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Sens. Robert Mendendez and Bob Corker
Senators Robert Menendez and Bob Corker, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, have offered a draft resolution that would give the president limited authority to attack Syria in order to "deter" and "degrade" the Syrian military's capacity to use chemical weapons.
AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) AUTHORIZATION-The President is authorized, subject to subsection (b), to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in a limited and tailored manner against legitimate military targets in Syria, only to: (1) respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction by the Syrian government in the conflict in Syria; (2) deter Syria’s use of such weapons in order to protect the national security interests of the United States and to protect our allies and partners against the use of such weapons; and (3) degrade Syria’s capacity to use such weapons in the future.
The resolution would initially give the president 60 days to act, though it also provides for an additional 30 day window subject to congressional disapproval. The resolution also includes language meant to quell concerns about the possibility of American boots on the ground, specifically:
The authority granted in section 2 does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Syria for the purpose of combat operations.
According to NBC's Kasie Hunt, Senator John McCain has already said he will not support the resolution. Presumably McCain believes the resolution's language is too narrow and believes President Obama should be granted broader authority, or should just move forward without Congress.

Meanwhile, in a press conference this morning in Sweden, President Obama continued making his case for attacking Syria, although he did acknowledge that Assad's use of chemical weapons likely did not pose an immediate threat to the United States. President Obama said that despite the obsession by many reporters and Republicans with his "red line" language from 2012, his own personal credibility wasn't at stake: Instead, he said, the the credibility of the opposition to chemical weapons by international community, including America as a nation, and Congress in particular, is on the line.

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Comment Preferences

  •  In violation of the UN Charter, but who cares? nt (9+ / 0-)

    *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

    by josmndsn on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:33:25 AM PDT

    •  use of chemical weapons is also illegal (13+ / 0-)

      what would you do about them?

      And don't say, "Go to the UN." The last time the UN stopped armed aggression was the Korean War. Vladimir Putin will not permit the UN to act.

      •  That's indeed a weakness; (11+ / 0-)

        the desire of the victorious WWII powers to maintain hegemony permanently via permanent membership and veto rights on the UNSC cometh back to bite them in their collective asses.

        This much said, international law does not sanction vigilanteism as a means of enforcing it.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:42:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Gawd, a new label...vigilante. (0+ / 0-)
        •  In essence, as I see it, we are ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr Robert

          damned if we do and damned if we don't. There is no way to win in this situation.

          The only solution that makes any sense to me is to have the US recognize the World Court, have that body issue a warrant for the arrest of Assad and his henchmen if he ever steps outside of Syria, and do all we can to stop the flow of money, arms and Mrs. Assad's purchases from EU companies. Despite the contempt the Court is held in they have successfully prosecuted several nasty dictators from Africa and the Balkans. However, we will never recognize the court as it does not suit our short-sighted national interests.

          Not at all perfect, but we really need to target the perpetrators.

          We are helpless in the face of the stupidity and cruelty that is inherent in the current political situation in the Middle East. I know because we once had a Turkish student who by chance met a Greek Orthodox priest in the airport in Phoenix. The student came back from the discussion with "All Greeks lie!  We never killed people in the Balkans - we treated them all with the utmost kindness, like brothers!" With blindness like that (and I'm sure the Greek priest had his own warped version of events, although perhaps less so than our Turkish student - I did not talk with him) there is no way to talk and the area is doomed to repeat mass murders until the planet becomes unlivable because of climate change or the expansion of the sun. I'd like to think otherwise, but I am pretty pessimistic.

          I am, I might note, not letting the U.S.  or Europe off the hook.  The Middle Eastern countries were drawn up by European imperialist design with no regard for future strife, and we have often pursued our own interests at the expense of the peoples there and to enrich companies like BP.  

          Anybody have ANY practical solutions? I'm listening.

      •  So you're suggesting an illegal response (8+ / 0-)

        to an illegal action? Isn't that called vigilante justice? We don't even have a posse for that. How does that work and play out?

      •  the Putin statement sounds oddly familiar (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell
        Putin will not permit the UN to act
        sounds like
        GOP will not permit the Congress to act
      •  Chem Wpns like we used in VN- Napalm,WP,AO? (6+ / 0-)

        Kerry managed to flip back and forth from GAS and Chem Wpns.  Don't even think he remembers the Vietnam War he served in. Napalm is still packed in some of our weapons and WP was used recently, under Pres Obama, in Libya in 2011.

        Go-it-alone, without broad international support and commit even a 'Limited' Act of War without direct provocation against a sovereign nation violates the UN Charter.

        BTW, is 'Limited' Act of War like being 'a little bit' pregnant.

        Commit an act of war, be in a state of war.

        *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

        by josmndsn on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:49:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  THIS! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade, CenPhx

          America's hands are NOT clean in this.
          Don't forget agent orange either.

