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Mary Chestnut portrait
Mary Chesnut
Woe to those who began this war if they were not in bitter earnest—Mary Chesnut
Ms. Chesnut's words were written over 150 years ago, but they deserve remembrance today. Especially today.

In less eloquent phrasing: do not take military action, unless you are certain that the consequences of that action unequivocally outweigh the consequence of inaction. In less delicate terms still, don't pull that damn trigger unless you're sure it's worth it.

And by worth it, I don't mean worth the cost of a few Tomahawk missiles and a photo op. I mean worth American blood. American lives. Don't give me this "no boots on the ground," bit. First, because it's bullshit. We can't know where this will lead. Second, because it's dangerous. Not only can no one predict where this will end once started, but the pretense of the "surgical strike" is leading America down a very, very sorry path; one in which we can execute our actions without cost or concern. We've already taken several steps down that path, and it's a direction at least as dark as the one we claim to be drawing a "red line" against now. You cannot rally the world against one moral outrage while wielding another.

If you're going to do it, then be straight with us. Don't sell this as some kind of terrorist threat. It's not. You know it. Application of the "terrorists might get us" meme to this discussion is at best distracting, and certainly disingenuous.

If we're going to do this, we're doing it because we believe use of chemical munitions is a tactic so horrible it can not be permitted at any time by anyone.  Sell us on that if you can. Sell us on how this will save lives in the future—the immediate future, and the distant. But don't drag some hand waving about terrorists into this, and don't raise the ghastly, repugnant idea of war as punishment.

If we're to follow you, then be in bitter earnest. Be ready to put boots on the ground. Be ready to commit blood and fortune.

Or take your finger off that trigger.

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:28 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  thanks for this. Certainty - especially about the (32+ / 0-)

    cascade of unintended consequences and the risk of repeating the clear and present mistakes of the previous administration and their MIC cronies. Unlike a reactionary GOP, this kind of inaction can save more lives in the long run.

    In less eloquent phrasing: do not take military action, unless you are certain that the consequences of that action unequivocally outweigh the consequence of inaction. In less delicate terms still, don't pull that damn trigger unless you're certain it's worth it.

    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 07:42:19 PM PDT

    •  Thank you. My feelings exactly. (15+ / 0-)

      I see the photo put out by the White House of all these earnest looking "officials" sitting around all looking somber, discussing what?  Are they all doing the "group-think" number?  Are they telling Obama not to even try it?  Are they talking themselves into some misguided scheme?  Have we learned nothing?  Oh, and by the way, where was Hillary, the Sec. of State who was so loved, for the last 3 years?  There should have been a very active diplomatic presence in all the Arab countries that were in turmoil.....we stayed away.  Now this and now we want to fucking bomb people and kill more Syrians?  Like us killing them will hurt less?  WTF?  And there are no plans to go after those chemical weapons?  And who, by the way, has the biggest stockpile of chemical weapons in the world?  WE  DO.  OMG I can't sleep at night over this.

      Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven. William Shakespeare

      by lutznancy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:51:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Point of Deterring Future Chem Weapon Use (25+ / 0-)

    anywhere in the world is the only motivation that makes any sense here.

    I think there'd be substantial public support for that surgical excuse if they focused on that objective.

    Not that I know anything to convince me there are targets they could hit that would accomplish that objective with globally acceptable low civilian casualties and other blow-back.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:44:11 PM PDT

    •  That's a persuasive argument for me (30+ / 0-)

      But what kind of action is most appropriate and least dangerous?  I don't know, and far worse, I don't think our leaders know either.  They will do what they always do, and the chance of it coming out well will be as it always has been.  Very poor.

      We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

      by Dallasdoc on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:48:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What They Always Do Is Weight the Arguments (20+ / 0-)

        1. 32% what does global finance want us to do right now?
        2. 32% what does global fossil fuel want us to do right now?
        3. 32% what does global armaments want us to do right now?
        3. 3.9% is congress, aside from supporting 1-3, pushing any other agenda?
        4. 0.1% occupants within our borders.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:17:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here are some possible scenarios: (9+ / 0-)
        For one thing, chemical weapons would not just harmlessly vaporize in an attack. If hit by US munitions, chemical dumps could release some poisons into the air or in liquid form on the ground. Predicting the environmental effect in the surrounding area would be extremely difficult.

        US cruise missiles in particular would not be able to destroy chemical stocks. Their warheads are not big enough to incinerate chemical weapons.

        “Air operations alone will likely be able to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile only to a certain extent, but not completely,” writes naval analyst Christopher Harmer of the Institute for the Study of War in a study of possible US actions in Syria.

        Second, air strikes against chemical depots could allow extremist rebel factions access to any remaining stocks. With gates blown open and guards scattered or killed, Islamist groups might seize chemical weapons – a nightmare proliferation scenario.

        Third, Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile is probably too big for the US to destroy without the kind of large scale, boots-on-the ground military operation that the Obama administration has already ruled out.

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

        by Calvino Partigiani on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:43:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No boots on the ground (10+ / 0-)

          That's obviously been the goal of this whole operation in Syria, to get the US to invade.

          How about we surprise them and not do what they want?

          Find another means of neutralizing their stockpile.  But don't give them what both our enemies and our government contractors want - a ground invasion.

          England was smart enough not to fall into the trap, let's show the world we're no longer a dumb, blundering, war loving, ignorant nation.

          "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

          by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:01:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  of course (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calvino Partigiani

          doing nothing would be harmful to proliferation as well.

          I would like to see folks at least acknowledge that there are POSSIBLE downsides to doing nothing also.

          •  well indeed the basic difficulty is that there are (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greenbell, JVolvo

            major downsides to EVERY option. Including "doing nothing".

            There are no good outcomes for this situation, along ANY pathway. Just as there are NO "good guys" anywhere in this fight (including the US, which has its own selfish motives).

            That is why I'd prefer an INTERNATIONAL solution, that can at least reduce the weight given to the selfish motivations of all the actors.

          •  I agree. However, I haven't actually heard anyone (0+ / 0-)

            who is against this war advocate for "doing nothing". In fact I've asked someone who made the same claim in another diary for specific examples of people advocating to do nothing.  No response.

            Can you point me to specific examples of people saying the US should "do nothing" regarding Syria?

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

            by Calvino Partigiani on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:15:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  can you point me to specific examples (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calvino Partigiani

              of folks saying what we should be doing instead?

              Because saying "go to the Hague" or "let the folks in the region handle it" are laughable.

              •  I'll put you down as a 'no'. (0+ / 0-)

                Although being realistic, I don't expect folks who make unsubstantiated allegations about people supposedly advocating "doing nothing" to acknowledge that their accusations are wrong.

                Oh well.

                Anyways, although you won't back up your claim, I will reply to your request, since you appear uniformed about the issue, and could use some information.

                Start with these:

                Alia Brahimi

                Mark Levine

                David Bromwich

                brooklynbadboy

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

                by Calvino Partigiani on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 02:33:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  equally unserious (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Calvino Partigiani

                  going in reverse order:

                  encourage Turkey and Jordan to occupy the country? That's laughably ridiculous and not serious.

                  Negotiations? With whom? The rebels? Assad? Right.

                  There won't be a UN imposed cease-fire because Russia and China will veto it, again a nonstarter.

                  Your first link just says...diplomacy and then leaves it at that.

                  I thought your snarky response meant you'd found ACTUAL serious alternatives, but there was what I'd thought there would be...nothing.

                  •  You disagree with these proposals as ineffective, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    martianexpatriate

                    fine.  I (and many others) think that a military attack would be worse than ineffective, it would be positively destructive. So we disagree there.

                    Interesting thing is, my original comment was just to ask if you could back up your claim.  You didn't even try.  Then I in fact supplied evidence for my claim.  You clearly don't agree with these propositions, but at least my claim has been substantiated with links to actual people.

