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People run for cover after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa province, eastern Syria June 10, 2013. REUTERS/Nour Fourat (SYRIA - Tags: CONFLICT) - RTX10IYK
Running for cover
So, what exactly is the point?
The Obama administration's preferred option for a potential strike on Syria is likely to leave Bashar al-Assad's government with significant chemical weapons and military infrastructure, according to military analysts.
Assad will remain. His military will remain. The chemical stockpiles will remain. Al Qaeda will remain one of the chief beneficiaries of any U.S. strike.
Faysal Itani, a visiting fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, said strikes would "shake up" Assad's regime but not lead to any strategic rethinking or alter the balance of power on the ground. "That means the war will continue on its current trajectory," he said.
What lesson will be taught if no lesson is learned? What lesson still needs to be learned by those who would be teaching others lessons?

Originally posted to Laurence Lewis on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've opined that they will take out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    Assad's air capability.  Not to stop anything, but not to allow any side a victory.

    The purpose: to continue civil war?  

    He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

    by Publius2008 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:50:32 AM PDT

    •  really taking out his air capability (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Publius2008, chuckvw, ichibon, JVolvo

      will cause how many civilian casualties?

      what was the point, again?

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:52:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  if that was the plan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein

      I'd have more respect for it.

      I'm not saying it would be a good idea, but at least taking out air capability has a tangible effect. It has a point.

      The current plan: blow up some things. It doesn't make any sense to me at all.

    •  A loss of air power would likely (0+ / 0-)

      turn the war in the favor of the rebels pretty quickly. It's one of the major advantages Assad has. It would make a break up of the country more likely as well. It would be a pretty big change in the situation.

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

      by AoT on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:26:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From what I understand, Saudis supplied the rebels (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Just Bob, Sybil Liberty, AoT

        with shoulder fired SAMs that have grounded Assad's air force as far as Air to Ground operations. That is the rationale behind Assad's use of gas, he can't root out the rebels in the suburbs of Damascus with airpower, he's shelling but that's not working so gass them.
        That's the story being told, I don't claim it's the truth.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:13:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not. (12+ / 0-)

          Syrian government forces have been pounding the areas east of Damascus with artillery and rockets and then sending in tanks and troops.

          They have been slowly squeezing the rebels into a smaller and smaller area.

          Airpower here is not really a factor.

          Aircraft are being used mostly in the north especially around Aleppo.

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

          by InAntalya on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:22:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  lol (0+ / 0-)
            They have been slowly squeezing the rebels into a smaller and smaller area.
            You do realize they have been saying this for more than a year now? about suburbs in their own capital.

            oh but Assad is winning! Russia today and the state TV told me so!

            •  Take a look at the White House's map released (5+ / 0-)

              yesterday and notice the areas labeled 'contested'. These were all firmly under rebel control a few months ago.

              http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

              If you find a map of the area from six months ago and compare it to the White House's map you will easily see what has been happening.

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

              by InAntalya on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:36:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  How do you feel about The Independent, (9+ / 0-)

              The Huffington Post, and VOA?

              June 19, 2013

              The government of President Bashar al-Assad is tightening its control of Damascus, encircling and bombarding the remaining rebel strongholds in or near the city. There was only the sound of a few distant explosions today that appear to come from the south where the Syrian army is seeking to drive rebels from around the golden-domed Shia shrine of Sayida Zeinab 10 miles from the centre of Damascus.

              The capital is quieter than it was six months when the sound of artillery constantly reverberated from the mountains nearby. There are fewer mortar rounds being fired into the city centre from rebel-held districts. The airport road, which had been closed by snipers, is open; so too is the long road north to Homs, Syria’s third largest city, and from there to the Mediterranean coast.

              http://www.independent.co.uk/...
              BEIRUT, June 25 (Reuters) - Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad hit rebel-held eastern districts of Damascus on Tuesday with mortar bombs, artillery and air strikes, opposition activists said.

              The assault was focused on Zamalka and Irbin, on the edge of the government-controlled centre of the capital, according to the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

              Rebels in the capital's outskirts say they are facing a slow but steady army advance. A rebel push into the city a year ago was seen at the time as heralding Assad's fall, but his forces, with support from his Shi'ite Muslim allies, have fought back.

              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

              July 15, 2013

              AMMAN — Syrian troops backed by tanks and artillery moved into a rebel-held district of Damascus on Monday, stepping up efforts to drive opposition fighters from the capital and build on battlefield gains elsewhere in the country, a rebel commander said.

              Opposition sources said troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad advanced into the neighborhood of Qaboun after subjecting the Sunni Muslim district to heavy shelling. Two adjacent rebel-held neighborhoods have been under sustained fire in recent weeks to cut off the movement of rebel fighters.

              Diplomats and security sources said Assad appeared intent on securing the capital from rebels that pose a threat to his troops, who are dug into positions in the center of the city.

              http://www.voanews.com/...

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

              by InAntalya on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:04:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Again (0+ / 0-)

                I can go back a year and read same story of government "taking this or that suberbs back" in Damascus and I was depressed when I did. but then a year later and the goverment is still "advacning" and still not in full control of their own freaking capital.

                Alot of these stories site state media which hype any inch of ground taken in a  gurrila war and its also against rebel's best interest to bluster and say we are just moving around and are fine because they still want outside help to make their life easier.

                The bigger picture is : a year ago: Homs, parts of Damascus and parts of Alepo was under rebel control

                Now a year later: homes, parts of damascus are still firmly in rebel hands and they have captured almost all of alepo and some alwite and kurdish areas.

                The bigger picture says Assad might be winning some battle in headlines but not winning anything significant back... aside from that one city helzbollah helped them take a couple of months back which made big headlines at the time but i cant remember its name now.

                •  It's clear that the only 'sources' you believe (7+ / 0-)

                  are opposition and rebel generated.

                  Good luck with that.

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

                  by InAntalya on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:22:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And good luck to you with the VoA (0+ / 0-)

                    Totally independent of any government influence and a source above reproach.

                    Or the Huffignton Post, a news organization second only to CNN.

                  •  No (0+ / 0-)

                    I dont take the rebels words as I said its in their best interest to underplay their abilities so they can get more help. But these guys are far stronger than you think. Just look at the ground they have held as I outlined above and what they have lost. If you want a link here is a good one. And note the area Assad gassed is still under rebel control as even Assad forces admited themselves. Feeble rats at this point with some airplanes. Behold your secular hero dictator and his fierce "Winnings":

                    Yet, it is perhaps irrelevant who gave the order since the entire Syrian leadership is reportedly afraid that the defense lines will collapse. These fears have been fanned by a number of developments over the past few weeks: the unauthorized withdrawal of previously Assad-loyal militias to their Alawite villages; the feared rebel offensive; the declining morale of the regular troops; and the rising losses without military victories to show for them.
                    The poison gas attack was probably carried out by the 4th division of Assad's army. Experts and defectors agree that this is the only unit that possesses launching devices for chemical weapons. Immediately following the chemical attack, it shelled rebel positions with conventional artillery - but was unable to take a single location.

