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Syria: The Obvious Questions About Doing "Something"

It seems sad to me that the questions presented in this Fallows piece are treated as trenchant, rather than obvious:

1. What objectives does the administration seek to achieve in Syria?

2. How does it anticipate that the use of force will lead to the fulfillment of those objectives?

3. What is the administration's theory of victory? That is, what are the assumptions that link the use of military force to the achievement of victory?

4. How does the administration believe that Syria will respond to the U.S. use of force?

5. What does the administration believe could go wrong? What unexpected things could happen?

6. And finally, how does the administration anticipate that this will end?

It is sad and shocking, but unfortunately, not surprising, that these questions are not the center of the debate.

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    I heard (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:34:25 AM EST
    .

    I heard Obama say a strike would in his words "send a message."  That is a shockingly lame objective.  He should try e-mail.

    .

    Shock and Awe (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:37:24 AM EST
    Yeah, we learned how well that works. One of the rare moments when we will agree, my fellow free American.

    Parent
    Twitter (none / 0) (#54)
    by gaf on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:50:18 PM EST
    Twitter would be good too.


    Parent
    The Israel/U.S. ballistic missile (none / 0) (#56)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:01:37 PM EST
    test in the Mediterranean Sea could serve as the message.  

    Parent
    Putin (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:38:49 AM EST
    MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said he has not ruled out backing a U.S.-led military operation in Syria if the Kremlin gets concrete proof than an alleged chemical attack on civilians was committed by Bashar Assad's government.

    Well, if Putin joins in, the answer to the questions may have different answers. But then again, to the point, Putin is only asking one question, and would support attack based on the one answer.

    oh, he is also asking another question,

    "If it is established that means of mass destruction are used by [Syrian] rebels, what will the United States do with the rebels?" Putin said. "What will the sponsors do with the rebels? Will they stop arms supplies? Will they launch combat activities against them?"

    Putin said he will be convinced only by "a deep, detailed study of the issue and the real presence of evidence that could clearly prove who used what [weapons]."

    "After that we will be ready to act in a most resolute and serious way," he said. He did not say what actions he is considering.

    LATimes

    Given that the confirmed instances ... (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:27:59 PM EST
    Vladimir Putin: "If it is established that means of mass destruction are used by [Syrian] rebels, what will the United States do with the rebels?"

    ...  of sarin attacks have occurred wholly in areas controlled by rebel forces, and further that the rebels possess no means of delivery -- i.e., aircraft or missiles -- even if they did possess the nerve agent, why should we therefore assume that the rebels would gas themselves?

    Of all the arguments posed by those who oppose pending American countermeasures to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons, what Putin is offering has to be the most absurd.

    Parent

    Hmmm (5.00 / 2) (#126)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:53:28 PM EST
    Well, we'll see but as you are sure are aware, False Flag ops are nothing new. I am not suggesting that the rebels or their agents perpetuated this atrocity, but the question is not as absurd as you claim. Assad is certainly evil and not trustworthy, but that does not mean that others who are against him are not as despicable, for a good cause that is.

    Considering that Obama has gone on about the Red Line for over a year now, who stands to gain the most from this attack?

    Just sayin..

    Parent

    No, not "we'll see." (none / 0) (#161)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:47:00 PM EST
    Both the French and German intelligence agencies have concluded in their respective assessments that the Assad regime deployed and used the nerve agent sarin in the August 21 missile / rocket attack on the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

    Further, the French intelligence brief states that this wasn't the first time government forces have used sarin in this conflict, citing evidence of it being deployed twice in April of this year, and that Syria has possessed significant stockpiles of the nerve agents sarin and VX since the 1970s.

    If you don't want to believe it, that's your choice. I realize that you oppose any prospective U.S. intervention in Syria as a result of these attacks, and I can respect that position, because quite honestly, I'm not at all certain myself regarding what we should ultimately be doing about it.

    But if you're going to continue to infer -- i.e. "the question is not as absurd as you claim" -- that the Syrian rebels are somehow responsible for having used these horrible weapons on the civilians residing in a neighborhood under rebel control, then I'm sorry, but I do find that patently absurd.

    Further, a "false flag op" makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and neither does your implication that President Obama has something to gain from a chemical attack on Syrian civilians. Gain what, exactly -- that is, other than the realization of a foreign policy nightmare in which there are no easy or good choices to be had?

    Strictly my opinion, of course, but I think proponents of that particularly irrational line of argument have gone a long way toward distancing themselves from the ranks of serious people in this particular debate.

    Aloha.

    Parent

    False Flag (5.00 / 1) (#163)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:57:20 PM EST
    Obama has something to gain from a chemical attack on Syrian civilians. Gain what, exactly -- t

    Not Obama so much but the rebels. They get America into the war because Obama promised that once the red line is crossed he is coming in.

    And as for the certainty of it all, no one is coughing up anything definitive nailing Assad to the attacke, except to say it is true that Assad gassed his own people.

    And again I am not arguing that this is the case, just arguing that it is not absurd. Many countries have been convinced about events in the past only to find out later that they were wrong.

    Parent

    squeaky: "And again I am not arguing that this is the case, just arguing that it is not absurd."

    Again, and setting aside for the moment the fact that Syrian rebels have no known means of massed delivery for weaponized nerve agents, why would they gas themselves? Further, why would they risk incurring the wrath of the very people they're trying to liberate? That's absurd at face value, simply based on logic.

    And given the strong likelihood that nothing's going to convince you otherwise, I think it's also similarly absurd for you to demand "definitive" proof that Assad was behind the attacks, since it's pretty obvious that short of dropping a dead Syrian infant on your front doorstep, nothing will probably ever be definitive enough for you. That said, I'll give it a shot.

    According to surviving eyewitnesses, the sarin attack occurred during the period between 2:20 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. on August 21 in rebel-held Ghouta, which is east of Damascus, and was delivered by a government rocket barrage. This area has been under siege by government forces and Hezbollah for months.

    The towns specifically attacked were Hammuriyah, Irbin, Saqba, Kafr Batna, Mudamiyah, Harasta, Zamalka and Ain Terma, and another attack was also reported in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Jobar.

    Doctors Without Borders further reported that three area hospitals it supports in the eastern Damascus region reported receiving roughly 3,600 patients with "neurotoxic symptoms" in less than three hours that early morning, when the attack in Ghouta took place. Of those who were admitted, 355 soon died.

    Local coordinating committees in these neighborhoods have also claimed that of the approximately 1,425 victims, over 1,000 were in Zamalka, among which 600 bodies were transferred to medical points in other towns and 400 remained at the Zamalka hospital. It was also reported that at least six medics also died while treating the victims.

    The number of casualties from the attack was probably compounded by the fact that civilians have taken to hiding in building basements in Ghouta to escape the nightly government artillery barrages and air / missile attacks. Given that heavier-than-air chemical agents tend to hug the ground upon release, the sarin literally sank to these poorly ventilated and low-lying areas, trapping its victims. Some of the victims died while sleeping.

    Two specific pieces of intelligence have also been repeatedly noted by the media. One was a phone call allegedly between Syrian officials discussing chemical attacks, which Israel's Unit 8200 had intercepted and then passed to their counterparts in the United States. The other was a phone call between a senior member of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Iranian embassy in Damascus, intercepted by the German intelligence service, in which the Hezbollah member allegedly opined that Assad erred gravely by ordering the chemical attacks.

    The French intelligence report claims that satellite imagery shows the attacks coming from government-controlled areas to the east and west of Damascus, and targeting rebel-held zones. The day after the chemical attacks, the Syrian army subjected the Ghouta area to an intense artillery and aerial bombardment, purportedly in an effort to wipe out evidence of the chemical attacks. It concludes that:

    "Moreover, it is clear from the study of the points of application of the attack, no one other that the regime could thus take on strategic positions for the opposition. The Syrian opposition has no capacity to conduct an operation of this magnitude with chemical agents. No group belonging to the Syrian insurrection has, at this stage, the ability to store and use these agents, on a scale or a proportion similar to that used on the night of August 21, 2013 in Damascus. These groups have neither the experience nor the expertise to implement, in particular by vectors such as those used in the attack on August 21." (Emphasis is mine, as is the translation from the original French.)

    Therefore, you're sidelining yourself in this debate with this ridiculously extreme stance of yours. Should one ask for your evidence that the Syrian rebels were engaging in a black flag op in Ghouta, you'd find yourself holding the equivalent of a pair of deuces in a game of five-card stud.

    Aloha.

    Parent

    Sorry (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:24:25 PM EST
    Absurd is not in the running here. Implausible maybe, unlikely certainly, but absurd hardly.

    Parent
    when you are right you are right (none / 0) (#180)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:04:01 AM EST
    I see no reason to disbelieve the intelligence that pins this attack to the Syrian government. I think the argument that the rebels did this is starting to reach the level of LIHOP. Unlike you though I am not uncertain what our response should be. I don't think we have much choice but to strike their weapons and military sites. To bad we didn't do it already. Unfortunately, this is Obama, the guy is not a leader. It seems like the thing he is always most worried about is his own image. He's on TV saying he didn't draw a red line, looking out for his reputation, rather than just getting on with it.

    Parent
    No fan of Obama or his leadership style (5.00 / 2) (#181)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:54:52 AM EST
    yet, intervention into the Syria civil war changing the power structure so that the rebels could/can overthrow the government had/has a very real possibility of placing the government, complete with weapon systems and chemical weapons, in the hands of Al Qaeda.

    Parent
    Assad's escalating use (none / 0) (#164)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:02:31 PM EST
    of chemical weapons.....

    He has gotten away with it twice....

    He needs to be stopped.

    Parent

    Sarin gas is not all that hard to disperse. (5.00 / 3) (#176)
    by caseyOR on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:55:22 AM EST
    No fancy U.S. developed and manufactured delivery systems are needed.