                    I'm happy to argue the merits of going to war, but funny pattern I've noticed: those who want to bomb other countries seem long on moral self-righteousness, and short on evidence.

                    By the way, here's another person advocating diplomacy, though I assume you will write this off too as an unserious claim by a no-nothing, do-nothing type.

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

                    by Calvino Partigiani on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 03:02:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  *know-nothing* (0+ / 0-)

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

                      by Calvino Partigiani on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 03:05:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Its always like this (0+ / 0-)

                      "But... we have to do something!"

                      "But this will make things worse, according to experience."

                      "But.... we just have to do something!"

                      Bombarding from a distance kills civilians and a few soldiers who did what they were told.  I cannot imagine how it will dissuade further such actions.  If he was willing to start a civil war rather then resign, this surely will not dissuade him.  I see utterly no payoff in this route.

                      Ignorance more frequently begets confidence then knowledge. Charles Darwin

                      by martianexpatriate on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:35:24 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I didnt say ineffective (0+ / 0-)

                      I said nonserious.

                      They are worse than ineffective.  They are nothing, they will do nothing.  Ineffective would be an improvement.

                      So your original point is that because I cant prove a negative that I havent backed up my claim?

                      Silly.  You proved it for me, given a chance to find something, anything you found nothing, because nothing has been proposed that is remotely doable.

                      Nothing is the alternative.

                      And please pot lets not talk about self-righteous, of all the groups engaging in that, are you kidding me?

                      As for your link...saying the word diplomacy and that's it, is not advocating anything.

                      This is the line:

                      "Obama should pivot now and choose vigorous diplomacy over a military strike. "

                      How? With whom? About what? Through what mechanism? Who are the parties involved?

                      The idea that negotiation is going to work between rebels seeking to oust a dictator and a dictator willing to kill over 100K of his own people to stay in power is Chamberlainesque.

      •  I think you are half right (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CenPhx, greenbell, JVolvo, gerrilea

        I will once again repeat what I've been saying for days now:

        International law MUST be defended.  International law makes the world a better place, and ignoring it or not defending it makes the world a worse place.

        BUT

        The United States must NOT be allowed to become the world's police force. The US itself ignored international law for 75 years and flat-out refused to accept the jurisdiction or authority of the World Court when the US was itself the target of international law, and the US has fought tooth and nail to obstruct international law whenever it has been applied to nations the US likes. If we allow the US to unilaterally decide which nations shall have international law enforced against them and which shall not, then we no longer have any law at all---what we have is a legal figleaf for plain ole superpower imperialism. And that intolerable situation just makes the world a worse place. We cannot allow it.

        The ONLY way international law can be enforced is by international bodies, like the UN or NATO. If we allow "the only remaining superpower" to enforce international law, then we no longer HAVE any international law. We cannot allow the American fox to police the global henhouse.

        •  So who takes on China, Russia & Israel? (0+ / 0-)

          International law is a sham that is only used as a justification for whatever the great powers want to do and is ignored at all other times.    This is just the way the real world works and it is probably the way that the real world will always work.    At some point it comes down to what the nuclear-armed powers are willing to allow.

          •  you are of course quite right (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gerrilea

            It is all hypocrisy and figleafs.

            So we should stop bullshitting everyone and say so, out loud.  The US is the self-appointed world's police force because we're the biggest bully on the block, we can do whatever we want to whoever we want, and nobody else can stop us.  Period.

            The neocons are at least honest about that.

          •  "The world is ruled by force" (0+ / 0-)

            And "He with the most force wins."

            Or 'Might makes right."

            or or or....ummm...

            "Just shut up and do what we say or will blow the f*x#! out of you!"

            The only question I have to ask is this:

            Why does someone need to take on China, Russia & Israel again?

            -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

            by gerrilea on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:55:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Deterrance would be good, (8+ / 0-)

      of course, I think especially after seeing - CAUTION - the suffering inflicted in an incendiary attack on a school on these two videos today:

      http://www.youtube.com/...
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

      Obama has repeatedly mentioned the dangers to our friends, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey. If these barbaric acts spread to them, it would be ghastly. OTOH, so could the unintended consequences, and so could be an Islamist take-over of Syria.

      Just a terrible situation from every perspective.

      "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

      by cotterperson on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:04:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  that IS the only argument (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat, duhban

      and it's the only one I heard being made

    •  Sadly, what is there we can do which would (12+ / 0-)

      cause Assad to swear off chemical weapons? Whatever we do to weaken Assad will strengthen the rebels. Unfortunately, there is no unified rebel group. There are only hundreds of splinter groups.

      The secular rebels have very little influence. The religious extremist rebels are powerful and dangerous, now and later.

      Assad is in it for his life. There's no limited strike ("shot over the bow" were Obama's words today) which will change his merciless approach to prosecuting this war.

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

      by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:25:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  After Fallujah we are not credible enforcers (22+ / 0-)

      of chemical weapons propriety, any more than we are credible enforcers of nuclear weapons propriety after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      There are many areas in which American foreign policy as a vehicle for advancing universal humanitarian ends but WMDS? No, sorry. That horse left the barn a long, long time ago.

      •  Especially since the US is not against WMD at all. (11+ / 0-)

        The US is not against WMD in the Middle East — we're just against anyone besides Israel having WMD. As far as we're concerned, Israel can have all the WMD it wants. Our non-proliferation policy in Israel's case is, here's another $3 billion, go nuts.

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

        by lotlizard on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:11:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  so how long are we in a timeout then? (0+ / 0-)

        apparently because we used nukes over 3 generations ago we are still not allowed to have a hand in holding back nuclear proliferation according to you?

        I find that line of reasoning uncompelling.

        •  Re: North Korean nukes, because bravery (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JVolvo, schumann, gerrilea

          Then let's go to the mat and wipe out North Korea's nuclear program - one that (a) exists, (b) is weaponized, (c) is possessed by a regime that routinely threatens American, allied and global economic interests and (d) is at the beck and call of a crazy person.

          I think you know why that's not going to happen: North Korea can actually hurt back. And what it can't damage its rather large neighbor to the east might. Or might not. The PRC is rather coy about such things in order to keep its options open in case of a new hot war in Korea.

          But Syria's not North Korea. It has no credible means to hit back at the USA; it can't even control its own airspace from IDF recon flights (and the occasional bombing run), even when it's not in the midst of civil war.

          Syria's an easy kid to push around on the playground. It's a loser, has no friends and has some lunch money that we want. So we're going to take it.

          And no amount of bloviating about nonproliferation will conceal what this is about.

          We have no skin in the game in Syria. We just think they kind of suck and need to be slapped around a bit, because we can and it impresses the other kids in the neighborhood.

    •  The time to deal with chemical weapons is (13+ / 0-)

      before they are produced, not after they are used.
      Of course, that's true of other weapons, as well. What is also true is that precluding the manufacture and sale cuts out the middlemen, the people who profit by moving stuff around and sharing the threat, but never the consequence.
      Arms merchants. Merchants of Death.

      •  But ya can't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nowhere Man
        precluding the manufacture and sale cuts out the middlemen
        preclude the manufacture. Any asshole who can make pesticides can make chemical weapons. They're pretty much the same chemicals.

        Ya don't need shadowy supervillian types. All ya need is somebody with an OChem degree and a feeling of righteousness.

      •  in point of fact . . . (0+ / 0-)

        The US has never sold or given chemical weapons to any nation. Even during the Cold War, our NATO allies France and Britain never got any chemical weapons from the US--they had to manufacture their own.

        Iraq, Syria and Libya all got their chemical weapons the same way---they openly purchased entirely legal pesticide-manufacturing equipment, on the world market, and then modified that equipment to produce nerve gas instead of bug spray (the two are very similar chemically).

