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Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain after an air strike, as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province November 13, 2012. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Syrian warplanes bomb Ras al-Ain, a village on the Turkish border.
As I've noted the last few days, I don't think much of either President Barack Obama's "red line" in Syria, or the looming attack. With over 100,000 dead, Syrian strongman Assad crossed every possible line a long time ago, and yet we have no compelling rationale for an attack, no stated path toward victory, nor even the possibility of a non-Islamist post-Assad government.

But even with the Parliament of our closest allies shutting down possible involvement in these strikes, Obama appears determined to go at it alone (or at least with just the French, ironically enough). So if we must do this, what can we do to make the best of a horrible situation?

Head below the fold for the answers.

Get the Arab League and Turkey involved

We know the Europeans are too fractured to do anything about this situation, even though the war in Syria affects them more than it affects the United States. It should be their problem, not ours. However, the Arab states are even more impacted. The refugee flow is into neighboring Arab countries (and Turkey). It's the Gulf States who are funding and arming the rebel groups. And they have the capacity for more.

The Saudi Royal Air Force has about 150 modern F-15s, with about another 110 Tornados. About 150 of those aircraft are equipped with "strike" capabilities, that is, the ability to hit ground targets. The rest could clear the skies of any Syrian opposition. The United Arab Emirates has 79 F-16s and 68 Mirages, all with ground-strike capabilities. Jordan has 58 F-16s. Bahrain and Oman both have smaller but capable Air Forces (at least on paper).

Then there's Turkey, which has a significant Air Force (nearly 230 F-16s and 150 upgraded F-4s), and has already lost one reconnaissance craft to Syrian anti-aircraft fire. Turkey, stuck with 500,000 refugees on its border with Syria, is eager for international intervention and hopes that American strikes would make it easier for heir own involvement:

[Director of the International Middle East Peace Research Centre Veysel] Ayhan said an initial US strike would make it easier for countries like Turkey to take the initiative for other kinds of intervention, like the establishment of no-fly zones over parts of Syria bordering Turkey. That way, Assad's forces would be weakened further, making them more vulnerable to rebel attacks.
Their involvement would add a veneer of legitimacy for an action that will clearly lack legal sanction.

Focus on Assad's air assets

In our previous "shock and awe" attacks, we've gone hard after governmental symbols of power, such as palaces, government buildings, etc. But at this point, Assad has cleared out of anything resembling a high-profile military target. There's nothing secret about these upcoming strikes. Skip them. Not only do they waste ordinance, but it dramatically increases the potential of innocent civilian casualties.

Instead, focus entirely on the biggest advantage Assad has had in this civil war—his air assets. Bomb airfields, take out as many warplanes and helicopters as possible. If this campaign takes out a dozen or two (or more!) of Assad's aircraft, the attacks will legitimately save lives in the future, as the rebels still don't have the hardware to protect themselves against them.

Is that the plan? Surfing around this morning, I saw pieces claiming that Assad's air assets wouldn't be targeted, and pieces saying that they would. In short, no one knows.

But to take out aircraft protected in reinforced concrete you'd need to send in manned aircraft. Hence the need for 1) a more robust campaign (because you first need to degrade Assad's significant anti-aircraft capabilities) and 2) a broader coalition (see first item, above). At this point, based on current speculation, neither of that appears to be likely.

Because the one thing everyone seems to assume (rightly or wrongly, we're just guessing!) is that the U.S. response will come mainly from cruise missiles, and if that's the case, the possible damage will be minimal. Cruise missiles pack very little punch (less than a 1,000 lb bomb) and can't hit mobile targets.

So the options are pretty much runways, empty barracks or government buildings. Runways can be repaired quickly and empty barracks can be replaced by cheap tents. And remember, hitting (empty) government buildings dramatically increase the potential of civilian casualties.

If that's the message we're sending, it'll be one utterly devoid of substance.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Kerry's speech live now... (34+ / 0-)

      It's all about the U.S. not looking weak.
      It's about looking after Israel, then everyone else in the world.
      It's about decades of opposition to gas weapons (even when we made our own and encouraged erstwhile allies to use them).
      It's about stopping the imaginary nefarious Syrian plans to distribute their gas weapons all around the world.
      It's about sending a signal to the Iranians not to get any brigtht ideas (who even said anything about the Iranians?).
      It's all about this not being Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other inconvenient quagmire that makes this whole plan look bad.
      It's about this whole plan not turning into another Iraq, Afghanistan, or every other quagmire that this kind of thinking has turned into.
      It's all about being committed to a political and negotiated solution that somehow ends the Assad regime anyway, even though we want to drop cruise missiles on the regime.
      It's about saying that there's no military solution to the Syrian civil war even though a military solution is what we're about to do.

      Ye gods.

      "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 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:20:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What more is there to say? Yours is the ONLY (5+ / 0-)

        possible viewpoint.

        Er, perhaps not.

        "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

        by Wildthumb on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:26:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It is ALL about maintaining EMPIRE and ... (13+ / 0-)
        Feeding the Military Industrial Complex.
        Weapons are our biggest export.  Until that changes we will continue to be involved in every war out there.  Follow the money ...

        "Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex." - Frank Zappa

        by Kdoug on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:41:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seriously?? It has nothing to do with gassing (7+ / 0-)

          a thousand civilians? And wanting to deter that again? Seriously??

          Those who quote Santayana are condemned to repeat him. Me

          by Mark B on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:49:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And the question raised and not answered is (6+ / 0-)

            "How will and how likely the U.S. military action actually deter that?"

            No-one from the Obama Administration, anymore than from PM Cameron's cabinet has answered that question.

            But that IS the question whose answer would also tell us whether this was going to work or otherwise turn into yet another Western debacle in the Middle East.

            The failure to give the answer is a manifest failure to justify the decision.

            "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 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:57:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Why would it? It's not going to deter it. n/t (6+ / 0-)

            This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

            by lunachickie on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:58:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It wouldn't deter further use of chem weapons, but (0+ / 0-)

              it would make us feel a little better about ourselves, feel that we're still powerful and in command of the moral high ground. Isn't that the reason for every military campaign we've fought since the Korean War?

          •  Do we know that it was Assad? (3+ / 0-)

            We know that the gassing happened; it is not proven that Assad did it. The rebels have already carried out at least one chemical attack, according to the UN - where's the enthusiasm for punishing that?

            "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

            by Australian2 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:33:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, we do not know who did it, but we don't (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wonmug

              care, we will fix the facts around our preferred target.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 02:24:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You make it sound as if the UN has officially (0+ / 0-)

              found the rebels guilty of the sarin attack. But the article you reference only has Carla de la Ponte claiming that. She is not speaking for the UN; she's proffering her own opinion; and she isn't producing evidence. If Kerry is to be criticized for failing to present hard evidence, so is Carla de la Ponte.

              She's also a bit eccentric. She sided with the Serbs against the Kosovars in the last Balkan war.

              While I think it's far more likely the sarin attacks were undertaken by Maher al-Assad, I oppose a US retaliatory strike on Syria because it's an empty gesture that won't do any real good. But I'm also disappointed by the number of people anxious at all costs to deny the possibility of Assad responsibility for the sarin attacks simply because it would then absolve the US of having to make any difficult choices about how to respond.

              "False flag" conspiracy thinking is a habit of right-wingers. It's disappointing to encounter it here.  

              •  False flags (0+ / 0-)

                Its not usually RW'er's.  Its usually the anti war crowds and that's almost always a less popular position.  see, Mexican American War, Spanish American War, Iraq War No 2.  Even the War of 1812.  

                Lincoln was opposed to the Mexican American War and it was one factor why he lost reelection to Congress.

                An older congressman commented, "I was against the War of 1812, and now I am permanently in favor of War, Pestilence and Famine."  

          •  That appears to be correct in view of all of the (0+ / 0-)

            known facts. We ourselves didn't destroy the last of our CBW stocks, if we in fact have, until the war on Iraq was underway.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 02:23:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Probably not (0+ / 0-)

            What/who should we bomb to stop the violence?  

            I don't think anyone isn't horrified at the clear war crimes going on.  The question is what to do about it.  The lines between good and bad, pro Assad and rebel are so blurred and confused that we couldn't figure out what to bomb.  And perhaps a response needs to be led by Syria's neighbors.  The last thing we need to do is jump in and do nothing more than stir the hornet's nest.

        •  Weapons is just a part of the MIC (0+ / 0-)

          We also export contractors, supplies and support for those holding the weapons.  Once we have officially removed our troops we leave thousands of private contractors/security and training forces (mercenaries).  Billions in tax dollars remain after our wars are over.  But hey, even though our money and our threat remains in the countries we bomb we can change their status from enemy to ally, 'cause they are now "free."

      •  If he finds chemical weapons so heinous (8+ / 0-)

        than why did he never propose bringing charges against the members of Reagan's cabinet who lent strategic support to Saddam Hussein when he gassed the Kurds? Just another hypocrite.

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

        by jhecht on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:45:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's about ineffective saber rattling via a proxy. (4+ / 0-)

        It's about the military industrial complex getting its way where foreign policy is concerned.

        It's about distracting people from domestic issues.

        It's about trying to make the government not look ineffective. Of course they look ineffective trying to do this, but they're just trying to be effective doing ineffective bullshit because that's what they think will be effective in convincing people that the government is not ineffective.

        -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

        by Vayle on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:57:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  i think Oatmeal cartoon got it just about right: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Superskepticalman, badger

        here's the linky...

        "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those that speak it." ~George Orwell "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." ~Charles Beard

        by poligirl on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:01:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I Listened t Every Word of Kerry's Speech (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KayCeSF, erratic, northerntier, annieli, MKinTN

        That's not what I heard.

        This is what I heard:

        Taking up the bulk of the address, a litany of corroborated evidence -- with notice given that everything we knew would not be made public -- followed by a considered weighing of the alternatives: to act or not to act.

        Next he reminded listeners of the existence of various international treaties and alliances that present obligations and legal commitments on our nation's part.

        An extensive bit on the implications of doing nothing, naming names of the countries and organizations that would benefit against our interests from inaction.

        From there Kerry segued into an abstract but important discussion of the moral issues that must be considered and wound down with assurances that this would not be a war of adventure like Iraq, or even a Libyan-like strike, and that informing (as much as possible) the public about our intentions, justifications, etc. w/o giving away what exactly the targets might be or how exactly any strike would be carried out would occur.

        That is the substance of Kerry's important speech -- really the most straightforward and explicit foreign policy statement I've heard from this administration to date.  Refreshingly devoid of flag waving, patriotism thumping, jingoism, and nationalism.  Definite saber rattling.

        Agree or disagree as you will.

        Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

        by Limelite on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:02:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Refreshingly devoid of the truth (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          micsimov, 3goldens, MKinTN, devis1, wonmug, bfbenn

          From the AP:

          So while Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that it was "undeniable," a chemical weapons attack had occurred, and that it was carried out by the Syrian military, U.S. intelligence officials are not so certain that the suspected chemical attack was carried out on Assad's orders. Some have even talked about the possibility that rebels could have carried out the attack in a callous and calculated attempt to draw the West into the war. That suspicion was not included in the official intelligence report, according to the official who described the report.
          Maybe Obama and Kerry believe the intelligence. That's their problem, and a convenient one I might add.

          But for us, here in the so-called reality based community, to blindly trust the assertions of the CIA, DIA or Mossad, after what happened with Iraq, is the depoth of stupidity.

          The only thing missing is Judy Miller, reporting live from Damascus.

          •  This Portion of the Paragraph is Devoid of Reason (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odeomi13, LanceBoyle
            Some have even talked about the possibility that rebels could have carried out the attack in a callous and calculated attempt to draw the West into the war.
            "Some have even talked about. . ." is so disgustingly mindless, it reeks of Fox News reportage.

            Consequently, this portion of the paragraph is devoid of justification since the premise is specious.

            That suspicion was not included in the official intelligence report, according to the official who described the report.
            Of course not.  It's a totally trumpe upd suspicion.  No reasonable human being would include such crackpot nonsense.

            Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

            by Limelite on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:21:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "tumped up" Hiccups? (0+ / 0-)

              Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

              by Limelite on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:58:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I agree that using the "some people say" (0+ / 0-)

              bit is low. Especially in the context of a smear of some sort. But only when the "some people" are never identified.

              That clearly is not the case here. The "some" here has already been established by the previous sentence to be referring to "U.S. intelligence officials".

              So, nice try.

              •  True. Anything's Possible (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LanceBoyle

                in the realm of "all things are possible."  Except they aren't.  al-Qaeda in Syria notwithstanding.

                But, referencing the 9/21 attack, is it probable?  Even the UN says no, it's the Assad regime.  And they don't have a dog in the hunt because the Russians won't let them open the kennels.

                The single statement is so vague. . . "Some (intelligence officials) have even talked (OOoohh!) about the possibility (Aahh!) that rebels could (YES!) have. . ."

                Well, yeah.  But I think there's very little doubt the Assad regime is guilty.  Not the rebels.  Further, the Sec'y of State announced more evidence beyond what has been made public so far is forthcoming.  That said, I respect President Obama using this language, "all but certain." That demonstrates he's cautious and reasonable and undertaking due diligence.  What a difference between him and the previous occupant of the Oval Office.

                I choose to understand that above remark -- in an effort to be as fair as possible -- as being inserted to assure folks that intelligence analysts are considering even remote possibilities; they are not analyzing the evidence with their minds made up beforehand.

                But at some point you have to stop reaching for “ifs” when grasping at straws.

                When entering the realm of possibility, I never take my open mind unless I back it up with one trusty weapon:

                Occam's razor.

                And I bet intelligence officials don't either.

                Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

                by Limelite on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:23:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Putin (ex-KGB) knew longtime ago that Assad gasses (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odeomi13

        his own people.

        Why didn't he let the West know? That is what is pissing off the US. This is a ethical issue. Witnessing a crime and shot your mouth.

        Obama asked Mubarak to leave when he wanted to kill his own people. That avoided a bloodbath. Why can't Putin ask Assad to leave? Snowden got a visa from him, why not Assad?

        If you support Putin, fine with you. He is a well known bully. Ask the Russians. Putin thought that Obama will not do anything.

        OBAMA IS MY PRESIDENT. I support him. Please save some lives. It is not late.

        •  Putin didin't have to tip off the Americans that (0+ / 0-)

          the Assad regime has gassed its own people on past occasions. That's well known here.

          It's also a mistake to think Putin can just pull the rug out from under Assad; he doesn't have an upper hand over him.Putin's options aren't any better than Obama's.

          Decades of past military commitment have tied Russia to the Assads in Syria, but Russia no longer has much to gain strategically from the relationship.The Russians want to be able to keep their Mediterranean naval base at Tartus (which they're now evacuating); they know there's no chance in hell they'd be able to keep it if Assad goes under and Sunni fundamentalists take over; but they also know Assad has shed too much Syrian blood to ever again restore stability to his regime. He'll either go under this year, or in two or three more years, after even more bloodshed.

          Putin is just trying to postpone the inevitable. Obama has obviously been doing the same; his rhetoric committed him to taking retaliatory action he knows won't be effective and suspects may be very risky.

  •  1) attack something. 2) declare victory/commupance (20+ / 0-)

    3) go home.

    That's the box we're painted in.

    But honestly, what target would make any difference, short of Assad or the jerkoff that fired the shells?

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:05:01 AM PDT

  •  I'm disappointed, kos, that you're throwing (10+ / 0-)

    in the towel.  With the tremendous setback yesterday in Britain, the antiwar movement has momentous to maybe prevent this travesty.  We can play in the game or sit on the sidelines.

    Looks like you've decided to sit this one out.  That's too bad.

    The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

    by litho on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:06:35 AM PDT

    •  what's your answer to this problem? (11+ / 0-)

      Kos is pointing out that a paltry show of force will be ineffective, and the only way to REALLY show force requires a lot of force.

      Letting Assad walk (as we've been for the last few years) merely encourages him to do so again.

      So I'd like to hear your answer.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:08:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not our conflict, polecat... (24+ / 0-)

        Nearly every time we have tried to poke our nose into someone else's internal conflict, we end up making it exponentially worse.

        We don't have to be the world's policeman. Frankly, we should sit this one out and let Western Europe and Asia handle it. We have absolutely no interest in intervening other than Obama's red line...and his pride/ego/legacy isn't worth the lives that would be lost due to our "intervention".

        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 10:21:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I, for one, don't want those shells to get into (5+ / 0-)

          the hands of AQ.

          The right answer would be for Assad to give up the idiot that fired those shells, and for the Russians to make a very public show of what the ensuing trial and evidence.

          Will that happen?  Ha.

          Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
          I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
          —Spike Milligan

          by polecat on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:24:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nor do I, but to intervene will mean boots... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Losty, highacidity, polecat

            ...on the ground at some point or another.

            In other words, more nation building...with either Assad or AQ.

            Honestly, we stand a better chance of getting a lasso on that country by controlling a jackass dictator than a terrorist group that has its hands in nearly every Middle Eastern nation. But as you said, it would take Russia putting the screws to its stooge.

            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 10:29:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  If you do not want the chemical weapons falling (25+ / 0-)

            into the hands of Al Qaeda, I wonder why you'd advocate for attacking Assad.  Any weakening of Assad and his forces makes the CW more likely to be taken by some of the many hundreds of rebel factions.

            So, why should the USA attack Assad under those circumstances?  If the goal is to keep AQ from obtaining the CW, shouldn't we plan on bombing the crap out of AQ, not Assad?

            The use of chemical weapons is abhorrent, but we have nothing to bring to this particular table.  We can swap some of the killing being done by others for killing done by us.  Yay, us!

            Assad, as Kos points out, has already dispersed his command centers and abandoned the government buildings often targeted by our 'punishment attacks.'  Of all the brutal dictators of the Middle East, Assad isn't crazy, or unrealistic, or irrational. He's learned the lessons of other collapses and attacks.

            So, who do we blow up?  Why argue to weaken Assad if we want to prevent chemical weapons falling into the hands of Al Qaeda?

            It simply makes no sense.

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

            by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:34:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't advocate for attacking anyone. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              YucatanMan, phenry

              I think that anything we do will have to be judged in terms of the effects it can garner.

              Compromises rarely, if ever, work.  All or none.  And I'm not a big fan of invading anyone.

              If Britain were still in the game, a no-fly-zone might have been an option.  But the utility of that is also questionable.

              Man painted himself into a corner.

              Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
              I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
              —Spike Milligan

              by polecat on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:46:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, he didn't have to ever admit he had (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gmats, polecat

                painted himself into a corner. Just brush off demands that "America do something" with "this is not Americas fight" or "America has been interfering in the internal affairs of nations for far too long and we are not going to continue in this instance."

                I just don't see him as trapped. I see him as increasingly egotistical, which is when you worry about what people think when they say "You've painted yourself into a corner."