    There is evidence that the rebels used sarin gas this past spring. It's not like the rebels are altruistic freedom fighters. Mostly now the rebels are Al Queda. They've bombed the refugee camps, why wouldn't they gas people?

    It is very hard to find the white hats in the Syrian mess this days.

    Parent

    Where was the red line then? (none / 0) (#177)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 01:18:48 AM EST
    Psst:  make sure Donald sees your link!

    Parent
    When you run as some Change Savior... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:40:23 AM EST
    ...it's on you. Obama has proven to be, without a doubt, the biggest charlatan ever elected to that office. If he really believed his schtick here, he'd lead a new kind of debate, the one you mention, the one this country never has. But when it comes down to it, he's just run of the mill, a hack. As phucked up a personality as has ever sat in that oval office.

    Idiocy as the de-facto state of being. Something to be proud of, for sure.

    Sigh...

    Obama's Long Game (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by woodchuck64 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:59:30 PM EST
    His critics never seem to learn that Obama plays the long game.

    Obama's long game I suspect is to strengthen the international community's authority and legitimacy against rogue states, so while it might look he's heading for unilateral action, it also looked like he was planning a 1-term presidency.  

    His critics don't remember that Syria refused UN inspections until Obama said the US had plenty of evidence already and was all set to strike.  A nicely played bluff.

    I haven't figured out quite how, but it looks like Obama has the Senate on board and the House will follow soon.

    And the UN results will be in soon which I predict will lead to a larger international consensus on punitive action.

    I have a lot of respect for Obama's long game so that's why I'm willing to make this prediction.  Do his critics have the courage to predict how this will all miserably fail?

    Parent

    Yayyyy (5.00 / 5) (#89)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:04:53 PM EST
    An 11 dimensional chess argument.

    You get the grand prize!

    Parent

    How this will miserably fail (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:06:03 PM EST
    See Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt for details!  

    Parent
    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by woodchuck64 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:50:01 PM EST
    Yes, Obama's decision to invade Iraq to cleanse it of Weapons of Mass Destruction, his crazed Invasion of Afghanistan and fruitless pursuit of Bin Laden, his Deceitful Incitement of the Arab Revolution are all things that make him lie awake at night.


    Parent
    You mean Bush (2.00 / 1) (#133)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:31:18 PM EST
    Obama did not invade Iraq.

    Parent
    Or, I guess I missed the snark (2.00 / 1) (#136)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:36:43 PM EST
    I think it was snark (5.00 / 0) (#140)
    by Politalkix on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:47:11 PM EST
    Howard Dean (4.00 / 1) (#141)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:50:58 PM EST
    fully supports Obama on Syria.

    And I thought he might  be the one to challenge Hillary from the Left.

    Parent

    how the hell (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:49:12 AM EST
    is Howard Dean going to challenge Hillary Clinton from the left? You don't know much about either of them I am guessing, I mean beyond the usual lefty blog BS? Hint: I supported Dean in 2004 despite his conservative fiscal views.

    Parent
    snarked! (none / 0) (#145)
    by woodchuck64 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:03:09 PM EST
    Yes, my challenge to the critics was to predict how events will play out to be far worse for the President's action (as it turns out to be) than not.  Somehow Iraq was brought up as if Obama's foreign policy strategy can somehow stretch back in time and be responsible for that failure.  Or Libya, as if his actions triggered the civil war.  

    Maybe the implication is that any foreign strategy but "HANDS OFF" is doomed to fail.  But the implication of endorsing "Wild West Justice" in the international arena just because no one wants to get involved seems just as disasterous.

    Parent

    Jack, it was snark (none / 0) (#152)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:38:53 PM EST
    according to the author.

    Parent
    No, he meant Obama. (none / 0) (#139)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:43:46 PM EST
    I chalk it up to "Operation Rewrite," the GOP's wholesale revision of the history of the Iraq War which seeks to hold President Obama accountable for all things that went wrong with our invasion and occupation of that benighted country -- even when he was still an Illinois state senator.

    Parent
    There was a poll (none / 0) (#142)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:53:06 PM EST
    out that showed that a majority of Republicans, or a lot of them, held Obama responsible for something occurring on Bush's watch.

    Parent
    This may be what you are referring to (5.00 / 0) (#146)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:14:12 PM EST
    A new poll shows that some 29 percent of Louisiana Republicans blame President Barack Obama for the federal governments slow response to Hurricane Katrina -- even though the storm came four years before he took office. About 28 percent pinned the blame on President George W. Bush, who actually oversaw the emergency efforts in the wake of the flooding but about 44 percent didn't know who to blame


    Parent
    Look at the (none / 0) (#178)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 05:50:32 AM EST
    actual survey.

    Looks like an automated computer dialed phone survey. Tell me some of you don't mess with your answers to such a survey.

    Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W.Bush or Barack Obama?

    28% George W. Bush
    29% Barack Obama
    44% Not sure

    Seriously, what sort of responses do you expect from the way the questions was worded?

    Parent

    No doubt, tapping into the same vein ... (none / 0) (#151)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:35:07 PM EST
    ... as the May 2012 Dartmouth poll, which had 55.6% of Republicans agreeing with the statement, "I have always believed President Obama was born in another country." Another 8% of Republicans in that same poll agreed with the statement, "I used to think President Obama was born in the United States, but now I think he was born in another country." Overall, only 21.9% of Republicans polled believed he was born in the U.S.

    Still crazy after all these years.

    Parent

    oy (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by sj on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:50:40 PM EST
    ::head desk::

    Parent
    Yes, the long game. (5.00 / 2) (#167)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:21:52 PM EST
    Maybe this explains why President Obama, at the beginning of his first term,  said he would not investigate the Bush Administration, since we  need to look forward not backward.  

    Parent
    The Goal (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:10:17 AM EST
    LA Times

    One U.S. official who has been briefed on the options on Syria said he believed the White House would seek a level of intensity "just muscular enough not to get mocked" but not so devastating that it would prompt a response from Syrian allies Iran and Russia.

    "They are looking at what is just enough to mean something, just enough to be more than symbolic," he said.

    Mockery Avoidance as a goal is probably not an achievable goal, and more thought needs to be invested in saleable goal definition.

    More dead Syrians is collateral idiocy. But they aren't really "real" people in the eyes of the administration and it's supporters who need something to cheer, of course.

    Besides, they're going to need more terrorists if they have any hope of continuing to sell the WOT. Which is likely the real goal. When people fight back against imperialism they obviously need to be killed to deliver freedom and democracy to them.

    Personally (4.40 / 5) (#34)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:54:16 AM EST
    "He tried to kill my daddy!" was a better justification for the Iraq War than Obama's justification of avoiding mockery.  And I am obviously not alone in this opinion, given that the rest of the world, even Britain, has no interest in saving Obama's pride.  

    Otherwise, this is just like anything Bush would do.  And the rationalizations from the left are truly comical.  I do laugh out loud when I read them.

    But this takes the eye off Obamacare, another truly pathetic joke of an incompetent policy.

    Parent

    It is indeed (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:17:14 PM EST
    not surprising that the questions posed by BTD are not the center of the debate.

    The reason, imo, that they are not is because the administration has a different agenda, a hidden agenda - so they are not capable of confronting and answering basic questions that assume that this resolution has to do simply with Assad and chemical weapons.

    To see Obama teaming up with the unsavory likes of Lindsay Graham, Boehner, McCain and Cantor is stomach-turning and should certainly raise a red flag among liberals and democrats.
    Apparently, from what I read here, for many it does not.
    I simply don't understand it.

    People don't seem to like the analogy to what happened with respect to the war in Vietnam, but I can't help but see it. An ego-driven Democratic president got his party to line up behind a resolution with false premises - and of course he was joined by the right-wing republicans. 58,000 Americans killed.

    One Democrat that I am pleased to say is not falling into line is Alan Grayson. He is quoted as saying that

    "nobody wants this but the military-industrial complex."
    He also feels that he has an obligation to represent the views of his constituents. Would that we had a president with a similar inclination.

    More from Grayson:

    "It's simply not our responsibility. We're not the world's policeman,"...
     "It's expensive, it's dangerous, it won't do any good, and the people are against it."

    The congressman dismissed the view that a strike on Syria will send a deterrent message to Iran and others in the region.

    "That's the old domino theory from Vietnam, dredged up," he said. Grayson called it "the Bomb-ino theory" and "a farce."

    I don't believe in humanitarian bombings."

    If there is any other opposition in the Democratic ranks, I would like to know about it.

    Senator Tom Udall (5.00 / 3) (#98)
    by sj on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:31:48 PM EST
    The Udall cousins are making things quite interesting. I'm actually quite heartened by that. I didn't think the current generation was worth holding a candle to Mo.

    Parent
    Tammy Duckworth (none / 0) (#62)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:43:25 PM EST
    Tammy Duckworth's office (none / 0) (#64)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:58:33 PM EST
    describes her as "a lean no, not a hard no"

    Parent
    Too bad. She was a h*ll no just last week. (none / 0) (#65)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:04:34 PM EST
    McCain is now a hell no (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:11:44 PM EST
    Although his hot flashes have him change by the day.

    6 Senators now at a solid no:
    McCain (R) AZ
    Moran (R) KS
    Roberts (R) KS
    Paul (R) KY
    Inhofe (R) OK
    Lee (R) UT

    Parent

    Add 6 more No's (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:52:44 PM EST
    Murphy (D) CT
    Rubio (R) FL
    Risch (R) ID
    Udall (D) NM
    Johnson (R) WI
    Barrasso (R) WY

    But move Hotflash McCain back to yes. He switched in less than 24 hours this time.