          I sill want to know what are they going to do when Assad shoots BACK.  Limited my ass.

          •  Reply to all (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            josmndsn, shaharazade, CenPhx

            Have each of you folks called your two senators and your representative to express yourselves yet?
            Please do it now, if you haven't.

            •  Emailing my delegation DAILY since last Friday (0+ / 0-)

              Doing my best to get the email for/against tally in the AGAINST column.

              Actually received one reply, so far, by email.  Form letter of timeline discussion of the Syrian civil war, but no commitment for or against attack.  This from my Republican congressman, Tim 'Voter Cager' Griffin (AR-2nd).  Sandbagging his likely 'no to anything Obama wants' vote.  

              *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

              by josmndsn on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:13:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I have but have only be told they are unsure. (0+ / 0-)

              I think I will keep calling every day. I also think I am going to write a letter which I will hand deliver to their offices here in town. Not sure whether they will pay any attention but I have said I will absolutely not vote for them in the future if they support the use of force in Syria.

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

              by CenPhx on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:50:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  But don't we have (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell

          'smart bombs'?  I seem to remember being told during shock and awe that our bombs we're smart and would only kill those that deserved it. I also remember people saying we know that Saddam has chemical weapons because we have the receipts. Fallujah doesn't count as depleted uranium and white phosphorus not are technically not chemical weapons.    

          •  Sorry those were right-wing bombs (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CenPhx, shaharazade

            Ours are being rebranded liberal bombs.  Peace has been rebranded isolationism and that's a relief because if we weren't careful we were headed towards at least 5 minutes of peace if you don't count all the combat troops which have been rebranded something else for all the wars which have ended even though thousands are apparently still dying.  

            •  Not to mention (0+ / 0-)

              all the innocent people who happen to live in these places and are called collateral damage. We don't even bother to count the human deaths of these people as they are pre-criminals. They shouldn't be hanging out with the radicalized bad guys whoever they are.

              Too bad that we have to turn their land into a killing field and bomb them back to the stone age as Bush threatened Pakistan with. This time out it seems that the terrist element is who were aiding because 'chemical weapons' and we can't have a bad evil guy like Assad who's in cahoots with the Russians and Chinese running amok and slaughtering his people.

               Instead we will and we will kill them the American way with our liberal humanitarian bombs and weapons. Freedom fighters who shoot and kill from afar, using modern technology. Our 'troops' death toll will not be great and that's all that counts. We can just let the Syrians kill each other on the ground and back our side, the side of democracy and freedom.

      •  Setting a dangerous precedent (7+ / 0-)

        I posted this as a comment below, but I will again here. Two Yale law professors had an excellent op-ed in the Times today.

        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        The desire to respond to the atrocities in Syria with force is natural. The slaughter of civilians is impossible to watch without feeling morally impelled to act. The dysfunctional Security Council’s refusal to act leaves us feeling helpless in the face of evil.

        But the choice between military force or nothing is a false one. Most of international law relies not on force for its enforcement, but on the collective power of nations to deprive states of the benefits of membership in a system of states. Mr. Obama can cut off any remaining government contracts with foreign companies that do business with Mr. Assad’s regime. He can work with Congress to do much more for Syrian rebels and refugees — including providing antidotes to nerve agents, which are in short supply. He can use his rhetorical power to shame and pressure Russia and China.

        For all their wisdom, the United Nations’ founders showed incredible lack of foresight in freezing in place a system in which five nations hold permanent veto power in the Security Council. Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to change, despite almost uniform consensus that the configuration makes little sense. The question is whether we can manage to live with these shortcomings. If not, we have to think very hard about what the alternative might be — and recognize that it could be far, far worse.

        The question Congress and Mr. Obama must ask now is whether employing force to punish Mr. Assad’s use of chemical weapons is worth endangering the fragile international order that is World War II’s most significant legacy.

        And, again, tell me why killing innocent Syrian civilians is just in any way. That's what the U.S. will do.

        The CWC is clear in stating that perpetrators be tried under the International Criminal Court, not unilaterally bombed. Obama's flouting international laws and norms left and right.

        •  sets a dangerous precedent either way (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sviscusi, walk2live

          Russia and China are not neutral or unconvinced -- they are counting on their ability to veto SC resolutions in order to affirmatively shield Assad from repercussions.  They are violating their obligations under chemical weapons laws.  International law is less a matter of the letter than the spirit, as much of it is built on international norms, not just treaties.  If the international community really thinks this should deprive the U.S. of the benefits of being part of the community of nations, that's a calculated risk, but the same applies to Russian and Chinese recalcitrance -- as with the Balkan wars of the '90s.  The international law implications are at best ambiguous, but if the U.S. violates a particular piece of international law to pursue the greater good, how is that different from violating any law to seek the greater good.  Building international law should be a goal of the U.S., but that is also accomplished by enforcing the commitment that certain acts by a ruler against his own people are so outrageous they are of international concern, and by law and custom, deliberate large scale use of chemical weapons with no other military justification fits the bill.    