                There are many options. Only a very few involve the US military.

                ..... A no-fly zone cannot be instituted without bombing. First you have to destroy the Syrian anti-aircraft weapons, then their aircraft, etc, etc, and a lot of people die doing that. Perhaps even some of our own pilots. Once they've been destroyed, then you can have a no fly zone.

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

                by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:03:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Perhaps this should have been Obama's response (0+ / 0-)

                  "In response to the heinous sarin attack on defenseless civilians in the suburbs of Damascus, I am ordering a doubling of US nonlethal aid to the rebels and a doubling of US financial and materiel support to the refugee camps on the Turkish and Lebanese borders. In addition I am calling for the Arab League and the UN to sit in special session to investigate these atrocities and draft a plan for speedy and fair resolution of this conflict."

                  Notice this statement does not jump to any conclusions about who was responsible for the sarin attacks. It provides more food, medicine, blankets, tents, volunteer physicians, water stills, and truck transport to the refugee centers and to "the rebels" in the collective abstract without putting any more weapons in the hands of the latter and without endorsing any particular political parties. Nor does it endorse one sectarian camp (Sunni, Shiite, Alewite) over any other: The US refuses to be dragged into a sectarian civil war.

                  Some Republicans (especially McCain) will squawk that this is cowardly; but f--k them. They would attack whatever course of action Obama chose. Europe and most of the rest of the world (save perhaps Israel) will be greatly relieved that the US is holding back from military intervention.  

            •  Extending the civil war helps Al Qaeda (0+ / 0-)

              Allowing the civil war to continue for ten years or so is more likely to result in Al Qaeda getting chemical weapons, then bombing now and hopefully giving the secular rebels the upper hand.

              There was very few Al Qaeda presents before the war began and the longer the war goes on, the stronger they will become as the population gets more desperate.

              Besides trying to shorten the civil war is the best way to minimize the total number of deaths.

              •  We're not going to bomb Al Qaeda, but (0+ / 0-)

                Al Qaeda's enemy: Assad.  The secular rebels are ineffective and have been pushed out of the way by the violent Islamists, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda and others. There are hundreds of rebel factions. And the weakest of all are the secular rebels who are just trying to survive.

                If we weaken Assad, we strengthen Al Qaeda in Syria.

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

                by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:54:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  AQ already has those shells. (11+ / 0-)

            Or at least one of the rebel factions. There was a chemical weapons attack attributed to them already.

            So that horse has already left the barn.

            Plus, you can't blow up chemical weapons unless you want to release them.

            So we are going to start a bombing campaign that cannot be targeted only at chemical weapons (which we do not know where they are), some of  the military assets are under control by rebels who have defectors from the Syrian military who would know exactly how to use them, and we have said we do not want regime change.

            Please explain how this plan will do more than make this even worse.

          •  How do we know THEY AREN'T Already?? (5+ / 0-)

            via Saudi Arabia, or another country/Player.  They setting one off leading US into a war is fitting.

            Their goal is to bankrupt us, One more war may just do it.

            This Smells of Iraq/Vietnam.

          •  An 8 year old with an internet connection (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            polecat

            can make sarin gas. I'm sure AQ already has plenty.

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

            by jhecht on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:48:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Probably not without killing himself along the (0+ / 0-)

              way.  But you're right about the technology being widespread.

              Having it in a form that is easy to deploy is about the only remaining argument on that score.

              Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
              I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
              —Spike Milligan

              by polecat on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:50:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  ???? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            Please see YucatanMan's comment below.

            Your comment makes no sense unless you're talking about us becoming the anti-Assad insurgency and elbowing AQ out of the mix. Which definitely would mean boots on the ground, and lots of 'em.

            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 11:18:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I would agree with you, LMS (7+ / 0-)

          except that I have a belly button. This matter is really, REALLY important to all humans with belly buttons. This is not about a local, or regional military action.

          This is about not ignoring this particular attack against humanity, and what that means. That's what I believe. We have our own sordid history on this score to deal with. But, and although I doubt there are very many Kossacks alive to remember it, there was another time when we had an opportunity to make such a humanitarian statement and we didn't. It falls to us to make certain that international standard of human existence is lifted up and re-soldered onto the soul of every member of the human race. Sometimes, it sucks being a super power, and leader of the free world. We are, believe it or not; like it or not.

          In that case, many millions of humans died tragic and horrific deaths because of another dictator's mental disease. It was only AFTER the end of that time that we, as a planet said there are, in facts, limits to what one belly button kid could get away with. We, as a planet, said "Never again!"

          We, as a planet, should hold to that universal standard. Even if it is we alone.

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

          by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:36:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I understand what you're saying... (5+ / 0-)

            But this isn't the first crime against humanity we have witnessed in my lifetime...and we don't even know all the facts yet.

            It would be prudent to allow UN inspectors to complete a THOROUGH examination of the sites in question (as Russia is urging), call congress into session, have a complete and transparent public debate where the people are represented, THEN decide what is the best course of action.

            Apologies, but the rush job doesn't fly with me. We did it before in Iraq...and look what it cost us AND them.

            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 10:43:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree -- there's NO reason to rush (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Randomfactor

              At the time we invaded Iraq I wasn't sure it was a bad idea, but I thought it was premature.  The longer UN inspectors are in Syria, the longer all sides will be holding back, at least in any further use of chemical weapons.  And the longer the USA would need to hold off on bombing or cruise missiles.

              So leave the UN inspectors there say, 10, 20, 50 years ...

              If I lived in Syria, and the UN inspectors rented some building for a long term stay, I'd want to rent space in that same building and live there, or in a building next door.  And I'd volunteer to help keep "UN" painted in huge letters on the roof.

              We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

              by david78209 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:03:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Interesting point, David. (0+ / 0-)

                But I would suspect it would not take very long for you to come to understand a whole lot better just how much the UN, and all it stands for, is despised in the Middle East. Moreso (just imagine) than some in the USA would feel comfortable with.

                And the rental increases would be just killer.

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

                by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:26:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Call every official you can find and tell themTHIS (0+ / 0-)

              It is not, in my view,not a rush. It is an emergent situation which, while we are not complicit in the action, we could well be complicit if we do nothing. The point to remember, I think, is to consider whether or not this injury is limited to the helpless victims of a chemical attack, or to the entire world.

              In my view (as you may deduce) this is an injury to the world.

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

              by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:24:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  BTW...rec'd not because I necessarily agree... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            polecat

            ...with you, but because you made a terrific argument.

            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 10:43:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Love Me Slender

              I'm not looking for agreement. I am so very conflicted about this that my soul is rent. I'm looking for intelligent discussion of an impossible topic. You have offered it, and I very much appreciate it.

              I am further of the opinion that I am most grateful for the man holding the office atm.

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

              by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:28:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  You want a statement? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pasadena beggar, VeloDramatic

            Fine. Kerry made one. Obama made one. That's two right there.
                 Bombing is not a statement. It is killing people, pure and simple. So according to you,  it falls to us to kill a group of Syrians (but not just Assad, that is illegal) in the hopes that this will deter Assad from killing other Syrians the wrong way but won't weaken him so much that a group of nut job jihadists get control of his weapons and murder many more people, Syrian and non-Syrian alike. And we have to do this to make up for not attacking Nazi Germany when they started killing Jews. Have I got this right?
                 Slogans like "Never Again" were never more than slogans. When millions were killed in sectarian fighting when the British left India in 1947, the world did nothing. When Mao's Great Leap Forward killed millions of Chinese the world did nothing.  When the Khmer Rouge killed their fellow Cambodians by the acre-full, the world did nothing. When the world came quivering a hairs-breath away from World War III in October 1962, just before the Russian ships stopped short of the quarantine line, our jets, subs, and ground-based missiles were poised and ready to launch the attack that would have killed everyone on this planet, and maybe even all life. We would have done it if the Russians had not blinked. These were people of the generation that liberated the death camps. Never Again? Right. Sure. You bet. In one of Woody Allen's movies, a character says "I don't understand how the Holocaust could have happened" and the older man replies "The miracle is that a Holocaust doesn't happen every day."

            "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

            by Reston history guy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:14:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You make cogent points, but from a false premise (0+ / 0-)

              The reduced argument you offer ends with "So let's do nothing, again."

              History, as gruesome as it seems necessarily to be, really should inform our future.

              Your excellent examples are, to me, only more proof that we have the testimony of history before us. Shall we ignore it? By what arrogance are we to turn away our eyes from this latest reality and abdicate our responsibility not only to history, but to the future as well?

              I cannot imagine one single victim of any of the actions (or inaction) you rightly mention who would not cry from their graves that such atrocities would ever be allowed. Again.

              Holocausts DO happen every day. This one might well lead us, as co-citizens of our planet to re-align our standards of humanity.

              It does strike me as antithetical that, in order to determine a universally acceptable standard of killing each other, we are thus required to even potentially kill one innocent to do so.

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

              by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:42:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  In this particular case, yes, do nothing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wonmug

                    I am not a pacifist. You and I agree that there may be times when it is necessary to kill people, even innocent people, to achieve a greater good.
                    This is not one of those times. You describe the decision not to bomb as "arrogance". Given what little we know, given that cruise missile strikes would annoy Assad but in no way prevent him from unleashing truly massive chemical attacks---and given the very real possibility that if the rebels win and thus seize stocks of chemical and perhaps biological weapons which they will turn without doubt on Israel and multiple other  targets around the world---isn't it arrogance to believe that we can do the utilitarian calculus so neatly? What if the judgment of history is that we made a fatal blunder by intervening in this civil war? You assume that you already know what historians will say. But you do not know. Neither do I.  I have vivid memories of Vietnam hawks appealing to our responsibility to history and to the future. They were wrong. Those in Austria-Hungary who declared war on Serbia in 1914 thinking it would be only a short little reprimand to the Serbs for killing the Archduke Ferdinand were wrong.
                     You speak of cries from the grave? Imagine the spirits of the 20 million who died in the Great War, the war to end all war, who died for nothing at all, imagine what they could say if they could rise from their graves. Would they be glad they died for a mistake? The Great War was popular--at first--with statesmen and peasants alike. People cheered as the troop trains left the station. They were about to engage in a catastrophe begun with noble intentions on all sides.
                     Suppose the lesson that other dictators around the globe draw from intervention in Syria is that possession of nuclear weapons is a must, since any power with them may slaughter their citizens with impunity. (e.g. North Korea).
                      When you can tell me with certainty (remembering that Donald Rumsfeld claimed to know with certainty where the Iraq WMDs were) which targets we should hit, how many innocent civilians is acceptable collateral damage, just how far you are willing to go in order to meet our "responsibility to history" (troops on the ground? would you use nuclear weapons on Assad if the military situation called for them?), how you know with certainty that our actions will not make things worse, what post-Assad government you see emerging....then I might take the demand to start bombing seriously. But I keep remembering Morley Safer reporting from a village in Vietnam where a Marine or Army unit was setting fire to the peasant huts. Safer asked the young officer in charge, "What are you doing?" The response came, "Sir, we had to destroy the village in order to save it."

                "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

                by Reston history guy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 01:14:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I believe on the points we know, we can agree. (0+ / 0-)

                  Imagine being the one human who must make the decisions that this dilemma requires. Intel is remarkable. The Inspectors are leaving because they have completed their tasks.

                  These two truths move us inexorably toward action. What action, at what time, in what location, in what way, and to what ends are, it seems to me, questions arriving at a proper moment.

                  Personally, I'm more and more in favor of kidnapping the Assads and delivering them, post haste, to the World Court. I would be in favor of removing their military assets. Who to replace them? This is a difficult question, and one whose answer we should inform, not command. More will die in the interim, and that is an atrocity within itself, I think.

                  It wasn't that the wordsmithing of Vietnam was universally unsound, unwise, or untrue. It was the coruption of dishonest men of power who failed the American people, and the world by not walking their talk because of the appeal of greed. I think a legitimate question could be asked of us now, in this event as to whether or not we are capable of trusting the intentions of our current leadership. That's a fair question being obfuscated all over the geometry of the discussion.

                  Kidnap them, and let them feel the truth of humanity. I kinda like that option, which I have not (among the fog) heard mentioned. You know what that means....:)

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

                  by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 01:52:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You could also call "arrogance" (0+ / 0-)

                  insistence it is up to the US to punish because the US has all the power, all the moral high ground, and all the practical solutions.

      •  Assad has been "walking" for years. (19+ / 0-)

        And we've never done anything about it.  That horse done left the barn.  Shooting the horse in the next stall over will accomplish fuck all.

        My answer is sit down and shut up.  We don't know crap about it.  We can't determine who the bad guys are, and who the good guys are.  Except for the dead, and its too late for anyone to fix things for them.  This is not our fight, and there is NOTHING we could do to make a better outcome for anyone.

      •  How about we mind our own damned business. (18+ / 0-)

        Seriously: STAY TF out of it. It's not our affair. And the people OVER THERE (China, Russia, Assad, now even the UK) all agree.

        If ANYTHING, it makes scary more sense that Western intel set up the chem attack in Damascus; because WHY would Damascus ever launch on Damascus with the U.S. positioning for war? These weak-ass U.S. excuses didn't make sense in Iraq, and they sure as hell don't make sense now.

        You don't understand: NOBODY BELIEVES we need to be policing Syria. We jacked up Iraq; we LOST in Afghanistan (like everyone WARNED us we would); are we just going to keep hitting that region until we have to add more stars and stripes to our flag? REALLY?

        This is crazy. Someone needs to stop the U.S.; we're NOT the U.N. — remember that platform Obama RAN ON originally? Working WITH the world community; not acting unilaterally? What happened to that?

        "Ridiculous, counter-productive, and stupid." —P.J. Crowley on the treatment of Bradley Manning

        by IndieinVa on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:27:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly...I mean really, isn't Syria part of... (7+ / 0-)

          the Asian continent? Isn't Assad Russia's stooge?

          Let them clean up their own fucking mess. We need to sit this one out and let Russia and Western Europe do the heavy lifting for a change.

          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 10:32:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          entrelac

          Hmm, howzabout because Assad knows the US won't do much of anything in response, and even if we do, it probably won't make much of a difference anyway?
          This is actually working out quite well for him.  Everyone in the US and other western countries arguing with each other, recognizing that he's committed war crimes, but otherwise impotent to stop him.

        •  I'll tell you why (0+ / 0-)

          Because Assad knows that the U.S. and other western countries won't do much of anything in response, and anything we do won't make much of a difference anyway.
          It works out quite well for him actually, he just keeps on doin' what he does, while his enemies are exposed as impotent.  

      •  paltry force versus big force (7+ / 0-)

        No, thank you to either.  I am firmly in the camp of NO force.  Regardless of the amount of force we choose to use, this will not end well for the US or the Syrian people.  Just ask the Iraqis how much they liked our meddling in their country.  There is no choice.  The only option is no force.  

        "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West speaking to Occupy Tallahassee on January 18, 2012

        by gulfgal98 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:29:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here's the problem (0+ / 0-)

        If you want to make Assad stop, you need to pretty much reduce Syria to dust.  This will kill more people than Assad's thugs and chemical weapons could ever achieve.

        Then, you've got a pulverized power vacuum.  Now what?  Do you want a cross between Somali warlords and well-funded Al Queda gangsters fronting Israel and Turkey.  These people hide in the woodwork and are very hard to bomb or shoot, and make Assad look like a humanitarian.

    •  He hasn't thrown anything in (13+ / 0-)

      It's pretty clear he thinks we should not be acting precipitately, but if it is probable that we will, then giving advice that might sway the conversation is the best one can do.

      Politics: The art of the possible

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:18:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The UK only backed down until after the (6+ / 0-)

      UN inspectors are out and have made some recommendations. It doesn't mean that they will not help with a military strike if necessary, just that they're going to wait until the evidence is in to do so.

      How is that a bad thing? Especially after the obscene salivating mess that the WH was, just before going in to Iraq?

      I'm a sanctimonious purist. Whatchya gonna do about it?

      by speedingpullet on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:32:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not bad at all (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmats, KayCeSF

        although I still want to hear what the UN inspectors have to say, the arguments and evidence that Kerry has presented so far is a hell of a lot more convincing than Powell's farce at the UN or all the "mushroom cloud" bs.  
        We're talking about CW use within the past month, not an attack from the previous decade used to justify a large scale ground invasion or occupation.

        But at this point, I don't think we should do anything, and others have noted that we have ways to respond to a crossing of the "red line" that don't involve military force.
        I still think the Russians have been right from the beginning-what is the alternative to Assad?  It could be even worse.  So I'm against anything that might tip the scales either way.  
        Someone on NPR made a good point about Eisenhower, and everything that was going on during his eight years, including Hungary and Indochina.  He stayed out of all of it.  

      •  No, the UK will not get militarily involved at all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg

        they may assist with diplomatic efforts but after the worst Foreign Policy defeat since Lord North, the British will not be spending lives and treasure on Syria.

      •  Technically (0+ / 0-)

        This is correct.

        The political reality is somewhat different.

        Absent another horrific episode with very clear evidence of "who done it", this matter will not be brought back to Parliament.

        David Cameron suffered a massive blow to his authority yesterday. He might survive it, but any hint of a repeat and he is toast.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:27:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't see it that way at all. (8+ / 0-)

      He's making valuable points and addressing what is an incredibly terrible damned if you do damned if you don't situation.

      I'm conflicted as hell over the whole thing, and anyone who watched the videos of children choking and writhing in agony from the chemical weapon attack understands what  message we'd be sending by simply doing nothing.

      I and clearly much of the American public doesn't want to go to war, but Kos is correctly pointing out that IF we must make the best of a FUBAR situation, it would come from full throated support by the rest of the arab world.  A real coalition going after a real problem (as opposed to Iraq's fake coalition fake WMD's).

      Worst case scenario, we find ourselves going it alone in yet another middle eastern country stirring up a fresh generation of anti-americanism and extremism.

      I can't pretend there's an easy answer to this situation though because it seems plainly evident that there's not.  The geopolitical implications are enormous, and the biggest fear of all is over fighting a proxy war with Iran, China and Russia that could essentially usher in WWIII.  (Hyperbole? I hope so.)

      Rock?  Meet hard place.

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

      by Blue Dream on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:36:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Full Fledged Support by The Arab World (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wonmug

        Is never going to happen. I doubt SA would risk one of it's princes in the royal air-force to fly a sortie anywhere near the Syrian border.  Nor are any of the other countries that have viable military's because they are all ruled autocratically.

        Arab countries do not want to attack other Arab countries. They would demand we do it - secretly , with promises of riches for our private corps- but never publicly. They have to live in that neighborhood.

        They can also get their people riled up at Israel and the US when , not if, shit goes wrong. That's a terrific distraction for the 40% unemployed in oil rich countries.

