. But, if you ask people do you think that it would be nice for the President to get approval from Congress, sure, it would be nice. But, it won't happen and it shouldn't happen. You don't plan a military strike in the grandstanding BS filled halls of Congressional debate. There are some actions that have to be taken quickly and that is why the War Powers Act has remained in place so long. So, like every President, Obama will take limited action without any need for political enemies on the Right and Left to shout their shrill, irrelevant, and erroneous grievances ahead of time. They will have plenty of opportunity for that afterwards. Assad deserves far more than he will get this time...unless a luck bomb falls on him. More than likely, though, this will still be too little too late. Hopefully it will delay Assad's brutal slaughter machine just a little bit. It couldn't happen to a more deserving dictator or his psychopathic thugs.

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

    by tekno2600 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:40:09 PM PDT

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