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Russia’s Move On Syria

Moscow jumps in to push international control of Syria’s chemical weapons. Is this the off-ramp from a crisis?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Mouallem arrive for a news conference after their talks in Moscow on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. (AP)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Mouallem arrive for a news conference after their talks in Moscow on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. (AP)

Whiplash, maybe, in the hubbub over Syria.  Just as the President’s ready to make his big speech to the nation to get in there, strike militarily, here comes Russia with a fascinating curveball.  John Kerry raised it.  Didn’t mean it.

Now Moscow’s all over it, and maybe Washington too:  Have Syria surrender control of its chemical weapons.  Even destroy them.  And no American strike.  The president’s speechwriters for tonight must be spinning.  It may be an off-ramp from crisis, political defeat, missiles.  It may be a nothing.

This hour, On Point:  Syria, Washington, and the Russia move.

– Tom Ashbrook


Peter Baker, White House Correspondent for the New York Times, former Moscow Bureau chief for The Washington Post, and co-author of “Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of Revolution” with Susan Glasser. (@peterbakernyt)

Joshua Landis, professor and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. (@joahua_landis)

Fiona Hill, director of the Center on the United States and Europe and senior fellow in the Foreign Policy department at the Brookings Institution. Co-author of the new book “Mr. Vladimir Putin: Operative in the Kremlin” with Clifford G. Gaddy.

Joseph Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund, and member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s International Security Advisory Board and the Council on Foreign Relations. (@Cirincione)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Washington Post: Obama sees potential ‘breakthrough’ in Russia’s Syria proposal – “Russia and Syria embraced Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s suggestion Monday that the Syrian government could avert a U.S. attack by placing its chemical weapons under international control, upending the Obama administration’s efforts to sharpen its case for military action.”

The Guardian: Can Russia push Syria to disarm? – “If Russia does persuade Syria to surrender its chemical arsenal, it could put off the threat of direct US military action for months at least, but it will also enmesh Damascus in new international obligations that could strengthen the case for outside intervention if it ever breaks the rules.”

Slate: Did John Kerry Just Accidentally Find a Workable Solution for Syria? – “For a brief period this morning it appeared as though Kerry’s off-the-cuff hypothetical would largely remain overshadowed by his curious decision to call any American-led attack ‘unbelievably small.’ But that changed this afternoon once Assad and his strongest ally, Russia, caught everyone off guard by suggesting that Kerry’s ad-libbed solution was actually workable.”

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  • Mary Bell Lockhart

    Yes and it would not be happening without a firm, credible threat of attack from President Obama. The rest of the world and Congress are wimps.

    • Jacob Arnon

      Well said.

    • SteveTheTeacher

      Great voice of support for good old gunboat diplomacy. Teddy Roosevelt would be proud.

      Or . . .

      The fact that the US government pushed a military response when a non-military diplomatic alternative existed reflects poorly on the creativity, competence, and character of the US State Department.

      The Russian proposal is presents an opportunity for moving forward. While there is a non-military alternative to addressing the use of chemical weapons, the more profound crisis of the ongoing civil war remains.

      Will the US government take this opportunity to build relations and momentum for a peace process to end the war, or will US officials sit on the sidelines rattling their sabers?

      • keltcrusader

        Oh you mean the alternatives that have been worked on for the last couple of years? The ones that the Russians and Chinese have blocked? Those ones that apparently assured Assad that he could do whatever he wanted with impunity with the cover of their allies?

        • SteveTheTeacher

          No, I mean the fact that the Russians got the Assad regime to agree to participate in peace negotiations in July which had to be postponed when the US and its allies were unable to get the leadership of the rebels to agree to participate.

          The fact the US diplomats cannot collaborate with the Russians and Chinese on a peace plan is as poor a reflection on the Russian and Chinese governments as it is on the US government.

      • Mary Bell Lockhart

        They’ve been pursuing the diplomatic solutions for years and obviously will continue. However, the one single GOOD use of the US military is to pose a credible threat that moves diplomatic solutions. Call it sabre rattling if you want. Obama, Kerry et al know that sometimes rattling sabres works.

        • SteveTheTeacher

          “They’ve been pursuing the diplomatic solutions for years and obviously will continue.”

          Perhaps. However, when the Russian government got the Assad regime to agree to attend peace negotiations scheduled for July, the US was unable to persuade representatives of the rebels to attend. Thus, the negotiations were postponed until August, and now are unlikely until October at the earliest.

          The US government can set an example of leadership and humanity to the world by working with the Russians on the chemical weapons demolition, taking up the offer of support by the Iranians, building bonds of cooperation between disparate rebel and Assad regime factions, and putting an emphasis on working for a peace process.

          “Call it sabre rattling if you want. Obama, Kerry et al know that sometimes rattling sabres works.”

          Easy to praise the virtues of sabre rattling when you come from a country with the world’s largest military and stand no chance of suffering military attacks for the misdeeds of your government such as: the use of white phosphorus in Fallujah; the use of depleted uranium weapons, bunker buster bombs, and cluster bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan; torture and detention without trial in prisons such as Bagram and Guantanamo; targeted and crowd killing of over 1000 civilians by unmanned drone; etc.

          • Mary Bell Lockhart

            Drop the arguments about what the US has done in the past. I agree that we did those things, but it is totally irrelevant to today. It’s like saying that, because the US is the only country in the world that ever used nuclear weapons, we shouldn’t use whatever means we have – diplomacy, threat of military action – that would persuade others to give up use of WMDs.
            And separate in your mind the issue of resolving the civil war and dealing with chemical weapons.

          • Guest
          • SteveTheTeacher

            Consider the present. In violation of international law, President Obama continues the practice of killing by drones including crowd killing of groups of people who are determined, by computer algorithm, to fit a profile of a potential threat. The Obama administration’s drones just killed 16 civilians two days ago in Afghanistan.

            Additionally, in violation of international law, President Obama continues to maintain people in prison without charge in Guantanamo. Many of these people are presently being subjected to torturous force feeding, again in violation of international law.

            Who determines that President Obama and his administration get a waiver for their crimes against humanity while Assad must face military action for his crimes.

            With respect to past practice, who gets to determine the statute of limitations on the commission of war crimes?

            Syria is not presently using chemical weapons but did in the recent past. On what grounds does Assad merit a military strike for his crimes while former
            President George Bush and members of his regime get excused from their
            use of chemical weapons and other war crimes just because they occurred a decade ago?

            Who gets to determine those who are appointed judge, jury, and executioner with respect to war crimes?

            As far as the separating the issue of chemical weapons from dealing with the wider Syrian civil war, you are correct. Commitment to bringing a peaceful resolution to the Syrian civil war which has killed 100,000 so far, displaced millions, and holds the prospect of engulfing the broader region into war is, by far, a much more urgent and pressing humanitarian crisis.

          • Mary Bell Lockhart

            Fact check.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Ah yes, with the recent passing of David Frost, I overlooked the wisdom provided by former President Nixon:

            “If the (US) President does it, it is not a crime.”

          • SteveTheTeacher

            From the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

            Partial list of children US drones have killed in Pakistan and Yemen.