    Parent

    And one "Present." (none / 0) (#84)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:56:20 PM EST
    With wording of the resolution (none / 0) (#91)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:06:41 PM EST
    in the Senate finalized now, I think you'll see more decisions being made. Ted Cruz (R) TX is now officially a no, although that was expected all along

    Parent
    A "maverick," no? (none / 0) (#85)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:57:36 PM EST
    Undecided far more likely (none / 0) (#88)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:02:28 PM EST
    He's only been in the Senate for 6 weeks.

    Parent
    McCain? (none / 0) (#100)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:36:54 PM EST
    Sorry (none / 0) (#101)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:40:22 PM EST
    Thought you were referring to Ed Markey's "present" vote

    Parent
    The most interesting, in terms of spectacle, (none / 0) (#115)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:08:05 PM EST
    is the position of Marco Rubio.  If he keeps up talking for & against (against Assad, saying he wants him out and yet against a resolution), he will surely be in the running for Pretzel of the Quarter.

    Parent
    He's in a pickle. He won't get elected (none / 0) (#149)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:23:14 PM EST
    dog catcher in FL as a Republican if he votes for anything Obama supports, regardless of his personal opinions on the subject. Pretzelling himself won't cost him anything.

    Parent
    But he's planning on running for President (none / 0) (#154)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:43:25 PM EST
    Won't get far without his home state behind him (none / 0) (#189)
    by ruffian on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 01:48:47 PM EST
    What is Barbara Boxer's stance? (none / 0) (#69)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:12:52 PM EST
    Boxer: (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:17:58 PM EST
    Boxer, a liberal Democrat, opposed the 2002 authorization of the Iraq war but said Syria was different, in part because the Senate resolution will make it clear this is a more limited engagement with no troops on the ground. "I will support a targeted effort but not a blank check against Syria gassing its people to death," Boxer said.

    [USA Today.]

    Very disappointing.

    Parent

    And (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:12:41 PM EST
    what, may I ask, is a "targeted effort"?

    What are the targets?

    Or is the effort that is targeted?

    Parent

    As I understand, the targets (5.00 / 0) (#113)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:04:41 PM EST
    are infrastructure that provide for the delivery of chemical weapons.  Apparently, the tactic of "degrading" the chemical weaponry system would be accomplished via targeting the delivery components.

    Parent
    I see. (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:08:05 PM EST
    I wonder where these delivery components are lodged.
    Are they near the items that they are meant to deliver?

    Parent
    Jon Soltz -Vote Vets (none / 0) (#125)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:49:47 PM EST
    But, it's the ability to deliver chemical weapons that is critical. Missiles or artillery rounds could be used. These weapon systems are legitimate targets, but many could be deployed throughout populated areas as the Syrians prepare for an attack, making them extremely hard to target. link



    Parent
    Another consideration as to whom (none / 0) (#63)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:52:55 PM EST
    we may harm by launching missiles:

    reuters

    Parent

    Wonder if this action (if true) (5.00 / 2) (#172)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:21:30 PM EST
    will change any minds about the need to change the balance of power and arm the rebels.

    Al-Qaida-linked Syria rebels hit Christian village

    BEIRUT (AP) -- Al-Qaida-linked rebels launched an assault Wednesday on a regime-held Christian village in the densely populated west of Syria and new clashes erupted near the capital, Damascus -- part of a brutal battle of attrition each side believes it can win despite more than two years of deadlock.

    As the world focused on possible U.S. military action against Syria, rebels commandeered a mountaintop hotel in the village of Maaloula and shelled the community below, said a nun, speaking by phone from a convent in the village. She spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. link



    Parent
    If obama (none / 0) (#173)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:33:35 PM EST
    has managed to somehow get al qaeda to deliver freedom and democracy for him like this, it just may be his greatest eleventy dimensional stroke of genius so far.

    Awesome.

    But wait... if he's that good, why are there still republicans? Oh, right. Slaps forehead. I almost forgot. He needs supporters, of course.

    I'll get this all figured out yet.

    Parent

    I read (none / 0) (#96)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:30:54 PM EST
    the article you linked to.

    Of course these bombs will kill indiscriminately.

    I read in the article that Obama used the word, "tailored" to describe his bombing proposal.

    "Tailored" to what?

    This is an insult to tailors everywhere.

    Parent

    Well, a new term (none / 0) (#143)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:55:59 PM EST
    was needed.   He was enjoined by surgeons for use of "surgical strikes"

    Parent
    Hmmmm (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:14:58 PM EST
    Maybe the central debate should be whose d**k we should be measuring? The president's?  Or DAH WORLD'Z.  

    Because according to Jon Stewart, the red line is just a measuring tape:

    Jon Stewart link pardon any commercials

    When you've lost Jon, hmmmm, I guess you've lost some college students?  Or maybe this is serious for public opinion?

    My rep, Jim McDermott, asks the same questions (5.00 / 2) (#120)
    by shoephone on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:22:13 PM EST
    From August 30:

    We must ask: What is our national interest here? What is our end goal? Our past habit of reaction without thought to long-term and unintended consequences will yield the results we've had in the past: protracted conflicts that accomplish little, if anything. We have no way of telling what chain of events will domino with our involvement, "limited" or otherwise.

    I'm not a pacifist. I'm not one who thinks that there is never a time for war. But we must enter into military action with full understanding of its gravity.

    Obviously, he doesn't get a vote in the Senate, but, at least someone representing me has made a statement like this, and I feel pretty certain on how he will vote when the time comes. Senator Patty Murray is more equivocating, saying she has concerns about us getting entangled, but she is glad the president has asked Congress for approval. She's adopting "wait and see" before deciding. Maria Cantwell, typically, has not weighed in at all, and will not until after she has voted on the resolution.

    Crisis of Confidence Man in Oval Office (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:45:22 PM EST
    Obama Shaken by Boehner's Support
    Aides to President Obama said today that he was "visibly shaken" after receiving support from House Speaker John Boehner for his Syria campaign, adding that the Speaker's vote of confidence was "making him rethink the whole thing."

    Moments after the President had "seemed to settle down," the aide said, he received a phone call from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who also offered his support for the Syria plan.

    "That one really rattled him," the aide said. "He was like, 'I think I need to take a long walk.'"

    The calls from Mr. Boehner and Mr. Cantor have created what the aide called "the biggest crisis of confidence this President has ever experienced."

    "I checked in on him later in the day, just to see if he was O.K.," the aide said. "He was cradling his head in his hands saying, 'I just don't know. I just don't know anymore.'"

    While the President's plan to attack Syria remains on the table, the aide indicated that the situation is very fluid: "If Rand Paul calls today and says he's in, the whole thing goes away."



    I have a solution (2.00 / 1) (#158)
    by Politalkix on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:20:20 PM EST
    The President should invade Cuba and not order a missile strike in Syria. That would follow a pattern established by Republican presidents. Bush II invaded Iraq after we were attacked by Al Qaeda whose leader lived in Afghanistan. Reagan attacked Grenada after American military barracks were attacked in Lebanon.

    If the President attacked Castro, Marco Rubio would have to oppose it. Florida Republicans would finally make their peace with Castro to oppose BHO. That would go a long way towards normalizing our relationship with Cuba.

    We will get to make peace with Cuba. The left will love it. We will also get to honor traditions established by Republican presidents on matters relating to war. The right will love it.

    It is a win-win for all. Let us attack Cuba to remove the scourge of chemical weapons on this planet, once and for all. Snark

    Parent

    You (5.00 / 4) (#156)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:50:52 PM EST
    just know something's fishy when they say that they'll get done what they need to do in 60 days - plus maybe another 30.
    That's three months of hell - but whatever. That's assuming they won't ask for another 60 + 30 - and you know that they would.

    I was reading an autobiography - of Willie Sutton of all people.  In it, he referred to an adage that military people often quote:

    The battle plan disappears as soon as the troops hit the beach and the bullets start to fly.

    In this instance, once they start dropping bombs, no one knows what will result.

    That's probably it. (5.00 / 3) (#157)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:59:18 PM EST
    The Goal:
    once they start dropping bombs, no one knows what will result.

    Then they can move to the backup AUMF's in the bottom drawer.

    The classified ones.

    Parent

    Yup... (5.00 / 3) (#185)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:40:11 AM EST
    ...it's like people have forgotten Iraq and the non-sense they pushed to keep ramping it up, something about people dieing for nothing.  Guess we need another $50B embassy in the Middle East and another new set of enemies.

    Once people start dieing, we are all in.

    What happened to the deficit madness from the right.  seems like all the people who told us it's going to be the end of America are onboard with spending billions in Syria.  Apparently bombing a nation 7000 miles away with multi-million dollar bombs/missiles from billion dollar ships for 60/90 days will be offset with the White House tour closures.

    The deficit hawks seem to be an endangered species these last couple of weeks.

    Instead of capping the conflict in days, how about capping it with dollars so we can truly appreciate how much this adventure is going to cost us.  Also, how about writing into the resolution that anyone who signs it gives up their right to claim expenditures have to be offset in the future.  

    Funny how helping our own people has to be offset with cuts, but bombing the hell out of a country on the other side of the planet doesn't even rate a mention of costs.

    Parent

    Moving forward... (5.00 / 1) (#169)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:30:42 PM EST
    04 September 13
    President Obama said today that he was ready to take military action against the University of California at Davis in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons, but that he will seek the approval of Congress before carrying out any military strike.

    [...snip...]

    "After careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against UC targets, including Lieutenant John Pike," Obama said. "This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground. Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope.

    "This attack is an assault on human dignity," Obama said of the alleged Nov. 18, 2011 chemical assault against Occupy Wall Street protesters, which the U.S. intelligence community has linked to UC campus security. "It also presents a serious danger to our national security."



    Not that anyone really cares what (4.40 / 5) (#33)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:49:13 AM EST
    we think, but, here's my take on the questions:

    What objectives does the administration seek to achieve in Syria?
    Are we discussing today's objective, the others we've heard over the last couple weeks, or the ones that will inevitably be stated because that's what people want to hear?

