Skip to main content

A Free Syrian Army fighter points his weapon as he tries to locate forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Ramouseh area in Aleppo September 4, 2013. REUTERS/Molhem Barakat
It's easy to oppose this Syrian intervention. One simple fact is on our side: No one has made a serious case as to how lobbing a few low-impact cruise missiles will accomplish much—runway craters can be fixed in hours. Anything more valuable has already been dispersed or is inside hardened bunkers. Anti-air systems are deployed in populated areas, inevitably killing the very same people we'd supposed to be "protecting." Regime change has been explicitly ruled out. The use of heavier ordnance would have to be delivered via manned aircraft and that increases dangers dramatically—both of losing a pilot and of collateral damage.

War opponents have another simple fact: There is no alternative to Assad. The insurgency is dominated by Islamist radicals. It seems like our best post-Assad scenario looks depressingly similar to post-Soviet Afghanistan.

War opponents have public opinion on our side, which is always a nice place to be.

War opponents don't have to contend with "allies" like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Having them agree with anything you support is always depressing.

And war opponents don't have to deal with arguments like this one, from the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof:

So far, we’ve tried peaceful acquiescence, and it hasn’t worked very well. The longer the war drags on in Syria, the more Al Qaeda elements gain strength, the more Lebanon and Jordan are destabilized, and the more people die.
The administration has gone to great lengths to stress just how limited air strikes will be, and to great pain to reiterate that regime destabilization is not the goal. So I'm not sure where Kristoff gets the idea that such attacks will have any effect on the growing influence of Islamists in the region. But let's say that by some miracle, the air strikes do weaken the Assad government, it is the "Al Qaeda elements" that stand most to gain, as they are be best placed to pick up the pieces.

Lebanon and Jordan both oppose American intervention in Syria. It's adorable for war supporters like Kristof to decide what's best for other countries, but there's no reason to provide anyone else "help" that they don't want. And finally, does anyone really think that killing a few Syrians will mean fewer people will die? Assad has proven that he doesn't give two shits about his people, and will go to great and creative lengths to kill them. He knows that there are only three ways this ends: 1) he wins, 2) he ends up strung up on a Damascus lamppost, or 3) he ends up incarcerated at the Hague. Guess which option he'll do everything to achieve? A few dead government soldiers and maybe a plane or three is a small price to pay for what is, for him, a battle for his survival.

More Kristoff below the fold.

[H]ow is being “pro-peace” in this case much different in effect from being “pro-Assad” and resigning oneself to the continued slaughter of civilians?
Unless Kristoff is advocating boots on the ground and regime change, neither of which are currently on the table, then his argument is nonsense. Again, war supporters can't get over the hump of how lobbing a few missiles and dropping a few bombs will fix the situation. Pounding on the table and screaming, "we must DO SOMETHING!" is not a strategy. Sometimes, there is nothing one can do without risking all. And there's no reason for the United States to risk all on Syria.
To me, the central question isn’t, “What are the risks of cruise missile strikes on Syria?” I grant that those risks are considerable, from errant missiles to Hezbollah retaliation. It’s this: “Are the risks greater if we launch missiles, or if we continue to sit on our hands?”
There are no risks to American interests if we sit on our hands. So we act, accomplish nothing, and face risks, or we do nothing, accomplish the same nothing, and avoid risks. That's the cold calculation.
Let’s be humble enough to acknowledge that we can’t be sure of the answer and that Syria will be bloody whatever we do. We Americans are often so self-absorbed as to think that what happens in Syria depends on us; in fact, it overwhelmingly depends on Syrians.
Great! So if doing nothing will lead to bloodshed, and doing something leads to the same bloodshed, and the solution in Syria depends on Syrians ... why are we having this conversation?
Yet on balance, while I applaud the general reluctance to reach for the military toolbox, it seems to me that, in this case, the humanitarian and strategic risks of inaction are greater. We’re on a trajectory that leads to accelerating casualties, increasing regional instability, growing strength of Al Qaeda forces, and more chemical weapons usage.
Ah, we're back to this. Now how will bombings reduce casulaties, halt the growing influence of Al Qaeda, bring about greater regional stability (in a region that is largely opposed to US involvement), and stop the use of chemical weapons? Faith. That's how. It just will.
In Syria, it seems to me that cruise missile strikes might make a modest difference, by deterring further deployment of chemical weapons. Sarin nerve gas is of such limited usefulness to the Syrian army that it has taken two years to use it in a major way, and it’s plausible that we can deter Syria’s generals from employing it again if the price is high.
See? Faith. Faith that low-impact cruise missiles (each warhead packs less punch than a 1,000 lb bomb) will scare anyone into using less efficient methods of killing. Because, you know, killing 100,000 with bullets, mortars, and bombs is okay. Killing them with gas is beyond the pale.
The Syrian government has also lately had the upper hand in fighting, and airstrikes might make it more willing to negotiate toward a peace deal to end the war. I wouldn’t bet on it, but, in Bosnia, airstrikes helped lead to the Dayton peace accord.
More faith. Faith that a limited (the administration's word, and they've stressed and re-stressed it) operation will have the same kind of effect that a months-long sustained campaign did.
Missile strikes on Assad’s military airports might also degrade his ability to slaughter civilians. With fewer fighter aircraft, he may be less able to drop a napalm-like substance on a school, as his forces apparently did in Aleppo last month.
Runways can be rebuilt in hours. Aircraft are dispersed or in hardened bunkers immune to cruise missiles. So unless we start enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria (something I might actually support, by the way, if it came with international backing), this is mostly a pipe dream. Not to mention, Assad doesn't lack the means to slaughter his civilians. But degrading his air force? If accomplished, it's true. It could very well shift the balance of power back on the side of the rebels. And that means we'd start planning today on what to do about whatever Talibanesque government eventually took up shop in Damascus.

Originally posted to kos on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  There is One Reason for US To Risk All. (18+ / 0-)

    Because US is not the same thing as MIC.

    Screw up the mid east and US interests, and the MIC will acquire decades of mission and funding increases.

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

    by Gooserock on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:58:43 AM PDT

  •  So let me get this straight (26+ / 0-)

    Kristoff says we need to take military action to weaken Al Qaeda when the military action will only strenghen it.  Have I got it right?

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:03:08 AM PDT

    •  I'm anti-war (9+ / 0-)

      But Kos op-ed doesn't have any citation, which is a shame.

      Aircraft are dispersed or in hardened bunkers immune to cruise missiles.
      Says who?  

      Well I found it (WSJ):

      Moreover, U.S. officials say, Mr. Assad has moved aircraft and other equipment into hardened bunkers and shelters. In some cases, destroying these hardened targets, officials say, could require the use of multiple Tomahawks.

      So those hardened bunkers aren't "immune" to cruise missiles, it may just take more than one for each target.

      There are many great reasons why we shouldn't go to war.  Claiming that our weapons would be ineffective isn't really a good one.  

      •  Actually it is a very good one (8+ / 0-)

        You can surely find the skeptical statements from military official, including Dempsey, on the efficacy of military measures in Syria.

      •  We have lots of highly effective weapons that (8+ / 0-)

        easily penetrate the hardened Syrian hangers.

        Tomahawks are not among them.

        The truth is, repeated pounding of serious bunkers with Tomahawks would be like throwing hand grenade after hand grenade against the side of a tank.   You don't "eventually get through".

        You want to hit their aircraft, you're going to have to deploy combat aircraft to do it.

        "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:20:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Heavy bombers would get the job done. Heavy (3+ / 0-)

          bombers would probably kill a lot of other people too.

          •  Bombers occasionally get shot down--McCain might (6+ / 0-)

            know something about that.  It's one thing to tell people that no 'muricans will be placed in harm's way.  It's another thing to tell them that crews will be placed at risk.

            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

            by RFK Lives on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:45:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If they had a successful Suter hack of the IADS.. (0+ / 0-)

              ...like the Israelis were able to pull off on Syria in Operation Orchard in 2007, the risk to bombers from the air defenses would be very low. If not, they'd probably use the B-2's which would also have an extremely low chance of being shot down at all.

              Even with the extremely low chances of being shot down, I still don't think the risk of a limited attack is worth it as it is unlikely to achieve the goal of deterring Assad. At the very minimum, what would be required is striking the forces that carried out the chemical attacks. You'd want to degrade them so severely such that Assad simply could not afford to take another strike. In the process, you'd be taking him from most likely winning the civil war to much less likely. That would require a major air campaign like Desert Storm. Given that the targets that we'd be striking would probably be hiding in the cities, the probability for collateral damage would be much higher than Desert Storm. That damage would inflame anti-American sentiment and turn Assad into a hero across the Middle East which I don't think we can afford. Then, there is always the possibility of degrading him too far, and he loses. That outcome is just not acceptable either.

              Bottom line, I think is a lose-lose for us regardless what military option we choose which we would be better off not doing at all. We'd be better off using our immense resources giving humanitarian aid to the refugees and those countries that host them.

      •  If his military assets are protected this way... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brian82, Dr Swig Mcjigger

        ...they also become much harder for him to use at all.

        So while they aren't destroyed, they are to some extent neutralized.

        •  Only for how ever long ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          davidincleveland, YucatanMan

          the bombing lasts

          •  Very true. However, with the war in the balance (0+ / 0-)

            ...it could still be critical to Assad surviving or falling.

            •  so now you're saying it's about regime change, (4+ / 0-)

              and not just about deterring Assad from using CW.

              OK then. That's not what Obama is saying, but I'm glad you're more upfront about it.

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

              by limpidglass on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:55:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  To ASSAD it's about regime change (0+ / 0-)

                The US goal is to make Assad feel some real heat for using chemical weapons to deter him.  It's probably not their goal to try to overthrow his gov't competely because that would be a nightmare.

                But from Assad's POV this means it's harder for him to maintain power, and so now he'll have to balance the advantages of using chemical weapons against the price he'll pay in the form of things like air strikes.  That changes the equation in a way where he'd have to be much, more more desperate before using them.  If no action is taken against him, then he is much more free to use them even when not at the most dire need.

                •  Will a few days launching missiles deter Assad ? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tb mare

                  There’s a basic disconnect here:

                  If we just intend to spend a week launching missiles without in any way altering the real balance of power or advantage in the war, then the deterrent effect is too trivial to justify an attack.

                  We’re positing Assad is willing to conduct a CW assault on his own citizenry (which is somehow worse than using guns) but that he would somehow be deterred from doing so if we go ahead and launch a few days worth of missiles at his ordinance depots.

                  It’s not logical that the reprisal being put forth by the USG bolsters international standards against use of CW given that the response involves killing innocent people. The burden of persuasion rests upon those advocating such measures to demonstrate how this proposal is anything other than a ruse.

                  A 'boots on the ground' invasion dedicated to overthrowing Assad is the only real deterrent, yet no advocate of intervention is proposing that.  Why? Primarily because  that it would be unsaleable, ‘disproportionate’ to Assad’s ‘crime’, and result in displacement of a relatively rationale dictator with a cache of fundamentalist Muslim sects and  concomitant chaos.

                  It’s disingenuous to say we’re needing to  attack Syria in the name of international conventions when most signatories of the CW conventions are not in agreement with us that an attack is justified.

        •  Not necessarily; bunkers and revetments are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          davidincleveland

          linked directly to taxiways and hence to runways. Aircraft protected by these facilities are not neutralized.

