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Early this morning, EmptyWheel’s Jim White published a fairly quick read (summary) covering what I think might be one of the most disconcerting aspects of the entire Syrian story and (specifically as it relates to) the factual chronology of America’s participation in the affair.

Then again, as you’ll realize after you read this (entire) brief piece, by clicking upon the link at the top of blockquote, immediately below, the fact that the U.S. has been an “active participant” in this horrific episode of ongoing Mideast unrest--dating back to at least November 2012--isn’t even near the top of my personal list of “disconcerting facts” about the entire matter. It’s the ”where” and ”when” regarding the positions of U.S.-trained rebels that’s most alarming of all. (Hopefully, you’ll read the entire post to get the gist of what I’m merely excerpting here.)

Why is Obama Changing the Date and Size of First CIA Death Squads to Enter Syria?
Jim White
Emptywheel.net
Wednesday September 4, 2013 8:34 am

There is a very interesting point thrown in as a small tidbit in Monday’s New York Times story on Barack Obama securing the support of John McCain for a military strike on Syria:

Officials said that in the same conversation, which included Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, Mr. Obama indicated that a covert effort by the United States to arm and train Syrian rebels was beginning to yield results: the first 50-man cell of fighters, who have been trained by the C.I.A., was beginning to sneak into Syria.
Taken at face value, this version of the story would have us believe that the first group of 50 trained by the CIA was presumably still in the process of “sneaking” into Syria on Monday. But the timeline of US training for these fighters is much more complex than that. Some foul-mouthed blogger noted back in May that this training program had already been underway for some time and the LA Times caught up with her in June, disclosing that the program began at least as far back as November 2012 on US bases in Jordan and Turkey.

The LA Times article details that the training is carried out by both special operations troops and CIA personnel. That would put this program squarely within the US tradition of training and releasing death squads that seem to be as adept at killing innocent civilians as they are at killing military targets. We have seen details of their operation in Iraq and Afghanistan under David Petraeus’ vaunted COIN program. There is no information in the LA Times article regarding the death squads entering Syria at that time. Reading between the lines of the article suggests that the squads were in a holding pattern at that point, awaiting better weapons from the US.

In direct contradiction to Obama’s Monday statement to McCain and Graham on the timing of the entry of the first US-trained death squads into Syria, we have this report from the Jerusalem Post that quotes a story first reported in Le Figaro:

The first group of 300 handpicked Free Syrian Army soldiers crossed the border on August 17 into the Deraa region, and a second group was deployed on August 19, the paper reported.

The paper quoted a researcher at the French Institute for Strategic Analysis as saying the trained rebels group was passing through Ghouta, on their way to Damascus.

Okay, now this gets interesting. Obama claimed only the first group of 50 were entering, while Le Figaro claimed there were two groups, with the first one being 300 and the second one not specified by size. Further, note the dates and location: they entered on August 17 and 19 and they passed through Ghouta. The large number of deaths from a suspected chemical warfare agent occurred on August 21 in Ghouta...
Also quite worthy of a read is Kossack Ray Pensador’s post from a couple of hours ago, covering a significant portion of the media reports that serve as the basis for some aspects of the deeper dive that EmpyWheel’s Jim White reported upon (as noted above), earlier this morning.

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UPDATE #2 (6:45 AM EDT, 9-5-13):

Again, from the comments, Kossack lotlizard has a must-read, IMHO. There are literal/literary links, historically, regarding the origin(s) of the Syrian version of the "death squad" meme (I'm referencing the meme, only); and they hit very close to home. The LINK IS HERE. (Warning: it's NOT for the faint of heart; or, for folks that have issues with reality-based blogging--especially when the historical reality/reference is extremely brutal.)


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UPDATE #1 (6:30 PM EDT, 9-4-13):

Worthy of republishing, IMHO, from the comments in this post....

Interesting opening paragraphs from the linked (2+ / 0-)

... Jerusalem Post piece:

   Guerrilla fighters trained by the West began moving towards Damascus in mid-August, French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Thursday.

    Le Figaro reported that this is the reason behind the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus on Wednesday morning, as UN inspectors were allowed into the country to investigate allegations of WMD use.

   Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

by Bob Johnson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:13:10 PM EDT

[ Reply to this ] Recommend Hide


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Now contrast that with what White wrote (end of (1+ / 0-)

... your blockquote, above):

       Okay, now this gets interesting. Obama claimed only the first group of 50 were entering, while Le Figaro claimed there were two groups, with the first one being 300 and the second one not specified by size. Further, note the dates and location: they entered on August 17 and 19 and they passed through Ghouta. The large number of deaths from a suspected chemical warfare agent occurred on August 21 in Ghouta...

    In other words, White insinuates that these CIA-trained fighters were the ones who may have launched the chemical weapons attacks shortly after arriving in Ghouta, while the Jerusalem Post story he cites (which cites the Le Figaro story) claims that the Syrian government launched the chemical attack specifically to kill these CIA-trained fighters who had just entered Ghouta.

    Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

by Bob Johnson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:17:32 PM EDT

[ Parent | Reply to this ] Recommend Hide


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I'm going to include this in my post... (0+ / 0-)

        ...if you don't mind. And, no, White goes to great lengths NOT to insinuate anything here, IMHO. The fact remains that US/Jordanian/Israel-trained "rebels" were in ("passed through") Ghouta at least 48 hours prior to the CW attack.

        The over-arching REALITY of this story, IMHO, is precisely as I indicated in THIS COMMENT, upthread.

        There are a tremendous amount of UNKNOWNS here. For that matter, and for all we know, "the rebels" may have left some of their group behind, in Ghouta, and they may have evidence that Assad's army, did--indeed--deliver the CW attack!

        The bottom line is the entire situation has become notably MORE "disconcerting" with the facts presented by White taken into account--at least much moreso than it was prior to those facts been more widely known, prior to today.