        These people aren't stupid , but they sure as hell believe we are.

        “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

        by Dburn on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:47:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The FUCK them (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          twigg
          Arab countries do not want to attack other Arab countries. They would demand we do it - secretly , with promises of riches for our private corps- but never publicly. They have to live in that neighborhood.
          The US should RUN not walk away from this quagmire.  If the Arab states won't LEAD this thing, then neither should we.

          Fuck, Israel has plenty of army.  They should lead instead of the US.

          Anybody but US!l

        •  The Arab countries need to grow up (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SouthernLiberalinMD, twigg, jadt65, wonmug

          and learn to keep their own neighborhood clean.

          Americans acting as their police force is getting really tiresome.

          All it does is piss off insane people who want to kill us in retaliation for acting on behalf of the other Arab states.

          We should be here building solar panels, wind farms and cranking up research into alternative energy resources and let them get on with whatever crazy they want to engage in - maybe finally they would find a way to live together peacefully and prosperously.

        •  yeah, Arab countries fighting side by side (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pasadena beggar

          with the United States, the ally of Israel, against an Arab country?

          Not going to happen.

          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 11:23:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Each Arab gov't that doesn't join... (0+ / 0-)

            could arguably be seen by its people as in support of the use of chemical weapons on civilians.  That's reason enough to join any coalition that might form.

            Genocide is a common enemy Americans and Arabs can actually unite against.

            Or maybe i'm just being optimistic.

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

            by Blue Dream on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:30:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's a helluva lot of dead kids, man. (0+ / 0-)

      How about all the folks on this site that wanted us to "do something" about Koney 2012.  That something would have looked a lot like THIS something in Syria.  

      I see a lot of people saying no, but I've yeat to hear a reasonable response from those same people that offers a tangible, realistic solution.  

      We lefties are ALWAYS about human rights - until we're actually asked to do something to defend them.  

      No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

      by CrazyHorse on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:47:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, but doing something about Kony (0+ / 0-)

        would have been 'safe', unlike intervening in Syria. Easy to swagger and be brave when there is no personal risk.

      •  That's not actually true. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, pasadena beggar, schnecke21, wonmug

        Everyone on this site who opposes this war opposes it at least in part because we don't want to participate in killing more kids.

        Our intervention would be both clumsy and unhelpful - not to mention deadly for god only knows how many people.

        Especially in the way it has been described by the Administration.

      •  Yeah? And what specifically will our air strikes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wonmug

        do about it?

        Assume for a second it's Assad who did it. I don't think that's proven at all, but let's assume it. He knows we're not going to like it. He knows we have the most powerful military in the world. He knows we have a war-weary and war-wary populace and economic problems--because everybody knows that. So what would he think the most likely response to an attack with sarin gas would be? Especially after that whole "red line" talking point?

        Uh, that the U.S. would come barreling in with their planes.

        So if he makes the attack, with full knowledge that it's likely we'll come barreling in with our planes, why the fuck would barreling in with our planes deter him from doing it again?

        Everybody keeps acting like Assad is not just a monster, but intensely stupid.

        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 11:27:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  tangible, realistic solution? (0+ / 0-)

        I don't have one. But the types of responses being talked about militarily are the opposite of one.

        Just because we can't come up with a tangible, realistic solution does not mean we should engage in a tangible, destructive one.

        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 01:26:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  My read: he disagrees pretty strongly (0+ / 0-)

      with the policy or he wouldn't be saying anything, but he accepts no course of action that doesn't go through the Democratic Party, or at least through those politicians that have enough power to control the Democratic party and direct its course.

      So, of course, this is the only sensible approach, for him.

      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 11:17:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chemical weapons blah blah blah (6+ / 0-)

    Yes, war is hell.  Well, DUH. But this is no reason to dive into another war.

    Maybe Obama should just hand over taxpayer money to the MIC -- just to live up to the claim that this is the most Open and Tranparent Administration eva.


    No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle. 🍞 & 🎪

    by CitizenOfEarth on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:06:57 AM PDT

    •  blah blah blah?! (8+ / 0-)

      that is your comment on chemical weapons? wow.

      Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

      by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:17:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I said "war is hell." (8+ / 0-)

        WTF do you want from me. All forms of war death are horrible. Methods of death are not a reason to start a war.

        Who do you want to win this? Assad or the Alqueda backed Rebels? Both are bad outcomes.

        There is NO REASON for us to get into this quagmire.


        No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle. 🍞 & 🎪

        by CitizenOfEarth on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:22:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Death is death, of course, but (5+ / 0-)

          there is definitely a difference here in weapons used and the kind of fear and especially the level of civilian deaths they cause.

          I do not have any answer to your question, because there are no good answers in this situation. But I do not think the goal here is to start a war, but to punish Assad and have Obama not lose face after his red line comment. Not saying I agree or like this, but I definitely have a hard time with people acting as if chemical weapons are no big deal compared to other weapons. I think there is a reason these are not a common part of weaponry around the world.

          Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

          by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:28:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Obama not lose face " (13+ / 0-)

            1) I don't give a flying fuck about "Obama losing face ". So fucking what?

            2) Afganistan was supposed to be an in-and-out mission. Here we are 12 years later slogging along there.

            3) US this the biggest debtor nation in the world. How will this get paid for. Obama already said he's going to gut the social safety net. For what?! To punish a dictator. Fuck that!!


            No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle. 🍞 & 🎪

            by CitizenOfEarth on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:35:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No comparison to Afghanistan war (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lawrence

              Sure, Bush said he would get in and out quickly, but there was no question about it being a war that included troops on the ground, even though it started quite a small number. No one is suggesting this in Syria.

              And I have NEVER heard Obama say he wants to gut the social safety net, I think this a is ridiculous statement. Will he consider compromise that I personally disagree with? sure, but that comment is simply nonsense.

              P.S. I think Obama screwed up royally with his red line comment. Limiting options is never the way to go IMO.

              Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

              by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:43:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, boots on the ground has been mentioned (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CitizenOfEarth, wonmug

                and in fact would be necessary to take out the chemical weapons. Which has kinda been a big talking point amongst all the people who want to "do something".

                To control Syria's store of chemical weapons

                would require a massive US involvement, including troops on the ground, for an indefinite duration
                This is per US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Martin Dempsey, in a detailed view of the options for a military intervention in Syria [from his letter to Senator Carl Levin in mid-July].

                Here is the link, please read.

                The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

                by CenPhx on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:16:47 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Of course it is an option, but won't be chosen (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  CenPhx

                  and not one Obama is considering, nor one Congress would agree to.

                  From the BBC article listing the options, not the choices!

                  This was Gen Dempsey's fourth point with a focus on preventing the use or proliferation of chemical weapons. This could be done by destroying portions of Syria's stockpiles; hindering its movement or by seizing key installations. This would require a massive US involvement, including troops on the ground, for an indefinite duration.

                  What comes through clearly in Gen Dempsey's letter (and indeed in a subsequent text that he recently sent to another US congressman in mid-August) is his extraordinary reluctance to embark upon any military action at all.

                  Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

                  by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:47:22 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  My point is that ppl keep saying "do something" (0+ / 0-)

                    and suggesting that we have several easy, surgical, in-and-out, no risk to us, type options. Looking at that assessment from the guy who knows tells us that none of the options are effective or simple or at all what people here keep suggesting them to be.

                    Sure, Obama et al. keep saying the military intervention will be limited, but using our critical thinking skills as applied to the military assessment by General Dempsey seems to indicate this cannot possibly be correct unless the only thing we do is a symbolic dropping of a few bombs.

                    If that is all we are doing, it is ridiculous. It accomplishing NOTHING at huge potential costs to making the situation worse, both politically and for the civilians in Syria.

                    But maybe I am not seeing something you are -- is there something, some military action, we could take which would achieve some specific goal? Let me know the action and the goal. I am not a military strategist - I am basing this off what I read from Dempsey.

                    The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

                    by CenPhx on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:28:43 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I think that unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      CenPhx

                      Obama set himself up when he said that was a red line. Any bombing would not have an objective of getting rid of the chemical weapons. I don't think he or Kerry said the objective is to so, but that any bombing is more of a punitive action.

                      I agree, dropping a few bombs will not stop the use of these weapons, nor have any effect on the civil war there.

                      Which is why I object to this action, I see no positive results out of this action. But I am not an expert and hardly have sensitive intel either. I just am morally opposed to using violence to deal with violence whenever you can!

                      Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

                      by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:37:43 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Wow, I think we agree! (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        kimoconnor

                        I didn't think we were in agreement at the begining of this conversation, but I think we pretty much agree. That doesn't happen very often - it's a nice change of pace!

                        As the information has been coming out in the last few days, I have become more convinced the Assad regime was to blame for the CW attack, even though I am not sure how high up the command originated. I am also increasing convinced that under the Right to Protect doctrine of international law, we could have a legal basis for acting.

                        But in reading about the various rebel and government groups in Syria right now and the different types of potential military action we could take (not to mention the horrible impact on civilians), I just don't see how we accomplish anything productive.

                        We have a lot of smart people here in the US; there has to be a better way to deter the future use of CW than dropping bombs.

                        The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

                        by CenPhx on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:47:27 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  don't be so surprised (0+ / 0-)

                          this is an emotional issue, and one where it seems many jump to conclusions. (such as if I think CW are worse than conventional I must not care when people use the conventional and kill thousands).

                          This has also become a part of the rox/sux debate that I refuse to take sides in. I am just not the type of person who thinks there will ever be a politician who thinks exactly like me, and I do not excuse all Obama does, nor think he is as bad as what we could have for a president (i.e Bush).

                          You know, even if the international community has a legal right to bomb for the use of these weapons, I just do not believe it will stop them from being used again.

                           I do not have the answer to prevent their use, and honestly doubt anyone here on this blog does. I am not sure we ever can, sad as that is.

                          Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

                          by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 01:04:36 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

            •  You do realize, of course, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              edwardssl

              that no American lives are at stake here, right?  We have the power to take out meaningful targets from the air.  

              So do you see NOOOOO humanitarian reasons to enter this fight?  

              Peace at what cost?  Death we can prevent.  

              I like to think America is bigger than our own backyard.

              No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

              by CrazyHorse on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:50:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure let's 'Stamp Out Evil' once and for all (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pasadena beggar

                Your kind of thinking has soaked us in $16Trillion in Debt. When does it end? Because there are dozens of other places in the world where bad people are doing bad things. We cannot Fix Evil.


                No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle. 🍞 & 🎪

                by CitizenOfEarth on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:39:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So your concern is with cost? (0+ / 0-)

                  And I see you fail to respond to your assertion Obama wants to guy the social safety net.

                  It seems your objective here is about complaining about our President, not looking at alternatives to possibly help the Syrians.

                  Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

                  by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:52:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "complaining about our President" (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Deward Hastings

                    Umm, yeaaah, isn't he the guy who is dragging the Taxpayers into this clusterfuck -- when polling shows 80% of taxpayers want NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

                    Just funny how Obama is getting all self-righteous about Chem Weapons (a war crime) when he's the guy who legalized torture of prisoners  (a war crime) and is drone bombing sovereign nations  (a war crime).

                    Fools being led by the Insane into a Religious war we should have nothing to do with.


                    No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle. 🍞 & 🎪

                    by CitizenOfEarth on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:59:55 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Wrong, 80% do not think that (0+ / 0-)

                      Nor does Obama want to kill social services. And your concern for debt is suspicious from this liberal at least.

                      But you can continue with your Obama sucks routine all you want. For neither of our opinions matters one bit.

                      Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

                      by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:06:45 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  So we punish Assad...and that does what exactly? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StrayCat, CitizenOfEarth

            There are rebel factions with chemical weapons, too. Now they know they can deploy them and the US will bomb Assad.

            Unless we claim to want regime change (which like it or not would require boots on the ground), this is a symbolic gesture guaranteed to inflame the region...and it does not guarantee that chemical weapons will not be used. If anything, I would think it would encourage both sides: the rebels because the US will bomb Assad, Assad because it doesn't matter what he does, the US will attack.

            •  nothing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              whizdom

              I believe that we could bomb most of their airforce and still risk more chemical attacks.

              And I wonder, how do you know what the rebels have? Or are you just assuming?

              Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

              by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:46:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The UN reported that there was a chemical attack (0+ / 0-)

                earlier that was attributed to one of the rebel factions. Swiss UN inspector reported it.

                That might have been the only chemical weapon they had...or not. Plus we do not know where all of the chemical weapons are any more. So even if we manage to just kill Assad and his forces, there is no guarantee that we will get the chemical weapons, and the rebels are not saints either.

                It's not a binary situation. There are hundreds (one report said a thousand) rebel groups. Some are fighting Assad. Some are fighting each other. Some would have no compunction against using chemical weapons either. We can't just say "The rebels are good so we support them." Some are Al-Qaeda...you of all people know what could happen to women and girls if they come to power.

                •  Well, if there are as many chemical weapons (0+ / 0-)

                  in that nation as many think, it is quite possible the rebels could do r have done this. I agree, the rebels are hardly a monolithic unit and I am well aware as you mention, of the risks involved in supporting them.

                  But I don't think al Qaeda is not as concerned with women's rights or lack thereof as the Taliban. Regardless, it seems to me that all the Syrians are in a no win situation right now.  

                  Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

                  by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:57:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't know that our intervention will help. (0+ / 0-)

                    I would be more than happy to support relocating Syrians who wanted out of the conflict a way out. Granting asylum to those who wish to leave and ensuring that there was a safe place for them to go...but that is frought with just as many dangers.

                    The US will not accept them as refugess for fear they are terrorists (I am not saying they are, just pointing out the obvious argument against bringing them here). If they go to another Arab country, they risk becoming the next Palestinians, a people without a home. I doubt they would want to risk that.

                    It is just disturbing that our answer is violence. I know we haven't paid attention as a country, but Libya is hardly better off for our intervention, even if the world is better off for Qaddafi's death.

                    •  no argument from me on that (0+ / 0-)

                      I do not we can just relocate people every time a dictator starts killing the citizens.......but we can provide more aid for the refugees and pressure neighboring countries to treat them better while we wait to see the next steps.

                      There are simply no simple answers here.

                      Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

                      by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:54:57 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  gas bad (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CitizenOfEarth

            cluster bombs and White Phosphorous good.

            Thanks, Kim, I was confused about that . . .

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:13:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You can lie about what I said (0+ / 0-)

              but it won't get your views listened to. But keep it up, it evidently makes you feel better to suggest I am in favor of any kind of war or weapons.

              Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

              by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:56:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I dont know why its so hard for some folks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lawrence

            to both oppose intervention by us and admit that chemical weapons are different.

            It's crazy they feel the need to pooh-pooh them as no big deal.

        •  recent kos post : dead is dead (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          speedingpullet, twigg

          the manner in which one ends up dead is irrelevant.

          the fact you died is what counts


          "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

          by Angie in WA State on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:53:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I understood the point (0+ / 0-)

            Markos was making in that Diary.

            I also feel the response Diary was a very effective counter-point.

            I lean towards believing that Markos accepted it too.

            I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
            but I fear we will remain Democrats.

            Who is twigg?

            by twigg on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:32:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Can someone then please explain to me (0+ / 0-)

            why of all the horrific weapons on earth, these are the only type that are pretty much universally illegal and not used on a regular basis?

            Of course dead is dead, but that is not an argument or explanation on why most of the world has banned these particular weapons and not all weapons!

            Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

            by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:00:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  My response from before (0+ / 0-)

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          "CW are also one of the only weapons that we as a species have managed to declare beyond the pale. The use of any weapons against civilians is disgusting, the use of CW period is illegal. If removing classes of weapons is a valid goal towards preventing conflicts, then we should recognize the progress that we've made and act to prevent backsliding."

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

          by Solarian on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:04:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Seeing as over 100K have died, and another 1.2 mil (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WheninRome, SouthernLiberalinMD

        have fled the country, a few hundred killed by chemical weapons is a drop in the bucket.

        Sorry, but if you're going to be outraged by deaths, be outraged by the past three years worth, not just by how they were killed recently.

        You're still dead, no matter if it was Sarin or an AK-47.

        I'm a sanctimonious purist. Whatchya gonna do about it?

        by speedingpullet on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:44:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  wow, a lot of assumptions on my view here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence

          To assert I was not outraged long before this chemical attack is wrong, and insulting.

          And, I disagree that there is no difference in types of weapons used in warfare. There is a reason these are not commonly used in war!

          Yes, dead is dead, but I wonder how you would react if you thought your own govt might bomb your city vs. gas your city.

          I think there are a lot of people trying to pretend they give a shit, but likely never paid much attention to the situation in that part of the world before now. In your case I have no idea,  but neither do you have any idea of what I have been paying attention to all these months or what my feelings have been.

          Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

          by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:52:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I always love it when the REAL feelings come out (0+ / 0-)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/...

      Initial symptoms following exposure to sarin are a runny nose, tightness in the chest and constriction of the pupils. Soon after, the victim has difficulty breathing and experiences nausea and drooling. As the victim continues to lose control of bodily functions, the victim vomits, defecates and urinates. This phase is followed by twitching and jerking. Ultimately, the victim becomes comatose and suffocates in a series of convulsive spasms.
      Just more blah blah blah, eh? I guess it must be your keen respect for human life that's led you to oppose this military action so reflexively.
      •  You're missing the point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmats, pasadena beggar

        All those people who were killed by non-chemical means are still as dead as those killed with chemical weapons. Where's your outrage over thier deaths?

        Why was it ok to sit back and not 'help' them, just because they were 'fortunate' enough not to be killed with a gas?

        Where was your urgency to go to war when the first civilians were bombed and gunned down almost three years ago?

        Drawing a line - red or otherwise - over how a person is killed is arbitrary.

        Making it all about America's standing in the world, and how 'weak' or 'strong' it is perceived, is almost as obscene as ignoring the thousands who have already died and been displaced  - before CWs were introduced into the equation.

        That's the point I was making. But you carry on chest thumping if it floats your boat.

        I'm a sanctimonious purist. Whatchya gonna do about it?

        by speedingpullet on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:05:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  black of white thinking like that is dangerous (0+ / 0-)

          and something I expect to see on a site like Redstate vs. here.

          I mean, why do you guys assume if we suggest there is a difference in chemical weapons vs. conventional, we also think killing folks with regular old bombs is OK?

          Because that is not only silly, but very insulting.

          Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

          by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:03:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Is this were someone opposing intervention (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        speedingpullet, AZ Sphinx Moth

        should post something horrific about a slow, long painful death from an infected bullet wound, because there are many places where innocent cilivians who get hit by either side have no access to adequate medical care, such that they are dying from imminently treatable wounds and how our bombing will make it that much harder for medical supplies and doctors to actually treat and save the wounded?

        Or maybe we should talk about the medical or food situation for refugees? Which will also not be helped at all by our bombing?