          The meme is simple enough: "Regarding Syria, If you support the President, you end up supporting al-Qaeda." No politician, of any party, persuasion, or clique, wants an opponent who will be able to say this in an advertisement.

          by Superskepticalman on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:40:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But if he brings them out to use, they are targets (0+ / 0-)

            As are the crews and facilities needed to be exposed while operating them

            •  Again, not necessarily... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              YucatanMan

              Aircrew and groundcrew are protected by the same structures.  The problem for attacking airfields is that, with stand-off weapons like cruise missiles, it's impossible to target based on when aircraft are likely to launch.

              Instead, what the Americans usually use are cluster munitions to impede operations, not eliminate them. However, since the U.S. has already disavowed a regime-change strategy ala Iraq, it's won't be anything but an imposition.  And this assumes that the SAF hasn't already moved air assets, especially helos, into areas safe from U.S. strikes. An adversary is already going to know this based on historical knowledge.

              The meme is simple enough: "Regarding Syria, If you support the President, you end up supporting al-Qaeda." No politician, of any party, persuasion, or clique, wants an opponent who will be able to say this in an advertisement.

              by Superskepticalman on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:51:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Your concept of targeting is somewhat off base (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annieli, Claudius Bombarnac

              A cruise missile is relatively slow.  Depending on launching range, we're talking about an hour or two to arrive at target.

              That is precisely how Osama Bin Laden escaped Bill Clinton's cruise missile attack on him at a training base in Afghanistan.

              We thought he was there. We fired cruise missiles almost immediately.  The cruise missiles took nearly two hours to arrive.  By that time, OBL had finished his discussions or whatever business and moved on.  

              He simply left, not even knowing an attack was coming his way.

              So your saying an aircraft rolls out on the runway and we target it.  No. Won't happen with cruise missiles.  When they arrive, the aircraft could be in the air or moved down the runway, even if the missiles are targeted accurately.

              The other thing is, because cruise missiles are relatively slow, they can be shot down by ground fire or by aircraft.

              We don't have a magic "instant destruct" button, like the Pentagon wants everyone to believe.

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

              by YucatanMan on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:33:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  what i don't get is an account (3+ / 0-)

        of why Kos thinks the administration is in favor of a policy that, if we accept Kos's arguments as true, they would know to be ineffective.  

        I can think of two possibilities:  one is to save face.  It's not clear that going in the face of public sentiment is worth the loss of face, however, and it also cuts the other way.  If Syria is just fucked no matter what, what's the harm in letting anyone save face? I don't believe this to be the reason, as had Obama never said "red line," the fact of the sarin attack would put us in the same place.  

        The second is that people who are actually tasked with coming up with an operation actually believe it would be ineffective for the stated task of making it more difficult to launch similar attacks and/or could punish those who carried it out.  Here, I'd have more trust in the internal process of debating that question than the bluntly stated conclusions of but one former soldier.  Reluctance to say what we'd bomb in advance is not the same as inability to identify it.  Similarly, different people differ over the degree to which -- and definition of -- Islamist influence in the opposition.  And this is one are where the U.S. hasn't been inactive.

        This diary simplifies the question more than the facts warrant.  I'd lean towards strikes but I wouldn't categorize it as "weak."  The status quo is usually easier to defend, because it's the status quo.

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:27:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not that it's ineffective. It makes no sense (5+ / 0-)

          in the first place. "Ineffective" implies some purpose that it will fail to achieve.
          There is no meaningful goal for air strikes to fail to achieve.
          "Punish Assad..?" WTF does that even mean?

          •  since you missed it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Osiris

            "[]effective for the stated task of making it more difficult to launch similar attacks and/or could punish those who carried it out"

            Whether or not it would or wouldn't be is a probabilistic question, but it's not non-sensical.  Coupled with non-military efforts to isolate Damascus and buy leverage and influence with the rebels thru Arab allies, you have more of the makings of a more comprehensive policy than frequently acknowledged.  

            And by punish, I mean either kill or make it harder to do job.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:42:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  When your only tool is a weapon, then every (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan

          international crisis is a "police action."

          The meme is simple enough: "Regarding Syria, If you support the President, you end up supporting al-Qaeda." No politician, of any party, persuasion, or clique, wants an opponent who will be able to say this in an advertisement.

          by Superskepticalman on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:41:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Then .. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbastard

          why would Secretary Kerry resort to saying that Tom Friedman is almost always right?

          •  I don't know why (0+ / 0-)

            in a question of war and peace we're worried about Tom Friedman, but what John Kerry actually said was:

            I think that what Tom Friedman said, and I often do agree with him, I don’t happen to on this particular occasion because he said you should arm and shame. "
            I don't know whether Kerry meant "almost always" by "often," but he was disagreeing with Friedman's "arm and shame" idea on sufficiency grounds in his response to Steve Cabot.  

            0-2, dude.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:48:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  saving face (7+ / 0-)

          Never, ever underestimate the power of the irrational. Tuchman's The Praise of Folly makes crystal clear that from JFK on, American officials were fully aware that fighting in Vietnam was a hopeless endeavor, but they kept going because they were afraid that letting Vietnam go communist would look really bad, especially politically. The politicians who unleashed World War I in 1914 were primarily motivated by "honor" and "national self-respect" and other irrational factors, anything except cold-blooded calculation. Yes, to you and me it would be crazy to launch strikes that you know will be ineffective. But to those in positions of power? Don't bet on it.

          "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

          by Reston history guy on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:48:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  well, i flagged it as a possibility (0+ / 0-)

            for that reason, but I don't think it's the overriding basis, nor is it a reason for anyone else to go along.  The chemical weapons speak for themselves.  Of course, this consideration will probably be what gets the AUMF thru the House, but it doesn't tell you why the idea of a military response germinated in the first palce.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:53:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  ^This^ (3+ / 0-)

            "Saving face" - not with the American public but with the international community - is a major factor in driving this.

            I note that Obama has recently begun to reframe things a bit - i.e., it's not his red line, it's the international community's red line via treaties; it's not his credibility, it's the UN's credibility and the credibility of Congress as well.  Etc.  Perhaps that's what he should have said a while back, but whatever.  

            My take, and I've been on the fence, I've really agonized over this and Daily Kos is probably the only place I could go to to clarify my thinking:  Syria is just the latest chapter in a long, long, historically looooong Shia vs. Sunni conflict, which has been bloody for decades.  The US can't keep intervening in the Middle East like a parent dealing with delinquent kids.  I do think we should shift the spotlight back on the UN - the ban on chemical weapons is their god damn issue to enforce - and on Russia and China, who are obstructing the UN's ability to do it's job.

            The most violent element in society is ignorance.

            by Mr MadAsHell on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:00:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  third and most obvious possibility: (6+ / 0-)

          they're lying about the true objective of the war. Or if you prefer, they're not telling the whole truth about it.

          Obama has said Assad needs to go, thus expressing a desire for regime change. Perhaps they will push this war into regime change.

          McCain has already announced he won't support the war without an explicit commitment to regime change, and there are many Republicans who think as he does. Obama may be cutting deals for their support and making commitments he isn't disclosing to the public.

          They also refuse to rule out the use of ground troops. They just say they won't use troops to fight in the civil war. But ground troops could still be sent in for support purposes. And that has great potential to draw us in.

          They are very, very careful not to absolutely rule out the very courses of action which people are most opposed to. They just say that right now, at this very moment, the plan is to make one strike and not to invade with ground troops, and they have no other plans. At this very moment. (But of course tomorrow, they could change their minds).

          But that's an unacceptable response, because of course one strike will have many consequences, which will then demand further actions. And the administration is very reluctant to say anything about what they think those consequences will be.

          They're like the underpants gnomes in South Park:

          Step 1: Bomb Syria
          Step 2: ???
          Step 3: Deterrence!
          How will a limited strike "deter" Assad, if he indeed is using CW? If a limited strike doesn't work, what next? What if the rebels set off CW after the first strike to further embroil the US in the war?

          They've answered none of these questions. Our military has plans for every single contingency, no matter how remote or unlikely. So I don't find it credible that the administration hasn't thought through this. All they need to do is ask their war planners.

          Therefore, I have to conclude that they HAVE thought through this--and that they don't want to tell us, because it would make it harder to sell the war. Or, more frighteningly, that they have fallen prey to magical thinking, and are genuinely convinced that this will be a quick and easy romp in the park, and therefore haven't bothered to map out the likely consequences of a strike.

          The status quo is usually easier to defend, because it's the status quo.
          The case for war should always be a hard case to make. Absent a direct attack on us, people are reluctant to go to war and that's as it should be.

          No one is saying that the status quo is tenable. But changing that status quo by attacking is far, far less tenable than the status quo.

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

          by limpidglass on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:52:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Strictly speaking, (0+ / 0-)

            had Kerry been asked if we'd rule out sending ground troops to Belgium, he'd deny it.  I think his answer had less to do with infrantry combat troops than potentially and inadvertently outlawing special forces or even, depending on legislative wording, or else manned aircraft entering Syrian airspace than hiding an agenda (especially since the AUMF will almost certainly contain a limitation on ground troops).  Indeed, the agenda is so hidden there's no evidence for it but your own extrapolation from any war into Iraq II.

            The U.S.'s policy is also obviously broader than airstrikes, but Obama and Clinton both tended to favor airstrikes without further escalation.  Indeed, all of the additional sanctions and indirect support for rebels in lieu of combat troops is what McCain has been complaining about for two years, to say nothing of the jiu-jitsu in taking McCain's stated opposition to argue for agreement.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:02:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  You have to bomb Syria to reassure Israel that (0+ / 0-)

          You are willing to bomb Iran.

          I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. Barbara Jordan

          by Lcohen on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:04:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, I don't buy that (0+ / 0-)

            a nuclear Iran is a categorically different threat, and the U.S., Israel, and Iran all know this.  The U.S. could easily beg off of Syria and Iran'd just go back to not being able to build a nuke because of sanctions.  In any event, the bigger issue for the U.S. it's effect on Iranian behavior.  Israel's feelings don't count for much, and it needs our backing anyway if they'd try to try anything in Iran.  In terms of domestic politics, Adelson took his shot and missed.

            The questions is whether you came to this position by thinking about the downstream effects of not bombing or just tried to think of a way to blame Israel.  If Israel wants the U.S. to bomb Syria, that doesn't turn a good idea (if it is one) into a bad one.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:17:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've written a whole diary for you on this (0+ / 0-)

              I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. Barbara Jordan

              by Lcohen on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:21:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  For me? You shouldn't have. (0+ / 0-)

                no new information there.

                citing Iran probably helps with a few folks on the fence in Congress.  Big deal.  Israel wants Assad out to isolate Iran and get rid of Hizbollah, but that's a reason to care about who prevails in the conflict, not necessarily to intervene military, or in the way proposed.  

                Given the massive use of  chemical weapons, it's at least a little about Syria.

                Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                by Loge on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:29:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No bother (0+ / 0-)

                  My starting point was your question as to why the administration would do something that they know would be "ineffective". If the point is to message Iran and more importantly Israel and Saudi Arabia then the efficacy of a missile strike is less important that the fact that a missile strike takes place. T

                  I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. Barbara Jordan

                  by Lcohen on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:16:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  well, the right conclusion (0+ / 0-)

                    is they don't actually think it's ineffective, contra Kos's certainty.  But yes, it's a possibility.  I just think it'd be more effective degrading Syria's retailiation possibilities than really influencing Iranian or Israeli behavior.