       "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

by bobswern on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:33:30 PM EDT

[ Parent | Reply to this ] Recommend Hide


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  •  Tip Jar (168+ / 0-)
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    DeadHead, Choco8, 420 forever, Johnny Q, wayoutinthestix, Shockwave, exterris, ek hornbeck, suejazz, Brecht, dance you monster, Calvino Partigiani, DRo, Youffraita, leeleedee, Azazello, jadt65, dkmich, ukit, roses, lunachickie, dharmafarmer, jbalazs, PhilK, ZhenRen, WheninRome, ctsteve, Teiresias70, Ray Pensador, pfiore8, kevinpdx, Wino, CenPhx, run around, mookins, Buckeye Nut Schell, Sandino, boriskamite, 2laneIA, Haningchadus14, triv33, YucatanMan, KateCrashes, devis1, gypsytoo, CroneWit, gooderservice, Superpole, blueoasis, yuriwho, Alumbrados, protectspice, 3goldens, Aaa T Tudeattack, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, Paul Ferguson, lenzy1000, hubcap, Chi, Colorado is the Shiznit, SpecialKinFlag, Kingsmeg, Tunk, zerelda, Blue Wind, mkor7, Deward Hastings, hwmnbn, Willa Rogers, AoT, Shotput8, Habitat Vic, ItsSimpleSimon, RFK Lives, shaharazade, Sagebrush Bob, Minerva, PhilJD, PeterHug, chuckvw, joe shikspack, doingbusinessas, peacestpete, gulfgal98, linkage, onionjim, alice kleeman, la urracca, The Rational Hatter, Quasimodal, bronte17, quagmiremonkey, CIndyCasella, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, antirove, NonnyO, tegrat, psnyder, Claudius Bombarnac, Rhysling, pcl07, temptxan, JVolvo, lostinamerica, AZ Sphinx Moth, PrometheusUnbound, Crabby Abbey, Ironic Chef, poligirl, emal, Heart of the Rockies, lotlizard, msl, Jarrayy, cpresley, thomask, aliasalias, DeminNewJ, his panic, LanceBoyle, Demeter Rising, greycat, NearlyNormal, Nada Lemming, wonmug, banjolele, pgm 01, Things Come Undone, stone clearing, greenbastard, Kentucky Kid, daveygodigaditch, native, 4Freedom, Executive Odor, MikePhoenix, sawgrass727, Gustogirl, catilinus, TheMomCat, where4art, dotsright, Anorish, Wolf10, Oaktown Girl, Zinman, Involuntary Exile, dharmasyd, Thunder, vahana, caul, cybrestrike, susakinovember, kharma, Amor Y Risa, kurt, Troutfishing, Yellow Canary, CitizenOfEarth, TexasLefty, merrily1000, Rogneid, Lepanto, sc kitty, J M F, just another vet, War on Error, terabytes

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:03:20 PM PDT

  •  I look forward to the UN inspectors report (59+ / 0-)

    Who Made the Sarin Used in Syria?

    It is for such reasons that some experts say examining pieces of the rockets that the sarin arrived in is likely to be more telling, says Michael Kuhlman, chief scientist for national security at Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit research group in Columbus, Ohio.  Fragments of the weapons will be on site in the same places where inspectors will be digging up soil samples for evidence of sarin, he says. The materials composing the rockets could differ depending on who made them, thereby pointing a finger at who deployed them.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:27:21 PM PDT

    •  And Who Assisted Assad with His WMD's? (18+ / 0-)

      uhhhh, Great Britain perhaps? I don't have the links but it looks like other EU nations assisted Assad as well.

      BRITAIN allowed firms to sell chemicals to Syria capable of being used to make nerve gas, the Sunday Mail can reveal today.

      Export licences for potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride were granted months after the bloody civil war in the Middle East began.

      The chemical is capable of being used to make weapons such as sarin, thought to be the nerve gas used in the attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb which killed nearly 1500 people, including 426 children, 10 days ago.

      President Bashar Assad’s forces have been blamed for the attack, leading to calls for an armed response from the West.

      British MPs voted against joining America in a strike. But last night, President Barack Obama said he will seek the approval of Congress to take military action.

      The chemical export licences were granted by Business Secretary Vince Cable’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills last January – 10 months after the Syrian uprising began.

      They were only revoked six months later, when the European Union imposed tough sanctions on Assad’s regime.

      http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/...

      "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

      by Superpole on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:50:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They could have bought the stuff anywhere... (6+ / 0-)

        ...so could "other" people.

        Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

        by Shockwave on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:55:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Al Jazeera reported two important (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shockwave

          Syrian defectors

          There are two former Assad Generals of interest who have defected and joined the Assad opposition forces, according to reports:

          Adnan Silu, Major General and former head of Syria's chemical weapons program - July 2012 defected to the opposition.

          Brig. Gen Mohammed Nour Ezzedeen Khallouf - chief of supplies and logistics of Syrian Armed Forces, March 2013  

          If anyone knows where the chemical weapons are/were stored, it would be these two Generals.  Hopefully, they can be helpful to those hoping to topple Assad both within and without Syria and to rid Syria of chemical weapons.

          It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

          by War on Error on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:49:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Making sarin is not difficult (8+ / 0-)
        Better Killing through Chemistry

        I was reading up on nuclear proliferation when our editorial assistant came by my office. "You've got a package downstairs," he said. I took the elevator to the lobby of our building, scribbled my signature on the invoice and carried my box upstairs. I then had all the material I needed to make sarin nerve gas.

        Experts have been arguing for years over how realistic chemical terrorism is. Some believe it is just too hard to make and disperse deadly gases; others think we shouldn't underestimate terrorists' ability and recklessness.
        ...
        Instead Tour got a big box the next day by overnight mail. By following one of the well-known recipes for sarin, mixing dimethyl methylphosphonate, phosphorus trichloride, sodium fluoride and alcohol in the right amounts and sequence, he could have made 280 grams of the stuff or a comparable amount of soman or GF. (That's more than 100 teaspoonfuls.) All this for $130.20 plus shipping and handling.
        ...
        Nor would delivering the agent be rocket science. To avoid handling poisons, terrorists could build a binary weapon, which performs the chemical reaction in situ. An off-the-shelf pesticide sprayer could then blow the miasma into a building ventilation system. Depending on how well the sprayer worked and how crowded the building was, 280 grams of sarin could kill between a few hundred and tens of thousands of people. The Aum attack on the Tokyo subway involved about 5,000 grams and left 12 people dead, but the cult didn't use a sprayer.

      •  The ingredients in toothpaste? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, Garrett, NYFM

        Really?

        The horror.

  •  Arithmatic is hard 2+2 = 5 (15+ / 0-)

    That covert operation is so covert we've been reading about it for months.

    http://www.cnn.com/...

    If we're going to go the CT route, why not go to 2+2=6?

    Death squads? Why not call them suicide bombers and pretend that the 46 opposition fighters who died on Aug 21, were one and the same people?

    Hey, I'm just asking questions just as Jim White is doing.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:28:46 PM PDT

  •  I figured as much. (9+ / 0-)

    I'm not all up on where and what the CIA's dirty ops are, but it makes sense. And I knew about the 4B$ Lockheed Martin deal from a personal source for a while now.

    Hinky and stinky.

    •  with the CIA and JSOC (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, WheninRome

      operating behind the scenes in so many countries stirring shit up and creating so much violence and death, is it any wonder so many groups plan to harm the US?  
      If that shit happened here, I too would want to seek revenge.
      Why is it called 'terrorism' when it happens to us, but when the US does it, it is called foreign policy?
      And this has been happening for so long.
      Wasn't 9/11 pay back for something that happened in 45?  
      How many coups has the US commited?  
      Installing brutal dictators that the US allows them to commit so many atrocities as long as they are friendly to US interests. (corporations).
      Then when they quit being friendly we have to take them out.
      We watched Saddam murder thousands of Iranians, but didn't do anything until he changed the oil rules.
      Remember Smedley Butler?  
      Martin Luther King was spot on when he said 'The US is the greatest purveyor of violence'.  

      The US has murdered over 20-30 million people since WW2.

      Passing a law that the Constitution doesn't allow does not negate the Constitution, it negates the law that was passed. Secret courts can't make up secret laws. SORRY FOR THE TYPOS :)

      by snoopydawg on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:22:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's eerily similar to (0+ / 0-)

        ginning up terrorism by our own LE and then prosecuting it.

