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Chemical Weapons And The Moral Stakes In Syria

The moral stakes in Syria and military options after another massacre and chemical weapons charges.

Syrian women who live in Beirut, hold candles and placards during a vigil against the alleged chemical weapons attack on the suburbs of Damascus, in front the United Nations headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP)

Syrian women who live in Beirut, hold candles and placards during a vigil against the alleged chemical weapons attack on the suburbs of Damascus, in front the United Nations headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP)

UN inspectors on the road in Syria today.  And in Washington, a finger apparently on the trigger for military intervention – retaliation – against the regime of Bashir al-Assad.

A senior Obama official saying there is “very little doubt” that the Syrian government last week used a chemical weapon indiscriminately against civilians.   The president himself, meeting with his national security team over the weekend to weigh military options.  Opponents of intervention are still shouting no.  But intervention has never seemed so close.

This hour, On Point:  military intervention and Syria.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Sam Dagher, Middle East correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. (@samdagher)

Jonathan Tepperman, managing editor at Foreign Affairs Magazine. Guest columnist at the International Herald Tribune. (@j_tepperman)

Christopher Harmer, senior Naval Analyst with the Middle East Security Project at the Institute for the Study of War. Served 20 years as a career officer in the US Navy.

Kate Washington, oversees the Syrian refugee response work in Jordan for the humanitarian organization CARE.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: ‘Little Doubt’ of Chemical Attack by Syria, White House Says – ”A senior Obama administration official said on Sunday that there was ‘very little doubt’ that forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria had used chemical weapons against civilians last week and that a promise to allow United Nations inspectors access to the site is ‘too late to be credible.’”

CBS News: Syria options weighed as U.S. forces move closer – ”U.S. intelligence officials sought Saturday to determine whether Syria’s government unleashed a deadly chemical weapons attack on its people. At the same time, the Obama administration prepared for a possible military response by moving naval forces closer to Syria.”

Associated Press: US Divided Over How to Respond to Mideast Violence – ”Persistent violence in Syria and Egypt has sharply divided senior advisers in the Obama administration over a moral dilemma: How far should the U.S. go to stop the killing when its actions could lead to war with Syria or damage relations with Egypt?”

 

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  • Emca Casey

    What are Saudi Arabia and Qatar doing about it? It seems more logical that they get involved than the US. Those are their neighbors, people of Arabic heritage…. What are they doing to help?

    • fun bobby

      yes we seem like the worst choice to intervene

  • AC

    how is Jordan handling refugees? refugees of any kind seem to always wind up exploited & disliked, esp for long term ‘visits’…

  • StilllHere

    Where’s the red line this week?

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    We should stay out of this quagmire. In the end, those who end up in power will hate us anyway. Most likely, extremist anti-western factions will take over in Syria. Let our back stabbing allies such as the French sacrifice their blood and treasure to fix this mess.

  • alsordi

    Just wondering if the sharped fanged warmonger Aaron David Miller of the Woodrow Wilson Center, interviewed by NPR, might be related to the other drum beating vampire,Judith Miller (Scooter Libby pal) of the bogus WMD in Iraq fame.

    Just where do these vile creatures come from?

    The answer is they are avid zionist propagandists, fully in control of the US media, directed by the Wolfowitz and Perles who have gone into hiding since Iraq, but with their PNAC (Plan for th New American Century) still on track, destabilizing one Middle East country after the other.

    • stephenreal

      Sounds completely nuts to think the West can control all. Psychologist call this “magical thinking” and you are in my opinion riding the edge of wing nut.

      • alsordi

        Then maybe you can tell us what killers like Aaron David Miller and Judith Miller have in common?

        … while peacemakers like Bradley Manning get 35 years in jail.

        • stephenreal

          You think these trivial things move public opinion or war machines? That’s simply fringe thinking dude.

          • alsordi

            If you don’t know that “propaganda” is the essential part of the war machine, you have little to contribute to today’s topic.

          • stephenreal

            If you never heard of the internet or Google news that broke the back of the print media and any form of propaganda I would suggest you are living in the past.

          • alsordi

            Whah ???

          • stephenreal

            Yeah welcome to the world were all newspapers and all opinions are on on line from anyone on the planet. It’s called the internet. Another US Army invention.

          • alsordi

            Whah??

      • fun bobby

        yet you advocate us attempting to control syria

        • stephenreal

          Just defending the little kids from Russian Sarin gas. you know the kids that are being choked to death along with their mommies.

          • fun bobby

            yes it would be ever so much better if they were blown up or shot

          • stephenreal

            They are being blown up and shot by Russian and Iranian arms. You do read the newspaper right?

          • fun bobby

            again, your issue seems to be that they are not being killed by arms made in America. who cares what the origin of the weapons used is? personally I am glad that people are not being killed by American weapons in this case

          • stephenreal

            My position is: who defends the defenseless?

          • fun bobby

            perhaps they should defend themselves. who put us in charge of choosing sides in a civil war?

  • stephenreal

    The West hardly needs legal permission from Russia and China to level Assad’s military machine back to the stone age as witness in Mali by France. This gas attack is clearly a weapon of mass destruction employed on civilians.

    The West is real close to unleashing one massive missile strike which will be followed up by air strikes until the Assad regime falls.

    And this is hardly what the polling in West supports but in my opinion the marally right thing to do.

    • alsordi

      In your opinion?? In my “opinion” you should do much more research on this very treacherous and complex situation, before you advocate killing people you don’t even know.
      Start by googling Judith Miller, Perle, Abrams, Bolton, Wolfowitz, Libby et al.

      • stephenreal

        Dude that was ten years ago. And those minor players are on the beach now sipping pina coladas but they hardly in the position of influence or power (and zero political influence at that).

        • alsordi

          Hey Stevie, Shouldn’t you be organizing your back-to-school stuff instead of pestering adults ?

          • stephenreal

            Well if you did your homework you wouldn’t be suckered into these conspiracy theories based on malarkey. You clearly did not pass your grad school work.

    • fun bobby

      yeah I am sure the Russians would not mind they don’t have any interests there right?

      • stephenreal

        Their guns lobby will have fit if they lose another client state.

        • Bluejay2fly

          World’s arms merchants: Russia, USA, UK, France, and China.

          • stephenreal

            too name just a few…you’re missing about 300 other nations friend that produce arms too.

          • Bluejay2fly

            It tried to list the major players from memory. Who, incidentally, start a lot of wars.

          • stephenreal

            generalization

          • fun bobby

            what do the French make? I feel bad for a soldier with a French gun

          • stephenreal

            The exocet missile sent many an English ship to the bottom of the Atlantic.

          • fun bobby

            Sacrebleu!

        • fun bobby

          what could be bad about that? upsetting the Russians is a great idea!

  • Bluejay2fly

    The history of the United States military intervention has always been to intercede in other nations only when we have some strategic interest. Starting in the post Civil War era we sent troops all over South America setting up regimes friendly to our fruit exporting corporations. Post WW2 we interceded in nations because of the Cold War. These legacies left a lot of blood on our hands but for the most part our sins can be justified or explained away as ignorance. When Soviet communism ended so should have our addiction to having a huge congressional military industrial military complex and our fascination with foreign wars. Instead we use excuses and very transparent reasons to continue playing God with nations we feel hold vital interest. Meanwhile the world suffers from all sorts of evils we turn a blind eye to because they are located in a region that does not interest us at all. Ask a Guatemalan, A person from Rowanda, a Cambodian, or even our Mexican neighbors how our interventionism has helped them.

    • fun bobby

      the military industrial complex keeps a lot of factories humming

      • Bluejay2fly

        Pretty much the last industry these greedy CEO’s were not able to ship overseas.

        • fun bobby

          tear gas – made in America
          I have to laugh at this point when I hear people crying about jobs being sent overseas who seem not to mind robots and computers destroying jobs

          • Bluejay2fly

            Robots and computers replace workers and we take those people and put them on welfare, in prison, or let them live on the street. But other nation’s are UNJUST

          • fun bobby

            lol

  • stephenreal

    America was the first democracy in over 3000 years and since the Republic’s founding we fought kings, dictatorships and all forms of authoritarian governments and this Assad guys is just one more name to ad onto the list.

    And yes there are clear limits to American power.

    • fun bobby

      so you are all for starting another mid east war?

      • stephenreal

        I understand the limits of power but I found it morally repugnant to watch 6 year kids choke to desth on Sarin gas manufactured in Russia.

        • fun bobby

          oh I see. you would rather see those kids being blown up by missiles “Made In USA”. god forbid we lose market share on baby killing

          • stephenreal

            So you would rather watch the Nazi death camps function then do something about it? Well of course a lot of people like you sat on the side lines of history.

          • fun bobby

            that’s not what got us involved in WW2.

          • stephenreal

            of course. like I said many Americans wanted nothing to do with it just like now and just like you.

          • fun bobby

            if you are so gung ho go volunteer with the rebels in Syria. they did not interfere with our civil war lets not interfere in theirs

          • stephenreal

            We are damn close to bombing them back to the stone age. Let’s focus on the topic homes. I know you like me but keep in perspective dude.

          • fun bobby

            lets not do that. its a stupid idea. you know that a lot of people will be killed should we do that right? not to mention the expense to the taxpayers

          • Bluejay2fly

            They stayed out of our clear cutting of the West. Imagine the French or British telling us to stop murdered indians.

  • SteveTheTeacher

    Recall Dahr Jamail’s recent reporting of widespread birth defects and cancer rates in Iraq (http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/20/ten_years_later_us_has_left). Given the US use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium in Iraq and Afghanistan, US government officials should take care when throwing stones in their glass house.

    The Russian government worked with the Assad regime to agree to recon talks in July. Rebels originally agreed then refused to such talks. Proposed peace talks were later moved to August. Mid-August, I heard that these talks will not be held until October. Now, I’m hearing a focus on military actions rather than peace talks.

    Whether military actions come from the Syrian government, the rebels, their international backers, or the US, war disproportionally effects civilians. Rather than the sociopathic view that military actions are the best or only possible solutions, the US and international community should focus on bringing together representatives of the rebels and the Assad regime to reach a ceasefire.

    • fun bobby

      but how does that benefit the military industrial complex?

  • stephenreal

    the Russian governemt is clearly a state in managed decline. Putin is limited to pandering the Russian right wing by the using the West as his whipping boy but other then that they better join the 21st century as they are regressing at light speed. The so-called “Moscow brain drain” is hardly a new trend but a well established Putin legacy by now.