          That of course raises the question of what is the greater good.  Here, of course, innocent Syrians die no matter what we do.  It's not, as the Yalies say, "military force or nothing."  If there's a decent chance military force blocks Assad's chemical weapons abilities and helps tip the balance of power.  On balance, this could save more lives than not.  The administration believes this and you've done nothing to argue against it.  The tailoring of means (missile strikes) to end (specific military targets) is an advantage of limited strikes over inaction or deeper involvement.  We should do the other things the authors of the op-ed suggest, too.  Syria is already isolated, though, which should tell you this isn't coming out of the blue but after two years of non-military efforts to constrain the boundaries of fighting.  

          Of course, there's an argument that it won't work, but that's a narrower question and not the sort that requires thinking that people who disagree are acting in bad faith.

          Lastly, bringing Assad before the ICC requires that he be removed from power.  If you want that remedy, be prepared to take steps to achieve it.  Otherwise, it's the same rigid thought process that leads to the absurd result of deferring human rights questions to Putin.

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:31:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Furthermore... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Loge, Justanothernyer

            "isolating Syria" is impossible. They'll continue to get whatever supplies they need from Russia, China and others. And those countries are large enough that we can't "cut them off". Cut off China? That would do as much harm to us as them.

            As for shaming or pressuring Russia & China? They simply don't care. The more we shame and pressure them, the more their leaders gain popularity by "resisting the pressures of the US".

            Both these countries have unstable regions, and they hardly want to set a precedent of external intervention in internal affairs. If they approve going into Syria, what happens when the next Chinese/Russian province decides to break away? That's what this is about.

            Freedom isn't free. That's why we pay taxes.

            by walk2live on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:48:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  This is not a reality based response (0+ / 0-)

          Due to the situation in Syria and its support by other countries, there are no non-military solutions, that have any chance of being even minimally effective.

          You may reasonably conclude that we don't want to pursue a military solution for a number of reasons (cost, efficacy, consequences) but don't delude yourself: the alternative to a military solution is, at this point, nothing.

          (There is obviously no guarantee that a military solution will work either; that is the efficacy argument mentioned above, but I wanted to say it explicitly given the point I am making about a non-military solution.)

      •  I'll say, "Go to the UN." (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, josmndsn

        That's what I'd do to try preventing future use, or punishing proven past use, of chemical weapons.

        And that's what I'd do if an aggressor nation decided to play global cop and bombs another country absent a declaration of war or immediate self-defense.

      •  is it really illegal? (0+ / 0-)

        Syria is not a signatory of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Likewise Angola, Egypt, N. Korea and Sudan.

    •  If nothing else Pres. O (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      josmndsn

      is a really good ppolitician.

  •  Why not pea shooters and ostrich feathers? (7+ / 0-)

    It's only a "symbolic shot across the bow", anyhow.   Wouldn't those be cheaper, less lethal and funnier?

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

    by SpamNunn on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:34:43 AM PDT

  •  When are they going to vote on that? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gchaucer2

    Whip count of committee members? They obviously won't bring that to a vote in committee if it isn't going to pass?

  •  Too narrow? (6+ / 0-)

    "as he determines" sounds wide enough to drive an army through, to me.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:38:40 AM PDT

  •  An entirely appropriate resolution (10+ / 0-)

    narrowly tailored to the interests of the US and the world in preventing the use of weapons of mass desctruction. Well done.

    •  What interests of the US (7+ / 0-)

      Please, explain to me what "interests" of the U.S. are at stake. This is not a war of self-defense, as is obvious to see. No U.S. allies were attacked either. Turkey was not attacked. Israel was not attacked. There is no national security interest there.

      And please also explain to me how this does anything to prevent the use of "weapons of mass destruction."

      The US has used chemical weapons with impunity in Fallujah. Israel did as well in Gaza. Saddam did with the tacit approval of the U.S. in war with Iran. All this shows is that if the U.S. likes you, you can get away with murder. If the U.S. doesn't like you, it will throw the book at you. That's the hypocrisy, pure and simple.

      And the Chemical Weapons Convention calls for trying violators in the International Criminal Court, not allowing a vigilante nation to bomb them. If Obama cares so much about "international laws and norms," then maybe he should push for ratification of the ICC rather than violating the UN Charter.

      •  What interests of the US were at stake in (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        majcmb1, Loge, Justanothernyer

        Bosnia?

        •  That was Europe's problem (2+ / 0-)

          and we shouldn't have done that one either.  We can't do ALL of them.  You keep asking the SAME troops to keep doing all of them while all these other "partners and allies" don't do a damn thing.  