        It's make work. It is the antithesis of productive. At this point it is destructive and not recoverable because we aren't simply killing people and knocking buildings down, we are poisoning the planet so that less and less of it can be used.

  •  Calling Ray Pensador’s post "quite worthy" (5+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, second gen, Just Bob, shrike, highacidity
    Hidden by:
    lunachickie

    is the biggest liberty I've ever seen you take with the truth.
    Pathetic!

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:02:27 PM PDT

  •  JSOC in Syria? (23+ / 0-)

    Has anyone seen a statement by Jeremy Scahill about JSOC in Syria? Does anyone know how to ask him? Jeremy is back on twitter with many tweets today.

    His book "Dirty Wars" describes the rise of the special ops force, JSOC

    Given that the Pentagon has said that JSOC is in over 70 countries, and JSOC does a lot of training, I would not be surprised if they have already been in Syria.

    In fact since JSOC and CIA go into the hot spots, the odds are very good that they are there in some form

    Here is one link I found. It doesn't look that solid, and it indicates some training for advanced weapons which makes sense. Here it is

    http://www.ronpaulforums.com/...

    In the hearings and press conferences have officals been asked specifically about JSOC, CIA, contractors or others that have already been in Syria and that we are supporting??

    •  Do you think that anyone in the MSM... (4+ / 0-)

      ...would get any answer other than a, "No," to these types of questions?

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:11:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  At least put these questions to the Obama (0+ / 0-)

        Administration. They may simply deny or refuse to answer, but at least later on they could be caught out in a lie, as the Bush Administration was. And refraining from asking troubling questions makes us just look obsequious or naive.

    •  Good question. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest

      I haven't liked those guys since the 90s. They were given a special exemption from posse comitatus, back when we had it.

      The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:40:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don midwest (0+ / 0-)

      i would love for you to diary Dirty Wars.
      You keep commenting on it.
      It is such a great book showing how the US commits (terrorism) heinouscacts in other countries killing so many people.
      Why is it only called terrorism when the US gets attacked?  
      What gives them thevright to go into other countries and do what they do?  
      Spending billions when many here are seeing so many programs getting cut because they say we are broke.
      And what the hell happened to the $2.3 TRILLION that Rumsfeld lost?  

      Passing a law that the Constitution doesn't allow does not negate the Constitution, it negates the law that was passed. Secret courts can't make up secret laws. SORRY FOR THE TYPOS :)

      by snoopydawg on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:38:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the plug, Bob, and thanks for this (8+ / 0-)

    diary.  I will read the entire article at EmptyWheel as well.

  •  Huh (13+ / 0-)

    Reads to me like the Syrian Government found out about these US trained dudes and blasted them with chemical weapons. The US wants to retaliate but can't because they aren't US citizens. They also can't officially admit it either, for whatever reason, so they use the "oh no's those evil Syrians used chemical weapons on poor innocent people, you HAVE to give us permission to go in there and do the right thing!" as an excuse to get in there.

    Seriously, it's like all these assholes think this is one big game of multi-player Civ instead of real life, with real people. The whole thing disgusts me on every front.

    But that NOT to say that multi-player Civ is a bad thing... I thoroughly enjoy that. :)

  •  I got so absorbed, bob, that I forgot (13+ / 0-)

    I had been reading your diary! LOL

    Jesus is this why the rush! Because our CIA operatives were up to their eyeballs in this!

    The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:09:19 PM PDT

  •  Interesting opening paragraphs from the linked (13+ / 0-)

    ... Jerusalem Post piece:

    Guerrilla fighters trained by the West began moving towards Damascus in mid-August, French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Thursday.

    Le Figaro reported that this is the reason behind the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus on Wednesday morning, as UN inspectors were allowed into the country to investigate allegations of WMD use.

    Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

    by Bob Johnson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:13:10 PM PDT

    •  Now contrast that with what White wrote (end of (15+ / 0-)

      ... your blockquote, above):

      Okay, now this gets interesting. Obama claimed only the first group of 50 were entering, while Le Figaro claimed there were two groups, with the first one being 300 and the second one not specified by size. Further, note the dates and location: they entered on August 17 and 19 and they passed through Ghouta. The large number of deaths from a suspected chemical warfare agent occurred on August 21 in Ghouta...
      In other words, White insinuates that these CIA-trained fighters were the ones who may have launched the chemical weapons attacks shortly after arriving in Ghouta, while the Jerusalem Post story he cites (which cites the Le Figaro story) claims that the Syrian government launched the chemical attack specifically to kill these CIA-trained fighters who had just entered Ghouta.

      Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

      by Bob Johnson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:17:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bob, don't worry, despite all the lies, and (0+ / 0-)

        propaganda it is very likely that the U.S. still will be launching an unprovoked and illegal war of aggression against Syria.  Once it happens, you'll be able to defend it day by day; you'll be fine.

      •  I'm going to include this in my post... (20+ / 0-)

        ...if you don't mind. And, no, White goes to great lengths NOT to insinuate anything here, IMHO. The fact remains that US/Jordanian/Israel-trained "rebels" were in ("passed through") Ghouta at least 48 hours prior to the CW attack.

        The over-arching REALITY of this story, IMHO, is precisely as I indicated in THIS COMMENT, upthread.

        There are a tremendous amount of UNKNOWNS here. For that matter, and for all we know, "the rebels" may have left some of their group behind, in Ghouta, and they may have evidence that Assad's army, did--indeed--deliver the CW attack!

        The bottom line is the entire situation has become notably MORE "disconcerting" with the facts presented by White taken into account--at least much moreso than it was prior to those facts been more widely known, prior to today.

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:33:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure I understand your point Bob (17+ / 0-)

        I took from the article at Emptywheel that either option was possible, that the Assad regime launched the CWs against the CIA trained operatives or the operatives used the CW themselves. The second one is obviously the worse of the two interpretations, but the first one is still pretty freaking relevant to me. It means that Assad was not gassing innocent kids in their beds as they slept, as our government has led us to believe. Instead, the regime used a horrible chemical weapon against US trained enemy combatants (you don't think they were travelling to Damascus to bring Assad flowers, right? I am not sure where "the death squad" accusation finds its facts as applied to this particular group, but it has some historical accuracy, I think?)

        I think a lot more facts need to come out before I would say this is more than interesting, but I am definitely in the camp of I'll be watching closely to see if more comes out.

        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 03:38:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps with details still trying to get out (4+ / 0-)

        some confusion will be cleared up soon?

        The overall picture--whether the CIA were the ones who deployed the weapons or they were the victims of the weapons--makes a lot more sense than the shit being peddled as justification now.

        Let's carry this a little further--let's say it was CIA fighters that got gassed and what was really needed by our military was to go in and liberate them (and/or find the perps who gassed them).  If the President were to go on tv and tell us all "Our guys were in there on a secret mission but they got caught short in a trap and we need to send guys in to get them out", why wouldn't people support that?

        Christ, tell the fucking truth for once. Maybe people would have more respect for whatever it is that you're really trying to do...