  • alsordi

    Onpoint running this sympathetic photo of the girls holding up pictures of gas masks, reminds of the now infamous Incubator Hoax where a Kuwaiti nurse testified to congress that Iraqi soldiers killed babies which led to a mass US invasion.

    The “nurse” turned out to be the 15 year old daughter to the Kuwaiti Ambassador in Washington DC, who was not even in Kuwait at the time of the alleged event.

    Instead of this staged propaganda photo for this particular discussion, why doesn’t Onpoint run the logo and motto of the Mossad. ” By deception we shall wage war”.

  • stephenreal

    On July 23, 2012 Syria admitted to possessing a stockpile of chemical weapons which it claims are reserved for national defense against foreign countries. and obviously little kids too.

  • thequietkid10

    Is there a way we can possibly “win” in Syria? Our choices are a dictator or a rebellion that is littered with Al Qaeda groups. I say any Syrian who wants to come to the US, who can past a background check, should be welcomed. As for the rest of them, let Russia deal with the quagmire.

  • fun bobby

    so because he killed some people we are going to kill some more? that ought to solve the problem. why not get involved in toppling mid east regimes? what could go wrong?

    • HonestDebate1

      “what could go wrong?”

      I don’t know, maybe another holocaust? No biggee.

      • fun bobby

        but we have such a great track record with this stuff. it never backfires

  • HonestDebate1

    “The moral stakes in Syria and military options after another massacre and chemical weapons charges.”

    The key word is “another”. What if there had actually been a consequence when the red line was crossed the first time? I don’t think Assad ever felt threatened at all. He scoffed at the red line talk when it was uttered. He was emboldened when he trounced over it the first time and Obama yawned.

    • nj_v2

      I yawn when i read your posts.

  • HonestDebate1

    Bob Corker said on Fox News Sunday that as soon as Congress reconvenes they should vote and do something. That’s bold. In the mean time have another drink, play another round of golf and shrug with indifference as atrocities ensue.

    • fun bobby

      yeah if there are going to be atrocities it better be us committing them. we better hop to it

      • HonestDebate1

        That makes no sense.

        • fun bobby

          did you miss the story about the sentencing of the soldier who did that massacre? how many women and children die in the average drone strike?

  • alsordi

    These chemical attack claims are just like Assad says:
    “they are an insult to common sense”

    The US economy is faltering. War is its number one growth industry. So whatever it takes… incubator hoaxes, WMDs, chemical attacks, 9-11… too many jobs in the USA rely on War and Repression. PEACE IS NOT AN OPTION FOR THE USA.

    • alsordi

      I was being sarcastic above. I AM ALWAYS AN ADVOCATE FOR PEACE. But the USA has proven for over a century, that WAR is its major export.

      • stephenreal

        Well Pax Americana has brought peace and prosperity to the world not too mention the millions we liberated over the centuries whom all lived under authoriatian governements and that includes all countries outside the US.

        • J__o__h__n

          Iran, Chile, Nicaragua . . .

          • stephenreal

            All could not be done without the express help, request and lobbying of the local peoples. as witnessed in the last decade of war one can not change things without the clear help from the locals.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Millions more were liberated from life.

          • stephenreal

            And a whole lot of American blood and money to free a whole world was worth price in my opinion.

          • fun bobby

            you should enlist if you have not yet served

          • stephenreal

            I did my thing for the US Government in 2004. Very scary for anyone in my opinion. Have I ever wore the uniform? Yeah I guess I did at one time…have you? I would say no way because of the way you phrased the question.

          • fun bobby

            perhaps you should go join the rebel cause. just be careful which ones you would not want to accidentally join AQ and catch a drone strike

          • Potter

            ru ever fun? we are in a real dilemma morally,legally, internationally as a community of the civilized and peace loving—this is why we are discussing this.

          • fun bobby

            i just don’t want to see any more of my tax dollars wasted on killing forigners

          • Potter

            it’s hard to know that…u may be saving lives.ur statement is nothing to argue, except your meaning may be you just do not want to know, do not want to face the choice that leaders must make

          • fun bobby

            no I want to know. its an easy choice for me. to spend our money on killing or not?

          • Potter

            this is why you are not in charge and never will be….the world is not black and white. you have the luxury of your ideals because you are not in charge and bear no burden you can write your opinions and go back to your corner and even delude yourself that you have contributed by offering your opinion alone.

            talk about ideals is cheap especially in such an interconnected, imbalanced world that you can close yourself off from because your country protects you

          • fun bobby

            I am not in charge and never will be because I am not a sociopath or a narcissist. I would never imagine that I am doing any good by posting something online, I just like to vent but when I yell at my radio it never yells back so I prefer the online forum.
            so killing people is good and productive? are you saying if we did not kill children and women in other countries with my tax money they would come here and kill me? I am not too worried. as a great leader once said “bring it on”

          • Potter

            forget your tax money. it counts for nothing. where does it actually go? to help you in your daily life? for sure.

            so i am yelling back at you,not because i like to, but more because i find your arguments too simple, flawed, and even nihilistic… certainly anxious-nervous from the way they flow.

            it’s flawed to reason i like killing, for instance. you need to think more deeply or live and learn longer it seems to me

            you have no answers (either)

          • fun bobby

            I would be a lot happier to buy bullets for myself then to buy them for the government to use to kill at home and abroad. I feel its a violation of my third amendment rights.
            So by posting you are doing something you do not like to do? That’s sad.
            I never said you liked killing. What are you talking about? I asked you whether you thought it was good or productive.
            Perhaps I am being too naïve, but I fail to see the benefits to me in killing 100,000+ afghans or any of the people we have killed recently. Maybe you can explain.

          • Potter

            so killing people is good and productive?

            implying i think so?

            whatever you do or don’t do thousands may die or not die. you are part of a collective that destroys AND saves lives. you tally it…honestly if you can

      • nj_v2

        “War is the health of the state.”
        —Randolph Bourne

    • AC

      we only control 30% of the market, highest country to do so, but i promise, someone would pick up the slack if we falter.
      this is a human problem. human. why so down on the USA? i don’t believe any ethnicity has evolved enough to not committ horrible acts to one another, but that could be me….

      • alsordi

        FYI United Statesian is not an ethnicity. It is an amalgam of many ethnicities and intermixtures thereof, made up of profiteers ( with international bank accounts and homes), the wealthy, the wannabee wealth, the dwindling middle class, and the down-trodden on food-stamps.

        You say “WE”. But the actual people who control the USA and its policies derive from very distinct ethnicities or social constructs.

        • AC

          travel.

    • Potter

      give me a break…so we are making this up? shows how much credibility our gov’t and (don’t forget) news orgs have lost. in times of moral depression, the bar business looks good (paraphrasing Auden)-maybe another growth industry.

  • J__o__h__n

    Of course we should intervene. Middle eastern nations are always grateful for our interventions. There is no way there will be untended consequences and no way that weapons will go to Al Qaeda. We have plenty of money to spend on it too.

    • fun bobby

      not to mention we are a few wars short of our goal of several wars at all times

      • alsordi

        “ka-ching ka-ching”, says General Dynamics, Boeing, Halliburton, Raytheon, etc…

        • fun bobby

          looks like MA unemployment is going to go down

    • nj_v2

      And look at how well all of our previous foreign invasions occupations “interventions” have worked out!

  • stephenreal

    A surmise there are “9/11 is an inside job” types on this thread which is usally a kooky CNN thread type thing.

  • Bluejay2fly

    Why is it when weapons of mass death are used it requires intervention? Shouldn’t China intercede in the USA because of all our assault weapons and high capacity handgun deaths. Let’s see the Red Army go door to door in Texas asking for some redneck’s 50 Caliber Semi Auto Barret or his/her beloved AR-15.

    • fun bobby

      perhaps someone should confiscate your scissors lest you run with them

      • Bluejay2fly

        If tens of thousands of scissor deaths occurred a year Andrew Coumo would.

        • J__o__h__n

          Why haven’t the Republicans banned the green handled left-handed scissors. No special rights!

        • fun bobby

          they will have to pry my scissors from my cold dead hands

  • Roy-in-Boise

    In those fleeting monuments between sitting governments in Damascus, the timing will be perfect for Israel to annex the Golan Heights.

  • monicaroland

    Poor Syria. A horrible dictator who may (or may not) have used chemical weapons on civilians and rebels. Rebel groups who may (or may not) be horrible themselves. I OPPOSE intervention by the United States. We cannot know who are the “good guys.” Take care of refugees at the borders, yes. But please, no U.S. invasion. Please. We tried this in Iraq after Saddam gassed thousands of his own people, but before he had nuclear weapons. NO MORE. Please.

    Monica Roland
    Former journalist, retired public school teacher, writer
    Daughter of USMC pilot, engineer, veteran of WWII and Korea

    • Bluejay2fly

      We supported Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war and when Saddam was losing we let him us chemical weapons with no compunction whatsoever.

    • Potter

      “poor syria” does not absolve you of turning your back as a human being aware.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Any having Iraq deja vu? I’m waiting to be told “We know where they are, they’re around Damascus and…”

    • Ray in VT

      Well, this time it looks like there are actual WMDs present.

      • fun bobby

        they did say that before also

        • Ray in VT

          That is true. Believe me, I would rather that we not get involved, but I am not sure that we can continue to do so we the Assad regime has indeed stooped to this level.

          • fun bobby

            that’s not our country. They are having a civil war. a bunch of Syrians did not show up when the Lincoln regime was murdering its own people in our country. every time we “get involved” in the ME its terrible.

          • Ray in VT

            Possibly because Syria wasn’t a country then, but I take your point, your characterization of the “Lincoln regime” aside.

            We did benefit from having foreign volunteers and aid during our war for independence, and American volunteers did go to France before we entered World War I, as well as the Spanish Civil War. We have certainly been involved in screwing up the Middle East, as well as other areas, but I am not a fan of standing aside, as a nation, if people are getting gassed.

          • fun bobby

            yes but our war for independence was not a civil war.
            so gassing bothers you but shooting and drone strikes and missiles are fine? seems arbitrary

          • Ray in VT

            In some senses it was. Estimates are that somewhere near 1/3 of the American colonists favored remaining loyal to Britain, and many colonists fought for the British and left when they lost.

            When did I say that shooting, drone strikes and missiles are fine?

          • fun bobby

            what’s special about gassing?

          • Ray in VT

            There’s been a pretty good record of the global community at least paying lip service to the idea that the use of chemical weapons is something that is beyond the pale for the past 90 years or so. I guess that I just think of the scene in All Quiet on the Western Front that describes artillery horses screaming after having been gassed. At least with conventional weapons some of the victims at least die quickly, as opposed to gases, where all casualties may suffer and die for a period of time.