    How does it anticipate that the use of force will lead to the fulfillment of those objectives?
    I'm sure Obama and Kerry and the rest of the gang think the answer to this is obvious, but I haven't figured out how raining down missiles that will inevitably affect innocent civilians will make Assad bend to our will.  I kind of wonder if he wouldn't view the firepower as meaning he has to use less of his own supply to kill more of the people who already oppose him.

    What is the administration's theory of victory? That is, what are the assumptions that link the use of military force to the achievement of victory?
    Again, this is an ever-shifting target; I don't see us ever admitting that we have reached a stated goal for victory, and we will be told - as we have so many other times before - that conditions have changed in some way that means reassessing and changing those goals.

    How does the administration believe that Syria will respond to the U.S. use of force?
    I'm sure they're hoping the anti-Assad forces will successfully run the guy out of the country if only to stop the bombing, but I think it's more likely that factions within the anti-Assad coalition end up turning on each other.

    What does the administration believe could go wrong? What unexpected things could happen?
    There's about as much chance of them discussing this with us as there is of me buying a winning lottery ticket.  But...I note that AIPAC has come out in support of an attack on Syria and is going to help Obama lobby Congress.  Am I the only one who thinks there's been remarkably little attention given to the Israel aspect of this so-called plan?

    And finally, how does the administration anticipate that this will end?
    Wait, what?  It's going to end?

    There is precedent (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:17:32 PM EST
    Bill bombed Milosovic into submission.  Few, including the military experts, thought it  possible.

    The hesitation here is that if we remove Assad from power, and we can do that through air power alone as Milosovic and Gaddafi show, we may end up with another bad regime.  But use of chemical weapons is bad enough.

    Parent

    You foresee a (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:19:17 PM EST
    10 week campaign of massive bombing here?

    Parent
    Actually, no (none / 0) (#47)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:27:00 PM EST
    I think the first strike will work.

    And, we have much better air power now, and a ground force of rebels that did not exist in Serbia.

    Worst case, the threat would be more like Libya.

    Milosovic shows what air power alone could accomplish two decades ago.  We have the military ability to remove Assad from power without invading Syria.  You can do a lot with that capability, whether you actually use it or not.  

    Parent

    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:46:28 PM EST
    That's not correct, unless you think the KLA did not exist in Kosovo.

    I'm not sure what "threat" you are referring to regarding Libya. What's that a reference to? Threat to what?

    Parent

    Not really comparable (none / 0) (#57)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:09:56 PM EST
    KLA had been thoroughly routed and were ineffective as a fighting force.  I do not remember the KLA taking Belgrade.

     

    Parent

    Milosovic did not fall (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:29:10 PM EST
    from the bombing campaign.

    The bombing campaign was to stop the ethnic cleansing  in Kosovo.

    Parent

    Got any proof that Assad used chemical (none / 0) (#50)
    by redwolf on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:38:21 PM EST
    weapons?  Could have been the rebels as they've been caught with chemical weapons a couple of times so far in this war. If it turns out to be the rebels using chemical weapons would you support bombing them?

    Parent
    Got any proof ... (none / 0) (#52)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:49:36 PM EST
    ... that the Syrian rebels actually have chemical weapons, let alone your claim - that they were caught with them "a couple times so far in this war"?

    Parent
    rebels (none / 0) (#55)
    by gaf on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:55:07 PM EST
    Since redwold not advocating doing a limited strike on the rebels, he need not present proof that the rebels have chemical weapons.

    Parent
    Redwold has repeatedly ... (none / 0) (#82)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:45:37 PM EST
    ... suggested that the rebels were responsible for the attack.  He has now added a new claim - that the rebels have actually been caught (twice) with chemical weapons.

    If he expects to be taken seriously- he needs to learn how to link to evidence that supports his claims.

    Parent

    You'd (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:41:00 PM EST
    think you might be making a similar demand on Obama to present us with incontrovertible proof of the use of chemical weapons by Assad.

    Parent
    No "might" about it (none / 0) (#117)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:19:34 PM EST
    I also from the Obama administration before it goes after Syria ...

    ... and while I think the evidence against Assad needs to be very strong, I never said anything about "incontrovertible".  Such a standard is usually sought by someone who will never agree the evidence is "incontrovertible".

    Parent

    "I also ... (none / 0) (#160)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:42:14 PM EST
    ... want very strong evidence from the Obama administration before it goes after Syria ..."

    Parent
    Victory is the cruise missiles (none / 0) (#4)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:39:05 AM EST
    hitting their targets with no U.S. casualties.

    It is a missile strike, not an invasion.....

    Is that all there is? (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:41:59 AM EST
    So the tactical objective is "punishment."

    What's the strategic objective?

    And what about the other questions?

    Parent

    Deter and degrade (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:00:23 AM EST
    And that is a lot.

    The other questions largely answer themselves.

       1.  The objective is to deter and degrade.

       2.  The cruise missiles will degrade delivery systems.  The strike will deter further use of chemical weapons.

       3.  Victory is the Cruise missiles hit their targets and we suffer no casualties.

       4.  It is unclear how Syria will respond.  They do not have the ability to shoot down our planes or hit our ships.   Ideally, Syria does not use chemical weapons again.

       5.  What could go wrong?   A lot of things.  But among the things that could go wrong would not be U.S. casualties.  The biggest thing that could go wrong is more than a few civilian deaths....

      6.  This should end with no further use of Chemical Weapons by Syria....

    It is a low risk, high reward scenario....We have the ability to deliver a military deterrent to the use of chemical weapons that probably no one else can.  We can do so without much risk to our own troops.

    Parent

    Answer 2 is conclusory (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:06:33 AM EST
    and wrongly conclusory imo.

    Parent
    This is not a complicated question (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:19:52 AM EST
    What is being proposed is not unusual.

    We do not have to game out the scenarios of who wins the civil war.

    The important issue is the use of chemical weapons.  I can't imagine the Israelis feel all that comfortable with hundreds of children dead from being gassed on their doorstep.

    The "strategic" result would most likely be a weakening of Assad forces.   Perhaps leading to a protracted stalemate.  At that point, diplomacy would have a chance.

    If Assad uses chemical weapons after we strike him, I cannot imagine he will have any support left among the international community. I doubt he would do so.  The better tack for him is to seek sympathy, and the Russians might oblige.  If he does use weapons again, we should use a Kosovo style air campaign to remove him from power. Perhaps the new regime will be just as bad, but they would not have used chemical weapons.

    Parent

    Let me rephrase this for you (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:23:18 AM EST
    "If Assad uses chemical weapons after we DO NOT strike him, I cannot imagine he will have any support left among the international community."

    Why is that not true?

    Parent

    It is true (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:30:55 AM EST
    But why allow another use?  What would be different then than now? All the same questions would exist, and the same reluctance to act. A paralysis caused by fear of another Iraq.

    If Assad gets away with using chemical weapons, he would feel as if no one would ever retaliate.  The next use could be much, much worse.  As it is, the first use was quite limited and very hard to detect and verify.  The second use is what we are talking about now--a few hundred or perhaps two or three thousand....

    Assad is quite rational, escalating his use of the wildcard that will help win the war.  Testing the waters.  If we do not stop him this time, he could unleash a horrific attack that he may not be able to control next time.


    Parent

    Allow another use? (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:42:12 AM EST
    I thought you said this was a deterrence action.

    Unless you think missiles strikes will eliminate the thread, how exactly is your approach insuring it does not happen again?

    I don't think you have thought this through.

    Parent

    I have (none / 0) (#32)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:48:53 AM EST
    And we can apparently degrade his capability significantly...because it takes a sophisticated delivery system.  

    I am responding to the litany of what ifs that many are raising......

    I have had a nice, reasoned discussion with you so far. Don't ruin it.

    Parent

    "Apparently" (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:55:17 AM EST
    IF you believe that, then your support is correct.

    I don't think that is true.

    I think diplomacy, inspections, etc will be much more effective than this missile strike business.

    Parent

    Point about diplomacy (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:23:45 PM EST
    all the man has to do is admit they (or someone in their military) made an error and they are working to correct it, allow inspections, etc.  Then go on to make statements about how we don't want to see any more harm come to the Syrian people than already has......

    What happened to the madman theory of bargaining?  No snark intended, serious question.

    Parent

    If that's the plan (none / 0) (#97)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:30:56 PM EST
    then when it unfolds I will tip my hat.

    Parent
    Time To Tip YOur Hat? (none / 0) (#200)
    by squeaky on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 03:46:36 PM EST
    MadMan Kerry? Obama? (none / 0) (#201)
    by squeaky on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 03:47:25 PM EST
    Appears to have worked.

    Parent
    I am not sure you got my point (none / 0) (#36)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:55:42 AM EST
    about another use.

    My point if we do not retaliate now, and wait for another attack, we are allowing another use.

    Further, he has already used chemical weapons once before even this current incident.  So, the odds are, given his past escalating conduct, he will use them again....if we do not act, we will be allowing another use.

    Parent

    Again (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:58:17 AM EST
    your argument makes no sense to me UNLESS you think missiles strikes will incapacitate his ability to use CWs and no one has argued that.

    Except you frankly.

    Parent

    And I never said (none / 0) (#38)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:05:15 PM EST
    "incapacitate." I said "degrade."  I think I even said we could not completely eliminate the capability.

    I obviously disagree with your assessment that we have to completely eliminate his chemical weapons capability to make deterrence effective.

    Parent

    Deterrence (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:10:44 PM EST
    is aimed at stopping someone from doing something they can do.

    Degrading is reducing his capacity to do it.

    I think your terms are not straight here.

    And frankly, your argument either.

    But as I said, I am happy to accept your concession that we should give diplomacy a chance first.