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

        by lunachickie on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:40:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are you kidding? (5+ / 0-)
          Let's carry this a little further--let's say it was CIA fighters that got gassed and what was really needed by our military was to go in and liberate them (and/or find the perps who gassed them).  If the President were to go on tv and tell us all "Our guys were in there on a secret mission but they got caught short in a trap and we need to send guys in to get them out", why wouldn't people support that?
          Who would support that? A vast majority of Americans want us out of the train wreck that is the Middle East for good reason. It's a bottomless pit where we pour lives and treasure.

          This whole thing is a mess. Obviously, bombing doesn't help.

          Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

          by Bob Johnson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:02:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            to this bunch--because I'm always accused of being such a hater. So ok, maybe it wouldn't be hugely supported. I don't like us in the ME either--and I've been wanting us to get out of there (and most of the other places we lord our military over) for a long time now.

            But I can't deny that, from the position of "direct appeal", any variation of a story like that ("we need to liberate our covert agents") would have made a big difference in initial reaction to all this. Mind you, too, I realize that such agents' "covert" status would likely render the whole thing unworkable, anyway. The point is, this administration probably would have had far better luck selling it with that story than the shit we've had shoveled at us thus far.

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

            by lunachickie on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:16:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I'm FOR training & arming Syrian rebels. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    icemilkcoffee, mrblifil, Hey338Too

    But only SOME of the Syrian rebels.

    Options:

    (1) Do nothing. Assad dictatorship remains in place. 10% of population & climbing are refugees. Many deaths, including use of gas. Likely more use of gas if we do nothing.

    (2) Take action that weakens Assad without aiding any particular faction of rebels. If Assad hangs on anyway, see #1. If Assad falls, likely corrupt, chaotic, deadly state like current Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan (more or less), and--sad to say it--Libya. (Though bad as Libya is, it probably would be even worse by now if we'd done nothing.)

    (3) Try to strengthen rebels who are most likely to work for post-Assad pluralistic democracy. Sure, it's a long shot and it might work out. But given that the only other options are #1 and #2 and they both are virtually guaranteed to suck, #3 is the way to go.

    (4) I got nothing else.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:42:03 PM PDT

    •  Not likely to work (8+ / 0-)

      Rebels can transfer allegiance and there have been reports of rebels migrating to the Jabhat al-Nusra (al Qaeda linked rebel faction). Presumably, with their weapons.

      Fundamentally, too, there is not likely to be a "pluralistic democracy" any time soon. Indeed, the U.S. has mostly paid lip service to democracy in the Middle East. We were happy dealing with Mubarak for years, for example, until his position became untenable.

      But even if our claim to favor democratic regimes was genuine, there is a huge amount of sectarian hatred behind the current unrest in Syria, as in many other nations including Iraq. The current political actors there do not really want an equitable solution where everybody gets a piece of the pie. They want revenge for current atrocities and historical wrongs. And also, the various factions are being supported by external forces that share their sectarian alignment.

      •  Yeah, "democracy" is something we fear there. (5+ / 0-)

        And elsewhere.

        The U.S. is NO fan of democratically elected governments in other nations, at least, other nations which are weak enough to possibly be puppet candidates.

        We've spent so long outright toppling democratically elected governments and propping up tyrants against the will of the people in other countries that I'm honestly a bit surprised anyone even pays lipservice to this quaint idea.

        Anyone outside of the official propaganda channels, I mean.  Sure, I expect the President to bullshit us about "democracy" all day long in press conferences and sober Oval Office speeches to the public.  

        But can't the rest of us out here in the real world admit that it's really just not that way, and hasn't been for many many decades?

        "It puts the lotion on its skin, or it gets the GOP again." - The Democratic Party (quip courtesy of Nada Lemming and lotlizard)

        by Rick Aucoin on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:45:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Too cynical. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hey338Too

          That degree of cynicism was appropriate for many US actions in the past. But not all.

          Our intervention in the Balkans under Clinton was reasonably successful--but not until we launched air strikes against the Serbs. Now Croatia is an EU member, and the other participants in the Balkan war are EU candidates.

          The EU has its problems, obviously, but EU membership or candidacy requires a much greater degree of peace, freedom, and democracy than the Balkans ever enjoyed before. The US-led NATO airstrikes were a major factor in getting the Balkans to this point.

          And Libya, awful as it currently is, probably would have been even worse by now if we'd done nothing.

          Then there's the example of Rwanda. Hard to see how intervening could have turned out worse than the non-intervention we chose.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:20:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Didn't say intervention was never effective. (0+ / 0-)

            I said we don't intervene due to some love of "democracy".

            We intervene for a lot of reasons, mostly selfish self-interested reasons.  "American strategic interests" and such at best, American business interests and loud-lobbying-group interests at worst.

            We didn't intervene in Libya because we felt a burning need to bring democracy and freedom to Libya, we just didn't.

            Same for Clinton and the Balkans.

            Sure, our government says that shit, but the rest of us should be grown up enough to call it as it is.  The U.S. overthrows democratically elected governments and replaces them with pliable dictators, we prop up tyrants and theocrats the world over as long as they are sufficiently U.S. friendly, and so forth.

            The United States does not "love freedom and democracy", at least, not anywhere else.

            "It puts the lotion on its skin, or it gets the GOP again." - The Democratic Party (quip courtesy of Nada Lemming and lotlizard)

            by Rick Aucoin on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:26:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  US encourages Yemen democracy, then turns deaf ear (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rick Aucoin

          (BTW, it was never clear to me until reading this article that, unlike most sources of opinion for or or against U.S. war policies, CodePink actually does things like go to Yemen and meet the families of drone victims in real life.)
          http://smirkingchimp.com/...

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

          by lotlizard on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:02:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  In that case (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey

        how do you suggest laying out the groundwork for engagement, which is the only alternative to intervention. Surely "doing nothing" is also a plan doomed to failure.

      •  It may be impossible to arm rebels selectively, (0+ / 0-)

        issuing weapons and training only to steadfastly loyal "white hats." We haven't been able to do it in Afghanistan, or Libya. Neither have the pro-US governments we helped to install in both countries. (For example, the attack on the Benghazi consulate was reportedly made by a militia that Tripoli had entrusted to police liberated Benghazi.)

        If arming the rebels is going to be an important part of the US response in Syria, it's one of the most dangerous parts of that response, and I want the Administration to be more open about its plans here.

    •  4) (0+ / 0-)

      Don't make the situation worse by removing Assad and bringing even more chaos to Syria. Offer humanitarian aid. And try to work out an agreement between the different parties. Enforce that agreement with an international troop force with a UN mandate.

  •  First CT that begins to make any sense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buckeye Nut Schell

    thing is we will never know the truth. I see nothing good coming of the proposed strikes.

    Listen to Netroots Radio or to our pods on Stitcher. "We are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place" <- Me

    by yuriwho on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:44:28 PM PDT

  •  "death squad" is not factual (9+ / 0-)

    That is just somebody's imagination running wild. Yes. We are arming syrian rebels. This is a surprise to noone because this was was authorized by Congress back in June. Stop turning it into something sinister.