          • fun bobby

            that’s a distinction without a difference. do you consider white phosphorous to be a chemical weapon?

          • Ray in VT

            If you say so, but I think that there is a difference, although it is in part a bit “squishy”. As to white phosphorus, that might depend upon its intended use, although one could make an argument that the intent doesn’t matter if the impacts upon a population are similar to those of other recognized chemical weapons.

          • fun bobby

            dead is dead.

          • Ray in VT

            So are the Russian civilian deaths that occurred as a part of Operation Barbarossa just as horrific to you as the millions of Jews who were rounded up and exterminated by the Nazis? Both were indeed equally dead, but I think that some acts are more horrific than others.

          • fun bobby
          • Ray in VT

            As what?

          • fun bobby

            you don’t think the Russians pictured above are being treated in as horrific fashion by the Nazis as the Jews were?

          • Ray in VT

            I was referring to civilian deaths that occurred as a part of the military invasion (bombings, on the ground fighting), not the abuse of the population afterwards. I thought that my words “Russian civilian deaths that occurred as a part of Operation Barbarossa” made that clear.

          • fun bobby

            now I am completely confused, what is worse than being starved to death in a concentration camp? are you saying being gassed in a gas chamber is worse than bleeding to death or dying from an untreated infection or starvation? personally I might choose the gas chamber to being starved to death or an untreated infection. Here in America the gas chamber is still a legal form of execution in several states although it has not been used since 1999. What was your point exactly?

          • Ray in VT

            My point is that some types of killings against civilians have been considered more horrific than others, which is why I contrasted deaths that occur as part of a military operation with the purposeful extermination of civilians, and I did not make a distinction between gassing or starving of a population, which you will see if you read my comments.

          • fun bobby

            my point is that it is baloney and being killed is horrific regardless of the circumstances. one killing is just as horrific as the rest. I understand some people have pushed the idea that chemical weapons are different.
            the purposeful extermination of the Russians and the Jews by the Nazis were both military operations. the only difference is that some of the Russians were part of a military force. if that’s all that matters you could say the same of Assad’s use of gas, if that is actually true

          • Ray in VT

            I thoroughly disagree that one form of killing is equally horrific. Both are terrible tragedies, but the idea that something like the Holocaust, which was not a “military operation” in any sort of conventional sense, is not so clearly beyond the pale of what can or should happen even in war is abominable to me.

      • alsordi

        Oh really?? Did you get this info up there in Vermont? or in the mainstream media?

        I guess the US should let loose and start killing lots of people and destroying their infrastructure?

        • Ray in VT

          Maybe I did. What’s it to ya? I likely have the same sources that you do. As I said, I would rather that we not get involved, but perhaps the unknowns and negative impacts of a U.S. participated in intervention are now less bad than what the Assad regime may be willing to do to its own people.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        “We know where they are, they’re around Tikrit…”

        Didn’t we “know” last time? Didn’t the corporate media drop all pretense of investigating and lead the cheers for war?

        If they were used, do we know al Queda, our prospective allies on the anti-assad side, didn’t use them? Anyone remember who did 9/11?

        • Ray in VT

          Well, haven’t tests shown that some agents have indeed been used, although it is true that we are not certain you has used them, and it would seem like an incredibly stupid move for the Assad regime to have done that while a U.N. team was on the ground.

          • fun bobby

            lets wait till we are “certain”

          • Potter

            which is what he was figuring we’d figure.. reverse psychology maybe, a gambler for sure and a sociopath w enough backing from iran and russia. otherwise he’s a dead man walking- nuthin’ ta’ lose.

  • DeJay79

    No more Wars or as they are calling it “interventions”.
    let the UN deal with it.

  • Ray in VT

    Not, of course, directly related to the terrible situation in Syria, but of interest when it comes to the United States and chemical weapons:

    CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/25/secret_cia_files_prove_america_helped_saddam_as_he_gassed_iran?page=0,0

    • Bluejay2fly

      Then with the Iran/Contra Affair we sold tow missiles to Iran. Aren’t we a peach.

      • Ray in VT

        Certainly we are not. We have endorsed, either implicitly or explicitly, some pretty terrible acts when it has been felt that it supports our interests. Of course, though, a pretty decent number of those actions have come back to haunt us in the long run.

        • Bluejay2fly

          George Bush when communism fell should have ended our handed heavy interventionism because the excuse of the Cold War was over.

          • fun bobby

            but how would that benefit the military industrial complex

          • Bluejay2fly

            Imagine our factories turing out quality consumer products instead of tanks. Sounds like something you’d get shot for saying in USSR or Nazi Germany.

          • fun bobby

            tanks have such a great mark up

      • stephenreal

        Could have been done without Ayatollah Khomeini’s realpolitik policy for Western weapons.

      • nj_v2

        And don’t forget the chemical weapons components and various other forms of aid and supplies the U.S. provided Saddam Hussein back when he was our thug.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          We supported Saddam’s chemical attack on Iran. If we found the WMD, they wd say “Made in USA”. If I was an Iranian I’d think the USA was Satan, too.

          Somehow, when they were being used against our enemy, chem weapons were not a “red line” for Rummy’s buddy Saddam.

          • fun bobby

            and apparently white phosphorous does not count as a chemical weapon

  • stephenreal

    The West is clearly on the edge of bombing Assad and thugs back to the stone age. Any responsible human being would have an open ear to the victims of a WMD attack.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Where was that thinking when the USA poured 20 million gallons of poison in Vietnam during Operation Ranch Hand. You do not see us 40 years later taking any responsibility for that clean up, do you?

      • stephenreal

        Almost as much as what the whole state of Iowa uses in a single crop season. Almost that is…

        • Bluejay2fly

          They don’t us chemicals that spurred the slogan “Only you can prevent a forest” besides I know many Agent Orange veterans who got the shaft because of our denial of what happened over there. We poisoned our own citizens and deny it!

          • stephenreal

            agent orange was a defoliant. You do understand it’s the same basic chemical structure of lasso and nemacur.

          • Bluejay2fly

            They used many other compositions such as Agent Blue, etc.

          • stephenreal

            exactly. the agent orange point is moot. I am glad we agree.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Most have never heard of all our other friends we used just trying to keep it simple seeing that’s what it is mostly known as. Kind of like referring to frankenstein instead of the creature.

          • stephenreal

            “Will no entreaties cause thee
            to turn a favorable eye upon thy creature,
            who implores thy goodness and compassion?
            Believe me, I was benevolent
            my soul glowed with love and humanity;
            but am I not alone, miserably alone?

            You, my creator abhor me;
            what hope can I gather
            from your fellow creatures,
            who owe me nothing?
            They spurn me and hate me.

            The desert mountains and dreary glaciers are my refuge.
            I have wandered here many days in caves of ice,
            which I only do not fear,
            are a dwelling for me,
            and the only one which man does not grudge.
            These bleak skies I hail,
            for they are kinder to me then your fellow beings.

            If the multitude of mankind knew of my existence?
            They would do as you do,
            and arm themselves for my destruction.
            Shall I not hate them who abhor me?
            I will keep no terms with my enemies.
            I am miserable,
            and they shall share my wretchedness.

            Yet it is your power to recompense me,
            and deliver them from an evil
            which it only remains for you to make so great,
            that not only you and your family,
            but thousands of others shall be swallowed up
            in the whirlwinds of its rage.

            Let your compassions be moved,
            and do not disdain me.
            Listen to my tale
            when you have heard that,
            abandon or commiserate me,
            you shall judge that I deserve.
            But hear me.

            The guilty are allowed by human laws,
            bloody as they are,
            to speak in their own defense
            before they are condemned.

            Listen to me.
            You accuse me of murder?
            And yet you would, with a satisfied conscience,
            destroy your own creature?
            Oh, praise the eternal justice of man !”

            Frankenstein- Mary Shelly

          • Bluejay2fly

            Well done, a great book.

          • stephenreal

            Thankyou. I owe you a beer.

    • alsordi

      Take it easy Killer Stevie, there are enough pseudo experts and slack-jaw generals on this show and elsewhere to beat the war drums.

      • stephenreal

        Just keeping it real. You can sit back and relax it’s only debate. I’ll buy ya beer. chill homes.

  • Coastghost

    With the popular (populist?) style of internationalism on display here, combined with Obama’s record of ignoring national sovereignty and territorial integrity, you might begin to think that national borders “aren’t really there, just lines on maps”: it’s all just one small globe now, as decade by decade we make the world a safe place for the conduct of “humanitarian war”.
    Bush, for all the failures attending his Iraq policy, at least hewed to the rationale that the US was facing down a perceived enemy of US interests (however construed). In humanitarian war “national self-interest” routinely is never invoked (as in Clinton’s Balkans: Milosevic posed NO direct threat to the US in the fall of 1998, although Osama bin Laden was about to become much more lethal, thanks to Clinton’s failure to follow-up on the failed cruise missile strikes of August 1998): and in this instance Americans may well agree with Obama that intervention in Syria is a means of consolidating US proclamation of human rights: question remains whether the advent of humanitarian warfare constitutes an actual advancement of legitimate US national interests (I remind Obama apologists that no one in Cairo is paying the least heed to his sub-Messianic “New Beginnings” speech from June 2009). Might be nice to hear even a passing statement of US national interests in the Syrian conflict clearly enunciated by our internationalist humanitarians.
    So: moral stakes for whom?

    • Bluejay2fly

      Every missile fired, every bombed dropped, that is your US interest as our “defense contractors” make millions. However, the lions share of these conflicts pose national interest outside of those means which is why Israel, Iraq, Kuwait, Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Egypt, are of more concern then anywhere else.

  • Ed75

    Military action or not, does anyone see a road to the end of the conflict and dying in Syria?

    • fun bobby

      they have been having civil wars there for over 2000 years

  • Ed75

    Like before World War I, this could escalate quickly.

    • stephenreal

      Another European civil war? This clearly is a war and has been a war for the last two years.

    • Ray in VT

      It could somewhat, but I think that the sort of scenario from the summer of 1914, where treaties pulled more and more nations into a global war, is pretty unlikely. I think that we are, for instance, pretty unlikely to come to blows with Russia.

      • fun bobby

        why is that? this seems like new proxy war with the russians

        • Potter

          go for it—if s/o is punching in the belly, they want/need response. yes i’s a game- cruel. lives are destroyed.

  • Coastghost

    So the US military is being asked to back up Obama’s self-managed lack of credibility? That’s heartening.

