President Obama's Syria Address

President Obama is about to address the nation on Syria. Here's a thread to discuss.

Update: Shorter version is Obama is asking Congress to delay a vote.

Obama lays out the evidence Assad's regime used chemical weapons. He says if we don't act, Assad will not hesitate to do it again. Other dictators will try to obtain chemical weapons, as will terrorist groups. Turkey Jordan and Israel are at risk.

He determined in the national security interest of the U.S. to respond by a targeted military strike. He knows it won't be popular, after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The purpose is deterring and degrading Assad's chemical capability.

Even though he has the authority to order the strike himself, he took the debate to Congress. [More...]

Obama addresses the objections:

1. Won't this put us on a slippery slope to another war? "I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria."

2. Won't it be just a pinprick and ineffective? "We don't do pinpricks." A strike will send a message nothing else can deliver. It can make Assad think twice before using them again.

3. Won't it put the U.S. at risk? The Assad regime does not have the ability to threaten our military. He has no interest in doing anything that might lead to his demise. Israel has the ability to defend itself with robust force.

Other points: He agrees we should not be the world's policemen.

Obama said that over the last few days, as a result of our threat and his talks with Russia's Putin, the Assad regime has admitted it has chemical weapons. And with Russia finally weighing in, there's a chance Assad will listen. So we'll try diplomacy.

In other words, we'll play the waiting game and not strike now.

Is this just a face-saving speech because Congress won't back him? Does it mean there will never be a strike?

Obama made it clear he still supports a strike. But he's not going to act unilaterally. Did he convince anyone tonight he was right? I haven't been following events in Syria very closely, but I still don't support a strike.

Polls show the majority of Americans don't support a strike. I don't think the numbers will change much in the coming days.

What do you think? Did he change your mind?

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Did Obama Change Your Mind on Syria?
No 68%
Yes 4%
Nothing he could say would change my mind 26%

Votes: 41
Results | Other Polls
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    Get ready to play some chess, my friends (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:08:22 PM EST
    David Sirota talked about it in a piece today. (link)

    I prefer he play checkers. At least things aren't all black and white on that boards. Black and red is a better metaphor here.

    That said, I hope whatever is said, whatever happens, leads to the least amount of death and suffering for everyone.


    Sirota nailed it, Dadler. (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 11:51:44 PM EST
    We are thus asked by these partisans to believe that every dumb, corrupt or misguided position their preferred politician takes is really just a secretly brilliant plot to achieve that politician's real goal of driving the policy debate to a better place.

    As always, Occam's razor applies.


    Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:16:41 PM EST
    has a suggestion....
    time for a heimlich maneuver....

    New York Times Monday...
    6 in 10 Americans oppose airstrikes, according to the poll, with similar majorities saying they fear military action could enmesh the United States in another long engagement in the Middle East and would increase the terrorist threat to Americans.

    But the antipathy to foreign engagement extends beyond the current crisis. Sixty-two percent of the people polled said the United States should not take a leading role in trying to solve foreign conflicts, while only 34 percent said it should. In April 2003, a month after American troops marched into Iraq, 48 percent favored a leading role, while 43 percent opposed it.

    When asked whether the United States should intervene to turn dictatorships into democracies, 72 percent said no while only 15 percent said yes. That is the highest level of opposition in a decade of polling on this question. At the start of the Iraq war, 48 percent favored staying out and 29 percent favored getting involved.

    Do you think the U.S. should or should not take the leading role among all other countries in the world in trying to solve international conflicts?
    Should: 34% --- Should not: 62%
    Should the U.S. try to change a dictatorship to a democracy where it can, or should the U.S. stay out of other countries affairs?
    Change where it can: 15% --- Stay out: 72%
    Do you think the obama administration has clearly explained what the U.S.'s goals are in Syria, or haven't they done that?
    Have: 14% --- Have not: 79%

    You said (5.00 / 7) (#7)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 10:18:47 PM EST
    Even though he has the authority to order the strike himself, he took the debate to Congress.

    Obama and Kerry are trying to get that across to us: that Obama has the power to strike with or without Congressional approval.

    I'm not sure. One of the people who might dispute that is Mr. Obama in 2007 when he said,

    "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.'