          Plus, you ask the American taxpayer to pay for it all.  That made sense for 40 years or so after WWII.  We were the only real winner of that war.  We owed something to those who'd been devastated but I say when we hit the 50 year mark, it's time for the rest of them to put up or shut up.

          •  So at what point should the United States (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Osiris

            step in somewhere? Or do we just shrug our shoulders and say hey its not our problem?

            •  When it directly threatens the American people (4+ / 0-)

              or when we are participating in an alliance when our alliance partners are actually FIGHTING ALONG SIDE of us not expecting us to pay for it and die for it.  And from time to time we should evaluate alliances to determine if the allies and partners are pulling their weight or in anyway helping the American people and if they are not then we should take a look at that alliance and say "don't call us, we'll call you".

              Or if the international community determines via the UN that an action is needed we might participate (or not) depending again on whether other members of the community are also willing to PAY FOR IT and DIE FOR IT.

            •  How delusional (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greenbell

              For the last 12 years we have been 'stepping in' in the ME. In undeclared 'interventions', with black ops and spooks mixing it up, with drones, invasions, occupations and killing fields. Irag is a freaking nightmare even though that bogus war is over. We have caused the instability of these nation states. It's part of the Great Game of the 21st century, the new re-upped PNAC.

              This round of the game of  US corporate geopolitical dominance is not an isolated intervention it's part of our endless war. Humanitarian my ass. We stepped in big time with the Bush doctrine of preemptive war, not that we hadn't been working hard before 9/11 for our 'interest's'. Tell this garbage to the people that live and our dying in the nightmare world the US is creating. What hypocrisy to call this stepping in like we aren't already up to our eyeballs in all of this.                

              •  My question was directed at greenbell and (0+ / 0-)

                namely when he/she stated that we shouldn't have intervened in Bosnia, I wanted to know at what point should the United States step in. I thinks it pretty ridiculous for anyone to argue that we shouldn't have intervened in Bosnia given the genocide that was taking place.

                •  Bosnia was (0+ / 0-)

                  a NATO action and it was handled by international courts and had the support of other European country's. This is not Bosnia. If genocide is being committed how does bombing them help stop it? What about our very own 'genocides' with white phosphorus, spent uranium, agent orange, and Napalm?

                  What about Bahrain, Darfur, Rwanda  or any of the genocides that we turn a blind eye to, as it's not in our interest. How many Iragis did we slaughter? We don't count them. How many Afghan's and Pakistani innocents have we killed some with chemicals.  How many of those in Syria are Irag refugees from our killing fields? I repeat this is not Bosnia.

                  It's smack dab in the middle of our ME geopolitical game. I find your defense of this 'humanitarian intervention' quite hypocritical, offensive and delusional to boot. The US does not care about humanitarian principles or even international law. At this point maybe the US should get an intervention as we're the super power that is running amok and killing people who threaten our interests.

                  What a lame, illogical argument to use the intervention in Bosnian genocide as a reason to bomb, bomb, bomb and get into a war with Syria. Do we intend to get Assad and turn him over to the Hague? I don't think so but we will become mired in a proxy geopolitical war with the usual players in this region. Are we the good guys here? Why does this lead up to war all sound so familiar?        

      •  Thinking beyond one's own interests (7+ / 0-)

        It's sort of the Hallmark of liberalism.

        As I noted elsewhere, there's something profoundly conservative about saying: "whatever happens over there, it's none of our concern".

        All of my OFA sponsored sock puppets and I approve this post.

        by NoFortunateSon on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:06:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If anything, we should be working to put (5+ / 0-)

          more types of heinous weaponry on the "banned" list, not backsliding on the one type of weapon the world has agreed is so awful it shouldn't be used.

          That would be progress.

          •  I feel that's Obama's position (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sviscusi

            Didn't he get into all sorts of trouble (on the right) for making a "nuclear free" comment?

            All of my OFA sponsored sock puppets and I approve this post.

            by NoFortunateSon on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:16:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are you kidding me? (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Paolo, AZ Sphinx Moth, CenPhx, shaharazade
              The international community is not happy with the United States and Saudi Arabia amid news that they have inked a deal for hundreds of millions of dollars of controversial and potentially unethical cluster bombs.

              The $641 million deal would send 1,300 cluster bombs to America's closest ally on the Arabian Peninsula, through U.S. defense contractor Textron, according to a Pentagon release on the contract.

              Cluster are controversial because they are by nature less accurate than more modern munitions. The Human Rights Watch page on cluster bombs puts it this way:

              [Cluster munitions] pose an immediate threat during conflict by randomly scattering thousands of submunitions or "bomblets" over a vast area, and they continue to take even more civilian lives and limbs long after a conflict has ended, as hundreds of submunitions may fail to explode upon impact, littering the landscape with landmine-like "duds.