                    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                    by Loge on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:31:00 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Shall we look at your two objections? (0+ / 0-)

          You state,

          ...one is to save face.  It's not clear that going in the face of public sentiment is worth the loss of face, however...
          Perhaps that is why the admin belatedly decided to let the deeply unpopular Congress bear the opprobrium of starting yet another illegal 'intervention'.

          This is precious, though probably an accident:
          The second is that people who are actually tasked with coming up with an operation actually believe it would be ineffective for the stated task of making it more difficult to launch similar attacks...
          [emphasis added by me]
          The people tasked have said no such thing (and if they had they would no longer be tasked) unless they've said it to you, privately. However, if they are sane they certainly believe what you wrote.

          I love the breathtaking simplicity of your closing opinion:
          This diary simplifies the question more than the facts warrant.  I'd lean towards strikes but I wouldn't categorize it as "weak."  The status quo is usually easier to defend, because it's the status quo.
          Pointing out a fault via an exemplar of the genre is a classic.

          Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

          by davidincleveland on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:50:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i don't know why they decided (0+ / 0-)

            to take it to Congress, but i believe it was the right decision.  (I think otherwise, but the admin wouldn't agree, that the 2003 Syrian Accountability Act or somesuch, by specifying certain remedies but not military intervention in response to Syrian chemical weapons programs, precludes action the admin could otherwise take unilaterally absent explicit authorization.)  

            Point two: you know perfectly well it was an accident, but I'm glad you had fun riffing on it.  Just don't think you've proved anything.  My typo doesn't excuse you from defending your position, which is now gone so far as to be not just that bombing would be ineffective, but that seeing it as ineffective is a necessary precondition to being sane.  I'm not sure that works, and if the world unfolds for you in such simplicity, perhaps you're not as sane as you think.

            Point three: not true of all opposition, but there's a strong element of as long as shit goes bad, at least it's not on us running thru Kos's explicitly pragmatic opposition.  I think it's on us either way since we can act but might or might not choose to, but given the default option is that we're not directly involved militarily, it's conceptually trickier to see it that way.  People are naturally risk averse, and this sometimes leads them paradoxically to take riskier inaction thru inertia.  There's a cognitive bias against chaning any course baked into any discussion, which is a long-standing insight of behavioral economics.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:20:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, our weapons are not nearly as effective (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Claudius Bombarnac, vacantlook

        as we are constantly told.

        Up to 15% of cruise missiles miss their targets, by 100s of yards or even kilometers at times.

        There's a huge PR campaign every time we go into war about our "surgical strikes" and that's all fine and good when they work.  But a lot of the time, they don't.

        The Pentagon doesn't release videos of missiles slamming into populated areas, only when they hit that one isolated shack in the center of the desert.  None of the misses are shown.  All of the hits are shown.

        It's a false picture of reality - the real killing of innocents.

        And to your point:  hitting hardened bunkers "multiple times" would be a dozen or more, perhaps, to insure enough actually hit and broke through.  It's not like "oh, here's a couple for there and here's a couple for here."

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

        by YucatanMan on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:28:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That is to assume (0+ / 0-)

      airstrikes in Syria would be limited to Assad's forces and not target Al Qaeda operatives within Syria.

      The administration is asking for a resolution to launch airstrikes in Syria. The assumption is that they are asking for authorization to primarily target Assad, but that is a very big assumption.

    •  We can't have a War On Terror... (0+ / 0-)

      ...if we defeat/neutralize the terrorists.

  •  EU has come out against it (9+ / 0-)

    Obama needs to step back and recalibrate.  Unless his plan is to hope for a loss in the House, which he will abide by while reserving the right to strike should circumstances change.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:05:30 AM PDT

    •  Best result for Democrats in this crazy situation: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Paleo, Matt Z

      A loss in the House. There will be negative effects, but they are small in comparison with the positive effects.

      Positive Effects:

      1st--Obama retains the position that he is ready to use the military based on principle, but only if the people want it.

      2nd--We avoid a stupid military adventure that serves no real purpose.

      -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

      by sunbro on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:56:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Military toolbox"? (9+ / 0-)

    That alone shows he's a VSP.  And it appears he's pissed that the country is on the side of the DFHs this time.

    •  Oh, I totally had the same reaction. (7+ / 0-)

      Only in the New York Times Op-Ed section could you see an aggressive show of military force, with the likely implication of collateral damage and numerous deaths, described as a "military toolbox."

      When folks like Tom Friedman, David Brooks, and Nicholas Kristof opine about military intervention, or global market dynamics, or addressing poverty or social inequality, I invariably have the impression that they imagine themselves sitting at a board game -- Risk, Axes and Allies, take your pick -- moving toy soldiers around the game board. The egregious imagery of their rhetoric is almost as unforgivable as the ludicrousness of their ideological positions.

      You can only make reference to a "military toolbox" if you see the world and its suffering as a kind of "military sandbox." Deciding to go to war is not like opening an app on your desktop. There's a bit more at stake than that -- even for those from the Beltway Village.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:25:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I support this President (6+ / 0-)

    but..I keep asking myself what is to be accomplished?

    These Middle East countries have been raised on violence and we thing a few missiles, here and there, will make a difference?

    Plus, by going to Congress, what did he hope that would do? The same House that has killed off Obamacare on a daily basis is now going to give him a win? Let me know how that turns out.

    ...the GOP seems perfectly willing to hold their breath until the whole country turns Blue.

    by tommy2tone on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:08:54 AM PDT

    •  I think that Obama considered this (0+ / 0-)

      to be the lesser of two evils.

      A loss in the House is NOT as bad as a misguided military adventure undertaken only to save face.

      Once he gave that "red line" B.S., he had few good choices. A loss in the House limits the damage.

      -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

      by sunbro on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:00:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You might be correct (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sunbro

        and now the Russians are gathering warships..Is it really worth risking war with Russia?

        In this region there are no good options. Todays allies become tomorrows enemies, and none of them are really our friends.

        ...the GOP seems perfectly willing to hold their breath until the whole country turns Blue.

        by tommy2tone on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:49:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Obama made a political miscalculation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tb mare

          when he spoke of a "red line".

          He should do the best he can to limit the political damage here by not acting on Syria, and by focusing on other priorities of this country.

          -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

          by sunbro on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:54:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He got his ass in this mess (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sunbro

            and now he has to get himself out.

            He should follow the old say of when you're in a hole, quit digging.

            I am still not at all sure what the hell he is trying to accomplish? Obama is smart but this makes no sense

            ...the GOP seems perfectly willing to hold their breath until the whole country turns Blue.

            by tommy2tone on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:59:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Bad guys killing other bad guys... (0+ / 0-)

    from a purely cynical long term U.S geopolitical position, not the worst of all possible outcomes. I'm surprised it has not been brought forward as a policy choice.

    •  I think it pretty clearly IS the policy choice (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J M F, davidincleveland

      at this point.

      However, Assad was winning and the meat grinder was going to stop turning.

      "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:21:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  equation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland

      That was the equation of Iraq/Iran war--yet the war made both countries worse for us.  2 bad guys fighting leads to worse bad guys.

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

      by melvynny on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:22:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wish the people who make the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Osiris

      "everyone is a bad guy argument" for Syria would at least acknowledge that this whole thing started out with peaceful demostrations similar to other Arab countries but Assad basically tried to violently crush the opposition in the cradle by shooting on the demonstrators and torturing and murdering political opponents along with their families.

       People around here are acting like Assad's enemies in this war were radicalized from the start or that it happened in a vacuum.

  •  I'm for this one. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wildthumb, Loge, walk2live

    I was against a few of them, but this one seems like a much better idea than Iraq or Vietnam. Most likely, this one will be over in less time than we're spending talking about it. I also give Obama credit for pursuing it in spite of its unpopularity. Most people in the US (75% actually, according to one poll) can't find Syria on a map. So should the president really be looking to us for guidance here? Whether you agree with him or not on this particular issue, you have to give him credit for not letting the polls dictate policy. He's willing to risk political capital to do something that we all agree has limited upside, just because he thinks it is the right thing to do. He couldn't avenge the children of Newtown, but he can avenge the children of Damascus.

    •  On the map? Syria is right next to Iraq (10+ / 0-)

      When Americans see that, they'll get the picture.

    •  So we want less guns here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, corvo

      but want to spread more of them over there? We will answer murder with murder?

      "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

      by just another vet on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:17:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Avenge? Seriously? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland, vacantlook

      It's no comfort to the dead that they're avenged.
      And what about avenging the people we kill?

    •  Because 75% Americans can't find Syria on the map (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland, vacantlook

      Obama doesn't need our support to strike? How about if Americans can't find a place on a map; we don't interfere with military aggression in that region?

    •  So (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland, wonmug
      Most likely, this one will be over in less time than we're spending talking about it.
      I presume by "this one" you mean US military involvement.  And the war in Syria will slog on for quite some time.  

      So we bomb for a few days, then actually expect the administration to not pursue any further military attacks in the months and years ahead as more and more news of atrocities pours out of Syria?

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

      by Calvino Partigiani on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:43:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not getting your logic here (4+ / 0-)
      [...] this one seems like a much better idea than Iraq or Vietnam.
      Are you saying we should bomb Syria because it's not as bad an idea as invading Iraq and Vietnam? I can think of lots of things that are not as poorly conceived as either of those wars, but that's not a reason to do them.
      I also give Obama credit for pursuing it in spite of its unpopularity.
      So you give him credit for hippy punching? Though it's a lot more than just DFHs this time.
      Most people in the US (75% actually, according to one poll) can't find Syria on a map.
      I don't need to know the physical geography to know this is a horrible idea that has no chance of resulting in anything positive for the United States or the people of Syria. On the contrary, our involvement will almost assuredly make matters worse in the long run. What objective can possibly be met by lobbing a few cruise missiles and calling it a day? Or are you seeing this as something that will be greatly expanded over what is currently being discussed?
      He's willing to risk political capital to do something that we all agree has limited upside, just because he thinks it is the right thing to do.
      How is that a virtue? If he thought dropping bombs on LA were the right thing to do despite advice to the contrary, would that that be a good thing too?

      I'm really not trying to be a dick, I'm just having a really hard time understanding your train of thought here.

      •  And for the record... (0+ / 0-)
        What objective can possibly be met by lobbing a few cruise missiles and calling it a day? Or are you seeing this as something that will be greatly expanded over what is currently being discussed?
        I don't for a second believe that all Obama is looking to do is shoot a few missiles and be done with it. I don't see how anyone can believe that will accomplish anything. I think the proposed "limited" intervention is just paving the way for something much larger after this fails.
        •  Well, that is sort of weird, since the (0+ / 0-)

          man has no history of wanting to lead us into unnecessary wars. Sounds like you just don't trust him, that you think he is some sort of natural liar. Not sure where you get that from, but I see a very honest and honorable man who is trying to do the right thing. There is no reason for him to secretly want a giant war, and it is disappointing (though not surprising) that some on this site think the very worst of him.