    Now, that he is in power.... he sees things a little differently...

    But I don't.

    Bush did not need the vote of congress (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by TeresaInPa on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 10:04:00 PM EST
    on Iraq...or at least he and his advisers thought he did not.  I think in this situation Obama could strike Syria and other than the screaming in congress from both sides, not a thing would happen.  And if it all went the way he says, no troops on the ground, over quickly and sucessful, Obama would be a hero to the American people who were against the strike in the first place.  
    I don't think people are opposed to a strike as they are to a war.  They just don't believe the two can be separated.

    Well, (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by lentinel on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 11:13:41 AM EST
    it's not that Bush didn't need the vote in Congress... he did actually get a vote in Congress with that shifty all-purpose resolution - unpleasantly similar to the wide-open one floated by Kerry and Obama this time around regarding Syria.

    But - whether they need it or not, the constitution has laid down certain requirement for military strikes by the US. Obama correctly summarized it in 2007 - before he became intoxicated with power.

    Just because our presidents have frequently ignored or circumnavigated the Constitution in order to pursue their aggressive military agendas, that does not mean that they were Constitutionally entitled to do so.

    I would have impeached them all.

    And what you said about quickly and "successfully" ignores the fact of the inevitable casualties of the innocent. I'm tired of living with that. I really hate it. I never get used to it, only accustomed to it. The dead are not "collateral damage" to me. They are men, women and children who deserved to live a full life.

    And how would we know if we had been "successful"? The proposed resolution is vague and lacking in specifics.

    I, for one, am against the strike.
    I do believe we would be entering a war - taking one unsavory side against another unsavory side in a civil war for an unspecified agenda.

    But even if that were not so, I would oppose a unilateral American strike - no matter how quickly it was over. Additionally, the proposed 60 to 90 days requested for this strike is far from "quick" imo. For me, and certainly for the people who are in the vicinity of the American bombs, this would be interminable.

    (Not to mention that, as with Afghanistan, the administration  would likely keep going back to congress for funding for just one more extension to "finish the job" which would still be unspecified.)

    Were Obama to do this, unilaterally, without the consent of Congress or the UN, he would not be viewed as a hero. He would be viewed as yet another rogue in the mold of GW Bush, Johnson, and Nixon.

    And in the aftermath, we would wonder, "why do they hate us?"


    I've spoken enough about this issue. (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 10:25:28 PM EST
    And I think most who engaged ion this subject over that past few days know exactly where I stand. As I said a couple days ago, I tend to see the present debate in stark terms.

    Either the deployment and use of chemical weaponry in modern-day armed conflicts is something that's worth resolutely opposing when it's within our capacity to do so -- or it's not our concern.

    Similarly, either the deliberate targeting and wanton slaughter of unarmed noncombatants in Syria (and elsewhere, too, for that matter) with WMD is something that's worth trying to halt when it's within our capacity to do so -- or it's none of our business.

    I don't support the use of military force simply for the sake of "sending a message" to President Assad, because I don't see what that sort of aimless exercise would accomplish.

    But at the same time, I'm under no illusions that this current diplomatic initiative to resolve this crisis would have somehow magically materialized without a very real threat on our part to use force against the Assad regime. That's what got us to the bargaining table.

    We all have a vested interest in preventing the deployment, use and proliferation of chemical weapons. And yes, the Assad regime is responsible for the atrocity in Ghouta, so critics should please stop insulting people's intelligence by insisting that there's no evidence linking government forces to the attack. Yes, there is.

    I find it sad that some people are refusing to acknowledge the obvious -- or worse still, insist that what happened in Syria was somehow a "false flag op" staged by the rebels to draw us into the conflict. If another attack on civilians happens again, I'll find such ignorance to be reprehensible.

    That's all I'm going to say on the matter, and I'm not going to engage in any more discussion about it in this thread. If you want to take issue with what I've said, then we'll just have to agree to disagree.

    I pray that this crisis is resolved peacefully. Aloha.

    Howard Dean (5.00 / 0) (#9)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 10:34:58 PM EST
    on MSNBC said that the whole issue is now resolved (my paraphrasing.)