        Should we trot out the different painful ways Syrians can die in order to support our positions for or against military intervention? Or maybe we should accept that people will be dying and suffering horribly whether we intervene or not, and stick to rational arguments about that instead of appealing to emotions and moral righteousness. I vote for the later. You?  

        The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

        by CenPhx on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:24:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm wondering (0+ / 0-)

    If there is a work up for a comprehensive attack on CW sites. If so then I'd guess Stand off attacks on AA followed but attacks on airforce and CW sites.

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

    by Solarian on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:08:35 AM PDT

    •  The only "safe" way to attack the Syrian chemical (3+ / 0-)

      caches--assuming we even know where they are--is with massive numbers of boots on the ground.

      Attacking these depots from the air runs a very real risk of precipitating the crisis we claim to be acting to prevent.

      Perhaps you do support a ground invasion if necessary, but only the die-hard neocons will join you in that support.

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

      by PhilJD on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:22:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And that brings Russia/China/Iran in.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, SouthernLiberalinMD

        And that brings Israel in, and that leads to Nuclear war, or WW III.

        •  Yeah, b/c Russia is not going to be OK (0+ / 0-)

          with us putting tons of boots on the ground in their client state. They will likely respond (if they can't deter us from doing it) by putting a lot of boots on the ground themselves.

          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 11:29:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No. (0+ / 0-)

        If you follow the news more closely, you will see the navy is armed with next gen weapons designed to destroy chemical weapons depots.

        No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

        by CrazyHorse on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:51:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm aware of this. I noted it in a different diary (0+ / 0-)

          but not here.

          I think the effectiveness of these next gen weapons requires something very close to a direct hit. I'm not at all willing to act based on assurances from the military brass of 100% accuracy, something that has never been achieved with any weapon in any war.

          I think the likelihood that some of these weapons will be near-misses is quite high; near enough to crack open the depot, but too far to effectively incinerate all its contents.

          I'll never support an action that risks that.

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

          by PhilJD on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:59:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That is not accurate (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SouthernLiberalinMD

          US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey disgrees with your assessment.

          The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

          by CenPhx on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:28:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Look, our own intelligence says we risk (0+ / 0-)

          causing a chemical weapons attack inadvertently if we hit one of the chemical weapons caches by accident. OK?

          I did not get this idea from Wavy Gravy. I got it from, well, from the intelligence community trying to cover their asses ahead of time by leaking information about how undecided they are.

          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 11:32:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Wow (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD

        Take a deep breath...

        To begin, I recognize the concerns involved in an aerial attack on a WMD site. The safest way from a amount of chemicals spilled metric is boots on the ground, yes. Are there other options? Yes, yes there are. Generally they involve high temperature fires to burn the chemicals. Is this ideal? No, could it be done? Yes. Should it be done if the CW storage site is in a city? I'd say no. In the middle of a Syrian Airbase? I'd say yes.

        Should we intervene in some way at this point? I don't know, and after Iraq, I have a healthy skepticism. I'm not saying, nor did I say that this is what we should do, I posed a hypothetical regarding what I see as the point of the diary: namely if a decision to attack is made, is there any chance of it working?

        Perhaps I do support a ground invasion if necessary, but tossing that last line on there leads me to this reply.

        Not being married, there is no way that I can still be beating my wife.

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

        by Solarian on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:51:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You cannot simply lob bombs at CW sites, even (6+ / 0-)

      assuming the sites are fixed locations, and think the chemical weapons will all be destroyed in the blast. In fact, bombs might end up simply spreading the chemical agents over a vast area.

      Poisons carried aloft by the heat of the explosions could rain down on people far away from the blasts.

      Attacking the CW sites is the last thing anyone wants to do with explosives.

      Could they be secured?  Sure, with invasions of large numbers of troops to seal off the area around the chemical weapons, then secure them and neutralize them.  It would be a dangerous and expensive invasion, where we might end up being opposed by both Assad and some of the rebels, particularly Al Nusra and Al Qaeda.

      Since we cannot directly affect the CW with a small, stand-off attack, there's literally no reason to get involved. If we significantly weaken Assad, the rebels might obtain the CW and use them against Assad forces or civilian populations.

      Or they might carry the CW away to be used in Israel, Afghanistan, Yemen, or many other places, like a US harbor...

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

      by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:41:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  deff get Saudis involved because saudi royals have (12+ / 0-)

    been financing a large chunk of the syrian rebels

    time for them to put some skin in the game & not just $

  •  Target list (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Front Toward Enemy

    I was contemplating what a target list would look like, relative to the objective-as I understand it.  Hit Assad's military capability hard enough to deter the future use of CW, but no so hard it de-stabilizes the regime to the point of failure, and not so hard it gives the opposition a decisive advantage, and minimize collateral damage.  Tough set of decisions.

    Syrian Air defense is embedded in populated areas.

    I agree, manned air is probably most likely against Syrian AF targets.  Israel hit the Republican Guard barracks pretty hard with stand off PGMs earlier this year.   We will probably see the same thing.

    •  Then you'd better start adding Moscow and some (3+ / 0-)

      Chinese cities to your "target list", because they're not backing down to let the U.S. unilaterally run roughshod over Syria.

      What kind of nuke do you think we should use on Moscow? Just one to "send a message" to back off (take out the Kremlin and radiate the city a bit)? Or maybe, as HRC said about Iran in 07, we should just go ahead and "wipe them off the map".

      All this killing. Yummy. And if the U.N. tries to sanction us again, we can't exactly target them, but we need to just go ahead and get rid of that veneer of "United Nations" when it really just means "United States". Jerk those other flags down and knock off the SecGen (that'll just be a simple sniper shot; easy pickins; yeehaw!)

      "Ridiculous, counter-productive, and stupid." —P.J. Crowley on the treatment of Bradley Manning

      by IndieinVa on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:36:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Richard Engel this morning was saying (20+ / 0-)

    that our allies in the region have privately told him they want us to retaliate, but refuse to go public and state it.  

    Engel says this has been their pattern for years.  And then when things don't go according to plan, they'll be in a position to chastise and blame the Americans for flubbing it.

    Honestly, I'm wondering why we should take a position that they won't own up to.

    I'm still conflicted.  I know the use of chemical weapons can't go unanswered, but I'm still left with the question - if we send in the missiles, even if only to military targets ... what then?

    •  Allies who won't go on the record? (14+ / 0-)

      Congressmen who won't get together and attach their names to a vote?

      Where did I put my stash of white feathers ... They are disgusting.

      With friends like that, why should we create more enemies?

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:20:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, Syria is already (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, highacidity

        our enemy, at least at this point in time (we've had a very strange relationship with them over the years).

        If we do launch a missile attack at Syrian military targets and somehow manage to minimize or avoid civilian casualties, I very much doubt the rebels are going to do much crying over it.

        My concern is, if we weaken Assad to the point where he's out of power ... who fills the vacuum?

        THAT is what could come back and bite us in the ass, just as when the chief beneficiary of Saddam Hussein's fall from power was Iran.

        I'm afraid it may all be too complicated a needle to thread.

        •  From Fraiser Nelson, Daily Telegraph... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          twigg, highacidity, ferg, Domestic Elf

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...

          Mr Cameron’s original idea, of arming the rebels, was held up to ridicule by his former defence secretary Liam Fox. Yes, he said, the Assad regime is pals with the Iranians and Hizbollah. But would Britain’s interests be so much better served by having an anti-West, anti-Christian, anti-Israel bunch of jihadis running Damascus?
          Or ours?

          "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 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:37:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think "allies in the region" is (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, highacidity, wonmug

        different from American Congressmen.

        I called my Rep today, Congressman Tonko.  The woman who answered the phone told me that he opposes military intervention, and that "if a vote were held today, he would vote no."  I thanked her, but said that it doesn't look like a vote WILL be held, so won't he add his voice to Lee's letter, requesting Congressional debate?  It doesn't matter his private position, I said--though I appreciate it--if he doesn't go public with it.

        "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

        by SottoVoce on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:36:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Three men have the power (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SottoVoce, wonmug

          to convene Congress.

          The President can call the whole lot into session.

          John Boener can recall the House

          Harry Reid can recall the Senate.

          No one is prepared to go on the record and either offer the President the support they think he should have, or speak their minds and vote to deny him the authority.

          Who do you think will be first to suggest impeachment if any direct action has unintended consequences?

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          Who is twigg?

          by twigg on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:44:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The more I think about this, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmats

      and this thread is actually what started it, the more I agree.  If the other Arab states won't get involved, why should we bother?  
      We see African nations risking their own militaries to assist in various conflicts on their own continent.  If the Arab states don't have the courage to do the same, it's time we stop doing their dirty work for them.  

      Thanks for this post Kos, helped settle the debate in my own mind at least.  

    •  who should we "punish" (0+ / 0-)

      for using cluster bombs (surely we can't let that "go unansweredle")?

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:18:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, goodie, we have allies who are too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      red rabbit, edwardssl

      cowardly to come out in the open and declare themselves.

      But I'm sure they'll be there to help when the shit hits the fan.

      Sure they will. I mean, they told us they would.

      Does this sound fishy to you?

      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 11:34:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Listening to Kerry now (18+ / 0-)

    saying "we know" and thinking through tears that it's all bullshit - I don't believe him and it sucks. We know we must save face on the red line and we know we have to show how badass we are. Utterly devoid indeed.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:10:05 AM PDT

    •  " must save face on the red line " (10+ / 0-)

      WTF. Are these guys First Graders?

      Nothing MUST happen. It's what they want to do. Their MIC masters have commanded them. Fuck that.


      No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle. 🍞 & 🎪

      by CitizenOfEarth on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:16:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And Kerry walks away. Didn't answer one question (4+ / 0-)

      Coward.


      No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle. 🍞 & 🎪

      by CitizenOfEarth on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:17:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Easy with calling a man who has devoted his life (8+ / 0-)

        to public service and shed blood for his country a coward.

        open your mind or someone else will open it for you, but be careful not to open it too much for your brain to fall out.

        by carlos the jackal on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:39:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KayCeSF, red rabbit

        Because trying to actually do something is so much more cowardly than calling people names on a blog behind an anonymous signature.  You've got a lot to say about what not to do - but not much else.  

        No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

        by CrazyHorse on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:53:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A lot of that around here lately too (0+ / 0-)

          self-righteousness without solutions.  Well, I guess saying we should do nothing in these situations anymore is a legitimate response.  It's basically a return to a more isolationist policy, since I don't see much likelihood in the future of a UN consensus when there are war crimes or treaty violations.  Not with the conflicting financial interests of the security council members.

      •  He's not a coward. What he is, at this point, (3+ / 0-)

        is either a sellout of his most basic values as he's stated them over the years, or controlled.

        If the former, that's worth some tears.

        If the latter, it's worth asking what he's getting from being SOS that would be worth having to play in this puppet show.

        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 11:37:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  maybe (0+ / 0-)

          just maybe, Kerry doesn't like it when countries use chemical weapons?  Are we still accusing him of lying about who he believes used them, just so the U.S. can engage in some sort of limited strikes?  I don't even see where there would be much financial interest involved.  We're not even talking about something that would require the need for the production of more weapons than we already have.
          I think he's genuinely angry that Syria would do this, but he should be demanding that the Arab League take the lead.  This would at least be more in line with Obama's philosophy, such as it is, of multilateral consensus and coalition building in foreign affairs.  That's as close to an overarching Obama Doctrine that I'm aware of.  

    •  Thanks; thought I was the only one (4+ / 0-)

      who thought it was apparent that Kerry didn't believe Kerry.

      "Ridiculous, counter-productive, and stupid." —P.J. Crowley on the treatment of Bradley Manning

      by IndieinVa on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:38:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Didn't he? I hope not. (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe that's what he's looking so mad about.
        Not Assad--or not just--but the fact he has to stand up and give these crap talking points.

        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 11:38:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or.. (0+ / 0-)

          like I said above, he really doesn't like it when countries use chemical weapons, especially against women and children?  His own experience might come into play here.

          •  That may well be, but that doesn't explain (0+ / 0-)

            his going along with steamrolling over the UN, Congress and the American people in a mission that has exceedingly poorly defined objectives but apparently has faith that our exceptional planes dropping bombs on a complex and volatile situation will improve matters.

            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 01:40:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Where in John Kerry's history (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hulibow, northerntier, KayCeSF, red rabbit

      is any indication that he's that kind of liar?  He's made bad judgment calls in his political career and been accused of lying for his military record but all of that was proven false.  I highly resent this implication that guys we've been behind in the past suddenly become deceptive and corrupted.  If you want to argue that George Bush lied, you have his entire life history to back that up.

      •  Fair enough but I'm not buying (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, speedingpullet, gmats, wonmug

        what they are selling. I have a lot of respect for President Obama and John Kerry - am I having this reaction because I trusted George Bush after 9/11? Because I did, and I was so very naive and so very wrong.
        I do not like this feeling one bit, especially directed at people I want to trust - and I really hate crying at my desk because I feel like we are about to make a huge mistake for the wrong reasons. I know I need more information & analysis from people NOT in our government.

        Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

        by hulibow on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:02:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't like it either. But people *do* become (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wonmug

        deceptive and corrupted in Washington.

        I prefer not to think that someone I trusted and followed would become so, but I can't write off all the evidence in front of my eyes.

        I'm sorry. But good people do get corrupted. I really wish it weren't true.

        I actually, at this point, hope that he's not delivering his real opinion in those remarks, because if he disagrees with stated policy, maybe he'll be able to do some good behind the scenes.

        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 11:41:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Where was the evidence in Colin Powell's career (0+ / 0-)

        that he was a liar either?

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

        by PhilJD on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:46:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not the same (0+ / 0-)

          sorry, but I'm seeing a lot more evidence of very recent chemical weapons possession and use, and by whom, than Powell or anyone else ever provided re Iraq.
          Doesn't mean I think the U.S. should be leading military strikes, but still.  

    •  First we say wait on the Inspectors (0+ / 0-)

      Then we say we don't know who.

      Now you say you don't believe the proofs provided by the mouth of our Secretary of State.

      Sounds to me like you just are not willing to think clearly enough on this issue to reason from common sense.

      How can you offer informed commentary or recommendations to your President given these obvious truths regarding your informed advice?

      And, how many more are doing the very same thing?

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

      by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:56:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This isn't just a civil war. (12+ / 0-)

    This is a religious war.  NOBODY will win.  Especially nobody from outside.

  •  Involve Turkey and the Arab league? (5+ / 0-)

    The majority of Turks want nothing to do with this conflict. While their government is very anti-Assad in declarative term, they see the creation of another strong Kurdish autonomous area on their border as a strategic threat. Furthermore - All they need is for Iran to take more active role in funding and supplying the PKK.

    As for the Arab league - If there is one organization which is more useless than the UN, it is the Arab League. The Saudis are always willing to  fight to the last American... And they haven't found an extreme Islamic group they can't fund.

    See what that Gaddafi said about the Arab League (long but worth it):

    Queror Ergo Sum. -- Rene Descartes Shakshuka

    by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:11:12 AM PDT

    •  does Turkey really have the option to stay out? (5+ / 0-)

      Syrian refugees are piling up on the Turkish border.

      Turkey may not want more complexity with Kurds, but they'll probably like interaction with an anarchic vacuum featuring al-Nusra even less.

      Foreign affairs are way out of my pay grade, but it sure looks like Turkey has governmental, material, military, and proximity resources that others lack.

      •  This may be a question to InAntalya (4+ / 0-)

        But I think Turkey will do its utmost to stay clear of this mess.

        While Erdogan and his lackey Davutglu sound like they run the sunni world and are extremely bellicose when it comes to Assad (A man only short three years ago was called a "brother" by RTE), they do not enjoy any popular support for action in Syria.

        This may change of course if Turkey's vital interest will be in peril. For example, if the Syrian Kurds will establish something akin to a state on turkey's border, joining forces with the Iraqi Kurds and creating conditions for a Kurdish autonomous area in turkey (This is why RTE is in such a rash to "solve" the Kurdish problem).

        Remember that even after the Syrian shot down a Turkish plane the reaction from Turkey was...crickets.  Which bring us to the other point which is the Turkish Army.

        This army is the strongest in the area, and can take on the Syrian army quite easily. However, there is a battle of wills between RTE and the Army, especially after the Ergenkon sentences were handed down. For example, just recently about 100 pilots (about a quarter of the total number of pilots) resigned in protest. This does not bode well for Army-government cooperation on the issue.

        Then you have to factor in the Gezi park protests, which signal the authority that there is a crisis at home which should be dealt with before any other adventure.
        RTE of course claims (dense as he is)  that he couldn't care less about the protests, but there are already some  in the AKP that voice concern.

        Queror Ergo Sum. -- Rene Descartes Shakshuka

        by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:44:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Turkey is supporting Al Nusra. (0+ / 0-)

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

        by Lawrence on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:06:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Turkey (7+ / 0-)

      has more at stake in this conflict, by far, than the United States. It's clear Ankara wants Western involvement. Well, if they want foreign involvement, they can lead it.

      Same for the Arab League (and the EU), regardless the extent of their dysfunction.

      •  There is no question that Turkey is very nervous (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        this just in, Lawrence, InAntalya

        But first, there is no popular support within Turkey to any action in Syria.

        RTE is the consummate populist. Everything he does is measured through this lens. His foreign policy is in tatters (zero problems with neighbors) and all he needs is another foreign policy disaster.

        Furthermore, There is the problem with the big bear to his north (Russia) and the little bear to his southeast (Iran).

        Even after Assad is gone, and the US will avert its gaze somewhere else (pacific realignment) these two countries will still be there, and they are not the forgiving type.  The PKK may find new sponsors eager to exact revenge.
        Have you noticed that if Erdogan criticizes Putin it is in a very quiet manner? Not to mention the Chinese who poured a lot of money into the Turkish economy.  

        So yeah Turkey has a large stake in this conflict, but they are really between the proverbial rock and the hard place. This is the price Turkey pays for the vision of grandeur of its leaders.

        Queror Ergo Sum. -- Rene Descartes Shakshuka

        by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:05:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Agree (0+ / 0-)

        Turkey and the Arab League need to take the lead.  If they won't, then we shouldn't.  

      •  The Turkish Government has backpeddled (3+ / 0-)

        a lot in the past few days and are now talking primarily about negotiations - even calling, for the first time I can remember, for the inclusion of Iran in the negotiations.

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

        by InAntalya on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 01:50:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Turkisk involvement (0+ / 0-)

      brings into play concerns about the response of the Kurds both in Syria and Iraq.  I don't know enough to understand the ins and outs of what this would mean from their perspective.

      The more we can involved the better.