          •  This isn't about Obama (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Claudius Bombarnac

            This is about the United States once again trying to force its will on the rest of the world. There are times when we should intervene in the affairs of other countries, but it shouldn't be us going it alone just to make a point about credibility, which -- if you believe what Obama and Kerry have been saying -- is what this is about.

            Every dictator isn't Adolf Hitler and it isn't still 1941. This isn't about the subjugation of a large portion of the world's population; it's a civil war. Atrocities happen on both sides. That's war. It's not our job to get involved in every conflict and the use of gas doesn't change that.

            So if you do believe what Obama is saying about this being a limited engagement with no US troops on the ground, what do you think we'll be able to accomplish? I have yet to hear anyone answer how firing a few missiles into Syria will accomplish anything other than giving the warhawks boners. So is the point of this just to save our "credibility"? If not, what is the goal and how will firing missiles and dropping bombs accomplish whatever that goal is?

    •  weak tea (4+ / 0-)
      He couldn't avenge the children of Newtown, but he can avenge the children of Damascus.
      If it really were about kids, bombs are the very last thing that should come to mind in wanting to help them. If it were about kids, think about how actions like this will be adding another burden to their futures, here and there. If it were about kids, chemical weapon excuses would be unnecessary as thousands of kids have already been killed in this war. If it were about kids, we would be providing a lot more help to the millions of refugees that this war has already produced of which many are kids.

      How do you avenge the children of Damascus by killing more of them? You know that more of them are going to die, we call it collateral damage, it always happens. Can you or the President guarantee that less children are going to die in this war if we intervene as opposed to not intervening? Make the case, you might change some minds, but until then you are just making an emotional case with no basis on fact or reality. And finally, is this really about avenging? Sick.

      "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -John F. Kennedy

      by basquebob on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:59:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A small number of kids may die in (0+ / 0-)

        our attack, I admit that. The rationale is that in the long run this is going to save more children than it kills. That is a worthwhile tradeoff. Of course, we may kill zero of them since we're attacking military sites. But it is always possible that some will be killed accidentally, and that should not dissuade us for trying to help the children of Syria against this thug who would like to kill all of them if given the chance (and in a very painful manner to boot).

        •  You mean as few as died in Iraq during the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac

          no-fly zone era due to our sanctions, and as few dead during and after our invasion, and as few as the ones that continue to die now in the ongoing strife after our failed attempt to institute "democracy"? That's what you call a small number? Remember how everything we did in Iraq was done under the pretext of saving lives? Under the pretext of removing a thug? Children in Iraq have been dying needlessly for over 20 years now, 20 freaking years thanks to our failed policies. So I am not sure what you mean by  "some will be killed accidentally", but if Iraq taught us anything, that "some" can turn out to be tens of thousands.

          Sorry, your rationale is not believable anymore, we've been down that path with disastrous results.

          "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -John F. Kennedy

          by basquebob on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:37:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Me too... (0+ / 0-)

      Seems we're in about the 27% minority here at DKos. I'm glad that we're actually having a debate about it, and a vote in Congress. I think it sets a good precedent for the future... Presidents have gotten way to trigger-happy for my tastes.

      Now, if the vote fails, and Obama acts anyway? (as he hinted he might) might lose me there...

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

      by walk2live on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:15:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If the vote fails because of (0+ / 0-)

        Obama haters like Michele Bachmann, I expect him to go ahead. He can't let a bunch of racists and right wing ideologues determine our foreign policy (and I don't think he will). The 73% or so here who are against this are worried that it won't go well. But if it does, if it is over quickly with limited casualties on our side, and is effective at halting future gas attacks on civilians, I think people here (most of them) will be glad we did it. They are just apprehensive about the outcome, which is understandable.

  •  enablers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Reston history guy

    Chemical weapons have to be stopped--when there is no military option, use economics.  The West could impose tariffs on Russia--Assad's sugar daddy.  Europe won't because of gas imports--but we could.  How about a 1% tariff on all imports from Russia?  This to be doubled with each verifiable repeat offense.

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

    by melvynny on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:12:24 AM PDT

    •  well, its an idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland

      I dont know if Russia is a member of the international organization that regulates trade and tariffs or not. If so, raising tariffs for political reasons would be thrown out at once. But in any event I can't believe that Russian exports to us are of any economic significance.

      "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

      by Reston history guy on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:24:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post, Kos! (3+ / 0-)

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

    by greenbastard on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:13:48 AM PDT

  •  The "allies" game cuts both ways. (7+ / 0-)

    Santorum opposes bombing, as does Joe Wilson.  In the end, people should make up their minds on the merits of the arguments and not on whether Cheney wants bombing or Santorum opposes bombing.

    Better to predicate opposition based on the other reason in your post, I think.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:13:52 AM PDT

  •  It is not in the U.S. Interest (7+ / 0-)

    To appear to be taking sides in the Sunni/Shia division that is roiling the Mideast.  

  •  What, we aren't up for nation building (5+ / 0-)

    anymore?

  •  They don't want to make the argument (7+ / 0-)

    They NEED to make - McCain's argument, US invasion of Syria.

  •  Syrias entire war doctrine revolves around (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo

    combating the world 5th (or 7th, depending on who you ask) most powerful air force.

    They don't park the jets in lines out on the tarmac.

    "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

    by JesseCW on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:16:27 AM PDT

  •  Noteworthy how Assad threw away Option 4 (0+ / 0-)

    Retire to a penthouse in the most exclusive section of London with Asma and enjoy the hundreds of millions he's secreted away like a squirrel on meth in Swiss bank accounts and elsewhere.

  •  I won't be soon forgetting the names (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Calvino Partigiani

    of those who accuse me of justifying mass marder as their justification for mass murder.  I can carry grudges for over 50 years, I happen to know this for a fact.  Impute vile things to my character and I never forget and will, sooner or later but inevitably, give you yours.  I happen also to know that's a dish best served cold.

    Clap On, Clap Off, The Clapper!

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:19:07 AM PDT

  •  I have not made up my mind on Syria (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeremySchro

    The Economist argues in favor of limited intervention.  I am not completely convinced, but their arguments aren't vacuous.

  •  I'm of the opinion the while America has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gilpin Guy, walk2live

    committed and accepted alot of crimes and atrocities over the past 75 years, on balance American military power has been a positive deterrence on bad and violent actors around the world.

     In other words if our foreign policy moving forward is "let Allah sort them out", or something along those lines as long as it doesn't effect our direct national interests then I would expect moving forward the world to become a much more violent place.

  •  Who say we'd be the ones sending in the planes? (0+ / 0-)

    France, in both Mali and Libya, has shown itself to be more than willing to send in their Rafales.

    Those Rafales are better than any ground attack planes the U.S. has anyway, so it would probably be the U.S. taking out the stationary air defense systems with cruise missiles and then France sending in the Rafales to do the more dangerous missions.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:19:45 AM PDT

  •  No strike to degrade Asaad's ability to attack his (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gilpin Guy

    people, including innocent women and children, with chemical weapons means 100% he will continue to attack and kill more innocent men women and children with chemical weapons.

    A strike to degrade Asaad's ability to attack his people with chemical weapons will degrade his ability to once again attack with chemical weapons.

    If water is running from my kitchen faucet and I attempt to turn off the faucet, chances are the water will stop running.

    If water is running and I decide to not turn off the faucet then  the water will continue to run, a 100% probability.

    The President is right. I hope he goes in.

    •  if I try to turn off the faucet (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland

      by rubbing my head three times, it won't do anything to shut off the water. Chemical weapons can be delivered easily. Look up the Japanese terrorists who used Sarin on a crowded train.

      "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

      by Reston history guy on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:58:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The faucet is dripping. (0+ / 0-)

      You tighten the handle. It still drips. You tighten the handle some more and it suddenly breaks off.

      Now try to change the faucet when the water is gushing out full force. Not an easy task.

      Obama is not a fortune teller. He cannot guarantee with all certainty that the handle won't break off and the kitchen left in an even worse condition. All he can work with is probability. There are "unknown unknowns" as Rumsfeld wisely (for once) stated.

  •  kos you have been fantastic on this... (3+ / 0-)

    great job.

  •  So if Obama were less of a FILLINTHEBLANK (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Osiris

    and pulverized enough of Assad's assets from the air to cripple the regime's military machine for months, instead of emphasizing for the last week what a teeny weeny itsy bitsy barely muss their hair 'strike' this will be, would that address people's concern about 'accomplishing nothing'?

  •  Yes, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, judyms9

    then you have Sarah Palin's "Let Allah sort it out" comment.  And that just feels wrong on several levels as well.

    Like Jim Wright says, this is a situation where there are no easy answers.

  •  US Allies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9

    one thing about this debate - whether you are pro-war, anti-war or undecided about the war, you will have allies in the US who you like and who you despise.

  •  Given the power (6+ / 0-)

    of America's overwhelming force, it seems that have a strong case has become irrelevant. The case for war has become as  irrelevant as Multilateralism today. As with Iraq, as long as the expected speeches are given and dotted lines signed off, the actual logic of the case is bypassed. It becomes legal because White House lawyers make it so. Nixon's Office of Whatever the President Does is Legal, is quite alive and well.

    So, kos, how are electoral politics going to remedy this pattern? It seems to me to be a feature at this point, not a bug.  

    If the President can go to war whether or not the International community approves, whether or not the Congress approves, where is the remedy when that President is terribly wrong?

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

    by cosmic debris on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:22:19 AM PDT

  •  Support for this president is fading fast on all (6+ / 0-)

    sides, including his usual supporters here. For his sake and for the sake of his second term and any other good he can do,
    he should back off of this and make it the responsibility of the world. I for one still want him to come out a winner at the end of his presidency.

    It will be an enormous mistake to do nothing about the use of chemical weapons, but let that be the world's mistake, and let the world take responsibility for any future chemical, biological, or nuclear attacks.

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

    by Wildthumb on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:22:28 AM PDT

    •  It is the responsibility of the world... (0+ / 0-)

      ... the question is, who has the power to act, and the courage to lead? The world will do the right thing when somebody stands up and reminds them what that is.

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:37:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nobody cares what the "right thing" is now (0+ / 0-)

        apparently. "War weariness" trumps everything. The "right thing" is doing nothing, apparently by default.

        It would take dropping a nuclear device on a major city now to galvanize anybody.

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

        by Wildthumb on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:47:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The best argument I can think of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    is that it worked pretty well in Libya.

    I'm sure thare are a number of reasons Syria is different and that it would be harder (thank you Moammar for announcing your genocidal intentions), but not all options involve ineffective cruise missile lobbings.

    IIRC, Isreal managed to wipe out Syria's airforce in the '67 war without losing a single plane.  From what I've read Assad's main advantage over the rebels is his use of air power.  It's not inconceivable the US could do a lot of good either by destroying Assad's planes or keeping them grounded out of fear of destruction.

    Finally, I don't agree with the notion that using chemical weapons is no more atrocious than what had been going on before.  There is value in deterrence, as well as the emotional horror the use of these weapons generates.  We the general public are unfortunately used to images of bloody conflicts in far-off countries.  We are not used to rows of bodies with ghastly unnatural features and no blood.