            Name | Age | Gender

            Noor Aziz | 8 | male
            Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
            Noor Syed | 8 | male
            Wajid Noor | 9 | male
            Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
            Ayeesha | 3 | female
            Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
            Shoaib | 8 | male
            Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
            Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
            Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
            Maezol Khan | 8 | female
            Nasir Khan | male
            Naeem Khan | male
            Naeemullah | male
            Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
            Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
            Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
            Ziauddin | 16 | male
            Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
            Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
            Ilyas | 13 | male
            Sohail | 7 | male
            Asadullah | 9 | male
            khalilullah | 9 | male
            Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
            Khalid | 12 | male
            Saifullah | 9 | male
            Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
            Nawab | 17 | male
            Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
            Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
            Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
            Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
            Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
            Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
            Abdullah | 18 | male
            Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
            Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
            Shahbuddin | 15 | male
            Yahya Khan | 16 |male
            Rahatullah |17 | male
            Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
            Shahjehan | 15 | male
            Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
            Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
            Numair | 14 | male
            Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
            Ihsanullah | 16 | male
            Luqman | 12 | male
            Jannatullah | 13 | male
            Ismail | 12 | male
            Taseel Khan | 18 | male
            Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
            Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
            Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
            Alam Nabi | 11 | male
            Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
            Rahmatullah | 14 | male
            Abdus Samad | 17 | male
            Siraj | 16 | male
            Saeedullah | 17 | male
            Abdul Waris | 16 | male
            Darvesh | 13 | male
            Ameer Said | 15 | male
            Shaukat | 14 | male
            Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
            Salman | 12 | male
            Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
            Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
            Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
            Iftikhar | 17 | male
            Inayatullah | 15 | male
            Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
            Ihsanullah | 16 | male
            Luqman | 12 | male
            Jannatullah | 13 | male
            Ismail | 12 | male
            Abdul Waris | 16 | male
            Darvesh | 13 | male
            Ameer Said | 15 | male
            Shaukat | 14 | male
            Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
            Adnan | 16 | male
            Najibullah | 13 | male
            Naeemullah | 17 | male
            Hizbullah | 10 | male
            Kitab Gul | 12 | male
            Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
            Zabihullah | 16 | male
            Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
            Shabir | 15 | male
            Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
            Shafiullah | 16 | male
            Nimatullah | 14 | male
            Shakirullah | 16 | male
            Talha | 8 | male


            Afrah Ali Mohammed Nasser | 9 | female
            Zayda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 7 | female
            Hoda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 5 | female
            Sheikha Ali Mohammed Nasser | 4 | female
            Ibrahim Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 13 | male
            Asmaa Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 9 | male
            Salma Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | female
            Fatima Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 3 | female
            Khadije Ali Mokbel Louqye | 1 | female
            Hanaa Ali Mokbel Louqye | 6 | female
            Mohammed Ali Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | male
            Jawass Mokbel Salem Louqye | 15 | female
            Maryam Hussein Abdullah Awad | 2 | female
            Shafiq Hussein Abdullah Awad | 1 | female
            Sheikha Nasser Mahdi Ahmad Bouh | 3 | female
            Maha Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 12 | male
            Soumaya Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 9 | female
            Shafika Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 4 | female
            Shafiq Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 2 | male
            Mabrook Mouqbal Al Qadari | 13 | male
            Daolah Nasser 10 years | 10 | female
            AbedalGhani Mohammed Mabkhout | 12 | male
            Abdel- Rahman Anwar al Awlaki | 16 | male
            Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki | 17 | male
            Nasser Salim | 19 | male

          • Mary Bell Lockhart

            And your point is….?

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Thank you Mary, that is exactly my point.

            Large numbers of innocent children are killed and what happens?

            When the one identified as responsible is a person the US government declares an enemy, there is moral indignation and a call for a swift military response.

            When the one responsible is the US President the response is:

            “And your point is …?”

    • John Cedar

      Assad would not have dared to use chemical weapons in the first place if it were any POTUS but a ball-less one that drew the red line in the sand. Anyone paying attention to how this is unfolding would not use the words “firm” or “credible” in regards to the threat of attack from Obama. The rest of the wimpy world grew a pair big enough to flip off former super power USA.

      • Mary Bell Lockhart

        Quite obviously Assad DID use them, thinking he’d get away with it, right up to the moment that President Obama put attack on the agenda. Obama is the adult in the room and backs up what he says with action.

    • Jon

      recommend you go and live with retired W

  • Ahmad Alhassan

    Who Will Remain Chaste in a Power-Arroused System?
    Will the offer to turn over Syrian chemical weapons satisfy geo-strategists who have been eager to break up this state into small fragments? Will they be happy to remove Syrian deterrent against Israeli excesses and accept the offer?

    Will they accept it as a first step toward the true goal of fragmenting Syria?
    Will they take their time, or will they reject the offer so they can make a show of brutal power? Shock And Awe?

    Will they outwit Obama and his crew? Or has he and his government succumbed to the seductions of global power?

    Have the major constituencies and the media also been seduced? Who can remain chaste in an orgiastic system?

    The reasons for American attack on Syria are well understood by many people, if not most. At least most of those who are familiar with international relations and geopolitics:


  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    This is an article about a man that owed $134.00 in property taxes, in D.C.. They ended up confiscating his $194,000.00 house and contents. This is what our government is about ! When they are not stealing from you or manipulating you or spying on you, they are busy telling the world how wrong everyone else is. Clean up your own house FIRST, before you stick your nose in everyone’s business. Have you noticed we have people living on the streets? Almost half of the population is on the dole and unable to support themselves. The US in now tied with Mongolia in terms of IQ scores. The list is long, so long, that our politicians have to continue to create more problems to take our eyes off of all the other problems, that THEY either created or helped to create.


    IQ Stats:


  • Yar

    We are not the only species that has an evolutionary use for war. War is pretty much a male dominated pursuit. Taking a long view, it seems to improve mating opportunities for older males. It also tends to keep males around to help raise children. Tribe is the basic unit of war; religion, nation, race, and ethnicity all serve as proxy for tribe. We get deluded by the politics of war, but basicly it is about eliminating large numbers of young males. The red line is crossed when war kills too many females and children. Why is one life more valuable than another? Are there degrees of innocence? Do we understand the root causes of war? Is war in our DNA? How do we evolve beyond war?

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

      War used to be a significant factor keeping our population in check. It was driven by environmental stress as well as greed and lust for power; factors we see at play everywhere around the world where there is armed conflict.

      Today, the explosion in the world’s population threatens us all with a frightening future, the only factors that might check our uncontrolled growth are war or pandemic, because the third option, choosing to have a single child or no children at all, is not an option as we breed mindlessly like yeast and poison the very environment that we rely upon to live with no regard for the future.

      Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes!

      • geraldfnord

        Unfortunately, modern society requires a certain level of population to maintain it—we can’t lose too many telephone-sanitisers—and if we collapse, all the richer veins of materials would be missing this time, though the teeming forest might help….

    • Jon

      such wise comments – check out Jon Steward’s penis morality theory – he speaks for you

    • Jon
  • Ed75

    A reporter asks John Kerry and off-hand question … he gives a quick answer … and Russia urges Syria to accept the offer. This unseen way out is one of the results of the pope’s worldwide prayer for peace in Syria and worldwide. Let’s hope we make the most of it.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I wish I thought the Russians were sincere.

    • 1Brett1

      I guess God’s not going to just give us freely the way to stop harming innocent people, including children. God is thinking: “well, I could just stop all of this senseless killing and maiming, and I could prevent future killing and maiming that occurs from gassing and missile striking; there is all of this prayer going on, after all…now let’s see what was that incantation for ending the killing, um…?? [As he gets ready to show his mercy] Um…??” “WAIT,” he decides, “no, wait, these wretched little beings on earth need to learn a lesson; I’ll offer the potential to have this stop and provide a lesson at the same time but THEY have to work together to get it done! I’ve given them free will so I must only gently prompt them! …And if they don’t help themselves, then the killing will continue. Besides, I’ve got some earth quakes to cause on Thursday to punish people for gays in New York, so I already have a lot on my plate.”

      • geraldfnord

        If Free Will is so important, important enough (in the views of many) for me to risk eternal torment in exchange for it, why was I given no choice in the matter of having it or not?

        (There’s no real paradox here: Free Will as usually constructed is manifold; the choice in having it or not could be an isolated choice, something like a boot-sector read.)