        The meme that seems to be making the rounds lately--that "the US gave chemical weapons to Saddam"--it flat-out wrong.

        What we did do, though, is provide Saddam with satellite intelligence to make his use of chemical weapons against Iranian troops more effective.  Which makes us an accessory to a war crime.

    •  I don't see how there is any deterrance (5+ / 0-)

      from a limited strike.
      Either Obama is lying about his future plans re war against Syria, or he's an idiot.

    •  It's fairly easy to cut off the supply (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerrilea

      of ingredients for chemical weapons.

      So, this seems to be something that could be easily resolved.

      "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

      by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:56:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no, it's not easy at all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gerrilea

        Nerve gas is made from the same chemicals as household bug spray.

        Mustard gas is made from the chemical that prevents the ink in writing pens from drying out.

        Most of the ingredients for chemical weapons are plain old ordinary industrial chemicals.

        •  So cut off access to those materials (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gerrilea

          It may inconvenience people for a while, but I'm sure its preferable to getting gassed.

          "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

          by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:14:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  and how did you plan on stopping people from (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gerrilea

            making bug spray and writing pens.

            •  How do you plan on securing the cw now? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Betty Pinson, JVolvo

              Because if this is truly about the issue of cw, then that is the 64 thousand dollar question.

              I have read that in light of the 2 1/2 year old civil war with multifaceted sides here, some of the cws may not be in control of the govt hands.

              How can you assure that the cw sites won't be hit by those bombs if we are not sure they have been moved around by govt forces and or have gotten into the hands of govt enemies.

              Those are more serious issues, as you sit there knocking down others ideas for a more peaceful solution. Yet you have left these more important questions unanswered without playing out multiple scenarios instead you are happy to set up some easy simplistic straw man arguments.

              So we bomb and then what??? Yeah...I thought so.

              Government of, for, and by the wealthy corporate political ruling class elites. We are the 99%-OWS.

              by emal on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:55:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  By cutting off access to the raw materials (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gerrilea

              Seal up their borders and don't let the raw materials pass through.

              You know, like the olden days when we used to actually try to prevent wars.

              "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

              by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:57:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  impossible (0+ / 0-)

                To cut off their access to raw materials, you'd have to demand that everybody bin Syria not have any bug spray or writing pens or hundreds of other things that are made with the same plain ole ordinary industrial chemicals (like isopropyl alcohol) that chemical agents are made from.

                The BEST we can do is look for new manufacturing plants (I assume we already know where all the existing ones are, since the product they are making can be determined simply by examining its waste water).

    •  Of course there is no way (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, JVolvo, gerrilea

      To deter future chemical weapons use short of removing and destroying them. Which you can't do without boots on the ground, and that would obviously invite the possibility of casualties and failure .

      There is NO scenario here in which we could possibly succeed in deterring chemical weapons use, or in making life any better or safer for the Syrians.  Nor is there any military scenario which would enhance America's or Obama's reputation or "credibility".  Every road to Damascus leads to disaster, death and shame.

    •  But I'm failing to see how it deters (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx

      Deterrence only works if the impact of the deterrent is catastrophic to the ones you iintend to deter.

      For example, Obama is already shamelessly claiming these weapons could threaten Americans.  TERROR!  

      How would this deter a terrorist?  Terrorists already know we'll drone their little huts.  A cruise missile is going to impress them?  And even Assad had to take into account we'd respond with something non-existential.  

      If you can survive the response, you aren't going to be deterred.  If others see they could survive the response they will only be encouraged.

  •  Searching for Mary Chesnut's words (55+ / 0-)

    I come immediately upon this:

    Brutal men with unlimited power are the same all over the world.
    America's great flaw in the world is lack of humility.  One would think we'd have had enough lessons in humility we might have learned a little bit from them.  Alas, it appears not.  

    We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

    by Dallasdoc on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:45:56 PM PDT

    •  Blue teamers haven't made ALL the same mistakes (6+ / 0-)

      as the red squad. Until that happens, to great excess, and hot on the heels of the GOPers flopping - until the codependency of war hits rock bottom - this simply won't change.

      And after that we will turn our war addiction against each other. For like all addicts, I believe it our fate as a nation to die at the hands of the one country we both hate and fear: our own.

      •  You hate and fear America? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gerrilea

        Really? That is disturbing for me to see, even here on Loony Left Central. I am a Progressive, but some of you guys are way out there... as far as the extreme Neo Cons are to the right. Extremism is bad, whether from left or right.

        In the case of Syria, John Kerry's speech yesterday did not convince me.
        FACT: The opposition to Assad has great motivation to make it look like Assad used chem weapons...
        FACT: Assad himself has great disincentive from using them...

        I will support any action Obama chooses, as long as he is clear and convincing in showing that Assad used chem weapons against his own people. Sadly, as said many times above, this will lead us down an unknown path filled with dangers. What else are we to do? Stand aside and let chem attacks happen? Devils choice... I think we are right to Just Say No.

        •  Re: What you are (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JVolvo, Calvino Partigiani

          stopped being interesting or important the moment the ad hominems started which was...immediately.

          "hate America?" really? Could you channel George W Bush more effectively? I'm going with... no. Not really.

          •  you typed this (0+ / 0-)

            I believe it our fate as a nation to die at the hands of the one country we both hate and fear: our own.

            That sounds like you are saying you hate and fear America.

            What are we missing in your intent? Because the obvious reading is well obvious, so going to the Bush comparison is fairly unfair.

            •  Was Abraham Lincoln wrong? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JVolvo, gerrilea

              He's the one who said the only country that can defeat the United States is itself.

              Last I checked... no one accuses him of hating America.

              And it doesn't take much looking around in the modern era to test the waters: Americans are contentious, because human beings are contentious. (see: this most excellent exchange here).

              The Framers recognized this, and the need to redirect factious tendencies for the safety of the Republic, lest those divisions fester into enmities.

              And no one accuses the Founding Fathers of hating America, either.

              And neither the Framers nor Lincoln had any illusion that the Union would last forever.

              "A Republic - if you can keep it." That pretty much says it all.

              I happen to think the divisions amongst Americans have festered into enmities. Or are you among those who see promise in 'bipartisanship in Washington?'

              Because I don't think too many people still do, left or right or in between.

            •  I understood what was being said. (0+ / 0-)

              I really didn't take it literally, that we "fear" ourselves.  NO, we are just manipulated into that unstable emotional state of "fear".  Fear of and fear from _____, you fill in the blank.

              Fear is used to control the masses into doing, believing and thinking as our corporate overlords demand.

              I truly hate the actions of our government.  I do not hate "We The People", generally.

              I do not fear my government.  I fear the neocons that have infiltrated it.  They should be weeded out and brought to justice.

              -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

              by gerrilea on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:06:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  This is what I think we all fear now... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gerrilea

        when the power brokers finally turn on each other, we will be caught in the middle.  I was telling my partner the other day that it really IS time to get the hell out Dodge.  Fighting to change things leaves us blind to our own survival.  

        Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it only changes form.

        by SME in Seattle on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:20:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Odd, I don't think leaving will make you safer. (0+ / 0-)

          The power brokers that control this planet will be safe in their McMansions with their elite mercenary bodyguards furnished by Blackwater.  

          You and I will suffer for generations because of their actions.  We'll have targets painted on our backs when the survivors of our imperialism come of age and seek revenge.  It won't matter where you are, sadly.

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:12:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Americas's Great Flaw is the War Powers Act of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx

      1973. It is that simple.

      Obama can erode that law today and set it on a pathway to extinction by asking Congress for a Declaration of War and refusing to use the War Powers Act. He might win, he might lose, but at this point, I just want someone... SOMEONE... to stand up for Article I of the US Constitution; Congress shall (SHALL) have the power to declare war. Full Stop.

      We will work on The Second Amendment as written soon. One Article of the Constitution at at time. One at a time.