    First they came for the slippery-slope fallacists, and I said nothing. The End.

    by Cream Puff on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:22:51 AM PDT

    •  Have you read up on the current state of (5+ / 0-)

      Libya? The country is a basket case.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:28:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So Libya was doing better before we intervened? (0+ / 0-)
        •  For the ordinary Libyan, the case could be (2+ / 0-)

          honestly be made that, yes, you were better off under a stable dictatorship than the unstable factional chaos that has since arisen.

          Especially if you were of one of the darker-skinned ethnic groups in the south, who began to be "cleansed" from the country by the rebels pretty much from the get-go.

          Only in movies and video games does killing the head bad guy make the sun come out from the clouds to make everything better.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:47:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It wasn't a stable dictatorship (0+ / 0-)

            there was a violent revolt before America and NATO showed up

            •  And left it a failed state. (0+ / 0-)

              So claiming the "success" of the intervention requires one to completely ignore the current state of Libya, a country that currently has little to no economy.

              Would have it got that way without our intervention? Maybe. But by no measure was our intervention a "success".

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:19:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What we do know (0+ / 0-)

                was that there was a violent dictator in charge who in the middle of a rebellion threatened to eradicate his enemies. That's my definition of a failed state. The immediate aftermath of most civil wars are violent so I wouldn't assume it's going to be like that forever.

            •  There's credible evidence that the UK and France (0+ / 0-)

              in collusion with radical elements on the ground to facilitate violence within the "revolution". It went violent with killings on both sides within days of the original announcement of protests.

              Libya was a lot more stable under Qaddafi than it is now. Libya is now a free-for-all.

              Libya in crisis as armed groups throttle oil supplies

              TRIPOLI, Libya, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Lawless Libya, these days seen as a major haven for al-Qaida, is facing its greatest crisis since Moammar Gadhafi was toppled and killed in October 2011, as armed groups besiege oil fields and terminals, cutting production to a trickle and threatening economic meltdown.

              Farmers bulldoze ancient tombs in Libya to sell plots to developers

              Several ancient tombs at a Unesco World Heritage Site in northeastern Libya have been bulldozed to clear space for a residential complex. Local farmers, who have laid claim to part of the vast necropolis at Cyrene, began demolishing a mile-long section of the site last week in the hope of selling 500 sq. m parcels to real estate developers. Although the proper authorities have been notified, the country’s current fragile political situation has left them unable to intervene.
              ...
              “In Libya, customs and practices tend to carry more weight than the written law. This land traditionally belongs to families who live in nearby farms. They have no official documents that prove that they own the land, yet their claims are not contested. Under Gaddafi, these families did not dare try to act on these claims. But now, they have transformed the archaeological site into a construction zone,” Hussein says.

        •  helping people who (0+ / 0-)

          rose up against a murderous dictator is apprently a no no these days on DailyKos.

      •  I suspect that a great many war supporters (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Robobagpiper, davidincleveland

        especially in washington, don't give a crap if Libya is a basket case or if Syria becomes one.  This is about getting an enemy off the board, same as Libya.  

      •  Unlike its former leader? (0+ / 0-)

        Benghazi's streets didn't "run red with blood" since NATO acted.  That's justification enough for me.  I'm pretty sure we all assumed the aftermath would be a huge mess.  

        My personal view is that US military intervention in these situations should have one simple criterion: stopping genocide and/or large-scale atrocities.  No arming rebels, no propping up moderates, no training and no promises of reconstruction funds.

        First they came for the slippery-slope fallacists, and I said nothing. The End.

        by Cream Puff on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:46:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Justification enough because once your (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          davidincleveland, tb mare

          cartoon bad guy has been removed, it's disappeared off your consciousness.

          But hey, pretending ethnic cleansing didn't happen means it didn't right?

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:49:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What? (0+ / 0-)

            I'm arguing for intervention limited to preventing wide-scale atrocities. If there were time and opportunity to prevent further atrocities like Tawergha, I'd be in favor of acting there too.  Where you get this offensive phrasing about my consciousness and cartoon bad guys is beyond me.

            I'm also not clear on whether you're arguing for more intervention, or less.  Where am I pretending ethnic cleansing didn't happen?

            Next time you comment, try to avoid mind-reading attempts.  I didn't accuse you of coddling dictators or being in favor of genocide.

            First they came for the slippery-slope fallacists, and I said nothing. The End.

            by Cream Puff on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:54:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What precisely did we do in Libya to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Claudius Bombarnac

              prevent wide-scale atrocities like ethnic cleansing?

              Worse than nothing - we acted in support of the factions that were doing it, or would do it.

              Same goes for Kosovo - our intervention stopped the ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians, but initiated and enabled the ethnic cleansing of Serbs and Roma.

              I am arguing for less military intervention, because of the law of unintended consequences - or, worse, the law of "wrapping our intervention up in a pretty bow and pretending the unintended consequences didn't happen, so we can claim it as a success the next time intervention is being considered.

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:04:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  We've had almost 2 years to remedy Tawergha (0+ / 0-)

              What's holding us up. The displacement of Tawerghans is a perfect example of ethnic cleansing.

              Libya: Displaced People from Tawergha Barred From Return
              June 27, 2013

              About 35,000 Tawerghans are dispersed across the country and have been prevented from returning by armed groups from Misrata.

        •  There was no real threat of genocide in Benghazi (0+ / 0-)

          But, we are seeing the ramifications of the Obama Doctrine being played out in Syria at this very moment.

          False pretense for war in Libya?
          ...
          But Human Rights Watch has released data on Misurata, the next-biggest city in Libya and scene of protracted fighting, revealing that Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government.
          ...
          In his speech explaining the military action in Libya, Obama embraced the noble principle of the responsibility to protect — which some quickly dubbed the Obama Doctrine — calling for intervention when possible to prevent genocide. Libya reveals how this approach, implemented reflexively, may backfire by encouraging rebels to provoke and exaggerate atrocities, to entice intervention that ultimately perpetuates civil war and humanitarian suffering.
          •  Well, I wasn't there (0+ / 0-)

            but at the time I recall many news outlets and American officials conclude things were about to get real bloody:

            In a radio address on Thursday, Gaddafi called pro-democracy fighters in Benghazi "armed gangsters" and urged residents to attack them.

            "You all go out and cleanse the city of Benghazi," he said.

            "We will track them down, and search for them, alley by alley, road by road ... Massive waves of people will be crawling out to rescue the people of Benghazi, who are calling out for help, asking us to rescue them. We should come to their rescue."

            And anyway, whether or not Gaddafi actually intended to be a Marquis of Queensbury after all or not, I think the concept of using force to halt genocide should still be applicble.

            First they came for the slippery-slope fallacists, and I said nothing. The End.

            by Cream Puff on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:34:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Here's Qaddafi's speech. You decide if this was (0+ / 0-)

              a threat against the entire city by his military forces or a call to arms for the people of Benghazi to rise up and save their city? There is absolutely no connection with the use of the term "cleanse" in this context to that of ethnic cleansing or the emotionally loaded "genocide"(which was only used for the purpose of incitement in the Western media).

              Genocide: the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, Caste, religious, or national group.

              Qaddafi used the term "rats" to describe those that were against him. Rats are vermin which need to be "cleansed". The opposition used the term "dogs" for government supporters. The west have their own terms of derision - "monster" "animal" "bastard". Rhetoric from foreign countries is very easily misread and given meanings not intended - especially if that is your goal.

              Qaddafi:

               "They are finished, they are wiped out. From tomorrow you will only find our people. You all go out and cleanse the city of Benghazi. A small problem that has become an international issue. And they are voting on it tonight ... because they are determined. As I have said, we are determined. We will track them down, and search for them, alley by alley, road by road, the Libyan people all of them together will be crawling out. Massive waves of people will be crawling out to rescue the people of Benghazi, who are calling out for help, asking us to rescue them. We should come to their rescue.

                  "And I, Muammar Gaddafi, I will die for my people. With Allah's help.

                  "No more fear, no more hesitation, we are no longer reluctant. The moment of truth has come. If you see the cars with loudspeakers, destroy them, destroy their communications points that are spreading lies to you. Our children are the one's who have destroyed these planes.

                  "Just like Franco in Spain, who rolled into Madrid with external support. And they asked how did you manage to liberate Madrid? He said: 'There was a fifth column, the people of the city.' You are the fifth column within the city. This is the day on which we should liberate the city. We've been looking forward to that day. And tomorrow we will communicate again, and our cause will continue towards the south.

                  "With our bare chests and heads we were confronting the dangers, facing the challenge, we did not initiate this violence, they started it. Of course, these words will have an impact on the traitors and infidels. Tonight they will panic and they will collapse.

                  "You are capable of doing it. You are capable of achieving this. Let's set our women and daughters free from those traitors.

                  "God is great."

      •  Democracy is hard (0+ / 0-)

        The world over the road from dictatorship to democracy has been fraught with instability and risk. I don't think those of us who live in countries to have made that transition (the questionable state of our democracy notwithstanding) regret it.

        •  That may well be. But it also means that (0+ / 0-)

          Libya can not be called a "success story" when arguing for further intervention; at least if one is being honest.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:13:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Success is better then before (0+ / 0-)

            The other Libya success is was the civil war was ended and it is likely that many lives where saved.

            If we are able to intervene to end the war in Syria I expect they will end up even worse off then Libya with continued extremists bombings like Iraq has now.

            Based on news impressions people will probably perceive is will be worse then now, but instead of thousands dying every month only dozens will be.

  •  The case for attacking is threefold (4+ / 0-)

    At least as I understand it.

    1. To signify to Assad that if he does it again, he will be hit again.  Moving all his people and assets to places where they are harder to bomb is extremely disruptive.  He can probably handle it shorter term, but if forced to keep doing that longer term because of threatened strikes it's a big, big problem.

    2. To erode his support.  If his supporters start to believe that it's not just the rebels and some foreign fighters but the big guns actually getting involved until Assad is gone, then they might turn on him because they know they will lose, and their only way out might be a more peaceful route.

    3. To send a message to everyone else.  Chemical weapons are one of the biggest international taboos, and their use is considered both immoral and illegal.  You either live up to your words and values and enforce it, or lose your moral authority and perhaps now have to deal with the increased risk of chemical weapons use because others now doubt that they will be punished for it if punishment is politically incovenient.

    •  You mean, like that huge wave of chemical (9+ / 0-)

      weapons use we saw after Saddam used them heavily against Iran for five years without being punished in any way?

      "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:26:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. By this logic we should also expect (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, davidincleveland

        multiple military coups around the world because we stood by while one happened in egypt.

      •  Saddam wasn't punished? (0+ / 0-)

        Excepting becoming a pariah, losing a lot of his international support, and eventually having it be a big rationale for bringing down his regime?

        Chemical weapons weren't used because almost no one had them and almost no one had any need for them.  With the new regime instability in the Middle East now things may be different.

        •  No one gave two shits while he was using it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vacantlook

          on Iran.  We kept right on giving him intelligence knowing he was using it on Iran.

          Years later, his use of it on the Kurds was trotted out as icing on the cake intended to get liberals on board with the war against Iraq.   It was never a cause for that war.

          And still no one gave two shits about his use of it against Iran.

          "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:04:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  What kind of message do you think Muslim kids (9+ / 0-)

      get when the US bombs yet ANOTHER Muslim country?  Do you think they're getting deterred when we do that?  Do you think they're thinking about the Geneva protocol against CW?  Do you think they're thinking about Munich?  