                    Instead, the division lost at least seven tanks in the Damascus neighborhood of Harasta alone. A rebel video provides an insight into the lack of personnel among the elite division: Two crew members flee a burning tank - but they are wearing no uniforms, no helmets and no radio gear. Shabiha militia members have apparently been forced to fill the gaps in the ranks of the army.

                    The images are highly significant and don't correspond with reports that Assad has strengthened his military position.

                    http://www.spiegel.de/...
            •  From the poster who just said I support Hitler (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              truong son traveler, CenPhx

              It's hard to take you seriously with that much hyperbole in your posts.

              Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

              by mahakali overdrive on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:06:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Those aren't very useful against "fast movers". (0+ / 0-)

          They're great against helicopters, but they have very limited range and altitude.

          When it comes to jets, they mostly just introduce a very slight threat to slow and low bombing runs.

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

          by JesseCW on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 04:46:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  NO!!! Your president said this is not about (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler

        regime change!  However, he is lying to us about what it is about!  

    •  continuing the civil war (4+ / 0-)

      until they have done to Syria what they did to Iraq is the goal.  It's not a matter of who "wins" the civil war, only of leaving the country in ruins.  And continuing the encirclement of Iran, preparatory to destroying it too.

      And none of it is being done for any legitimate US interest.

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

      by Deward Hastings on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:34:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Evil dictators put AA defenses on apt. bldgs. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler, JesseCW

      So of course it is not our fault if in order to take out the air force we blow up a bunch of apartments and hospitals.   Those deaths don't get counted in the equation.

      Nobody but an evil dictator would put air defenses in civilian areas; air defenses should always be placed well out in the desert with a large sign saying "Kick Me" posted to them.    If these rules are not followed, any civilians who are killed when the good guys "take out" their evil dictator's capability have only themselves to blame.

        http://www.fresnobee.com/...

    •  Purpose? (0+ / 0-)

      Fewer school yard incinerations?

      “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

      by frenchy339 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:30:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Habituation...an ineffective correction habituates (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, chuckvw, JVolvo

    the subject to corrections.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:56:49 AM PDT

  •  Finding an answer to that question is hopefully (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, chuckvw

    what will delay an attack that basically has a blurry target but no point.  There needs to be a goal - and the obvious goal of preventing future chemical attacks and "to send a lesson" will not be achieved by limited attack.

    Unfortunately we have become the world's "Global Cop".  

    "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth". Albert Einstein

    by Sydserious on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:03:19 AM PDT

    •  Syd... (0+ / 0-)

      How do you know that "obvious goal of preventing future chemical attacks" will not be achieved"?

      I do agree that it's time we retire our role as Global Cop. Still makes me sad that there is not a global outrage and global censure to uphold this part of the Geneva Conventions. I mean look at how many here, on Kos, are still furious that Bush/Cheney weren't tried for torture.

      That said, if the world chooses to ignore this...starting with Syria's neighbors-the Arab League-then we should continue to stay the hell away from Syria. Doesn't make it any less heart breaking though.

    •  Not sure the world agrees (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW

      Have you ever looked at the polling?

      http://americaintheworld.typepad.com/...

      Good news is that we still have Poland.    South Korea, too -- but look at what the beneficiaries of our benevolent police actions think.

    •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)
      Finding an answer to that question is hopefully what will delay an attack that basically has a blurry target but no point.  There needs to be a goal - and the obvious goal of preventing future chemical attacks and "to send a lesson" will not be achieved by limited attack.

      Unfortunately we have become the world's "Global Cop".  

      Well yes, but nobody asked us to... don't you see that we are attempting to protect the OIL and the friends in Israel?  It has something to do with Iran, and remember... this is the time of year to strike when the full moon will light the sky.  Remember?  This is a REPEAT of the lies and the ties to oil and a showdown with Putin.  

      If you believe what Obama said today then I guess you think it's okay to kill more innocent people with our bombs to protect innocent people from the illegal nerve gas!  What is wrong?  We are if we allow this to happen.

  •  Rarely is the question asked: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, chuckvw, pdx kirk

    Is our lesson teachers learning?

    "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

    by Calvino Partigiani on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:06:42 AM PDT

  •  Kerry is on the tube now selling it hard (9+ / 0-)

    He's giving the mushroom cloud speech. "Iran might be emboldened... North Korea, scary, scary..." They decided to do this weeks ago, IMO.

    I thought the vote in the UK might save them from themselves...

    There's none so blind as those that will not see. --Jonathan Swift

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

  •  Going To War In Inches (7+ / 0-)

    This is a "feel good" measure. This likely attack on Syria is being done as a punitive measure that will allow everyone to pat themselves on the back & feel like they've done something & upheld humanitarian principles. And when the body bags still appear on television every night, & if worse comes to worst, those same people will say to themselves "well, we tried."

    But I don't think it will be that easy. If they get in for a penny, the pressure to go in for a pound will build.

    If they launch this kind of limited attack, the administration is responding because they feel like they have to respond after drawing a red-line, not because they think the attack will actually work. So when the limited strikes don't topple or deter Bashar al-Assad, they stand to lose just as much face as not attacking in the first place. And that will cause the administration to feel even greater pressure to go further. So it basically sets up a situation where we go to war in inches as each step becomes harder to turn back from.

    •  and the pressure from the right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pdx kirk, ichibon, maryabein

      will make it even worse- obama's response was too weak, america itself is losing face, etc., etc.

      to me, this is classic best-and-the-brightest syndrome.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:29:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Quite right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx, SME in Seattle, Teiresias70

      Your comment is excellent, especially that first paragraph. I would only add that the situation is even worse. You consider what will happen if the strikes do not topple Assad. But consider what happens if they do topple Assad. The chemical weapons don't vanish, they are still there waiting for someone to grab them and use them on God knows who.

      "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 Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:08:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  if Assad has any brains (and all indications (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, chuckvw, AoT, Laurence Lewis, Ian S, JVolvo

    are that he does), he's hardening all his installations and moving all his military assets to secure locations while the WH dithers about what level of strike they're going to make.

    And the question no one is asking: suppose there's another use of CW after the US launches a strike. Lesson very obviously not learned, and Assad (if it is indeed him using CW) is rubbing it in the US's face.

    Then what does Obama do? In the face of such defiance, he's got to escalate. So, a bigger strike? And then if that doesn't work, what happens then?

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

    by limpidglass on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:13:49 AM PDT

    •  "assets to secure locations" (0+ / 0-)

      he is. he is moving them to civilian center. it dont matter though since the rebels are far stronger than a similar situation in Libya, they can deal with Assad's ground forces just fine as the Damascus surbs and homs and full of alepo under their control shows. what they lack is something against Assad's air power and last I heard you need functioning air fields and infrastructure to use those effectively unlike tanks or troops.