    Assad has admitted he has chemical weapons, and Russia has taken ownership of and responsibility for the issue. Dean says it does not matter whether the inspections will occur or even work. There will be no vote in Congress.

    Assad will never use chemical weapons again, and if he does, Obama will strike without going back to Congress, and the public would largely agree. Assad has bought a second chance but will not get a third one.  Or so is my understanding of what Dean said.  


    So (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 09:33:02 AM EST
    So apparently another chemical weapons launch would void our constitution?  LOL.  So glad Howard Dean was never elected.

    Dean is probably right (none / 0) (#33)
    by TeresaInPa on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 10:08:39 PM EST
    and incredibly smart.  We can cry all we want about the constitutional issues, Dean is talking about the reality of how it all plays out.  

    Dean really is incredibly smart (none / 0) (#44)
    by sj on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 06:30:23 PM EST
    He is also very blunt. Both good and bad come with that.

    I'm just hoping the big sigh of relief (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 09:40:57 AM EST
    emanating from Congress at the possibility they will never have to vote on this does not push away the cold front that would bring the mid-Atlantic area some much-needed rain...

    I am still very skeptical (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Politalkix on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 12:03:20 AM EST
    It is very difficult to enforce an inspection regime in a war torn country.

    However, we should give diplomacy as much a chance as possible and back it with the threat of using force if the Assad regime is uncooperative or uses stalling tactics.

    Iraq in the 1990s was not a war torn country, yet inspections did not achieve the necessary results (it would have ended otherwise). The extended period of sanctions hurt millions of Iraqi children during the Clinton administration before the Bush administration launched its horror  

    UN inspectors should look at the lessons learnt in Iraq in the 1990s very carefully, so that we do not have a repeat of that sordid saga in Syria.


    No one's ever suggested it was (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 06:43:07 AM EST
    right to use chemical weapons - although I find it interesting that an awful lot of Americans stutter and stammer when asked how we reconcile that stark position with our own government's decision to stand on the sidelines while Saddam used them years ago - but this is and never has been just about the CW issue, Donald.

    What you have apparently excluded from your Talk To The Hand position is where and how the choices and decisions with respect to the CW element fit into the larger picture that, if ignored, will be at the peril of the Syrian people we say we are trying to protect.

    I have yet to hear anyone with the power to make these decisions explain what the overall plan is, what our interests are specifically in Syria, and how we assess the political and strategic realities of the entire region.  

    What do we do, for example, if while the CW issue is in some kind of stasis, the civil war being waged by conventional methods ramps up, with the resultant increases in deaths, injuries, displacements, and the humanitarian crisis that has been building on that front intensifies?  Are we getting involved or not?  

    If there's anything we ought to know, that history should be able to tell us, it's that when it comes to this region, there are no simple answers.  That we can all recognize that the use of CW is wrong does not render all the decisions that cascade from that acknowledgment simple ones.

    And while evidence suggests that the use of CW was ordered by the regime, it is not at all certain or clear who ordered it, and there has been enough dissension and defection within the Syrian government chain of command that we still don't know whether it may have actually been a mistake.  We've taken the position that regardless, Assad has to be held accountable - interesting that this is not a standard we apply to ourselves, don't you think?  Here, we tend to assess blame to and hold accountable whoever is at the bottom rung of the ladder so that those at the top do not have to suffer any consequence.

    Finally, if the administration has such a solid case against Assad, it should be more than willing to lay out that evidence, in full, for the duly elected members of Congress, so that the decisions they are responsible for making are truly informed ones.  As it is, there are members of the House and Senate willing to launch military action on the basis of extremely thin documentation, my two Democratic Senators among them.

    One question: will the postcards you send from the River of Denial be blank, since no one is able to see the sights with their eyes closed?


    Who is drowned in the river denial? (3.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Politalkix on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 06:29:45 PM EST
    Anne wrote "although I find it interesting that an awful lot of Americans stutter and stammer when asked how we reconcile that stark position with our own government's decision to stand on the sidelines while Saddam used them years ago".

    What has the Reagan administration turning a blind eye to the use of chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein got anything to do with the position of the Obama administration regarding use of the same by the Assad regime in Syria?

