Friday Open Thread

Last workday before long weekend, it's hard to get everything done. I haven't had a chance to read today's news, so here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

My goal for the weekend: Finish watching Pablo Escobar, El Patron del Mal on Mun2.tv. All 74 episodes are available online with English subtitles and it's really good -- almost addictive. I'm up to episode 28.

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    Aloha to everyone this Labor Day weekend. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:57:00 PM EST
    We've made a spur-of-the-moment decision to use some of our accumulated airline mileage, and run away to Hilo for the long weekend. So, The Spouse is picking me up from work in an hour, and we're catching the 2:15 p.m. flight over there. I feel myself already downshifting in anticipation.

    I hope everyone has a nice weekend, and if you're driving anywhere for the holiday, please drive carefully and arrive there safely.

    Ciao 4 now.


    Around Rainbow football (none / 0) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:14:36 PM EST
    shouldn't ciao 4 now become chow now?

    Nope. (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:52:06 PM EST
    The UH football season out here is now known as "Chow Time."

    I was actually quite pleased with the Rainbows' defensive performance last night against USC, but that offense certainly left a lot to be desired.

    The cupboard was bare when Coach Chow got here, so we knew that it was going to take a while to rebuild the program. Patience will be a virtue.

    Well, it's a beautiful late afternoon here in Hilo, so we're going to go for a walk down the waterfront and then meet Younger Daughter for dinner at our favorite restaurant.

    Have a great weekend. Aloha.


    If you miss Hawaii's run-and-shoot offense, (none / 0) (#79)
    by fairleft on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 04:33:57 AM EST
    check out Fresno State sometime. Very entertaining, Derek Carr and three excellent wide receivers. Multiple flashbacks to Colt Brennan and his guys.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:51:06 PM EST
    will be the first Supreme Court Justice to officiate at a same sex marriage.  Justice Ginsburg will officiate tomorrow at the wedding of  Michael Kaiser,president of the Kennedy Center, and John Roberts, an economist (not to be confused with John Roberts, the Chief Justice).  Best wishes to all.

    Mr. Kaiser and Justice Ginsberg are friends and supporters of fine arts, especially opera.  Justice Scalia is also an opera fan, but there was no indication that he is to be among wedding guests.  

    Speaker John Boehner, who lead, and lost, the Republican House fight against repeal of DOMA, is also unlikely to be in attendance, having expressed himself previously as not being a fan of Oprah because he never got a Pontiac.

    Another example of elections matter (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:54:16 PM EST
    Agreed. Elections do matter. (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by KeysDan on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:48:54 PM EST
    I do not even like to think of a President Romney, for example.  And, even worse, as in a marriage, you get the in-laws too, for better or worse.  And, the Republican party is clearly for the worse.  Beyond the pale worse.   However, letting those you basically support know of your opinions with the hope of shaping or re-shaping them, also matters.    For example, In my view, the bombing of Syria would be wrong, and the NSA spying programs need to be put in check.

    You never get everything you want (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:10:25 PM EST
    A (none / 0) (#11)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:24:59 PM EST
    bit of a stretch...

    Especially now when Obama is doing his best Bush impression, and Kerry is doing a Cheney or a Powell, and Bill is telling O. that bombing Syria would show he's not a wimp... and Obama defending and augmenting Bush's NSA surveillance program, and Obama telling us that to know W. is to like him and that he is a "good man"... and the rest of this blueprint for the betrayal of American democracy...


    As a comment above (none / 0) (#92)
    by christinep on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:48:35 AM EST
    reminded us that we don't always get what we want, so it also is that people can & will take another position -- even diametrically opposed to what we want -- without a "betrayal" of the country.

     Think about this, for example: Remember how Bush stoutly stuck to what he declared as his position in a "my way or the highway" type of manner, and then think about how some have faulted this President in domestic issues (see economic & health care determinations as a prime example) for seeking compromise.  Well ... I guess that
    how we feel about purpose, principle, & strength can be a very movable target if we want a President to agree with us ... or else we use the moral imperative of condemnation.  Disagreement, protest, criticism expressed openly and loudly is one thing ... but, isn't throwing out terms like "betrayal" (and, you know the drill) a bit much.  

    Right now, I think that there are a lot of concerned, thoughtful people trying to design the best response to what appears to be a horrendous international crime committed in Damascus under the auspices of Assad & his government.  For many of us, to do nothing is unacceptable as it can only suggest condoning/ignoring/allowing further such atrocities while engaging in overblown war/significant armed conflict/additional harm to the citizenry there is equally unacceptable.  Therein lies the rub, as you know.  At this time, there is absolutely nothing that even hints at President Obama pursuing either extreme course.


    Colin Powell says NO (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:57:24 PM EST
    Speaks glaring volumes

    He's (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:39:16 PM EST
    trying to resurrect his shattered image - but nevertheless...

    Sunday? (none / 0) (#54)
    by woodchuck64 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:54:31 PM EST
    Seems like quite a lot of things have come to light in the last 5 days that might make him rethink his position.

    How so, MT? (none / 0) (#57)
    by Visteo1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:10:37 PM EST
    God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son" (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:21:12 AM EST
    Abe say "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
    God say "No." Abe say, "What?"
    God say "You can do what you want Abe, but
    The next time you see me comin' you better run"
    obama say, "Whatever you say boss"

    linky rapture

    "Praying for peace is not enough when God's children are being gassed," a leading British rabbi, Dr Jonathan Romain, said in an expression of support for military intervention in Syria, British media reported on Thursday.

    The Times of London quoted Rabbi Romain, of Maidenhead Synagogue, as saying that he felt "very strongly it is right to intervene in some way. The religious justification is clear."