  •  As Chris Hedges wrote (7+ / 0-)

    War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (Anchor Books, 2002). To quote: "The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction and carnage it can give us what we long for in life. It can give us purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Only when we are in the midst of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of much of our lives become apparent. Trivia dominates our conversations and increasingly our airwaves [...cough...Miley Cirus....cough]. And war is an enticing elixir. It gives us resolve, a cause. It allows us to be noble. And those who have the least meaning in their lives, the impoverished refugees in Gaza, the disenfranchised North African immigrants in France, even the legions of young who live in the splendid indolence and safety of the industrialized world, are all susceptible to war's appeal." (pp. 3-4) War is a narcotic, Hedges argues. And he is correct.

  •  OK, so we hit some targets (12+ / 0-)

    and then Assad sends of another CW salvo.  what happens then?

    •  Fantastic point...what happens if this escalates.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan

      ...even further?

      Will we retaliate with proportionate weapons of our own?

      To a terrible place this line of thinking and acting leads us.

      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 10:22:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bingo (6+ / 0-)

      Our bombing or use of force will not change what Assad does. And/or, if we effect a change in regime, we may be seeing al Quaeda in charge and the whole region further destabilized. We need to quit meddling in the Middle East.  There is nothing to be gained by us going into Syria, either for us or the Syrian people.

      "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West speaking to Occupy Tallahassee on January 18, 2012

      by gulfgal98 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:35:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  a PR missile strike (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gulfgal98, Lady Libertine

        is what I just heard on MSNBC about the attack on Syria.
        and that it happens sometimes.

        Sad, sad, sad.

        Drawing lines in the sand, like kids in a sandbox.

        It is not a good thing.

        "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

        by allenjo on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:37:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What if we severely damage Assads forces (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Domestic Elf, gulfgal98

      on some front, not knowing that a nondescript school or factory has just been converted to chemical weapon storage?

      Then the rebels rush in, obtain the CW and use them against the population of Damascus, killing 5,000?

      Does the USA then try to bomb the rebels? They're all scattered among the population.

      We have zero good options in this situation. We should stay completely out of it.

      And Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Arab League?  If they get involved, the same bad outcomes are likely. And what of religious sectarian strife within their own nations? What will attacking one faction or another do to inflame other sensibilities and nations?

      Contain the violence to Syria and try to keep others from becoming involved, thus spreading the conflagration. And we westerners should stay the hell out.

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

      by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:49:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I had that same thought. Take out his air force. I (3+ / 0-)

    'll betcha that's what they'll do. Easy (well, ok) and effective. If assad didn't have an air force, or missile force, he'd be shit.

    Those who quote Santayana are condemned to repeat him. Me

    by Mark B on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:11:26 AM PDT

  •  Keep your day job. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    britzklieg

    More seriously, what does it take to see that, when it comes to foreign policy, Obama has shown he is far from the genius that he and his supporters so often like to portray?

    •  he's pretty fuckin' good, Mr. 26. And not just by (4+ / 0-)

      comparison

      Those who quote Santayana are condemned to repeat him. Me

      by Mark B on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:13:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No idea who "he" is supposed to be... (4+ / 0-)

        but to me Obama comes off as rather ordinary once the hype is removed, and particularly when it comes to foreign policy.

        The USA is a laughing stock, although it is one with the biggest arsenal. Is there one place that we have helped make better?

        •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

          And a hell of a lot of it exists within the borders of the United States of America.

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

          by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:11:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Except that it was not domestic matters... (0+ / 0-)

            that I asked about.

            That is a subject for another day.

            But that you had to raise this as a defense indicates the shaky ground you are on.

            •  I could easily point to many international proofs (0+ / 0-)

              but they are not required until you specify your discontent with his international policy. That tells me your purpose is only to slam the President. My ground is firm; yours? Not so much. But, I'll play along if you choose to illustrate your point with his international failings.

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

              by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:21:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Be my guest (0+ / 0-)

                Why do you assume you know what I think before you say anything?

                Why not have the conversation with yourself?

                Based on your comment, I could assume your only purpose is to glorify the President. To say that he is just average is not slamming whatsoever!

                I asked you a question. Why don't you point to some great international accomplishments.

      •  Not anymore. Not if he enters this quagmire. (0+ / 0-)

        And I don't much like his infatuation with JSOC, either.

        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 11:44:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Whoever said that? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Texas Lefty, Front Toward Enemy

      When has anyone said he's a genius when it comes to foreign policy or anything else.   I certainly didn't but I will say this:  I'm glad he's the one making decisions now and not some crazy neocon.  I don't like any of this anymore than any of you but I trust him and I trust Joe Biden and I trust John Kerry to make the best decisions possible under the circumstances.  You know better people to do it?  

      "Anyone who thinks Obama is like Nixon is a moron. More than that, a F###ING moron". Kos, 5-24-13

      by Lying eyes on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:20:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whoever said that? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        britzklieg

        Where have you been these past years?

        Have you not been watching him and his spokespeople?

        Not to mention that some of the same types awarded him the Nobel and spout about games of chess, while mortals play checkers.

        Perhaps you have not noticed, but the "neocons" are generally against any intervention.

        It is not really a matter of trust, however, but competence, and in many ways I find Obama less and less competent, but more and more reliant on PR.

        •  I think the neocons are against Obama (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          highacidity, Lying eyes, KayCeSF

          regardless of what he chooses.

          Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

          by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:33:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps because you are fed to believe... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            britzklieg

            such a simplistic narrative, rather than actually see things as they are.

            Too much MSNBC perhaps?

            Time to move past the neocon meme. It's 5 years since they were running things.

            •  Yes, 5 years since they were in power but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kimoconnor

              their actions still cost us and they still have a loud media voice through Fox.  They play long ball and we would be wise to remember that.   As for seeing things as they are, what makes you think only you can see clearly and other are moved by simplistic narratives.  Really, the arrogance of some on this site is astounding.  

              "Anyone who thinks Obama is like Nixon is a moron. More than that, a F###ING moron". Kos, 5-24-13

              by Lying eyes on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:13:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Quit pretending that "we" are not engaged... (0+ / 0-)

                in the same game of long ball.

                Further, I never said that ONLY I can see clearly. Your interpretation is absurd.

                What I said was that the person I responded to was not seeing clearly in this instance. Do you really believe that blaming this situation here and now on the neocons is accurate or productive? I think it too often is a catch all. That was my point, in case you cannot realize.

                Are you any less arrogant with your comment?

            •  wow, a lot of insults going here (0+ / 0-)

              and some, such as you evidently who think they are the only people who can see the truth.

              And excuse me, but you brought in the neocons to this discussion.

              Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

              by kimoconnor on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:11:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  TPers/pseudolibertarians or (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lying eyes

          neocons?  Don't kid yourself, the only reason that any neocons are expressing supposed reservations is because they don't like Obama and see a chance to maybe make him look bad or weak or whatever.

          •  I am not kidding myself. (0+ / 0-)

            Actually, I think you are.

            Obama is making himself look weak and bad all by himself.

            And the arguments made by the dreaded neocons are not much different than many are making when it comes to this matter.

            •  you said the neocons oppose this (0+ / 0-)

              I don't think they do, or that they would say that they do if Obama wasn't president.
              I also said that there's a difference between neocons and TP Republicans.  You'd have a point re the latter, I don't see the evidence re the former, other than taking the opportunity to score some political points against Obama regardless of whether Obama is already making himself look bad.  As if they wouldn't kick him when he's down while still supporting the type of pointless military engagement that they(the neocons) have always supported in the ME.

              •  I do not think you have listened to what... (0+ / 0-)

                they are saying, then. The people who seem to know them the best seem to know them the least.

                I guess only neocons kick people when they are down. The rest are just virtuous.

                As I see it, legitimate concern spreads across the spectrum.

      •  Yes. All the Kossacks opposed to US intervention (7+ / 0-)

        in Syria are "better people to do it." The power of crowdsourcing.

        I absolutely trust my own judgement in this more than I do that of Mr. Obama or Mr. Biden, or that of the Secretary of State either.

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

        by PhilJD on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:41:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have an 11-D Chess set to whack you upside the (0+ / 0-)

      head with.

      What a STUPID comment.

      Telling Kos or any of the rest of us to STFU when it clearly matters to All. Of. Us. if we get into another war is about the height of •ssholiness.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:57:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I presume, from your comment (0+ / 0-)

      that you are not included as being one of "his supporters". Would I be correct?

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

      by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:10:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on the issue (0+ / 0-)

        I am not living in a black and white world like many.

        You are correct, however, that I am not one of the fawning supporters that I referred to.

        What has that to do with the issue of his foreign affairs competency anyway?

        As I said elsewhere, can you name one place in this area where we have helped make things better?

  •  Why not respect the the other nation? (5+ / 0-)

    Why does the US have to get involved at all?

    Why not just respect the right of the Syrians to sort out their own troubles?

    Its a war between the cousins and who knows what is actually going on in Syria.  The article kind of takes the position the rebels are in the right and Assad in the wrong.  Why?  I have no idea.  To me, I have seen nothing to make me prefer Assad's group to the other group.  

    Plenty of seemingly good arguments the chemical attack was a false flag attack or even staged, by the rebels themselves or some 3rd party trying to manipulate the US.  

    Sometimes the best thing to do when two kids are fighting is to let them fight and get it out of their system.  

    •  Exactly, just because they're giving a little (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, mkor7

      civil war doesn't mean we have show up with party favors.

    •  There are literally hundreds of rebel factions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, gooderservice

      in Syria. There's not even two sides, one good and one bad.  

      There is only killing. By all sides. Barbarities, by all sides. Atrocities, by all sides.

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

      by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:51:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When the kids begin killing each other, (0+ / 0-)

      it's past the appropriate time to step in.

      “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

      by SoCalSal on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:58:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Someone else can step in. We can't afford it. (0+ / 0-)
      •  These are not kids (0+ / 0-)

        The US does not have a magic wand to make people do whatever we want.   WWI was not the war that ended all wars.  I agree with Kennedy Rise and Fall of the Great Powers that trying to police the world is just a way to make the rest of the world dislike you and costs tons of money.  The problems are intractable.  

        I looked up this particular bloody squabble and the Sunni religious groups believe the Alawites are heretics deserving near slavery status.  The Alawites are pushing for a relatively secular solution--but that means the Syrian Sunnis do not run the country.  

        The French want back into Syria.  Why should the US help the French after the French were basically the sole country not to help us after 9/11?  I mean, not that I agree with how Dubya ran things but still.  

  •  The most compelling rationale for action... (7+ / 0-)

    ...is that we think Assad's done something so bad that it would be harmful (in whatever sense) not to punish him.  The way you punish is to focus on the person.  To me, that means the least problematical US response is to kill Assad.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:12:44 AM PDT

    •  Wouldn't killing Assad lead to al qaeda stronghold (5+ / 0-)

      ..in Syria?

      And wouldn't that be more harmful to US interests?

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:22:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well it would give us an excuse to fight the war (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marsanges, pasadena beggar

        AGAIN.  I mean we may start running out of countries to be at war with so we have to be able to use them more than once.

      •  So get al qaeda to Syria, and kill them there. (0+ / 0-)

        Drones kill al qaeda all the time.

        give the NRA the Royal Flush join Stop The NRA

        by 88kathy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:30:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wasn't that Bush's strategy in the MiddleEast? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marsanges, PhilJD

          Draw all the fundamentalist terrorists to Iraq, so that the US could neutralize them?

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

          by PatriciaVa on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:33:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But you were concerned that if Assad was killed (0+ / 0-)

            by our Seal Team 234, that al qeada would go there. And I say. That shouldn't be a problem. Bush didn't have any drones. He was playing Charge of the Light Brigade. We are playing stick a needle in their eye.

            give the NRA the Royal Flush join Stop The NRA

            by 88kathy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:43:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Um...so we're going to engage in an extended (0+ / 0-)

          drone campaign in Syria, too?

          Way to stabilize the region and get them to stop hating on us.

          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 11:45:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Drone is War. War has never stopped. It may (0+ / 0-)

            stop someday. Drones make it easier to stop War because 1 is a tragedy, 1 million is a statistic.

            People blame Obama for the advent of drones. This is what I say to them.

            There is no such thing as gravity, the world sucks
            Obama gets to have those problems, if you were in a row boat and could only rescue one person and your blank and your blank were drowning, who would you rescue.

            give the NRA the Royal Flush join Stop The NRA

            by 88kathy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:54:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  `Drones make it easier to stop war.' (0+ / 0-)

              No foundation for that, nor for `1 is a tragedy 1 million is a statistic' because each 1 of the million is "1" to someone.

              Also, completely ignores the fact that drones make it much easier to wage war. No pesky mothers of dead soldiers excoriating you for wasting the young lives of their sons on adventurism.

              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 12:03:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  It might lead to a coup (0+ / 0-)

        which might be the best result possible here.

        •  I think if you killed the President, that would be (0+ / 0-)

          a coup.

          Coup d'état
          : a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics; especially : the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government

          usually

          by a small group.

          But this isn't the 17th Century.

          give the NRA the Royal Flush join Stop The NRA

          by 88kathy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:23:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps not completely Al Qaeda, but certainly (4+ / 0-)

        Al Qaeda influenced. The most likely outcome from an Assad death would be an Islamic state, extremely hostile to the USA and Israel... and our allies, like Turkey and others.

        It would be a mess. This is a case where "meting out punishment" is contrary to our own best interests.

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

        by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:53:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And, in the time since hostilities erupted there, (0+ / 0-)

          how has our waiting--or the world's waiting, for that matter, been going?

          Silence is consent. The universal human community is charging forth, demanding loudly that humanity re-establish it's norms. There is not a ton of options as to where they turn.

          If it can truly be said of any government, it must surely be admitted that the United States has the blood of many more humans on our hands by waiting than through direct military action.

          This, too, is a most important lesson of Vietnam.

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

          by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:19:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then let the universal human (0+ / 0-)

            community charge forth to do something about it. Last I checked, that was the UN, aided and abetted by the World Court. Where war criminals are tried for their crimes as if there existed a universal human community to judge.

            I am not the universal human community. I doubt that you are them either. It's high time for the Arab League and/or Israel to police their own chunks of the planet. Doing their dirtywork for them isn't my job.

            P.S. Isn't Turkey a NATO member? Perhaps that organization should be getting together and discussing options for intervention as well.

          •  I'm interested in knowing how you might (0+ / 0-)

            believe that a few dozen cruise missiles are going to do anything about the killing in Syria? It doesn't seem to me that those attacks will halt the killing by either side. If anything, it may become even more desperate.

            The only way to stop the killing would be to occupy the nation. Do you advocate that?  If not, isn't the blood of these deaths on your hands, by your reasoning?

            We have blood on our hands from waiting? From not being involved in other nations' affairs?  Do you advocate for the USA to raise the huge armies necessary to stop every conflict or even a majority or even a sizable minority of the conflicts in the world?

            "A most important lesson of Vietnam?"  Huh?

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

            by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:48:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It is a mess. So it is going to happen either the (0+ / 0-)

          mess will be worse. OR history will be made and the mess will be stopped.

          Just because it hasn't ever been done before doesn't mean it can't be done now.

          We don't not kill leaders of countries
          with a drone attack
          because we are too polite
          not to send in an army
          and bomb the place to bits.

          give the NRA the Royal Flush join Stop The NRA

          by 88kathy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:27:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If we killed Assad and his regime fell apart, (0+ / 0-)

            there would be a mass slaughter by the rebels.

            There is no action we have available to us which does not simply kill more people, then let the killing continue after our attacks end.

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

            by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:50:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Although many have gone there (0+ / 0-)

        I do not see your honest question as a "given". No, that is not necessarily what it would mean, or what it would happen.

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

        by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:15:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  that's my concern (0+ / 0-)

        otherwise I couldn't care less about Assad, he's a scumbag.

      •  I'm not saying it's a good idea... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but rather than it's the most coherent basis for US action. Personally I don't think killing him makes an Islamist regime any more likely--you could counter-argue that getting the particularly noxious figure of Assad out of the way might give a second wing to secularism.

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:34:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And just how are they gonna do that? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pasadena beggar, Domestic Elf

      I remember they singled out Saddam Hussein and it took a number of years to even find him. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Iraqis lost their lives to the ambitions of our crazy stupid national security empire.

      "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

      by Crider on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:29:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I very much agree with you. (0+ / 0-)

      Attack the leadership.

    •  Doubtful that Obama wants Assad killed (0+ / 0-)

      because from what I've read, some of the Syrian rebel groups could be worse than Assad if they gain power.

      There is no good or simple answer to the mess in Syria, although I'm with Markos. If it's possible to take out the Syrian air force, then do it. That would stop the use of chemical weapons and maybe some of the bombing of civilians. Assad would still be in power instead of some radical fundamentalist group.

      “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

      by SoCalSal on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:25:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you are going to draw a line (12+ / 0-)

    you really need to have ink in the pen!

    I hope the President is smart enough to realize that he doesn't have to kill people, or blow shit up, just because he painted himself in a corner.

    History judges not by the rush to judgement, but by the considered and thoughtful actions, and who gives a crap what Bill O'Reilly thinks?

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:13:06 AM PDT

  •  Be sure to fund and arm the AQ-allied rebels (7+ / 0-)

    A strong Al Queda will mean a stronger call for Homeland Security and citizen safety surveillance.

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

    by The Dead Man on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:13:30 AM PDT

  •  Why isn't the President delivering this Speech? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CitizenOfEarth, koNko, Floande

    Will he speak before the US invades Syria?

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:16:29 AM PDT

    •  Not ready yet. (0+ / 0-)

      He will announce the strikes moments after they begin.  Then walk off.

    •  ugh (0+ / 0-)

      just imagining that upcoming speech reminds me of Bush and shock and awe and all, and I feel sick to my stomach all over again.  

      “No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people.” ~ my Senator Elizabeth Warren

      by Domestic Elf on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:00:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He is due to speak soon , I believe. (0+ / 0-)

      Like others, I am completely torn about this - but I don't see how you can look at the pictures of small children lined up as if they were having a nap at a day care center and not feel that we have to do something.

      The red line is a red herring. Those damning pictures speak for themselves. This has nothing to do with saving face. If Obama had never used the term red line and these attacks happened, it would be obvious that something, some action would have to be taken. And do I wish that Turkey, the Arab League, France would take the lead role? Of course. Are there other horrors that we have ignored  - hell, yes. And while we're at it, of course, we have a nerve to discuss human rights when, to the best of my knowledge, we still use and or sell, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, land mines and white phosphorus.
      I just can't see this as just another PNAC setup to further our aims in the ME. I'm fully aware that I could be quite wrong, but I don't see a choice here for no action. Submitted with great regret, trepidation and sadness.

    •  Maybe as the US bombs Syria. The US won't (0+ / 0-)

      be invading Syria.