  • alsordi

    Is there an “American Interest ?? or an ISRAELI interest ?
    AIPAC rules US foreign policy.

  • YesMan6

    Tom! How dare you put these pro-war shills on essentially un-opposed. You’re big enough to say no to the propaganda machine, you know? We are fans of YOU, not these pathetic guests or the show in abstract.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Is it Tom Ashbrook or Judith Miller?

    • fun bobby

      Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”

  • alsordi

    The hypocrisy of US foreign policy is astounding.

  • DeJay79

    Option 6: Stay out of it. Help the victims but stay out of the fight

  • stephenreal

    Who defends the defenseless?
    If not us then who?

    We could watch the wholesale slaughter of women and children or act. Not an easy question when one looks at the polling.

    • Bluejay2fly

      That is business as usual in the inner city. 1000 gang bangers a year were being shot in LA back in the 90′s and all we cared about was two white people killed by an ex football player. Give me a break about our concern for human life.

    • rogger2

      Where do we draw the line on intervention?

      What about the thousands massacred in the DRC? Or in Tibet by the Chinese? Or Sudan? ….

  • nj_v2

    Mr Tepperman: U.S. bombing is going to “stabilize” the Middle East??!

    Now for an edition of REALLY?! with Seth and Amy…

    • fun bobby

      we like to try to solve all sorts of problems with violence. its profitable for the weapons makers

      • Potter

        violence is as old as man

        • fun bobby

          yes but no one made a buck selling the stone to Cain

          • Potter

            so what?

          • fun bobby

            now we have people who encourage violence so they can make money selling weapons. its a negative influence on society

          • Potter

            hardly the reason for war/violence itself
            ur premise is weak

          • fun bobby

            what? making money is not a good reason to do something? ever seen citizen kane?

          • Potter

            you are not thinking this thru, We have the mic no matter what and i don’t believe it runs the country any more than our other monsters/demons. taxes pay for this. and sons/daughters die and get maimed. it’s not so simple minded

          • fun bobby

            sure there are several industrial complexes. for some its all about the bottom line

          • Potter

            ur view makes us all about money..business. not so. it’s a dark view

          • fun bobby

            war is not exactly a rosy enterprise

          • Potter

            i don’t believe we are all about warring.

          • fun bobby

            I can’t believe that until we don’t have several active conflicts going. let me know when peace breaks out

  • skelly74

    What is the precedent in chemical warfare on citizens and non-combatants? The Nazis were guilty and punished. How about Iraq after Halabja? The world should not stand by and let a government or militia hide behind technology and fight like cowards. There is an essence of desperation when chemical / biological weapons are used; usually this is a death tool of a fascist mindset. Are we as Americans really a democracy of the people…ever against tyranny? Set the precedent. Protect non-combatants.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Fritz Haber who was despised by his scientific community for manufacturing poison gas said it best. They are dead, would have it been any better if they were shot in the head? Death by drone, fire, bombs, starvation, or machete its all the same in the end.

      • skelly74

        Yes, the Nazis were very fond of Fritz Haber…why deal with the blood and guts…the smells…the nightmares…just make them go away…in a way that doesn’t haunt the conscience.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Gassing does not stop the horror of death and does haunt the conscience. A case in point would be the death camps. Those guards heard the screams, smelled the flesh burning in the ovens and saw the piles of bodies being bulldozed into a pit. What is worse is when you can live in Phoenix, AZ and operate a predator drone and blow people up in Iraq only to be home that afternoon with your family watching America Has Talent. Or be on a ship or in an airplane miles away from the blasting of the building and the bloody screams of the bombing victims. Making war impersonal is worse and that was part of the original objection to using chemical weapons. Limiting our objection to chemical weapons is illogical.

    • fun bobby

      like the white phosphorous we dropped?

  • thequietkid10

    Ten years after Iraq, it is stunning how much support there is for some sort of military invention.

  • Potter

    so we are sure assad did this but assad wants us to believe that this was perpetrated by the rebels because why would he calculate this was to his benefit,. the problem is he is a psycho socio path apparently, a liar, and apparently a gambler that has been winning, gambling against the intern’l community or the us doing anything or able to do so legally. assad is smart like a fox.

    where is samantha powers on this?

  • hennorama

    There are no clear or easy answers in the Syrian conflict, only choices between various lesser and greater evils. There are no good options for the US here. I see no clear resolution in Syria, short of the Assad government being taken out from the top. Even if that were to occur, the resultant power vacuum would result in further internecine conflict.

    The U.S. has stumbled badly in conflicts in the Middle East over the past decade-plus, and one perceives no public support for any repetition of those horrific blunders, which will haunt and threaten the US for decades. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll indicates

    “About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.

    “More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days – just as Syria’s civil war has escalated and the images of hundreds of civilians allegedly killed by chemicals appeared on television screens and the Internet.

    “The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not.

    “The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points for each number.”

    See:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/25/us-syria-crisis-usa-poll-idUSBRE97O00E20130825

    With any luck, we will demonstrate that we’ve learned from our mistakes, and will keep the flock out. Unfortunately, the mounting death toll, and the crass brass of Assad’s almost certain use of chemical weapons to slaughter civilians, has served to increase the pressure on President Obama, and for the U.S. and other nations to take military action.

    There are no good options here.

    • brettearle

      It didn’t take a great deal of Intel to know how powerfully entrenched Assad would be, when all this began.

      Over these recent years, the casualties do not surprise me.

      The problem, of course, would be if something like MB takes over in Damascus.

      As you and I know, vacuum-anarchy favors the opportunistic virus–and in this case it could likely be an Al Qaeda sympathetic regime.

      Henn, why can’t more people read up on the Weimar Republic?

  • Potter

    russia should have to bear consequences for supporting assad

    • fun bobby

      what does that entail exactly?

      • Potter

        i don’t have a fully formulated suggestion yet but it would fun for you to think on it bobby.

        • fun bobby

          actually its pretty horrifying to think about.

          • Potter

            does not have to be– just cut off putin’s balls, figuratively

          • fun bobby

            literally? the man could kill you with his pinky finger.

          • Potter

            figuratively… anyway he’s filled with helium

          • fun bobby

            what does that mean? is that why there is a helium shortage?

          • Potter

            i mean no substance all ego, not a statesman.

          • fun bobby

            who is?

          • Potter

            putin- all about himself as Russia’s man- THE man

          • fun bobby

            he is pretty buff

          • pete18

            An astonishing capital letter and period free Haiku standoff.

          • fun bobby

            the fall winds blow early

          • Potter

            relatively-which is all we have, none perfect-i would say obama is better (though a disappointment), then you cannot compare a leader of one of the big powers with the leader of a smaller power. but vaclav havel comes to mind. nelson mandela, yitzkak rabin gorbachov. on a lower level there are more statesmen..even here, some in the making or would be if they got to have power or more power. how about jerry brown of CA (almost a country)?admittedly few.

          • fun bobby

            hmm, your standards are lower than mine

          • Potter

            relatively i said…we live in the real world we have to take from what there is

          • fun bobby

            George Washington they ain’t

          • Potter

            we don’t live in geo washington’s america or world.

          • fun bobby

            speak for yourself

          • fun bobby

            oh you changed it. what does that entail exactly?

    • Bluejay2fly

      We have never been punished for our sins.

      • Potter

        because might makes right

  • Coastghost

    Now that we’re well into the 21st century CE: can anyone tell yet whether a slow-motion World War III did not commence on 11 September 2001? The whole world roils on, even temperatures are rising . . . .

    • fun bobby

      I think it started right after the last one ended if you look at it like that

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Goes back a lot further than that, at least to our support of the Shah in Iran, our support of Saddam as an enemy of the new Iran, Reagan’s role as a FF of al Queda, and having W go clearin’ brush in response to being briefed “bin Laden Determined to Strike in USA” didn’t help.

      Bottom line is our meddling in the ME has not worked well.

      • fun bobby

        you are going to have to go back farther than that

        • TomK_in_Boston

          right – I did say “at least to” :)

      • Coastghost

        Frankly, I’d enlarge your critique to include all US wars in Asia at least since 1940, even if you don’t include the US encounter with the Philippines late in the 19th century. A mixed record, to put it charitably.

        • nj_v2

          Geez, you actually sound rational today. DId you change your diet or something?

          • Coastghost

            I’m a practicing anti-rationalist (in the Pascalian and Shestovian sense), so I’ll probably have a lapse soon.
            I’m amazed, too: even Hennorama congratulated me Friday (plus see above) for advocating free speech over and against NPR’s corporate management of public discourse. (I mean: what good is “freedom of the press” when the press itself uses its tools to suppress or stifle citizens’ free expression? Talk about ingrates . . .)

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Wow, bipartisan agreement :)

    • hennorama

      Coastghost – there are areas of the world that are indeed “roiling,” but it seems that the world overall is simmering rather than roiling. Aside from this minor quibble, I agree with your thesis.

      • brettearle

        Henn–

        When people speak of the murder rate going down, in certain areas of our country (regardless of the capital punishment issue), they must also point to Chicago or Texas (I’m just offering theoretical examples; I may at least be wrong about Texas).

        In the same way, it ONLY takes ONE hot spot for a conflagration to spread.

        I know you know this–but I needed to point this out as a public reminder.

        The Christian Fundamentalists have often predicted that WWIII will break out in the Middle East.

        Their messianic vision may have some political instinct and political intuition, connected to it.

        • hennorama

          brettearle – TYFYR.

          One could point to virtually any country in the Middle East or North Africa as either a hot spot or a potential hot spot today, and this could also have been said 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 40 years ago, 50 years ago, etc.

          See:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_modern_conflicts_in_the_Middle_East
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_modern_conflicts_in_North_Africa

          Texas is not even close to the top in murders per capita – they ranked 23rd for 2011, with 4.4 per 100,000 residents. The “winner” was Louisiana, with 11.2 per 100,000. Nationwide, the rate for 2011 was 4.7.

          Chicago is also not even close to the top in murders per capita among U.S. cities in 2011, with a rate of 15.9, versus New Orleans, which was the “winner” with a rate of 57.6. Among the 10 most populous U.S. cities, Philadelphia was the “winner” for 2011, with a rate of 21.2.

          BTW, in 2011, Chicago ranked 41st in murders per capita for cities with populations greater than 40,000.

          http://www.politicususa.com/2013/07/11/chicagos-homicide-rate-rank-top-american-cities.html
          http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder-rates-nationally-and-state#MRord
          http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/Local/RunCrimeTrendsInOneVarLarge.cfm

          • brettearle

            Despite my meager attempt at a mixed metaphor, thanx for the stats.