    Leaked documents reveal US sees Israel as a spying threat


    Israeli intelligence `critical' in US case for strikes on Syria

    Most analysts appear confident that Israel would play no visible part in a possible US-led military strike on Syria. But many senior Israeli cabinet ministers are voicing strong support for direct Western military involvement in the Syrian civil war.

    CNN (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:41:51 AM EST
    Analyst: Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria now best-equipped of the group
    Al Qaeda's affiliate inside Syria is now the best-equipped arm of the terror group in existence today, according to informal assessments by U.S. and Middle East intelligence agencies, a private sector analyst directly familiar with the information told CNN.

    Concern about the Syrian al Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front, is at an all-time high, according to the analyst, with as many as 10,000 fighters and supporters inside Syria. The United States has designated al-Nusra Front as a terrorist group with links to al Qaeda in Iraq.
    "They are making desperate attempts to get chemical weapons," the analyst told CNN, noting that in the past few weeks, security services in Iraq and Turkey arrested operatives who were "trying to get their hands on sarin."

    A senior U.S. intelligence official told CNN recently that gathering intelligence on Syria, including its potential future use of chemical weapons, is now one of the top priorities of the U.S. intelligence community.
    In one corner, the United States, the United Kingdom and France say rebels need more help in ousting a 42-year dynasty and ending a regime that crushes dissent with lethal force.

    In the other corner, Russia says its supply of arms to the Syrian regime isn't nearly as bad as sending weapons to the rebels.

    "I believe you will not deny that one should hardly back those who kill their enemies and eat their organs. ... Do you want to support these people? Do you want to supply arms to these people?" Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Sunday.

    I read that they are on the sidelines (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:36:22 AM EST
    Waiting to make raids on Assad's equipment in the wake of our attack.  Of course, it is what I would do.

    They are sent there (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 03:52:26 PM EST
    supported and funded by Washington.

    A couple more links (none / 0) (#96)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 03:55:13 PM EST
    Incendiary bomb dropped on children (none / 0) (#3)
    by Politalkix on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:20:20 PM EST
    Why the Obama administration is confident (none / 0) (#4)
    by Politalkix on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:29:30 PM EST
    that they have evidence that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons.

    Iraq: why people are skeptical of (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:55:49 PM EST
    any president's assertions.

    Am I saying they're lying?  No.  But we've been down this road before, and I don't like where it's going.

    And for the umpty-umpth time: WHAT IS THE GOAL???

    Are we securing the weapons, destroying the weapons, sending a message at the end of a Tomahawk missile, and if so, what is it - "you want something to cry about - we can give you something to cry about?"

    Remember Maher Arar?  Charlie Pierce does:

    I wondered what Maher Arar thought today when Kerry made what appeared to be the most compelling case yet for regime change in Syria, and then said he wasn't talking about regime change at all. I mean, Jesus, if we've got all the proof Kerry says we have, and Assad's own brother directed the chemical attack that killed 1429 people, many more than the original estimates, then what in the hell are we fking around with a "limited response"? (To be fair, shortly after Kerry had finished, Andrea Mitchell defined a "limited response" as "100 or so cruise missiles," which is only "limited" if you don't happen live in Syria.) There was a lot of boilerplate there about credibility and what will history, Russia, China, Iran -- or North Korea (?) -- think of us if we don't act. But the case that Kerry put forth for the Assad regime's complicity in what can justifiably be called an atrocity gave us a million dollars worth of motive to justify a ten-cent response. What in hell are we doing here?

    I do not want to believe that American policy is to weaken Assad but somehow not weaken him enough so that the rebels -- whom we do not trust and, frankly, do not know -- can actually overthrow him. I do not want to believe that the policy is to let Syria bleed itself white. I do not want to believe this because I remember when Henry Kissinger, that sociopath, actually adopted that policy during the Iran-Iraq War. We armed both sides to keep them at each other so that neither one would win. Thousands of people who were not us got slaughtered meaninglessly. I do not want to believe that American policy in Syria is within miles of that kind of lycanthropic realpolitik. I'd prefer to believe we just don't know what in the hell to do.

    There is no question, however, that's it's on now, probably some time over the weekend. If I were a cynical clod like John Boehner, I'd hide until the missiles were launched and then scream that I wasn't consulted, and maybe throw a little wink to the impeachment crazies over the president's actions. If I were the Democrats, I'd be standing up right now demanding to be consulted, and demanding that Boehner get his orange ass back to Washington and put the House into session. And, to tell you the honest to god truth, if I were Maher Arar, I'd be marvelling at the American government's sudden shock and horror at what a monster Bashar al-Assad is, when it was the very fact that he was a monster on which American policy depended when Arar was picked up at JFK and shuffled off to be held in a rat's cage for over a year. I'd be marvelling at the horror expressed by an American government -- the same government that fought my lawsuit and hid behind secrecy and denied me justice for what the Assad did to me with the encouragement of the American government -- at the inhumanity of the Syrian regime. If I were Maher Arar, I might even laugh, although I rather doubt it.

    What are we doing?


    They have been very clear (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:04:56 PM EST
    as to the purpose should they go through with it. Punish the government by way of damaging government facilities with minimal casualties in response to violating international law on the use of chemical weapons.

    note: I'm not looking to be convinced. I just want us to be correct is the assessment.


    Something tells me it don't feel like... (5.00 / 4) (#33)
    by gbrbsb on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:01:33 PM EST
    "minimal causalities" if you happen to be one of those minimals... or a minimal's son, daughter, brother, sister, wife, mother, father, etc. Yet another of those hypocritical  euphemisms like "collateral damage", not too collateral if you are a child or innocent civilian snuffing it in a drone strike !