    •  by the way (5+ / 0-)

      if .. lets see. Say, China´s People´s Congress now publicly authorized its government to arm and train fighters of the Zeta Clan in Mexico. Would you have a problem with that?
      (I dont see why China could have any interest in doing so, but take it as thought experiment.)

      Dont you think this is kind of a weird practice between nations?  

      •  Death Squad (7+ / 0-)

        has a particular meaning. Fighters fight and yes they are prepared to fight to the death, and cause death among those whom they fight. But "death squad" goes beyond that description, referring to groups of fighters whose sole function is to mete out death among innocents and political opponents.

        •  misunderstanding (4+ / 0-)

          with "by the way" I was trying to say I was going on a tangent.

          I was relating to the original comment,

          This is a surprise to noone because this was was authorized by Congress back in June.
          I still find it breathtaking how even liberal Americans can read and accept that as a matter of daily business. It is in fact an act of aggression all by itself. One can align oneself with it if one wants, but it still sits weird in a country that countless times decries other states´ doing just that as "illegitimate".
        •  Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford & John Negroponte (0+ / 0-)

          Wikipedia on current U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert S. Ford:

          On October 24, 2011, Ford was recalled from Syria due to what the State Department described as "credible threats" to his safety.[9] Ford had attracted the ire of pro-Assad Syrians due to his strong support of the Syrian uprising. According to American officials, Ford had been attacked by an armed pro-government mob, and Syrian state television had begun running reports blaming him for the formation of death squads similar to those in Iraq. This led to fears that supporters of the Syrian government might try to kill him.[10]

          In August, 2013, it was reported by the New York Times that Secretary of State John Kerry has recommended that Ford serve as the next American ambassador to Egypt, following the incumbent ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, being nominated to serve as the assistant secretary of state in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, which oversees the Middle East.

          The Salvador Option for Syria: US-NATO sponsored death squads integrate opposition forces

          Apparently Ford was John Negroponte's "understudy" in Iraq.

          The gruesome Iraqi version of the "Salvador Option" under the helm of Ambassador John Negroponte has served as a "role model" for setting up the "Free Syrian Army" Contras. Robert Stephen Ford was, no doubt, involved in the implementation of the Syrian Contras project, following his reassignment to Baghdad as Deputy Head of Mission in 2008.

          The objective in Syria was to create factional divisions between Sunni, Alawite, Shiite, Kurds, Druze and Christians. While the Syrian context is entirely different to that of Iraq, there are striking similarities with regard to the procedures whereby the killings and atrocities were conducted.

          A report published by Der Spiegel pertaining to atrocities committed in the Syrian city of Homs confirms an organized sectarian process of mass-murder and extra-judicial killings comparable to that conducted by the US sponsored death squads in Iraq.

          http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/...

          John Negroponte was known for being the "death squad ambassador" in Central America and later Iraq:
          http://www.democracynow.org/...
          http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
          http://www.dailykos.com/...

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

          by lotlizard on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:29:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Your example is facetious (0+ / 0-)

        The Zeta clan is a criminal drug gang that is killing people indiscriminately. The Zeta clan is more like Assad's regime- a murderous reign of terror. If the chinese government decides to insert their own troops to help the mexican government crack down on the Zeta clan, I would be completely supportive of that.

        •  You might support that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quasimodal

          but a lot of Americans would flip their shit.

          I would be surprised if there weren't criminal elements involved in the various rebel groups. There's so damn many of them now who even knows. Not that I disagree with you estimate of the Zetas, they're horrible.

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

          by AoT on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:30:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hm. (6+ / 0-)

            Has none here gotten the idea that it is actually a recognized aggression if one state arms a rebel group in another state, whoever they may be?

            Of course states do it all the time when they can get away with it - like people do crimes all the time whne they can get away with it. That doesnt change the fact that its a crime!

            The US specifically is often very loud and righteous in demanding that "rogue" state X stop supporting armed group Y in country Z. Assertedly because its a violation of international norms. (Where have I heard that term recently?)

            and here is the US Congress authorizing the US president to do just that. Noone finds that spicy?

            •  if overthrowing a murderous dictator is a crime (0+ / 0-)

              then that's a crime we can be proud of.

              Keep in mind that this is a country with no oil, and no american interests at all. If we intervene, it will be solely because we abhor dictatorships and dictators who gas their own people.  We will be supporting the democratic aspiration of islamists who hate us. You cannot get more noble and righteous than that.

              •  We abhor dictators (0+ / 0-)

                who gas their own people?  Or others like Iranians.
                Really?  
                The US gave Saddam info on where the Iranians were that he gassed.
                Gave him a pass for 25 years.
                Plus the US has no problem with dictators they install who torture not even their own people, but others they send to them for the GWOT.
                And yes, there are resources there.

                Passing a law that the Constitution doesn't allow does not negate the Constitution, it negates the law that was passed. Secret courts can't make up secret laws. SORRY FOR THE TYPOS :)

                by snoopydawg on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:55:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  A lot of american will flip their shit (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, highacidity

            for the very same reason they flipped their shit at pretty much anything China does, not because they disagree with the need for an intervention.

    •  The CIA has trained plenty of death squads (8+ / 0-)

      and to think they'd stop now is absurd.

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

      by AoT on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:16:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absurd? (0+ / 0-)

        Isn't that a tad strong? There isn't any evidence that points to that supposition being likely, let alone probable. It's possible, yes, but if it were the truth it'd be awful stupid of Obama to blab about it to John McCain of all people.

        •  Not strong at all (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quasimodal, cybrestrike

          There was never a break in training death squads. Sure, we give them different names, but they did it in Iraq. The school of the Americas got renamed but it's still in business.

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

          by AoT on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:58:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  CIA also armed and trained Libyan rebels (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Great Cthulhu

        who successfully overthrew Qaddaffi and (sort of) successfully instituted a democratic government. The CIA also tracked down Osama Bin Laden. You need to have actual proof before you can tar somebody with the 'CIA-supported death squad' accusation.

      •  Yeah, esp. after they saw what happened to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        Valerie Plame. Didn't Bush and Cheney clean up the FBI, the CIA and the State Dept and fill them with nice Cheneybots and get rid of what nasty dissident opinion there was?

        Anybody left with a rational compass who's still there has probably been keeping their head down for a while.

        Hope I'm wrong. Would like to be wrong.

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:43:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Which is not to say that I support the CIA (0+ / 0-)

        on a regular basis, in their aims or methods; their actions in Latin America when I was young were heinous. But there is bad and there is worse and Bush/Cheney made it worse.

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:44:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And the School of the Americas is still (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Choco8, snoopydawg, AoT

        open for business if they need any help.

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

        by chuckvw on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:00:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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

      the term certainly hasn't been proven to be accurate based on the reporting above. And IF the Free Syrian Army fighters were the target of the gas attacks, it means their presence is intolerable to Assad.

      There seems to be a vague suggestion that the diarist is "disconcerted" (and here I have to guess because the diarist is not specifying as to what exactly is most disconcerting and to what degree) by the notion that the US is somehow behind sarin gas attacks. Extraordinary claims and all, don't you know?