    By the same token, are you saying that any American President should not take any military action against any dictator if he uses nukes because Harry Truman authorized dropping of the atom bomb on Japan? Please explain your position on use of nukes without stuttering and stammering.


    You have no idea what I'm saying, so (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Anne on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 06:44:00 AM EST
    pardon me if I say that I do not regard you - nor should anyone else - as a competent interpreter of my remarks.

    But you are a champ at efforts to change the subject...

    I believe the issue is - or one of the issues is - chemical weapons.  Perhaps you could address what role, if any, a ceasefire needs to play in the success or failure of any diplomatic/non-military approach to securing Assad's chemical weapons.

    Oh - and maybe you could address the lack of any response from the US to the CW use in the spring; is that contemporary enough for you?


    I don't stutter...I don't stammer (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:36:55 AM EST
    "although I find it interesting that an awful lot of Americans stutter and stammer when asked how we reconcile that stark position with our own government's decision to stand on the sidelines while Saddam used them years ago".

    Iran was recognized as an enemy who was in process of radicalizing and controlling Iraq and SA. We couldn't afford to let them control 90% of the world's supply of oil and our military was in such bad shape after Vietnam and Jimmy Carter that we didn't want to fight. Plus, our population was war weary.

    So we used Iraq as a proxy.

    An enemy of my enemy is my friend.... Should of helped Iraq more.

    Problem in Syria is this... Both of the combatants
    are my enemy....

    We should have let'em kill each other without saying a word. Instead Obama ran his mouth, which he is good at, and when called out he didn't want to act and the American people don't want to act.

    Putin has made him look foolish.


    To a Cold War dinosaur (none / 0) (#41)
    by jondee on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 02:06:22 PM EST
    in love with fantasies of decider-er unilateralism, a president who works together with others to curb the use of chemical weapons
    would look foolish.

    when the Heritage-Fox (5.00 / 0) (#43)
    by jondee on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 03:09:47 PM EST
    -talk radio complex settles on a script for you guys (Jim, Slado, Abdul) you certainly stick to it. No deviations, or going off-message allowed..

    I get it: Putin and the Russians have made Obama and the U.S look foolish..

    (the Right Wing subtext being, of course, that the old USSR never really went away, and that Obama, being a secret commie, secretly wants to harm the U.S, because he hates colonialism or something..)


    Jondee, what you lack is balance. (2.00 / 0) (#45)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 10:11:07 PM EST
    And many people do.

    But just to remind you, I opposed our getting to Kosovo. I saw no national interest at stake and felt that Europe should take care of their problem.

    Of course, unlike you and Iraq, when we went in I shut up and supported the troops.

    Syria is a mess. The best I can tell is that Obama wanted to bomb chemical weapons sites that had probably been moved in support of a rebel force that has heavy al-Qaeda ties. So we would be attacking a government who is a proxy of Iran...

    Not bad until you remember that al Qaeda hates us just as much as Hezabolah and Hamas and the Muslim  Brotherhood hates us...

    So why would a reasonably intelligent person do anything besides stand on the side lines and cheer both sides on....?


    Well just for starters (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by jondee on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 11:01:03 PM EST
    I have a bit of a problem with "cheering on" mass slaughter, no matter who's doing it to who.

    And yes, I remember it well: unlike me, you shut up and tirelessly supported every thought and deed of Dubya, Delay, Wolfowitz, Rush, any number of neo-confederate preachers, and as an after thought, after the bumpersticker came out, "the troops"..

    When did you suddenly become an expert on the meaning of balance?


    I have always been an expert (2.00 / 0) (#47)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 10:22:52 AM EST
    on balance and many other things.


    Of course your intentional misreading, misquoting and flat out making things up (That's Southern for "lying.") makes it a useless talent.

    And when I see people who would gladly render mass slaughter on us killing each other I have no problem in hoping they do a good job.

    I'm sure that's very tribal of me but that's the way things are.


    I have always been an expert (none / 0) (#48)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 10:42:36 AM EST
    on balance and many other things.


    Of course your intentional misreading, misquoting and flat out making things up (That's Southern for "lying.") makes it a useless talent.