      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

      by OregonOak on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:15:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Taliban Santorum found simmering in bitter Earnest (5+ / 0-)

    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 07:56:49 PM PDT

  •  If nothing else, our interventions in Iraq and... (26+ / 0-)

    Afghanistan (& Vietnam, and Iran and Cuba, etc) should have taught us that our use of military force has unpredictable and often uncontrollable consequences, and that we actually have far less influence or control of events in other nations than we like to think we have.

    •  Our use of Presidential Imperialism you mean.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LLPete

      where a President gets to make war on his own, and then, almost as an afterthought, ask Congress if its ok. The War Powers Act of 1973 is the worst piece of Reactionary-NeoFascist legislation ever enacted, and the results are now plain to see.. Perpetual War, a Standing Military 17 times larger than the top 10 nations COMBINED, a National Debt running out of contol, Lobbyists writing laws and paying for their passage, an Executive pre-chosen by the top Fortune 500 International Executives, and declining wages and standards of living for the peasants.

      Wake up, America. Its not our character flaws which are killing us, it is that insane law we live under.

      Gut the War Powers Act of 1973. Start today. Stand up for the Constitution and Human Rights. We may yet be allowed to take out Assad's Chemical Weapons use, but in any event, we will have re-established oursleves as a Government of the people, by the people and for the people.

      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

      by OregonOak on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:21:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ok,... (0+ / 0-)

      agreed. But then what? Don't compare to other conflicts where America clearly screwed up. If we see clear and indisputable evidence that Assad used chemical weapons against Syrians (and I have NOT seen evidence that convinces me yet), are we to stand aside and say "your problem, not mine"?

  •  There is no such thing as surgical strikes... (23+ / 0-)

    that will not kill innocents.  How do you punish a country with military action that uses chemical weapons and claim that action is "worth it" if you ultimately kill innocents in retribution?  

    •  Dead is dead (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DawnN, greenbell, CenPhx, mchestnutjr, gerrilea

      Whether blown to bits by a bomb, choked to death by gas, born dead and deformed by Agent Orange (a chemical weapon), shot full of holes by a cluster bomb, stepping on a land mine, committing suicide by being held for more than a decade without charges or legal recourse...feel free to add more to this list...

      Surgical strikes, collateral damage and all the other "euphemisms" that are used to obfuscate death dealing be damned.

  •  How about instead of "selling us" anything they (24+ / 0-)

    divulge all stocks, assets, donations, et al from the military contractors, oil companies and hedge funds that stand to make billions on the American taxpayer?

    How much money will the "friends and family" make from this?

    Why war?

    WHY NOW?

    Surely it's not a moral issue...BAHRAIN comes to mind.

    Weaponizing Tear Gas

    Egypt next:

    Medical Treatment Under Fire in Egypt’s Attacks on Protesters

    Once you've explained these things, Mr. President, remember this IS what you want "We The People" to agree to!


    Thanks but no thanks!  I want no part of this, again!

    -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

    by gerrilea on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:28:45 PM PDT

  •  join the world in a cease/fire prayer. (5+ / 0-)

    Don Benedetto was murdered.-IgnazioSilone(BreadAndWine)

    by renzo capetti on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:07:01 PM PDT

  •  Plus: Do not pull the trigger on attacking another (19+ / 0-)

    country without Congressional authorization.

    Show the nation and the world that the USA abides by its Constitution and we're arcing back toward the Rule of Law and not the will of men.

    Agree 100% with this diary.  So many assume that the USA is supreme in all things and never consider that something may go wrong.  But just what if?  

    What if a Syrian missile takes down a US jet?  Heck, what if a rebel anti-aircraft shot takes out a US jet, thinking it is another Syrian jet which just bombed them earlier in the morning?

    What if a Syrian missile, or a missile fired from a Syrian MiG29 hits a US ship and it goes down with all hands?  (Destroyers are notoriously unarmored and very vulnerable to great damage from a single hit. Case in point: USS Cole.)

    If those things happen, will the USA still say, "No boots on the ground"?  No US troops after 100 sailors die?  

    And what if our strikes are all successful, but have zero effect on the civil war?  What if gas is used again? Will we just double down? A limitless supply of cruise missiles?

    There are no certainties but this:  US attacks will kill people. We are not currently killing people in Syria. Let's not kill people.

    Those we kill are very likely not in any way responsible for ordering the gas attacks. Like our 1%, those responsible have nice comfy lives. Why kill the little guys for the crimes of the henchmen at the top?

    Take a long view, eventually get the henchmen and Assad and put them in prison. That's a good deterrent.

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

    by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:17:47 PM PDT

  •  totally disingenuous (5+ / 0-)

    First, no boots on the ground means no boots on the ground.  There were none in Kosovo, none in Libya.  This idea that it is inevitable based on some inchoate fear is kind of ridiculous.  

    Second, no one is mentioning terrorists (except the Assad regime).  The issue is whether governments should be allowed to massacre civilians intentionally and horribly with impunity.  Put another way:  do you support a right of government leaders have a right to massacre people?  Because that is the question here.

    So, yes, an effort that inflicts enough harm on Assad's ability to wage war that he doesn't escalate into more attacks is worth it.  Trading a few million dollars against the lives of hundreds children who will be the victims of the next attack and the one after that, the ones who likely can only be saved through action?  I dunno, are tax dollars more valuable than them?

    •  No one s mentioning terrorists... (9+ / 0-)

      Other than President Obama

      [Obama] said U.S. allies Israel, Turkey and Jordan would be threatened, as well as U.S. national security interests, if Syria is allowed to use chemical weapons without retribution. Terrorists could get their hands on the weapons as well, he said.
      •  and you think the one offhand (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell, Hawkjt, Treetrunk

        comment is what this is all about.  ok

        •  Meanwhile, who has spent the last week saying... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mindful Nature

          that skeery al Qaeda terrorists in Syria got chemical weapons and launched a false-flag gas attack? Why, that would be the anti-war side.

          Now, however, for President Obama to even suggest that it's possible for terrorists to ever get chemical weapons is, to exactly the same people, outrageous.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:53:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  when you are right, you are right (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe from Lowell

            it is true the ones ginning up fear of terrorists haven't been on the side of the responsibility to protect

            •  It's been rather depressing over the past 2 years (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Treetrunk, Nowhere Man, elginblt

              to watch so many people who fancy themselves progressives embrace the habit of calling large, diverse groups of Muslims "terrorists" just because it's momentarily politically advantageous to do so.

              First in Libya, now in Syria. That they're repeating the propaganda of a fascist dictator makes it that much more special.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:59:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  not to mention Egypt (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joe from Lowell
                •  I haven't seen it so much with Egypt. (0+ / 0-)

                  It's mainly been the military government calling the Muslim Brotherhood "terrorists," and the military government gets very little love around here.

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:19:28 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Are you kidding? (0+ / 0-)

                    People here were positively giddy about the coup.  Almost no one here defended the elected government because the MB are a bunch of baddies.  I think the notion that the military gets little love isn't really borne out

                    •  Seems a very minority position. (0+ / 0-)

                      The people who were "giddy" about the coup are a lot fewer than the people who were against it, or profoundly ambivalent, and even most of them didn't go along with the terrorist label.

                      But, yes, there have been a few. As opposed to the Syria debate, in which labeling the opposition terrorists (broadly, see this Phoenix fellow's disgusting comment in this subthread) and accusing them of gassing their own side is pretty much  mainstream opinion around here.

                      Art is the handmaid of human good.

                      by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:59:57 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  The US designated one of the rebel groups (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                i dunno, gerrilea

                A terrorist organization. So I guess you're going to have to find something new to blame on those of us who are not in favor of bombing Syria. I doubt it will take you very long; good luck with that.

                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 Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:16:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "One of the groups." Yep, one. (0+ / 0-)

                  So therefore, you go ahead and, just like Assad, apply that label to the entirety of the rebellion.