    Neither am I. (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:26:36 PM EST
    I think the evidence clearly shows that the Assad regime deployed chemical weapons against its own citizens. The use of chemical weapons under any circumstance flies in the face of international law and should be intolerable. We need to respond substantively, although I'm not quite sure how exactly to go about it.

    But we do need to do something, and simply ignoring what happened or saying that it's none of our concern is foolish and shortsighted, in my opinion. Inaction on our part could encourage the Assad regime to wield chemical weapons again, and we could see the next round of missiles outfitted with chemical warheads slamming into some refugee camp in Jordan or Turkey, or perhaps even Haifa -- and then, well, if we think we have problems now ...

    As far as military force is concerned, I would prefer that we first use its very real threat as a means to pressure the Russians to rein in their client state -- which assumes, of course, that Moscow has significant influence with Damascus right now -- rather than simply plunging ahead alone.

    But like I said the other day, I wouldn't want to be in the president's shoes right now, facing a "damned if we do, damned if we don't"-type of situation.



    Not everyone on board with Obama's plans (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:35:56 PM EST
    U.S. military officers have deep doubts about impact, wisdom of a U.S. strike on Syria

    That's why it needs to be discussed further. (none / 0) (#74)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:26:40 AM EST
    And for the record, we really don't know exactly what options are presently on the table. All this talk of an imminent strike may be a means to get Russia to get Syria to conform to international law.

    I think the President and SoS (4.25 / 4) (#10)
    by Politalkix on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:18:37 PM EST
    made it very clear that they want to discipline Assad for bad behavior.

    I think the President and the SoS are clear about their objectives. So please don't keep asking "what are we doing" over and over again. They have already told you what they want to accomplish, i.e. they want Assad to never think about using chemical weapons again.

    Whether they will be able to accomplish that goal is a separate question. There may be disagreements among people on this matter. Some may feel that the goal will get accomplished, others may feel that the action will cause more trouble.

    However, isn't this situation like everything else in life? Should you discipline a person if he commits a crime? Some might feel that it is necessary for some punishment to be meted out, others may feel that punishing anyone for a crime does not act as a deterrent but increases chances of bad behavior. Everything depends on your belief system.


    How is (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:44:11 PM EST
    our bombing - with the inevitable result of the slaughter of civilians - going to "discipline" Assad?

    Supposing Assad says, ok boys. No more chemical weapons. Now I'll just use machine guns, cluster bombs and conventional tear gas - like you use on students or prisoners.

    How come Obama isn't the least bit interested in "disciplining" Bush and Cheney for their crimes and lies? Instead, he's trying to make sure that they are immune from any consequences for their evil deeds. And they killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and maimed thousands of young Americans.


    Something else is attempting to play out here.

    Obama lost much of whatever credibility in defending and perpetuating and augmenting the surveillance programs initiated by Bush.

    So he is changing the subject and trying make himself look like something - which is isn't.

    Either that, or there's some oil or control of oil that's involved.

    But whatever it is, it is not about disciplining someone for an evil deed. No way.


    This is so unclear (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:53:29 PM EST
    I know why this administration is saying they must do this.  But if they do this and Syria remains in the midst of horrible civil war for years.....what has been accomplished other than we stood up against the use of chemical weapons?  If we defang Assad and this all goes the way of a more vicious civil war instead of having Assad in the position to have to negotiate what then????

    Something nobody wants to talk about either, if we just enable a grand civil war for years maybe people in the backrooms think that is beneficial....the whole flypaper thing.  We set Al Qaeda up to fight with Assad and stay busy.  It's creepy, uses children as fodder.

    That is why in my mind we must have debate before we commit to any action or inaction, and the majority of Americans want a debate before we make a military move.


    Quite a lot is unclear (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:35:42 PM EST
    Using chemical weapons is against international law, yet there is no international force willing to enforce this. It seems only the U.S. and possibly France are feel there is sufficient evidence at this time to take action.

    What happens if after the U.S. bombs Syria more people die from chemical weapons attacks next month? The month after that ...........

    Why is the U.S. government claiming that 1,429 Syrians were killed in this attack, including at least 426 children when according to the international aid group Doctors Without Borders,  355 people were killed? The difference is much more than a rounding error.

    If our actions result in the Al Qaeda faction overthrowing Assad, are we suddenly going to recognize Al Qaeda as the legitimate government?  

    Do we know for a fact that the Al Qaeda faction does not possess chemical weapons? What is to prevent them from setting up a scenario where they fake a government chemical attack every time they want the U.S. to bomb Assad's forces.


    Rocks and hard places (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:35:02 AM EST
    I'm not sure who to go with on the count of the dead. Even those that survived though are usually maimed for life, they seldom ever get a count.

    I agree that chemical weapons are a zero tolerance item, but where are our allies in this?  They obviously want different tactics used, this swift go to guns freaked them all out and appropriately so.

    They are all sitting back looking at the writing on the wall that you see.

    And it was only 1988 when the Reagan administration assisted Saddam in creation and deployment of chemical weapons.  It is our history.  While Fox News is all about zero chemical weapons tolerance, someone in our Congress should be talking about St. Ronnie and Rumsfeld and Cheney and chemical weapons.  Nobody wants to talk about that.  With this immediate strike we seem superior to all with no clothes on.

    This debate belongs to the world.  We have earned no seat at the head of the table riding Silver.


    our allies can be reticent (none / 0) (#93)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 03:12:07 PM EST
    Because they know we are not. Must be nice to claim the high road.

    Also (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:07:16 PM EST
    They only tell you what they want you know.  We are mushrooms and so is most of Congress.

    I don't have enough mean information to make a meaningful decision with.  You really don't either.  And we can't leave this in the trust of our Congress because they don't either right now.

    And Samantha and Susan are on twitter playing mind games.