      I don't think that's what they're thinking and I don't think it's keeping me safer.

      •  Well, let's think about that (0+ / 0-)

        Do you think Muslims would have a problem with bombing the forces of someone who has been killing Muslims en masse, and now with chemical weapons?  The ones who would I suspect were the ones who already wanted to hate the US and would have simply found a justification one way or another.

        This is different from Iraq.

        •  I'd guess most Muslims figure Muslims should (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac

          fight their own civil wars.

        •  All Muslims are not the same despite what Bush (0+ / 0-)

          said.

          We had absolutely no compunction against bombing other Christians in WWII. In fact, the people we killed in massive numbers looked exactly the same as us - Caucasian Christians.

        •  The Muslim world yawned when Russia was (0+ / 0-)

          attacking Chechen muslims. It depends on which muslims one is bombing. Since we don't seem to have a good grasp on the complicated religious and tribal affiliations of the parties involved, our choices are not so clear cut.
          This is one of the results of European powers arbitrarily carving up countries in the Middle East.

          The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

          by JenS on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:20:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  This is what they are thinking..... (0+ / 0-)

        Obama's ratings in the ME have fallen even lower than Bush's ever were. I think that is because they expected something different from the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

        http://www.alwafd.org/...

        (Google translate)
        Trading a number of activists on the social networking site "Facebook" represents the image of U.S. President Barack Obama in the form of a demon tail live amid the flames, and Obama in the picture seems a great ear and teeth like vampire teeth, and put the Star of David Israeli flag on the chest.

        This comes a response from the Egyptian activists to threaten a military strike against U.S. President to Syria, which they saw as a threat to the entire Arab region and interference in the internal affairs of Arab.

        Read the original article at the gate of the electronic delegation delegation - Obama "the devil" on "Facebook"

  •  I would support carpet bombing Syria's neighbors (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal, tb mare

    with food and gas masks.
    Someone here at dKos put forward the idea of spending the billion$ it would cost for those "limited strikes", on aid to the countries that are fielding the Syrian refugees. That would be the best geopolitical move we've made in decades if not ever. And by all means, use the resources of our military to deliver it so the MIC makes a nice bundle off of it, they will be much more amenable to this kind of move, therefore.
    And the gas masks thing, if you're worried about gas attacks, protect the people with gas masks (which are few and far between in a world where poison gas is outlawed)(this suggestion was from a friend of mine who spent time on a kibbutz).

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:25:00 AM PDT

  •  One other argument against doing nothing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kayfromsouth, Gilpin Guy

    is its effects on other countries.  

    It tells other countries that they can do whatever they want to their own people, and we won't intervene.

    I am not convinced that this is reason enough for war, but it is a reason for war.

  •  Let us review the bidding. (7+ / 0-)

    The EU is against American intervention.

    The majority of Americans are against intervention.

    But the president thinks its a good idea but he can't tell us why because it's a secret?

    And some Kossacks thinks that's just ducky?

  •  Lobbing a few low impact cruise missiles... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Osiris

    will put the Assad regime on notice that the world is watching and ready to engage.  

    Not doing anything emboldens Assad to gas again because the World doesn't care enough to act.  

    I know folks were very interested in the Green Revolution in Iran and the Tahrir Square protests - what would have happened if the Ayatollahs or Mubarak felt they had carte blanche to use chemical weapons on the protesters?

    Are chemical weapons bad or are they not?  Are chemical weapons banned unless used on AQ?  Were the women and children killed members of AQ by birth?

    “I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I have many more documents on England’s spy system. I think they will be sorry for what they did.” -G.Greenwald

    by Jacoby Jonze on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:27:21 AM PDT

    •  Who is this "world" you speak of as being (8+ / 0-)

      "watching and ready to engage"?

      The US' political class is not "the world" - and they're the only ones eager to engage. Not the neighboring countries, not the EU, not Syria's allies, not the UN, and not the American people.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:32:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm in support of intervention (0+ / 0-)

      but the idea from the administration that it will be "limited" is absurd and would make absolutely no political, strategic, or military sense. The attack will be severe, you can bet on that. So severe that it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the regime collapsed afterwards.

       Obama is playing cynical politics on that one in the hopes that saying it's limited will increase support. That's basically the game McCain was playing yesterday too, he knows it won't and can't be limited so he wants the Obama admin to own what's going to happen.

      •  FDR spoke "non-intervention" to American voters (0+ / 0-)

        the whole time he was arming the British with Lend-Lease destroyers and building up U.S. military forces.

        It isn't "cynical" politics... it's just pragmatic politics.

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:45:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I would not like to be under the missiles being (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook

      "lobbed". How casually we talk about shooting up some area of Syria. There are people under those missiles that don't want to be killed.
      How many will be killed to "send a message"? It's stupid. Help the refugees, help the neighboring nations with the refugees and just not kill.

      The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

      by JenS on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:27:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Total BS! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kayfromsouth, Zek J Evets, walk2live

    Why should Kos and Alan Grayson make any sense when they can just fire off attacks at the President for cheap political points?

    Thus starts the Arianna Huffington school of "journalism."

    The bottom line is that Syria used chemical weapons which is in violation of a 1925 treat made after WWI. Striking at these sites sends a clear message to them and to other nations that this cannot take place.

    Funny I bit Kos and Alan Grayson spent several years arguing that Clinton should have done something in Rwanda!

    We cannot let the cynicism of the Iraq war to blind us to real stations that call for the world community to act. Yet another wonderful gift lift to us by Bu$h. It just makes it worse that people like Kos and Grayson stumble so effortlessly into this cynical trap.

    •  The treaty is silent as to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland

      civil wars.

      You're welcome.

    •  stop with this 1925 treaty business (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, wonmug, Claudius Bombarnac

      Yes, and the Great Powers also signed a treaty solemnly pledging never to go to war again. World War II followed shortly thereafter. And everybody had huge stockpiles of gas until recently. By everybody I mean the good old US of A.  Besides, it was a treaty--the Versailles Treaty--that more or less created the mess that is the present day Middle East. There is nothing sacred about treaties. Ask the Native Americans for further details on that point.

      "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

      by Reston history guy on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:04:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Then let the world community act. (0+ / 0-)

      Force the issue in the Security Council and if China or Russia veto, then find another coalition to take action. We are not successful when we go off on our own to be the big bad bully.

      The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

      by JenS on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:29:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If I were Mr. Obama's professor, I'd have to send (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weneedahero

    this draft thesis back with "Needs more work. Check international sources." In red ink.

    Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

    by semiot on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:31:33 AM PDT

  •  I'm so sick of the US being the world's (8+ / 0-)

    If Saudi Arabia (or some other country) wants to "send Assad a message" about his use of chemical weapons, then let them do that.  

    I'm pleased Britain's House of Commons said "no" to being involved in a strike against Assad.

    I also find it more than ironic that a former anti-war activist (John Kerry) and a Nobel Peace Prize winner (Barack Obama) want to attack a country that has not threatened our sovereignty or our citizens.

    If the president actually shoots missles at Syria, then Oslo should ask for it peace prize back (or better yet, the president should return it before being asked to do so).

    Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

    by BoxerDave on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:31:54 AM PDT

    •  Yes, the President (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wildthumb, Osiris

      and Kerry just have this bug up their butts about children being gassed to death.....they are funny that way, I guess.

      Is their really a difference between gassing children in their beds and in gas chambers?

      Please explain.

      I stand with the President and Kerry on their firm stance against children being put in gas chambers.
      I am also funny that way.

      •  The difference between... (0+ / 0-)

        ...gas chambers (which Assad does not have, so don't go there, that's pure fantasy) and gassing someone to death is huge.  The means of death is the same of course, but the difference between a chemical weapons attack and actually having a program for rounding up people and putting them in built gas chambers is immense.  It's the difference between the bombing of London and Dachau.

        What is the difference between having your limbs shot off and bleeding out versus dying from a chemical weapons attack? A horrible death is a horrible death.

        Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

        by BoxerDave on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:57:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So blanketing a (0+ / 0-)

          neighborhood with Sarin gas is like the London bombing in WWII?

          I disagree.  Londoners went to underground bunkers to escape the bombs.

          There is nowhere to hide from gas.
          If Assad introduces gas into children's bedrooms, how is that different than a chamber? Both die from gas in which their is no escape.

      •  When they argue... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Claudius Bombarnac

        ...that we must go to war because the vastly larger number of non-gas deaths than the comparatively far fewer gas deaths, then you can claim they actually, genuinely give a shit about the death.

  •  So if I'm a "war supporter" by your frame... (3+ / 0-)

    does that mean the do-nothing's can be framed as "Gassing Women and Children supporters"?

    “I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I have many more documents on England’s spy system. I think they will be sorry for what they did.” -G.Greenwald

    by Jacoby Jonze on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:33:32 AM PDT

    •  By the site rules, no. My younger brother is a war (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac, tb mare

      veteran. The word "war" is held to be neutral, since some people can honestly contemplate 'good' wars. "War supporter" is never a pejorative phrase. "Gassing women and children supporter" can never be classed as other than a pejorative and lying phrase. I suspect you know the difference, and classifying 75% of kossaks as "gassing women and children supporters" is beyond dickish.

      Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

      by davidincleveland on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:42:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In this case "war supporter" is being used as a (0+ / 0-)

        pejorative frame.  It's like calling pro-choice folks pro-abortion.  If I support an intervention to prevent future use of chemical weapons, that doesn't make me a war supporter.  

        “I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I have many more documents on England’s spy system. I think they will be sorry for what they did.” -G.Greenwald

        by Jacoby Jonze on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:32:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What Syrians say (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Osiris, JenS

    On Democracy Now this morning, interviews with two Syrians, one pro, one against Western intervention.  Statements include:  this is a proxy war between Sunni and Shia.  It is not the case that the majority of rebels are "radical islamists."  (John Kerry told the Senate comm yesterday some part of 15% of rebels are part of al-Qaeda related outfits.) There are Shia who have joined the Sunni, a few. The US has ignored many opportunities for diplomacy.

    Other facts.  President will be meeting with Putin.  this could be a history changing meeting.  

    See 3 superpowers.  China, Russia, US.  Pin any 2 against the 3rd and win.  Which way does Russie choose?  

    Other facts:  the US needs to convince the UN to take a stand against regimes that gas their children.

    This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone may be proud of us.

    by marthature on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:38:31 AM PDT

  •  Why I support use of force... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Osiris, Boronx

    I believe "kid sampson" posted an excellent comment on the poll-post from yesterday about why we should use force against Assad for his use of chemical weapons. It sums up my, and I believe the Administration's, thinking on the matter.

    Let me quote it for you now:

    "John Kerry did an able job during hearings today of staking the Administration's initiative to strike Assad on defending the veracity of the 1925 Geneva 'Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare'.

    In sum, the argument stipulates such international conventions are reduced to mere policy abstractions if not backed by force when violated.  By all accounts I've been able to locate, outside of World War II, the only known use of poison, or 'noxious' gases, was carried out by Sadam Hussein.  This bolsters the Administration's position by eliminating arguments that poison gas use has been unevenly sanctioned (Hussein's regime was eventually crushed through military force, though admittedly not specifically for that reason.)