    •  They are already hardened (3+ / 0-)

      Look, we are not talking about Canada here.   Syria has been invaded by Israel three times (perfectly justified of course), bombed countless times (latest was 2011 not counting the most recent bombing.)    Israeli jets frequently invade their airspace for psychological purposes.

      Heck, I googled and found an Israeli attack in 2013 that I didn't even know about (not surprising enough to cover here.)  :

      http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/...

      The Free Syrian Army says Israeli air force jets flew over President Bashar Assad’s palace and bombed a chemical weapons site near Damascus, Maariv reported.

      The report said Israeli jets entered Syrian airspace close to 6 a.m Saturday and flew over Assad’s palace in Damascus and other security facilities before striking a chemical weapons compound near the city.

      The Hebrew language daily said a Syrian army air defense battery positioned in the city fired at the Israeli jets, but the aircraft left Syrian airspace unscathed. FSA rebels posted a video showing smoke rising from the headquarters for chemical weapons.

      Now tell me what good an airstrike from the US is going to do?
  •  Lessons ignored: (4+ / 0-)


    all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    by 4kedtongue on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:19:30 AM PDT

  •  The USA will teach that randomly (0+ / 0-)

    killing people is just only if USA sponsored.

  •  Another lesson ignored (4+ / 0-)

    When the Secretary of State stands before the nation to announce Military intervention to solve a problem, that Secretary of State admits his or her total failure at their job as our Diplomatic Head. This was true of Condoleeza Rice and it is true of John Kerry.

    Shame.

    Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top. ~Edward Abbey

    by cosmic debris on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:28:18 AM PDT

  •  Nothing will be learned. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, maryabein, JVolvo

    We have no fucking idea what we are doing, so we will blow up some shit and then maybe do it again.

    And then, um, blow some more shit up?

    "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 10:31:10 AM PDT

  •  The lesson is supposed to be that... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    ...if you use chemical weapons, then you will face consequences large enough to outweight any gains you got from using those weapons.  It's meant to be punative.  You don't need to overthrow a gov't for that lesson to be taught.

    Unfortunately, I think it will have the opposite effect: they will see that the strikes hurt but don't cripple because the US cannot afford to have the rebels win.  Others will see it and take it as a signal that the US lacks resolve.  Reputations can be very hard to erase.  look at how the US has stuck it out for so many years in Afghanistan and Iraq, but because of previous events, there is still a widespread belief that if you bloody America's nose a bit, they will pull out.

    So why do it?  Because in order to deflate criticism at the time for not acting, Obama boxed himself in by creating that red line.  If he doesn't act now it sends an even stronger signal about US reluctance and weakness.  Thus, the attacks are seen as the less bad of two really bad choices.

    •  "If he doesn't act it sends an even stronger ... (15+ / 0-)

      signal about U.S. reluctance and weakness."
           This argument is not persuasive to me because I am old enough to remember when it was used, year after dreary year, by speaker after speaker, pundit after pundit, to explain why we were in Vietnam. We were there because "if we left our credibility as a Superpower would be destroyed and then no one would take us seriously and therefore nuclear war would happen because the Russkis or the Chinese would think we were bluffing and so we would all die, so shut up you damnned hippie. That's why we are in Vietnam. "
          Second Verse, same as the first.

      "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 Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:14:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The lessons of Vietnam (4+ / 0-)

        have been completely unlearned.  Yet one more triumph of Reaganism.

        Clap On, Clap Off, The Clapper!

        by ActivistGuy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:23:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The bubbleheads are not even creative enough (5+ / 0-)

        to come up with new arguments.   I remember the 'OMG, if we pull out everybody in South Vietnam will die horrible deaths.'   (I actually remember arguing with my mom about this one.)

        Kind of odd because we did pull out and now our biggest issue with Vietnam is whether or not talipia can be marketed as "catfish."

      •  The US is a jacked-up country... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler

        it is WEAK, and there is NO cooperation between anyone other than the White House and their corporate masters who are in reality the MIC, and between the lawmakers and the corporate masters who rule and are in fact the same MIC that Obama is in bed with.

        Can't you see?  This country is sick and ailing, and We the People are proof of it if we allow this to happen.  

      •  Well yes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard

        That is primary reason, dumb as it was. 70% for US prestige, as was revealed in the Pentagon Papers, to justify sending combat troops in 1965.

        Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

        by truong son traveler on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:19:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Alas, there is some truth to it (0+ / 0-)

        The US is continually challenged now because after Vietnam, and Beirut, and Somalia, the fervent belief is that if you bloody America's nose a bit, they will scurry away with their tail between their legs.  So challenge them, and then wait it out.  Even though they stuck it out in Iraq and Afghanistan, that belief is still there, and the US will continue to be challenged until that reputation is gone.

  •  Here's A Lesson (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Villiers

    George W. Bush lied about WMDs to go to war with Iraq. He was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Now, tired of Bush's wars, there is no support for any military action to punish a dictator that really has used chemical weapons.

  •  What lesson is learned if there is no (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, ladasue, Onomastic

    meaningful response to the use of chemical weapons?

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:06:10 PM PDT

  •  Doesn't this commit us to teaching (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal, CenPhx, victoria2dc, wonmug, Senor Frog

    lesson #2 when lesson #1 doesn't work?  What if another poison gas attack is detected, perpetrator unknown?  

    Fran Townsend, Bush's old Pentagon shill and now senior CNN foreign policy consultant (failure is no career killer these days) was on yesterday saying that a symbolic cruise missile attack wasn't going to be enough.  That we would need boots on the ground to fix this problem.  How long will it take?  Well, she said, we should never put a time limit on these things.

    If this purely symbolic attack fails, we're committed to some further course of action -- like ground troops? -- or else Democrats are wusses.

    This is a foolish game.  If you're not willing to play it for real, you shouldn't play at all.

  •  I remember (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q, truong son traveler

    when China was going to "teach Vietnam a lesson."  If only mice could roar like that more often, it would make empire a less popular pursuit.

    Clap On, Clap Off, The Clapper!

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:14:13 PM PDT

  •  I wouldn't bet that this is over. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    It could well be the start of a campaign to build public support for a more significant action, such as destroying Assad's air capability.

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard

      Regime change in Syria has been US policy for more than a decade.

      This is another step towards that objective.

      All based on very flimsy evidence with no international legal justification. This is the best we can come up with.

      We've been indirectly arming, aiding and training the "rebels" now for more than a year and yet they are
      losing.

      Now, let us not be shocked, shocked that the CIA is doing this; in fact, it’s very likely that this is the tip of a very large iceberg. Undoubtedly, the CIA, and the Pentagon, is coordinating a regional effort involving the Sunni bloc involving Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and Qatar to topple the Assad government in Damascus. That, folks, is called “regime change.” And we’ve seen it before.
      Military action is needed, time is passing and the prospects for regime change are not looking good.

      Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

      by truong son traveler on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:41:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One thing I've noticed is that we seem to keep (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana, CenPhx, truong son traveler

    having the same discussions...

    The same parsing of various laws and debates over whether or not the President can legally do X or whether Congress has to approve, or if he can do Y as long as whatever it is is over before the 60 days that Congress has to act.

    I think it's time we had a more explicit law on only allowing the President to act militarily against another country, its military, or representatives without Congressional approval in cases where he is either explicitly bound by existing treaties to do so, or there is a direct and imminent (ie, within some specified time limit - a week, a month, whatever as long as it is explicitly stated) actual threat to US territory.)

    Even when I think action is justified, the President should only in extraordinary circumstances be allowed to take actions that amount to acts of war against a foreign power without Congressional pre-approval.

    Sit down, run various possible scenarios, and make sure the law adequately and explicitly covers any such.  No more 'interpretations' used to decide whether or not a President can unilaterally decide to use force on foreign soil. (or waters, or airspace)

  •  There is no point and Obama is hoping the Congress (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pi Li, lorell

    turns it down and bails him out.  Of all things for Obama to draw a line in the sand on! Couldn't do it for entitlements or the stimulus or the XL pipeline or tax cuts for the rich.  But for a military/diplomatic quagmire of threatening action if Assad used chemical weapons, he draws the line.  As if Assad wasn't aware of the reaction he'd care and as if he gives a shit about the US's response when he knows it would have to be trivial.

    Now, in addition to being the Republicans, Obama is also Assads favorite squeak toy.  How can someone in a such a powerful position position himself domestically and internationally as a paper tiger?  I'm not saying he should bomb or anything like that in Syria - he shouldn't.  Just saying if you want to swing your dick around be sure you mean it.  He doesn't mean it and if hadn't drawn the line to begin with he would be talking a different game.  

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:27:32 PM PDT

  •  i simply don't get it all (0+ / 0-)

    THIS is smart diplomacy? I'm all for a strike that could change the game as far as Assad goes (and his weapons). IF we had a counter plan and had seeded the insurgency and rebels with a plan for transformation. And had drummed up some support here and abroad.

    But an well broadcast minimalist strike of nothing much really that would matter?

    BTW: I wonder if anyone will ask Hillary her position? Of course not.

  •  The lesson learned is that the President has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pi Li, victoria2dc

    learned no lessons except to pray that Congress bails him out by authorizing this idiocy or forbidding it.   Maybe he can learn a lesson from David Cameron - like how to engineer a close no vote that gives cover to hawks and doves alike.

    I'm not a misanthrope, I'm just very selective about who I'm willing to waste my time on.

    by SpamNunn on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:27:44 PM PDT

    •  SpamNunn... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpamNunn, truong son traveler

      but did you notice that he said today (and his shills in the media said) something like,  "although the president doesn't need the authorization of the UN or Congress..." blah, blah?  Since when can he commit US resources and troops to bomb sovereign nations without the UN or Congress?   The step backwards today was the brilliant Joe Biden who moved the game from, "Go to hell, we are doing it" Bush style to doing what the law says a president must do.  

      I'm surprised he hasn't been "droning" them like he has been doing everywhere else.  It's clear that he thinks he doesn't need authority to kill with drones... and we killed more people in Pakistan this week!

      I take my 2 votes back.  

      •  Since Libya not two years ago, (0+ / 0-)

        when we sent in cruise missiles and surgical air strikes to aid rebels there... and Gadhafi didn't even use chemical weapons.
         Granted, there was a UN security council resolution, but no word from Congress.

        Or in 2002, when Bush blew up whoever was behind the USS Cole bombing.
        Or in 1994, when Clinton lobbed cruise missiles into the Sudan
        Or in 1989, when Bush sent troops to seize Panama's president
        Or in 1986, when Reagan sent in air strikes on Libya
        Or in 1983, when we "saved Christmas" by invading Grenada
        Or... why don't you peruse the list? Many were not authorized by Congress.

        Timeline of US military operations

        Every woman is the boss of what goes into her vagina, and what comes out. Not you, not me, not the GOP.

        by nominalize on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:15:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I support military intervention in principle (0+ / 0-)

    but I'm not sold on its practicality.

    British guy with a big interest in US politics; Economic Left/Right: -3.62, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.13.

    by General Goose on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:30:15 PM PDT

  •  What, exactly is the point? The lesson learned? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladasue

    Chemical weapons not allowed.  No way, no how.

    If the US takes a pass on making Assad pay the price for using chemical weapons on his own people, then there is no stopping any other tyrant from doing the same.  The next time, it could be on a massive scale.

    While I would be the last person in the world to say that the US should become fully engaged in another war like Iraq, there is no way that I can condone the use of chemical weapons.

    Allowing Assad to gas his own people without retaliation would be doing exactly that, condoning the use of chemical weapons.

    In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

    by Sixty Something on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:31:57 PM PDT

    •  as in bush using white phosphorous in iraq (4+ / 0-)

      and our continued use of depleted uranium. how about that little thing caled agent orange and those bombs called napalm ... not chemial enough for you ...

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

      by noofsh on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:53:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But the U.S. condones the use of chemical weapons. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SME in Seattle, Askari Ali
      In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq's war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein's military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.

      The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq's favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration's long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn't disclose.

      http://www.foreignpolicy.com/...

      At least, the U.S. condones the use of chemical weapons whenever it suits our leaders' foreign policy objectives to do so.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by lotlizard on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 05:27:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The draft AUMF is open ended and can be (4+ / 0-)

    easily expanded like the one for the War OF Terror.  This so called limited first strike, if it happens that way, is only the beginning.  They want to destroy the country, weaken it, the same as Libya.  

    •  Yes, because Syria nowadays is a huge... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      victoria2dc, Lawrence

      ...threat to us.  Seriously, there's got to be a better reason that that.

      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 Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:36:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually it's humanitarian. My bad. (2+ / 0-)

        What do you think they're doing, just going from country to country fucking them all up and then saying, oops, we fucked up again?
        This practice goes back to colonial days with the British empire and there are a number of "plans" from the neocons and imperialists laying out their agenda of weakening and fragmenting the Arab countries so they can't fight back.  That was part of the PNAC plan, part of Clean Break or the Yinon plan, part of Bush's Middle East Project.  They don't care what they break and they sure aren't trying to install democracy.

      •  Rich... there is a much different reason than (0+ / 0-)

        that, but they can't tell you because it's a secret.  And they've been spying, listening, sending CIA "assets" to find out what's going on.  Again, it's a secret and they can't tell us the truth so they lie.

        This whole thing is corrupt.