              Presently, a treaty banning cluster bombs has been signed by 112 of the 192 member U.N. states. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are not signatory.

              Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/...

              That's from last week.

        •  Neoliberal extremism is not better than (0+ / 0-)

          Neocon extremism when it loses sight of the interests of the American people.  

          •  Our interests are greater than others? (0+ / 0-)

            I thought we were all trapped on this planet together...

            You're still not making a very liberal argument against intervention.

            All of my OFA sponsored sock puppets and I approve this post.

            by NoFortunateSon on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:19:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm making a Constitutional argument (0+ / 0-)

              The Constitution begins with these 7 words:

              We the People of the United States

              If you want to propose an amendment to change that to We the People of the Planet please do but at least we could then tax all the people on the planet or ask them to volunteer for the National Guard.

            •  What intervention? (0+ / 0-)

              like how we intervened in Irag, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia? Maybe more like Iran in 1953 where we teamed up with BP the Brits and intervened in Iran because a democratically elected president with nationalized oil was not in our interest. If we intervene and take out Assad who will we support? I thought our enemy was the radicalized extremist terrorists? Will we put a friendly maleable puppet in charge and let the sectarian civil war rage as we did in Irag and Afghanistan?  Thousands of Iraqis fled to Syria, the 'sectarian violence' as they call this, isn't separate from any of our interventions in the last 12 years.

        •  On liberalism (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell, limpidglass, CenPhx

          Liberalism does entail universalism. It also entails respect for multilateralism and collective governance. Obama shows contempt for multilateralism and collective governance.

          Saying our "national security interests" aren't at stake there does not imply "doing nothing." As I have said time and time again, I favor a more robust diplomatic effort to achieve a ceasefire and an even stronger commitment to the UN's humanitarian efforts.

          The conservative isolationism of which you speak rejects the UN and rejects humanitarian aid. Conflating anti-interventionism with isolationism is lazy and ignorance of the wide spread of possible solutions to international problems.

        •  But it really ISN'T our concern (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell

          Unless you actually want the US to intervene every time a country veers away from our view of 'liberalism'.

          It would be great if we had the resources to be the World Police, but we don't.

          So at some point we're just going to have to let other countries figure it out for themselves. If liberalism is truly the way to go then they'll get there eventually.

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

          by speedingpullet on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:02:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  What interest? (0+ / 0-)

      How does it benefit me, the taxpayer?

    •  Appropriateness doesn't matter here. If the (6+ / 0-)

      President was going to give Assad a mean talking to the anti-Obama folk here would still be irate. This is just like any other issue involving the President over the past 5 years.

      There are some individuals who genuinely disagree with going into Syria. And I respect that, but I've seen people here referring to John Kerry in some the most despicable terms.

      Here is a man who fought for his country and has always been anti-war, but to here the perennial anti-Obama chorus here, he is some traitor who is manufacturing falsehoods against the Assad regime, because, according to some here, Assad didn't attack his people with chemical weapons this is a lie being forced upon the world by Obama.

      No...appropriateness of the argument does not matter here.

  •  their's credibility at stake, for sure (4+ / 0-)

    maybe not international communities, but as Carter mentioned earlier,

    "A punitive military response without a U.N. Security Council mandate or broad support from NATO and the Arab League would be illegal under international law and unlikely to alter the course of the war," said a statement from the Carter Center Friday.

    The former president urged "a peace conference" in the statement.

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

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

    by greenbastard on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:40:02 AM PDT

  •  Sounds like a sound, measured resolution. The UN (8+ / 0-)

    is irrelevant here, because of the Russian veto use. Want proof it's limted and not aimed at a war? McCain doesn't like it. Just imagine what nthe Cheney family thinks.

    •  How is the UN irrelevant? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbastard, corvo, Paolo, CenPhx, schnecke21

      Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro, professors at Yale Law School, had an excellent op-ed in the Times today: "On Syria, a U.N. Vote Isn't Optional": http://www.nytimes.com/...

      But the choice between military force or nothing is a false one. Most of international law relies not on force for its enforcement, but on the collective power of nations to deprive states of the benefits of membership in a system of states. Mr. Obama can cut off any remaining government contracts with foreign companies that do business with Mr. Assad’s regime. He can work with Congress to do much more for Syrian rebels and refugees — including providing antidotes to nerve agents, which are in short supply. He can use his rhetorical power to shame and pressure Russia and China.

      For all their wisdom, the United Nations’ founders showed incredible lack of foresight in freezing in place a system in which five nations hold permanent veto power in the Security Council. Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to change, despite almost uniform consensus that the configuration makes little sense. The question is whether we can manage to live with these shortcomings. If not, we have to think very hard about what the alternative might be — and recognize that it could be far, far worse.