    Parent

    I meant deter and degrade (none / 0) (#45)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:22:05 PM EST
    Even as you use them. I do not follow how you believe I mis-used the terms.

    And of course you don't agree with me....As to my argument, I believe it is simple and consistent.  You may disagree with my assumptions, but my argument is just fine....

    You have in fact misread a couple of my posts, perhaps reading too fast...

    Parent

    Degrade means (none / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:09:27 PM EST
    they can still be used.

    I'm not following your argument.

    Parent

    The purpose of a strike (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:14:36 PM EST
    is twofold:  to deter and to degrade.

    If we degrade his delivery systems we can make it a lot harder if not impossible to launch a chemical weapons attack.   It would be a physical limitation.  That is a step forward.

    The strike would also be aimed at deterring future attacks, what opponents of a strike now call "punishment."

    Parent

    What if instead of striking him (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:28:22 AM EST
    We instead get a UN Resolution saying the Security Council authorizes military action in response to any violations of international norms and indiscriminate attacks of civilians in Syria.

    Why is that not the better course?

    Parent

    It would never happen (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:33:54 AM EST
    Russia and China would block it.

    But, heh, let the diplomats knock themselves out for the next week or so.

    Parent

    You don't know that (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:41:02 AM EST
    and in fact, Putin's statements today contradict what you say.

    Why are you in such a hurry top fire missiles?

    What is that about?

    Parent

    I am fine with waiting to see if (none / 0) (#29)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:44:51 AM EST
    such a U.N. resolution can be obtained. If it is not, as I suspect, then what?

    We will be back here right where we were before.  

    Parent

    We can discuss that then (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:46:24 AM EST
    Right now I am happy to take your agreement with my proposal.

    Now go persuade the President!

    Parent

    Subtle questioning of my motives? (none / 0) (#30)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:45:55 AM EST
    Not nice.

    Parent
    What If (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:32:09 AM EST
    What if it turns out that Israel was involved, do we bomb Israel?

    Parent
    What if Putin sends (none / 0) (#24)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:34:41 AM EST
    his spaceships to attack Boise?

    Parent
    OK (none / 0) (#41)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:11:44 PM EST
    Israel must be producing CWs to study them so that they can defend against their deployment.

    Parent
    Because US casualties (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by sj on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:18:29 AM EST
    are so much more valuable than Syrian casualties? Sounds like a Pyrrhic victory.

    Parent
    Markos (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by gaf on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:49:40 PM EST
    It is a missile strike, not an invasion.....

    Markos has written an excellent line countering this.

    I quote


    Remember when Al Qaeda launched a "limited strike" against the World Trade Center and Pentagon and it wasn't a declaration of war? Me neither. You bomb someone, it's war, no matter how you might want to pretend otherwise.


    Parent
    Bill did not invade (none / 0) (#67)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:10:12 PM EST
    Serbia or Iraq after bombing them.

    Obama did not invade Libya.

    You can get off the slippery slope anytime you want.

    We have used missile strikes without invading before.....One does not necessarily follow from the other.

    Parent

    Recent report from Libya (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:22:56 PM EST
    A little under two years ago, Philip Hammond, the
    Defence Secretary, urged British businessmen to begin "packing their suitcases" and to fly to Libya to share in the reconstruction of the country and exploit an anticipated boom in natural resources.

    Yet now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters.

    Mutinying security men have taken over oil ports on the Mediterranean and are seeking to sell crude oil on the black market. Ali Zeidan, Libya's Prime Minister, has threatened to "bomb from the air and the sea" any oil tanker trying to pick up the illicit oil from the oil terminal guards, who are mostly former rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and have been on strike over low pay and alleged government corruption since July.

    As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato's military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria. link



    Parent
    I didn't say that (none / 0) (#76)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:26:18 PM EST
    we had made Libya into a functioning democracy or country.   Just that we did not invade.

    That is an important point as many fear a re-run of Iraq.

    Parent

    An important point (5.00 / 3) (#87)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:01:49 PM EST
    is that the country is basically destroyed. Our intervention, our bombing the h&ll out of them just killed more people in Libya and the end result is that the country is in chaos.  

    Parent
    We didn't just "bomb the hell" ... (5.00 / 0) (#134)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:31:27 PM EST
    ... out of Libya, so let's please rein in the hyperbole. This isn't "Twelve O'Clock High" we're talking about.

    The Allies began launching tactical air strikes against Khadafy's forces in late March 2011 as they were closing in on the rebel-held cities of Benghazi and Misrata in preparation for ground assaults. Further, after the U.S. led the initial assaults, the overwhelming preponderance of NATO air attacks in Libya were carried out by the French, British and Italian air forces, with U.S. forces providing logistical support.

    Given that between 31 March and 31 August 2011, NATO flew a total of 20,991 sorties, including 7,817 strike sorties, there was relatively little collateral damage inflicted overall upon non-combatants.

    Initial reports of casualties in the Libyan conflict, with some forecasts going as high as 100,000 dead, ultimately proved to be significantly off. The best current estimates of the total number of deaths in the Libyan civil war of February - October 2011 fall somewhere between 5,800 and 6,600 rebels and civilians, and between 3,300 and 4,300 Gaddafi loyalists. 95% of those were caused by the fighting on the ground, and not by NATO air strikes.

    Aloha.

    Parent

    Others tell a different story (5.00 / 3) (#170)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:51:21 PM EST
    But the shine was, from the start, an illusion, as Maximilian Forte proves in his important new book, Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO's War on Libya and Africa. Forte thoroughly chronicles NATO's bombing of Libya and the crimes against humanity for which NATO is responsible. The author takes us on a tour of Sirte after it had been subject to intense NATO bombardment by chronicling journalists' impressions of the city in October 2011. Reporters observed, "Nothing could survive in here for very long," that the city was "reduced to rubble, a ghost town filled with the stench of death and where bodies litter the streets," that it was a place "almost without an intact building," whose infrastructure "simply ceased to exist," and resembled "Ypres in 1915, or Grozny in 1995," or postwar "Leningrad, Gaza or Beirut."

    Forte describes numerous NATO operations which, he argues, rose to the level of war crimes. For example, he discusses a NATO strike on a farming compound in the town of Majer on 8 August 2011. A Human Rights Watch investigation concluded that NATO fired on the compound twice, the second time killing 34 civilians who had come to look for survivors --a tactic familiar to those who follow US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen--and found no evidence that the target had been used for military purposes. In its examination of five sites where NATO caused civilian casualties, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) found that at four of those sites NATO's characterization of the targets as "`command and control nodes' or `troop staging areas' was not reflected in evidence at the scene and witness testimony." In view of these and other killings of civilians by NATO, Palestinian lawyer Raji Sourani remarks that the Independent Civil Society Mission to Libya of which he was a part has "reason to think that there were some war crimes perpetrated" by NATO. Through this method, Forte shows the fundamental contradiction of humanitarian wars: they kill people to ensure that people are not killed. link



    Parent
    Syria is already (none / 0) (#129)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:09:40 PM EST
    in distress and we did not cause that.

    Libya was already a mess and we did not cause that, either.

    Parent

    I don't think it matters much... (5.00 / 5) (#105)
    by sj on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:46:50 PM EST
    we did not invade.
    ...to the dead and families of the dead that they died without seeing who killed them.

    I'm pretty sure the British considered airstrikes to be acts of war during WW2. And I am d@mned sure that we would consider airstrikes within the borders of the US to be acts of war whether we were "invaded" or not. Why wouldn't Libya? It sounds to me like word parsing to avoid reality. Kind of like calling torture "enhanced interrogation techniques".

    The difference may satisfy you, but it seems to me that it is intellectual satisfaction and sophistry.

    You can get off the slippery slope anytime you want.
    What does that even mean? I'm sure it means absolutely nothing to the Syrian citizens.

    And this kind of word parsing of human actions is why I hate discussions of foreign policy. It all sounds so very reasonable and antiseptic.

    As if any kind of act of war would be so. Cr@p. I don't even know why I came into this thread. I knew the discussion would devolve to this.

    Parent

    I have not used the (none / 0) (#130)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:23:30 PM EST
    typical euphemisms for the reasons you cite.  I have not said it would not be an act of war to  fire missiles.  It clearly would be.  I have not talked about "collateral" damage.

    It makes a big difference between a full blown invasion and missile strikes.  A lot fewer people get killed.  

    It is a distasteful subject, but ignoring it, or washing our hands of whole thing, will not make it go away.  Assad has gassed hundreds of kids on Israel's border.  That is a big, big problem.  And it involves us.

    Parent

    It is a big, big problem (5.00 / 3) (#147)
    by sj on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:18:37 PM EST
    that also involves the rest of the world. There is mass killing in this world daily. It is a big, big problem.

    I just cannot get behind the idea that more killing is the answer.

    Parent

    Moral high horse (none / 0) (#137)
    by woodchuck64 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:38:44 PM EST
    There is no need to be on such a moral high horse.  It should be clear that those that support deterrence and degrade through military strikes are thinking of the lives lost already as well as lives saved in the future by preventing future chemical weapons attacks.  Whether they are correct are not, it is human lives that matter, same as you.  Why demonize?


    Parent
    Dear Pot (5.00 / 4) (#148)
    by sj on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:20:27 PM EST
    talk about a moral high horse. Gotta kill people to save people. That makes sense.

    Signed, kettle.

    Parent

    Seriously? (1.00 / 2) (#159)
    by woodchuck64 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:29:21 PM EST

    sj:
    talk about a moral high horse. Gotta kill people to save people. That makes sense.

    Signed, kettle.

    Is that the full depth of your moral analysis, barely a surface ripple?  

    How exactly do you resolve the fat man and trolley dilemma?  Do you let the trolley crash, killing all aboard or do you push the fat man onto the tracks?

    Life is a bit more complex than flowers and peace symbols .