    •  It does not have to be only the beginning. (0+ / 0-)

      "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops." General Buck Turgidson

      by muledriver on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:44:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not sure what political analysts can say... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    victoria2dc

    ...about questions that aren't political but rather of military intelligence: does the US know where Assad is, and can they kill him?  Obviously if the US can kill him it's silly to think the regime would continue unhindered.  

    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 Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:35:39 PM PDT

    •  Rich! Your president said it's not about regime (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler

      change.  LOL! Weren't you listening to him.  He is after all, your Commander in Chief, and he takes that responsibility seriously.  Did you hear that too? And again, he can't tell you the truth because it's a national security secret they learned via their spy network... and by the way, that subject sure got lost in this.  Soon they will tell us they learned their secret through David Miranda's thumb drive!

  •  Bombing Syria (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladasue

    So, what exactly is the point?

    To show the use of these weapons comes with a cost. A cost high enough so that decision-makers will choose not to use them.

    The chemical munitions should not be targeted. Destroying them would spread agent and probably cause unintended casualties. I would prefer to see an attack that degrades Assad's ability to move, shoot and communicate. Airfields, rail, bridges, anti-aircraft sites, and communication facilities all away from civilians.

    If Assad uses chemical weapons again, repeat.

    What lesson will be taught if no lesson is learned?

    To show the use of these weapons always comes with a cost.

    What lesson still needs to be learned by those who would be teaching others lessons?

    Ignoring this act will mean it will happen again and with greater frequency around the world.

  •  Question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladasue

    I have opposed military intervention in Syria. I also oppose the use of nerve gas. I believe Assad's use of chemical weapons cannot go unanswered.

    If not the use of force, how should the world respond because a response is needed.  

    Absent a better response -- and there is bound to be one though I have yet to hear -- I understand the logic behind limited bombing. The destruction of military assets is a "punishment" to Assad's military machine.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:43:33 PM PDT

    •  embargo may be one option (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShoshannaD, muledriver

      there is rumor of a gas pipeline that may cross syria.  preventing its construction through international cooperation may be effective.  assad can not survive indefinitely without money.

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

      by noofsh on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:57:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a simplified look (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    Let's assume for the moment the allegation that Assad used chemical weapons is correct.

    The US can launch a limited strike (S) or not launch a strike (NS).  In response, Assad can either use chemical weapons again (C) or not (NC).

    In this simplified model, there are four possibilities: S-C, S-NC, NS-C, NS-NC.

    If Obama strikes but Assad is not deterred (S-C), that can be seen as a failure.  Either a limited strike is an insufficient deterrent and more significant response was required to stop the further use of chemical weapons or there was nothing that will stop Assad short of a policy of regime change, so your choice is either that or a "let them die" strategy which does not attempt to prevent the use of chemical weapons. "Let them die" would be the NS-C pairing.

    If Obama strikes, resulting in no further chemical weapon attacks (S-NC), that would probably be interpreted as Obama's strategy being a success.

    No strike but no further use of chemical weapons (NS-NC) seems unlikely.  If Assad has used them once, why would he refrain from using them again?

    Analyzing the situation then becomes an exercise in estimating the probability of each strategy pairing and comparing the value of various outcomes.

    This is, of course, a vastly simplified model.  Obama has more than two options, for example.  Still, it sheds some light on how to analyze this situation.  Whatever option you prefer, you should have a clear picture of what should be done if there is further use of chemical weapons instead of thinking in the short term.  If you prefer a more diplomatic solution, sanctions and a strongly-worded letter perhaps, are you willing to include a threat that further chemical attacks will lead to the use of military force?  If you prefer a more militant solution, are you willing to commit to something less limited if launching a few missiles doesn't deter Assad from using chemical weapons?

  •  How wonderful. The world's police are here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    victoria2dc, truong son traveler

    This is as close to a call for boots on the ground that I've seen yet.  In no time at all, we will once again enforce that divine moral authority of ours to go into a country, sort out who is dangerous and who is not, and walk away with all the weapons.  

    After we find their chemical weapons, presumably we can carry them off and add them to our pile.

    Ignorance more frequently begets confidence then knowledge. Charles Darwin

    by martianexpatriate on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:50:21 PM PDT

  •  Aim munitions at Assad and/or his generals (0+ / 0-)

    Give Assad one week warning within which to identify the perpetrators of the chemical weapons attack and hand them over to the Hague, (United Nations)  to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. If no one is handed over, aim at Assad and all his top level henchmen. Soon the government will become defunct.

    Going after his weaponry should be relegated to a secondary objective, unless there becomes a state of chaos due to lack of Syrian command control.

    This is not to say I am in favor of a response by the US at all. I'm agnostic right now but do not favor what seems to be in the cards right now: following the usual plans that usually gets us nowhere.

    But if we want to send a lesson about war crimes, I think this is the way it should be handled. Go after the leadership who blessed that activity.

    Few are the number of us, who see with our own eyes and feel with our own hearts. -- Albert Einstein

    by sjbob on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:51:52 PM PDT

    •  It seems to me that many people (4+ / 0-)

      are jumping the gun here. It has not yet been conclusively proven that Assad was responsible for this chemical attack. There is some evidence to the contrary.

      Launching US missiles is a serious step. One would hope that the evidence used to justify it would be rock solid. I don't think it is.

    •  So, basically leave all the chemical weapons (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ctsteve, CenPhx, Johnny Q, Laurence Lewis

      in the hands of Al Qaeda militants and tribal warlords is what you're saying.

      •  No (0+ / 0-)

        Not unless there is chaos within the present government. Then we have no choice but to eliminate it, most probably by occupation with troops on the ground.

        The present conditions, unless Assad wins outright, will lead to the same situation.

        I suspect that the Baath Party will make a deal with us, especially if we give them enough time -- by carrying this out slowly and methodically, so the government comes to their senses before it collapses.

        Few are the number of us, who see with our own eyes and feel with our own hearts. -- Albert Einstein

        by sjbob on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:22:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We have no choice... (6+ / 0-)

          but to invade a country with a multi-front sectarian civil war, a heavily armed Baathist military regime, and a massive refugee and humanitarian crisis. No choice at all.

          Here's a choice: Stay out of Iraq Syria and them sort out their own problems.

          •  I was in agreement with you before Chemicals (0+ / 0-)

            were used. Now I'm not sure.

            But if we go in because of the chemicals, it should be done in such a way as to set a lesson: whatever your station within the government, (or with the opposition,) that used them, you either go to jail or are assassinated, probably with drones.

            Few are the number of us, who see with our own eyes and feel with our own hearts. -- Albert Einstein

            by sjbob on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:40:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So, in short, you're a global policeman. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Johnny Q, mahakali overdrive, wonmug

              Whenever you find chemical weapons being used, your policy is invade the country and topple the government.

              Of course, you can't just leave a mess in your wake can you? You'll need to rebuild the nation and sort out whatever sectarian mess. Whatever problems that country had are now your problems. So now you can go about the glorious task of nation-building.