      “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

      by SoCalSal on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:27:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  chemical weapon warfare (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Front Toward Enemy, mkor7, artmartin

    Do we just dismiss it as an issue...

    With over 100,000 dead, Syrian strongman Assad crossed every possible line a long time ago, and yet we have no compelling rationale for an attack...
    or not?

    That is one of my main questions.  I've seen the reflexive comments on either side at DK.  I think a little deeper analysis is required.

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

    by Satya1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:18:38 AM PDT

    •  If only there was a link (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      artmartin

      to my deeper analysis on the issue of chemical weapons!

    •  Not all those dead were inflicted by Assad. (0+ / 0-)

      The rebel factions are every bit as savage and atrocity-prone. They've killed civilians and surrendering troops, sometimes most brutally.  They've killed children for swearing.

      There are truly no good sides in this situation. And if the rebels were to obtain chemical weapons, they'd use them in an instant.

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

      by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:56:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not supporting any side (0+ / 0-)

        I just think that there are some arguably good reasons for reacting harshly when people use chemical weapons on a large scale.  And as  far as I know this August attack is by far the most serious one.

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

        by Satya1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:17:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wonder about mass use of machetes. Seriously. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Satya1

          Five million people have been killed in the Congo.

          We're in a state of moral indignation over the deaths of 1100 people in Syria because of the means of their deaths. We're guilty of ignoring much worse slaughters around the world with utter inaction.

          If the chemical weapons were being used across borders or in some way which could vaguely be seen as a threat to others, it might be a different situation. But the USA has been doing "nothing" about death, murder, slaughter, horrific blood-running in the streets massacres, and destruction for years.

          I just see it as a bit of staged shock (not by you, but by our 'leaders') that people have died from chemical weapons. The other millions are just as dead as the Syrians.

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

          by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:45:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's difficult to focus on just the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            YucatanMan

            chemical weapons warfare aspect, but that is what my comment is all about.

            What I'm saying is there are people who make statements about why chemical weapons need special laws and containment.  We shouldn't ignore them entirely and pretend we're making an informed decision.  If those people are wrong we should give an honest review of their best arguments and THEN knock the arguments down if we can.

            Kos just sweeps that all under the rug (even though I respect his view on its merits).  That is what bothers me and is why I commented.  And ultimately that "death is death" opinion of his may appear to work in the current situation.  But what about biological or tactical nuclear weapons?  No extra concerns there?  If there is concern then Kos's point is incomplete and only goes so far.

            I just see it as a bit of staged shock ... by our 'leaders'.
            This I agree with.  Politics is theater (I don't mean that in the dismissive way) and Kerry is such an inept actor.  I think he is a militarist and doesn't give a sh*t about the lives involved.  I think he hyped up the emotionally charged language merely to try to get support.

            But respectfully, I don't see how most of your two comment responses to mine are relevant to my original comment about Kos's diary.  You seem to agree with Kos's "death is death" diary that he put up previous to this one.  That's fine.  I can respect the view.

            With Obama I think I see a colder calculation there than most people seem to conceive.  Yes he cares about casualties, but what drives him is a philosophy toward chemical weapons and WMD based on rational thinking.  It is also based on his Senate work with Lugar.  I hope Obama clarifies his rationale.  He may think it is fairly obvious to most people.

            There are some articles circulating quoting a few people who seem to think containing chemical weapons is a big deal.  I don't think they get to all reasons, but if you are interested, there are parts of these articles that at least give some ideas:

            * See the last two paragraphs:
            http://www.cbsnews.com/...

            * Much of the concern about chemical  weapons is about containing them and keeping them out of the hands and non-state terrorists.  The stockpiles in Syria could not be consider well secured IMHO:
            http://www.courierpress.com/...

            * Another:
            http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

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

            by Satya1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:50:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But Washington has known that Syria has been (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Satya1

              using chemical weapons for some time.

              I guess the difference is that this time it is a larger attack and that there are videos coming out.

              But if there was a cool rationale for attacking based on the use of chemical weapons, Obama had already heard of their use for some time now.

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

              by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:06:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The administration still needs some public opinion (0+ / 0-)

                on their side.  If detailed evidence or numbers of casualties was not yet compelling enough with those previous attacks, then the administration isn't going to act upon it.  

                I haven't seen much evidence of those previous attacks you mentioned, but then I haven't gone looking for them.  

                I've seen the del Ponte video in numerous diaries and comments about rebel usage in May of chem weapons, but never anything more detailed or concrete beyond her fairly vague statement.  No video, no NGO statements, no casualty lists.

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

                by Satya1 on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:38:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, I didn't address the last part of your (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Satya1

              comment.

              I agree that chemical weapons should be well contained. I fully agree with you and the containment aspect of those articles.

              However, dropping bombs or missiles on Syria will do nothing to improve the containment of chemical weapons. To the extent that Assad is weakened, there is even greater danger that the weapons will fall into the hands of terrorists.

              The only way to insure the weapons are secured and destroyed is to send in our own troops.  That's not going to happen. (I don't think.)

              So... I don't see how bombing Syria is going to solve the problem?  I guess I'm just slow or something.

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

              by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:09:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  On this... (0+ / 0-)
                However, dropping bombs or missiles on Syria will do nothing to improve the containment of chemical weapons.
                I'm not sure.  Although I have also been thinking about how the instability of the area can lead toward extreme militants among the rebels get their hands on them.  Some of that may be inevitable.  But that is what I would like more DK discussions to be about.  I think that assertion is a key point.

                By the way, when I use the word containment I'm thinking of the production, storage, spread, and use of chemical weapons - the whole problem.  

                Lobbing a few cruise missiles at some of Assad's military bases may not discourage Assad in any way.  But I don't think that is the only intended audience.  I think the Obama administration also wants to discourage the rebels and any other dictator in the world that is watching this situation.

                Thinking for a moment about all the corrupt leaders in the region of the Congo, what would they think if they see Assad get away with large scale chemical weapons attack on civilians?

                I think there is plenty about the non-proliferation work of the past many decades we don't know about.  There's more to this puzzle than what many of us are taking on.

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

                by Satya1 on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:29:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  America is on record dismissing chemical weapons (4+ / 0-)

      as an issue...

      when we employed white phosphorus at Falluja--when, not to mince words, we melted the bodies of kids with our own chemical assault--without any negative consequences for the perpetrators.

      They were far more easily brought to justice than is Assad... since they were on our side

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

      by PhilJD on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:18:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the "moral" hypocracy of the US (0+ / 0-)

        is evident for all to see.  To be brutal about it, so what?  Current large scale use of chemical weapons should get a pass?

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

        by Satya1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:25:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  All war criminals should be extradited and (0+ / 0-)

          sent the Hague.

          Yes, it's true that Syria is obviously not handing them over, any more than the US hands over our war criminals.  But that's the "should".

          Without UN resolutions, there is no other course.  

          For us to bomb Syria "in retaliation" for suspected use of Chemical Weapons by Assad without a UN Mandate is no different than if China unilaterally decided to bomb us for dumping white phosphorus on Fallujah.  

          Cops don't get to go shoot suspects just because the DA can't win a case in court.

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

          by JesseCW on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:08:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think the "moral" hypocracy of the US (0+ / 0-)

            is evident for all to see.  To be brutal about it, so what?

            Is there really no pragmatic reason whatsoever for attempting to deter the making, spread and use of chemical weapons around the globe?

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

            by Satya1 on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:18:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Still conflicted, especially (14+ / 0-)

    after listening to John Kerry.  He's seen the ugliness of war, he's no warhawk.  Neither is our President.

    On the other hand, I feel paralyzed about what might happen if we intervene.  It's so complicated.  

    I'm heartbroken over this.  

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

    by KayCeSF on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:20:43 AM PDT

    •  Ask yourself how this gets to a better outcome (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KayCeSF, highacidity, egarratt

      I won't say "good" because that is not even a remote possibility, but what action would produce a better result?

      I think that is the diary subject. Personally, I have difficulty seeing that at this late date. The choice to stand on the sidelines was made more than a year ago, now it is a little late.

      •  Believe me, I've read every aspect (7+ / 0-)

        offered if we engage, and taken in every opinion and "arm chair" prognostication.  I am conflicted still.

        I do believe President Obama is not making this decision lightly, if he decides to go into Syria.  I don't believe his "red line" has anything to do with that decision.  I don't believe all the comparisons of him to GWB.  I do believe he should have a vote in Congress.

        I understand and agree with what you are saying, but "better late than never" with the evidence being there as per Kerry's message today, seems to be what Kerry was saying today?

        I feel inept talking about military intervention most especially when I do not know what Obama's military action would be, and even if I knew the specifics, I doubt it would assuage me from hoping he'd just stay out of this.  But then when do we finally begin to try, try to put a halt on any other "thug" attacking others with chemical weapons?

        HUGE Knot in my stomach.  

        My "prayers" for the people of Syria.  And for our President.

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

        by KayCeSF on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:46:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I like the way you have stated this and, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KayCeSF

          like you, I'm glad it is not my decision.

          I voted for Obama twice and trust him to act wisely. He is no Bush. And Kerry is no Rumsfeld.

          •  Exactly my thoughts about Obama and Kerry. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ExpatGirl

            And this conflict in Syria is not Iraq and all that entailed under GWB and Rumsfeld.

            Cripes.  I'm so tired of some of the ridiculous comments by some trying their damndest to bring Obama down to GWB's level.

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

            by KayCeSF on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:06:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hear hear! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              northerntier, KayCeSF

              I'm actually shocked by the determined conflation of the two. This is not a 'fool me once' situation. Then again, I couldn't believe anyone bought the manipulative Bush WMD/Iraq shite in the first place.

              I'm also seeing a lot of 'thanks Obama' in the comments which I find very disturbing. This is a matter of international law - which is meaningless if it is never backed up.

              Personally, I laugh at America's sanctimonious 'never again!' outrage after atrocities like Rwanda and Sudan (which saw resolution after resolution posed to the UN, only to be shot down by China) met with total isolationism over Syria.

              And the fear that this could spark WWIII? Not likely. I'm quite sure that round the clock meetings with Russia and China are happening behind closed doors.

              I have no idea what the right answer is but trust that Obama has a lot more information than I do. I fervently hope, however, that he will be smart enough to wait on making a decision until the inspectors report their findings.

              •  Well said! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ExpatGirl

                But be careful, some of those GOP Congressmen who signed the letter to Obama, and their constituents, with their fanatical Christian ideological thinking would love nothing more than for us to fuel a fire in the Middle East to bring on Armageddon as per Pat Robertson and Bill Graham Jr. remarks, and so WWIII started in the Middle East by that Evil Anti-Christ Obama might have some of those Congressman voting "YES!" if Obama does take this to Congress for a vote.  

                oooh!  Congressional Religious Right CT for WWIII!

                Was that a hyperbolic remark I just made.  Of course!  About as ridiculous as some of the other things I've read here about Kerry, Obama, etc etc.

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

                by KayCeSF on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:47:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You seem to be spending more time on this (0+ / 0-)

                Than others.

                It is not necessary to compare Obama to Bush to criticize his position in this case but he could prove as foolish if he makes the wrong decisions for the wrong reasons and gets a tragic outcome.

                Personally, I laugh at America's sanctimonious 'never again!' outrage after atrocities like Rwanda and Sudan (which saw resolution after resolution posed to the UN, only to be shot down by China) met with total isolationism over Syria.

                And the fear that this could spark WWIII? Not likely. I'm quite sure that round the clock meetings with Russia and China are happening behind closed doors.

                Yes, I guess this is all pretty laughable, but that should not stop you from volunteering to put your own body on the line in Syria as a member of an army or an NGO if it's as simple as you suggest. Just do it. Don't make yourself a hypocritical laughingstock by talking and not acting.

                WWIII? Do we really have much talk of that here or is it just your own rhetorical excess?

                The likelihood of Russia or China changing their positions at this time is about zero and I doubt the WH is wasting too much effort in that direction, Russia has a conflict of interest in voting against their client state and China would only be persuaded to turn a "No" into an "Abstain" if the UN made a clear case and the Arab League had an unequivocal position and lobbied them. China's default position is non-intervention, a position strongly held for historical and legal reasons, and one they very seldom deviate from. At this point, Obama is not going to be the one to convince them and I suppose he knows that. I give him credit for intelligence even as I question his judgement.

                •  I was discussing some of the comments that (0+ / 0-)

                  are appearing on these threads. Yes, a certain segment is very frightened that this will lead to WWIII. I sympathize with that fear but don't find it rational.

                  And while I 100% agree that you don't have to compare Obama to Bush to criticize his position, that isn't what is happening here. A significant portion of posters seem to genuinely feel that they are reliving Bush. It isn't helpful to having a rational discussion about the pros and cons of this particular action.

                  My 'handle' on this site is 'ExpatGirl'. I frequently discuss spending the last 16 years in Africa. I'm good with the sacrifices I make for the principles I believe in.

                  •  The difference with war (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ExpatGirl

                    If that we commit to sacrifice others and I guess that was my point.

                    I don't see what Mr. Obama proposes justifies that, and the speech he made since we started this exchange only reinforces that, to wit:

                    He is stressing the immorality of using WMD that killed 1,000 people we should believe to be far worse than conventional weapons that killed 100 times that many. While I do agree gas is a cruel and indiscriminate killer, modern conventional weapons produce the same results.

                    He says the purpose is to "punish" Assad for doing so because to fail to that would be a moral hazard and a slippery slope. I wonder how many more innocent civilians will be punished along with Assad and also where that moral slippery slope started and ends.

                    He says it won't be boots on the ground (so don't worry folks, no Americans will be put at risk), no regime change/whatever, no rooting out of chemical weapons, just bomb the hell out of whatever, "when we chose" which "could be anytime".

                    OK then, it's not to remove the actual hazards from the people at risk, just to punish Assad so he knows he was bad and can't get away with that. But it's probably very moral for the US attack at will at a time of their choosing, to the extent they chose.

                    Sorry, he is beginning to sound a little but like Bush. Could be a occupational hazard these days.

                    Full Disclosure: I think war is immoral. Very much so. I think use of poison gas is a crime against humanity, just as using nuclear weapons or drones that kill by remote control are.

                    Don't see what Obama proposes will put an end to that.

                    Guess we will see what happens and can dissect it later, this is a spectator sport from this point.

                    Peace for the people of Syria. God knows they keep paying for it with no end in sight.

                    •  I'm only reading this now because (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      koNko

                      you were so articulate in your first comment that I was terrified about the amount of skin I would lose in the follow up.

                      I hear what you are saying and I don't think there are any easy answers. We sit with what we sit with and the best we can do is try to divine what the crystal ball of our imagination tell us.

                      We can't sit back unconcerned while chemical weapons are brought into the mainstream and we can't, with even a modicum of certainty, know the eventual outcomes of action.

                      The 'red line' was drawn to try to dissuade Assad from pursuing the truly horrific. He did it anyway. The sickest game of chicken that has happened in my lifetime.

                      I don't know the right answers about Syria are but I do know that I'm really glad I'm not Obama. Like you, I'd like to live in a better world.

            •  I supported Obama twice. I support him still. (0+ / 0-)

              Yet, I seriously question his judgement and motives in this case and doing so is neither (a) an automatic call for impeachment; (b) hating on him in any way; (c) equating him with George Bush; (d) equating Kerry with Rumsfeld, which is a bit of a non sequitur considering Kerry is SoS and Rumsfeld was SoD, significantly different roles in such situations.

              Whether Obama stumbles on this remains to be seen but some of us criticizing his position do so because we DON'T want to see him going down to the level of GWB.

              In his hands not mine. Just my 2 cents.

          •  For the record (0+ / 0-)

            Rumsfeld is questioning the wisdom of this in terms of achievable military objectives, for whatever that is worth.

        •  Why us? (0+ / 0-)

          I get it I get it and I agree, Assad should be/shoulda already been stopped.

          But I can't stop asking "Why us?"  

          I am not convinced at all that the punishment of this particular thug for this particular use of chemical weapons must be, and can only be, meted out by the United States.  We are likely #4 or 5 down the list of reasonable candidates for the job, and only occupy that spot because of the clumsy "red line" statement.  That is not a good enough reason to risk U.S. lives, treasure, and reputation in a few more decades of somebody else's regional/religious conflict.

          “No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people.” ~ my Senator Elizabeth Warren

          by Domestic Elf on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:11:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Why now? (0+ / 0-)

          If he is not stuck on the "Red Line", what is it about the most recent 300 deaths verses the 100,000 that preceded it?

          And what is the military objective to be accomplished? Can that be done?

          It's possible Obama is feeling some remorse about previous inaction, but frankly, the situation has gotten less stable and less likely to produce a good outcome now than a year ago.

          So I wonder what can be accomplished with cruse missiles now that materially improves the situation for the Syrian people?

          Haven't got an answer for that.

    •  He didn't USED to be a war hawk ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SouthernLiberalinMD

      But ... remember his "reporting for duty" speech during HIS run for the presidency ?

      No ... once an anti-war veteran, Secretary Kerry is now On Board and With the Program.

      And the difference between the Bush program and the Obama program  ...  well, Obama had the good sense to NOT be the War President himself, but to us John Kerry as his fig leaf -- and it's very unlikely that THIS president will opt for "boots on the ground" in any way shape or form.

      And as long as none of  "OUR Brave Boys and Girls" get hurt ... well, it's all good, right ?

      Optics matter
      Gestures count
      And "Peace" is only "what you get between wars."

    •  Me too on being conflicted (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SottoVoce, KayCeSF, highacidity, gmats

      but my visceral reaction to Kerry was immediate tears of deep regret and feeling bamboozled. This is not normal for me at all - I trust there are a whole bunch of people more informed than me to make such decisions, but the last few days my something is not right radar has been on overdrive.

      Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

      by hulibow on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:36:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't believe Kerry is happy over any of this. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northerntier, gmats

        Like you, beyond Kerry, my intuition tells me to stay out of this and yet my moral heart wants to defend people against future chemical warfare.  How do these two feelings not cause conflict?  I can't imagine how Obama feels about all of this, but I doubt the man is happy about any of it.

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

        by KayCeSF on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:57:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  All I am saying (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat

    is give peace a chance.

    Dawn is breaking everywhere Light a candle, curse the glare We will get by. We will survive.

    by MikeBoyScout on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:21:31 AM PDT

  •  One thing Ive learned here this week (1+ / 2-)
    Recommended by:
    Front Toward Enemy
    Hidden by:
    Beelzebud, Bud Fields

    (and they say things cant be all bad if you're still learning new things) is that a significant number of Kossacks expect the entire community to go into mourning for a week any time an effing pootie dies, yet somehow their hearts just arent big enough to give 2 shits about thousands of murdered men, women and children, I guess because they're not THEIR children.
    Good luck to you.

