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A U.N. chemical weapons expert, wearing a gas mask, holds a plastic bag containing samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus August 29, 2013. A team of U.N. experts left their Damascus hotel for a third day of on-site investigations into apparent chemical weapons attacks on the outskirts of the capital. Activists and doctors in rebel-held areas said the six-car U.N. convoy was scheduled to visit the scene of strikes in the eastern Ghouta suburbs. REUTERS/Mohamed Abdullah (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX1306G
U.N. chemical weapons experts collect evidence in Damascus
Secretary of State John Kerry delivered an 18 minute speech today outlining American evidence that the chemical weapons attacks took place, calling it a "crime against humanity." In brief remarks to reporters, President Obama said he had "not made any decisions" about United States action, but that the response would be "limited" and "we're not considering any boots on the ground approach."

A brief review of other news and information on the apparent Syrian use of chemical weapons and the possible American response.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Correction (9+ / 0-)
    After a meeting between National Security Council members and top lawmakers, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pushed for action, calling it "an issue of our national security, regional stability and global security."
    That's not what a leader says, that's what a follower says.

    How, exactly how is bombing Syria and killing people in the security interests of the US?  

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

    by stewarjt on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:38:26 PM PDT

    •  you realise (3+ / 0-)

      you're recycling extreme right wing talking points right?

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

      by cdreid on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:43:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It seems to me that (4+ / 0-)

      intervention is the ethical thing to do.  If we know these people are being wrongly killed and we're in a position to put an end to that, then I think we, as well as other nations that are able, have a moral duty to intervene.  I don't see how it's any different than intervening if we see a helpless person getting mugged on the street.  I think the administration is making the right call here.

      •  You are assuming (10+ / 0-)

        that we are in a position to intervene in a manner that will stop the killing - or even just stop the use of chemical weapons.

        Short of a full-scale invasion (which ain't in the cards), I don't see how that works.  A cruise missile assault isn't going to stop the violence.  In all likelihood, our assault isn't going to take out Assad, or his brother, or other senior commanders who might bear responsibility for the decision to use chemical weapons.  We'll destroy some facilities (probably already evacuated), and kill some people.  Most of the people we kill will be low-level military, or possibly civilians who work in the targeted facilities (let's blow up the guy who empties the wastebaskets!  He has it coming?) - but we're not pursuing regime change (not that that would be in our interest either), and we don't anticipate intervening in a way that will actually lead to a cessation of the civil war.

        I appreciate the moral quandary here; what the Syrian regime did is unconscionable, and we feel a moral obligation to respond.  But it only makes sense for us to intervene if we can actually improve the situation.  Simply killing some Syrians (culpable or otherwise - likely more of the latter) to assuage our feelings of moral obligation is morally wrong - every bit as morally wrong as what the Syrian regime did last week.

        •  This President stated that the use of Chemical (0+ / 0-)

          weapons would be responded to by the United States.  The Syrian government (and/or those working for the government) used Chemical weapons to kill enemies of the government.  Sec. of State Kerry laid out plenty of evidence showing the Syrian regime is responsible for this mass murder.  How can the United States not respond?  This president will show his words mean nothing if we do not respond.  The rest of the world will see the US (and especially this president) as cowardly.  That we only talk tough, but walk away when tough decisions need to be made.  This is not about "simply killing some Syrians". That type of talk is intellectually dishonest.  This isn't about assuaging feelings of moral obligation.  A military response is about letting the Syrians and any other leader in the world know that if these types of weapons are used, there will be consequences.  Consequences that will hopefully lead to an ousting of your government and a weakening of your military.  That is why we must respond.  So that others will think if it is worth it to kill your enemies with these types of weapons.  We can't bring those who died back to life, but we can save the next innocent group from being gassed.

          •  I sure am glad we're going to disrupt (8+ / 0-)

            oil supplies and hurt world economy, kill innocent people, and further inject ourselves into a conflict rather than look bad for not following through on a stupid fucking line in the sand threat.

            "Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination." - Mark Twain; "I've never seen a Republican and thought, gee that person looks happy" - me

            by You know me man on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:30:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's not about "not looking bad". It's about (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              You know me man

              stopping a regime from using chemicals to kill others and making sure the rest of the worlds leaders and military understand the consequences if they decide to try the same thing.  Stop with "it's oil", "saving face"," being tough".  It's about handling the responsibilities that come with leading the United States.  Sure, he could do nothing, but nothing will only tell others that apparently there are no consequences to mass murder and the use of chemical weapons.  

          •  This is a disgusting line (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CenPhx, KateCrashes, rbird, smartalek, stewarjt

            of reasoning, IMO.  Going to war so a president can save face and show he stands by his word is not a legitimate reason for going to war.  The only legitimate reasons for going to war are either moral duties to protect wrongly persecuted people, or because there's a direct security threat to the nation.  People rightfully yawn and make a sour face when hearing arguments such as the one you present.

            •  Yawn away--but tell me this: What happens if (0+ / 0-)

              Syria uses chemical weapons again tomorrow and kills 5000 more?  Can the President act then?  Or the next time?  This is not about saving face.  Stop with these lies.  It's about a President who took a stand and said, "use this stuff and we will respond to make you stop".  It's about making sure the rest if the worlds leaders and militaries understand the consequences of killing with chemicals.  Again:  When or how many times can Chemical weapons be used before the President (any President) can act?  How many have to die before the US tries to stop this?  Apparently once is ok for many.  So I'm asking (honestly):  If Syria uses gas again, can we/should we respond?  How about 5 x?  What is the magic number before the US should act to stop this?

        •  You'll notice that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KateCrashes

          I said IF we can help.  That falls under your points about what might prevent the use of chemical weapons.  Learn how conditionals work in logic before spouting off.

          Additionally, I said nothing about chemical weapons.  I'm with Kos here.  Dead is dead.  If we were in a position to help alleviate human misery, we should have done so long ago.  It shouldn't take the use use of chemical weapons to bring us to that point.

        •  I do agree we should (0+ / 0-)

          only intervene if it will improve the situation, however.

        •  There is already something we can do... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smartalek

          ...that doesn't involve blowing up empty buildings or making rubble bounce.

          If it's a war crime, and it is, take it directly to the Hague.  The International Criminal Court has been up and running since 2002.  They're already tried a bunch of war criminals from events in the 1980s and 1990s.  Gather evidence, put Assad on the docket.  No regime lasts forever.