      • Ed75

        Well, that’s a lengthy reply, and funny too. As it says in Scripture, ‘God’s thoughts are not our thoughts’. There is no doubt that God loves us (“If you knew how much I love you, you would cry for joy” – Mary at Medjugorje), and that God does not want suffering. But it seems to me God always looks first at eternity, willing the salvation of all people. These disasters are meant to make us turn away from our sins and to him for help and mercy, which are available at all times. To live with him here and now. But prayer, as Mary also tells us, can change world events, can stop wars and natural disasters. It’s kind of like asking a friend for help.

        • 1Brett1

          Ed, thanks for your reply…a couple of things (and this may just be my take based on the lens I look through, as we each have our own lens). First, to say, “These disasters are meant to make us turn away from our sins…” is to say HE causes these disasters, and it also kind of sanitizes disasters/treats disasters euphemistically. It also denies the natural world’s force, power, and…well, inherent nature. Maybe you could sell your point better if you used natural disasters in the same Free Will way you use events people initiate? “God created the natural world; intrinsic to the natural are cataclysms; these happen by the natural world freely/naturally; their “benefit” has a two-fold quality of having a system of checks and balances built into the natural world to keep the earth cleansed and functional; they also teach people a valuable lesson…” and so on. Hmmm? Waddaya think? It’s more deistic, and it makes God seem less vengeful.

          I also think the “kind of like asking a friend for help” is a tad blasphemous…I mean, my friends aren’t omniscient.

          • Ed75

            Well, I have some friends who think they are omniscient …. Anyway, that’s a good point. From Catholic theology you are right on: natural cataclysms are part of nature, natural, not caused by God in the direct sense, but they are the result of the damage to all of creation due to Original Sin. A damaged creation. In creation as it was made there weren’t earthquakes, etc.
            In Catholic theology there is also an agent or person we need to mention, who is the source of the problems: Satan. Without him we can’t explain the problems. As the cloistered sisters in Syria said when asking the US not intervene, ‘The evil one is very active at this time’. God saves us from Satan in the suffering and death of Jesus.

  • responseTwo

    Think of all the topics NPR could discuss if they would give up on their 24 hour obsession with war. We went through this with the Iraq war and here we are again, more war. Why not have a show about hot pathetic it is to have war all the time? I’m 61. when I was young war was an aberration. Now it’s a media money-maker.

    Why not drop the next seven war shows and cover these.
    defunding public education system
    decaying infrastructure
    factories closing and moving overseas
    the transfer of most of our nation’s wealth to 0.01% of the population
    decline in the American spirit.

    • alsordi

      We need a show exposing the root causes of war. The actual WAR MACHINE and their compromised politicos like Kerry, McCain and Hillary, that dance like penguins to its tune. The enduring influence of the neocon zionist fanatics and their powerful AIPAC lobby and media connection that coerces American politics. Also a show on the dependence of the much of the US on the defense industry and military employment. Also a show on the FEDERAL RESERVE and how it is actually American military might that upholds the value of a meer paper currency, and maintains its ostensible link to OIL. Once this hideous root problem is addresses then Americans can start working on infrastructure and social issues.

    • Jon

      Well it’s the nature of capitalism and democracy. what you minority do about it?

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    The Nobel Committee wants Obama’s Peace Prize back — so they can give it to Putin.

    • Shag_Wevera

      You must be so excited to have a legitimate reason to kick our president in the coinpurse…

    • Jon

      Well Putin wouldn’t have had time to come up with this idea had Obama attacked like brainless W and McCain. So Give your president some credit

      • HonestDebate1

        I don’t understand your logic. McCain was never President and Bush went to Congress and the UN. The march to war was painfully slow.

        • Jon

          I understand you’re still determined to liberate muslims, right?

          • HonestDebate1

            Well that would be nice but it wasn’t my point. What basis do you have to assume McCain or Bush would have rushed to war?

          • Jon

            call it a hunch?
            not your point, then why you follow?

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s an ill-informed hunch. You made a illogical assumption.

          • Jon

            hunch is illogical but not necessarily wrong. Logic however can be deadly wrong with a false premise.

          • HonestDebate1

            And the false premise is there was a knee-jerk rush to war in Iraq.

          • Jon

            like “let’s liberate the muslims”?

          • NewtonWhale

            From 6 months ago:

            “On Tuesday, Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) released a joint statement calling for U.S. intervention in Syria after unconfirmed reports of chemical weapon usage.”


            From 4 months ago:

            Sen. McCain Calls For U.S. To Intervene In Syria


            From 2 weeks ago:

            Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told Fox News that he finds America’s lack of support for the Syrian population “shameful,” criticizing the Obama administration for waiting so long to act.

            “The only way you’re gonna solve this is help those people overthrow Bashar al-Assad,” he said. “And is it complicated and is it difficult? Of course. But it’s much more complicated and difficult then it would be if we’d acted to help these people two years ago.”


          • Ray in VT

            Now why do you have to go digging through what someone said?

          • J__o__h__n

            When hasn’t McCain advocated rushing to war?

    • NewtonWhale

      The idea was Kerry’s, however offhanded it may have seemed.

      Also, give some credit to Margaret Brennan of CBS News, who asked whether there was anything that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria “could do or offer that would stop an attack?”


      Instead of asking another stupid process question (“how will you persuade the Congress?”) or a question that is only of interest to Washington insiders (“was it a mistake to go to Congress?”) , Brennan committed actual journalism. And she might have helped save lives as a result.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Could it be possible that the American people have shouted “NO!” to intervention in Syria loud enough and often enough that their government may be beginning to hear them? If true, it may be the one positive takeaway from the whole Syria fiasco.

    • alsordi

      Not very possible. If you remember, the Iraq war and the Wall Street bail out, the American government could care less what its people think. It is Russian and China and Iran, and particularly Putin’s quick action that is impeding this war. Otherwise, Israeli planes and US drones would already be bombing, despite what Americans want.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    I am so sick of warmongering by the media. Still a bunch of Judith Millers. Show them a high resolution picture with circles and arrows and they instantly become cheerleaders for spilling our blood and treasure.

    It’s amusing how Putin has saved President Obama from a humiliating defeat in the congress. He will grab this like a drowning man grabs a life preserver. Funny thing is that the right thing has happened, namely, international cooperation and diplomacy. That is the way to handle these situations, not cruise missile fireworks and economic stimulus for Raytheon and General Dynamics.

    The “very tiny” (Kerry) action that President Obama was going to get humiliated over would do absolutely nothing good and would make us even more hated in the ME. Anyone advocating war must explain how it’s going to make things better long term, and not a macho feelgood gesture. I haven’t hear anything like that.

    • Jon

      I suspect Obama expects a defeat by congress so that he can eat his words – not a bad stretchy.

    • Jon

      hesitation, self restrain against war is a virtue not vice. give him credit

      • TomK_in_Boston

        I do. Hesitation is infinitely better than W’s “strong leadership” that cost us 50,000 casualties or so, hundreds of thousands of iraqi casualties, and over $1 trillion down the toilet. Unfortunately, the monkey brain wants that “strong leadership” in the moment without figuring the cost down the road.

  • Coastghost

    Outsourcing diplomatic initiatives seems from the outset so sensible a policy for the Obama Administration that we’re compelled to wonder why coming to this pass took so long.
    Maybe the Russian initiative to salvage Obama’s burning bacon is a sign of Russian guilt or repentance: the Russians must be sincerely penitent for having filched Snowden’s NSA treasure trove so easily and felt the need to compensate, or perhaps just to thank effusively, the Obama Administration for its blundering generosity.
    This Obama is such a cunning fellow! the living image of guilelessness for our troubled times.

    • brettearle

      The Russians actually may have made some sophisticated determinations and calculations that they–and their regional interests–may have been much worse off, had the US gone ahead with its Mission.