      The question Congress and Mr. Obama must ask now is whether employing force to punish Mr. Assad’s use of chemical weapons is worth endangering the fragile international order that is World War II’s most significant legacy.

      Obama is shamelessly flouting international norms regarding the CWC as well. The CWC calls for perpetrators to be tried in the International Criminal Court. Obama, if he cared about justice on an international level, would push the U.S. to ratify the ICC. But we know that's not happening. Instead, an illegal war of aggression.
      •  The UN should be democratic. (3+ / 0-)

        When one nation can veto a vote, the UN has no power to make a decision.

        •  Well, indeed, but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yoshimi

          that's how we wanted the UN . . . remember?

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:57:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And did you even read your own post? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justanothernyer
        For all their wisdom, the United Nations’ founders showed incredible lack of foresight in freezing in place a system in which five nations hold permanent veto power in the Security Council.
        The UN doesn't work.
      •  What tragedy has the UN stopped? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sviscusi

        The UN was chartered to avoid the atrocities of WWII.

        For reasons that are no fault of the present UN per se, it is a wholly ineffective body at accomplishing its own mission.

        How many genocides and tragedies, including those perpetrated by us, have gone unpunished since?

        All of my OFA sponsored sock puppets and I approve this post.

        by NoFortunateSon on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:09:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  it is largely effective (0+ / 0-)

          at limiting state-on-state direct conflict.

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:37:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What state-on-state conflict did it effectively (0+ / 0-)

            limit?

            Hungary 1956?
            The Anglo-French attack on Egypt in 1956?
            Cezechoslovakia 1968?
            Grenada 1983?
            Arab-Israeli wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982
            Israel v. Lebanon round II
            the Iran-Iraq War?

            In fact, the only time the UN has been effective at limiting state to state conflict is when (1) the United States has decided to act militarily and (2)  Russia and China have been absent (the Korean War) or acquiesced (Iraq).

            I submit that those instances where the UN is likely to be effective in state-on-state conflict are going to continue to be pretty rare, because it requires a state to attack another without being allied with one of the major world powers and the attacked state to be one that America is willing to defend.

            •  well, you want to quibble on "largely" (0+ / 0-)

              that's fine.  I'll compare that record to Europe's from 1850 to 1939, as the point was about wars that didn't happen.  Don't forget India/Pakistan and the El Salvador / Honduras Soccer War.  

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:29:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That is not an effect of the UN though (0+ / 0-)

                for much of the post 1939 period Europe was frozen by the cold war; thereafter, war has been prevented far more by the EU (which was its original purpose) and to a lesser extent NATO.

                (This assumes you are comparing Europe 1850-1939, with Europe 1946 to present. If not, then I may have misunderstood your comments.)

      •  Ha! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        speedingpullet, Justanothernyer

        Good luck with this:

        Mr. Obama can cut off any remaining government contracts with foreign companies that do business with Mr. Assad’s regime.  ... He can use his rhetorical power to shame and pressure Russia and China.
        You think Russia & China give a hoot about shaming? That stuff just makes their leaders more popular at home - "We're standing up to the American bullies!!!". You think cutting off contracts will do any good? Assad will continue to get whatever he needs from the likes of Russia, China and others.

        Freedom isn't free. That's why we pay taxes.

        by walk2live on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:54:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Liz Cheney Says We Should Have Gone To War In (0+ / 0-)

      Syria two years ago so, as to be expected from a knee-jerk RWNJ, she would vote "no" on PBO's proposed military strikes. http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

  •  Time for the US Congress to show it's ass.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GrindtheHills, protectspice

    on an International level.

  •  There's a McCain-Poker joke trying to claw it's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joes Steven

    way out....

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

    by JML9999 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:42:57 AM PDT

  •  No boots on the ground? So, what we need are.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999

    ..levitating soldiers!

    Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations. - George Orwell

    by Wayward Son on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:43:23 AM PDT

  •  Mick Jones Of The Clash and Carbon/Silicon Has (0+ / 0-)

    A better idea.  From the Carbon/Silicon song, "Oilwell."

    Let's drop some luxury
    Goods on to their heads
    Give them a DVD player instead
    Like in the film
    When El Cid said
    "We wish you no harm
    And we bring you bread"

    Full lyrics here.

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

    by stewarjt on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:43:51 AM PDT

  •  Internal inconsistency and shameless hypocrisy (9+ / 0-)

    "Limited and tailored" BUT "as he determines to be necessary and appropriate"

    Here's Marcy Wheeler on that internal contradiction: http://www.emptywheel.net/...

    The word "limited" and "tailored" have no real legal meaning. Who is to judge what they mean?

    And I'm sorry, but I call total bullshit on Obama's claim that
    "the the credibility of the opposition to chemical weapons by international community, including America as a nation, and Congress in particular, is on the line."