    •  For months Obama refrained from arming (0+ / 0-)

      the rebels. Perhaps it was because he worried it could have dangerous consequences. And perhaps this is why he remains silent on the subject now that he has caved in to Congress' pressure to arm the rebels.

  •  The CIA is America's al-Qaeda. (8+ / 0-)

    They have their own history of terrorism. Mark Zepezauer recorded this in his "CIA's Greatest Hits", among other wonderful sources about this horrible organization.

     When will the CIA get put on the terrorist black list?

  •  Assuming at some point Assad does fall (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marsanges, doroma, Hey338Too, Texas Lefty

    (hypothetically of course) then there's likely to be a struggle between the rebel factions for power with like minded groups coalescing together. Wouldn't we want the rebel groups who advocate a democratic, secular, repetitively liberal regime in Assad's place to be well positioned and capable of playing role in shaping Syria's future?    

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:30:39 PM PDT

    •  And please I'm gone from pro-intervention to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      to undecided so don't assume I'm on anyone's "Team".

      "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:33:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The irony is that the Assad regime is secular and (5+ / 0-)

        as recently as a few years ago, was viewed as open to liberalization. After the initial protests, I think Assad promised to hold elections by 2014. Whether he keeps that promise now, who knows, but a negotiated solution where the country transitions peacefully to a more democratic system isn't out of the question and would certainly seem preferable, especially if control of dangerous weapons is a concern.

    •  which are those? (0+ / 0-)

      can you name any? (see InAntalya´s diary over there)

      •  InAntalya wrote she wants to write another diary (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, marsanges, valadon, highacidity, KayCeSF

        describing the different groups coalitions and factions. I'm eagerly awaiting it

        "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

        by Lefty Coaster on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:42:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes me too (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nada Lemming, wonmug, Lefty Coaster

          Didnt know he was a she, but it matters little :)

          In the entire discussion here (which has already all signs of congealing) I miss one item.

          The ICC. I know that the right wing Americans hate the very idea of the ICC (an international criminal culpability for rulers committing mass atrocity crimes against their subjects). But this here is the liberal part of the US (I hope). Why does noone seem to come to the idea of just demanding Assad gets to The Hague - similar as with Karadzic, Mladic, Milosevic? Thereby the US could stay clear of the civil war itself.

          (actual US policy may be differently motivated, but the virtual nonexistence of the ICC in even liberal American´s perception is sad.)

          I fear that the US is now (through the Obama Admin´s timid avoidance of a clear break with the preceding erratum) firmly commited to sabotaging piece by piece the same international lawful order it was instrumental in creating.

    •  Sure we would (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Choco8

      But our involvement with them wouldn't help them too much as far as I'm concerned. Unless by "well positioned" you mean "better armed."

      Ultimately, checking the power of the Islamist groups seems to be a decent strategy, unless it leads to Assad winning. It just seems like the "acceptable" rebels are such a small group compared to the overall situation.

      At this point it's all so complicated that we're basically being asked to trust our intelligence services as to what's going on and I just can't do that. I can't.

      I say we should send a shit ton of humanitarian aid, and possibly even CW protective gear for as many people as we can to make chemical weapons less useful and thus less likely to be used.

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

      by AoT on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:48:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have total faith (6+ / 0-)

    in the guys who screwed up the last few wars so badly to do this one 100% correctly.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:42:35 PM PDT

  •  catch 22 (6+ / 0-)

    The President has a pretty good track record so far regarding new military ventures, Somali pirates, Osama Bin Laden etc.. Those strikes were quick, concise, smart, effective & necessary. I'm not against all military actions. It also depends on whose running the show. What seems to be short in this conversation is context, it's everything really and this is no exception. I'm still forming my opinion on this but, it's not so simple, there is no good decision here

    •  Yes, it matters who's running the show, and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobswern

      in the past I've thought Obama was more cautious and adroit in undertaking these kinds of operations than his predecessors.

      But I get nervous when the Senate's resolution for US intervention gets revised and expanded by McCain, who is an idiot and a rabid militarist.

  •  MSN Coverage (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, AoT, ukit, 3goldens

    Up until today most of the coverage I've seen regarding missile strikes against Syria was almost overwhelmingly for an attack. But today I've seen a good deal more interviews with opponents of military strikes.  

    I think they're getting that the push back to an attack is getting much stronger. Even Al Sharpton and Chris Matthews were somewhat critical of the president's plan.

    Up until today news anchors looked uncomfortable for the most part, just having these critics on TV seemed to bother them, but not as much now. Maybe because they don't want to be the last ones to jump on the bandwagon.

    Whatever the reason, I'm glad the opponents of a strike are getting more face time and their views aren't met with just skepticism and administration talking points. That could change in the future but this is still a welcome development.

  •  This is the first bobswern diary I almost (9+ / 0-)

    HR'd.  It's HRable for many reasons, most notably the repeated use of the term "CIA death squad."

    In these circumstances, that's a shameful lie.

    Sorry, bob, you lost me.

    •  I thought about it too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Coaster

      But really, who the fuck cares?

      Please pretend that I don't give a shit.

      by Jim Riggs on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:53:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow. We're defending the CIA's tender honor (9+ / 0-)

      It's so terrible that we would insinuate that they would train death squads. I'm sure they would never, never train death squads.

      The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:55:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Timaeus, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybrestrike

      Provide proof that that they aren't a death squad.
      Or read Dirty Wars, educated yourself and wake up.
      They are in over 70 countries stirring shit up.

      Passing a law that the Constitution doesn't allow does not negate the Constitution, it negates the law that was passed. Secret courts can't make up secret laws. SORRY FOR THE TYPOS :)

      by snoopydawg on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:06:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Critics focusing upon the words, "Death Squad..." (0+ / 0-)

        ..are using an old trick which is to obfuscate the far more salient FACTS of an article/post which, in this case, happens to be what is noted in the headline of my diary: "...An Extremely Disconcerting, Factual Chronology On U.S. Involvement In Syria."

        Basically, it's a twist on the "But-what-did-you-think-about-the-play-Mrs.-Lincoln?" riff.

        How the writer might label something, to reinforce their argument has little bearing on the far more important facts they're noting.

        It's the old "style-over-substance" bullsh*t, IMHO. And, yes, it's off-putting and it detracts from what is otherwise a very important piece, IMHO; and I wish White didn't use that term in his post. Because it provides an unnecessary opening for critics to feebly attempt to focus upon style. Meanwhile, White's report, which includes many substantive facts, still stands-up to that extremely weak criticism on its merits, IMHO; at least for those that are interested in those trivial little things....like...you know..FACTS!

           

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:39:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This would be more convincing (0+ / 0-)

          if the characterization of "death squads" were factual.

          So when people argue that such a characterization isn't accurate they're simply making a "stylistic" criticism?

          People who argue that criticism on the grounds of inaccuracy is irrelevant are the one's concerned with facts?

          This is "Alice in Wonderland" logic.    