      And, indeed, it may have been something that Obama told Putin at the G-20.

  • alsordi

    Interesting how the US media is now focusing on alleged use of chemical weapons, that Americans are completely distracted by the fact that the Syrian civil war was provoked and funded by the USA, Israel, and the UK.

    • brettearle

      Specific and clear sources for all your claims, please….

      • alsordi

        Give me minute Brett, i’m on the line with Tel Aviv as we speak, and the CIA should be returning my call any minute.

        • brettearle


          alsordi’s comment is what he THINKS…NOT what he KNOWS.

          • alsordi

            FACT Its already out there that the US backs the insurgency. WHY DONT YOU PROVE THAT SYRIA USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS !!!!!

          • brettearle

            Backs the insurgency–and there is a question of how much–is one thing.

            PAYS for Everything is quite, quite, quite another matter!!!!!

            [Let's see.....don't quote me, but I believe I used as many exclamation marks as you did....no more, no less.]

            And of course, alsordi also has proof that USA, UK, and Israel provoked the Civil War.

            Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, alsordi has PROOF…..

            As soon as he gets off the phone, with the CIA, he will tell us….

    • alsordi

      Wow, the show didnt even start and I got three thumbs down on this comment. Looks like I hit a sore spot for the establishment watchdogs. But I’ll stand by my point and to take it as a compliment. BTW you can throw in the French as well with the backers of the Syrian terrorist rebels.

  • Jon

    Believe it or not – it’s a victory to Obama’s timid leadership and shy responsibility. We’d have another war for sure with leaders like W or McCain.

    On another note – Obama’s foreign policy advisers should be all fired and replaced with Putin’s – And we’re finally in peace.

    • anamaria23

      It is disturbing that so many US citizens are glorifying Vladimer Putin, a former KGB thug who has made himself a multibillionaire by pocketing for himself profits from oil.
      His initiative came only after the threat of a strike by which he would stand to lose bigtime. His stick it to President Obama has taken a sudden turn. He is no hero.

      • MrNutso

        Putin came up with his idea to save his ally in the Middle East. That it could keep us out of military action was not part of his calculus.

        • HonestDebate1

          I just wonder what Putin wants (or got) in return.

          • Jon

            Right, that’s exactly the thinking W had before he started preemptive war

          • HonestDebate1

            What’s W got to do with anything?

          • Jon

            the pattern of thinking like yours?

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • anamaria23

            He already got Edward Snowden, a pretty big catch.

          • HonestDebate1

            True, but Snowden was not offered up, he fell in to Putin’s lap.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Who cares, what matters to me abt Snowden is we got the truth about what the NSA is up to.

            Are you another one of those big gub’mint haters who love the NSA?

          • TomK_in_Boston

            He’s always wanted for Russia to be a player in international affairs, like in the good old days. Now he’s center stage in the ME.

          • thequietkid10

            Simple, same thing he has wanted this whole time, the continued presence of Assad in Syria. One of the guest suggested that Assad would squeeze the Russians for more conventional weapons, and I think she is on target with that request. Whether or not it will lead to the destruction of the deal, remains to be seen.

        • Jon

          does it matter?

      • Jon

        so you like heroes like W? Doesn’t matter who putin was what matters is how to solve this crisis without war

      • Jon

        another democratic note – that’s what they called checks and balance?

      • alsordi

        Putin actually saved his country from a bunch of thugs, and his background as a KGB has proven essential in allowing him to effectively deal with the CIA and Mossad which continues to assist the oligarch thugs to destroy Russia.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        …as opposed to a mediocrity who became a millionaire via daddy’s connections in the oil biz, got to be prez thanks to daddy’s sec state as his lawyer, and led us into a disaster in iraq over non-existent WMD. But, to listen to most of the DC echo chamber and its parrots on this forum, you’d think we really need a W now, Gawd help us.

  • Jon

    Looks like America is defeated by Russia for the first time in history – and in retrospect it’s not a bad thing for Americans

    • hellokitty0580

      How is this defeat? Isn’t this the best possible solution for an American public that espouses international norms and laws but doesn’t actually want to get its own military involved? I just don’t see how that is defeat. Yea, we don’t like Putin, but the reality is he’s the leader of Russia and we have to deal with him.

      • Jon

        It’s figuratively speaking. I just heard from NPR a lady said it’s pathetic for Americans that Obama is given a get out of jail free card from Russia.

        • hellokitty0580

          And I heartily disagree with her. I think its an extreme comment to make on her part. What’s more important? The US always being “right” or finding a multilateral, non-violent solution? I mean, seriously. I think our expectations of what Obama is capable of and most US presidents for that matter are delusional. They’re not superheroes.

          • Jon

            totally agree with you. I think Obama is a hero – just not the stereotyped one. It takes some thinking to see that.

            I did say it’s a victory in the previous note below -

          • hellokitty0580

            Sure, but you also said that Obama’s leadership is timid and he shies away from responsibility which I don’t agree with. I think we’re used to leaders who shoot from the hip, but that’s just not who he is. He’s thoughtful, measured, and he wants to foster public dialogue. Maybe that’s just something the American public isn’t used to.

          • Jon

            Life is full of involuntary heroes. I think he regrets his red line comments but wants to be a man of his words. Took it to the congress expecting a defeat there is just an excuse to step back. It’s a possibility?

            He doesn’t like war – that’s the bottom line.

          • JobExperience

            Now he can host SNL.

          • Jon

            Indeed. In fact I like GOP for their courage of self satirism something the democrats lack.

        • TFRX

          Was it an NPR regular, or a guest or other audio clip.

          Because if it’s an NPR regular, I’m going out on a very short limb and guessing Mara Liasson, Beltway Inbred.

          • Jon

            honestly don’t remember – but she spoke of the ‘fact’ just with a biased opinion.

        • geraldfnord

          It’s about as pathetic as Kennedy’s agreeing to removing our missiles from Turkey in order to avoid atomic war; for me, that works out to ‘not a bit’ but ‘your mileage may vary’.

  • 1Brett1

    Interesting turn of events…”Will Vlad save the day? Will B and Vlad break borscht once again? Will Bashie now, through joining other countries in the international agreement not to use chemical weapons, suddenly admit he indeed has chemical weapons, giving them up? STAY TUNED!” (Cue the weird 50s-style soap opera organ). AND, next week on As The World Slowly Burns…Will MIchelle find that special ‘thank you’ card and make Barack write a heartfelt note to Vladimir? (cue organ music, once again, then fade)

    P.S.-Are Putin and Assad just doing this to force the issue that, underneath it all, they are just a couple of cuddly little teddy bears? Or, is Assad actually blinking, and is Putin’s overture in part being prompted by the thought that rebels in Syria do have some affiliations with unsavory characters, some of whom have connections in parts of Russia, and somehow chemical weapons could just end up in the wrong hands and be used against Russians? What retired KGB agent wouldn’t like a little Cold War vibe, yet would still squirm a bit when sh*t gets real?

    • JobExperience

      They should share a dome.

  • hellokitty0580

    I don’t think it matters whether the Russians came up with this plan or the Americans. If this means taking no military action, then awesome. I think the American threat of action definitely made a difference in Russia’s decision to push Syria and I’m glad that we’re able to work as an international community through diplomatic actions rather than through violence. Hopefully we will continue to work together as an international community to de-escalate this whole civil war in a non-violent way.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Amen – that the right thing happened (maybe) is far more important then why. We should be working with Russia all the time – and with Iran.

      • Jon

        I think you 2 should be running for public office

        • hellokitty0580

          I’m actually trying to work for the state department.

          • Jon

            then I have an eye for the talent. go for it!

          • JobExperience

            Cat equality is the next civil rights battle.

          • TFRX

            “Cat equality”?