          Never forgive.  Never forget.
          An elderly man who was an SS guard at a death camp was arrested for his crimes just three months ago.  So long as we remember, there is a chance for justice.

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

          by rbird on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:37:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is subject to finding those responsible... (0+ / 0-)

            capturing them, and transporting them to the ICC. Which would require a massive amount of military intervention actually. Using more bombs and bullets and killing more people.

            The ICC can't just say "appear before us" especially not to a country that is not a party to the ICC Charter (Syria has not ratified the signing of the charter).

            I mean yeah you could conduct a trail in abscentia but it wouldn't do damn near anything and is about as useless as the UN General Assembly drafting a letter of condemnation.

            •  I repeat... (0+ / 0-)
              An elderly man who was an SS guard at a death camp was arrested for his crimes just three months ago.  So long as we remember, there is a chance for justice.
              Or this from my other comment on the subject:
              It's better than blowing up empty buildings or civilians.  Better to mark down the guilty for future judgment than engage in meaningless violence.
              Not into comment brawls.  They are a waste of time.  This is the last you'll hear from me on this thread.

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

              by rbird on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:30:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes because the case of a 93 year old... (0+ / 0-)

                in Germany is the same is the ruler of a sovereign state that doesn't recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC. Not to mention he was arrested after being deported to Germany 30 years earlier by the US (another state that doesn't recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC) and via legal means charging him with accessory to murder.

                You are quite literally comparing apples to oranges. As much as you want to paint this as an argument brawl, it is a complete misunderstanding of how the international legal system works on your part. As I related in the other post. What you are proscribing is more relating to Kony then anything else, and that has involved military spending by the US in order to just try and capture him to no avail.

                A hollow gesture is a hollow gesture no matter how you slice it.

                And by the way, I am not all in favor of a limited military strike. I agree that something has to be done but admit that it has to be effective. Your proposed measure is neither and does nothing to change the circumstances aside from being a hollow military strike on military targets to a hollow arrest warrent for someone they won't be able to detain unless he is turned in or is caught in a state that recognizes the jurisdiction of the ICC.

      •  I would *really* like to hear some SYRIAN... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Garrett, CenPhx

        ...voices on this issue.
        They know.best what their situation is, and what their needs are.
        And yes, I know there are many different viewpoints in Syria...
        ...which makes it even more important that we hear from several of them, at the very least.
        So why do I hear NO Syrian citizens or.spokespeople.on.Da News, hmm?

        •  Apologies for my monomania on this, but... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CenPhx, rbird

          ...remember (some of you) when South Africans in the 80s said, "YES, we DO want you imposing sanctions!  YES, we recognize this will require sacrifices of us, but it's a price we gladly pay, because we believe they will advance our goals, and help us to freedom and justice!"
          That put the lie to the Publicans' and corporatist claims that sanctions were "counterproductive," and.their bs rationalizations for "constructive engagement" (which meant:  doing nothing).
          If the Syrians on the ground (literally) now think we should attack, let's hear it.
          If we're not hearing that, it's.not entirely.unreasonable to infer they don't want us to.

      •  Well, if that's your position, there (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CenPhx, hester, stewarjt

        is a long list of countries that where "people are being wrongly killed" and the US could intervene. If you think intervention is the moral thing to do in Syria, then it's incumbent upon you to announce all of the other countries that the US "must" invade.

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

        by Calvino Partigiani on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:04:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I feel the same principle (0+ / 0-)

          holds for those nations as well.  Those nations in a position to quell despotic violence in those places have a moral duty to do so.

          •  If you are morally serious, then (0+ / 0-)

            you need to list those countries against which the US should militarily intervene.  Otherwise your claim about Syria cannot be taken seriously.

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

            by Calvino Partigiani on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:46:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I said those (0+ / 0-)

              countries that can intervene, not just the US.  Your call for a list is ridiculous as I'd inevitably leave something off the list and you'd use that to play gotcha.

              The moral principle I'm evoking is straightforward:  we have a moral duty to protect victims of abuse and oppression whenever we witness such things taking place and have the ability to do so.  You disagree with that principle?

              •  No disagreement with the principle. (0+ / 0-)

                But for a claim to be morally coherent, an effort needs to be made to apply it equally.  

                You continue to refuse to even attempt to show how your "straightforward" evocation of a "moral principle" would look in the real world.  

                So it's either not serious, or not a moral principle.  It's just smoke and mirrors moralizing posing as a universal moral principle.  Otherwise, show your list.

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

                by Calvino Partigiani on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:54:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  A list is irrelevant... (0+ / 0-)

                  and the demand for the fabrication of a list to be taken seriously is the definition of a strawman argument. Humanitarian intervention is a moral principle that can be used to justify military intervention. It is also important to note current situations and standing international law on the matter. As much as someone could make a list used to say "we should stop this violence" it is unnecessary for someone to do so for believing that humanitarian intervention is noble, nor is it a proper argument to ask them to provide a list that we should then use to demand the US intervene militarily in.

          •  Moral duty? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CenPhx, smartalek

              This isn't a matter of calling the cops and having them show up at the despot's door. The Chinese have treated the Tibetans and the Uighurs quite badly. Indeed, Mao managed to kill several million people of his own ethnic group. Should we have started World War III? Or is it just that when a small, weak country does something nasty---then the U.S. should swing boldly into action. Fortunately, no actual real-world leaders (except maybe Woodrow Wilson) have ever believed or acted upon this nonsense. Sovereign nations are just that, sovereign. I admire the French for their lack of hypocrisy. When Hollande was asked for the moral or legal justification for France taking military action in Syria he just smiled. When the French want to beat somebody up they do, and they don't smother the beating with a thick gooey layer of fake sanctimoniousness, hypocrisy, and bleating about "international law" (tell me when the U.S. agrees to subject Americans to the jurisdiction of the International Court in the Hague. Until that day comes, all international law means is what the Great Powers of the world feel like doing on any given 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 05:22:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Hague - not a bad idea (0+ / 0-)

              No regime lasts forever.  The International Criminal Court has been active in the last few years with war crimes going back to the 1980s.  Gather evidence, put Assad on the docket.

              It's better than blowing up empty buildings or civilians.  Better to mark down the guilty for future judgment than engage in meaningless violence.