    Parent

    Ah, and here it is (5.00 / 1) (#171)
    by sj on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:03:11 PM EST
    the out and out hippie punching.

    Parent
    You can say that about any military action (none / 0) (#150)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:33:26 PM EST
    Diplomacy without the credible threat of military action loses much power.

    Sure, you can eschew all military action, but that is to withdraw to fortress America.  Not a good idea imo.

    Parent

    And don't you see (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by sj on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:49:38 AM EST
    what's wrong with that? Is "military action" the only way to deal with something? Not saying it's never required, but why is it considered the act of first resort?

    Parent
    This reply was to sj (none / 0) (#138)
    by woodchuck64 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:40:12 PM EST
    I see things the same as MKS..

    Parent
    War may follow (none / 0) (#75)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:24:45 PM EST
    if Syria's "friends" decide it should follow.

    It's not all up to Obama, you know.....If he declares defacto war via bombing, then it is war for both sides.

    That was what Mr. Kos was trying to say, that you apparently misunderstood.

    Parent

    A bigger war my follow (2.00 / 2) (#132)
    by Politalkix on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:27:59 PM EST
    if Iran gets encouraged to use chemical weapons and develop nukes fearing no retaliation from a divided world community and Israel decides that they cannot count on America's support based on what they saw in Syria and decide to take out Iran's nukes themselves.  

    Parent
    Wait what? (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:34:33 PM EST
    Just as me and MKS are saying (none / 0) (#168)
    by Politalkix on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:22:44 PM EST
    Please follow this link regarding how Israel is viewing American reaction.

    Parent
    Huh? (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:59:38 PM EST
    Why would Iran use chemical weapons, and against whom? That doesn't make any sense. What would be their purpose?

    Now, I'll concede Iran's obvious belligerence toward the United States, given that we certainly gave them ample reason to feel that way. But there is no evidence to support the long-fabled right-wing notion that Iran is a neighborhood bully and regional menace. In fact, both the evidence and history tend to favor the opposite conclusion, that Iran has had a lot to fear from its neighbors and from the major western powers.

    We'd be far better off just leaving the Iranians alone, rather than reincarnating them into the image of past enemies, as though they constitute some sort of post-Cold War existential threat to Western civilization. They don't.

    Aloha.

    Parent

    Iran can use chemical weapons (2.00 / 1) (#153)
    by Politalkix on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:40:03 PM EST
    (1) against Iranians who protest against the autocratic government  
    (2) against people who the Hezbollah are fighting after being armed and trained in Iran. This includes Sunnis in the Middles East and Israelis.

    Iran has even more belligerence towards Israel than they have towards the United States.

    Please check my earlier posts about Iran, I have never indulged in rhetoric that reincarnates Iranians into the image of past enemies. Only two days ago I posted that we should be talking to them (particularly after Rouhani got elected). However, we should also have a clear eyed view about how tactical equations can get totally changed in the ME if we let dictators get away unpunished after using CWs on their own people.

    Parent

    The Iranians were themselves victims ... (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:05:41 PM EST
    ... of chemical weapons attacks during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88), during which the United States clearly looked the other way. They, of all people, would have no interest in using such WMD, because they know for a fact what it's like to be on the receiving end of such atrocity.

    If you're seeking a "clear-eyed view" of the Middle East, then I respectfully but strongly suggest that you stop accepting the so-called "conventional wisdom" about Iran at face value. Iranian society and politics are surprisingly complex and multi-faceted, and belie and resist their opponents' repeated attempts at caricature. Further, the Persian civilization quite obviously long predates our own, and I would offer that they didn't last this long by adopting suicidal policy positions which would court national immolation if ever carried out.

    Aloha.

    Parent

    The theocracy in Iran were at one time (none / 0) (#166)
    by Politalkix on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:20:50 PM EST
    at the receiving end of torture from the Savak, the Shah's secret police. That did not stop the theocracy in Iran from using torture against their political opponents and even executing many of them once they assumed power.

    I am not using conventional wisdom. I am very respectful of the ancient civilization of Iran and totally understand the complex and multi-faceted society of Iran but politics is complex and brutal.

    Parent

    The U.S did more than simply (5.00 / 4) (#196)
    by jondee on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:07:13 PM EST
    "look the other way" when the Iraqis gassed the Iranians, as I recall. According to most accounts, we did all that we could to
    help expedite that atrocity while maintaining an antiseptic distance. Just as at one point we sent CIA goons to train SAVAK in torture techniques..

    Parent
    The Israelis are being very, very (none / 0) (#162)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:47:00 PM EST
    quiet.

    If I'm an Israeli sitting in a café in Tel Aviv and learn of hundreds of kids being gassed to death by your next door neighbor, an avowed enemy, I become very attentive.   As I watch the U.S. paralyzed by inaction and fear of another Iraq, I would expect the IDF to step in the breach.

    If the U.S. does nothing, I would fully expect the Israelis to remove Assad from power.

    Parent

    I have not read (none / 0) (#131)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:27:32 PM EST
    Markos's latest on this.

    But we do not face a significant threat from the Russians--they cannot hit our planes or ships.  Neither can Syria.

    Syria and Iran are already arrayed against us.  If anything, a strike would give them pause. I am not for a missile strike just to make them take notice, but I think it would make them less, not more, likely to confront us militarily.

    Parent

    An invasion of explosives, metal... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:03:11 AM EST
    and circuits.  An inhuman invasion, if you will.

    I guess it shouldn't be surprising that punishment is the primary, if not only, objective. It's our primary domestic objective, why should foreign policy be any different?  The United States of Punishment..it's how we do!

    How about catching some flies with honey?  How much do 25 Tomahawks cost?  Offer that to Bashar in cash, plus a penthouse in Geneva, to just walk away and hand over the chemicals to the UN on his way out.  Anybody tried that?

    Parent

    Blackmail after using (none / 0) (#12)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:06:15 AM EST
    chemical weapons....There would be more than a few flies trying to get that honey.

    Parent
    Not blackmail... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:25:59 AM EST
    positive reinforcement..."do this and you'll get a lollipop" instead of "don't do that or we'll spank you".  Positive reinforcement always worked better on me than punishment.

    Not that Bashar is gonna feel the spanking or anything....the punishment will fall on the heads of others, like it almost always does.

    Parent

    It is bribery and it just escalates (none / 0) (#22)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:32:28 AM EST
    the conduct we are trying to deter.

    There is a reason why kidnapping is a major industry in Mexico.

    Parent

    Though... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:36:45 AM EST
    ransom usually gets your loved one back...federales busting down the door usually gets them killed.  Pick your poison.

    Parent
    True, in the individual (none / 0) (#26)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:39:34 AM EST
    case, bribery may work.  But in the long run, it just makes matters worse.  There is a reason the Israelis' stated policy is to never negotiate for hostages...

    Parent
    Ever wonder if that's... (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:09:51 PM EST
    part of the reason Israel has known no peace?

    I'm thinking, in the long run, it is dropping bombs that just makes matters worse....though I admit it can work to gain a short term peace by killing enough of your enemy.

    If the goal is ridding the world of the scourge of chemical weapons (and/or biological weapons, nuclear weapons, sh*t regular weapons)...we have enough money to buy every weapon on earth and destroy them.  I'm down with that!  Throwing gas on a fire I can't get down with.

    Parent

    The man is delusional (none / 0) (#7)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:48:58 AM EST
    You are the change you've been waiting for. (none / 0) (#48)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:32:02 PM EST
    It's not too complicated (none / 0) (#8)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:58:22 AM EST
    1. Stopping and preventing Syria from gassing its citizens

    2. No delivery means, means no delivery.

    3. 1 of 2 things will happen.  Either Assad will stop (or reign in rogue military elements) or he will continue in which case international pressure for more significant action will increase.  Significant action would undoubtedly include the UN and NATO (and possibly Putin based on today's reports).  No one wants to be on the side of a madman.

    4. See #3

    5. No acceptable answer.  That is, anything can go wrong, and indeed that is a risk.

    6. See #3


    2 is nonresponsive (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:05:57 AM EST
    Not surprising as this is of course the biggest problem.

    Parent
    Not only that, (none / 0) (#77)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:27:53 PM EST

    But his answer to #1 implies a regime change, not mere missle strikes.  

    In any case this civil war has killed 100,000 of which 1,500 are from gas.  Are we just peachy with stopping a repeat on the 1,500 while standing by for a repeat of the other 98,500?

    Parent

    OK (none / 0) (#78)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:32:16 PM EST
    If all things are equal for you, as you have often had a warmongering position here at TL, why not scrap the nuclear and CW treaties, geneva conventions and just kill everyone in one fell swoop. Conventional weapons are very slow and inefficient at killing compared to the prohibited alternatives.

    Parent
    No (none / 0) (#93)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:21:11 PM EST
    My first answer doesn't imply anything other than what I stated.

    No, I'm certainly not peachy and as (I think) your answer implies, we shouldn't be getting involved in any country's civil war unless, IMO, there is a compelling reason to do so.

    Violations of treaties signed by the majority of the world is a compelling reason, IMO.

    Parent

    Can you violate a treaty/ban (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:24:01 PM EST
    that you aren't a signatory to?

    Parent
    Obviously not (none / 0) (#99)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:32:46 PM EST
    but that means what?  We should support the manner the weapons were used?

    Parent
    Just responding to this: (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:52:22 PM EST
    Violations of treaties signed by the majority of the world is a compelling reason, IMO.

    How does asking if non-signatories can be deemed in violation translate to the suggestion that the alternative to holding a country accountable for the use of chemical weapons is to support their use?

    The compelling reason isn't that treaties have been violated, it's that the materials have been used; if there were no treaty of any kind, it still wouldn't make the use of chemical weapons okay.

    Parent

    Should the U.S. be allowed to ignore (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:45:58 PM EST
    international law in its self appointed role as the world's policeman?