    MT (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:24:50 PM EST
    On a good note, you and I don't have to be convinced. That's why we have elected officials. As opposed to the Bush administration, we hope the current crop makes the right call whatever that may be.

    Life is good. Have a margarita and sleep late. My alarm is set for 5:00am for a 15 mile run if you want to join us.


    I am going to (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:28:26 PM EST
    This has been a nerve wracking day for military families because you always think this could lead to something else.  Especially when Russia is in the soup.

    I think Obama is phucking up though, he is pushing this too fast.  I hope I'm wrong but every tingly bone in my body is going off.


    Have they started... (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by desertswine on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:34:27 PM EST
    the "Parade of Retired Generals" yet?

    We aren't watching the news today (none / 0) (#90)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:39:00 AM EST
    News off limits.  Other military families that I have spoken to this morning are keeping TVs off for the weekend as long as they can.

    I am cheating and reading though this (none / 0) (#91)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:40:14 AM EST
    morning, just don't talk about it.

    I'm only up to 5 miles (none / 0) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:29:56 PM EST
    15 miles...you are crazy

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:45:58 PM EST
    "15 miles...you are crazy"

    You and my daughter have come to the same diagnosis. OTOH, My running partner is a mom with a 3 year old. I find that more amazing than crazy.


    I was only able to do about 3 miles (none / 0) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:29:16 PM EST
    4 times a week and it was very draining.  But eventually it exposed my thyroid problem.  Now I have more energy but it feels weird.  It's like a flighty feeling energy, not very grounded, so only doing 5 miles 3 times a week.  My shoulder problems though turned out to be all hypothyroid triggered.  When I began taking replacement the tenderness and swelling started to immediately clear.  All gone now.  Back and shoulders though were very sore during first two months of taking replacement.

    I gave up on trying everyday (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:47:45 PM EST
    Now it's by ear (actually by leg). Saturday's are the long runs though and knowing my pard never misses gets me up and out the door hoping to keep pace.

    I think you'll find when the weather cools those 5 mile runs can turn into 8's with no additional effort. Just a little added muscle ache the next morning during recovery. Try chocolate milk soon after running. It's the right combo of carbs and protein to help quicken the healing.


    A reason to have to drink chocolate milk! (none / 0) (#87)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:08:57 AM EST
    The last time I got a speeding ticket (none / 0) (#25)
    by woodchuck64 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:29:21 PM EST
    I asked the judge "WHAT IS THE GOAL??" of this  expensive penalty and he said "You'll think twice before driving that fast again, won't you".

    Okay, that really didn't happen.  Yes, I took it for granted that my speeding fine wasn't an overarching, nefariously opaque scheme of diverse and dubious machinations instead of just a strong deterrent.  

    This is simple really; you've got a lot of kids in body bags and that reaches a threshold for action that isn't reached otherwise.


    No, it's not simple at all (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:38:58 PM EST
    What a ridiculous comparison.

    Can you realistically predict the outcome of the U.S. bombing Syria? Do you know what the Assad regime's response will be? What Iran's or Hezbollah's response will be? What Russia or China's response will be? Do you know for a fact that no innocent people will be killed by our bombs? If innocents are killed, will those deaths avenge the deaths of those killed in the chemical attack?

    Sorry you got that speeding ticket. How truly awful that must have been for you.


    Israel (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Politalkix on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:38:15 PM EST
    has launched limited airstrikes inside Syria from time to time, destroying nuclear reactors, arm depots and arm shipment convoys without inflaming a larger war in the middle east. (one shuld keep in mind that action by Israel is always more inflammatory in that region compared to action by the United States). Why would a limited strike by the USA to punish the Assad regime cause a conflagaration in the entire middle east?
    The leaderships of Hezbollah or Iran or Russia or China are not stupid. They will play as much hardball as possible and spout rhetoric but in the end, they will do only what serves their interests the best. It is not in their interest to open up a larger regional war.
    Opening up a larger regional war instead of letting Assad absorb the punishment meted out by the United States with the least damage will only get Syria, Hezbollah and Iran pummelled by the USA, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

    Russia and China have other means (none / 0) (#75)
    by shoephone on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:55:54 AM EST
    of opposition to use besides military actions. Of course they're not going to join the military fray -- they're not that stupid. They can use political or technological means to retaliate against us. They already do.

    And citing Israel as some sort of reasonable, practical actor in the Middle East is really a stretch. Netanyahu is salivating at the prospect of us attacking Syria.


    The Israelis have legitimate (none / 0) (#98)
    by MKS on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:37:40 PM EST
    concern if Assad has used chemical weapons.  

    If the U.S. strikes, the Israelis do not have to.


    Veering wildly off point (none / 0) (#32)
    by woodchuck64 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:58:43 PM EST
    No, not even close to limited comprehension.  Why fire all guns before you even grasp the point?

    I'm not talking about the nature of deterrent, but the fact that when a sacrosanct law is blatantly broken a deterrent is needed.  There is no need to look anywhere beyond that to understand 9/10ths of this issue, in my view.

    As for how to deter and the risks involved in each approach, etc., you've listed some of them.  But there are always risks involved in deterrents, sanctions kill many innocents, for example.  Speeding fines lead to bankruptcy.  But we don't abandon the benefits of law because of it. That's a discussion for another day.


    So as a deterrent you do something that could (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by gbrbsb on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:13:36 PM EST
    see another load of kids in body bags ?  

    And does reckless driving and a penalty fine really compare here... I mean more similarity would be that the judge sentenced you to stand for a day in a dual carriageway and hired cars to speed up and down on both sides risking their lives, other users lives, and your life?


    Deterrents (none / 0) (#52)
    by woodchuck64 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:46:42 PM EST
    I'm not sure how the discussion got onto the risk of deterrents but I would certainly agree that any common sense approach to deterrents would be to minimize the risk of innocent deaths.