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

              by rbird on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:45:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You mean like they did with Kony? (0+ / 0-)

                Which currently has the US engaged in military assistance with advisers to help them track him down. It's not as simple as saying "just put him on the docket and wait" it is nothing more then a useless gesture. More strong of one I suppose, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

                •  To repeat... (0+ / 0-)
                  It's better than blowing up empty buildings or civilians.  Better to mark down the guilty for future judgment than engage in meaningless violence.
                  Not into comment brawls.  They are a waste of time.  This is the last you'll hear from me on this thread.

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

                  by rbird on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:32:16 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Terrorist againsts Assad used (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CenPhx, You know me man, rbird

        chemical weapons.

        The Ghouta massacre-- If the armed opposition is the responsible party

        And information has already suggested that the opposition used sarin gas in Khan al-Asal.
        Politicians and commentators have supported international intervention, regardless of the identity of the party behind the tragedy.

        A good horse is never a bad color.

        by CcVenussPromise on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:10:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  a war process as interminable as a peace process (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nailbanger, JML9999, stewarjt
    After a meeting between National Security Council members and top lawmakers, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pushed for action, calling it "an issue of our national security, regional stability and global security."

    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 03:38:42 PM PDT

  •  The Parliament vote in the context of Iraq (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, 3goldens

    and the recent Snowden-Guardian sledgehammer debacle seems that the rank and file brit it just not fond of the short end of the stick Brittan sees itself on  

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:41:03 PM PDT

  •  50% support missile strikes on Syria according to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aaraujo, joe from Lowell

    NBC poll, that's higher then i though it would be, but Kerry has been somewhat persuasive to even me.

  •  Maybe we should send boots via UPS ground (9+ / 0-)

    A big container full of attractive yet unworkable boots. I'm sure someone could find a way to make them interestingly defective, and thus significantly hamper the Syrian army.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:42:22 PM PDT

  •  Find Damascus (5+ / 0-)

    I took the Find Damascus on a Map quiz and was within 200 miles, without looking. That made me better than 51% of the last 500 to take the test.

    I have to say that having 49% of the last 500 people getting within 200 miles is pretty damn good.

  •  I buy that chemical weapons have been used... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice, cheminMD

    But is there any concrete evidence as to who used them?

    Show me the proof. And the kind of proof I'm looking for, is this.

  •  I'll never vote for Obama again if he does this (3+ / 0-)

    Well allright, I'm Canadian so I've never voted for him before. And he's not running. So there's that.

    But god-dammit, NO!!!!!!

    Marry the one you love, not the one a bigot says you're allowed to love.

    by lotac on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:45:14 PM PDT

  •  What if the Anti-Assad movement (6+ / 0-)

    has nothing to do with democracy and is instead a Saudi-backed coup d'etat ?

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:45:17 PM PDT

    •  Yawn. Google 'Bahrain Democracy' (0+ / 0-)

      http://oneworld.org/...

      Saudi Arabia has sent scores of UK-made armoured personnel carriers into Bahrain to aid the government's bloody suppression of pro-democracy protesters. The armoured vehicles, marketed as Tacticas, were manufactured by BAE Systems Land Systems Division in Newcastle Upon Tyne with final assembly taking place in Belgium (Jane's Armour and Artillery 2009-10 pp. 664)

      The Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) ordered 261 of the vehicles in 2006 for delivery in 2008. Saudi forces entered Bahrain in a convoy of the Tacticas on 13 March, at the invitation of the Bahrain's ruling al-Khalifa family. It seems that the Saudi forces are being held in reserve, leaving the front-line repression of protesters by Bahrain's military and security forces.

  •  Fascinating to watch the effort (17+ / 0-)

    to push an undefined mission, with broad platitudes but no real objective, based on little evidence and no moral authority.

    "Searches with nonspecific warrants were ‘the single immediate cause of the American Revolution.’” Justice Wm. Brennan, referring to the 4th Amendment

    by Nailbanger on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:45:48 PM PDT

  •  Isn't the President required (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CenPhx

    to get Congress's approval before initiating military action against any country that is not posing a direct threat to the security of the U.S.?

     

    Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

    by Miniaussiefan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:46:42 PM PDT

    •  War powers resolution gives presidents a 60 day (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erratic, smartalek

      window before needing Congress, but congress is asserting itself more then usual here so that likely changes things.

      •  No (4+ / 0-)

        Under the War Powers Resolution, the president is required to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action abroad. He then has 60 days to get approval from Congress; otherwise, he has to cease operations within 30 days.

        The President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, statutory authorization, or in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

        The Obama administration has argued that a narrow definition of the War Powers Resolution: that it didn’t apply so long as the United States wasn’t involved in sustained fighting,  active exchanges of fire, or sending U.S. ground troops.

        However, in 2007, Obama said:

        The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.
        So whatever fig leaf is going to be used to allow the imperial presidency model of war to go forward, it isn't based on permission given in the War Powers Resolution. Which Obama and Biden believed until Libya and Syria.

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

        by CenPhx on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:02:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Heart of the Rockies

          Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

          by Miniaussiefan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:05:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think that's pretty much what i said except he (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CenPhx, erratic

          has 60 days to get Congressional approval otherwise he only has 30? doesn't make much sense.

          •  The key to Miniaussiefan's question (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            smartalek, erratic, AaronInSanDiego

            at least as I read it, was whether a direct threat to the security of the U.S was needed for the President to commit to a military action.

            I responded because I took your answer to be implying that the only limit on the President's decision was one of time, that he only had 60 days, which is true as far as the time limit goes, but deosn't address the circumstances which would allow the action in the first place.

            He cannot commit to any military action at all, not even for a day, without 1) a declaration of war by Congress, or 2) statutory authorization, or 3) in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

            Given we don't have any of those things, President Obama is left making a legalese argument about what constitutes "military action" so he can say the War Powers Act doesn't even apply currently. Which I believe is why he is saying there will be "no boots on the ground", the action will be short, and will not involve returning fire with the army. He is laying the groundwork for his claim that he does not have to consult Congress at all since this is not "military action".

            Huzzah, imperial presidency!

            [oh, the 60 days, 30 days thing = 60 days to get approval, if no approval, 30 more days to cease military action. I think.]