    Parent
    If complex delivery systems are needed (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:24:08 PM EST
    to deliver chemical weapons, why the heck are my fluids in small containers being screened at the airport?

    Plenty of delivery means remain after these air strikes. What then?

    Parent

    Did the Japanese who deployed Sarin in (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:36:40 PM EST
    the subways use a sophisticated delivery system?  No.

    Parent
    It can happen but it is much (none / 0) (#70)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:13:04 PM EST
    harder....The attacks in Japan killed 13 people....

    It was a much different series of attacks than what Assad has already perpetrated.

    Parent

    Are we skipping a step here? (5.00 / 4) (#127)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:58:21 PM EST
    "it was a much different series of attacks than what Assad has already perpetrated."  Such as:  what is the evidence that Assad perpetrated a series of attacks.  Who has verified the number and will stand behind it? And, was sarin used in all cases and victims?  Since when are sophisticated missiles necessary to sarin or other poison gas delivery.  That is a new talking point.

     Using poison gas has been a war crime since shortly after the Great War.  Moreover, the Nurenberg trials made it clear that these crimes are committed by individuals.  Only the responsible are held to account.  The UN Security Council should refer their case (with evidence) to The Hague, which is in a better position to deal with crimes against humanity than a world policeman bombing a country as "punishment."  If Russia and China are blockers, we should also ask what went so terribly wrong in those relationships that we can't show the evidence of war crimes and expect a referral of individuals responsible to an international court of law?  If anything will be degraded, it will be us.  And, that is the best case scenario if nothing at all goes wrong.  

    Parent

    I don't think anyone expects us to prevent (none / 0) (#60)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:39:06 PM EST
    non-gov't sanctioned/lone wolf attacks abroad.  That would be the equivalent of your example.

    Parent
    Assad has an army, he is not a lone wolf (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:43:20 PM EST
    They can distribute sarin at will without one missile.

    Parent
    So (none / 0) (#61)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:41:55 PM EST
    it's not possible for a govt to deploy Sarin via non-conventional means, just as a lone wolf might do?  

    Admit it, this solution doesn't solve anything.

    Parent

    Like others posting (none / 0) (#71)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:15:24 PM EST
    I don't believe strikes against delivery systems or other infrastructure used in chemical warfare to be a panacea.  The only way to eliminate the risk completely is to remove them from the country - which no one is going to do.  Even then, once the knowledge is obtained, it can be used to recreate what was taken.  There are no absolutes here.

    Fact is however, this is just like a child abuser.  We have a system in place to help stop it once it starts, but we don't go sterilizing parents.  Of course it can happen again, but we do not sit by idly.  We make some effort to stop the damage in the short term.

    If all the facts are true here, do we really believe we should do nothing?  At some point we have to start giving a f about each other.

    Parent

    What is the "system in place" to (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:32:19 PM EST
    help stop use of chemical weapons once it starts?

    Parent
    Well the UN and OPCW have a process (none / 0) (#109)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:53:33 PM EST
    which covers this scenario, but I'm not sure that's what you meant.

    Although, we shouldn't really need a formal declaration to know that we need to look out for one another.

    Link

    Article X. Assistance and Protection against Chemical Weapons

    1. For the purposes of this Article, "Assistance" means the coordination and delivery to States Parties of protection against chemical weapons, including, inter alia, the following: detection equipment and alarm systems; protective equipment; decontamination equipment and decontaminants; medical antidotes and treatments; and advice on any of these protective measures.

    and

    8. Each State Party has the right to request and, subject to the procedures set forth in paragraphs 9, 10 and 11, to receive assistance and protection against the use or threat of use of chemical weapons if it considers that:

    (a) Chemical weapons have been used against it;

    (b) Riot control agents have been used against it as a method of warfare; or

    (c) It is threatened by actions or activities of any State that are prohibited for States Parties by Article I.



    Parent
    Nope, you can't do that (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by sj on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:58:34 PM EST
    ...this is just like a child abuser.  We have a system in place to help stop it once it starts...
    Those are your words. You can't then pretend:
    Well the UN and OPCW have a process (none / 0) (#109)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:53:33 PM MDT

    which covers this scenario, but I'm not sure that's what you meant.

    that oculus' question came out of nowhere and wasn't based on your words. A slimy tactic and one that you often use.

    Parent
    Pretending (none / 0) (#118)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:43:56 PM EST
    Nobody was pretending.  I assumed Oculus was being somewhat snarky (not maliciously snarky) in asking what system is in place.  The answer is obvious - that which is under discussion.  Diplomacy at the UN, Security Council resolutions, and obviously, actions by one or more nation states.

    My post was meant to provide discussion around what could be an actual process, since, this being the web, I can't actually see Oculus to know for sure she was being snarky and not asking a serious question.

    No doubt the "system" generally involves punishment in one form or another (i.e. sanctions, blockades, military strikes). Same as that doled out for child abusers.

    Good lord woman, not everyone is deceitful on the web, dial it back a bit.

    Parent

    No snark in my question. (none / 0) (#119)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:45:58 PM EST
    I never said everyone is deceitful (none / 0) (#123)
    by sj on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:41:21 PM EST
    Only that you have often been so.

    Parent
    Sorry (none / 0) (#124)
    by sj on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:44:17 PM EST
    I meant:

    Good lord woman, I never said "everyone is deceitful on the web". Only that you have often been so.

    There, that's better.

    Parent

    But Syria has never ratified the (none / 0) (#111)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:58:39 PM EST
    OPCW.

    Parent
    Israel Has Not Either (none / 0) (#122)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:40:32 PM EST
    NYT: (none / 0) (#80)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:42:10 PM EST
    Senate Panel Approves Resolution on Military Action
    A divided Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved an authorization of force against the Syrian regime, setting up a showdown next week in the full Senate on whether President Obama should have the authority to strike.

    The 10-7 vote showed bipartisan support for a strike, but bipartisan opposition as well. Yes votes included Senators John McCain, Republican of Arizona, Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, and Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona. No votes included Democratic Senators Tom Udall of New Mexico and Chris Murphy of Connecticut. The Senate's newest member, Edward Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, voted present.

    The resolution would limit strikes against the regime of Bashar al-Assad to 60 days, with the possibility of 30 more days upon consultation with Congress, and it would specifically block the use of ground troops. But to keep Mr. McCain's crucial support, the committee toughened some of the language.

    The panel set aside a resolution by Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and a fierce opponent of a strike, that would have declared the president has authority to act unilaterally only when the nation faces attack, then approved language by Senators McCain and Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, to add more rhetorical bite.

    The McCain-Coons language noted "absent decisive changes to the present military balance of power on the ground in Syria, sufficient incentives do not yet exist" to force a political settlement of the Syrian civil war. It also reiterated that "it is the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria," urging "a comprehensive U.S. strategy" to not only degrade the regime's weapons of mass destruction but also to upgrade the military capabilities of "elements of the Syrian opposition."

       



    NYT: (none / 0) (#81)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:42:12 PM EST
    Senate Panel Approves Resolution on Military Action
    A divided Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved an authorization of force against the Syrian regime, setting up a showdown next week in the full Senate on whether President Obama should have the authority to strike.

    The 10-7 vote showed bipartisan support for a strike, but bipartisan opposition as well. Yes votes included Senators John McCain, Republican of Arizona, Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, and Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona. No votes included Democratic Senators Tom Udall of New Mexico and Chris Murphy of Connecticut. The Senate's newest member, Edward Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, voted present.

    The resolution would limit strikes against the regime of Bashar al-Assad to 60 days, with the possibility of 30 more days upon consultation with Congress, and it would specifically block the use of ground troops. But to keep Mr. McCain's crucial support, the committee toughened some of the language.

    The panel set aside a resolution by Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and a fierce opponent of a strike, that would have declared the president has authority to act unilaterally only when the nation faces attack, then approved language by Senators McCain and Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, to add more rhetorical bite.

    The McCain-Coons language noted "absent decisive changes to the present military balance of power on the ground in Syria, sufficient incentives do not yet exist" to force a political settlement of the Syrian civil war. It also reiterated that "it is the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria," urging "a comprehensive U.S. strategy" to not only degrade the regime's weapons of mass destruction but also to upgrade the military capabilities of "elements of the Syrian opposition."

       



    In other words, (5.00 / 4) (#95)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 03:27:21 PM EST
    we are to take sides in another civil war.

    Chemical weapons is way down the list of the rationales for this proposed attack.

    Even so, it doesn't even mention chemical weapons, just the all-purpose "WMD." And it talks of degrading their weapons of mass destruction. Are they planning to "degrade" the chemical weapons from the air? With bombs? Very clever.

    Then we going to upgrade the opposition army.
    Yeah. We're real good at that. The Iraqi Army upgrade has been a stunning success - as has the ongoing upgrade of the Afghani army.

    Oh yeah. 60 days with an option.
    Then, extended with an ok from congress - and another ok to finish the job and another ok to finish the job and another ok to finish the job.

    Parent

    You forgot (5.00 / 4) (#112)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:00:31 PM EST
    the Mission Accomplished speech...better throw that in somewhere too.

    Parent
    Yes, another (5.00 / 4) (#128)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:05:54 PM EST
    "Operation Hoodwink."  on the way.

    Parent
    How often do you see (none / 0) (#182)
    by Jack203 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:57:57 AM EST
    Howard Dean, Sheldon Adelson, Obama, John McCain, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner and Dick Durbin on one side and on the other side, the likes of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

    This decision transcends normal politics.

    It is obviously a very difficult decision, and nobody knows or understands the outcome.  However, I am very very slightly favoring the Obama side.