    And when I see people who would gladly render mass slaughter on us killing each other I have no problem in hoping they do a good job.

    I'm sure that's very tribal of me but that's the way things are.


    Yes the way things are is that (none / 0) (#49)
    by jondee on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 02:28:49 PM EST
    tribalism becomes you..to the point where you're reducing a giant swathe of humanity caught in the crossfire, men, women, and children, to a competing tribe of "people who want to kill us"

    And btw, can you pinpoint a specific example of something I've "made up"? I didn't think so. Rush.


    Okay, here is an example of what you (none / 0) (#57)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:42:42 AM EST
    have made up.

    every thought and deed of Dubya, Delay, Wolfowitz, Rush, any number of neo-confederate preachers, and as an after thought, after the bumpersticker came out, "the troops"..

    I mean you made the claim. And it is up to you to show examples. After all, this is a legal blog.


    I love it when you just make meaningless claims.

    Having sympathy for those being killed is meaningless unless you have the desire and ability to aid them. You actually have neither. They merely function as a means to allow you to say, "Look! Look! If you don't do something to stop this killing then you are an evileeeee person."

    You seem incapable of stopping and realizing that any action we would take tilts the war one way. Obama wants to tilt it towards rebels affiliated with al Qaeda... who, btw, attacked us on 9/11/01 and 9/11/12 killing your fellow citizens.

    Which he did in Libya and Egypt....

    So yes, innocent people are being killed. That's bad. Want worse??

    Innocent Americans being killed.

    And yes, how tribal of me.


    Any minute now, I expect you to (none / 0) (#50)
    by Anne on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 03:17:38 PM EST
    announce that you are, in fact, the Most Interesting Man in the World...

    he's so interesting (none / 0) (#51)
    by jondee on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 04:32:37 PM EST
    that sometimes in a fit of passion he's been known to pull over to the side of the road and take advantage of himself.

    Please pass the mind bleach... (none / 0) (#52)
    by Anne on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 05:11:36 PM EST
    that was a visual I most certainly could have lived forever without...



    Have you checked the comment rules (none / 0) (#53)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 05:26:03 PM EST

    (Nicholson voice) (none / 0) (#60)
    by jondee on Sun Sep 15, 2013 at 10:05:35 AM EST
    Oh for christ sake! l'd do it again.

    He called me a liar up above. Did you miss that, Madame Torquemada?


    Well now Jondee.... (none / 0) (#55)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:26:41 AM EST
    At least I am equipped to do so...



    Yes Abbe, I am (none / 0) (#54)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:25:06 AM EST
    Unfortunately you are not the Most Interesting Woman ....

    Don't you just love how you guys all gang up..

    Very tribal you know.



    ANNE .... (none / 0) (#56)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:27:13 AM EST
    I hate it when I do a typo while snarking..

    And if any one is interested (none / 0) (#58)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:46:01 AM EST
    They can go back to comment #36 and see that this all started when I noted what we had done in the past and how we should do the same thing again....

    Lucky, good, whatever works... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by unitron on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 01:04:55 AM EST
    ...as long as the end result is no more Assad gassing civilians and no "collateral damage" caused by us, I'm cool with it.

    NYT tweet from (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 01:14:43 AM EST

    Obama's indefinite delay of a Congressional vote on Syria puts his presidency into limbo; hard to see him doing much else for a while.

    -- @adamnagourney on Twitter

    Confused? Torn? (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 06:06:46 AM EST
    Unsure how to respond?

    Get involved!

    "Americans For Whatever Barack Obama Wants" have launched a kickstarter campaign, to fund  World War III!

    America is dead a$$ broke, so our goal is to raise 1.6 Trillion Dollars on behalf of the US Government. That's where you come in! Even a small donation will make all the difference.

    World War II is a very important, very progressive war that Obama tells me is very important, so it must be!

    When I first saw the president speak in 2008 - in a youtube clip posted to my facebook page - I knew he was going to be right all the time, so I support World War III! And IV. And any new war the president may want to start!

    Deft handling (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 06:50:19 AM EST

    Thanks to Obama's and Kerry"s deft handling we were facing a "Munich moment" but we will now have peace in our time.