            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 04:36:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Gee, I wonder why Congress suddenly cares... (0+ / 0-)

        ...about Constitutional warmaking authority?
        They didn't care so much in 2003, did they?
        What could possibly account.for that difference?
        A.real puzzler, it is...

  •  The terrorists that fled Afghanistan, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nailbanger

    pouring into Syria, accused of this chemical strike...

    Jihadi Sunni fighters, including Iraqi Kurds, who are traveling to Syria in the name of “holy war.” The number of foreign fighters is estimated between 6,000 to as many as 15,000.
    From the late 1990s until February 2003, Halabja’s border with Iran was controlled by an extremist Islamic Kurdish group called Ansar al-Islam, which consisted of foreign fighters who had fled Afghanistan during and after the 2001 war in the wake of 9/11.
    The 15000 jihadi Sunni, including Iraqi Kurdish terrorists who Assad wants out is the US going there?

    That's a lot of weapons the terrorist use against Assad. Where's the money tree? Isn't Putin claiming Saudi's funding?

    Why are we getting Assad?

    Al- Monitor reporting Kurdish Jihadists Fight Kurds in Syria

    A good horse is never a bad color.

    by CcVenussPromise on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:51:46 PM PDT

    •  Accused by whom? (0+ / 0-)

      The forces you're talking about are dozens or hundreds of miles away from the attack site.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:13:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  People with as much credibility (0+ / 0-)

        as any of the warmongers pushing this crap in the administration.

        "Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination." - Mark Twain; "I've never seen a Republican and thought, gee that person looks happy" - me

        by You know me man on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:35:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which is to say, no credibility. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erratic

          The warmongers pushing crap are outside the admin.The administration spent two years ignoring them, pushing back against them, until this chemical war massacre.

          You're right that such people have no credibility. It's best to ignore them, and focus on what people who do have credibility (Obama, Kerry, Pelosi) have to say.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:39:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Middle East reporting (0+ / 0-)

        Accusations that Syria used chemical weapon 'against logic' - Assad

        Look in the Middle East newspapers.

        Link to Al-Monitor in English.

        Kurdish terrorist are in Syria.

        Syrian Kurds face ‘ethnic cleansing’ by Islamist groups – party leader

        Both al-Qaeda and the PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party].

        A good horse is never a bad color.

        by CcVenussPromise on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:45:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, well if Assad says so. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tony Situ, erratic

          You lead off with the statement of a fascist dictator?

          Again, the forces you're talking about - the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and the PKK - are dozens or hundreds of miles away from the site of the chemical attack. They are well to the northeast of Damascus, while the town in which the massacre took place is to the southwest of Damascus.

          The rebel groups in the vicinity of the attack consist of, in Juan Cole's phrase, "local boys." If the rebels who were close enough to launch the attack were the ones who carried out the chemical massacre, then they did it to their neighbors and cousins.

          OR MAYBE IT WAS THE FASCIST DICTATOR WITH THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS STOCKPILE!

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:04:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here's one dead terrorist in Syria by name (0+ / 0-)
            Osman Abdulrahim, 24, who had been fighting against the Syrian government forces for less than three months with the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra.
            Killed in a building near Aleppo.

            Aleppo, Syria, not saying that to insult, but for others who want to know.

            A good horse is never a bad color.

            by CcVenussPromise on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:21:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Aleppo is over 300 miles north of Damascus. (0+ / 0-)

              Yes, CCVP, there are Nusra Front forces in Syria - in the north of Syria, far from the site of the chemical massacre.

              I invite you to enter the names of some Syrian cities into Google and hit the "Maps" link.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:32:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Fascist dictator fighting jihadist terrorist (0+ / 0-)

            in Syria with chemical stockpiles. All true.

            Foreign terrorists in Syria killing Syrians. Also true.

            Free Syrian Army’s Selim Idriss—it has avoided being labelled in the West as a terrorist group.


            Syrian rebel chief Idriss emerges as key interlocutor for west

            A good horse is never a bad color.

            by CcVenussPromise on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:27:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Also fighting democratic and nationalist rebels. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              smartalek

              I remember back in the day, when lumping together large, diverse groups of people under the heading "terrorists" because they were from the Middle East was frowned upon around here.

              But what do I know? I still have the same opinion about the danger of chemical warfare that I had ten days ago.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:34:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I remember when Castro was a rebel fighter (0+ / 0-)

                when he and Che dispatched "revolutionary justice. "

                There's a reason Cubans self identify as exiles and the only group of foreigners who come into the US with an Immigration Adjustment Act like exists for no other group and are not referred to as immigrants.

                But that's just to comment that one man's rebel is another man's terrorist. i.e. Luis Posada Carriles is a terrorist who killed a number of children downing Cubana Flight 455. He holds fund raisers in Miami praised by those who say he's thier hero.

                The proof that Assad's army deployed this chemical massacre remains unconvincing coming from an intelligence gathering source claiming that a phone call made by an Assad official asking who deployed the bomb is the proof.

                 

                A good horse is never a bad color.

                by CcVenussPromise on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:00:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  We should call Dave Gavlak (0+ / 0-)

                Middle East correspondent, ask him -- his report is being buried in the blogosphere and hard to find -- what he knows of Syrian rebels taking responsibility for the chemical attack admitting the weapons were provided by Saudis.

                Dale Gavlak is a Middle East correspondent for Mint Press News. Gavlak has been stationed in Amman, Jordan for over two decades. An expert in Middle Eastern affairs, Gavlak currently covers the Levant region of the Middle East, contributing to the AP, National Public Radio, BBC and Mint Press News, writing on topics including politics, social issues and economic trends. Dale holds a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago.
                Hard to find his report. But this one appears picked up by the Russians, there are others, but this one's in English.

                A good horse is never a bad color.

                by CcVenussPromise on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 01:07:47 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  And...cue the isolationists, the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell, smartalek, KayCeSF, zizi

    but this is just like Iraq-ists, the 'why is it our problem'-ists, the no-one-can-be-trusted-ists, the 'I think I am President and should see ALL info to make up my own mind'-ists, and the 'give peace a chance, big hugs to everyone'-ists.

    Am really disappointed by the sophomoric discussion here on Kos.

      •  Of course not. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Choco8, KayCeSF, zizi, smartalek, erratic

        But they do center debate on the here and now and the situation at hand. Sadly, that isn't what is happening.