            Why would felines bring themselves down to the level of their mere human staff and food dispensers?

          • Ray in VT

            They sure do think that they’re all high and mighty. Somebody should take them down a peg. I attempt to let me wife’s cat know who is boss by constantly reminding her (the cat) that I am the bigger carnivore and that I could eat her if I wanted to.

          • hennorama

            hellokitty0580 – If that’s the case, you might want to stop making comments on public message boards.

          • sickofthechit

            I agree with Hennorama point. It is sad but true about the very real dangers of posting on a public forum if you are thinking of working for the state dept. disqs is screwing up again.

          • hellokitty0580

            Ha, I know right?

          • hennorama

            sickofthechit – my point is that reading a potential employee’s comments on public message boards (and investigating other online activity) are part of a potential employer’s considerations. This would be especially true for the State Department as an employer, and one expects that “undiplomatic” online comments and activities would not be viewed favorably. The history of the way a potential diplomat has communicated online is a factor in the employment decision.

            In addition, one needs to consider the brouhaha resulting from tweets out of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, both before and after the Embassy was breached last September.

          • sickofthechit

            Hennorama- I was trying to agree with you but disqs screwed up the indentions and made it look like I was trying to start something.

          • hennorama

            sickofthechit – apologies for the delayed reply.

            No worries. I was trying to amplify and clarify my point as well.

          • JobExperience

            When they want your opinion they’ll email it to you.

          • jefe68

            No kidding. Unless this person is in a library or internet cafe somewhere the IP address is traceable.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 – that’s true, but that wasn’t my intended point. See my reply to [sickofthechit], below.

          • Ray in VT

            One could always drive around trying to hop onto insecure wi-fi.

          • JobExperience

            You’re too principled.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    So was this play by design or dumb luck? Would anyone choose to loose future advantage by admitting manipulating a situation towards a desired outcome?

    Sadly, with hollow threats, diplomacy results in nothing… and that happens far too often as human tragedies slowly unfold on massive scales like Rwanda and the many Congo wars (Not to single out Africa by any means).

    And then there are the disingenuous politicians in Washington for whom any idea proffered by the other is bad, even if these devious curmudgeons came up with it first. This damn you if you do, damn you if you don’t strategy is the opposite of patriotism.

    • thequietkid10

      I do recall a last second ultimatum to Iraq, by President Bush, of course the Iraqis had no WMDs so they couldn’t comply.

  • SteveTheTeacher

    Rather than seeking to impose its will through military attacks, with the Russian proposal on the table, the US government has an opportunity to show true international leadership.

    Will the US government can take an active role to assure the success of the proposal to have Syrian chemical weapons turned over to international observers, or will US officials sit on the sidelines seeking out excuses to declare the proposal a failure?

    Will the US government use the offer of collaboration by the Iranian government as a means by which to begin the process of building US/Iranian ties, or will US officials cynically rebuff the Iranian overtures?

    Will the US government seek to bring together other regional players, such as Hezbollah and Saudi Arabia?

    Will the US government collaborate with international partners to move forward a peace process that can begin to draw the Syria war to a close?

    It should be clear that the need for robust diplomacy trumps the disproportionate support for and emphasis on the military.

  • askold melnyczuk
  • HLB

    Russia upstages the USA on Syria and the pampered diaper twins, Obama and Kerry, can’t stand it.

    “How dare they rain on our limited theater approach to something that must not be called warfare but the president has the sole authority to wage. The absolute nerve of those Russians!”

    The size of the egos in Washington, D.C. must be approaching solar system size. The skin thickness there almost microscopic.

    Thanks much. Veteran/Citizen/Old School Liberal

  • Ray in VT

    If some sort of valid, workable agreement can be reached based upon either the Russian proposal, the planned French U.N. Security Council proposal or some combination of the two (or possibly some other proposal), then I think that that is a positive step. I certainly prefer that to getting involved militarily in another country in the Middle East.

    If the chemical, and possibly biological, weapons issue can be removed from the situation, then that is progress, although it still leaves the situation of the civil war ongoing.

    I am wondering if Russia, in light of statements from several more nations supporting some sort of military action against Syria, is looking to keep the international community out of the ongoing civil war, thereby perhaps preserving their ally Assad’s grip on power (for now).

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Do you think Dr Assad is still seeing patients? I think he looks creepy, I wouldn’t want him holding a drill in my mouth. If he suggested gas I’d insist on novocaine.

    • Coastghost

      Was his training in dentistry or ophthalmology?

      • JobExperience

        Can’t you trust your own research?

    • JobExperience

      Wow! An eye doctor does your dentistry?
      I bet Bashar Assad is a better ophthalmologist than Rand Paul.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Got my specialties confused. Well, I wouldn’t want him looking into my eyes, either, but the gas joke doesn’t work now. Him and rand paul, there’s an interesting couple.

        • Coastghost

          Well, you could try another one about the newfound popularity of nitrous oxide in the Oval Office.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            I’ll do that if they start acting like the crazed Bush’ites.

  • toc1234

    the basis of Obama’s latest plan is a gaffe by Kerry??? Amateur hour continues at the WH while the world laughs…

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Oh, for the good old days of strong professional leadership and the iraq war. That was so good for the USA, and now things are so good in iraq.

    • northeaster17

      Was it really a gaffe? Stranger messages have been sent.

    • jimino

      Thankfully those in charge are not as simple minded as you or the “you’re-either-with-us-or-against-us” crowd. And the very idea that you know anything about how “the world” is reacting is ludicrous.

      • toc1234

        not sure what part of my post you dispute… the plan was spawned from a Kerry gaffe (he later said, before Russia called him on it, he was just thinking aloud). And the handling of this Syria issue has been described by people such as Chris Matthews as a disaster. so perhaps you replied to the wrong comment.

  • Jon

    A suggestion to Obama’s speech writer tonight – say something nice about Putin and Russia. that is the way to show true American leadership for the world.

    • Jon

      that’s the way how to build chemistry between Obama and Putin – good news for everybody globally

    • JobExperience

      Barack should open the set with “it was just my imagination,, running away with me”

  • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

    The UN Weapons Management Teams need to go into Syria with the consent and cooperation of all sponsor nations to secure all the chemical weapons munitions held by all factions.

    Moreover, having UN Weapons Management Teams deployed across Syria would make it impossible for the US to commit the tactical blunder that it was about to commit.

    And while there are there, they can collect evidence to confirm or refute the other hypotheses regarding release of chemical agents in the suburbs of Damascus. In particular, they can examine the rebel tunnels where, according to some accounts, the catastrophic release of toxic agents was the result of accidental mishandling of these munitions by untrained rebel factions.

    I’m especially eager to hear if Saudi Arabia supports a plan to let the UN Weapons Management Teams to secure all CWs on all sides.

    • TFRX

      Paging Hans Blix!

      I wonder if our chickenhawks, the cowardly neocons who got us into Iraq, went crawling on their hands and knees to Blix if he’d agree to do what he knows how to in Syria.

      • Ray in VT

        Hans Blix? Puh-lease. Look how wrong he was about Iraq’s WMDs in 2002 and 2003. Why, I bet that right now Assad is shipping the WMDs that he got from Iraq across the border into Iran.

        • JobExperience

          Syria has no common border with Iran.
          Maybe he’s using the transporter, Scotty.

          • Ray in VT

            What? Isn’t Syria Iran’s route to the sea?

          • JobExperience

            Iraq’s maybe. Iran is on the Persian Gulf.

          • Ray in VT

            I know. I was joking, and I was also referencing a Romney comment from last year.

          • JobExperience

            Those Mormons are world travelers.
            They look in their tophats to navigate.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s a good one. I’ve always wondered about the old top hat magic rock (I think) claim. In some respects I guess that it’s not any more nuts than the claims of other religions. I was just discussing some aspects of LDS theology and practice with a lapsed Mormon the other day.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT – Poor Mr. Romney.