    They have pushed this so hard today (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:24:35 PM EST
    It feels really wrong now, even if you want a stand made against the use of chemical weapons. It feels like things are being hidden, or at the very least they have decided that manipulations will get them what they want on the schedule they dictate.  If this IS the thing to do how can a meeting with leaders dictate when this must take place?  How is a planned meeting more important on the list of priorities than how you accomplish a strike like this?

    Assad has already had time to prepare also, move things that are relevant to safer locations if they can be.


    There are so many here on TL that (none / 0) (#50)
    by Visteo1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:44:52 PM EST
    are smarter and more eloquent than this peon in Detroit.  What are we doing?  

    Let me start with saying the U.S. has no direct interest in Syria.  These are the U.S. interests IMO:

    *No side should be victorius.  Either side winning is bad for the U.S.

    *The US does not want WMDs in any other hands to be used againt the neighboring countries or brought to the U.S.

    *The US does not want the war to spread to other countries in a conventional manner, either.

    *The US does NOT want to enter any protracted war.

    *The US wants to be heard about the use of WMDs.

    *The US wants to be seen as one that keeps its words about crossing "red lines".

    *Obama wants its citizens behind him


    *The US does not want to strike Syria alone.  Obama wants to share the results/blame with others.

    Obama wants to hit Syria with a limited attack to slow Assad's progress in winning the war, within the interests listed above.  That is why we have not seen an attack.

    I know of a solution to avoid our involvement.  I think TLers can do even better than me.  I think TL can reach consensus now on what to do.  That is how democracy is supposed to work.


    Start by writing your elected officials. (none / 0) (#59)
    by Visteo1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:28:00 PM EST
    If you want to proceed with a limited engagement, tell them so.  If you don't, let them know that too.  Let them know you are alive and they need to be involved.

    Let them know your mind NOW!

    If you are lazy like me, here is a petition against war that will be sent to your representatives.  I hope posting this link is not a violation of TL rules.



    Quite loaded language in the (none / 0) (#77)
    by oculus on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 02:17:19 AM EST

    Agree with you. (none / 0) (#83)
    by Visteo1 on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:30:28 AM EST
    Many at TL could do a better job writing a petition.  I am onboard with the summary:

    As your constituent, I demand that you vote against a Syria War, and block any funds for any military actions that could start such a war.

    I'm afraid I would sign almost any petition to delay military action.


    Generic (none / 0) (#97)
    by Mikado Cat on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 04:20:41 PM EST
    delay can be a bad thing, but right now with Syria, I don't see effective action possible. The more we push Assad's back to the wall, the more likely he uses the chemical weapons.

    Pffft (none / 0) (#99)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:04:26 PM EST
    Supposing (4.40 / 5) (#12)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:31:48 PM EST
    that Assad had killed these hundred people with guns.
    They would be just as dead. The ones we designate as evil would be just as evil... but we would not be talking about bombing anybody.

    This chemical weapon bugaboo is so much horsesh-t as far as I'm concerned.

    The drones that we are accustomed to using incinerate people - including bystanders.

    We possess and have used nuclear weapons which have the capacity to incineration hundreds of thousands if not millions at one go.

    So who is going to believe that all this lethal sh-t is acceptable, but we draw the line at chemical?

    Something else is going on - and we should be making a serious effort to find out what it is before it is too late.


    Logic Fail (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Politalkix on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:01:28 PM EST

    This is not about "possessing a weapon" or about "pre-emptive strike" on suspicions that a possessed weapon is going to be used. It is about taking action after a chemical weapon has already been used.

    Why chemical weapons elicit such strong reactions and use of it is considered a war crime under the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) can be understood by reading the following.

    "Which chemical agent was used in Syria? Sarin, allegedly. When absorbed through the skin, sarin attacks the nervous system and can kill a person in 5 to 10 minutes. It was developed in 1938 in Nazi Germany and was allegedly tested on people in concentration camps.

    Why are chemical weapons considered worse than, say, bombing women and children? "Unfortunately, there are no international laws against war itself," Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, tells Mother Jones. "But there are rules about how wars can and cannot be conducted...Holding the line against further chemical weapons use is in the interests of the United States and international security, because chemical weapons produce horrible, indiscriminate effects, especially against civilians, and because the erosion of the taboo against chemical weapons can lead to further, more significant use of these or other mass destruction weapons in the future." Chemical weapons also evoke the horrors of World War I and the Holocaust."


    Assad has not just killed (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Politalkix on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:10:17 PM EST
    a hundred people with guns, he has already killed tens of thousands of people with guns and bombs and conventional weapons. However, the United States did not take military action against him so far because there is no international law against war itself unlike laws against the use of chemical weapons.



    So suddenly (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:19:24 PM EST
    we're concerned with "international law"?

    You obviously aren't concerned (1.33 / 3) (#23)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:21:22 PM EST
    since you view chemical weapons the same as a gun.

    To (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:38:06 PM EST
    the person killed, it makes little or no difference I would guess.

    It's like giving a choice to the condemned: gas, lethal injection, firing squad or the chair.

    What I'm trying to get across is that people who use weapons of mass destruction on a regular basis, such as ourselves, are not in a position to lecture others - just because their weapon of choice differs from our own.


    You are taking the term (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:53:03 PM EST
    "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and using your own definition, as opposed to the customary definition of nuclear, biological, and chemical arms as considered in International Law. No one is using nuclear, biological, and chemical arms on a regular basis. Thus, a statement you make such as:  
    people who use weapons of mass destruction on a regular basis, such as ourselves, are not in a position to lecture others

    is completely false.

    If you want to use your own definitions it's certainly okay. It just has no basis in the current debate.