        •  I'm in the "don't trust them camp" (5+ / 0-)

          But even if I concede that Assad did gas his people, I still feel we're lacking a clear explanation of how the discussed attack would accomplish anything worthwhile.

          We've telegraphed our intent so Assad has no doubt moved everything important somewhere that's unlikely to get hit.

          If you feel the attack will act as a deterrent, answer me why that deterrent did not work when its threat was first issued? Assad had to expect this outcome the last time he decided to use chemical weapons. Why would it alter his behavior the next time?

          This looks like a face-saving move for the administration and one that will kill innocent people and could have much more serious consequences down the road.

          There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

          by BeerNotWar on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:17:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  First off, I love the concept of beer not war. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KayCeSF, erratic

            I would be more than happy to sacrifice my liver for another person's life.

            That said, America is the only remaining Superpower and we benefit tremendously from the status. Beyond that, I believe in right and wrong and I believe that nations came together to decide international human rights law for a reason.

            I don't like war but it has its place. I don't like lines in the sand but, if drawn for the right reasons, I think they should be enforced.

            The question that isn't being asked is what happens if no one responds? I, for one, am not happy with isolationism in the face of thousands of innocent civilians and children being gassed. It is easy to say 'never again' after an atrocity is over. Hard to stand by that sentiment when push comes to shove and personal risk is involved.

            •  False dichotomy (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Medium Head Boy, smartalek

              I'm not in favor of inaction, but action based on an international process. This has the strong smell of something being driven from within the beltway. I'd like the UN to conduct an investigation and if they come to the same conclusion, we may act unilaterally only after we attempt to get a UN resolution. Even then unilateral action isn't something I'm in favor of, but we need to exhaust our options under international law. If it ends up being just Russia and China blocking action we actually come out smelling pretty good.

              There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

              by BeerNotWar on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:48:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Like you, I'm totally not in favor of unilateral (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                smartalek, erratic

                action. At the very least, we need the UN inspectors' report before any decision is made. To move without it would be as egregious and arrogant as anything the Bush Administration did.

                But I disagree in trusting international process in a vacuum of our own morals. The world agrees that Sudan was an atrocity but ignores the fact that resolution after resolution was proposed to the UN but no action was taken because China had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

                We benefit tremendously from being a Superpower and telling the world that they should, at a minimum, at least pretend to value what we value. What happens if we cede that ground? I promise we won't like a world controlled by the likes of China or Russia. And if we fool ourselves into thinking a world controlled by someone but us wouldn't affect us...well, there would be a very rude awakening on the horizon.

        •  I haven't been following the threads that closely (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smartalek, erratic

          but it appears to be a mix of the usual well founded skepticism, outright support, and some fringe-y looking stuff on the side.

          Never eat the fringey looking stuff. ;)

      •  No, they choose it sometimes. That's how you tell. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ExpatGirl

        If someone has exactly the same position on military strikes regardless of the circumstances - if they don't need to know anything except "They're military strikes" in order to have an opinion, one way or the other - it's safe to dismiss their opinion out of hand.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:14:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In Theory, At Least (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smartalek

          From what I have seen in the real world, the VSP's find war extremely addictive.

          •  Well, there are actually serious people... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zizi, smartalek, erratic

            and then there are "VSPs."

            A lot of VSPs are not terribly serious. Then again, a lot of people who criticize the VSPs are not terribly serious, either.

            Like I said, anyone who always has the same opinion on military action can be dismissed out of hand, and that would certainly include the VSPs you're talking about.

            A lot of people are inclined to treat questions of war as a way of demonstrating their ideological/social identity, more than as problems that need to be worked through by building an opinion based on the facts and a set of principles that aren't adopted or cast away based on their usefulness in getting to a pre-determined position.

            As an exercise in identity-signaling, taking a stand in contravention to the facts is actually better than tailoring one's opinion to the facts. Anyone can oppose a dumb war, or support a good one, but to oppose a smart war, or support a dumb one, really shows that you're hard-core.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:36:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I'm here. I say yeah, let's stop fucking (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      acnetj

      around in other people's sandboxes. Not to mention, last time I checked, there is no international legal authority for one nation, that is, without UN or NATO resolution, to take action for humanitarian reasons.

      Additionally, this in no way affects the national security of the United States. There is no fucking authority for the president to unilaterally take military action. Frankly, I don't see how a case could be made for an authorization of force from Congress either. We are not in danger. If attacking is the moral thing to do, then there better be a fucking NATO or UN resolution to police the situation. We have no standing to do this shit on our own.

      "Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination." - Mark Twain; "I've never seen a Republican and thought, gee that person looks happy" - me

      by You know me man on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:43:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As much as I respect that stance, I fear you... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ohkwai

      ...may be oversimplifying both the views you're critiquing (at least some of them), and the situation itself.
      There are important questions to be asked, even if we accept as a given (which I think we can, but am very, very far from certain) that it was Assad's military using Sarin, or something similar, on Damascenes, including:
      What can we realistically accomplish?
      For whose benefit?
      What happens next if we.act -- both within Syria, and in nearby Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Israel, and with the Russians in the Mediterranean, and in the world at large?
      What happens next if we don't act?
      How can we be sure.we don't hurt / kill as many as, or more than we save -- if we can save any?
      Why aren't we hearing from any Syrians on this issue?
      Clearly they have opinions -- why aren't they shared with us?
      And most important, what other mechanisms, besides lobbing a few missiles, do we have as options for.response?
      None of these are, I hope, puerile questions -- and we really should know the answers before we do -- or don't do -- anything.

      •  We are the only Superpower in the world. (0+ / 0-)

        Do we stand for anything or for nothing?

        We certainly insert ourselves into the daily lives of people around the world on a regular basis. We have assassinated democratically elected leaders we didn't like and propped up dictators we did.

        We purport to shape the world in our image and would hate to live under the shadow of another. Truly, I don't want to live in a world dominated by China where human beings don't matter - except when when Western forces create sufficient mass to say they do.

        A thousand plus civilians were killed in a single day because of an illegal chemical weapons attack AFTER the world's most powerful country said 'don't you dare'. If the world's most powerful country doesn't back their position up then, truly, it only gets worse from here. Short term safety for long term horror and pain.