            As gaffes go, “Syria is Iran’s route to the sea” ranks behind

            “…there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled …”

            And during the 2nd Presidential debate, he said

            “As president, I will create 12 million new jobs,” then, about 45 minutes later, said “Government does not create jobs. Government does not create jobs.”

            The perfect flip-flop.

            And of course, the “binders full of women.”

            1000 words worth:


          • Ray in VT

            Gaffes can be pretty funny, and most politicians, and others in the public eye, make them, especially given the never ending campaign that goes on these days, so I do try not to give people too much flak for them, although they certainly can bring some levity to a given situation. I was thinking yesterday how I could work “binders full of women” into something.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT – good point, but in this particular case, Mr. Romney had said “Syria is Iran’s path to the sea” on multiple prior occasions. It was not a one-time flub that’s easily excused.


          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, that one does make it a bit different from something like binders or the trees being the right height or whatever else one wants to use. My favorite is still about moving all Jeep production to China. That isn’t really a gaffe in the more humorous sense, but it’s still a good one.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m surprised to not see an anti-Daily Kos comment.

      • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

        At a minimum, I’d be thrilled if some subject-matter experts would at least bear accurate witness regarding the status of chemical weapons in the Middle East and the forensic analysis of their deployment and release.

  • Coastghost

    Confidence over exactly what will emerge from Obama’s mouth in eleven hours is vastly premature, considering events of the past twenty-four hours: by the time he speaks tonight, Obama might decide to devote his little chat almost entirely to US domestic policy, with only the briefest allusion to his foreign policy prowess.

    • hennorama

      Coastghost – it does appear, as many have said, that President Obama is more interested in the middle class than the Middle East.

  • TFRX

    Why our host “hates” to even talk about the politics of saying how avoiding military intervention in Syria is a win for Obama is beyond me.

    Half of our media is dedicated to saying everything the President does is a losing manuver, before it’s even been mentioned. Just the price of being a Democrat.

  • Wahoo_wa

    Tom suggesting that this is a “win” for Obama is a Fox News level spin on the story. Nobel Peace Prize winner “bringing us to peace through the threat of war.” Really Tom?! Really?

  • HLB

    If this works, Obama should nominate Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize. And you know how that would just gall Obama; Kerry; the Clintons; and the rest of the Washington, D.C. grab bag of infantile egos.

    Thanks much. HLB

  • John_in_Amherst

    A negotiated solution to the chemical weapons issue would be a welcomed and nearly unprecedented feat, and who cares where the idea came from, as long as it is workable and implemented post haste. But it is only a start. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that, while chemical weapons have killed 1000 or 1400, conventional warfare has killed more than 100,000, mostly civilians, and displaced millions. Are bullets and bombs horrors we have become accustomed too? Is there really something more humane to being shot or blown to bits?
    And what of the conflicts in less strategic places? Are mass killings OK in places where it doesn’t stand to interfere with the stability (read: commerce) of the industrialized world?

    Hopefully this Syria deal will demonstrate that the world really can talk its way out of man-made disasters and perhaps even bolster the role of the UN in maintaining peace…..

  • Coastghost


  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Securing, transporting and destroying weapons in the middle of a war zone… scarey and problematic!!! God save the souls who may be sent in to try to eliminate these weapons.

    • hennorama

      MadMarkTheCodeWarrior – don’t forget that they have to FIND the chemical weapons first. This requires unfettered access, which seems unlikely to be possible in the midst of a shooting religious civil war.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        Indeed, smoke and mirrors work well in the fog of war.

        • hennorama

          MMTCW – well crafted, that.

  • Coastghost

    Requisite specificity, Tom: “the authorization he does not need.”

  • Coastghost

    Mr. Cirincione: Obama has said plainly more than twice that HE DOES NOT NEED CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORIZATION.

  • HLB

    The POTUS speech tonight on all the major networks.

    “Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea. I would like to thank Mr. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, for pulling my eggs out of the fire re: My Mess in Syria.

    So until we see a working resolution in the Security Council sponsored by the Russians, I’m going to get back to my ab crunches & my golf game. And Congress.. well they can get back to doing whatever it is they do.

    God bless America and all the rest of that twaddle.”

    –Barack H. Obama, President of the USA
    {Nobel Peace Prize recipient, holder of lowest handicap among golfer guys in the White House}

    Thanks, Mr. President. For not having to do anything.

    • geraldfnord

      How critical were you of Mr Bush’s longer vacations, exercise sessions, and golf-outings? Or did he suffer with you from the soft bigotry of low expectations?

      • TFRX

        HLB has self-identified as “Veteran/Citizen/Old School Liberal”, which may well set his/her opinions–both current and in the runup to Iraq a decade ago–apart from all the TPCs (TruePrincipledConservatives).

    • sickofthechit

      Sounds like somebody is miffed their golf handicap is still in the double digits.

  • Eric Dickerson

    My reading of the strategic implications: Assad just won the war.
    1 you cant locate and remove the chemical weapons without a cease fire
    2 a cease fire means assad consolidates and the islamists retreat into neighboring territory
    3 the agreement that gets us there means that if the US intervenes militarily for any reason (e.g. if assad steps up conventional warfare, breaks cease fire, etc), it is seen as a major breach of faith and general hostilities escalate between the US and Russia
    Thanks and keep up the good work, Tom.

  • YesMan11

    Please cover the fact that Saudi Arabia openly pledged Sochi terrorism if they didn’t step away from Assad.

  • sickofthechit

    Who cares if Russia, the US, Putin, Obama or whoever wins. I am pulling for the World on this one. Charles A. Bowsher

  • hennorama

    President Obama is just channeling President Theodore Roosevelt:


    (Image Credit: Illustration: Luis Vazquez/Gulf News)

    • hennorama

      Apologies for the image difficulties.

      (Image Credit: Illustration: Luis Vazquez/Gulf News)

      • Coastghost

        –except that Obama (our Nerf President) wields a nerf bat.

        • JobExperience

          Being a nerf nation may be a good thing.

        • hennorama

          Coastghost – it would appear that both Russia and Syria disagree.

          Certainly these folks and their colleagues do:


          (according to strangemilitary.com, “The Atlantic Ocean, Sept. 13, 2001 Hundreds of crew members of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), in dress white uniforms, spell out a reference to the quote of former President Theodore Roosevelt: “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” )


          • Coastghost

            It would appear that both Russia and Syria agree to let slugger Obama keep whiffing.

        • HonestDebate1

          And it is “unbelievably small”.

  • Coastghost

    IF the US Senate ever votes on giving President Obama the authorization to launch military strikes in Syria (authorization the President has claimed vociferously that he does not need) AND the Senate resolution fails: would the House even need to conduct a vote of its own?

  • geraldfnord

    Khruschev and Kennedy ended the missile crisis by agreeing to have the Soviets remove their missiles from Cuba in exchange for our removing our missiles from Turkey, with a face-saving interval between the two. If I had to bet, we will not be quite as aggressive helping-out the Syrian rebels as we might have been before…maybe Russia will impose a Kurdistan-like solution on Assad (as in: Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds, we made him keep his hands off them later on when we were provoked by his doing something _completely_ beyond the pale: not obeying us after we’d backed him).

    Harder to do in Syria, since there are government and rebel forces intermixed all over, but a few inhumane expulsions not quite reaching the level of genocide would solve that for a few years, by which point the pig might learn to sing. (…and the salafis forbid them to listen to its singing, though objecting more to the musical aspect than the porcine.)