            My real commitment was to the point of how easy it is for WWIII to break out–if there is even only 1 hot spot.

            But, of course, there are more than one.

            I think WWIII is inevitable–partially because differences in the Middle East are likely endlessly irreconcilable.

          • hennorama

            brettearle – indeed it might be “easy … for WWIII to break out–if there is even only 1 hot spot.”

            Then again, it might not, especially based on the longevity of the “endlessly irreconcilable … differences in the Middle East …”

            One also must consider that “The Troubles” of Northern Ireland have been largely resolved, and South Africa has been able to navigate a path away from apartheid.

            I remain cautiously optimistic, and realistic, together.

  • nj_v2

    Please stop with the assumption-laden “surgical” strike meme as if it were entirely controllable and predictable.

    What percent of surgeries fail?

    What are the likely consequences of popular, Arabic reaction to yet more U.S. military aggression in the Mideast?

    • fun bobby

      more money for the military industrial complex

      • Potter

        broken record response. think. funbobby, we keep the mic no matter what

        • fun bobby

          perhaps we need to turn our swords to plowshares

          • Potter

            there we can agree– but the other guy has to do it too…and if you are going back to the bible, are you your brother’s keeper?

          • fun bobby

            of course I am keeping my sword but I already have a tiller

          • Potter

            what you are saying is u want keep your idealism/pacifism. me too. but it is necessary to be savvy and realistic. the world is a workshop. bad people with means/power get away with hurting those innocent. do you turn away?

          • fun bobby

            we should pull the log from our eye before we worry about a splinter in our neighbors

          • Potter

            in other words save youself from some terrible harm before you tend to your neighbor’s nick? except this does not apply. we are safe and well off.

          • fun bobby

            we are? since when? we have won all of our other wars and paid off our debts? in that case lets start picking sides in civil wars. what could go wrong?

          • Potter

            no you are keeping ur cannon and bought ur brother a sword

          • fun bobby

            i was not being euphemistic on that one

      • brettearle

        Your profit-driven beliefs are an exaggeration of the issues and the problems.

        • fun bobby

          oh? its just a happy coincidence for the military industrial complex?

          • TomK_in_Boston

            If we cut off aid to General Dynamics under the camo of “aid to Egypt”, we’ll certainly need to replace it with stimulus spending for the mil/indu complex somewhere else.

          • fun bobby

            looks like Syria is ripe

          • brettearle

            Your “happy coincidence” is an obsession of yours that is so overriding that it clouds your judgement about the myriad factors of,

            realpolitik,

            in the global `theatre’, that have nothing, or less, to do with Eisenhower’s warning.

            Your claims are hippie-conspiracies if you think that this is the ONLY thing that drives Foreign Policy.

          • fun bobby

            oh yeah we are just so concerned for the welfare of the Syrians. I forgot how that is such an important motivation of ours. Just ask the Tibetans or Sudanese

          • brettearle

            I’m not suggesting we don’t often do things out of self-interest.

            But your ideological zealotry obscures even your understanding that Security is NOT necessarily synonymous with Profit.

          • fun bobby

            tell that to Michael Chertoff

          • fun bobby

            Eisenhower was such a looney hippy. what was he smoking?

      • tbphkm33

        Absolutely right, the existence of the military industrial complex has not created these civil wars, but does enhance the lethality of them.

    • brettearle

      We don’t know what the consequences will be.

      But those consequences certainly carry the potential weight of them being dire.

    • tbphkm33

      There has to be a more pragmatic approach to the Middle East and the current civil strife. The old approach has failed. The world cannot afford to intervene in civil wars, nor can it afford to sit completely back. Some level of containment is necessary.

      Imagine the U.S. today if the European powers had intervened in 1864, artificially ending the U.S. Civil War. Giving a high probability of a second civil war a generation or two later. Or, today having a highly fractured nation that in essence does not function well together.

      The “Arab Spring” has to run its course, the old world order is going to be shaken up, but there is no way around the reality. Capping these social forces or imposing will through military intervention only sweeps things under the rug and increases the chances of even bigger “messes” down the road. Reality is that the countries facing these issues today should have embarked on reform in the 1980s, which could have retained the current order without the civil strife we face today.

    • fun bobby

      greeted as liberators? showered with adoration?

    • Potter

      so what percent of surgeries fail? and how does this pertain? don’t the failures help in getting it right next time? do we agree that people in power w means should not be killing thousands of innocents with chemical weapons as in ww 1? or is it okay? and should we instead focus on fixing detroit b/c we should not bother w what is going on w the rest of humanity even if the news is morally offensive,,,,

      history shows that our moral conscience kicks in usually later after hesitation when it is too late and in counterproductive ways after no one else can. and lately it’s w/o the weight of the most important players . in this instance i name the arab league. are we -the west- the only docs that can do the surgery?.. lets throw this potato straight onto the arab league who seem to be depending on our consciences to do their work. haven’t we armed them?the saudi’s?

  • Bluejay2fly

    YES, and If our educational system produced 1000 people nationwide as perceptive as this it would truly be a miracle.

  • brettearle

    There has to be PROOF:

    Otherwise, it’ll be a US miscalculation of noticeable proportions:

    accusations of Imperialism;

    increased loss of prestige;

    loss of political credibility;

    if there are civilian casualties/collateral damage, there will be cries of crimes against humanity

    once again, US Intel will lose more credibility, the hemorrhaging having begun, seriously, with Iraq.

    What’s more, many ignore the political capitol that we lost in the Iraq invasion.

    The Iraq war has weighed heavily on Russia. And yet no one assumes that Russia would intervene.

    To many, such an action is unthinkable.

    I do not believe that I am being an alarmist by suggesting that sooner or later–and it could be sooner–Russia will lose its own patience (from its own standpoint, not from mine):

    And they will strike and retaliate–regardless of the consequences to themselves.

    People are capable of being aggressive in this way.. So, therefore, are countries.

    • Coastghost

      Possessing demonstrable “proof” of Syrian misdeeds does nothing to confer credibility upon US or even UN claims at this point: “proof” will elicit counterclaims both foreign and domestic.

      • brettearle

        Fine and dandy.

        But the ultimate issue is whether the US is on the CORRECT side of moral action.

        REGARDLESS of claims and counterclaims.

        • Coastghost

          Here may be where I veer: I do not see “moral choice” as the ultimate consideration in judging US intervention in Syria. We don’t enjoy the privilege of dictating “objective morality” these days: no one believes us, few give much regard or credence to our espousal of “human rights”. And I don’t see why a “moral” conception of “national self-interest” is ruled out-of-bounds from the get-go.
          And wouldn’t it be something if our cowardly Congress stepped up after its seventy-year hiatus to claim its Constitutional responsibility for declaring war: a novel concept not too late to apply.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Congress should have had the final say on the US going to war. Our record would have been free of the disasters in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and a host of other interventions.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, Korea at least worked out at least decently (in the sense that we sort of achieved our general objectives of pushing back the North Koreans and (eventually) setting up a sort of western style representative democracy with a capitalist economic system).

          • HonestDebate1

            But couldn’t you say the same of Iraq? We suffered a small fraction of the casualties we suffered in Korea.

          • Ray in VT

            We also committed more forces and faced massive forces in opposition to us.

            As for Iraq, one could say that xcept for that in Iraq we severely misjudged the situation and unleashed something akin to a civil war, rather than stepping in to halt one. How’s that working out 10+ years on? Still car bombs and sectarian violence. Mission not accomplished, although I guess that at least we did round up all of those WMDs that Saddam was poised to use or distribute to terrorists.

          • HonestDebate1

            Well snark is fine if that’s you game I suppose. We achieved our goal with far far less blood and treasure. We have an ally in the heart of the Middle East where we had a sworn enemy. I just hope it was all for not.

            BTW, we have kids shooting up kindergartens, folks killing joggers because they’re bored and pressure cooker bombs at marathons some 240 years out here in America.

            I was actually serious, I’m sorry you are not.

          • Ray in VT

            I’ll take the “snark” game over the blatantly false or massively oversimplistic game that you often play. I guess that if you want to call 4,500 dead, maybe a trillion spent, tens of thousands wounded and an “ally” with closer ties to a known supporter or terrorist groups, i.e. Iran, something to crow about then go ahead, but it is a far cry from the 100 billion dollar cake walk that was supposed to be paid for with oil money that we were promised, and that is not even getting into the line that the American public was sold to even get us into the mess.

            I guess that 2,500 dead in sectarian violence over 3 months is acceptable? More good news here then I guess:

            http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/25/iraq-baghdad-baquba-bomb-attacks

            So, given how you have claimed to be “at your wits end” over some recent events and the seeming anguish that you seem to have whenever a black kid kills a white person, then how did you manage to survive 20 years ago, when violent crime rates were much higher? We could also probably do something about some of these acts of gun violence if dolts like the leaders of the NRA and the gun lobby didn’t dig in their heels to protect their profits, but I guess that 20 dead kids is less important than selling a bunch of assault rifles to people in the ‘burbs.

          • HonestDebate1

            I did not say it was peachy, I said we have an ally where there once was sworn enemy. But things are kind of peachy in the Northern Kurdish region. They are no longer being gassed with WMD by their own government.

            We have abandoned Iraq. Obama was never concerned about victory, just withdrawal. He is the one who thinks the sectarian violence is acceptable, not me. Please don’t tell me what I think, or were you speaking for yourself? We have bookoos of forces in South Korea. 33,000 US soldiers died in the Korean war. You are not being consistent at all.

            I am at my wits end because but it has nothing to do with my anguish and heartbreak. It’s because of the race hustling politics. You are smart enough to get my point. what are you reframing my comments?

          • fun bobby

            what would “victory” in Iraq consist of?
            perhaps someone should make a sign and we could declare victory!

          • Ray in VT

            And how far do you think that we can trust that ally? If we go into Syria, then will they follow and support us? I think not. Things are certainly better, by and large, in Kurdistan, in part because they have their own identity, their own infrastructure and resources. They also want Baghdad not to meddle too much in their affairs. I wonder if they could have been gassed by Saddam without our complicity back in the 1980s.

            Sure Obama wanted out, just as the American public wanted out, but the mechanisms for withdrawal were set in motion by our previous President, and please tell me how Obama thinks that sectarian violence is acceptable? Has he made some overt statements about how it is okay for Sunnis and Shiites to blow each other up on the streets of Baghdad? If so, then I must have missed it.