        •  But neither of those are binary choices (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erratic

          It's certainly not "the world under GWB" or "the world.under.the thumbs of the current.Chinese regime and/or Putin."
          Nor is it "do whatever 'surgical.strike' we have planned for Assad" vs "do nothing at all."
          We do, in both cases, have options far beyond, and hopefully far better than, just those two.
          And maybe we shouldn't so often be so quick to.make such backfire-inducing statements as "don't you dare," as if complex, multipolar geopolitical conflicts are no more than sandbox fights.
          And I sure hope that, "we've done some stupid and counterproductive and hypocritical things in the past" doesn't translate into, "therefore we're not just doomed to keep on doing them, but.we should do.so eagerly."

    •  Thank God the defense contractors aren't (0+ / 0-)

      isolationists!  Why, just when their supercalicapitalistic mega profits were plateauing because we're so stupidly not ramping up the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and are totally failing to bomb bomb bomb Iran like real Americans sing when they shower, they've now extended their generous, caring help to little Syria.  I.  Am.  So.  Proud.

      "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

      by KateCrashes on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:32:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It occurs to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LLPete

    that in much the same way as war can be said to bring out the genuine character of an individual (courage, forbearance, prudential judgment, etc.), it also puts a similar spotlight on leaders. Mr. Obama shrinks in stature moment by moment, beginning from his failure over these many months to articulate a clear policy for dealing with Syria or, now, a convincing rationale for war, either its conduct or its purpose, or even its legal grounds. Add to that a failure to muster support from the country generally or from the Congress, along with his failure to persuade other countries to join with us and, overall, he begins to look more and more like an ill-prepared former state legislator who reached and exceeded his grasp, another victim of the Peter Principle. In retrospect, I think I was especially foolish not to have considered more carefully in advance what sort of commander-in-chief he would be.

    •  I really don't want to go ad hominem here, but... (0+ / 0-)

      ...hmi, you refer to yourself in your profile.as a "centrist."
      Your rhetoric right here, however, is hardly "centrist."
      It's a nearly.verbatim recycling of some of the most central, and off-repeated, talking points of both the McCain ('08) and Rmoney ('12) campaigns against our President -- who will, I'll remind you, trounced both of the above in their respective elections.
      And, for whatever criticisms and differences the diverse community of Kossacks may have with our CinC (and you'll note they are plentiful, and deep), one thing I can pretty much assure you we'd have 90+% agreement on:  it's infinitely better that we have an intelligent, rational, and decent human being at our helm -- especially one who doesn't have the obvious unresolved Daddy (or Grand-Daddy) issues underlying knee-jerk responses to reach for the bombs the moment some little pissant pol-pot clone decides to thumb.his nose at us that defined not just both those Puke candidates, but also our last unmitigated catastrophe of a Puke pResident...
      You know, the one whose blatant lies to his own Congress, his citizenry, and the world at large are the reason that the well has been poisoned, and all of the above.are now looking askance at similar claims?  So -- just as with the economy -- your kind would try to blame Obama, once again, for the failures of his predecessor?
      Perhaps such "centrism" would be a better fit over at.PowerLine, or mayhap among the FreepeRs, where they're used to patent Orwellian nonsense like that.
      Or is that saucy little minx Malkin more your.style?

      •  Thanks for the quote marks (0+ / 0-)

        So much easier than walking around with raised eyebrows.

        And thanks also for the lecture—tendentious as some might find it. I guess "your kind" are given to this sort of thing. And undoubtedly your own definitions of where the center is and of progressivism or liberalism are the last words on the subject, which is why we elected you our arbiter on these topics.

        Nevertheless, you might, just possibly have noticed that a) I did not in any way shape or form suggest that either McCain or Romney might have been preferable presidents and b) the Republicans didn't do a lot of arguing about Obama's Syria policy—maybe because I don't believe that he had one. Now he does—and IMO, it sucks.

        I voted for Obama on a whole slew of grounds, not least his assurances that he could effect a more rational, more effective foreign policy that had nothing in common with the policies of the last administration. Instead, it is increasingly looking like he is incapable of doing so. And I note that I am far from alone here in coming to this reluctant conclusion. Rather than liken my comments to Republican criticism of Obama, you might better liken them to Democratic criticism of Bush, recyclable now that Obama has (once again) decided to follow in some of Bush's footsteps.

        I will confess to having read PowerLine on at least several occasions, but I read a very wide variety of materials for professional reasons. Not really my cup of "tea." I'm not sure who Malkin is, but your promise of a saucy little minx tells me that I should go looking—thanks once again.

        •  That would be Michelle Malkin; along w/... (0+ / 0-)

          ...her appearances on Fox, her column, her website, and the book.she wrote.defending the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, she's got a little cheerleader routine she.did in around 2003 -- GWB's Big Adventure -- immortalized on YouTube.
          You're gonna love it.

  •  Where is Hunter's Tip Jar? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smartalek
  •  Is that a Mushroom Cloud (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mindful Nature

    From a Smoking Gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

    •  So you don't believe Assad used CW? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell
    •  No, it's a hospital ward full of children with... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zizi

      neuro-toxic poisoning. What you just wrote is appalling.

      It's amazing how debased people who merely assume they own the moral high ground can be.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:15:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Where are their mothers? (0+ / 0-)

        We see the horrid pics of the murdered children but where are the mothers and fathers?

        I'm not going to answer that because you've been argumentative and demuring about not wanting to look in the direction of the terrorist's who claim they [with Saudi backing] deployed this current CW attack.

        That's not saying that Assad never has. Which seems to be your point of reference for anything I relay, i.e. you reply that Assad is a fascist dictator with CW stockpiles therefore he did this. It's not the compelling argument you believe it to be.

        The mother's exist. Look to the Middle East and other buried reports for what happened to them. Not Assad. This time.

        A good horse is never a bad color.

        by CcVenussPromise on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 03:27:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There was no case made (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice, Nailbanger, greenbell

    so...I dunno, if it were me, I'd be working to tweak my headline here.

     

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

    by lunachickie on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:58:25 PM PDT

  •  56% So my only hope is more people take the test (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bozmo2

    and push me up the curve.

  •  The silver lining of good news here, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbsoul, CenPhx, LLPete, Willa Rogers

    at least in my eyes, is that almost 4 of 5 Americans polled think the President should seek Congressional approval before going to war.  The idea of small d democracy seems to somehow live on.