    Case One: US troops in Fallujah: http://www.independent.co.uk/...

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

    Case Two: Israel in Gaza

    http://electronicintifada.net/...

    Case Three: U.S. tacit approval of Saddam's use of chemical weapons against Iran in the 80s

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

    Give me a break. The U.S.  flouts international laws and norms with impunity. To quote Mike Lofgren, "The US acting in this manner is like a serial wife beater judging a case of spousal abuse."

    The U.S. is even flouting the Chemical Weapons Convention itself. The CWC clearly states a recommended path of action. That path is the International Criminal Court, not unilateral bombing.

  •  As with everything Obama does (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass

    One is forced to wonder whether this is yet more 11D chess, intended to outmaneuver not only Repubs but the world community too, or yet more political ineptness, of the sort that partly caused the disaster of 2010.

    Does he have an actual, coherent strategy, not just militarily but politically, or is this yet more amateur hour winging it from the Most Brilliant President Evah?

  •  "deter"? (3+ / 0-)

    How are we to know when "deterrence" is achieved? Is there any way to be sure that Assad won't use CW again, short of booting him out?

    And in any case, it's left up to the president to determine when and if "deterrence" is achieved.

    This is only superficially more restrictive than the WH draft version. This still authorizes total war against Syria.

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

    by limpidglass on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:46:09 AM PDT

  •  An AUMF is going to pass. The ? is which one. (0+ / 0-)

    If this language doesn't pass, then Obama will turn to an alternate resolution that picks up more support from the John McCains of the world.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:48:18 AM PDT

  •  Once again, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo

    "Weapons of Mass Destruction" is undefined, and a pretty damn broad category...

  •  Jimmy Carter on Syrian Crisis (6+ / 0-)

    Friends,
    Statement From The Carter Center on the Syria Crisis

     ATLANTA....The use of chemical weapons on August 21 near Damascus is a grave breach of international law that has rightfully outraged the world community. The United States and some of its European allies are calling for military strikes on Syria, but apparently without support from NATO or the Arab League.  Predictably, Russia, Iran, and Syria are predicting dire consequences. At Syria's invitation, a U.N. investigation is already underway and will soon make its report. A punitive military response without a U.N. Security Council mandate or broad support from NATO and the Arab League would be illegal under international law and unlikely to alter the course of the war. It will only harden existing positions and postpone a sorely needed political process to put an end to the catastrophic violence. Instead, all should seek to leverage the consensus among the entire international community, including Russia and Iran, condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria and bringing under U.N. oversight the country's stockpile of such weapons.

    "It is imperative to determine the facts of the attack and present them to the public. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must bear personal responsibility," said President Carter. "The chemical attack should be a catalyst for redoubling efforts to convene a peace conference, to end hostilities, and urgently to find a political solution."

    "AMERICA DID NOT INVENT HUMAN RIGHTS, HUMAN RIGHTS INVENTED AMERICA"

    by michealallison on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:56:21 AM PDT

    •  That's it......they've hung the gassing around (0+ / 0-)

      Assad's neck....now he can either negotiate his way to a dacha on a Russian lake....or the screws will be turned tighter.

    •  Putin says prove it and he will support UN... (4+ / 0-)
      If we have objective, precise evidence about who carried out this crime, then there will be a reaction,” Putin said in an interview with the Associated Press and Russian state television broadcaster Channel One, a transcript of which was posted on the Kremlin website today. Any information showing that the Syrian army was behind the attack should be submitted to the UN Security Council, he said.

      Putin, who today stepped up Russia’s naval presence in the Mediterranean, has said that it would have been “utter nonsense” for President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces to carry out the assault on the day a team of UN inspectors arrived in Damascus and his troops were making military progress against the rebels. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said there are “multiple indications” that Syrian insurgents staged the attack to provoke a U.S.-led intervention.

      He also said that he would talk to Obama on the side this week and there are nations meeting, including Turkey in Geneva. No need to rush to war when dialogue is still possible..

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:04:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup, Vlad Putin, honest broker. n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:41:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In the Middle East, USA, honest brokers? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annieli

          NSA, honest brokers?

           Lodge, diplomacy beats war any day. I am hoping beyond hope that our saber rattling gets an eventual diplomatic response.

          Otherwise, Russia continues to arm Syria with missiles, etc and the war escalates.

          "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

          by smiley7 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:44:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  "A reaction"? (0+ / 0-)

        Putin's reaction would be something along the lines of "No, Assad! Bad kitty!"

        I'm 100% behind a political, international solution to this, but I'd take whatever Putin says as to that possibility with a huge grain of salt.