    It's a decent argument.  Kos, you served, as did I (USMC), and damn well know how horrific toxins like Sarin and VX (and cyanide gas, mustard gas, etc.) are.  The Administration's point is that chemical warfare is particularly cruel and terrifying, hence the adoption of a specific international protocol to ban their use.  Most civilians are probably unaware of this, but a variety of weapons are actually outlawed under international law (shotgun shells filled with glass coming most readily to mind), so land warfare is not quite the free-for-all some here seem to imagine.

    I've consistently opposed our Bush initiated wars, but strongly support the Geneva Protocols.  As a guy who packed MOPP gear, gas mask, automatic atropine and valium injectors during the Gulf War and was subjected to rocket fire, I really can't do otherwise.  I'd like to see this nation vigorously and consistently support international laws intended to suppress at least some of the barbarity to which men subject other men.  I'd like to see us do it even when oil isn't the obvious, underlying concern.  However, I won't let past disappointments, or Syria's proximity to the oil patch, undercut my support for the Administration's current request, for authorization of the use of force, in support of these important protocols."

    "When facts are reported, they deny the value of evidence; when the evidence is produced, they declare it inconclusive." -- Augustine, in The City of God.

    by Zek J Evets on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:39:35 AM PDT

    •  Sigh (0+ / 0-)

      You undercut your entire argument, utterly and completely, because you are a decent and honorable person who wants to tell the truth. The parenthetical statement that Saddam was crushed, but not for using gas, is enough to destroy the rest of your entire argument.
          I would only add that the United States not only knew Saddam was using poison gas, we sent him intelligence on Iranian troop placements so he could use it more effectively.

      "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

      by Reston history guy on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:10:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow... (0+ / 0-)

        Such a measured response to a serious issue... Thanks for reinforcing my choice to support the use of force!

        Hint: this is partially sarcastic.

        If all you can say against the argument is that we should have crushed Saddam for using gas but failed to (and, as you allege, helped him do so in one instance) then what is the point of your comment?

        It doesn't change the overall point: chemical weapons are evil and illegal. We need to stop their use.

        "When facts are reported, they deny the value of evidence; when the evidence is produced, they declare it inconclusive." -- Augustine, in The City of God.

        by Zek J Evets on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 02:04:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it does change the overall point (0+ / 0-)

              Since we did not remove Saddam for using poison gas--and were hardly in a moral or legal position to do so--then removing Saddam cannot be counted as an example of the United States acting as an enforcer in response to an "evil and illegal" use of chemical weapons.
               Thus we are brought to the central point at issue: does the United States have the right to stop the use of an "evil and illegal" weapon? More specifically, does the United States have the right to do so when no evidence has been presented (in the style of the Kennedy Administration during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when our UN ambassador presented unmistakable evidence for the world to view. And it was classified before JFK decided it was important to convince the world we weren't making it up) that it was the Assad regime that deliberately used chemical weapons? Someone did, that we do know.  But why is it that the world does not seem to accept our unsupported assertions that it was Assad's thugs rather than the thugs on the other side?
               And does the United States have the right to act as enforcer of international law on its own say-so, without the consent of the international community?
               And finally, as many including Kos have pointed out, the proposed action will not "stop their use." It will perhaps make the use of chemical weapons more difficult ("degrade their capability") but that is all. If you believe that stopping the use of chemical weapons is an imperative duty of the United States, one that cannot wait, then it seems to me that you should support a full-scale invasion of Syria with the goal of locating, seizing, and destroying the chemical weapons. Do you support such an action? I do not.

          "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

          by Reston history guy on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 02:21:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, wow. (0+ / 0-)

            "If you believe that stopping the use of chemical weapons is an imperative duty of the United States, one that cannot wait, then it seems to me that you should support a full-scale invasion of Syria with the goal of locating, seizing, and destroying the chemical weapons. Do you support such an action? I do not."

            Have you ever read Spiderman? "With great power comes great responsibility." I find it interesting that when our government, for once, wants to use force for a good reason -- that of stopping the use of chemical weapons -- people are opposed to it. Not everyone, but enough to make me question those people's moral integrity.

            Do I support a full scale invasion? No, but I do support the use of limited force (for instance, in the form of missile strikes) to show both sides, specifically the Assad government, that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated, particularly against a civilian population.

            I find it insanely frightening that you'd rather make like an ostrich in this situation. I remember similar attempts at forced ignorance and/or apathy regarding crimes against humanity. At that time, it allowed 6 million of my fellow Jews to be murdered.

            "When facts are reported, they deny the value of evidence; when the evidence is produced, they declare it inconclusive." -- Augustine, in The City of God.

            by Zek J Evets on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 03:13:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Also! (0+ / 0-)

      Here is why these strikes will not harm civilians yet send a message about the use of chemical weapons.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

      "When facts are reported, they deny the value of evidence; when the evidence is produced, they declare it inconclusive." -- Augustine, in The City of God.

      by Zek J Evets on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:31:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  All of our past military conflicts have left (0+ / 0-)

    impassioned ghosts behind.  It's no wonder we are torn about whether of not to intervene.  The interveners are in conflict about the scope of the intervention.  The best that can come of this is that there are actual thought bubbles drifting above the heads of a citizenry that generally lets the media sort things out.

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

    by judyms9 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:41:50 AM PDT

  •  From a purely domestic politics perspective... (0+ / 0-)

    It's pretty remarkable how a month ago going into the 2014 midterms it felt like Dems had the wind at their back...  now one Syria debacle later we've dropped a huge wedge right in the middle of our own party!

    You'd think Obama would know by now that you NEVER give the Circular Firing Squad a reason to fire.  So much for mid-term turnout now...  sigh.

    •  Calculated risk. The 'Pubs would bash Dems for (0+ / 0-)

      "failing to act" even after voting to deny the President authority to act.

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:49:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Greenspan School of International Relations (0+ / 0-)

    Paraphrased from here:

    “Well, Brooksley, I guess you and I will never agree about Chemical Weapons,” Born, in a recent interview, remembers Greenspan saying.

    “What is there not to agree on?” Born says she replied.

    “Well, you probably will always believe there should be laws against Chemical Weapons, and I don’t think there is any need for a law against Chemical Weapons,” she recalls. Greenspan, Born says, believed the market would take care of itself.

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

    by Just Bob on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:58:53 AM PDT

  •  Kristoff's argument is built from false premises (4+ / 0-)

    "So far, we’ve tried peaceful acquiescence..."

    No "we" haven't. The US government, along with allies, have been flooding Syria with money, weapons and military training to nurture and perpetuate violence and guerrilla insurgency in Syria. There is nothing peaceful about it. The model has been a mix of Libya and Iraq, with the Iraq model being that of the Iraqi insurgency against US occupying forces, but applying those tactics against the Syrian government. We knew how difficult it was to deal with that in Iraq and thought Assad probably wouldn't be able to survive it.

    some of the specifics are exposed here:

    http://wikileaks.org/...

    The policy has been to support and cause Syria to become violent and chaotic all along, using "guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns" and the like, in hopes that the Assad government would ultimately fall apart. Of course, that has not happened. But to claim the policy has been "peaceful acquiescence" or "inaction" is grossly dishonest or willfully ignorant.

    The problems with this policy are that, like in Libya, the rebels - despite being flooded with our weapons, money and training, simply are not a powerful enough force to topple the government themselves. They need other powers to come in and be their air force like in Libya. And the second problem is that, like the Iraq insurgency before it, the Syrian insurgency has become filled with Islamic extremists and Al-Qaeda. So the US helped create a Frankenstein monster that seemed like a good idea at the time, but now seems like something we actually can't want to win either.

    It may be that the best policy on Syria now would be just to actually try some of that "peaceful acquiescence" for the first time. Admit that what seemed like a good idea a couple years ago - fostering a bloody insurgency and chaos in Syria - hasn't turned out well, can't end well, and call it quits. Start telling the rebels the money and weapons are going to start drying up unless they come to the table and hash out a settlement with the government and end the conflict. We have a huge amount of leverage over the rebels that does not involve bombing or war. We have nothing over the government but bombing and war. And that will only perpetuate the conflict.

  •  Worth it (0+ / 0-)

    The ban on chemical weapons is worth preserving.

    It's true that attacking Syria is risky and will get people killed, but not offering a credible deterrent to chemical weapons use is also risky and will get people killed.

    The risks of inaction stretch far into the future and are unbounded.

  •  I am so bewildered by Obama's insistence (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whizdom, wayoutinthestix, tb mare

    that a strike on Syria is the best course of action.  I keep feeling that there is more to this than we are being told.  For this President--whom I generally support, and give credit for being smart, informed, open to a variety of arguments, humane and practical--to stick so forcefully to such an unpopular plan, with nearly no international support, and domestic support from hotheaded war mongers like McCain and Rumsfeld, doesn't feel right to me.

    While I certainly understand the humanitarian aspect, it seems we'd be better to aid the refugees than to create new ones.  We have economic tools at our disposal, and I'm sure we could put pressure on the Russians in a variety of ways.  Obama certainly must realize that his election was in large measure made possible because of the position he took against the AUMF for Iraq, and his "against dumb wars" comment.  This seems to be a dumb war, or it certainly could turn out to be one.

    I want to figure out what's really motivating the President.

    "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    by SottoVoce on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:09:05 AM PDT

  •  What would a "limited" strike against Syria (0+ / 0-)

    look like and what would it accomplish? (Other than to soften up Syrian defenses for future strikes.)

    The 'limited' strike in Iraq in 1998 saw over 400 cruise missiles plus 600 sorties by aircraft, including B-1 bombers, dropping hundreds of tons of bunker busters and other heavy munitions on 97 targets with mixed results.

    Is it deja vu all over again?

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?

    December 21, 1998  

    MARGARET WARNER: The combined U.S. and British bombing campaign was designed to cripple Iraq's ability to produce weapons of mass destruction. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the commander of U.S. forces in the Gulf said today that their warplanes had hit most of the strategic sites targeted in advance. For what the mission has accomplished in broader terms we turn to Henry Kissinger, who was Secretary of State for Presidents Nixon and Ford, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was National Security Adviser for President Carter. Welcome, gentlemen.

    Secretary Kissinger, what do you think was accomplished by this bombing campaign?

  •  What exactly is WAR? (0+ / 0-)

    Would sending missiles & bombs at targets in Syria for a few days/weeks really constitute a war? I don't think so...

    Iraq was a war - we put boots on the ground, invaded a country, and overthrew a government. Same thing with Afghanistan.

    I think we ought to be careful using the term war for all military action. I don't want to trivialize the situation in Syria, but I think calling it a potential "war" trivializes other more significant military actions that are far more significant.

    Of course, we have to call it something... And I'm not sure what the right term is. "Military action" sounds a bit benign. "Conflict" maybe?

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

    by walk2live on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:12:13 AM PDT

    •  So boots on the ground is the definition of war? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, vacantlook
      but I think calling it a potential "war" trivializes other more significant military actions that are far more significant.
      To put it as gently and mildly as I can - That's fucking insanity!.

      Obama has been working on "over the horizon force projection" since he took office and has made considerable strides towards that end. The end game is to have absolutely no military 'skin' in the game. To be able to attack at will anywhere in the world without fear of retaliation.

      But, history has shown, it is only when too much American 'skin' gets destroyed or damaged that the US will back off and end hostilities. With no skin in the game, the US can kill and maim endlessly., especially with much of the population suffering from ADD.