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

    by Calvino Partigiani on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:00:44 PM PDT

  •   Does anybody here think ANYONE at all in the (0+ / 0-)

    administration or government is NOT totally evil?
    Yikes! Please name a politician of any stripe you actually like.
    Will you continue to like them if they make the decision that the President is telling the truth? What about John Edwards? He was the"'wonder kid" here a few years back.

    (also posted in another diary)

    "Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here." Marianne Williamson

    by Canadian Green Card Alien on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:02:38 PM PDT

  •  Pretty convincing evidence. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texas Lefty, Brix

    If you want to argue that the U.S. and the world should not respond, or should not respond militarily, to the Syrian government's use of chemical warfare, be my guest.

    But it is no longer possible for an honest, informed person to argue that the Syrian government did not launch a chemical weapons attack.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:03:22 PM PDT

  •  The French are backing strikes... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smartalek

    Anyone care for an order of "Freedom Fries"?

    I don't mind straight people as long as they act gay in public.

    by internationaljock on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:03:43 PM PDT

  •  NFL season is starting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nailbanger, KateCrashes

    Intervention in Syria = Lots of NFL luxury box tickets from defense contractors to congressmen.

    "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

    by Utahrd on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:03:45 PM PDT

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    A brief review of other news and information on the apparent Syrian use of chemical weapons and the possible American response.

    Maybe alleged would be better here than apparent.

  •  well if they haven't.. (0+ / 0-)

    ...made and decisions yet how do they know what the decide will be limited.  (like anything we do will be limited considering the impact on the region.)

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:05:50 PM PDT

  •  Assad - like father; like son (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texas Lefty, smartalek
    The Syrian city of Hama was the scene of a massacre in 1982 when President Hafez al-Assad, father of the current president Bashar al-Assad, razed the city to crush a Sunni rebellion, slaughtering an estimated 20,000 of his own people.
  •  I'm holding on to my theory that there is a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CcVenussPromise

    CIA operation going on behind the smokescreen of verification, deliberation and congressional validation.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:15:39 PM PDT

  •  My hope is that Obama (0+ / 0-)

    will  not make the US once again look like a paper tiger. I hope that someone is advising him   to say what other wise leaders have said in these situations:  We will respond to this at a time of our own choosing.   None of this "soon" "within days",   "will only last a short time" etc etc.

    With all of this telegraphing of intentions Assad has no doubt stashed all of his  military assets  out of harms way and will continue to thumb his nose at this feckless president.

    But maybe the same advisor can suggest one thing that might be useful and would not cause great loss of life.  Since much of the grief Assad is laying on the civilians is coming from the air,
    why not blow the hell out of his air bases and take as much time as is necessary be breach his defenses and make a nice mess of them.   This would in effect contribute to a no fly zone and if it is true that the Saudis have supplied SAMs to the rebels, they can take care of any planes they manage to get up.    

    •  But in situations like this, we *ARE* a "paper... (0+ / 0-)

      ...tiger," of necessity.
      We're not, like the Soviets of old, going to march into other countries and unilaterally impose our will.
      That's a Good Thing.
      We are also, however, obviously not willing to put succeeding generations of Americans into occupying forces, even.at the behest of elites within those countries, where some will get killed or maimed, and others will be made killers, in support of imperial goals that our citizenry aren't even informed of, let alone get to vote on.
      Whether that's a Good Thing or not depends on your politics, on who you are, and probably on whether you know anyone in the military.
      One thing should be clear, though:  given these realities, we really ought to temper our rhetoric to match our limited capabilities and willingness to bear imperial costs and sacrifices.
      Successive Presidents have done the exact opposite of Teddy Roosevelt's sage advice, and millions of Americans, Iraqis, Afghans, Lebanese, and others, have had to pay the prices for their inability to learn from history.

  •  Is a 'limited' Act of War the same as being ... (0+ / 0-)

    a 'little bit' pregnant??

    *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

    by josmndsn on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:37:39 PM PDT

  •  What can be more horrible? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    josmndsn

    Dead and dying children without visible signs of injury on the outside; victims of Assad's chemical weapons?
    or  
    Dead and dying children with their bodies horribly mangled, shredded, and ripped apart, victims of US bombs?

    How many innocents has the US slaughtered with its conventional (and morally superior) weapons.  I would bet the number is in the tens of thousands.  Who has the moral high ground here?
    If President Obama wants to get into Syria, get a vote from the US Congress, yea or nay.  Make them take a stand.  Otherwise I predict a serious impeachment effort after this whole Syria thing turns into a giant uncontrollable clusterfuck.

    •  "the moral high ground" ... (0+ / 0-)

      Should we be the peacekeeper for the WORLD while
      ignoring the "moral damage" being done to our own
      citizens by the continuing effects of the sequester?

      Total hypocrisy to assume we can unilaterally correct
      the morality of another country.

      *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

      by josmndsn on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:59:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How quickly we forget (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        josmndsn, Medium Head Boy

        We lost any moral standing we had left over after Vietnam in Iraq.   Wars start out as moral enterprises and end up with "well, you know that war is messy" and "1st priority is to protect American troops."

        Sometimes I feel like a gerbil running around in a wheel.   Here we go again.    I have been watching this s*** since the 70's and it is always the same.   I'm just amazed at the supply of Hollywood cartoon dictators that we have to combat, it seems endless.   Assad was hailed as a "reformer" not too long ago.

      •  Even the President slipped and threw in the N word (0+ / 0-)

        "Nuclear" I mean -- he talked about Assad's use of nuclear weapons (before correcting himself.)

        Is there some frigging Word template that we use?   Is this recycled rhetoric from Iraq (or unused from Iran?)

  •  That Obama is a clever one. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smartalek

    Notice how the fighting in Syria has stopped. Everyone has gone underground waiting for the American bombs.
    I say have an 'indefinite threat' in place to bomb Syria to maintain the peace.

    "DON'T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE!"


    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 05:07:08 PM PDT

  •  Comments from Rep. Raul Grijalva worth (7+ / 0-)

    consideration.

    We're all watching the situation in Syria, and I wanted to take a moment to share some of my thoughts on it with you. I co-wrote the following piece with Michael Shank, the director of foreign policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, for CNN.