  • Prairie_W

    The deal is just too sweet to be a Putin deal. It may have originated at the G20 when the Putin and Obama had a private conversation. And at a time when both were under pressure from the rest of the 20 to find a solution to the WMD problem.

    As Peter Baker described the genesis of Putin deal, it seemed obvious that handing it to Putin would solved myriad problems — Putin problems. It also explains why Obama allowed himself to appear as though he was floundering.

    As others have said, Obama has a history of getting much what he wants. One might also say he’s got a poker player’s talent for faking out his opponents. Congressional Republicans are, I think it’s clear, a much worse threat to America’s democracy than Vladimir Putin.

    One only has to look through the comments here to know that our permanent warriors are still many and loud. McCain may be in tears this morning. We have a problem in America when so many of us seem to believe that war is preferable to diplomacy and peace. It’s about as appropriate in a civilized nation as knowing how to drive a tank but not how to get your car to the supermarket and to your job.

    These folks also seem to want Russia as an enemy. Could we maybe outgrow all that? Finally?

    • thequietkid10

      I’m a big fan of this idea, doesn’t mean I like Putin. Let’s call a spade a spade, Putin is a snake, a strongman and is doing everything in his power to protect his ally in Syria.

      • Prairie_W

        I’d like to recommend, in passing, UMich’s Middle East expert, Juan Cole, who has been a stable source of background information and wise counsel. Take for example his latest, though I disagree with his take on the origin of the Putin deal.


      • JobExperience

        So Putin is the next Assad?

  • Casey Reyner

    Congress still needs to pass the resolution to act. We should not use it but, if we don’t I could see Russia backing out.

    • brettearle

      Russia could, but they would look like fools–unless they lied, cleverly.

      Countries certainly lie cleverly–but under this Global microscopic scrutiny, it is less likely.

    • JobExperience

      Maybe if Assad doesn’t move fast enough they can stipulate attacking Russia. The nuclear advantage has not been this great since the 50s. Russian oil and gas would pay for the entire cost say Neocons, Screw the People. Robots can grow Elite food.

  • toc1234

    Josh, in your expert opinion, who is laughing the hardest this week? Assad, Putin or Hilary?

    • brettearle

      The Jingoistic Gods are laughing the hardest:

      Peace may have won the battle. But the Gods of Aggression are laughing–because they know that they are going to win the War.

  • HLB

    If Assad keeps his chemical weapons against a Russian broker UN resolution, then Assad loses all of his cover from the Russians, the Chinese, and the British Parliament. Then the next time he uses those weapons will start the timer for his last days on earth.

    The US can then declare war unilaterally, remove Assad and his tribe from power, and NO ONE, NO ONE on earth can object to it. With a Russia/UN resolution: the red line is now Assad’s to cross.

    Do you really suppose Putin is going to let Assad throw feces on the face of Mother Russia after the UN resolution is passed? Not on your bone-breaking KGB.

    Thanks much. Veteran/Real world dweller

  • George Klotzbach

    So Putin wants the chemical weapons under third party control.. What assurance is there that Syria will turn over anything close to their stockpile of these?

    • geraldfnord

      It’s not important that Assad turn over all his weapons, just enough to credibly avoid bombing him and the assurance to his backers (who now will hold the leash tighter) that he won’t use what’s left until it’s a matter of personal life or death. It’s something between ‘really disarming’ and ‘the mere appearance of disarming’, and good enough for government work’, figuratively and literally.

      • brettearle

        Surely, you jest.

        This is one of them, there, “you can’t be partially pregnant” deals.

    • brettearle

      Maybe if we said, pretty please.

  • Coastghost

    Oh great: so Obama really thinks HE’S driving a driverless car?

  • HLB

    A Congressional resolution to wage war on Syria in Obama’s back pocket is a gun he can’t use so long as the UN Security Council is working on a resolution to remove Assad’s chemical weapons. The resolution is a good idea so long as Obama and Kerry never mention it.

    Any day that Assad is not using chemical weapons AND Russia & the USA are working together to remove threats in the region is a good day for the planet. Only an idiot refuses to take YES for an answer.

    Let’s hope Obama and Kerry can get over their egos. Yes, almost insurmountable obstacles.

    Thanks much. HLB

  • TFRX

    Mitch McConnell isn’t on board?

    Boo hoo hoo.

    Screw him and anyone who believes his crocodile tears.

    I want OnPoint to lock down all the Republican congresscritters that were marching us in lockstep to invade Iraq behind the firehose of lies, vials of Crystal Lite, and bullflop of SmokingGunMushroomCloud.

    And keep plenty of copies of this show around. The next time a Republican president wants to strike militarily against anyone, our media tastemakers won’t be having a conversation about it.

    • brettearle

      There’s plenty of hypocrisy to go around, isn’t there?

      It’s a pandemic.

      • hennorama

        brettearle – it’s also a Damn Epic Imp Dance.

        Plain truth found in plain sight, rederanged.

        • brettearle

          ROY AMBER SAY, “BS.”

          • hennorama

            brettearle – dude, please. Embarrass By, Yo!

            A Brassy Embryo Brays As Embryo.

            Baby Smear Rosy.

            Roar, Messy Baby.

            Abyss Bore Army.

            Sorry As Me, Baby.

          • brettearle

            I cry Fowl!

          • hennorama

            brettearle –

            Fowl is fare and fare fowl be
            Cover you blog vanity

            Dabble dibble soil and stubble
            Dire durn ye maudlin Muggle

          • brettearle

            Oh that this too Jellied mesh doth melt
            Thy Trappist monk to him hath dealt…

            Thy seeds preserved in Blob of Steve McQueen;
            Or find them, else, in songs of Ben Vereen…

          • brettearle

            Und Pun verboten mit Blog und Blob; oder, Blob und Blurb…..

          • hennorama

            Inanity, thy name is you man
            Sanity my aim be, true fan

            Ere end deep, morass plunge we
            Reserve thy verse [profanity]!

          • 1Brett1

            Macbeth? Act IV Scene I? Or, maybe it was from Mcbeth’s? The ad for their new McChicken sandwich?

    • hennorama

      TRFX – so mute Mitch finally found his voice, AFTER events make a Senate vote unlikely?

      Quelle surprise.

    • HonestDebate1

      Count your lucky stars that Hussein isn’t still there in the middle of all this invading nations, shooting at our jets and gassing his people. And why no hate for all the Democrats that voted to go to Iraq? It wasn’t just a few.

      • Ray in VT

        Just imagine the havoc that could be wrought by a man so powerful that he didn’t even control all of his own country, couldn’t fly over much of his own country, didn’t manage to shoot down American jets and could hardly have done much damage with a WMD program that had been decimated and decayed since the aftermath of Desert Storm.

        Did those Democrats have access to the intelligence that ran counter to the spin that the Bush administration was selling to the public? If so, then they definitely deserve to be criticized for following Bush down the road to war that he spoke of wanting to start since at least 1999.

        • HonestDebate1

          Talk of war began in 1998 under Clinton. And yes Bush kept congress informed. They approved, as did the UN and over 30 allies who joined us.

          BTW, you do understand that intelligence very rarely is not contradicted by other intelligence. Ain’t ideological hindsight grand? I assume you are talking about some esoteric memo that ran counter to mountains of evidence. That’s the way you roll. But still it is extremely rare for all the intelligence to agree as they did in Benghazi about it being a terrorist attack.

          • Ray in VT

            And yet Clinton didn’t take us into war. Bush did, and do you have something actual to back up your claim that “Bush kept Congress informed”? Do you know or can you prove that the administration shared the doubts and intelligence that ran counter to their line that led us down the road to war? I really don’t know.

            One does not need to have ideological hindsight in order to see that counter positions and intelligence doubts were shunted aside if they didn’t fit the narrative. I am talking about major doubts within the government over claims regarding things such as aluminum tubes or Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda.