    Who knew (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 04:06:29 PM EST
    ...that behaving like bungling fools was a strategy.  And wow, is Kerry ever good at it.  Is there a Nobel prize for that?

    Max Fisher (none / 0) (#28)
    by woodchuck64 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 02:24:10 PM EST
    I'm becoming a big fan of Max Fisher over at the Washington Post, his piece This is the speech Obama would give on Syria if he were brutally honest sums up:

    If this plan succeeds, the killing in Syria will continue and I will have tacitly acknowledged Assad's legitimacy. But the world will also have secured a very real and important victory in upholding international norms that are difficult for most people to understand. If it fails, America will return to the sidelines of this conflict, which is exactly what Americans want.

    The Tempest, 4. 1 (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 08:48:20 AM EST
    Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
    As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
    Are melted into air, into thin air:
    And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
    The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
    The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
    Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
    And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
    Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on; and our little life
    Is rounded with a sleep.

    lol! (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 09:16:30 AM EST
    Nothing of their fumbling that doth fade,
     But doth suffer a hope-change,
       Into brilliance rich,
         Multidimensional Chess-like,
           played like a long game,
             a world community reorganized,
               cognitive dissonance meltdown
                 by partisans, deranged.

    (sorry, Will.)


    heh. (none / 0) (#24)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 09:26:12 AM EST
    I think the bard would like that ;-)

    That awkward moment (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 08:42:28 PM EST
    when the realization sets in that an ex-KGB tyrant has stymied a Nobel Peace Prize recipients determination to launch an illegal aggressive war.

    With Kerry Playing the Role... (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:17:12 AM EST
    ...of the blind squirrel finding a nut.

    It's hilarious right until you realize there might actually come a time when we might need to put on some sort of game face.

    Lucky for the world, those two clowns weren't around for that little missile crisis down in Cuba.


    Maybe Obama will (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Edger on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 01:07:28 PM EST
    set an example and invite the UN in to confiscate all US chemical weapons.

    Uhhmmm... never mind...

    NYT headline: Obama asks Congress (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:27:36 PM EST
    to postpone vote while diplomacy is pursued.

    The president should have (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by KeysDan on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:46:49 PM EST
    postponed his speech, as well.   His address did not facilitate achievement of the sensitive diplomatic initiatives in play. The speech missed the opportunity to underscore the short- and long-term value of a successful non-violent resolution.  The sabers have been rattled enough, and, if determined as he was, to go ahead and speak at this time, he could have emphasized the ray of hope that exists and his pursuit of it.  The backdrop of "bombs away" escaped no one and should have remained unspoken.

    That's unfortunate. He is capable of (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:59:39 PM EST
    adapting but why didn't he?

    Is he? (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by sj on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 12:57:58 AM EST
    I would like to think so. When has he adapted?

    2007 (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 01:13:17 AM EST
    Okay (none / 0) (#27)
    by sj on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 02:03:48 PM EST
    that made me laugh really hard.

    I think it's because (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by indy in sc on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 06:55:06 AM EST
    removal of the threat of military action takes the pressure off the parties to complete an agreement for the turnover of the chemical weapons.  He wants to keep the pressure on until it's clear that a diplomatic solution is reached.

    Sometimes (none / 0) (#6)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 09:36:08 PM EST
    Military intervention is the only practical option. Somalia, Rawanda, Boznia, potentially Iran, but not so practical for Syria.

    Chemical weapons are the "crisis" now in Syria, but longer term its the intervention of Iran and Hezbollah, which may be better stopped with political actions like sanctions.

    For now maybe the worry is how to remove and destroy the chemical weapons as well as verify they are gone, and that is political and logistical, but maybe it will open a breathing window for an overall political solution?

    NYT Suggests (none / 0) (#16)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 03:52:42 AM EST
    the UN will need up to 75,000 troops on the ground in Syria as long as the civil war continues, and as long as 20 years to accomplish the task of ridding Syria of its chemical weapons.

    Still better than a military strike in both the short run and the long run.