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:48:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  rush limbaugh's programming this evening: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan G in MN, KayCeSF, Fogiv
    "...the rebels did it and Obama set it up"
    very cool, bs

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:12:21 PM PDT

  •  wow, I don't know where to start here. (6+ / 0-)

    This diary is so chock full of specious arguments and outright baseless claims it's hard to figure out where to begin.
    Look, I don't want us to get involved in Syria either, but this sort of breathless rumor mongering and speculation gets us nowhere.

  •  Remember the Charge of the Light Brigade... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, Choco8, chuckvw

    wrong place, wrong valley, wrong war.

    People will die because very stubborn men and women will demand it so, because if not, their ego will suffer.

    The world suffers because strong egos demand that the world suffer as the price for their strong egos.

    Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

    by Bollox Ref on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:26:04 PM PDT

  •  I think I understand it now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Choco8, wonmug
    There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.

    Donald Rumsfeld

    “Fiction is a lie through which we tell the truth.” — Albert Camus

    by valadon on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:42:05 PM PDT

    •  Here's my favorite quote on this... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica

      "We don't know what we don't know."
      --Bob Swern responding to a comment in his diary (9-4-13)

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:27:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Told you all about Robert Ford, the death (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice

    squad guy.  Did the same with Libya.

  •  Wow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Simpson, Sybil Liberty

    The CT is powerful here.  So the theory du jour is that CIA trained fighters committed the attack by launching rockets fr government controlled areas.  As you say, there is no evidence here at all (if THAT qualifies as evidence, the evidence against Assad is rock solid by comparison.)

    Maybe, and far more likely, if there is any connection at all, is that the reinforcement of rebels by year fighters made it yet harder for the Assad regime to displace rebels from Ghouta as they've been trying to do for weeks.   So perhaps the fighters turned the tide enough that the military resorted to chemical weapons because they were still losing on the eastern side of Danascus.  This has the advantage of being consistent with the other reports and doesn't rely on shadowy CT

    Unbelievable the stud that gets revs here these days

    •  Where did you read.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica, TheMomCat, cybrestrike

      "...the theory du jour is that CIA trained fighters committed the attack by launching rockets fr government controlled areas..." in this post, or in the Emptywheel article that this post's about?

      And, then you acknowledge that I explain: "there is no evidence here at all."

      So, what conspiracy theory are you referencing?

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:25:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You lost me with your reply to... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jeff Simpson

        ...Mindful Nature's comment. Do you take issue with the phrase "from government controlled areas" or are you taking issue with the impression that the White piece is implying a false flag attack by the US-trained rebels. Because if it's the latter, I'm not sure how one walks away with another impression. From White's piece (emphasis mine):

        Were these first groups of CIA-trained death squad members the target of the attack? Or could it be even worse than that? Vladimir Putin had some very interesting things to say in a wide-ranging interview today, but this bit stands out in relation to the death squad story:

        If it is determined that these rebels used weapons of mass destruction, what will the United States do with the rebels?” Mr. Putin asked. “What will the sponsors of the rebels do? Stop the supply of arms? Will they start fighting against the rebels?”

        Whether they were the targets of an attack by Assad’s forces or whether they were the agents carrying out a false flag attack, US-trained death squads could well be at the center of the disputed use of chemical weapons.

        No, you can't fix stupid. You OUTNUMBER stupid. -Wildthumb, 1/10/2013

        by newinfluence on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:53:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your comment's so incredibly disingenuous... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybrestrike, DeadHead

          ...it tells me enough to know that I shouldn't engage with you at all in these threads. I will say, however, that you're taking a comment from the article and emphasizing parts of sentences at the expense of other words contained in them, to portray some relatively balanced statements by White as if they're slanted and in support of a conspiracy theory.

          They're NOT.

          Let's take a look at one example, where you highlighted a part of the sentence to make it appear slanted, as if it was supporting a conspiracy theory (which it clearly does NOT) to support your argument (here's the whole sentence, which provides completely different CONTEXT):

          ...Whether they were the targets of an attack by Assad’s forces or whether they were the agents carrying out a false flag attack, US-trained death squads could well be at the center of the disputed use of chemical weapons....  
          That's a relatively balanced statement, IMHO.

          It's regrettable that White used the term, "Death Squads," in the headline of his article. But, frankly, other than that, there's really not one iota of truth to virtually any of the other vacuous CRITICISMS I've read in virtually ALL of the comments in these threads tied to this post. (Which, even as far as the history of the comments of others in my posts is concerned, is somewhat unusual.) Most of them, in fact, that are, supposedly, critical of this particular post resort to contorting context and/or putting words and phrases in the mouth of the writer (or yours truly) that simply DO NOT EXIST. And, your comment, here, fits quite PRECISELY into that category (i.e.: "contorting context" by emphasizing parts of sentences at the expense of distorting the writer's intent, which is self-evident in the rest of the particular sentence or paragraph, depending upon the instance cited).

          For an accurate view of my sentiments about this preponderance of false charges, and the overall intent of this post and, obviously, my fix upon the sentiments of White, as noted by what he's actually WRITING, I'd suggest you do a full read of my UPDATE to this post, up above (at the end of the diary).

          Have a great evening!

           

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:10:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Disingenuous?! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WB Reeves

            I took the time, in your diary, to try and add to honest conversation. I didn't take words out of sentences, as they're all posted RIGHT THERE. I neither put words in the author's mouth (or yours) nor did I manipulate or contort them in any way. In fact, I was going to add more, but I figured it was overkill. You took great pains to try to portray it otherwise, and I take great offense at your implication.

            I read the entire White piece, and the "balanced" takeaway IMO was not "self-evident", or you wouldn't have so many people taking the same thing away that I did. Are they all being disingenuous, as well? White used the term death squads seven times in the piece, and describes them as equally "adept at killing innocent civilians [and] military targets" -- one would assume for a reason. His placement and treatment of the false-flag possibility are what give the impression that this was what he wanted the reader to walk away with.

            You won't need to reply to me anymore, because that's the last time I'll bother taking the time in one of your diaries. I've liked several of your diaries that I've read. It's a shame that you take honest feedback -- and not even about your diary, by the way -- in such a combative manner.

            No, you can't fix stupid. You OUTNUMBER stupid. -Wildthumb, 1/10/2013

            by newinfluence on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:47:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  People people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern

    Why are we trusting anything the government says?

     How about we start there........

      Assume they are lying to you, assume they have already been training rebels (cause we have NEVER done that before...see Bin Laden), assume they already have had and will continue to have covert troops in Syria and who the hell knows where else.

     Patterns anyone? Anyone other than me remember the lead up to Iraq? If Obama was Republican would we even be debating going into Syria?

     Just saying....

  •  Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford & John Negroponte (7+ / 0-)

    Some background on the subject of U.S.-backed "death squads" in Syria:

    Wikipedia on current U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert S. Ford:

    On October 24, 2011, Ford was recalled from Syria due to what the State Department described as "credible threats" to his safety.[9] Ford had attracted the ire of pro-Assad Syrians due to his strong support of the Syrian uprising. According to American officials, Ford had been attacked by an armed pro-government mob, and Syrian state television had begun running reports blaming him for the formation of death squads similar to those in Iraq. This led to fears that supporters of the Syrian government might try to kill him.[10]

    In August, 2013, it was reported by the New York Times that Secretary of State John Kerry has recommended that Ford serve as the next American ambassador to Egypt, following the incumbent ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, being nominated to serve as the assistant secretary of state in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, which oversees the Middle East.