    •  Truly helpful comment. (7+ / 0-)

      Not.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:22:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is about as helpful as a turd in a punchbowl (7+ / 0-)

      Thanks for sharing.

      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 10:34:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So (14+ / 0-)

      are you calling for intervention in Sudan, where at least 2 MILLION people have been murdered by a tyrannical regime?

      Hate to break it to you, but Syria isn't the only war in this planet right now, nor is it the most vicious and deadly, by a longshot.

      Heck, even the drug wars in Mexico have likely taken more lives than the current civil war in Syria. And that one is on our border.

      And then there's non-human killers, like malaria which kills over 1 million people each year. The cost of a single month of warfare (several billion) would go a long way toward eradicating that scourge.

      •  STOP! STOP! Blinded by facts...must get shades... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth, polecat

        :)

        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 11:16:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It would appear (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KayCeSF

        that this is the particular instance under discussion. Tell me, which of the surviving Syrian children would you commit to death?

        What would you do to avoid it?

        Your point is valid, and only operates to intensify the urgency of THIS action. We have just GOT to remind each other that humanity does have rules that must not be broken.

        And, we can hope, and work very hard to help EVERY human hear and understand it. It is not our past sins under consideration here (thankfully, because there are, quite frankly not sufficient pixels on your servers for that discussion!), it is a universal "Right NOW!". Syria is killing her own people under the aegis of nation-state sovereignty while ignoring her position as members of the planet-state.

        Given the scope of the blinding light being focused on Syria right now, one could hope that other nation-states would take notice, and learn an important lesson right now. We may rightly infer no such learning from nothing, as The Sudan, and many other anti-human conditions will attest.

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

        by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:34:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There are good ways to express your fedupwithness, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jhecht, Darmok, Bud Fields, polecat

      and there are ungood ways.

      This, here?

      to go into mourning for a week any time an effing pootie dies
      That would be an ungood way.

      Why stick your thumb in the eye of people who've done you no insult?

    •  So you think you can bomb a cesspool (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polecat

      and control where all the shit is going to land? Good luck with that.

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

      by jhecht on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:55:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It might be helpful for you to explain how (0+ / 0-)

      killing more people (rather indiscriminately by the way) somehow makes a difference, corrects a wrong, or whatever it is you think must be done.

      How can the US military stop the killing?  Do you have any realistic answers?  From my point of view, the US military can only kill more people. How does that help?

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

      by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:58:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We Need To Know What We Do Not Know... (0+ / 0-)

        1. Killing more people needs severest definition.
        2. Indiscriminately? Where do you conclude that any action would include indiscriminate killing? That's opinion without foundation.
        3. Your second paragraph is one I can agree with because of the validity of the questions you pose. However, it is not left to you or I to make the decisions that will yield such results. But, we CAN inform our leadership of our concerns, and expectations. We should do that. Right now. You and I.

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

        by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:45:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have called my Representative and Senators' (0+ / 0-)

          offices twice, each, already, as well as sending them individually written Emails and signing petitions.  I have informed our leadership of my concerns and my expectation that the US Constitution will be fully complied with. My Representative has signed Rep. Barbara Lee's letter to the President.

          Now that is out of the way:

          1)  If the USA blows more things up in Syria, is the point not to hit any people? Very likely more explosives being delivered into Syria will kill more people. Perhaps they would have died without the USA attacking or not. But I don't believe the objective is to make useless puffs of sand in the desert.

          2)  If the USA attacks, sure, they will aim "appropriately."  However, no one really knows who will be in the areas blown up, thus the deaths will by definition be indiscriminate. There is a myth that US attacks can be "surgical" (or even effective) and avoid all but military targets. This is nothing more than propaganda.

          3)  US strikes in Syria will undoubtedly kill more people. That will not stop the civil war. It will not end the killing. It will not change whatever means is chosen to kill people in the future.

          4)  Finally, if US strikes in Syria seriously weaken Assad's forces, or even open a gap in a particularly vulnerable or contested area, might eventually result in one or more of the many (many hundreds, literally, rebel groups) accessing or seizing control of the chemical weapons themselves.

          If we are truly serious about keeping chemical weapons under con(rol, i.e., within Syria and not smuggled out to be used in the rest of the world, it seems that attacking Assad's forces is one of the worst moves we could make.

          Thus, the proposed "shot over the bow" to quote our President is ill advised by practically any measure.

          It is wrong for the USA to kill people in a country which poses zero threat to the USA.  We have no right and no authority to kill those people. Even one death from US attacks is needless blood on our hands.

          The President has no legal authority to order such an attack without the express consent of Congress. Even the papering over of an attack with UN resolutions is not available. The USA is not appointed the enforcer of all international norms in the world.

          My thoughts have been communicated to my representatives in Congress. Your statement that we do not decide these things makes no sense in response to my statement. Where did I ever suggest that I did?

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

          by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:39:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Realizing that there are no good options (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mikidee, brjzn, KayCeSF, polecat, schnecke21

      Isn't the same as not caring.

  •  Kabuki warfare; sending messages, calibration.... (8+ / 0-)

    Seems I heard all that back around 1966-1967, when LBJ was individually choosing targets for a U.S. Air Force bombing campaign that was absurdly intended to 'send a carefully calibrated message' to Hanoi.

    Anyone else around here old enough to remember how that worked out?

    If you want to just 'send a message', I suggest picking up a telephone. It's a hell of a lot cheaper, and nobody dies.

    •  Yeah, I'm old enough to remember a ring-side seat. (0+ / 0-)

      And, like that action, when nobody answers the phone as it incessantly rings leads to the necessity of other message-sending capabilities.

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

      by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:47:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Painting yourself into a political corner (5+ / 0-)

    Has to be one of the worst reasons to go to war.

    This has already been proven time and again.

    Is it really necessary to prove it again?

    •  Only if You Believe that is the reason for action. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KayCeSF

      Nothing I have seen learn or discover about this President suggests he would do such a thing, and most especially for such a reason as you suggest.

      His statement came as a result of something, if you can remember. It was involving an explanation of why he was not considering intervention in Syria in the first place.

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

      by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:49:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We are almost there, Bud (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bud Fields

        Now, apply his reasoning for not going before and explain why now that his "Red Lines" threshold (however he choses to personally define it then or now) was crossed, this is more compelling than the deaths of 100,000 humans before it happened?

        Pretty much what you get is "don't fuck with me" reasoning, i.e., I made rule X and you just broke it; if I back down from rule X I don't get respect.

        In moral terms, what is different about the deaths of these 300 humans verses the previous 100,000?

        In practical terms, what is going to be accomplished to ensure it doesn't happen again?

        Remember Bush's "Yellow Cake"? The gas might be more real now but if you don't know where it all is or don't find it, you don't accomplish much, do you?

        And that comes at what cost?

        If the US has incredibly great intelligence on this, knows exactly where the goods are and can destroy them at minimum human cost, then Obama can chose that and be a hero. He got OSB, maybe he can do it again and prove the skeptics wrong, and totally own the result. No French, no British to share the glory with, no chance of "Lead from behind" bullshit from the GOP.

        Otherwise, maybe it's not as simple as he's making it sound.

        Seems to be there is a strong element of hubris at work here. I may be mistaken, and hope to be proven wrong.

         

        •  I am willing to believe (0+ / 0-)

          that the "Red Line" comment was fundamentally an argument to the ridiculous: surely no nation would do such a thing. However, if any nation did, the immediacy of the violation of international humanity would certainly require a response, meted out by an offended planet. That the US through it's administration was even willing to propose such a ridiculous notion does not, in itself, speak very well for us. "Really? We must wait THIS long?" And yet, we have.

          Further, while the rest of the globe (with the notable exceptions of the usual suspects) joins us, the chorus they are chanting is "Yes, America. DO something!"

          I agree with you on the point about Presidential Heroism. On both counts. I hope that, if required, our resolve would not be shaken or undone simply because we are alone in our willingness to at least try to stop such actions as open, admitted chemical warfare.

          One thing I think most reasonable people would admit today is that this is a most important, yet very perplexing situation.

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

          by Bud Fields on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 02:25:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, in the last day, Obama has answered (0+ / 0-)

            Several questions here.

            One is that he will go to Congress. I think that is wise. It bothers me that he says, in doing so, that he believes he's not obligated to do so but decided to. IOW, he's asserting his executive powers in this case but softening the edge because a vote would make those cruse missiles "more effective" (his reasoning not mine).

            Two is the purpose: to punish Assad because failing to do so would be a slippery slope. Where that slope started and ends I don't know but the basic justification is a moral argument.

            Three is intent: just to punish Assad so he understands he can't act with impunity and is accountable to the USA. And the USA can strike at a time of it's own choosing (H/T to George W. Bush). There is no intent for regime change and not even to remove chemical weapons (which would surely require boots on the ground) but just to compel Assad to stop by coercion.

            Certainly the situation is perplexing. We don't want to and shouldn't stand by watching human tragedy, but the most perplexing thing is we may be trapped here because the situation is so complicated, and over the past year of so it has only gotten worse. The world has been essentially standing on the sidelines watching, we are collectively guilty of that.

            So it seems likely the US will act and we will see what comes of it.

            As the father of a 6 year old girl, I hope not too many 6 year old girls get caught in the crossfire, they just want to live.

      •  And there is this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bud Fields

        Why do I get this impression?

        Obama is using the "American National Interest" argument again, just as his administration used that to justify over-reach in South East Asia is his "Pivot to Asia", effectively extending the Monroe Doctrine to the opposite side of the globe.

        That worked so well he eventually pulled back the war games and relaunched the policy as "Balancing".

        Now here they go again. Whatever happens anywhere is now "American National Interest"?

        Dangerous argument and one that reflects hubris.

        •  In this instance, notwithstanding (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          the changing demography of power's potential in other nations, China specifically, I both see and understand your point.

          However, the demographics within the Pacific Rim ARE changing. Moving American troops and establishing a joint services base in Australia did not cause the change; the change necessitated the bases as greater military and/or political minds than mine have determined. Perhaps it was the Chinese re-establishing their claim to the northern Japanese Islands, along with the commissioning of their newest aircraft carrier and increased volitility in the region. I can accept that. To deny vital US interests in the area would be fool-hardy, I think. But these realities, new as they may be, could well give us, the US, an opportunity to determine just what vital national interests in the area may or may not be at this point of time. One can hope.

          Yet, the necessity to respond is present, I think. I also agree with your view on just what American National Interests may be. While we scream against Chinese incursion in the Northern Japanese Islands, we seem to feel no such compunction to put our very best minds and efforts to a continuing situation in Fukashima which bears the sad unique character of continuing to be a potential human extinction event. One says we need more beauocracy to handle these divergent perspectives. Others say we as a nation cannot or should not afford them

          No wonder we are so perplexed as a nation. I submit it is because we are searching for the first time in a very long time for the truth of our national identity, and what we are willing to do about it.

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

          by Bud Fields on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 02:20:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually ... (0+ / 0-)

            The base in Australia is nothing, just a symbol.

            What I refer to is that the Obama Administration inserted itself into long standing but low intensity regional conflicts to play a little game of divide and conquer while shopping for regional client states, making the situation worse, and after essentially blaming the mess on China's behavior, realized it had encouraged worse behavior by smaller nations/cities (Vietnam, Philippines, Mayor of Tokyo) assuming the full might of the US military behind them where there was, apparently, no such intention.

            So having created a bit of a mess with the shenanigans of Clinton and Gates, the US had to back down and send Leon Panetta to explain how darned neutral the US is and that these problems should be settled in a gentlemanly way, but should there be any doubt, the US steadfastly stands by it's treaties, whatever that means.

            Fortunately, the DPRK acted up and made so much noise everyone forgot about it for awhile.

            DPRK: your reliable partner in promoting world peace! LOL.

  •  So basically we are fucked. (4+ / 0-)

    Sounds about right.

    How about we just stay out, spend some of that money on people in this country and, oh never mind.

    Well come on all you big strong men,
    Uncle Sam needs your help again!

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:24:00 AM PDT

  •  Ordnance, not ordinance. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  The fundamental question... (7+ / 0-)

    is what's the point? If this is only a symbolic "punishment" of the al-Assad regime, then why bother? If American or allied involvement is intended to "tip the scales" against the regime, then tip them in whose favor? I agree 100% with ivorybill that al-Assad is incapable of reasserting power over the entirety of geographic Syria. I'd extend that to say that no element within either the militarized or political opposition is capable of not only asserting power over all of Syria but also then of governing a unified Syria. It's far too complicated for us to become involved. I say let the French go it alone: hell, they've been fucking up the Levant since 1840, so what's one more blunder for them...

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:25:12 AM PDT

    •  Yes, let the French do it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marsanges

      They're the ones that carved out the Syrian nation (along with the English) after WWI and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. They're the ones who split up the Kurdish provence into the territories of three different nations. They're the ones who used Syria as a colony for so many years.

      But it was Obama that created his little red line. That was a mistake, and how many lives will be lost for the purpose of pride and credibility?

      "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

      by Crider on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:32:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The rivalrous Anglo-French ambitions (0+ / 0-)

        for MENA through the late 19th and early 20th centuries have led to a myriad enduring problems. Which isn't to deny agency to actors in the region who have been and remain culpable, but the cynical abuses of the English and French protégé networks from 1840 through the Mandates contributed much to the ethnosectarian strife that's bubbling across the "Arab Spring."

        Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

        by angry marmot on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:43:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It is completely nuts to get involved at all. (6+ / 0-)

    As one speaker in the UK house of Commons said yesterday "why can't the Saudi's do it?"  I agree!  Let the Saudis do it.  They have an air force with planes we sold them.  Give them the spare parts and let them do it.  

    •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Keone Michaels

      This post was informative with regard to the impressive military capabilities of the AL nations.  If African nations are willing to use their much smaller militaries to assist war torn countries on their own continent, then it's time to demand the same of the Arab League.  
      We can provide other assistance, and there are other things we can do to make life difficult for Assad without direct involvement.

  •  I am going to hell for all eternity for this (10+ / 0-)

    But I actually find myself in agreement with Newt-Fucking-Gingrich.
    In his piece in CNN he writes:

    We have already concluded that as terrible as the civil war is, it cannot be our war. The bombing will not change this -- and then what?
    Both sides in Syria are bad. One side is a brutal dictator, and the other includes Islamists and terrorists who are dangerous already and who would be brutal in power if given the chance.
    We will not spend the time, money and blood to create a desirable side in Syria. There is no victory to be had there.
    I am going to have a shower.....

    Queror Ergo Sum. -- Rene Descartes Shakshuka

    by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:27:24 AM PDT

  •  So shoot Assad, I mean if you are going to shoot (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat

    at all, he should be the target. We aren't the Light Brigade. This isn't 1854. Time to own the 21st Century. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

  •  I wonder how much ordinace will get lost (0+ / 0-)

    on its way over Eastern Syria...

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:29:12 AM PDT

  •  Just the facts: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Floande
    Fact: Project For A New American Century, during the 90's, issued a Policy paper calling for regime changes in the Middle East.

    Fact: The PNAC Policy included Libya, Iraq, Iran, and Syria (in addition to others).

    Fact: Beginning with Dick Cheney / George Bush, the U.S. Empire embarked on courses of action which fulfilled the Policy requirements PNAC outlined, in order to maintain America's Empire Global Dominance

    Fact: Obama, a Democrat, has overseen and participated in regime change for Libya and Syria

    Fact: The Egyptian "revolution" was reversed;  America continues its support of the Egyptian military

    Fact: Cheney/Bush advanced the idea of Iraqi WMD, halting / interfering with U.N. inspections, declaring a "red line", and subsequently attacking Iraq

    Fact:  Obama, Democrat, established a "red line" with Syria vis-a-vis Chemical Weapons;  Subsequently, Obama administration has interfered with UN inspections (not allowing them to complete) and saying the Red Line had been crossed; Expected action is imminent

    Fact:  Libya & Syria are included in PNAC's Policy which calls for a remaking of the ME

    The policies of Empire continue, unimpeded.  D or R, it makes no difference to the 1%.  

    The exact same ploys are used, the same rationale for war given, and the results, predictably, are the same.

    Are You Waking Up Yet?

    Or shall we once again impotently suckle on Rhetoric You Can Starve On whilst the 1% get Results They Can Bank On?

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:31:19 AM PDT

    •  Correlation does not equal causation. (0+ / 0-)

      There are, no doubt, colinear value and objectives between this administration and NeoCons.

      But that doesn't make PBO a NeoCon any more than his support for Wind and Solar makes him a Green.

      If your assertion was correct. There would be American troops occupying Tripoli at this moment.

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:03:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong. (0+ / 0-)
        There are, no doubt, colinear value and objectives between this administration and NeoCons.
        The excuses are the same.

        The results are the same.

        To pretend otherwise or fantasize that there is a difference is ludicrous.

        If your assertion was correct. There would be American troops occupying Tripoli at this moment.
        Why would American troops need to occupy Tripoli?  

        Do you deny that America played a role in the overthrow of Gaddafi?

        Do you deny that America supports the military regime running Egypt?

        Do you deny that America is pushing for regime change in Syria?

        The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

        by Johnathan Ivan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:31:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  the focus should be on his chemical capabilities (0+ / 0-)

    Assad's use of chemical weapons is what's getting us into this thing, so that's what the U.S. should focus on.  Bombing his planes and airfields, and finding where he's got his weapons stored and any artillery that might be used to deploy them  - take out those targets, then back off.  Doing that, we'd pull Assad's fangs and leave a more even playing field for the Syrians to sort their own mess out.

    That's what we should be doing, and that's what I expect to happen.  Beyond that, we'd just be getting entangled in more than we'd talked about.   We're not going to stop massive bloodshed, but removing the chemical weapons will stop the largest number of civilian casualties, and that's what the U.S. bargained on.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:32:56 AM PDT

    •  I don't think aerial bombardment of CW (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Front Toward Enemy

      can be done safely.  This is why I think they are focusing on limiting delivery of those weapons instead.

      "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

      by SottoVoce on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:46:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's possible... (0+ / 0-)

        If they can safely burn out the weapons storehouses, then do it, but if that'll disperse them, then take out his ability to deliver them... then, hopefully, find some way to secure and safely remove them.

        That should be our only involvement in this war.  We'd be living up to what we said we'd do, and beyond that, we have no clear side to be on, since the core of the conflict are idiots fighting over their make-believe friend.  

        "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

        by Front Toward Enemy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:52:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What you describe is a boots-on-the-ground (0+ / 0-)

          operation.

          "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

          by SottoVoce on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:53:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know... (0+ / 0-)

            ... but I'm hoping it would be a limited, in-and-out, accomplish-the-objective-then-leave mission.  Not an occupation.