              Then in 10 years when you finally get out and there is still a mess, you can say to yourself 'boy...this will be the last time we ever occupy a county over WMDs!'

              •  I see no need to invade (0+ / 0-)

                Just convince those responsible for the crime to allow themselves to be prosecuted or be killed by drones. If they give up all their government's chemical arsenal to UN authorities they can receive a much lighter sentence. But they won't be able to govern again.

                Few are the number of us, who see with our own eyes and feel with our own hearts. -- Albert Einstein

                by sjbob on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:16:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Assad Has Seen... (0+ / 0-)

                  Sadam Hussein and Kadafi executed.  No ones surrendering.  That's lose-lose.  He stays in it for the long run, knowing that not only will Iran, Russia, and China continue to provide support, but he has a great chance of surviving anything except an all out attack by the US.  Regardless of what you may think, neither air power nor drones work like in a video game.  Assad's not sunning himself by the pool, waiting for death from above.  We as a nation need to serious discuss what happens if after our little air strike, Assad gives us the finger and continues using gas.  Read up on our military.  Between our normal commitments throughout the world, plus Iraq, plus Afghanistan, plus Libya, our troops have been through hell and a serious spike in oil prices may kill our slowing recovering economy.  

                  “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” – - Thomas Jefferson, 1791

                  by Senor Frog on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 06:43:26 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  The Free Syrian Army (0+ / 0-)

      is claiming to have assasinated the Republican Guard Brigadier General who they say was responsible for control of Assad's CW.

      World Bulletin

  •  Lesson to be learned: (0+ / 0-)

    One minus zero will still equal one. It's simple arithmetic.


    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 Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:55:13 PM PDT

  •  Why is this so difficult for some to grasp? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic

    To answer the question posed by the title of this article, the lesson to be learned is that the U.S. military is willing to strike. I fail to see why the idea of a "shot across the bow" is so hard to understand.

    I am not necessarily arguing for a strike, but I don't understand why the author of this article can't see that a bunch of warships raining Tomahawks down and prepared to do more is not more of a deterrent than doing nothing.

    Is it enough of a deterrent to justify the the risks? I'm not sure.

    "Microscopes are prudent in an emergency." -- Emily Dickinson

    by godotnut on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:57:58 PM PDT

    •  What is more? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, Laurence Lewis

      Because the military seems to be leaking like a colander that after a missile strike Syria is still likely to have plenty of chemical weapons. So if that doesn't work, and the military says it wont, what next?

      •  What is the real message? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic

        I don't think the subtext of the military leaks is that "after a missile strike Syria is still likely to have plenty of chemical weapons." That is a known factor, and no one is arguing that these strikes will eliminate the ability to launch future strikes. I think the purpose behind these leaks is to dial back expectations, but these are Republican/"low information" expectations. In the real world, we know these strikes will not do this.

        I think it's clear Obama is looking for a smaller statement with lower risks than the kind that would be involved with eliminating all possibility of future chemical strikes, which is why I used the word "deterrent"--which means to discourage, not to prohibit.

        The problem I have with this article is that it implies there is a black and white distinction between eliminating all possibility of future chemical strikes and attempting a more limited goal of deterring future strikes. The distinction posed by this article is false: a variant of the "either/or" fallacy.

        "Microscopes are prudent in an emergency." -- Emily Dickinson

        by godotnut on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:31:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry (0+ / 0-)

          I apologize for the double message. It looked like the one above wasn't going through, and I assumed that was because it was too long, so I shortened it to the one below.

          "Microscopes are prudent in an emergency." -- Emily Dickinson

          by godotnut on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:37:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  What is the real message? (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think the subtext of the military leaks is that "after a missile strike Syria is still likely to have plenty of chemical weapons." That is a known factor, and no one is arguing that these strikes will eliminate the ability to launch future strikes. I think the purpose behind these leaks is to dial back expectations, but these are Republican/"low information" expectations. In the real world, we know these strikes will not do this.

        The problem I have with this article is that it implies there is a black and white distinction between eliminating all possibility of future chemical strikes and attempting a more limited goal of deterring future strikes. It's not a good start to a productive discussion.

        What next is indeed the question. But I don't think it's a given that this will have no deterrent effect. I think certain military brass is covering their asses with this leak.

        "Microscopes are prudent in an emergency." -- Emily Dickinson

        by godotnut on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:36:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  When this strike fails, and it will, (5+ / 0-)

    the question then is what next? What happens when the next batch of chemical weapons are used on children and a missile strike didn't stop it?

    More strike? Or perhaps a bit more....mission creep?

    •  Or, better yet, what if Assad uses any of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW

      The "not Chemical Weapons," like Napalm, White Phosphorus, or Tear Gas to horrific effect on civilians? What do we do then? Those, supposedly, aren't CW. Do we have a limited strike then as well?

      "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way" Juan Ramon Jimnez

      by Teiresias70 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 09:42:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perhap postponing bombing is lesson in itself. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gigglebytes

    I was heartened by the President's choice today.  The pace at which the "inevitable"  attack was unfolding seemed out of sync with conditions in Syria on the ground.  I have heard no explanation how attacking Syria would in anyway impede more mayhem underway there, and, in fact, the message seems to be that bombing Syria might empower the AQ Rebel factions, who will resolve as a greater problem to the US in the future.  As a nation, we have reduced going to war to little more than bread and circus pageantry at best, and a sociopathic habit at worst.  The implications of going to war aren't frivolous. Even in the case of a surgical strike Syrians, who have no beef with the US, and have done us no harm, will be adversely affected ... perhaps killed or maimed ... and to what end?  To just fire off Hellfire missiles because we can is immoral and unethical.  If there is a beneficial outcome that can be achieved by bombing Syria then it should be considered, but just to do it to "save face", perhaps exacerbating the situation in the process, is just asinine.  

    The best byproduct of Obama's unexpected move is that the march to war has been slowed, and with more elected officials now culpable for the outcome of an attack, the likelihood of them acting responsibly is astonishingly improved.

    Launching a strike on Syria merely because we can is far too cavalier for a world leader. Squishy rational to save face is counterproductive and dangerous for all concerned.

    •  totally agree (0+ / 0-)

      slow down the bum rush to war.  that opens more options.  there is no harm in more discussion.  i do not like what assad did either but i do not like lashing out aimlessly.  that has the darnest way of getting you in even deeper.

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

      by noofsh on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:01:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I will not support this action, and nothing will (8+ / 0-)

    change that.

    What do people fail to learn time and again about war? That it is a money-making enterprise. That the possibility of it leading to any sort of increased human justice is almost always an outlier rather than a probability.

    Come on. This is basic stuff. I'm shocked to see how hawkish some people are. I didn't support Iraq. I didn't support Afghanistan. I voted for POTUS Obama very strongly because he favored diplomacy over might and taking troops out of Iraq, which he has generally been pretty good on. I do not support warmongering politicians because WAR IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE SOLUTION. Even to war. It's bad for the economy, it's unethical, it's amoral, and most importantly, it rarely results in what people hope for, which is peace.