    Then it looks like even the US justice system (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by gbrbsb on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:40:12 PM EST
    takes the term "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and imposes on it its "own definition"... unless of course I missed something and the Boston bombers' homemade devices consisted of nuclear, biological, or chemical explosives which was one of the charges in DT's indictment !

    Yes... (none / 0) (#49)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:42:27 PM EST
    That is the kind of thing I am referencing.

    What does the Boston Bombing (none / 0) (#55)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:55:20 PM EST
    have to do with International Law?

    Quick answer...nothing.


    I never said it had anything to do with (none / 0) (#60)
    by gbrbsb on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:28:12 PM EST
    international law but from Wikepedia's entry Wikipedia's entry there is no international law definition of the term (emphasis mine):

    The most widely used definition of "weapons of mass destruction" is that of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons (NBC) although there is NO treaty or customary international law that contains an authoritative definition. Instead, international law has been used with respect to the specific categories of weapons within WMD, and not to WMD as a whole.

    And something else I learned today (same source):

    The first use of the term "weapon of mass destruction" on record is by Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1937 in reference to the aerial bombardment of Guernica, Spain:

    and of course no nuclear, biological or chemical artefacts were used by the Nazis at Guernica just a pummelling of one bomb after the other.


    When (5.00 / 5) (#48)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:41:03 PM EST
    you kill a hundred thousand people, as we have done in Iraq, we are using weapons of mass destruction.

    btw lentinel (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:03:01 PM EST
    in the real life sense I completely agree with you, dead is dead. At the same time I completely understand the International ban on the use of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

    If (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:38:29 PM EST
    nuclear weapons are "banned", how come we have them circling the globe, under water, underground, on land, on warships, in space and on submarines?

    Nuclear weapons banned... don't we wish !!! (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by gbrbsb on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:48:56 PM EST
    Banned for some but not for those of the "Nuclear Club", i.e. USA, UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and its a "secreto a voces" that Israel has them too.

    Why is it no one reads (none / 0) (#56)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:57:39 PM EST
    before they make comments. Or is reading comprehension is a lost tallent. Read again and see if you see it say "banned" as opposed to "ban on the use".

    I did read and I even comprehended. You said: (none / 0) (#66)
    by gbrbsb on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:55:09 PM EST
    "At the same time I completely understand the International ban on the use of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons."

    Now if you were referring to a future ban and disarmament, I confess I took it that you were referring to a present one, but if you were referring to there already being a ban on the use of nuclear weapons, I have to disagree because as far as I recall there is no present ban on their use which is why your country and mine have them ready to use so I repeat what I said before... Don't we all just wish that was so [that they were banned]!


    These have now been (none / 0) (#73)
    by Visteo1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:14:42 PM EST
    dismantled.  Talk about nervous Nellies during training....I was hoping to find a video of these, but I am not sure if videos exist.  They were carried to "protect" the "queens" of battle.  I'm not privvy to the conditions for their use, but I wouldn't want to be in the infantry when one of these went out...OOOSHA.  I'm glad we never test fired any.  

    This test firing is for a larger variety of artillery shell...

    Upshot-Knothole - Grable


    An international ban on (5.00 / 4) (#62)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:40:16 PM EST
    the use of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Yet, the U.S. intends to operate outside of the framework of the international community who would rather wait for the findings of the UN prior to taking any action.

    The Geneva Protocol of 1925 (which Syria ratified) and the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 (which Syria has not ratified) ban the use of chemical weapons, but do not authorize countries to attack other countries that violate these treaties.

    Speaking of bans, the United Nations Charter, flatly bans military interventions without Security Council approval.



    My recollection is foggy, but (none / 0) (#86)
    by Visteo1 on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:05:42 AM EST
    my remaining impression is that those artillery rounds we handled were "dirty bombs" to some degree.  The NRC says
    A dirty bomb is not a "Weapon of Mass Destruction" but a "Weapon of Mass Disruption," where contamination and anxiety are the terrorists' major objectives.

    I believe the US still has in it's aresenal "dirty bombs", some are dual purpose.


    A "dirty bomb" ... (none / 0) (#103)
    by Yman on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 01:27:37 PM EST
    ... is a bomb that uses conventional explosives to spread radioactive material over a large area.  the US does not have dirty bombs in its arsenal.

    Depleted Uranium Is Quite Dirty (none / 0) (#104)
    by squeaky on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 02:55:04 PM EST
    I think that may be the reference here..  Armor piercing material that the arms suppliers get for free as nuclear waste is otherwise expensive to dispose of.

    DU leaves a lot of "dirt' for quite a long time: 4.468 billion years for uranium-238, 700 million years for uranium-235...  

    and depleted because it is only 60% as radioactive as its non-depleted counterparts.


    If that was the reference, ... (none / 0) (#105)
    by Yman on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 03:10:24 PM EST
    ... it was a fail.  Depleted uranium munitions are not "dirty bombs".  Not to mention that, irrespective of the half-life of any radioactive materials, there are now numerous studies indicating that DU munitions represent a negligible (or no) health threat, and even that risk is outweighed by the chemical component of such weapons.

    New DU Face Cream? (none / 0) (#106)
    by squeaky on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 06:28:19 PM EST
    Hard to believe that you would be arguing for the safety of DU..

    There are many uncertainties about the use and effects of DU munitions, but the growing body of scientific research points to the conclusion that the use of DU munitions creates environmental contamination that can affect the health of people, particularly combat soldiers and children.

    It causes cancer in rats..  

    Would you like to participate in a study to trace inhalation of DU dust links to lymphoma? Oh, that is right the DOD cancelled any research on DU because it does not cause cancer in humans, only rats.