    1.  Syria is already broken. We can't break what is already in shambles.  The chances of a genocide is big for whoever loses.  The world community may need to step in to avoid this. (seeing those lined up dead children makes my blood boil.) The more attention Syria gets the better.
    2. Changing the status quo may or may not make things better.  But there is a chance it will. Even if the chance is less than 50/50 that things will improve drastically.  It is better odds than doing nothing.
    3. Deter the use of chemical weapons in the future. Let dictators know there will be consequences.


    Hey you forgot one of the other (5.00 / 3) (#183)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:02:58 AM EST
    key players that Obama is agreeing with - good old Sen. Lindsey Graham. What do you want to bet that the other member of the 3 amigos, Joe Lieberman, is salivating over this plan to bomb some more people in the ME.

    Changing the status quo, if it puts the government complete with its weapon systems and chemicals in the hands of Al Qaed, would really stop the use of chemical weapons, now wouldn't it.

    What do you suggest if we do in fact make things much worse? Do we eliminate all safety net and domestic programs to pay for a constant barrage of drones in another country. Or do you suggest we help by invading Syria. Our SOS is already on record that we may need to put boots on the ground to take control of the chemical weapons. We can decide to take the Saudi's up on their offer to pay for an U.S. invasion of Syria. What a great combination that would be - American's blood and Saudi money to help the Saudi controlled Sunnis take over the middle east completely.  

    Parent

    Candidate Obama: vote for me. I can reach (5.00 / 3) (#184)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:07:56 AM EST
    across the aisle. And it's finally happening!

    Parent
    What can I say (none / 0) (#187)
    by Jack203 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:06:21 AM EST
    You're right of course.

    There are very valid reasons to do nothing.  The least of which is that doing nothing may prove to be the better option in hindsight.


    Parent

    Actually I am not proposing doing (5.00 / 3) (#188)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:16:18 PM EST
    nothing.

    I propose that we cancel our rush to military action and take the time to go through the proper channels to get the international community to take action. What IMO we should have done from the get go.

    1. Wait for the U.N. to complete its investigation and publish its report. (The opportunity to show strong support for this investigation from the start has been lost but we can get back on track)

    2. Negotiate with Russia and China to drop its veto if convincing proof by 3rd parties indicate that the Syrian government was behind the chemical attacks. If the rebels have also used chemical weapons there should be international consensus on dealing with them also.

    3. Loose the the arrogance and request cooperation rather than make demands.


    Parent
    About your point #2 (none / 0) (#190)
    by christinep on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 04:46:42 PM EST
    A major problem: How to overcome the position of Russia & China that nothing is required.  (A twinge of potential has only surfaced in the last day or so as it becomes clearer that the US is headed toward a responsive military strike ... Russia indicated they might be able to talk ... of course, at the same time, Russia stated that the rebels may well be the source of the gassing.)

    Look, I am a strong believer in being able to negotiate just about anything.  Unlike a number of people, the fact that two parties might seem dead-locked means to me that one looks at the individual interests (the give to get style.)  Here, it is Russia--not China--that has the strongest interest in protecting Assad. The inextricable relationship means a fortress of words, delays, red herrings, wild goose chases must be diced through first ... and after many months of attempting that break-through via UN channels (see Amb. Power's summary statement today about there being no avenue through the Security Council in view of Russia & China's rebuffs.)  Maybe someday that avenue will be there.  Meantime, the further removed the horror of August 21st becomes, the harder it is for members of the world community to redress that wrong, effectively.  OTOH, a deft & fairly timely consequence via a punitive & deterrent response could provide a nudge ... a "we mean business" nudge toward a broader resolution of the 3 year old crisis.

    Parent

    Good luck with the negotiation (none / 0) (#191)
    by Jack203 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:37:50 PM EST
    You are talking nonsense.

    Countries have strategic alliances that share political and economical interests in which the best "negotiator" in the world could not convince them to betray.  Do you think we should have convinced Italy to agree before declaring war on Germany in WW2?

    The (probably for the best) news is Congress is going to reject the resolution.  The tea party Republicans are crushing the neocons.   A total rout.

    The rightwing propaganda floating around is currently in overdrive.  But even I have to admit they have a point that many "rebels" seem like despicable characters.

    The bottom line is this.
    If Syria uses chemical weapons again, Obama will attack.   The latest chemical attack was strike two.  If there is a strike three (I predict there won't be).  Obama will not hesitate.

    All the whining and conspiracy theories from the far left and far right mean jack sh$t in the end.  I am more angry about seeing those dead children lined up.

    Parent

    Let's talk about nonsense (5.00 / 5) (#192)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:21:47 PM EST
    We went from zero to 60 in seconds. We went from just striking at chemical weapons capacity to  including language for regime change being included in the AUMF in an apparent attempt to appease Sen. John McCain. Instead of limited strikes we may expand those strikes as needed to reach the goal of disposing Assad and are considering training thousands of rebels in Jordon. So instead of just protecting Al Qaeda, now we are going to do everything in our power to help them win?

    How many dead children will be lined up when Al Qaeda forces are in power in Syria and the U.S. sends in the drones to eliminate the monster that they helped to create?

    What about the weapon systems deployed throughout populated areas that contain civilians (yes many of these civilians are children.) Are they going to be less dead if we bomb them? All the talk about bomb the MFers, and save the children will mean jack sh!t then too.

    We don't know what will be the result when the U.N. completes its investigation and publishes its report. We do know that even the UK and the EU are not supporting the U.S. in rushing to bomb Syria before all evidence is in. We also know that more civilians will die from our attacks and some of them will be children.

    Parent

    BTW, the fact that our bombs (5.00 / 5) (#193)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:31:29 PM EST
    have killed children and will kill Syrians including children is not a conspiracy theory it is a fcking fact.

    Whining by the left??? Exactly why are our objections whining? Most of us here have posted links to substantiate our position.

    If we are whining, you are supporting breaking the law in your blood lust to get revenge. Of course the people who will be killed by our bombs will not be the people who unleashed the chemical weapons be they the current Syrian government or the worst of the rebels but at least you can say we did "something."

    Parent

    Here is another conspiracy theory for you (5.00 / 2) (#197)
    by MO Blue on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:14:34 AM EST
    Gen. Martin Dempsey, conspiracy theorist:

    Army Gen. Martin Dempsey provided a mainly negative assessment of U.S. military intervention and warned that joining the war in Syria could assist Islamist extremists, help them gain access to chemical weapons, and further erode U.S. military readiness, already suffering from sharp defense budget cuts.

    We must also understand risk--not just to our forces, but to our other global responsibilities," Dempsey said. "This is especially critical as we lose readiness due to budget cuts and fiscal uncertainty."

    Some of the military options for Syria may not be feasible without compromising U.S. security elsewhere, he said.

    "Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next," he said. "Deeper involvement is hard to avoid."

    * Train, advise and assist the opposition. Ground troops would be used to train rebels in tactics and the employment of weapons. The number of troops required ranges from several hundred to thousands. It would require establishing safe zones outside Syria and would cost an estimated $500 million a year initially.

    The plan risks inadvertently helping extremist groups who are among the rebel groups fighting the regime of Bashar Assad, Dempsey said. It could also provoke cross border raids by Syrian government forces and could result in insider attacks against U.S. forces.

    * Stand-off strikes. Aircraft and missiles would be used to attack hundreds of Syrian government military targets, such as air defense systems and regime air and naval forces.

    This option would require the United States and its allies to muster "hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines, and other enablers," Dempsey wrote. It risks provoking retaliatory strikes by the Assad regime and could also result in inadvertent civilian casualties, he said.
     link

    By your definition he should get a gold medal in whining and boy do his conspiracy theories sound a whole lot like those that have been stated here by us whining lefties.

    Parent

    Who are you arguing with? (none / 0) (#198)
    by Jack203 on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:03:20 PM EST
    It can't be me.  I have no clue what you're blabbering about.

    Seems like you just like to argue.

    Parent

    When you decide to start a response (none / 0) (#199)
    by MO Blue on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 04:52:51 PM EST
    to one of my comments with "you are talking nonsense" and end it accusing people who do not agree with you of whining and creating conspiracy theories please don't be surprised if I respond in kind.

    All the whining and conspiracy theories from the far left and far right mean jack sh$t in the end.

    Please don't start arguments and then act like a victim. It is just too much like Bill O'Reilly and crew.

    Parent

    What to do. What to do...sigh (none / 0) (#194)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:50:57 PM EST
    Poll: Majority Of Americans Approve Of Sending Congress To Syria
    WASHINGTON--As President Obama continues to push for a plan of limited military intervention in Syria, a new poll of Americans has found that though the nation remains wary over the prospect of becoming involved in another Middle Eastern war, the vast majority of U.S. citizens strongly approve of sending Congress to Syria.

    The New York Times/CBS News poll showed that though just 1 in 4 Americans believe that the United States has a responsibility to intervene in the Syrian conflict, more than 90 percent of the public is convinced that putting all 535 representatives of the United States Congress on the ground in Syria--including Senate pro tempore Patrick Leahy, House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and, in fact, all current members of the House and Senate--is the best course of action at this time.

    [...snip...]

    In fact, 91 percent of those surveyed agreed that the active use of sarin gas attacks by the Syrian government would, if anything, only increase poll respondents' desire to send Congress to Syria.

    In other news today Target Of Future Drone Attack Urges American Intervention In Syria

    DAMASCUS--The target of a future U.S. drone strike aimed at taking out anti-American extremists strongly urged swift U.S. military intervention in Syria, sources confirmed Thursday. "President Obama and American forces must step in and help us overthrow Assad," said the radical Islamist who will be the object of what will one day be an intense and lengthy manhunt by the CIA and whose death will reportedly be hailed as a major strategic victory by counterterrorism officials. "There needs to be a new regime in Syria immediately." At press time, a non-target of a future drone strike, currently indistinguishable from the target of one, was saying the same thing.


    BREAKING: (none / 0) (#195)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:59:35 PM EST