    Agreed. But, the approach (none / 0) (#22)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 09:08:49 AM EST
    should be how to make the chemical disarmament happen, not to catalog how it can't--or dwell on the hurdles.   And, some of these "hurdles" need examination from the perspectives of both technical and other agendas.  

    Even the rough estimate of 75,000 troops was, in the article cited, questioned with the caveat that the number is unknown but it  "gives a sense of the magnitude of the task."  No one thinks it will be easy (cf. Iraq), and, after all, it was Kerry's comment at a London press conference (that was somewhat in motion--backtracked to rhetorical to denial of being misspoken) that initiated the diplomatic interplay.

     Any examination of the difficulties needs to be contrasted with the   bombing option.  The article does, for example,  note the dangers that exist at  one CW storage depot (Al Safira) which  is under constant attack by powerful rebel groups openly aligned with al Qaeda Fears are expressed that the chemical weapons could fall into these rebel"s hands.  Disarmament would be more effective that "more than a pinprick"  or an "unbelievably small" bombing. If it takes 20 years to accomplish, that is not a real concern so long as they remain in stockpiles and are not used during that time.


    This going to be an ongoing problem (none / 0) (#42)
    by jondee on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 03:02:15 PM EST
    as long as some countrys are allowed to have things like nukes and chemical weapons and some countrys aren't..

    Otherwise, nations will always be able to justfiably claim they require an equal "deterrent" to what their less-than-friendly neighbors are hoarding..

    I mean, gee, I don't get it: why in the heck would Iran ever feel the need to "existentially" threaten countries with nukes when it had an unfriendly, armed-to-the-teeth nation waging war on two of it's borders and another adversarial nation in possession of nuclear weapons a few thousand miles away?      


    Apparently (none / 0) (#34)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 06:39:27 AM EST
    Two weeks ago the flow of weapons to Assad's opponents got turned on with higher tech items and vehicles.

    The biggest lie, new and improved. (none / 0) (#37)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:47:08 AM EST
    Required reading. There will be a quiz later.

    This time it's Syria, last time it was Iraq. Obama chose to accept the entire Pentagon of the Bush era: its wars and war crimes

    John Kerry's farce and Barack Obama's pirouettes are temporary. Russia's peace deal over chemical weapons will, in time, be treated with the contempt that all militarists reserve for diplomacy. With al-Qaida now among its allies, and US-armed coupmasters secure in Cairo, the US intends to crush the last independent states in the Middle East: Syria first, then Iran. "This operation [in Syria]," said the former French foreign minister Roland Dumas in June, "goes way back. It was prepared, pre-conceived and planned."


    In 1970 the Senate reported: "The US has dumped on Vietnam a quantity of toxic chemical (dioxin) amounting to six pounds per head of population." This was Operation Hades, later renamed the friendlier Operation Ranch Hand - the source of what Vietnamese doctors call a "cycle of foetal catastrophe". I have seen generations of children with their familiar, monstrous deformities. John Kerry, with his own blood-soaked war record, will remember them. I have seen them in Iraq too, where the US used depleted uranium and white phosphorus, as did the Israelis in Gaza. No Obama "red line" for them. No showdown psychodrama for them.

    The sterile repetitive debate about whether "we" should "take action" against selected dictators (ie cheer on the US and its acolytes in yet another aerial killing spree) is part of our brainwashing. Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law and UN special rapporteur on Palestine, describes it as "a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence". This "is so widely accepted as to be virtually unchallengeable".

    It is the biggest lie: the product of "liberal realists" in Anglo-American politics, scholarship and media who ordain themselves as the world's crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis. Stripping humanity from the study of nations and congealing it with jargon that serves western power designs, they mark "failed", "rogue" or "evil" states for "humanitarian intervention".

    The silent military coup that took over Washington,
    John Pilger, The Guardian, 10 September 2013

    This iteration though, (none / 0) (#38)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:00:36 AM EST
    the lie appears to have (at least temporarily) failed. 6 in 10 Americans oppose airstrikes - Sixty-two percent of the people polled said the United States should not take a leading role in trying to solve foreign conflicts, while only 34 percent said it should. - When asked whether the United States should intervene to turn dictatorships into democracies, 72 percent said no while only 15 percent said yes.