      Of course, we have to call it something... And I'm not sure what the right term is. "Military action" sounds a bit benign. "Conflict" maybe?
      It already has a name. It's a benign and sterile "kinetic military action" according to Obama. You have to admit that man has a way with words.
    •  Was 9/11 significant? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, Claudius Bombarnac

      Did Saudi Arabia have to invade NYC to make it significant?

  •  Use of expressions like "lobbing" cruise missiles (0+ / 0-)

    suggests that the diarist is engaging in polemics rather than serious dialog.

    Yes, "Craters on runways" are easily repaired.
    Flaming fuel storage tanks... not so much.

    Without fuel, the planes don't fly, the tanks don't roll, and the artillery can't be towed. Without mobility, Assad's forces must play defense. Then we push hard for a cease-fire and peace talks... Let the Alawites and their partners decide if the the Assad brothers are an asset or a liability.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:16:26 AM PDT

  •  Why are we having this conversation? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Claudius Bombarnac, vacantlook
    Great! So if doing nothing will lead to bloodshed, and doing something leads to the same bloodshed, and the solution in Syria depends on Syrians ... why are we having this conversation?
    No one, including the administration, seems to believe these strikes will end (or hasten the end) of either the Assad regime or the Syrian civil war.  So as Kos says, the bloodshed will continue.  

    If that's the case, then there seems to be no practical reason for doing this, unless the U.S. is going to commit itself to more extensive involvement later.  And perhaps that's the unspoken objective.  We fire some missiles, and then, predictably, not much changes.  The president then comes back and says we have to do more because the humanitarian crisis is unacceptable.  I'm going to prepare myself for the inevitable mission creep.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:26:19 AM PDT

    •  The strikes are designed to weaken Assad's regime (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell

      and degrade his defenses in preparation for further action.

      The end game is regime change - pure and simple. Everything Obama does is predicated towards this end no matter what his rhetoric is.

      Bandar Bush figures he will be able to control the Salafist jihadis in the aftermath. BTW, his fingerprints have been all over this conflict since the very beginning.

  •  Assad has control of the air, if the US wiped out (0+ / 0-)

    his air force, Assad would lose. His Alawite base is about 12% of the population so he can't occupy the country
    unless Iran adds hundreds of thousands of troops.  
    If he lost his backers Russia and Iran he would be out.
    A bid influx of surface to air missiles could also end the Syrian air force.

    In the Spanish Civil War, Franco had most of the army and the Spanish Foreign Legion(Moroccans). Control of the air
    via the Nazi Condor Legion and Italians prevented the Republic from ever mounting a successful offensive. Franco went about carving up the country (Basques and Catalans)
    The Republic was only supported by Soviet Russia( not socialist France) but kept fighting until 1939 when a Madrid coup by socialists trying
    negotiate with Franco agreed to expel the Communists
    from the government followed by a complete collapse in morale. I don't see rebel morale in Syria being weakened.

    There was a report that the Iranian Quds Force pledged to
    back Assad to the end.

    A lot more psychological pressure via the UN against Russia and Iran,
    both victims of poison gas could break these 'unbreakable
    ties'.

    Assad is much weaker that he appears and weaker than Saddam Hussein was in 2003. This bloody civil war is being kept alive by Russia and Iran.

    Does the US want to end the Syrian War?
    Does the US or Russia have the right to intervene in the civil war?
    Western Europe refused to intervene( there was a arms embargo by the UK, etc.) in Spain in 1936
    largely because of Communists in the Spanish Republic.

    I am leaning toward intervention.

  •  There is no easy solution (0+ / 0-)

    for this.  The pacifists want to stay out; the hawks want to jump in and kill.  In the meantime, other people are paying the price for one man's overinflated power binge.

    At some point, someone will do something stupid, and the whole thing will escalate from a civil war to a regional war.  No one yet knows what that flashpoint will be, but Assad would gladly wipe out his entire population if that's what it takes to stay in power.

    So, Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

    "There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result." - Winston Churchill

    by Dingodude on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:49:35 AM PDT

  •  Custody of all those Chemical Weapons we don't (0+ / 0-)

    blow up is a rather unspoken-of consequence if there is no more Assad once the dust settles.

    I doubt they'll all be tucked away in one fenced-off field sitting out in the open where we can zap 'em.

  •  "War?" (0+ / 0-)

    Why has a military strike that's likely to be even more limited in scope and duration than our support in Libya now being conflated to all-out war? For me, the reaction to this reasonable response to Assad's deployment of chemical weapons is more insane than the use of those weapons. People wave their peace banners, and will rejoice when nothing is done to step in the way of Assad's example of slaughtering hundreds of innocent people with cowardly gas attacks? Frankly, this is how World War II came to be - people who wanted to avoid standing up to bullies.

    I am afraid that there will be a lot of people who will come to regret their amazing short-sightedness in this matter. The reaction is understandable after more than a decade of largely useless war that was the result of deception and greed, but I am afraid that most people's sentiments are poorly targeted. Violence in and of itself solves nothing, but violence unopposed solves even less.

  •  I question on statement in this post: (0+ / 0-)
    War opponents have another simple fact: There is no alternative to Assad. The insurgency is dominated by Islamist radicals. It seems like our best post-Assad scenario looks depressingly similar to post-Soviet Afghanistan.
    Based on my own knowledge of the war, which largely comes from ivorybill's excellent recent diary (http://www.dailykos.com/...), it's much, much more complicated than that.

    The radical Islamists may be more brutal and ruthless than other rebel groups, as I saw Ashleigh Banfield yucking it up on CNN today, but Kerry is right that they make up only something like 20 percent of the rebels.  I don't think they would be permitted by the bulk of the population to take power, although they might end up carving out part of the poorer, eastern areas.

    Syria is nothing at all like Afghanistan.  It has much closer ties to the West.  It has a much more advanced culture and economy.  It has been secular for a long time.

    After al-Assad falls, there might be more years of civil war.  But the Al Qaeda types have little chance of winning.

  •  Markos's apathy toward the use of chemical weapons (0+ / 0-)

    is really disturbing to me.  There are any number of cogent, defensible reasons to oppose a strike on Syria, and Markos makes many of them.  But this business of just shrugging his shoulders over the use of sarin gas and acting like it's no worse than any other method of killing really, really bothers me.

    The use of chemical weapons has been banned for nearly a century, and the mere possession of sarin has been explicitly banned by 96% of the nations in the world.  Apart from any of the actual reasons it was banned, the simple fact that it WAS banned makes it different.  If Kos really thinks it doesn't matter what weapons a regime uses to prosecute a war, then I'd like to see him explore the consequences of that a bit.  I'd like to see him take the logical next step and argue that the UN convention banning sarin is silly, and we might as well rescind it.  That part of the Geneva Convention banning chemical warfare might as well be stricken also.  Is there, in fact, any line a nation could cross with respect to banned weapons or tactics that would make any difference to him, or is the body count the one and only relevant factor?  It's not a completely indefensible position, but I'd at least like to see him openly argue it.

    You oppose a military strike on Syria, fine, that's reasonable.  You stand a fair chance of being in the right.  But don't act like this is an easy call, like no one with half a brain could possibly disagree.

    If you can't see your way clear to treat those who are engaging you with honest, reasoned disagreement with respect, at least don't pretend like chemical weapons are no big deal.  And if you really think chemical weapons are no big deal, at least don't pretend like that opinion is not an incredibly controversial one.

  •  We do not have any business in Syria. Syrians of (0+ / 0-)

    any persuasion don't want the US in Syria. No one wants us in Syria, including us.
    Help the refugees as we are doing and leave it at that.  There are no good outcomes to  getting involved in Syria.

    See: Vietnam, Iraq.

    The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

    by JenS on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:06:13 AM PDT

  •  It's alot like the militarization of local police (0+ / 0-)

    departments:
    Golly, we've got these neat bombs and stuff. We have to use them!
    No, we don't. Just say no.

    The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

    by JenS on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:08:53 AM PDT

  •  Most of the supporters for bombing Syria cite (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, schnecke21

    punishment as one of the main rationals for doing that.

    Since when did punishment ever work as intended? The US punishes millions by putting them in it's prisons but it still needs to either build more prisons or release those already being punished in order to punish even more people.

    Even the severe punishment the US received from Vietnam didn't deter it from attacking Iraq and Afghanistan and getting another kick in the groin.

    What would America's response be if it's enemies bombed it's cities? Would it curl up in a ball and cry "mercy" like we expect others to do? When you poke a stick in the eye of someone don't expect they will not respond in any way they can.

  •  I'm gratified that people on this site (0+ / 0-)

    as well as many of the Democratic congressional delegation are actively opposing this new war.

    Play chess for the Kossacks on Chess.com. Join the site, then the group at http://www.chess.com/groups/view/kossacks.

    by rhutcheson on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:09:07 PM PDT

  •  Just curious… where's your red line? (0+ / 0-)

    Arresting opposition leaders?  Torturing suspected collaborators? Shooting protesters? Indiscriminately shelling cities? Thousands killed, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands.  Obviously it’s not gassing a few civilians.  I appreciate that almost everyone who frequents this site is opposed to war, so is the majority of the country.  I’m sure most of those who died or were displaced in Syria were also opposed war, but it came to them anyway.  

    We live in the freest, wealthiest, country in the world; and like it or not we have paid for and are the proud owners of the most powerful military mankind has ever known.   Anything from an annoyance to regime change is within its capability.   If it’s not an obvious choice; an end to the killing that has solved nothing, a cease fire and negotiations, before we launch a single missile should be explicitly offered as a way out for all concerned parties.  If the Syrian regime calculates that they can get a better deal on the battlefield; we need to act to change the factors in the equation.  

    Something should have been done long ago for Syria, and countless other places that escape our attention, where people struggle for freedom and dignity.   Their fight is our fight, their victory our victory, their loss our loss.  

  •  What if the gas attacks are a sales pitch? (0+ / 0-)

    I have to offer a dissent here and try to take the thinking in a new direction.

    I heard something today on Fox News (I know, I know. . .) which was quickly dismissed by the host because it doesn't go against the President's position. But it bears consideration. The guest said there's a possibility Assad used the gas attacks to showcase chemical weapons that he wants to sell to allies like Iran or Hezbollah.

    If that's true, we have to consider the president's proposal for a limited strike, not because it would bring Assad to the negotiating table (which it won't) nor stop him from killing his own people (won't do that either) nor hasten regime change (not likely either). We should consider the president's proposal because anyone who might use, or even acquire from Assad, chemical weapons has to calculate the cost of a US-led bombardment that would follow the use of such weapons.

    Let me reiterate: what the president's proposing won't end the civil war in Syria. It won't topple Assad. It won't lead to less bloodshed.

    As both Kos and Kristoff agree, these things are going to happen with or without us.

    A US bombardment on Syria will do only one thing.

    It will say that no one gets a freebie when they use chemical weapons.

    And that's not nothing.

    Fox News flunkies didn't want to hear anything about it. That, to me, is a good reason we should consider it.

    •  That's nuts. Iran has much better chemists and (0+ / 0-)

      engineers than Assad ever did. If they wanted to go that route they could have done it at any time. Unlike Syria they have signed the Chemical Weapons Convention and have abided by it.

      Hezbollah can make their own if they so desire. It's not rocket science.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site