            Over 300,000 died in World War II, and it was worth it for what we fought against and what we achieved. I do not think that the same is true for Iraq. Simple numbers of dead, either high or low, don’t make a war good, bad or justified. We lost 55,000+ dead in Vietnam, and that was a total waste.

            Some days it is hard to know what you might be at your wits end over. Everything seems to be a crisis all of the time. I find the hyperbole to be quite annoying.

          • fun bobby

            What exactly could be done to end “gun violence” (dammed violent guns!) without the NRA or gun lobby? you should move from VT to Chicago where you can actually live out the gun control fantasy. why live in an unsafe place that’s awash with uncontrolled guns when you could live in the utopia that is Chicago?

          • Ray in VT

            We might be able to get some measures through to better keep weapons away from likely offenders, but I guess that the NRA and the gun lobby would rather make more bucks selling AKs and ARs to people who are afeared that people are coming to get them, so they need to be able to blow through a 30 round clip in 10 seconds.

            Every consider that the attempts at gun control in places like Chicago or New York City are responses to gun violence, and not a cause of it. Illegal guns flow into those areas because they can, like that guy who guy shot in Times Square a couple of years ago with a “stolen” gun that they traced back to Virginia. Perhaps you would like to live out your gun heaven utopia in some place like Somalia, where no big gov’ment will try to steal your freedoms.

          • fun bobby

            in general are “likely offenders” buying “AKs and ARs” and running amuck with them? What “measures” do you think would achieve what goals? how do you know that no one has reason to fear people coming to kill them?
            Those in Chicago and new York( where you can in theory get a concealed carry liscense and has 1/4 the murder rare of Chicago where you cannot.) responses have failed. I don’t remember that particular guy who got shot in times square. I would rather live in a gun control free utopia like VT where there are practically no gun control rules and no permits are required for concealed carry, how bout you?

          • Ray in VT

            I prefer to live in my home state in part because of its low crime, which has led us to continue to have very lax laws regarding guns. Were the crime situation to change, then we might reconsider that stance. Also, we are not a “gun control free utopia”. We do have some gun restrictions.

            I guess that because measures to crack down on gun trafficking and the proliferation of weapons into the hands of the wrong people, then we might as well just give up. Maybe we can solve Chicago’s violence problem by requiring everyone to carry a gun. Guns for everyone! I’m sure that nothing bad will happen there.

            Closing the gun show or Internet sale loophole may have some effects. I think that limiting clip size could potentially limit the harm in some mass shooting situations. There are plenty of proposals out there, although research into solutions by the federal government has been intentionally blocked by those who only want to sell ever more guns and ammo.

            This is the guy to whom I was referring:

            http://www.foxnews.com/story/2009/12/14/nypd-tracks-gun-in-deadly-times-square-shooting/

          • fun bobby

            who is this ally you speak of?

          • Bluejay2fly

            Korea was a war that anybody with any military sense could have told you was a war that could not be won. We have spent Billions if not more building up that nation and we are now are forced to maintain the costly expense of stationing tens of thousands of troops there and in nearby Japan. That money would have been better spent on strengthening our middle class and creating social justice. Korea like Israel is a financial hole that is bleeding us dry. We should have told the UN we were not going to fight that war.

          • fun bobby

            oh? when did the Korean war end?

          • Ray in VT

            Well officially we never went to war, but the armistice has held pretty well these past 60 years. When was the last time that combatant forces engaged each other there?

          • fun bobby

            good point that was not really even a war to begin with right?
            yeah, its doing great, they haven’t shot off any missiles since May but I perhaps that does not count since they did not hit anything

          • Ray in VT

            Well, those in South Korea are probably liking things better than their neighbors to the north. Maybe you should poll them to find out.

          • HonestDebate1

            I agree with your first paragraph completely, excellent point.

            And I also agree with the term “cowardly” regarding Congress but I disagree with the implication that we either do nothing or wage war. Perhaps I inferred that part from you but it does seem to be a theme around here. When I suggest inaction can be more dangerous and costly than action I am usually met with the accusation that I am advocating war.

            Regarding the declaration of war, I maintain it has not been a 70 year hiatus. The Constitution does not specify how war should be declared. There is no language or procedure specified. There is no standard for a declaration of war. To my way of thinking Congressional approval is a declaration of war.

          • Coastghost

            Nevertheless, formal Congressional declarations would forestall much political ambiguity once the finger-pointing commences.
            I do not envy Obama or his Administration: continued inaction looks increasingly unlikely, and the dimensions of “effective” substantive action (curtailing Assad’s ability) still are hardly clear. I suppose we might be grateful to learn that the decision will not be ours (the US’s) alone.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t disagree.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            That would be great.

  • rogger2

    Why intervene here and not in the DRC where the thousands have already been massacred?

    The hypocrisy between Africa and the Middle East is astounding.

    • fun bobby

      how bout not either

      • rogger2

        That’s my point.

  • Sasha

    How about taking the billions the US would spend on intervening that may just be turned around to helping Al-Qaeda and instead use it to provide aid to refugees in surrounding countries, imagine what help could be provided with that.

    • fun bobby

      yeah lets not use it to pay down our debt or to reduce our deficit

      • Bluejay2fly

        No way, let’s go more broke.

    • tbphkm33

      I agree, the establishment of safe havens and maybe even rewarding the factions for getting civilians to safe havens is a much more constructive use of resources than a military intervention.

    • nj_v2

      Where’s the profit for the war mongers in that?

  • tbphkm33

    Syria is the civil war that threatens to drive the Empire (U.S.A.) across its self imposed Rubicon. A nation of little strategic or resource interest to the Empire, yet it cannot be ignored. If I remember correctly, Syria was a “nuisance” to the Roman Empire in its day also.

    It is a bit late, especially after more than a decade of military adventurism and the war of aggression against Iraq, for the Empire to attempt to grasp the humanitarian baton. The lack of involvement in Syria thus far is partly attributable to the difficulty of involvement in any civil war, but equally attributable to the reality that Syria is largely inconsequential to the Empire. The Empire tends to respond when there are clear economic interests at stake. No to Rwanda (resource poor), yet the invasion of a sovereign nation, as seen in Iraq (proven oil reserves).

    No, the Syria crisis has to be handled through the UN. One option might be what the Empire should actually have done in Afghanistan 12 years ago, namely the establishment of overwhelming military force in close proximity to the conflict zone. A threat hanging over all the Syrian factions that committing massacres or using unconventional weapons will bring a swift and decisive military response by a force that none of the factions can match militarily.

    A partial intervention to contain the most egregious acts, while acknowledging the reality that outside forces have limited options in a civil war. Yes, the worlds militaries could march into Syria and cap the hostilities, but what then? It is only going to be a generation or more of continued low level bloodshed.

    No matter what, Syria represents a decisive point in the foreign and military policy of the Empire. Does the Empire reveal its true colors and only care about its own interests, or does it evolve and realize there is a greater humanitarian good at stake? Is the Empire even capable any longer of effectively working alongside other nations as an equal, not as the master and the puppet states?

    • stephenreal

      are you ok dude? a wee bit on the political fringe. just saying

      • tbphkm33

        You must be completely devoid of any knowledge of international relations, foreign policy or history.

        • stephenreal

          didn’t finish grad school homes?

        • TomK_in_Boston

          In the righty alt universe, actually thinking about a problem, instead of parroting talking points, puts you “on the fringe”

        • nj_v2

          He’s been demonstrating that all day.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Much-awaited Kerry press conference expresses outrage, says BHO is thinking abt what to do. Bizarre.

    At least no “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”

  • William

    No sooner than we get out of one war the people in Washington want to get into another one. Such a sad state of affairs for us.

    • fun bobby

      What? Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia

      • TomK_in_Boston

        What? I thought we had always been at war with the EASTasia terrorists.

        • fun bobby

          don’t worry we can reeducate you.

  • hennorama

    The United States of America cannot fix Syria.

    Neither can the USA fix Egypt, or Pakistan, or Iraq, or Yemen or, Saudi Arabia, or Afghanistan, or …

    The U.S. and others have attempted to impose Western democracy on several parts of the Middle East and North Africa, with at best limited success. When the desired elections are held, the U.S. often seems to say “we wanted elections and democracy, but not if THOSE people were going to win, and not THAT kind of democracy. Example abound of the so-called “wrong” people winning elections – Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood to name just two.

    What if freedom and democracy aren’t inevitable, and what if a large part of the Muslim population of the Middle East and North Africa aren’t interested in having democratic governments? What if the values of the people in these areas are completely at odds with the values the U.S. has attempted to impose? Who are we to determine what the best form of government is, or the best values are, for hundreds of millions or even billions of people? Who are we to try to impose our ideas on one of the cradles of civilization, and some of the oldest civilizations in the world?

    Democracy is a learned behavior, not a natural one. Humans arguably are by nature tribal. For democracy to thrive, the people need to share common values – of equality and openness, individual freedom, free speech and a free press, the rule of law, and religious tolerance, to name but a few. A large segment of society must be educated.

    These values and societal characteristics do not develop overnight. The path of democracy from ancient Greece to the United States of America took more than 2,000 years, after all. These societies and countries may or may not come to embrace democracy. If they do, they will do so in their own sweet time, regardless of our efforts to nudge them to go faster along the path.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Its not about democracy it is about new markets, war profiteering, and misguided humanitarianism. This ball will keep rolling in that direction because people are too uneducated to know differently.

      • hennorama

        Bluejay2fly – Thank you for your reply.

        You may be correct, and I sympathize with your argument.

        However, as far as recent history and the U.S. are concerned, opening of these potential new markets has been done under the guise of the master deigning to grant freedom to the great unwashed, so to speak. The idea is that democracy is superior to all other systems, and that the U.S. therefore needs to proselytize to the heathens, who obviously don’t know what’s good for them, and who must be forcefully taught to see the error of their ways.

        If you are correct, and I’m not disputing your thesis, the public can’t be told this directly. No President can say “We are going to use the U.S. military and all the other forces and power at our disposal to open new markets, allowing private companies to profit from public wars. And oh, yeah, by the way, we’re also going to help the refugees that are created by our actions, so don’t worry about them.”

        Instead, the public must be told “we’re spreading freedom and democracy” so the public will go along, and as a bonus, they get to feel just a little bit superior in the process.

        Here’s what President George W. Bush said on Nov. 6, 2003, at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy:

        “Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom, and never even to have a choice in the matter? I, for one, do not believe it. I believe every person has the ability and the right to be free.”