                  Are you actually a bigot, who can't understand this distinction?

                  Or are you just pretending to be one, because it's momentarily convenient?

                  The way you jumped right into the policy and spouted a convenient line of bullshit for an internet debate, without putting even a second's thought into what would normally be an obvious point for progressives (Don't stereotype a broad group based on the actions of some of its members) strongly suggests the latter.

                  You probably aren't actually a bigot, just a profoundly dishonest person who will say whatever might help him get what he wants.

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:57:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ah, the good old "you are a bigot and a liar" (0+ / 0-)

                    That sort of thing never gets old. My arguments and statements speak for themselves, as do yours.

                    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 Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:41:09 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No no, bigot OR liar. (0+ / 0-)

                      I never claimed you were both.

                      And since you haven't actually made an argument, and couldn't come up with anything except "Poor widdle me!" in response to mine, yes, I think this exchange does speak for itself.

                      Try not to indulge in any bigoted stereotyping in the future, even if you're doing it dishonestly.

                      Art is the handmaid of human good.

                      by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:49:15 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  So you think you can misleadingly and dishonestly (0+ / 0-)

                        describe what I said and then when I don't rise to your bait and engage I am saying "poor little me."

                        Please show, with links, where I have stated that because one rebel group has been designated a terrorist group that means that all the rebel groups are terrorists. Or better yet, since it was your original claim, find my statement that wide swathes of Muslims are terrorists just because of this one rebel group.

                        You casually assert that posters here are bigots and racists and then you specifically applied it to me. So prove it. Please post my bigoted comments here for everyone to see.

                        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 Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:09:03 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I think you still won't answer the point. (0+ / 0-)

                          When you cited the designation of one terrorist group as evidence that the Syrian opposition were terrorists, in defense of the position that the Syrian opposition are terrorists, you knew exactly what you were doing.

                          You aren't fooling anyone. If you're ashamed of your argument, don't make it anymore.

                          Art is the handmaid of human good.

                          by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:11:36 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  So no links then? (0+ / 0-)

                            Perhaps you shouldn't call people bigots unless you can prove it.

                            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 Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:18:42 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

    •  Good Question: (7+ / 0-)
      do you support a right of government leaders have a right to massacre people?  Because that is the question here.
      Eric Holder's words reveals the answer for us:
      “Due process” and “judicial process” are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.

      -cut-

      Holder outlined four requirements the United States has to follow in order to legally kill a citizen:

          The principle of necessity requires that the target have definite military value. The principle of distinction requires that only lawful targets – such as combatants, civilians directly participating in hostilities, and military objectives – may be targeted intentionally. Under the principle of proportionality, the anticipated collateral damage must not be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage. Finally, the principle of humanity requires us to use weapons that will not inflict unnecessary suffering.

      Then we have the reality of what those words mean, in practice:

      Bradley Manning Headed To Prison, While Those Who Authorized Torture Go Free

      The U.S. used extraordinary renditions to swoop up terror suspects and send them to repressive regimes in places like Syria and Libya for torture.
      Maybe you missed these memo's.  WE grabbed innocent people and sent them to places TO BE TORTURED!

      In fact, one of those places was SYRIA.

      And as for the "we must save the children" meme:

      The drone strikes our current POTUS has ordered has killed hundreds of innocent children.  The drones strike civilian casualty lists our current POTUS claims very few if any civilians have died.  Why's that?  They falsely label those innocent victims as "terrorists" or "militants".

      The final nail in this coffin of hypocrisy would be this:

      Obama DOJ Asks Court to Grant Immunity to George W. Bush For Iraq War

      It does seem our government has answered your very important question.  Our government leaders not only believe they can massacre people, they think they have the right to do it to anyone, anywhere at any time by any means and then give retroactive immunity to those responsible for said war crimes and crimes against humanity.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:02:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell

        1) torture is massacre of civilians, how?
        2) And I presume that consistent with your opposition to doing anything about mass murders, you also supported this torture?  Or something (I know I opposed that personally)

        3) your list of examples have zero to do with Syria

        •  Because HEY LOOK OVER THERE! (0+ / 0-)

          RANDOM BAD STUFF 'BOUT AMERICA AND OBAMA!

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:53:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If you want an example of the massacre of (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell, CenPhx, gerrilea

          civilians: The Clinton administration's no fly zone bombing and economic sanctions against Iraq, which deprived the Iraqi people of food, medical supplies, and equipment to repair sanitation facilitiess.
          Result: Over 500,000 excess deaths among Iraqi children from
          malnutrition and diseases like cholera.
          Clinton's Secretary of State said that was a price worth paying.
             Is Clinton in prison at the Hague? No, he's an honored elder statesman.
             How is slow acting biological warfare not as bad as chemical weapons?

        •  Okay, maybe I need to explain further for you. (0+ / 0-)

          Your question was:  Is it okay for government's to kill civilians intentionally and with impunity?

          Clearly the answer is Yes, the American Government absolutely believes that.  Our government has stated and acted in just such a manner.  It now believes it can target and kill any citizen anywhere in the world, and has done so.  It has indiscriminately killed children as well with drones.  IN Pakistan alone, over 178 children have died from them.

          I gave examples that outline our New Amerikan Policy as dictated by Eric Holder himself.

          Oddly, in his 4th guideline of how do legally kill a citizen, he claims some morality that WE do not practice in reality, ie "not using weapons that will inflict unnecessary suffering."

          Again, I pointed out how black sites, in of all places, Syria, have been used to kill and torture "suspects" by our government.

          I pointed you to the fact that our government kills with impunity as well.  The true heroes get tortured and put in jail while the actual war criminals are given "immunity".  Again, as per Eric Holder's own policy statements.

          Now, the final point you attempted to make, I guess I really didn't address for me personally.  It's obvious that ever American supports this behavior, we did vote these people into office, both Bush Jr and President Obama, twice!

          And the smell of hypocrisy has surely reached the heights of Heaven.  It's okay for our government to do it but no one else.  We can't make this into some "moral imperative" that we ourselves do not practice.  

          I guess that's what you'd have us do here and I don't buy into any "moral" framing of this issue we are facing yet again.

          Let me make this clear, with another example for you:

          Remembering the millions of innocents killed in US imperial wars

          In the years since the end of World War II, the United States has killed more innocent people in more foreign countries than any other nation on earth.

          -cut-

          Never mind that the government they (our troops) serve supports some of the most undemocratic regimes in the world, from the Saudi monarchs who brutally repress their own people while funding the very terrorists our nation has been battling for so long, to the Bahraini regime that murders and tortures dissenters, to the wicked Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan-- notorious for boiling his opponents alive-- to a host of lesser yet equally horrific tyrants in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

          So, honestly here, what policy will be enacted once we bomb the hell out of Syria?  What puppet dictator will we install there and what will they go on to do, with our support and praises?

          Will it be Eric Holder's stated policy that any government can kill it's citizens, without charges, judge and jury?  If innocents, including children, are killed, it's okay, as long as they're labeled "insurgents" or "terrorists"?

          Will we continue to use depleted uranium bullets that will shred the DNA of every species that comes upon their spent shells for the next 4 billion years?

          Will the "cannon fodder" our Military Industrial Complex creates be sadistic killers forever? You know, the ones we want them to be to fight never ending wars to solidify our Imperial Empire?

          If we didn't believe and want these things, then why did we vote them into office again?

          Our votes have consequences, deadly ones.

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 01:10:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Upon review, I must clarify one thing. (0+ / 0-)

            I said this:

            I guess that's what you'd have us do here and I don't buy into any "moral" framing of this issue we are facing yet again.
            Might I revise this to say: "I don't buy into any moral framing that states we must go after evil doers when we ourselves do so much evil.