    The Salvador Option for Syria: US-NATO sponsored death squads integrate opposition forces

    Apparently Ford was John Negroponte's "understudy" in Iraq.

    The gruesome Iraqi version of the "Salvador Option" under the helm of Ambassador John Negroponte has served as a "role model" for setting up the "Free Syrian Army" Contras. Robert Stephen Ford was, no doubt, involved in the implementation of the Syrian Contras project, following his reassignment to Baghdad as Deputy Head of Mission in 2008.

    The objective in Syria was to create factional divisions between Sunni, Alawite, Shiite, Kurds, Druze and Christians. While the Syrian context is entirely different to that of Iraq, there are striking similarities with regard to the procedures whereby the killings and atrocities were conducted.

    A report published by Der Spiegel pertaining to atrocities committed in the Syrian city of Homs confirms an organized sectarian process of mass-murder and extra-judicial killings comparable to that conducted by the US sponsored death squads in Iraq.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/...

    John Negroponte was known for being the "death squad ambassador" in Central America and later Iraq:
    http://www.democracynow.org/...
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
    http://www.dailykos.com/...

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

    by lotlizard on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:32:22 AM PDT

  •  Am I the only one to just find this out??? (0+ / 0-)

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Media companies, including the New York Times, Twitter and the Huffington Post, lost control of some of their websites Tuesday after hackers supporting the Syrian government breached the Australian Internet company that manages many major site addresses.

    The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a hacker group that has attacked media organizations it considers hostile to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, claimed credit for the Twitter and Huffington Post hacks in a series of Twitter messages.
    link

    WSJ was stating that this was a shot across Obama's bow; and why he sent it to Congress.  The quote:  "Proves how risky an invasion is.   When its a slam dunk, they want all the credit.  When it's a big risk, they want to share the blame."

    I have three politically incorrect, straight, white male, grandchildren; and I don't care if you think they're important or not.

    by dkmich on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 04:30:26 AM PDT

  •  Well Kerry keeps saying there are sekret facts (0+ / 0-)

    he can't tell us that would convince us all that a Syria Strike is called for.

    Makes one wonder if the CIA trained death squads were juiced with CW -- and that pissed off Obama enuff to start a war over.

    In any case, here is the US supporting the Al-queda rebels. It's a religious/civil war which the US has not reason to be involved in.


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

    by CitizenOfEarth on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 05:23:13 AM PDT

  •  The Jerusalem Post (0+ / 0-)

    is quoted as a source several times.  The JP is an English Language very right wing Israeli paper most read not in Israel. Why should I consider a credible source here.

  •  Syria and international law (0+ / 0-)

    The doctrine of humanitarian intervention holds that one state has the right to intervene militarily to protect population in another state. A United States military court recognized as much at Nuremberg. http://www.loc.gov/... p. 981-982. The doctrine does not require action.  But it would legitimize punishment for use of chemical weapons.

    The doctrine of reprisals allows the taking of otherwise unlawful action to punish and deter violations of the law of war. In World War II, for example, Germany put Canadian POWs in chains, and the Canadians retaliated by doing the same to German POWs. Reprisals are not allowed against civilians and civilian objects, but that leaves a wealth of legitimate military targets. This doctrine, too, would legitimize strikes in response to use of chemical weapons.

    Neither of these doctrines amounts to an obligation, however. They are permissive, that is, they legitimate an attack on Syria, facts permitting, but do not require it. I say “facts permitting,” because there has to be strong and valid evidence in order to invoke them. They aren’t a carte-blanche.

    The use of poison gas has been against international law since 1900, if not earlier. That was entry-into-force date of treaties banning use of "poison or poisoned arms" and missiles delivering "asphyxiating or deleterious gases" in international armed conflict.
    http://bit.ly/... (Art. 22) and http://bit.ly/... . A 1907 treaty banned nearly identical to one of those earlier ones, use of “poison and poisoned weapons” http://bit.ly/... (Art. 23). Key parts of the two major treaties are known loosely as the "Hague Regulations," not "The Geneva Convention." Turkey and France ratified all three agreements. Turkey and later France controlled the territory that became Syria. Therefore, Syria, too, is bound by those conventions.

    Many allude to a chemical weapons treaty of 1925, calling it the Geneva Convention. Actually, it’s the Geneva Protocol of 1925, and the “Geneva Conventions” are separate treaties entirely. The Protocol didn’t actually ban chemical weapons, but it confirmed earlier treaty provisions that did (see above) and extended the ban to “bacteriological” weapons.

    In any event, the International Committee of the Red Cross found that there is now a rule at customary international law which prohibits use of chemical weapons, even in non-international armed conflict. http://bit.ly/.... The customary-law status of this rule makes it binding on Syria.

  •  Syria and international law (0+ / 0-)

    The doctrine of humanitarian intervention holds that one state has the right to intervene militarily to protect population in another state. A United States military court recognized as much at Nuremberg. http://www.loc.gov/... p. 981-982. The doctrine does not require action.  But it would legitimize punishment for use of chemical weapons.

    The doctrine of reprisals allows the taking of otherwise unlawful action to punish and deter violations of the law of war. In World War II, for example, Germany put Canadian POWs in chains, and the Canadians retaliated by doing the same to German POWs. Reprisals are not allowed against civilians and civilian objects, but that leaves a wealth of legitimate military targets. This doctrine, too, would legitimize strikes in response to use of chemical weapons.

    Neither of these doctrines amounts to an obligation, however. They are permissive, that is, they legitimate an attack on Syria, facts permitting, but do not require it. I say “facts permitting,” because there has to be strong and valid evidence in order to invoke them. They aren’t a carte-blanche.

    The use of poison gas has been against international law since 1900, if not earlier. That was entry-into-force date of treaties banning use of "poison or poisoned arms" and missiles delivering "asphyxiating or deleterious gases" in international armed conflict.
    http://bit.ly/... (Art. 22) and http://bit.ly/... . A 1907 treaty banned nearly identical to one of those earlier ones, use of “poison and poisoned weapons” http://bit.ly/... (Art. 23). Key parts of the two major treaties are known loosely as the "Hague Regulations," not "The Geneva Convention." Turkey and France ratified all three agreements. Turkey and later France controlled the territory that became Syria. Therefore, Syria, too, is bound by those conventions.

    Many allude to a chemical weapons treaty of 1925, calling it the Geneva Convention. Actually, it’s the Geneva Protocol of 1925, and the “Geneva Conventions” are separate treaties entirely. The Protocol didn’t actually ban chemical weapons, but it confirmed earlier treaty provisions that did (see above) and extended the ban to “bacteriological” weapons.

    In any event, the International Committee of the Red Cross found that there is now a rule at customary international law which prohibits use of chemical weapons, even in non-international armed conflict. http://bit.ly/.... The customary-law status of this rule makes it binding on Syria.

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