    PDF from WISE.org


    You don't read very well (none / 0) (#107)
    by Yman on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 07:32:29 PM EST
    Although you do ignore main points very well.

    bTW - You mean the study where they implanted DU pellets into the rats?

    There have been a lot of studies on DU in the past 15 years:

    Although any increase in radiation to the human body can be calculated to be harmful from extrapolation from higher levels, there are no peer reviewed published reports of detectable increases of cancer or other negative health effects from radiation exposure to inhaled or ingested natural uranium at levels far exceeding those likely in the Gulf. This is mainly because the body is very effective at eliminating ingested and inhaled natural uranium and because the low radioactivity per unit mass of natural uranium and DU means that the mass of uranium needed for significant internal exposure is virtually impossible to obtain. - DU Literature Review/Gulf War study.

    The present scientific consensus is that DU exposure to humans, in locations where DU ammunition was deployed, is very unlikely to give rise to cancer induction - Archive of Oncology, 2001 - Depleted uranium - a health, environmental
    or societal issue

    "Studies of Gulf War veterans show that, in those who have retained fragments of depleted uranium following combat related injury, it has been possible to detect elevated urinary uranium levels, but no kidney toxicity or other adverse health effects related to depleted uranium after a decade of follow-up" - Australian study, 2002

    "There is a consensus now that DU does not represent a health threat" - Pier Roberto Danesi, Director of the IAEA ENVIRONMENTAL RADIOACTIVITY - New Findings Allay Concerns Over Depleted Uranium - Science, September, 2002.

    "Based on credible scientific evidence, there is no proven link between DU exposure and increases in human cancers or other significant health or environmental impacts," although "Like other heavy metals, DU is potentially poisonous. In sufficient amounts, if DU is ingested or inhaled it can be harmful because of its chemical toxicity. High concentration could cause kidney damage." The IAEA concluded that while depleted uranium is a potential carcinogen, there is no evidence that it has been carcinogenic in humans.
    IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency

    The reports of cancer risks from DU exposure are not supported by mathematical models nor by veteran medical statistics - An Analysis of Uranium Dispersal and Health Effects Using a Gulf War Case Study, Albert C. Marshall, Sandia National Laboratories - 2005.

    But you're right.  If people implant DU pellets into their bodies, there is a study which indicates an increased risk of cancer, which is (still) not a "dirty bomb".


    OK (none / 0) (#108)
    by squeaky on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 07:43:36 PM EST
    THe new Poster Boy for DU.

    You sound like you work for the DOD.

    The site I linked to is very neutral.


    Should I care (none / 0) (#109)
    by Yman on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 09:11:15 PM EST
    And with your consistent ability to distort and deflect, you sound like you work for the GOP.  In which case 'll say it slowly so you might better understand.

    DU munitions .... not "dirty bombs".  

    BTW - You're right - there is a study suggesting implanting DU pellets in your body might be a health risk.  OTOH, there are numerous studies by scientists concluding that there is no evidence that DU munitions pose a health risk.


    Something else is going on (none / 0) (#16)
    by Edger on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:01:16 PM EST
    and we've known what is is for years.

    Retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters published it in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006. Wesley Clarke then was ignored for years when he also tried to wake people up.

    Essentially it is PNAC's original plan now obama-sized and sold to the suckers with the least untruthful PR spin and 'erroneous' audience bullshi**ing that obama does better than anyone.

    Not bad for the first 4th term president in US history.

    The guy who came up with the quote attributed to PT Barnum must be rolling in his grave in awe.


    That of course (none / 0) (#41)
    by Edger on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:31:39 PM EST
    doesn't mesh too well with the narrative of obama on a white horse riding into town and vanquishing evil.

    But then neither do most of the things he does.


    "...the first 4th term president..." (none / 0) (#81)
    by unitron on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 06:19:38 AM EST
    What does FDR have to do with chemical weapons in present day Syria?

    Nothing (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:51:47 AM EST
    I should have typed "since FDR", but I needed to give you something you could use to divert your mind from the issues in the comment.

    How many of your other mistakes... (none / 0) (#95)
    by unitron on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 03:55:00 PM EST
    ...are actually somehow my fault as well?

    The we you are complaining about (none / 0) (#21)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:18:47 PM EST
    concerning the use of chemical weapons being the same is the International community. You'll have to take your complaint of the Chemical Weapons Convention signed by 189 nations up with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at the Hague.

    It looks like we are (none / 0) (#80)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 05:13:41 AM EST
    187 - 188 nations short when it comes to enforcing that ban.

    Where are BTD's Friday Night College Picks (none / 0) (#5)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:48:09 PM EST
    With a few of the worst teams in Division 1 (FBS) playing tonight, I was eagerly awaiting what he would do with those 31, 35, and 38 point spreads.

    Filling in due to his absence, let's take a shot against two of the worst teams (FAU & Georgia State) in Division 1 football.

    Georgia State, possibly the worst big school football imaginable takes on Division 2 Samford (not Stanford)

    Miami is playing who? who? That's FAU who is nicknamed the Owls.

    Tiny Samford -7 at Georgia State.
    Miami (FL) -31 vs FAU

    Maybe he's doing what Vegas does ... (none / 0) (#68)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:03:10 PM EST
    ... in these scenarios -- go offline.

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 112 (none / 0) (#15)
    by Dadler on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:49:33 PM EST

    Have a great Friday night. The World's Greatest Wife and I (World's Biggest Pain in the Ace Husband) will be watching the last half of I LIKE TO KILL FLIES, the documentary about Shopsin's, the legendary little restaurant in NYC with the more legendary owner/cook. Then it's probably some of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, which I can't wildly praise like some people, but it's still pretty decent TV.