            What our government has done, in our names, I find morally repugnant and I do not want it to continue under some false narrative of "a moral urgency".  

            It's all hogwash.

            -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

            by gerrilea on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 01:17:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  so person A robs someone (0+ / 0-)

        at one point in his life...he doesn't get punished for it because the prosecutor says there is not enough evidence.

        Later in his life, he sees someone else get robbed, he wants to stop it because he's different now and he recognizes what he did earlier was wrong, but according to you, he must stand by and say or do nothing, because otherwise...hypocrisy.

        And that makes sense how?

        •  The problem with the analogy you present (0+ / 0-)

          is that we still are the robber today.  There is no "later in life" thing going on here.  Our government has no remorse for their continuing actions.  In fact, they believe they have the right to rob but no one else can. Your analogy is more appro when viewed from this understanding.

          That's the hypocrisy I see.  It's a "do as I say, not as I do" mentality they are now attempting us to buy into.

          I don't.

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 04:46:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  agree - as does Nancy Pelosi (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell
    •  Thank you. I was wondering where the diarist (0+ / 0-)

      was during the Libya intervention.

      Not that I'm convinced lobbing tomahawk missiles will accomplish anything positive, but the fear of being dragged into a land war is misplaced.

    •  Yes, the diarist is the fearmonger here. (0+ / 0-)

      He doesn't even try to explain how this is supposed to turn into Boot onna ground.  He just throws out the scary image, Cheney-style.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:47:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Right, no boots on the ground. (0+ / 0-)

      That's dangerous, putting America's brave warriors in harm's way.  Let's hold off on this until we can assure Americans that all fighting will be done remote control by brave American warriors safely fortified in underground bunkers in Nevada, somewhere.

    •  Obama said it's in our national security interests (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx, greenbell, JVolvo, gerrilea

      because terrorists can get the chemical weapons and use them on us....so yes, he did do that terrorist fear mongering thing......but he's not going to secure those weapons is he?

      Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven. William Shakespeare

      by lutznancy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:42:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There were troops on the ground in Kosovo (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerrilea

      I know one of the members of the Minnesota National Guard who was deployed in Kosovo.

      We already lost people in Libya.

      We can't possible stop every leader from killing civilians.  That is an impossible task.

      What if Assad's forces use assault rifles to kill thousands in response?  Do we attack again?  Assad and the rebels can keep killing even if they have to use the same kinds of weapons used in our own civil war.

  •  US bullshit excuses used to be better. (23+ / 0-)

    The thing that strikes me about this "inevitable war" is how the government isn't even trying to polish its turds.

    Remember when we had a vial of the Andromeda Strain before the UN? Or something evil. Colin Powell had the evidence. So did Condi Rice. Tubes. Aluminum. Centrifuges. Yellowcake. Curveball. Mushroom clouds. Amirite? That was some serious bullshit, which no length of hip waders could keep you above.

    Now? Syria is a threat to the United States because WMD and terrorists. Post hoc shit. Trouble in River City.

    Come on. I'm insulted by the lack of effort here. I was insulted back in the Iraq war run-up, because, hey where's my smoke and mirrors? I want smoke and mirrors with my morning bullshit.

    World's going to hell in handbasket on rollerskates when you can't even get a decent pile of cow manure thrown at ya.

  •  Why specify "American" blood? (5+ / 0-)

    Why specify "American" lives?  Are they more precious, more rare, than the blood and the lives of Syrians?  That's the country involved; that's the people upon whom we propose to rain destruction in the name of our all-knowing moral supremacy, however tattered and besmirched by the events of the last 50 years.  And more.

  •  If Syria was working on a nuclear weapon it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell, elginblt, CenPhx

    would be an easy call to take out a facility that provided critical materials. But what do you bomb to prevent the use of chemical weapons?

    The problem with chemical weapons is that they are not that hard to obtain. So there is no guarantee that even the safe (?) destruction of Syria's supply would have any impact.

    But if we have no good options, does this mean that we sit idly by while chemical weapons are used against civilians, including children? Do we have to now accept a world where this is allowed?

    Frankly, I don't see any easy answer until we decide, as a nation, how strongly we feel about the use of these weapons.

    •  You deter their use, not destroy them. (0+ / 0-)

      The point of an exercise like this to to show Assad, and all the future Assads, that there will be a very high price to pay if they engage in chemical warfare.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:43:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The only way you make the price high enough (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29, gerrilea

        to send that message is to destroy so much infrastructure that you inflict mass casualties.  I mean isn't that why Assad is using them in the first place?  The carnage got so bad as it tends to do in a civil war.  I mean this is a country which already has seen 100K civiilans killed.  What are you going to do to impress Assad?

        •  Disagree. Destroy his very favorite things.... (0+ / 0-)

          his air assets, his internal security apparatus, his military command, his palace, his armor, and that will exact a heavy cost.

          You're thinking would be appropriate if we were talking about a democratic state, but we're not. We don't have to deter Syrian society, but a limited number of elites.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:03:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Mary Chesnut was a very cool lady. (8+ / 0-)

    I have read her Civil War diary several times.   People don't get educated like her anymore.   They should make it into a movie.  

    War is always "punishment", but almost always for the people who fight, not their leaders.

    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 04:48:58 AM PDT

  •  Have We Determined Who Ordered It? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, Treetrunk, JVolvo

    Was it Damascus or did some local commander unilaterally decided to use it? Does the Syrian Army have a strict Soviet-like hierarchy or do they give local commanders some autonomy?

    That said, what is the purpose of this attack via missiles? What is it going to do except to rile the situation further?

    The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    by The Lone Apple on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 05:05:20 AM PDT

  •  We cannot and must not keep (13+ / 0-)

    striking regimes all across the globe.   The War on Terror will never end because evil never ends.   It it their country.. their civil war and we have enough to do to stop terror on our people.   This ain't it.  
    A message?   All wars end at the negotiating table but the republicans do not believe in negotiating with enemies...
    I am so opposed to this outrageous decision and be ever so sure he will go it alone that I cannot begin to tell you how angry I am.

    Not one of us on here would excuse nor should we if this was Mitt's or Bush's decision.   The same stands true for this president.   He said in 08 he would make mistakes...I never thought it would be continuing down Bush's war chant !  

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:38:05 AM PDT

    •  This has nothing to do with the War on Terror. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Treetrunk

      Just because you can't tell the difference doesn't mean the President can't.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:42:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh Bull shit !!! (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, LLPete, greenbell, CenPhx, gerrilea

        chemical weapons are not terror?   And just watch..WOT will be included in one of the many speeches so don't hand me that line  of spin and think  I am stupid.

        Just how much do YOU know about war...that is like saying a military strike is not an act of war.   If you had any clue at all of what you just said you would know that
        not one troop or soldier in the mediterranen could claim anything if this did not fall under the theatre of War on Terror.

        We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

        by Vetwife on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:48:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  CBS called it exactly that !!! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell, gerrilea

          We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

          by Vetwife on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:55:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  this excerpt (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greenbell, gerrilea
            Syria: The next front in the war on terror?
            June 8, 2013 4:00 AM

            Flash Points: CBS News State Department Correspondent Margaret Brennan talks with CBS News Senior National Security Analyst Juan Zarate about the latest troubling developments in the Syrian civil war, from al Qaeda's growing involvement to Russia's continued support of the Assad regime

            We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

            by Vetwife on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:57:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Screw CBS. I care about the administration. (0+ / 0-)

            I don't expect knowledgable commentary from the mainstream media.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:10:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That was in June ..... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gerrilea

              and here lately I don't expect knowledgble commentary from the administration either... Even if I worked my butt of twice for election and reelection.  
              War on Terror supposed  to be over says this administration.   Well... terror still exisits... and always will.
              In war zones... silencers were against the Geneva convention but renaming it to noise suppresors was OK.
              Really?   A rose by any other name...or a missle strike...
              Still the same

              We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

              by Vetwife on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:32:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You can't even see your point anymore. (0+ / 0-)

                Never mind wandering off from it. You don't even know what direction it lies in anymore.