    War doesn't cause peace. In the very few instances where it has, these are vastly outweighed by mass innocent civilian casualties throughout history. Including those of our own kids who sign up to go to war for us. If we are going to take Assad down, it should be with the utmost of stealth, not direct, overt intervention. That will only fan flames of further anger... and that results in YET MORE WAR.

    It's a cycle.

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:05:10 PM PDT

  •  Just part of the plan crafted long ago (2+ / 0-)

    Listen to it as told by former General Wesley Clark.  Imperialism/Corporate expansion at work. White phosphorous was used against the Palestinians by Israel but there was no "red line" for them or a call for a military strike to deter them.

    http://fora.tv/..._

    Man's laws pale in the face of Universal Law

    by Askari Ali on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:06:31 PM PDT

  •  I acknowledge the difficulty of the question. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluezen, melfunction, Lawrence

    I would like to see evidence that you've grappled with this problem: Despite our warnings, Assad has gassed his own people. Are you willing to say to him, that's okay, there will be no consequences?

    •  I'm sorry, has definitive proof been revealed? (4+ / 0-)

      I wasn't aware that credible, verifiable evidence had been revealed that CLEARLY proves Assad gassed his own people.  The difficult question, if there is genuine concern for the civilian population, is why does it take using chemical weapons for intervention when over 100,000 Syrians have already died in this conflict that has been going on for over 2 years?  Be it gas, bullets or missiles, innocent people are being killed.

      Man's laws pale in the face of Universal Law

      by Askari Ali on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:20:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a different question than the one I asked. (3+ / 0-)

        It's fairly certain that Assad was behind the attack. Try answering my question assuming the most likely scenario.

        •  Here's your answer (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mchestnutjr, wonmug

          I have NO idea who was behind the attack. You have NO idea who was behind the attack. Our government says it was Assad but doesn't have enough evidence to convince the UK or the UN.  However, a veteran Middle Eastern journalist reported that the Saudis provided the chemical weapons to the rebels.  With all this conjecture, I wouldn't be saying ANYTHING to Assad until I had irrefutable proof.  But then again, I would have said something to Assad when the reports that civilians were being killed first surfaced.  One thing is for sure, bombing is NOT the answer.  Whether you like that answer or not is up to you.

          I'm not going to continue down this road of "what if" with you. If you can't see this "Iraq 2.0" facade for what it is, you will when it plays out in the same manner as this country's previous unilateral actions against sovereign nations.

          Man's laws pale in the face of Universal Law

          by Askari Ali on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:30:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, of course we're dealing with hypotheticals (0+ / 0-)

            since we haven't taken action. Does it help if I preface the question with, "Assuming that Assad is responsible for the chemical attack..."?

            I'm not even looking for an answer to the question. I'm just asking that you aknowledge its difficulty.

            •  It's not difficult in light of this report (0+ / 0-)

              No matter WHO launched the chemical attack, "Will there be punishment for Britain selling Syria the materials to make chemical weapons?" is now the question.  Sounds EXACTLY like when the US sold material and technology to Saddam Hussein and then fake outrage when he uses them.
              http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/...

              Man's laws pale in the face of Universal Law

              by Askari Ali on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 10:37:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not okay with 100k dying and you aren't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melfunction

        either.  I'm not in favor of using chemical weapons without serious repercussions.  Are you? Don't deflect the answer by saying...but, but, but.

        Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

        by thestructureguy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:38:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The lesson learned... (0+ / 0-)

    ...you will be bombed again.

  •  Why do we kill people to teach people that... (6+ / 0-)

    killing people is wrong.

    Chemical weapons are bad.

    Then why does the USA still stockpile them?

    Chemical weapons should never be used.

    Then why did the USA give them to Iraq in the 80s and send the CIA to help them plan their strikes?

    Nobody even mentions hope and change anymore, it's just too devastatingly awful in light of the horrible Bushian things that Obama has done.

  •  I remember a story . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

       I heard about a ship laden with Jews trying to get out of Nazi Germany prior to WW II. The ship put in at Miami, I think it was, but the Jews were refused entry to the U.S. I hope we always help the innocent citizens of countries whose  governments are trying to kill them.

  •  The lesson will be... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melfunction

    "Hey, dude, if you gas your own people, we will bomb the shit out of you, which will cost you money and lives" Doh!

  •  What lesson can be learned if Assad did not use CW (0+ / 0-)

    That the guy that comes after Kerry will also pull a Powell.

    Progressive, Independent, Unitarian, Vermonter.

    by Opinionated Ed on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:27:57 PM PDT

  •  What lesson learned by ignoring UN and rush (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    to judgement?   That the rule of law is less important than the law of the jungle?

    Jodi Arias killed her boyfriend in a horrible manner more than a decade ago, and she has not even been sentenced yet.   This event occurred less than a week ago and we are already planning on putting a large number of Syrians to death.

    Something doesn't seem quite right about that.  

    There is actually a court to deal with this, but we do not want to take part in it because we don't want our own soldiers to be tried for war crimes.

  •  stupid! (3+ / 0-)

    i am not a fan of intervention.  but if you are going to do have a better reason other than loose talk about red lines and have a plan that accomplishes something other than punishment.

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

    by noofsh on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:45:13 PM PDT

  •  What lesson is learned... (0+ / 0-)

    ...by doing nothing? If you're going to say that striking Syria is pointless because Assad will still be in power, then you can also (obviously) say that doing nothing is pointless because Assad will still be in power.

  •  Not trusting Kerry (0+ / 0-)

    With no justification whatsoever he signed to keep Cuba on the US Department of State list of State Sponsors of Terrorism along with Syria. Iran and Sudan are the other two.

    In May

    Adana Security Directorate, which began after the massacre of Reyhanlı connected with the organization Al-Qaeda and detained 12 suspects in the operation against Al Nusra Front, 5 was released. Seized two kilograms of sarin gas in the addresses of the accused.
    Reported in Turkey new, not in English: Adana'da El Kaide operasyonu: 12 gözaltı

    In February Nick Sturdee reported on the BBC's documentary on Syria's state TV channel al Ikhbariya saying that in June it was raided by al Nusra, the jihadi wing of the Free Syrian Army.

    Three journalists and four technicians were killed, and the entire building gutted.  [and more]
    It was the studio complex in Damascus's Drousha district.

    Syrian journalists getting their stories out?

    On 10 August, [journatlist] Yara [Saleh] travelled to the Damascus suburb of Al Tell, the scene of heavy fighting. She and her three al Ikhbariya colleagues believed the area was back in the hands of the Syrian Army. They were wrong. What exactly happened in Al Tell is disputed.
    Assad is considered a war criminial committing genocide. But do we have the proof the CWs used in this last massacre are his stockpile?