        That how the table gets set for intervention, invasion, and occupation. Without the cloak of “the reach of liberty,” all public support would vanish.

        See:
        http://www.ned.org/george-w-bush/remarks-by-president-george-w-bush-at-the-20th-anniversary

        • Bluejay2fly

          The only flaw in this plan is we live in a world of finite resources. At current rates of USA consumption we are going to need a couple more planet earth’s worth of resources to feed those emerging markets with the American lifestyle. I think rather than predicating our society on constant expansion of consumerism and global interventionism we should have based our society on sustainability and harmony with nature. It would have been a great homage to the Native Americans to use some of their cultural ideas to help save humanity. Instead, if the world continues to follow our current example its game over for the planet, hardly a legacy fit for a nation with so much potential as ours.

          • fun bobby

            don’t worry a global war will reduce the population significantly

        • fun bobby

          “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

          • hennorama

            FB – TYFYR.

            You did not attribute your quote to Goebbels, which is a good thing, because

            “Goebbels Didn’t Say It”

            See:
            http://bytwerk.com/gpa/falsenaziquotations.htm
            http://truthisthegreatestenemyofthestate.blogspot.com/
            http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Goebbels#Misattributed

          • fun bobby

            perhaps that’s why I did not make the attribution

          • hennorama

            FB – perhaps. What was/is the source of your quote?

          • fun bobby

            what difference does it make?

          • hennorama

            f b – TYFYR.

            It may not make any difference whatsoever. My question was not a “gotcha” question. However, you placed those words inside quotation marks, without any attribution. This indicates that you are quoting someone or something.

            As I’ve stated on numerous occasions, I’m not a fan of assumptions, and do not wish to make an assumption as to the source of your quote. I’m also not a fan of information from unnamed sources, and unattributed quotes.

            That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go ahead and use unattributed quotes. All I’m trying to do is to avoid misinterpretation and misunderstanding of your words. To do so, your help is required.

          • fun bobby

            does the attribution change the meaning?

          • hennorama

            f b – TYFYR.

            A simple and direct answer would be far easier than being evasive and answering questions with questions.

            If you don’t wish to answer the question, please be forthright, open, honest, frank, straightforward, candid, and, most importantly, not evasive in any way, and simply say so.

          • fun bobby

            I like to understand questions. especially when you seem to key in on such odd things. you completely ignored the content of the post to focus on the attribution which I did not attribute at all.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s truly bizarre… and typical.

    • Samuel Goldring

      The protests in Syria were begun by people who do embrace democracy. Assad’s answer to the protesters is violence. All human beings ,as young as kindergarteners, understand not to do to others ,what you would not want done to you. This principle is older than democracy. The value of kindness is older than democracy. Allah is called
      Merciful because kindness is a value that is esteemed in Islam . Unkind Moslems know they are in violation of this value when that act cruelly. They will have to give a reckoning one day as to why they were so easily cruel and were not fanatically kind.

    • HonestDebate1

      We don’t impose Democracy. Democracy is not an imposition, it’s liberation.

      • hennorama

        ZZZZZZZZZ.

        • HonestDebate1
          • hennorama

            Needs To Bathe – again, from the Gregg Smith Response-O-Matic:

            [It's not about me.]

          • HonestDebate1

            What is your reason for writing “Gregg Smith”?

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – TYFYR.

            Perhaps you missed the following, as it was appended to an original comment:

            “[PS] You wrote “the only arrow in your quiver that you think really gets to me is to call me by my real name. There is absolutely no reason to do that other than sheer meanness.”

            “Wrong. Another demerit.

            “Put this into your “grey cells of Hercule Poirot” – your present moniker is so inappropriate that at least one commenter will never type it. Use of your prior moniker, especially in connection with the GS Response-O-Matic is as an historic reference as well as an expression of the inappropriateness of your laughable present moniker.”

            See:
            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/08/09/week-in-the-news-terror-threat-summit#comment-998124005

          • HonestDebate1

            You’re file on me is creepy. What’s the matter with the many anagrams you use? They’re plenty insulting, isn’t that your goal? What’s the matter with HD? Most replies don’t even use monikers. If you don’t like it then don’t use it. Simple.

            I was right, you are just trying to be gratuitously nasty. I don’t care Hennon.

            Sincerely,
            Gregg

          • hennorama

            ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – please point out any mention of “freedom seeking peoples” in any of the links you posted.

          • HonestDebate1

            You have got to be kidding. That is a hideous comment.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – TYFYR.

            You are entitled to your opinion.

            Your response is hereby interpreted as “there is absolutely no mention of ‘freedom seeking peoples’ in any of the links you [Debates Not, He] posted.”

            Please correct any inaccuracies.

          • HonestDebate1

            There is absolutely no mention of freedom seeking peoples in any of the links. Who said there was? What does that have to do with anything? What on earth are you trying to say. Yours is an ugly ugly notion. Are you proud of this? Really?

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – apparently it has escaped your notice that:

            1. You wrote “You really should wake up to the reality freedom seeking peoples live with.”

            2. You then provided 4 links, presumably as some sort of evidence to support the comment above.

            3. Contained in said links, as you also wrote “There is absolutely no mention of freedom seeking peoples in any of the links.”

            Why are you wasting everyone’s time?

          • HonestDebate1

            That would be you. Your presumption is whacked.

            All peoples yearn to be free. Your assumption that those Syrian kids gassed to death preferred their fate to freedom is astonishing. Your assumption that the 13 year old rape victim was indifferent to freedom is despicable. Your assumption that having throats slit and eyes gouged out is just a societal choice is hideous. Your assumption that a death sentence for a sip of water is just an option is unbelievably cruel.

            To assume one needs evidence to prove people yearn to be free is…. I don’t even know what to say. What is wrong with you?

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – unlike you, I made no presumptions or assumptions. I merely pointed out that you are wasting everyone’s time with your comments.

          • HonestDebate1

            One minute: “You then provided 4 links, presumably as some sort of evidence to support the comment above.”

            The next: “… I made no presumptions…”

            And why do you need evidence that people seek freedom if you don’t assume they are not seeking freedom?

            Let me get this straight, you say you are merely pointing out I am wasting everyones time when you were the one demanding I give evidence of something you presumed that was irrelevant to my point. Alrighty then, Here’s a clue Hennon, all of this is a waste of time.

          • hennorama

            Debate Not, He – I agree that “all of this is a waste of time” when it comes to your remarks. Thank you for finally owning up to that point.

            If it settles your mind, or if you would prefer, substitute the word “ostensibly” in place of “presumably” in your quote of my words.

            Unlike you, I made neither an assumption “that people seek freedom” nor an assumption “they are not seeking freedom.”

            TYFYR.

          • HonestDebate1

            Are you serious? Or just digging in after being cornered? That people seek freedom is not an assumption, it’s a given. To think otherwise is excusing atrocity. It’s sick. As low as my respect for you is, I refuse to believe you mean it. Just quit while you’re behind.

      • fun bobby

        that’s funny I have been calling it the tyranny of the masses

        • HonestDebate1

          That’s actually a good point as Democracy is mob rule but I was using the term in a more generic sense.

          • fun bobby

            perhaps we need to spread constitutional republics

          • HonestDebate1

            Now you’re talking!

    • fun bobby

      . For democracy to thrive, the people need to share common values – of equality and openness, individual freedom, free speech and a free press, the rule of law, and religious tolerance, to name but a few. A large segment of society must be educated.
      All those things sound wonderful I wish we had them here still.

      • hennorama

        fun bobby – TYFYR. I disagree with your premise that “we [don't have] them here still.”

        • fun bobby

          we have moved away from those ideals in many ways. perhaps you still have a pre911 mentality. equality? tell the women who can not get pistol permits in boston about that. openness? tell Bradley manning and snowden about openness. Tell the guardian about freedom of the press. Is the notion of the rule of law compatible with a set of secret laws and courts? are those examples of the openness? Tell the Muslims the FBI and NYPD spy on and harass about religions tolerance. Better yet explain it to a Coptic.
          A significant percentage of students never graduate. These rates are much higher among some minorities.

          • hennorama

            f b – TYFYR.

            I agree that “we have moved away from those ideals in many ways,” but the ideals and values remain common among Americans.

            I’m not familiar with the issue of “women who can not get pistol permits in boston.” Perhaps you can present some details, if you feel the need.

            As to “Bradley manning and snowden” – they are an example of openness, as the disclosures they have made are widely and well known.

            Presumably you are referring to the detention of David Miranda, who is the partner of the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald. Please correct any misinterpretation. If so, you must of course be aware that those actions were not undertaken by U.S. authorities.

            As to your points – there certainly are myriad examples of intrusions, restrictions, and limitations on the values and ideals described. And it’s certainly fine, and indeed can be viewed as a duty, to disagree with and oppose all such intrusions, restrictions, and limitations. However, the fact that we see “intrusions, restrictions, and limitations” on various values and ideals means that the underlying values and ideals remain present.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • fun bobby

            if you are a woman in boston you should look into the pistol thing.

            Lucky for us at this time some people are still aware of what our ideals were. Our rights have been trampled in many ways. Having these values and ideal present is not a substitute for living them.

            “As to “Bradley manning and snowden” – they are an example of openness, as the disclosures they have made are widely and well known.”

            and one is in prison and the other on the run. Our current system has gone to great measures to silence them. what they exposed was a myriad of lies. That is the opposite of openness.

            While the detention of that journalist was not directly done by US authorities can there be any doubt it was done on our behalf?

            just look what they did to this guy

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/01/spying-mcclatchy-journalist-new-zealand_n_3689820.html

            Lucky for us at this time some people are still aware of what our ideals were. Our rights have been trampled in many ways. Having these values and ideals present in the minds of some is not a substitute for living them.

          • hennorama

            f b – the simple fact that we can engage in discussions of such topics without fear is further demonstration of the values and ideals described. They are present, and that’s my simple point.

            In contrast, such things are not generally present in the geographic areas referred to in my original comment.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • fun bobby

            actually at this point I do have some concerns about speaking freely online. I never thought that would be a problem in America. The NSA is reading this and analyzing it with their computers and storing everything. What if I say the wrong thing? We found out recently they are secretly feeding info to the DEA and then the DEA lies about the source of the information. We have seen cases of people scooped up for saying the wrong thing. America is no longer the place it used to be.

          • hennorama

            f b – I understand your concerns, but they seem overblown. Are you taking any actions to avoid detection? Maybe we should all use some fun phrases, like “directions for making improvised explosive devices,” to test the system.

            How about “do you have any stuff?”