                Let me remind you: you were trying to argue that the administration was linking action against the Syrian government to the "War on Terror."

                And I would find this oh-so-principled argument that chemical weapons are no big deal, no different from anything else, a whole lot more respectable if anyone making it had provided the slightest indication they felt that way before, say, last Thursday.

                Art is the handmaid of human good.

                by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:39:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Where did I say it was no big deal.. I said it was (0+ / 0-)

                  terror and torture.  You have lost your ability to communicate.  You do not have a clue and I smell projection here as it is YOU who has no direction of which you speak... I know exactly what I am talking about.. My opinion of the situation and of course many others as well but since you work with so many of those who have served or are serving, I guess that makes you more capable to conclude a judgment....More than many of we advocates on here....who talk to the military community every single breathing moment of our lives.   Rant on....you are young yet and still learning.

                  We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                  by Vetwife on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:43:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yo, Kerouac, try making a point! (0+ / 0-)

                    Quibbling with my wording and stream-of-consciousness typing do not rebut the argument the chemical weapons are treated as an especially dangerous category for a reason.

                    Art is the handmaid of human good.

                    by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:52:09 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You are just wanting to throw pie (0+ / 0-)

                      How mature.    You are the one going off point in so many directions trying to project your views but I know my point and if you don't get it then, this debate is futile because you think people against the invasion of Syria is about NOT thinking chemicals are WMD...is just beyond the pale but we cannot strike everyone who has them....
                      We would have to start with us...Does this ring a bell?

                      Testvet...Edgewood....MKUltra...Do you honestly believe Syria is the only country that has openly used WMD's.
                      Do you think terroism did not not exist before 911.  Surely not.  Terror has been long before mine or your birth and will be long after our deaths.

                      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                      by Vetwife on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:05:00 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  OK. How about President Obama? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gerrilea
              [Obama] said U.S. allies Israel, Turkey and Jordan would be threatened, as well as U.S. national security interests, if Syria is allowed to use chemical weapons without retribution. Terrorists could get their hands on the weapons as well, he said.
              POTUS

              As of 9pm 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able) ~ JV

              by JVolvo on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 01:14:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  "Just watch" huh? You mean, it hasn't been. OK. (0+ / 0-)

          Tell me, Madame Certainty, how often did the administration link the Libya operation to the war against al Qaeda? Why, that would be zero.

          And just because chemical weapons can be used by terrorists does not mean an effort to curtail them is part of the "War on Terror" (a phrase this administration doesn't use, but whatever).

          Tell me, do you think the 2001 AUMF - the one that authorized the "War on Terror" covers the upcoming strikes in Syria?

          Careful, now.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:09:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Obama himself was in fine Cheney style (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gerrilea

        saying the weapons could threaten us.  How? TERROR!!

        •  YOU are using the "War on Terror" formulation now. (0+ / 0-)

          You, not the administration, are now conflating the tactic of terrorism (these weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists, which would threaten us) with the war being waged against al Qaeda.

          The administration did indeed talk about the potential threat of terrorism. They did not, unlike you, treat that threat as the same thing as the so-called War on Terror.

          Oh, and I love the way the entirety of the threat of terrorism is now "Cheney style," as if it was the consideration of terrorism as a threat itself, and not the shady manipulation of that concern for unrelated purposes, is what defined Cheneyism.

          Frankly, I think you're in over your head here. I think you hear the word "terror" and mix up a whole bunch of different things.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:07:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Then you need to straighten out POTUS: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gerrilea
        [Obama] said U.S. allies Israel, Turkey and Jordan would be threatened, as well as U.S. national security interests, if Syria is allowed to use chemical weapons without retribution. Terrorists could get their hands on the weapons as well, he said.

        Reuters D'Oh!

        As of 9pm 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able) ~ JV

        by JVolvo on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 01:09:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Screw this Powell Doctrine BS. (0+ / 0-)

    If you can't make an argument against the policy, you don't get to assume a completely different policy to argue against instead.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:40:05 AM PDT

  •  Then why outrage now, and not then? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Treetrunk, gerrilea

    By this I do not mean Iraq: I mean drones.

    I absolutely agree that adventurism is dangerous and illegal. However, it's foolish to believe that cruise missiles are equivalent, much less equal, to an engagement. Similarly, it is horrendous to not oppose, vehemently, the use of drones with more voice than missiles.

    1. We know from prior use and consequence, that Cruise missile strikes against Libya, against Sudan, and against Afghanistan were limited under Reagan and Clinton. The use under Clinton was misguided (literally), but the damage was limited to where the missiles were aimed.
    2. We know from ongoing operations that drone usage misses targets, can be tricked, and is an ongoing alienation of all populations where they operate, including purported allies.

    Additionally, chemical weapons represent the last of the international weapons regime that is intact. Under Bush, we began ignoring the ban that we had previously honored against biologic and chemical weapons, and this is a potential legal return for Obama to the rule of international law on prohibited weapons.

    Is there any evidence at all, that this would not be eight to fifteen missiles hitting runways and control towers/barracks (which have all been evacuated, by the way)? If not, can we please focus on drone usage and its lack of legal framework and its use by an exclusive executive?

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:46:18 AM PDT

  •  Could Someone, Please, Explain To Me... (8+ / 0-)

    Who actually wants us to get involved in Syria and what will we gain by sending troops or missiles or drones there? The American public is strongly against military involvement, the British have rejected the idea, so why is the U.S. even considering an air strike?

  •  Get a Declaration of War. Start Today. (7+ / 0-)

    You might not like the result, but at least you gave the Constitution life. We cannot have Perpetual War, brought to you by the War Powers Act of 1973.

    If the American People are not ready to suffer the inconvenience and anger and friction of a debate in Congress, we sure as hell are not ready to suffer the inconvenience and anger and friction of a war that goes out of control, or even one that doesn't.

    Make him Do It. Make him submit a Declaration of War to Congress for the first time since 1950. We owe our children and grandchildren a Living Constitution, not a Dead Letter scavenged over by amateur grammarians and dead lawyers. Make him ask Congress to Declare War. Today.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:48:12 AM PDT

  •  Why does America have to be the cop of the world? (9+ / 0-)

    Why do our soldiers have to be the ones paying the biggest cost? If it's that important, can't some of the other countries help stop Assad? Don't get me wrong, chemical weapons are horrible, but why is America supposed to be the only one that can stop it?

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:50:59 AM PDT

    •  It is unfair (0+ / 0-)

      that the US always has to step in....but life is unfair, as I am sure there are many Syrians will attest to....

      Seek the congressional approval if necessary, but this act of barbarism must be answered by the US and world.

      Otherwise, the use of these weapons could become standard operating procedure for desperate despots all over the world.

      They are easy to obtain, so the use of them can occur all over the globe...someone has to stop it now...and as usual the job will fall to the only truly free superpower left.

      •  I understand what you mean but, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, JVolvo

        the country has been at war for what, almost twelve years now? How many servicemembers have done three or more tours in actual combat zones? There are a lot of very brutal regimes around the world, are we going to stop every one? I have no love for Assad or chemical weapons whatsoever! It's just we've lost quite a few service people since 2001. I'm not saying we can't ever use force. Ever since the run up to Iraq I am skeptical of claims of WMDs and of promises that a war will be quick, or that it will be inexpensive in lives or money. I just hope the powers that be are really thinking this through.

        Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

        by Dirtandiron on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:15:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've listened to the President try (10+ / 0-)

    to justify this under "national security" and it rings hollow.  It IS a humanitarian issue, but the fact that we have sold white phosphorus and said nothing when it was used, the fact that we invade and fight for oil while ignoring places like Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, means we have no moral authority.  The world is telling us that by refusing to participate in this war.  They are also telling us it is a bad idea, but we are too arrogant or too concerned with our "image" vis a vis the "red line" to care.