        Cake or DEATH? Oh, I'll have cake, please.

        by wmtriallawyer on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:31:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Immediately they have fallen into line (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, AZ Sphinx Moth

    What a love in. Kerry et al still have not relayed evidence that shows that the attack Ghouta was perpetrated by the Syrian government. It goes against logic, so they must. Yet they don't, other than saying they have pics of the rockets, which means nothing when they're also making up the gov/reb demarcations on their map. Literally painting their own picture.

    And sorry, no, citing secondhand Israeli audio intel, likely mistranslated, between Syrian forces discussing the chaos post-attack isn't going to cut it either unless independent analysts are allowed in, all the way.

    So Obama, just bring the evidence before the UN. Show rotten old Russia just how amoral and awful they've been for doubting our official version. Victory.

    So why isn't this happening? Because they're trying to cover the whole mess up and end the war once and for all so people will stop talking about the US' shady motives and affiliations, and the region can get back to Business.

    The rebels are still the only ones who benefit(gov-positions post-Assad) from this whole tragedy, and in fact, similarily suspicious massacres in the previous few years as well.

    I for one can't wait until stories from real Syrians start to be regarded as more than CT on mainstream websites like this. One side of this story is being completely ignored, and for a reason.

  •  So its okay for the US to kill Syrians (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Apost8, speedingpullet, Kickemout

    because other Syrians killed some other Syrians? Geez, what an example we're setting.

  •  Obama is trigger happy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paolo

    He and McCain and the other war hawks are all alike. Going to war rather than allowing the UN to do its work. Americans need to stop this rogue acting alone rather than cooperating with others. Obama and the military are not the world police. Our credibility has already gone in the tank because of rogue presidents like Bush. Obama and the need to be the world police---delivering military consequences liberally---comes from the need to show his power. Is Obama that insecure? Obama needs to show patience and diplomacy instead  and allowing the UN to do its job. Obama was elected to stop American wars overseas, not to begin more wars. Where is all this money coming from? We can fund military strikes but we can't feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, or give healthcare benefits to the vulnerable. That goes to show where Washington politicians priorities are and it is not to help those in need in our country. Obama should go to war and use his energy to fight with congress over the needs of our fellow Americans instead of going to war with congress and a majority of Americans over military action in Syria.

  •  So they're going to bomb chemical weapons.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paolo

    which will set off a toxic dust cloud...great. Great for the people of Syria. Oh, and a few people might get hurt along the way. No problem. We do it all the time.

  •  Such bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

    Any planned protests?

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:29:32 AM PDT

  •  John Kerry rages about 500 children killed by CW (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbastard, greenbell

    No one doubts there was a CW attack, though the '1500 killed' number hasn't been verified, and despite Kerry's pronouncements that "nobody doubts" Syrian responsibility, the evidence hasn't been presented ("it's CLASSIFIED"!) let alone validated.

    It's a bit rich though for Kerry to preach about the dead children after his own adventures in Vietnam, where as many have noted Agent Orange and napalm were widely used to horrendous effect.

    Separately, his predecessor SoS Madeleine Albright famously claimed the 500,000 child deaths resulting from US sanctions against Iraq 'were worth it'.

    Strange times, when Obama and Kerry prove to be just as duplicitous, cynical, dishonest, and warmongering as Bush, Cheney, et al.

    She said that she was working for the ABC News
    It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use

    by Paolo on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:33:31 AM PDT

  •  Juan Cole on Syria Attack (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CenPhx, speedingpullet
    By striking Syria, Obama has all but guaranteed that a negotiated solution becomes impossible for years to come. In the absence of serious negotiations, the civil war will continue and likely get worse. The US should give serious thought to what the likely actual (as opposed to ideal) reaction in Syria will be to the landing of a few cruise missiles. The anti-regime elements will celebrate, convinced that it will all be over quickly if the US gets involved. The last thing they will want will be to negotiate with the regime.
    http://www.juancole.com/...

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

    by greenbastard on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:47:04 AM PDT

  •  no matter the economic (0+ / 0-)

    conditions america can always find the resources to wage war even in the midst of telling the 99% that govt can't do its duty and protect the american dream from evaporating before our very eyes.

  •  The only thing that can stop a bad country (0+ / 0-)

    from committing a war crime is a good country committing a war crime.

    /snark

  •  If we're going to break international law (0+ / 0-)

    then take out Assad with a bomb or drone strike and have done with it.  That I can actually believe would serve as a deterrent for other leaders on the question of whether to use chemical weapons.  Why on earth does anybody think Assad is going to give a shit if a bunch of other Syrians die, considering how many Syrians he has already killed?  (Well, that's wrong, he'll care - only because he can hold up all the dead bodies and use them to flame anti-American sentiment.  I'm sure the dead Syrians' families will be really grateful to us.)

    Oh, but we won't do that, because it would set a precedent for targeting heads of state for assassination as punishment for war crimes, right?  And we can't have that.

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