    Peace,
    Raúl

    Prevention better than punitive in Syria
    August 29th, 2013

    The Americans don’t want it. The Germans don’t want it. And the Brits don’t want it. The overwhelming consensus of public opinion in the Western world is that a war with Syria would be a bad idea. This now gives President Barack Obama some flexibility to back away from his red line, save political face, and do what’s necessary to prevent further violence in Syria.

    But before spelling out ways we can help bring peace to Syria, it’s worth first identifying some problematic trends in America’s tack towards war. This is not unique to President Obama and was visible in past presidents’ penchant for war. There is a precedent here.

    First, the idea that America can be “precise” and “limited” and “strategic” while attacking another country is completely misplaced. It inevitably leads to further or escalated violence.  It always has.  We wanted to be brief, precise and strategic in Iraq by bombing Baghdad, thinking “shock and awe” would intimidate the country and its recalcitrant leader into submission. This is not dissimilar to how we are now thinking that a “punitive” strike on Syria would send a stern message that President Bashar al-Assad, one to which he would be responsive.

    Never mind the fact that al-Assad has made it clear that he’s not operating from a rational place, and would never respond rationally to punitive measures – there is no way that a strike on Damascus would last only three days, as the Pentagon has predicted. The responsibility for the ensuing chaos – from scores of civilians dead to increased likelihood of chemical weapons use – would fall on the United States.  We would be embroiled in an unraveling that would beckon more missiles, more troops, and more air and sea support. Observe every major U.S. intervention over the last 15 years. This is exactly what happened, despite the rhetoric of precise, limited, strategic and brief action.

    Second, the idea in Washington that an attack, strike, or punitive action, is not an “invasion”, is an absolute fallacy. This is a relatively new definition promulgated by Washington’s defense community, and the think tanks that support it.  It’s a convenient semantic reframing so that America is not perceived as the “evil Western invader” – or part of some, to quote President Bush, “crusade” – but rather seen as a short-lived intervener, a savior who will exercise discretion while quickly getting in and getting out.

    The problem with this attempt at a reframe is that the rest of the world – especially those being bombed by America – doesn’t consider it anything less than an invasion, whether by air, sea or land. Boots on the ground is not the only kind of invasion. There are air invasions, with air raids (see Iraq) or drone strikes (see Yemen or Pakistan or Somalia).  There are sea invasions, with Tomahawk missiles launched from ship (see Libya and the same plan for Syria).  And there are ground invasions, with massive troops on the ground (see Afghanistan).

    Third, the idea that we must act in haste, and bomb quickly without Congressional approval or authorization, is a dangerous undermining of the checks and balances instituted by our founding fathers. Most presidents, when planning for war, impress upon the American people the urgency of now, of invading immediately, because we don’t have time for Congressional oversight. Syria is an excellent example of this. With some 100,000 dead over nearly a two year time span we’ve had plenty of time for talk between the executive and legislative branches.  The estimated 355 dead from the alleged chemical weapons attack, while absolutely deplorable, shouldn’t have created a new urgency that wasn’t already there.  We should have been talking about preventing mass atrocities years ago, not after the house of Syria was nearly burnt down.

    So what to do now? Invasion is the wrong course because it merely inflames the violence further, both within Syria and without. We must exhaust the following paths first before seeking a military course of action.  Convene all the stakeholders who have a say with Syria’s al-Assad and who can put pressure on the president. That means more than just Russia, our go-to on the Geneva II peace talks. That means everyone from Iran, Lebanon, and Hezbollah, to the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. These are the entities that have entry into the Syrian president’s inner circle. If we truly want al-Assad to act differently, we have to talk to those who have sway.

    Then, if the diplomatic track fails to work, and after it has solidly been exhausted, we must engage the U.N. Security Council in a conversation about the International Criminal Court and an indictment of Assad for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.  This path is consistent with America’s support of international law and the ethical frameworks undergirding the Geneva Conventions.

    Throughout this process, we must continue work with the United Nations to not only ensure weapons inspections are executed properly over the coming weeks, and weapons flows and arms trafficking are stopped or slowed, but that we ramp up humanitarian aid for the millions of refugees inside Syria and in neighboring countries. This is essential if we care about saving Syrians.

    This is the path we must pursue and the only way forward. It is time for something preventive before we press play on the punitive.

    •  Sanity at last. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IrishGreg

      Thank you Rep. Grijalva and Michael Shank.

      Now if only the Obama administration would follow this advice.

      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 06:12:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Serious question, no snark: is what we did... (0+ / 0-)

      ...with Milosovic, in the Serbian conflict in the 90s, not a counterexample?
      If not, why not?
      Thank you for any clarifying answers.

  •  We have to act (0+ / 0-)

    Either that or we stop treating chemical/biological weapons as something beyond the pale, particularly when used against civilians.

    I trust President Obama.  I do not think he would fabricate a casus belli on this.  There is no motive.  There are too many risks and downsides.  He has spent two years trying NOT to get involved.  Al-Assad has forced his hand.

    Yes, I know the USA cannot get involved in stopping every injustice.  But we can perhaps stop some of them.  If gassing children doesn't qualify for moral and decisive action, I don't know what does.

    And we need to force the Assad regime to the negotiating table.  Otherwise, this war will go on and on, spreading misery and refugees as it becomes regional.

    "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 05:15:01 PM PDT

    •  Get a vote! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smartalek

      Make each member of congress go on record -- where they stand.  Because really, the last thing the right wing hawks want is a vote because even though they would delight in yet another war, even more than that they want to be able to attack President Obama.  If there is no vote and this thing goes south (which I think it will), this will destroy whatever is left of Obama's presidency.

  •  Previously I was for action- but no more. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CcVenussPromise

    Since the WH has not given any clear explanation how they plan to conduct an intervention, nor what the purpose is, nor having any allies on board, nor even attempted a consensus form Americans or Allies abroad. I cannot understand why they would want to move ahead with an announced ahead of time  (evidently) limited, narrow, military strike that would do nothing  more than tick off, and kill people on both sides and not stop any further military/chemical use by the Assad regime.  

    The diplomatic and PR efforts have been abysmal and I am shocked that the WH would even contemplate such action with apparently zero effort on these fronts. Damn.
    I was totally for an intervention to prevent more atrocities as a humanitarian effort. But the WH has done nothing to establish that premise or rationale and explain their plan to the American and world stage. What the heck?

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