            Or maybe “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic: الله أكبر‎).

            If you don’t read anything more from [hennorama] you now have a basis for guessing why.

            Feel free to

          • fun bobby

            good luck flying now, wear clean underpants.

          • hennorama

            f b – TY for your advice. Of course, you’re now part of my contact circle.

            Look out behind you!

          • fun bobby

            I already need to make sure I have appropriate undergarments when I fly.

          • fun bobby
          • hennorama

            f b – one supposes they feel that they are quite free, especially compared to mosque attendees in North Africa and the Middle East.

          • fun bobby

            would you feel free if your church was bugged and filled with informants? just because there are some places still less free you would have to admit you had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find examples. Just because some places are less free does not make it right to do crazy evil things here that are clearly not acceptable.

  • myblusky

    Civil war is like a violent fight between a married couple. Police dread getting calls about domestic disputes for a very good reason – the outcome is usually less than favorable.

    To top it off – we aren’t in the position to be playing savior. We have more gun violence than any over developed country. We have a high recidivism rate for prisoners. Throw in the economy, health care etc….do we not have enough problems that we can’t solve? Do we need to add to it getting sucked into another war with no clear plan of exiting?

  • RonzoL61

    100,000 people have been killed since this conflict began, but now, because 100 people died in a chemical attack, we need to go to war? The fact is, none of the sides in this conflict warrant our help. I’m sorry for the civilians who are caught up in this, but I’m not willing to spill a drop of American blood in somebody else’s civil war! And who seriously believes that this president is capable of doing ANYTHING that won’t make the problem worse!

  • Michael Bristol

    No problem that the British and the US spewed tons of depleted uranium into Iraq. The toxic effects of which is documented.
    No problem that Israel rained down white phosphorus on Gaza.
    White phosphorus that the US supplied.
    No problem that every instance of US armed intervention in the last many decades has been based on fabrication, deceit and lies. When years later the lies are laid bare, no scumbag needs to account to anyone, for anything.
    No problem in quoting sell outs such as the mainstream and the beltway press, members of Congress, or Obama for an assessment of what is happening in Syria.
    Certainly no problem for the weapon racketeers and AIPAC fraudsters in Washington DC, it’s right up their alley.

  • penandthink

    Why not allow many, many more immigrants from Syria into other nations — with proper vetting? I’m amazed that such a course has not been adopted yet. It would seem preferable to starting a war.

    Also, why not launch a massive humanitarian effort –with protection, of course — to aid the Syrian Red Crescent and British Red Cross? It may be ivory tower to some, but perhaps fighting a tyrant with real peace is what is needed.

    Now we seem to want to wage war at greater than arm’s length. It won’t work.

  • nj_v2

    Listening to the assumed outrage of the current crop of empty-suit political puppets for the Wall-Street/military/corporate complex, one is struck at the utter hypocrisy of it all.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/08/26-5

    US Complicity in ‘Some of the Most Gruesome Chemical Weapons Attacks’ Revealed
    Foreign Policy magazine provides new details in how the CIA helped Saddam gas Iran

    - Andrea Germanos, staff writer

    As the U.S. and its allies weigh the possibility of military intervention in Syria over the use of chemical weapons, new reporting by Foreign Policy reveals details of how the U.S. helped Iraq launch multiple chemical weapons attacks during the Iran-Iraq war.

    The magazine reports that formerly unnoticed documents in the National Archives in addition to information obtained in intereviews with former intelligence officials “are tantamount to an official American admission of complicity in some of the most gruesome chemical weapons attacks ever launched.”…

    (snipped)

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Sure – I’ve said that many times. When Saddam was attacking our enemy Iran he was the enemy of our enemy, so he was our friend, and chem weapons were no problem.

      The outrage over chem weapons in general and Saddam’s in particular looks a little different once you know the history of the Iran-Iraq war. Gives a bit of perspective on why the Iranians don’t like us, too

  • stephenreal

    Well this looks like a done deal. All that matters is when, how and as the Pentagon brass repeated said “and then what happens after we hit them”. Another war kind of turns my stomach.

    • fun bobby

      its probably to late to profit from buying Raytheon and Lockheed stock in the short term.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        I’m thinking I should have bought some GLD if I was paying more attention, maybe too late.

        What do you get for a cruise missile?

        • fun bobby

          perhaps if this war seems profitable enough we can crack a 16k Dow

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Do you think a military objective was ever met with a cruise missile, or are they just good fireworks?

          • fun bobby

            shock and awe are great stimulators of the economy. remember Rumsfeld’s statement about the lack of good targets in Afghanistan. when you are fighting poor people who live in huts its hard for those guys to even justify the expense of cruise missiles. Syria has all sorts of old Russian military hardware and I am sure they have plenty of bunkers and such that make great cruise missile targets.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Absolutely, fine targets, good TV.

            A cruise missile costs about $1.5 mil, so shooting off about 700 of them would offset $1 billion in “aid to Egypt” (aka aid to General Dynamics.

          • fun bobby

            they took a real hit from “the sequester” I’m sure

  • TomK_in_Boston

    2007 Obama – sigh.

    Q. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

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

    • fun bobby

      once the daily show had a candidate vs president bush debate. it would be fun to do that with obama

    • brettearle

      He’s been in touch, at least, with the House. I’d be surprised if he didn’t confer with some in the Senate and perhaps the Foreign Relations Committee.

      If you think that he doesn’t have Constitutional advisers around him, with a full understanding of Executive Power, you would likely be mistaken.

      You speak as if he would move ahead without speaking to anybody else. That, of course, wouldn’t be true.

      What’s more, I’m sure the President had the chance to “bone up” on some of the more esoteric features of the relationship of the Presidency to the Constitution, once he took office.

      • fun bobby

        one would think a constitutional law professor would have a pretty good grasp on the subject.

        • brettearle

          One would think that a constitutional law professor–once becoming the Commander-in-Chief, of the most powerful country, in the world–would consult the trusted expertise of others, before making any such significant decision…..regardless of his own professional knowledge.

      • Outside_of_the_Box

        Do you think “being in touch” with them is the same thing? Absolutely not. Make no mistake, it is going it alone, all over again. And it’s flat out wrong.

  • Outside_of_the_Box

    The US doesn’t have a leg to stand on here.They care about serving their special interests first.
    Which by the way, are often not the interests of the people who vote them into office.
    Spreading democracy, nation building, helping the people, routing out “terrorism”…. propaganda tools to help implement the agenda of special interests.
    And the majority of Americans buy into it every single time.
    Sadly Canadians tend to fall for the same bull.

    • brettearle

      He is NOT going it alone.

      He is currently garnering support among the International Community–those who are signatories to the treaty for banning the use of gas in warfare.

      He continues to confer with Congress–and since I wrote the comment, below, he is in contact with members of the Senate.

      The President is within his rights not to put the decision, for a formal vote, before Congress–while still consulting with Congress.

    • fun bobby

      its pretty shocking that anyone could be fooled by the same BS that worked before.

  • Omaha Guy

    The main interest of the United States and the United Nations is to remove chemical weapons from Syria.

    On military and diplopmatic action:

    1. The fact that chemical weapons were used is acknowledged by all sides.

    a. Although Russia’s point of view is suspect, because they depend on Assad for their military base, Putin will not admit his ally’s use of chemical weapons.

    b. Regardless of Russia’s view, the first action should be to hold all United Nations parties accountable for removing all chemical weapons from Syria, and turn them over to United Nations control for safe destruction.

    i. Russia should cooperate with their ally Syria to remove chemical weapons under their control.

    ii. Other countries, including the United States, should cooperate with all other parties in Syria for removing chemical weapons.

    2. While agreement cannot be found in the Security Council for an attack on Syria, Russia’s Ally, an agreement could be found there to remove all chemical weapons.

    3. If United Nations forces, acting within the framework to remove chemical weapons, come under attack from Syrian government forces, then the United States should seek approval from the Security Council for a no-fly zone.

    a. Regardless of Security Council approval or not, if United Nations forces, removing chemical weapons under a Security Council approved action to do so, then, the president should approach congress to impose a no-fly zone.

    4. Pending congressional approval, impose no fly zone, and a safe zone North of, and including the city of Latakia. In this zone, no heavy weapons, except NATO weapons may exist at all. Nothing shall fly in Syria at all except NATO approved aircraft. No artillery, nor tanks, nor gatherings of more than 100 armed men, except under NATO approval, shall exist North of Latakia.

    a. Nothing shall fly in all of Syria except NATO aircraft.

    5. All parties in Syria must cooperate with NATO to remove chemical weapons on behalf of the United Nations.

    a. Any resistance at all to the removal of chemical weapons shall not be tolerated and removed with prejudice.

    6. In the presence of armed resistance to the removal of chemical weapons, removal of all weapons, with prejudice.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Deja vu, anyone?

    Let’s see, Saddam’s WMD were a “slam dunk” and didn’t exist, and the syrian gvt chem attack is “not a slam dunk”. I guess that means it’s time to stimulate the economy by firing lots of cruise missile fireworks, right?

    AP: “The intelligence linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed at least 100 people is no “slam dunk,” with questions remaining about who actually controls some of Syria’s chemical weapons stores and doubts about whether Assad himself ordered the strike, U.S. intelligence officials say.

    President Barack Obama declared unequivocally Wednesday that the Syrian government was responsible, while laying the groundwork for an expected U.S. military strike.

    “We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out,” Obama said in an interview with “NewsHour” on PBS. “And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences.

    However, multiple U.S. officials used the phrase “not a slam dunk” to describe the intelligence picture — a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet’s insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a “slam dunk” — intelligence that turned out to be wrong.

    A report by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence outlining that evidence against Syria is thick with caveats. It builds a case that Assad’s forces are most likely responsible while outlining gaps in the U.S. intelligence picture. ”

    However, multiple U.S. officials used the phrase “not a slam dunk” to describe the intelligence picture — a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet’s insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a “slam dunk” — intelligence that turned out to be wrong.

    A report by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence outlining that evidence against Syria is thick with caveats. It builds a case that Assad’s forces are most likely responsible while outlining gaps in the U.S. intelligence picture. Relevant congressional committees were to be briefed on that evidence by teleconference call on Thursday, U.S. officials and congressional aides said.

    The complicated intelligence picture raises questions about the White House’s full-steam-ahead approach to the Aug. 21 attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb, with worries that the attack could be tied to al-Qaida-backed rebels later. Administration officials said Wednesday that neither the U.N. Security Council, which is deciding whether to weigh in, or allies’ concerns would affect their plans.”

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