            "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

            by Front Toward Enemy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:57:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  When has that ever been (0+ / 0-)

              accomplished? This is us directly involving ourselves in a civil war between a nasty despot and about a thousand rebel groups, one of which is Al Qaeda and the rest of which are various shades of almost-as-evil. Rebels in this conflict have used chemical weapons against government strongholds, but we didn't step in.

              The rationale here doesn't add up, and boots on the ground is absolutely unacceptable. We don't need no steenking "empire" - history demonstrates them to be bad juju. Let the UN, Arab League, NATO and other such collectives deal with Syria. Or stay home, which is what they are doing right now because at root it's a religious war. We should do the same, religious wars (in someone else's religion) are even worse juju than empires.

  •  the 100,000 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Losty, Deward Hastings

    Iranian victims of chem weapons attack from a US backed Saddam Hussein are probably appalled at this:

    IF we choose to live in a world where a thug and a murderer like Bash al-Assad can gas thousands of his own people with impunity... there will be no end to the test of our resolve, and the danger that will flow from those others who believe that they can do what they will.
    Iran has ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Syria hasn't.  Israel hasn't.  Egypt hasn't.
  •  Ingress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity

    will they fly through Lebanese airspace?  Turkish?  Iraqi? Israeli?   or over Tripoli and down to Damascus?

  •  Air defense (0+ / 0-)

    if we go after Assad's air defense, it is surely a prelude to a major operation.  The syrian opposition has no Air assets.  

  •  I don't think they're going to get away with it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    britzklieg

    this time.  "Them".  The cynical "those" who use and exploit war for purposes having less to do with "national security" and more to do with ratings or politics or money.

    I could be wrong.

    But I've got to believe that, after more than 10 years of wars of choice, we're just not as gullible as we were when these techniques were used successfully to get us into war with Iraq.

    If Obama pursues this, against the will of the wide majority of people who don't support it, and without the support of the UN or our lapdog, the UK, his mental ice cubes have completely melted.

  •  Is this about Obama looking bad at the G-20? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hohenzollern, britzklieg

    Is this about Susan Rice's Rwanda guilt-trip?
    Cancel the G-20, fire Susan Rice.
    Obama is hurting his Presidency and his Party BADLY.
    Who benefits? Neo-cons, wingnuts.

    News Flash: We are NOT the world's policeman.

    •  But D or R.... (0+ / 0-)

      ...the logic of Empire is the same. Policeman no, but a hegemon must show itself regularly or the world stops believing. There is the realpolitik offered to us by our National Security State.

      If progressives were voting for policies they believe in, they would be voting for Dr. Jill Stein.

      by Wahrheit on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:28:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's one expensive postal service (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    britzklieg

    ...to send a message that likely will be ignored.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:42:16 AM PDT

  •  If there is any logic to this... (0+ / 0-)

    ...it would have to be that we suspect that destruction of the key bases of Assad's most loyal forces would cause an opening for his opponents to rush in.

    Then, in a weakened state, Assad becomes amenable to a political compromise - or gets overthrown by supporters who don't want to fight to the last for him and his family.

    If this sounds familiar, it was the Bush Shock and Awe theory.  We know how that turned out.  It's actually worse here, because we know the ones rushing into the breach will be Al Qaeda.

    Obama's strong suit has never been his strategic sense as Commander in Chief.  I have a distinct feeling here that he is way, way over his head, and his ego and the bubble that surrounds all Presidents is feeding the worst impulse, which is "do something! anything!"

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:44:59 AM PDT

    •  Disagree. PBO's interests in college, law school (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence

      and the the Senate were all about international relations. If it hadn't been for the economic disaster, he would have become a noteworthy "foreign policy" President, like Carter.

      He may not have the resume of someone like Colin Powell, or John Kerry, but I don't think he's in over his head.

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:34:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  International relations not same (0+ / 0-)

        I am talking specifically about the use of force, once of the main roles of a Commander in Chief.

        I do not see a clear logic behind what is being proposed.  The people we are supposedly leveraging here (Syria, Hezbollah, Iran) have not shown themselves to be pushovers for threats.

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 01:46:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a neocon action (3+ / 0-)

    I don't understand why Obama would do it, unless of course he is a neocon. And if that if the case, then it's time to pack up the tent, back up the truck and head home. It's over.

    "When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained." - Mark Twain

    by Moon Mop on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:45:44 AM PDT

  •  Obama should take the hit here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, cooperjubilee

    Completely speculating at this point that he feels bound by his "red line" comments.   And, speculating again here, not for himself, but for the country. That we would be somehow "weakened" if we don't do anything after making the red line policy.

    He's not running for office anymore, seeming weak deosn't matter. It's not like appearing strong will help him with other domestic legistlative efforts.

    "After further review, we have no helpful targets, missles for the sake of missles wouldn't make sense...."

    This would be the strong response.

    Or, at the very least, put it to congress.

  •  Have no doubts. (0+ / 0-)

    Assad is going down...eventually. All of the 'old' regimes will now be gone, except for Iran, which will then stand alone...surrounded on all 4 sides.


    Reality occupies a dimly lit corner somewhere on the edge of town. I drive by every now and then on my way to visit mom. That’s where the cookie jar is.

    by glb3 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:48:32 AM PDT

  •  Obvious that Turkey is gearing up... (0+ / 0-)

    Read the Turkish press.  It's obvious that the Moderate Islamist regime wants to kick Assad's a** in the worst way.  Turkish security is at stake though.  Assad has attacked Turkish towns on the border & tens of thousands of Syrians have fled to Turkey for safety.

    So, yeah, this is a BFD for them.

    •  so then if it's a BFD (0+ / 0-)

      and if the Arab League and the Turks have the requisite war machines

      why the hell don't they? what's stopping them?

      We damned well don't need to have a presence there.

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:16:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lawrence, not this...go around... (0+ / 0-)

    Damascus, Lawrence! Damascus!!

    =====

    Kos' diary is a consultation with President Obama
    made on the "steward-to-steward protocol"

    Well worth the time for President Obama to read and ponder.

  •  I just don't understand the need for Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pasadena beggar

    to defy the American public's wishes; the wishes of many in Congress who have written to ask for debate on the topic (and many who, like my own Congressman, believe this but haven't written); the wishes of the UN, etc., in order to go forward with a lose/lose attack.  It makes no sense to me.  Compassion is a good impulse, but only if in showing it one doesn't create a situation where more compassion is needed.  Help the refugees with humanitarian supplies, work feverishly at the UN and behind the scenes with diplomacy, try to convince the Arab League and others in the region to step up with a unified voice.  But don't make things worse.

    "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    by SottoVoce on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:51:47 AM PDT

    •  Just So Ya Know... (0+ / 0-)

      >>> SoS Kerry's speech has the latest poll showing more than 50% of Americans polled supporting a limited Syrian action. Does that change your position at all?

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

      by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:04:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Arab League (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal

    has already ruled out strikes without UNSC approval.

    •  Then so should the US and France (0+ / 0-)

      I don't want to do ANY more damage in the ME without the AL being right there beside us.  Just to make sure all the blame goes around . . . because when this goes badly, and it will, I just don't want the U.S. being the "infidel" all alone.

  •  Violence is not the solution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmats

    it is the problem.  We need to work this through the UN not by ourselves.  If Russia won't help with finding a solution, then so be it, we leave it at that.  

    Arab League can step up, but if they aren't willing to do it without UN approval, then why should we?

    This isn't our war.  Yes, people are in harm's way, but this is common all over the planet, are we going into North Korea next?   We are not the planet's police.

    War is killing our country.  Time we try peace an prosperity instead of violence and poverty.  

    Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it. - Michel de Montaigne

    by Sandy on Signal on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:00:46 AM PDT

  •  Ask Rumsfeld what to do! (0+ / 0-)

    And do the opposite!

    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 11:14:31 AM PDT

  •  And if this had been the Bush administration (0+ / 0-)

    . . . . ?

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:15:14 AM PDT

  •  No such thing as "NOT all in" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmats

    Once a decision is made to attack, we are in fact "ALL IN", ala, the "you break it, you own" reasoning. Accordingly, before any U.S. attack on Syria, it is incumbent that every U.S. Congress Person and U.S. Senator be compelled to make a decision, i.e, a vote, concerning whether America is behind/in favor of this action.

    •  Congress, if they are so het up over this thing (0+ / 0-)

      can call themselves into session. They haven't. Just how much of a damn do you read from this that they actually give?

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

      by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:08:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The argument from Empire is getting very old (0+ / 0-)

    For over sixty years we have repeatedly heard the argument that we must do such and such to this evil doer or that in order to maintain our credibility with the world. Our credibility as what exactly? And since when is leadership doing whatever we damn well want regardless of what the rest of the world thinks? Daniel Ellsberg revealed in the Pentagaon Papers that we spent additional years in Vietnam, costing hundreds of thousands more lives so that people like Kissinger and Nixon could maintain their credibility.

    The Syrian regime is in an existential struggle. Short of presenting the Syrian decision makers with a greater threat to their survival than is posed by their own people, anything we do is going to make the long term situation in the region worse. Are we willing to take those actions? Getting our Saudi or UAE proxies to do the dirty work will just demonstrate the hand of empire once again.

    If progressives were voting for policies they believe in, they would be voting for Dr. Jill Stein.

    by Wahrheit on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:18:22 AM PDT

  •  For the record, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmats, Bud Fields

    I do not support the use of military force in Syria at this time, in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against opposition forces.

    Yes, the crimes are horrible.  Yes, the actions are reprehensible.  Yes, the use of chemical weapons in this manner is a crime against humanity.  

    However:   while I don't know what the answer is, I do not what is not the answer.   It is not sensible to bomb Syria "a little" to show our symbolic displeasure -- that does nothing for anyone.   It is not sensible to bomb Syria with great severity, because it will kill innocents and may result in no change.   It is not sensible to invade, and to become the occupier of a foreign nation, and to endure the hatred of the occupied -- particularly when no one thinks we can actually make the situation better.

    •  How about we kidnap the Assads (0+ / 0-)

      both the dictator and his military brother who fired the weapons, and bring them immediately before the World Court on charges of crimes against humanity?

      I'd support and encourage THAT behavior. I really like your first two paras. I disagree with you, but yours is the first definite position I have read in this thread. Recc'd. Thank you.

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

      by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:10:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

        There is a great deal of to'ing and fro'ing out there, and someday, I suspect we all will be called upon to state what we believed about the war.  

        I wanted my position to be clear.   I see force as no good option at this time -- never mind the legality, I just don't see it as good policy, or likely to have a good outcome.   I understand that others (including you) disagree, and that is OK.

        To be honest with you, I'm actually extremely glad that the President has asked Congress for an authorization to use force.   There is now a real debate on this -- and, whatever the decision, it will at least be made constitutionally.  

  •  There should be only one objective in Syria: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmats, Bud Fields, KayCeSF, vemito

    Get the belligerent parties to agree to a cease-fire and start peace negotiations.

    The Rebels may declare in public that they will "never negotiate" with Assad. But they are exhausted by the stalemate and their people are facing winter living in tents. They can be brought around.

    The Alawites and their coalition fear being massacred by the rebels in an ethnic cleansing that would follow defeat. They won't stop fighting until they have victory or a settlement with security guarantees.

    But to get them to negotiate, they first have to be convinced that victory is not possible.

    The chemical weapons incident provides the U.S. with a one-time opportunity to apply some coercion to the Assad regime. By launching "punitive" attacks on Assad's military assets we can blunt the current momentum of the government forces.

    By attacking Assad's air-defenses, aircraft on the ground, fuel depots, ammunition dumps and armored vehicles, we can degrade Assad's capacity to fight and send the Alawite commanders a clear message that we're not going to let them win. They need to be convinced that their best chance of survival is a negotiated peace - with or without Assad.

    The CW story should be enough diplomatic cover to keep Russia and Iran from doing anything overt in response.

    Unlike the Bush family, PBO has no hidden alliances with the Saudis. Unlike Reagan, he is not constrained by Cold War imperatives to demonstrate "resolve" to the Russians.

    If air strikes fail to have the desired effect, and the stalemate continues in Syria, there's little reason to believe that Obama would feel compelled to escalate.
    Libya demonstrated his ability to order precise action with clear and limited objectives.

    Kerry and Hagel are not Powell and Rumsfield. The Joint Chiefs today do not include generals like Schwarzkopf and Thompson, men made incautious by their quick victory in Kuwait.

    The risks are great. The margins of error are slim, and there are no guarantees. But this window of opportunity is closing, and we may not see another before thousands more have died.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:23:07 AM PDT

  •  At least since the early part of the last (0+ / 0-)

    century there have been international protocols, treaties, etc., established that condemn various war crimes, including the use of chemical weapons.  
    Perpatrators of war crimes should, and have, faced accusation, prosecution, and punishment under established world courts.
    We follow the rule of law, or there is no rule of law, and the rich and powerful become the rule of law, for better or for worse.  
    So, we throw cruise missiles at Syria, the dust settles, buildings are destroyed, homes are shattered, Assad holds aloft the bodies of children, err, collateral damage, the Arab world explodes in anger, and, ... what has been gained, what has been lost.  What has been accomplished, besides a reconfirmation that the U.S. can, at will, threaten and bring death to any place, at any time, if it so chooses.
    I have this nagging image of Slim Pickens/USA/Barack Obama astride that missile falling from the sky, waving that cowboy hat, YAHOOOOOOOOOOO.  And Republicans, far and wide, secretly smiling at this their most favorable moment in the bleakest imaginable turn of events.

  •  Rux/Sox: Proportional Response : cruise missiles (0+ / 0-)

    first, assuming BDA is good - then wait and see.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:48:23 AM PDT

  •  From the Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bud Fields
    But even with the Parliament of our closest allies shutting down possible involvement in these strikes, Obama appears determined to go at it alone (or at least with just the French, ironically enough).
    After the UK and US Iraq debacle , I would not call the UK

     " one of our closest allies "

    Unless I was a republican , the French ended up getting it right in that instance , as a democrat I would rather refer to the French as a partner

    Also , The Arab League has been involved  , and we can see the results

    And speculating that we are just going to blow a lame wad is kind of a joke , this is not the 1990's and Clinton

    I agree BOMBING should be the last resort , but Assad deserves  a grenade launcher enema that leaves a mark , after he killed woman and children who were peacefully protesting for civil rights
     

    Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

    by Patango on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:56:51 AM PDT

  •  "No boots on the ground" as _____ (0+ / 0-)

    you fill in the blank, i.e., nonsensical, misdirected, stupid, goofy, etc. as "drawing red lines".  In war, and I suggest, make no mistake, I believe this is what is being suggested, there are no guarantees. Mr. President I would suggest you keep in mind a couple of Army/War terms, i.e., "FUBAR", and the "Fog of War". Accordingly Mr. President, please obtain PRIOR Congressional approval.

  •  I can't figure this one out. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF

    Either Obama has some bad advisors here or he knows something we don't know.

    Have they seen the Assad Regime maneuvering around chemical weapons in a manner that indicates that more widespread usage is being planned?

    This was Obama's red line comment:

    A red line for us is if we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.
    http://www.youtube.com/...

    I can't really figure this one out.

    Kos, I think your advice about Turkey and Saudi Arabia getting involved is actually really bad.  They are completely dishonest brokers here and should not be involved in this, at all, imo.

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

    by Lawrence on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:02:15 PM PDT

  •  Remembering Rwanda: War is not the only option ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vemito

    ...but what is the best way to help the Syrian people?

    I needed a full blog to offer an opinion.

    TL;DR - I think we should focus on the refugee population, do so publicly, and get the world to help.

  •  I agree with your take kos (0+ / 0-)

    Take out command and control assests. Take out air defenses so that the Saudis, Jordanians, and UAE will be able to come in and not have to worry that any of their aircraft will be shot down.

    And there's the rub. Obama doesn't want to worry about any US planes being shot down and survivng US pilots being paraded on Syrian TV. But if you are going to use our assests, use them in a total war type of attack. Hit them and hit them again harder. Assad has shown that in a wider war he would use WMD. He has shown that he is psychologically capable of genocidal behavior against those who would rise up against him.

    Yes, cruise missles and drones are a way of avoiding putting pilots in harms way but they are ineffective in something like this.

    Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

    by harris stein on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:44:29 PM PDT

  •  Doing nothing or doing something... is never easy (0+ / 0-)

    It would be great if we could get the Arab countries involved in peaceably defusing this situation in Syria. But they have been able to do it as yet. None of these countries likely approve of what has happened nor wish for more death and refugees. But that is what is going to happen if they do nothing. And even if they do something.

    I don't approve of war by any means. But allowing someone to do what they did with impunity goes against anyone with blood flowing through their veins. We need to think about the results of any action taken. That goes without saying. We have a long list of engagements where they ended up as bad or worse than when they started. These things are chaotic and unpredictable so whatever you plan out will change for the worse you can bet on it. And no side gets to wear the White Hats. Everyone is muddled with past deeds that mar them as anything less than human and complicit to the current situation. But doing nothing is in some ways a worse choice.

    We need to engage everyone in this endeavor. And I am sure the State Dept and the White House are trying to do just that. We are all being backseat quarterbacks and the more we pile on the less likely we are going to find a coalition. We need to state our fears, but reserve judgement until we are given something factual about what the White House plans to do. We all have a bad taste in our mouths from the Bush era run up to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lies that were told. The lives that were thrown away. But this isn't that administration.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:57:16 PM PDT

  •  Probably not in any way possible... (0+ / 0-)

    Most of the discussion seems to be about which variant of stick do we use - not much carrot being proposed, although jjohnjj's post above about settlement negotiations is excellent.
    What if a coalition led by the US were to launch a massive aid operation - food, medicine, refugee support, etc?   This could be in concert with offers to mediate a settlement.   Of course the practical problems are huge, but the cost could be less than what we'd spend on substantial military operations.  
    It might be a fool's errand, but somehow I'd rather that we be seen as friends and a positive force than as a bully that comes in and destroys.

  •  The minute Obama drew the line in the sand.... (0+ / 0-)

    he invited Assad to cross it and draw the US into the conflict.

    Assad gains a confrontation with the US which will give him esteem with muslims and additional help from Russia, China and Iran. The US gets nothing but images of the damage and death inflicted.

    Assad wins. America loses again.

    Obama has let his stumblebum Sec of State Kerry sink his second term and further damage US influence and credibility.

    The modern Democrat is one who promotes old GOP ideas and calls them progressive in comparison to new GOP ideas.

    by masswaster on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:50:26 PM PDT

  •  I tell you what we should do! (0+ / 0-)

    Stop paying banks any loans we owe. Stop paying credit cards and just take a breather for a while. Let's see if that doesn't cause some distraction from their attempts at Syria. Of course we must have a list of demands and continue to enjoy some extra financial fun for a while before this whole house of cards comes crumbling down. No pussy-footing around anymore. No playing Mr Nice Sheep anymore.  Let's take advantage of THEM.

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