    The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

    by MufsMom on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:57:12 AM PDT

  •  Do not trust the military-industrial complex. (7+ / 0-)

    They will always, always, be gunning for more war.  Do not trust an administration, any administration, when they tell us that secret evidence they can not show us proves that going to war is necessary.  It is always, always, a lie.  Pentagon Papers revealed that all the proof they claimed to have for justifying Viet Nam war but could not share was b. s.  Dubya's quagmire was based entirely on b. s.  Spanish-American war was b.s.  Hell, even Pearl Harbor was allowed to happen because the profiteers were gunning for war.  If they have incontrovertible evidence they sure as shit would put it out there for everyone to see.  Instead, they have no evidence and then hide behind the b.s. that they need to preserve national security secrets so we will have to take their word on it.  If they had proof for war they would show sex-tapes of their grandma to get their way.  Dems do it.  GOPers do it.  

    Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon. As good as I am, the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway. –jbou (2013)

    by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:57:51 AM PDT

    •  Enabled by the War Powers Act. Simple. (0+ / 0-)

      Obama can ignore it and delegitimize it. We can return to being a government accountable to the people instead of a government accountable to defense contractors and their lobbyists.

      I would be interested in the NRA's take on why Congress should not be required to Declare War according the Article 1 of the US Constitution. I think they have more skin in the game of war profiteering than in 'Merka as a Republic, if you want to know the truth.

      Anyone out there heard from the NRA on this issue? Should we invoke the War Powers Act or should we use Article 1 of the US Constitution? And where do you stand? That says a lot about this community, frankly.

      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

      by OregonOak on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:27:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  war because of a statement about red lines (5+ / 0-)

    seems awfully flimsy to me especially coming from a nation that has used chemical weapons more than once!

    "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 07:58:59 AM PDT

  •  job (0+ / 0-)

    Something is a job if you'd rather be doing something else.  Stopping inhumane treatment is a job--Syria presents such a job--except it costs a lot.  Is it worth it is the question--a very slippery slope.  Let's say we have verifiable proof Assad used chemical weapons--do we have a moral obligation to act?  To act alone?  Does anyone think giving him a free pass on this won't lead to more use of such weapons by him, or some other government under duress?  Does the number of killed change the calculus?  Should it?  Must it?
    Are we the world's policeman because we are the superest of powers?  Would a slap on the wrist--a couple of cruise missiles--satisfy?  Prevent future uses?  
    Almost all unaswerable questions--so let's try another tack.  Can we punish without arms--economically?  Can we punish Assad's allies--Russia, China, and Iran?  Methinks that's the way to go--a road not often traveled.  The enabler is often the guiltiest party.

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

    by melvynny on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:12:00 AM PDT

  •  Sam Houston, then governor of the State of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LLPete, JVolvo, gerrilea

    Texas, was even more explicit than Mary Chestnut about the dangers of going to war. He said this to his fellow Texans:

    Some of you laugh to scorn the idea of bloodshed as the result of secession, but let me tell you what is coming! Your fathers and husbands, your sons and brothers, will be herded at the point of the bayonet. You may, after the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, as a bare possibility, win Southern independence. But I doubt it. I tell you this: While I believe, with you, in the doctrine of state rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South.
    But the lust for blood, always present in the hearts of some Texans, overpowered reason, Houston was illegally forced from office, and Texas triumphantly went to war. History shows that Houston's predictions were correct in every particular.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:14:33 AM PDT

  •  How about... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LLPete

    just take your finger off the trigger.  That'd be enough.

  •  Mary Chestnut. Interesting symbol. Her (0+ / 0-)

    side lost that war.

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

    by Wildthumb on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:26:20 AM PDT

  •  War Tax & War Bonds (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, gerrilea

    If these fools are so psyched for another war, let them pay for it themselves.

    "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

    by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:35:02 AM PDT

  •  We will "win" this war, yet lose. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea

    Not because we are going to "lose" a war against some Middle Eastern entity, but because we have turned back on our values and ideals, long before the outcome of the war determines our survival.

    We will "win" this war, just like we "won" all the other wars we fought in.

    Meanwhile, Constitutional America will be destroyed from within, what's left of it anyway.

  •  a question for everyone (6+ / 0-)

    If the US has the right to unilaterally bomb/invade another nation and/or kill its leader as punishment for violations of international law, do other nations in turn have the same unilateral right to do the same to the US or its allies for violations of international law?

    If, in the aftermath of the illegal 2003 Iraq invasion, Mexico or China or Brazil or Indonesia would have bombed the US's production and storage facilities for WMDs as punishment and then invaded and occupied Washington DC and arrested Dubya, Cheney and the others for a war crimes trial in Le Hague, would anyone here have objected to that? How about if that same action had been taken after the US aided and facilitated the Iraqi use of nerve gas during the Iran-Iraq War? Would we support this enforcement of international law?

    And what about US allies? If a coalition of nations, such as Russia, India, South Africa and Australia, or even just one of those nations acting unilaterally, were to enforce UN Resolution 242 by invading Israel and forcibly removing all the illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories, would anyone here have any objection to that? Would the US join in that effort to enforce international law?

    Does international law deserve to be enforced on everyone who violates it, by force if necessary----or only against nations we like, and NOT against nations we DO like (including ourselves)?

    Think very carefully before you answer that--the answer will reveal a lot about you, and about us as a nation.

  •  one piece of intelligence I wish we had . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whizdom

    is just how good the Syrian chemical weapons really are.  In the case of Iraq, the production process they used was making a lot of impurities in the finished product, which caused their nerve gas to degrade pretty quickly and turn into useless goo after just a few weeks. It was so bad that during the Iran-Iraq War they couldn't even stockpile their weapons--they had to ship them directly from the factory to the front so they could be used before they went bad.  because of that, when the US bombed the Iraqi chemical production facilities in the First Gulf War, it meant that Saddam's entire nerve gas arsenal literally disappeared into thin air within a few weeks. And we knew that, because we already knew all about Saddam's chemical weapons capacity from working with him during the Iran-Iraq War. (That is just one reason why the whole "trucks to Syria !!!" thing was a crock of horse shit, as everyone familiar with Iraq's chemical warfare program already knew.)

    So I am curious about the quality of Syria's chemical weapons.  If they too have the same purity and stability problems, then destroying the chemical production plants means that within a few weeks or months, Assad's entire arsenal will be gone.  If the Syrians are making good stuff, on the other hand, destroying the production plants will, at best, bottleneck their supply for a while until they can rebuild it (and hope we don't just keep bombing it into dust).

    I am sure the US already knows the quality of Syria's CW arsenal.  I wish WE did. I think it would make a big difference in deciding what to do.

  •  what I'd like Obama to do (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martianexpatriate, gerrilea

    is tell all the people pushing for an attack on Syria that they can lead it personally.

    Drop them off at the legal limit in Zodiacs, pointed toward shore. We have (I suspect) enough arms and other items confiscated in arrests to supply them. If any of them are in government (elected or appointed), they have to sign a letter of resignation.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:28:56 AM PDT

  •  That is SO True (0+ / 0-)

    I agree totally. Thank you for articulating it so brilliantly.

  •  Here's the REAL quandary... (0+ / 0-)

    I'm no fan of going to war with Syria. BUT...do we really want to set the precedent for a rogue dictator to gas his own people without any kind of punishment?

  •  Boots on the ground (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea

    The Marines arrived today off Syria.  USS San Antonio.

  •  WMD (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea

    as the only nation to use nuclear weapons we are in no superior moral position to talk about syrians gassing their enemies.

    simply, there should be a world consensus, to act unilaterally is begging for trouble.....

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