    Oops. The NSA really doesn't appreciate (none / 0) (#20)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:12:53 PM EST

    Go over to Cafepress and check out the inventory. I think I'd like the beer glass, the coaster, and, of course the black & white beach tote is pretty classy looking -- not to mention, a real steal at $24.95.

    I just hope I can get a bit of sun, sea, and sand before the spooks show up to collar me.

    I like TL's (none / 0) (#24)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:27:16 PM EST
    4th amendment beach bag and tote better.

    The TL beach bag is very snazzy, indeed. (none / 0) (#28)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:49:01 PM EST
    And, honestly, at this point, I might feel just as anxious wearing that in front of a cop as the NSA t-shirt...

    (I really like the TL wall clock. That may be my Xmas purchase.)


    These are the perfect gifts for (none / 0) (#63)
    by Visteo1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:44:02 PM EST
    that conservative relative that sent you a subscription to "The Limbaugh Letter" on your birthday, or bought you an NRA membership for Xmas.  All Fox lovers will adore and cherish any TalkLeft merchandise.  ThX Jeralyn for the spark.

    Sorry, Shoephone.  Dad might like something Libertarian.  Anything with Left in its name...well now ;-). LOL  


    My Ultra Conservative Uncle (none / 0) (#101)
    by DebFrmHell on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 03:54:36 PM EST
    sends me all kinds of stuff that makes my toes curl.  

    Fast and easy payback...I sign him up to very liberal newsletters, give him an account with a password, the works.  He doesn't understand where it is coming from and when he asks, I say "I have no idea.  Did you send some money to World Wild Life or something like that?"

    *blinks innocently at Uncle
    **LOLing on the inside


    Oh, talk about your shameless plugs! (none / 0) (#67)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:00:39 PM EST
    I am saving up... (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by DebFrmHell on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 03:48:34 PM EST
    for the TL Hoodie!  I have admired it from afar for the last six months.  I love hoodies, so warm and snuggly!

    I am facing surgery in a couple of days and expect to be out of work for 6-8 weeks.  For a food server, I expect to be dead broke by the end of the week!  Paycheck to paycheck...(not so) LOL!


    Take care of yourself! (none / 0) (#102)
    by nycstray on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:10:59 AM EST
    And I hope your surgery goes flawless.

    Don't worry about the money, just put positive thoughts forward. Use any resources you can. If you are going to be dead broke, look into your local/state/fed options, there may be some resources for you.

    I hope all goes well!


    Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge today... (none / 0) (#58)
    by Edger on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:20:22 PM EST
    Don't Show Obama This Report About Who Really Is Behind The Syrian Chemical Attacks

    certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack."

    The narrative for public consumption is well-known and quite clear - it was all as-Assad's fault. And yet...

    "My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry," said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.

    Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a "tube-like structure" while others were like a "huge gas bottle."

    Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.

    Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regime's heartland of Latakia on Syria's western coast, in purported retaliation.

    "They didn't tell us what these arms were or how to use them," complained a female fighter named `K.' "We didn't know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons."


    About the report authors: Dale Gavlak is a Middle East correspondent for Mint Press News and the Associated Press. Gavlak has been stationed in Amman, Jordan for the Associated Press for over two decades. An expert in Middle Eastern Affairs, Gavlak currently covers the Levant region of the Middle East for AP, National Public Radio and Mint Press News, writing on topics including politics, social issues and economic trends. Dale holds a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago.

    Ed Miliband (none / 0) (#69)
    by Politalkix on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:05:23 PM EST
    can pat himself on his back for his imagined wisdom but a British medic who works for a charity organization in Syria is asking the Labor Party leader and his family to spend a day in Syria to see what is going on with their own eyes.



    CBS News Aug. 29 (none / 0) (#70)
    by Edger on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:21:50 PM EST
    Syria chemical weapons attack blamed on Assad, but where's the evidence?
    The international community will hope for clarity on these questions from the U.N. inspectors who have been on the ground in Ghouta this week.

    There are other chemical agents which have allegedly been used in Syria since 2012, including far-less-potent organophosphates, which are readily available in the form of industrial insecticides.

    It should also be noted that Russia claimed to have provided evidence in July to the U.N. which showed the rebels were behind a sarin gas attack in the village of Khan al-Assal in March 2012.

    "It was established that on March 19, the rebels launched an unguided Bashar 3 projectile towards Khan al-Assal controlled by the government forces," Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters, adding that he intended to share the evidence with the U.S., U.K and France.

    The ambassador said the results of the analysis of the gas-laden projectile indicated the Bashar 3 rocket "was not industrially manufactured and was filled with sarin." He said the samples indicated the sarin and the projectile were produced in "cottage industry" conditions.

    Well, damn... "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America."

    It's NCAA Women's Volleyball time! (none / 0) (#76)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 01:46:06 AM EST
    The No. 11 Rainbow Wahine are opening tonight against the No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Texas Longhorns. There's a sellout crowd of 10,333 at the Sheriff Center, the match is being broadcast live statewide on TV, and at the intermission, it's all tied up, 1-1, with the teams trading identical 25-19 victories in the first two sets. It's certainly living up to its anticipatory billing and hype thus far, and both teams are playing awesome.

    The Rainbow Wahine serve notice. (none / 0) (#78)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 02:54:40 AM EST
    Down 24-19 in the critical third set, Hawaii fought off six set points to come back and take it, and then wiped the floor with the No. 1 Longhorns in the fourth set to win the match in four, 25-19, 19-25, 27-25 and 25-16.

    Look for UH to rise significantly in the standings next week. Tonight's was a high-quality win over the defending national champions, who returned all six starters from last season. And that's the type of triumph which will be very hard for the NCAA to ignore in December, when it comes to seeding teams come tournament time.

    G'night. everyone.