    Turkey has CWs. The men detained by Adana are accused to have saran.

    The year before Todays Zaman reported: Arms supplies movement into Syria from outside  -- November 2012

    Turkey’s parliament last month also authorized the government to send troops into Syria.
    Two years ago, Reuters:
    In recent weeks, there have been reports, mainly citing Western diplomatic sources, that rebels were receiving weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Almost as many stories — largely based on the testimony of some rebels — have denied this. Meanwhile, both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have reported that CIA officers are on the ground in southern Turkey, helping decide which Syrian opposition fighters receive the arms.
    Exclusive: War is only option to topple Syrian leader: colonel

    Assad's CWs are not the only sources in the region is what we can at least consider.

    Kerry is rallying for an hit but I cannot have complete faith in his words.

    A good horse is never a bad color.

    by CcVenussPromise on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 02:12:51 AM PDT

  •  Let's attack Syria (0+ / 0-)

    because Syria attacked... Syria?

  •  After Assad (0+ / 0-)

    It is pretty much over.  The Arab league is meeting to day, and representing Syria will be Ahmad Jarba the recently appointed chairman of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.  This is the opposition to the opposition faction we and Turkey support.  McCain's Syria National Coalition (SNC) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

    More on Jabra
    More on National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and opposition forces
    More on Syrian National Council

    Jabra is aligned with Saudi Arabia, and is the leader of a family with wide roots through Syria, lebanon, and Saudi Arabia.  He is also allied with Michael Kilo, another Syrian patriot and champion of minority rights (Christian and Kurd).

    More on Kilo

    Turkey won't be happy, Jabra is close to the Kurds. Iran won't be happy, but Syria is 75% Sunni, there is just no chance of an Allawite or Assad successor.

    We really botched the forming of the  SNC, when the history is written, it wont be pretty for us.

    Our tough choice is to support Jabra and the  Saudi initiative or persevere with the SNC/FSA losers.  

  •  Oh please. What's learned is that laws have (0+ / 0-)

    always been and still are applied very selectively.  Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney were never prosecuted as war criminals when everyone knows they lied us into war.  What about torture?  All law turns out to be very flexible.  So there is no accountability for certain types of people.  If people were serious about this chemical weapon fiasco, they would have Mr. Assad removed from this Earth.  That would be a lesson to other dictators.  The guy at the top should always take the heat first.

  •  The world policeman mentality must stop. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Askari Ali, gigglebytes, wonmug

    It is time for the U.S. to give up on the notion of being Imperial America. What gives the United States the unilateral right to decide what is right or wrong in other countries and who should be rewarded or punished because of same. Reading some of the comments here it seems that there are liberals and progressives who have also been indoctrinated to believe this. Wasn't the United Nations ostensibly put in place for that? However, the U.S. made sure the U.N. was hamstrung so that it couldn't eclipse U.S. power. Why else would the security council be set up the way it is. The U.S. constantly uses Russia and China as excuses to pursue its own course as it is doing here. In spite of the fact that the U.N did its job in Iraq. It did multiple inspections because the U.S. would not accept Hans Blix's conclusions. In fact the U.N. team had to leave Iraq because of the invasion. It turned out that what the U.N. had said all along was correct. There were no weapons of mass destruction, no yellow cake either. The U.N. should handle this situation as well. The U.N. with the full support of the U.S. should initiate negotiations involving Assad, the various rebels and the meddling states, and the U.N. has international laws and courts to deal with war crimes. This actually should have been done quite awhile ago. However, the U.S. does not want this mostly because such a strategy does not accord it the position of being the world's premier power but just another player.

    Unfortunately, we have set ourselves up as a sort of Goliath and whoever is benefiting from this does not seem to care if we fall. We have already overextended ourselves militarily to our detriment, and not for the benefit of U.S. citizens, as much as conservatives like to blame the deficit on domestic programs. Shouldn't we be getting something back for our taxes instead of protecting corporate and financial interests abroad. The claim that our government is concerned about civilians should also include our own citizens, many of whom need jobs and some of whom go hungry in the so called greatest country on Earth. It's time to stop believing the propaganda

  •  Let's Ask Another Set of Questions (0+ / 0-)

    What credibility will lefties have in the future when there's some horrible things going on in a Darfour, the Congo or Rwanda?

    Will liberals be *only* satisfied with an America that is like Europe? (i.e., toothless, lacking in political will and weak?) Or can she have a wee bit of power to use as leverage that goes beyond meetings and hand-wringing?

    I sincerely hope that the U.S. doesn't do anything, because I want Assad to win. I want him to then exact revenge on the rebels and their families so that I can later hear comfortable, fat, balding liberals demand that We Do Something. Because the lessons I have learned from Syria are thus: chemical attacks are okay. A humantarian crisis is okay. And why? *So that our liberal street cred satisfies our one-issue hypocrisy and keeps America weak.*

  •  No missles, no bombs please! (0+ / 0-)

    I believe the United Nations should be the one to pass judgement on Assad.  If the UN has reason to believe that Assad killed his own people with chemical weapons, then they should haul Assad's ass to trial and prove to the world that this is what he in fact did.  If found guilty, the UN should take appropriate action, either death or extensive jail time.  Wouldn't that be enough to send a message around the world not to use these kinds of weapons?  It makes more sense to me than sending bombs and killing more people!  The United States shouldn't be the global police.  We have no right to intervene unless, of course, we are being threatened.  When you have someone close to you that fought in the Iraq debacle, then you know how war weary I am.

  •  Call it what it is... (0+ / 0-)

    The Kerry/McCain War. McCain is driving it from the outside and Kerry from the inside.

    The modern Democrat is one who promotes old GOP ideas and calls them progressive in comparison to new GOP ideas.

    by masswaster on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 09:31:43 AM PDT

  •  And now hot off the presses.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Frog

    BREAKING NEWS !! Leader of constitutional democracy requires vote before going to war....scattered groups of retards lose their minds over the decision. In other news... Some conservatives oppose military action in Syria while some don't...but all express unanimous condemnation for using the democratic process to subvert the democratic process.

    “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

    by frenchy339 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:18:24 AM PDT

  •  Why the hell we seem to think (0+ / 0-)

    it is a good idea at all to keep getting involved in internal Middle East matters is beyond me.

     The leaders in those countries enjoy killing each other and their civilians, let them have it and fix our country.

     Yeah it's harsh but at this point we HAVE NEVER NEVER MADE ANYTHING BETTER in the Middle East...

      the US policy re the Middle East is NOT about helping people, our leaders don't really give a shit about chemical weapons, torture or genocide, we've done it ourselves so they really don't care about atrocities.

     It's all a fucking game to justify new toys and money to the people that control the government. Stop parsing why and oh it's so horrible and we need to stand up to the evil Mideast ruler and admit that we are just as evil as a country. Wake up, we don't matter to the politicians.

      It will make it easier to understand.

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