            Are you starting the Benghazi schtick early? Can’t wait until after midnight, huh? It’s funny how you seek to present some sort of monolithic, compelling views of the intelligence in both situations only in the ways that suit your ideological positions, ignoring evidence to the contrary. It certainly makes a mockery of your moniker espousing honest debate.

          • HonestDebate1

            Ignore the mountains of evidence, the best intel on the ground, the near universal agreement and go with the video. That was fine for you with Obama and Benghazi. It’s no wonder you expected Bush to do the same.

            I’m as honest as the day is long.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m giving leeway in a chaotic situation when there were conflicting intelligence reports from on the ground, and looking at other ongoing events, as well as recognizing that elements of Benghazi were certainly not in line with the situation that transpired in Cairo.

            The Obama administration may have been wrong, but I know. 17 days or something. It’s amazing that it could go on that long. And based upon the ultimately incorrect statements made by various Obama administration officials, how many countries did we invade, and how many people died as a result.

            I expected Bush to be honest with the American public about the state of the intelligence, and he, and others in his administration, were not, and for that, as well as for the fallout from their words, I condemn them and those who continue to make excuses and continue to grasp desperately at straws like Saddam having shipped his WMDs to Syria.

            The days must be pretty short where you’re from.

          • HonestDebate1

            Dude, your first paragraph extends every benefit of the doubt to the point of fantasy. The chaos was over in a day. The administration certainly knew it had nothing to do with the video when Susan Rice was sent out to lie. Obama certainly knew it had nothing to do with the video when he repeated it 2 weeks out. They lied, it’s proven.

            And you’re just over the deep end regarding Iraq. What in the world are you talking about? Are you saying there is no chance that any WMD went to Syria from Iraq? I can understand if you maintain there was an over reaction to an exaggerated threat, fine. I would disagree but that’s honest. You go all in though, there was not a speck of WMD, Hussein was helpless, he had no desire for nukes, he harbored not a single terrorist (I didn’t say Al qaeda), he would have been peachy on the sidelines if he was still here and Bush lied about everything. I am just amazed you continue to claim this convoluted position.

          • Ray in VT

            I find that generally you seem to inhabit a fantasy world regarding many things, and I don’t think that the leeway that I extend gets even close to some of the leaps and bounds that you make.

            The deep end regarding Iraq, indeed. Like continuing to push the Bush administration distortions and lies 10-11 years out. Give me a break. I’ll give credence to the possibility that WMDs may have moved to Syria when evidence emerges to support it, and that does not mean unsupported statements. If there was evidence, then why hasn’t it ever been made public. Why did his agency state that they “could not provide further evidence to support the general’s statement.”


            after his 2003 statement.

            Lastly, you’re putting a lot of words and statements into my mouth and ascribing to me a lot of positions and claims that I do not recall having made. Please provide me with some quotes via the search box where I said the things that you say that I said. I await your mountains of evidence. I guess that when one has a losing position based upon lies, distortions and misquotes, then one just has to make stuff up.

          • HonestDebate1

            Look Ray, you have zero credibility when you accuse me of continuing to push the Bush administration distortions and lies 10-11 years out. If you are not going to at the same time acknowledge the words of Kerry, Clinton, Albright, Berger, Algore. Daschle and the rest then your just not being honest.

            And I never said there was proof about WMD coming from Iraq. It was our current DNI who said there was evidence. If you don’t see the irony then fine.

            I have misquoted no one.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, again, if you can show me that those people had access to the intelligence doubts and contradictions that Bush and his people felt it unnecessary to share with the general public during the leadup to the invasion, then I will certainly criticize them and their comments. If they were not told of those issues, then that changes things for me.

            It was our current DNI, speaking in an unofficial capacity 10 years ago regarding a position which has never been supported by evidence. I don’t see the value in pushing a 10 year old, unsubstantiated statement. All I want is some proof. Maybe we can still suggest that Atta met with Iraqi officials in Prague. There’s a ten year old claim, and Cheney pushed that for years despite there not being evidence to ultimately support it, even by a CIA report in January of 2003.

            You also forgot to tell me that I claimed that Saddam gassed the Kurds with WMDs that he never had. Don’t forget that one. I mean, I never said it, but, then again, I didn’t say the other stuff that you said that I said either.

          • HonestDebate1

            Bush wasn’t President in 1998. By the time he got to the White house the intelligence had been long established and the inspectors long gone. You’re not making sense. Clinton’s CIA director said it was a slam dunk.

            Clapper was the chief of the Agency who monitored the caravan. His opinion is not unofficial. It is certainly not unsubstantiated that he said it. There may never be proof. Are you actually saying nothing should even be considered until there is proof? You have no proof otherwise about them coming from Egypt or Russia. None. Again, you are not consistent and are not making sense.

          • Ray in VT

            Clinton didn’t invade in 2003, so I’m not inclined to lay too much blame for the case for war in 2002 and the invasion in 2003 at his feet, and maybe if Bush had listened to the inspectors in late 2002 and early 2003 then he could have seen the evidence to the contrary, but he was finally getting the invasion that he had been jonesing for.

            So, you’ve made the comment at other times that it doesn’t matter who appointed the guy, so why does it matter who appointed Tenet? Bush kept him. Bush gave him a medal for screwing up. Way to make that buck stop somewhere.

            Clapper said that he was providing a personal assessment:


            and the agency denied that there was evidence to support his statement. I guess that the CRS report is nothing. I guess that we can never prove anything if it contradicts our partisan views. That must be a nice world to live in.

          • HonestDebate1

            Clinton wasn’t President after 9/11. All he did was pass the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 to pave the way for regime change. It was a big deal. His intelligence was better because the inspectors were still there. Tenet was there throughout.

            My wife has a mild case of shingles, she caught it early. We have a few doctors and nurses who board horses with us. One told her it was shingles and to go to urgent care immediately to start treatment. The nurse was here riding her horse and just offering a personal assessment. An accurate, informed, professional assessment.

            I don’t think it matters if Clapper was clocked in when he gave his opinion.

          • Ray in VT

            Ok, so 9/11 made it okay for Bush to mislead and lie to the American public in order to get us into a war that he had been favoring for years. Got it.

            Where’s the evidence to support Clapper’s statement? His agency denied that it had any when he made it, and nothing has surfaced since. Why should I give it any credence, unless I was seeking to justify Bush’s Iraq disaster?

          • HonestDebate1

            No, Bush didn’t lie. Nobody favors war. 9/11 changed the paradigm to begin the debate about preemptive action.

            Then why is Clapper now DNI if he is so unqualified? Why isn’t anyone asking him about it now?

          • Ray in VT

            Got it. Republicans never lie, no matter how badly they lie, but Democrats can be labelled as being liars even when their comments that are supposedly lies are easily reconciled with the statement that supposedly make it a lie.

            Who said that he is unqualified? Maybe someone should ask him now, and if he stands by that statement, then perhaps evidence to support it can be produced.

          • Ray in VT

            And how did that assessment turn out? If your wife had gone to the doctor and that doctor said that there was no evidence of shingles, then how would you judge that assessment.

          • HonestDebate1

            Well then that medical professional would be in conflict with the one she already saw. That didn’t happen because the person she talked to was a qualified in the field. And by field I mean field not office.

          • Ray in VT

            And if after 10 years no evidence of actual shingles emerged?

          • hennorama


      • TFRX

        Please, dive into the empty swimming pool that is your defense of “BothSidesGotAllTheIntelligence” and “Nobody called anyone a traitor ten years ago”, you hack.

  • OnPointComments

    I wasn’t sure at first, but I now believe this may be a parody:

    From “The Americans For Whatever Barack Obama Wants, Did You Know He’s Friends With Jay-Z” Political Action Committee:
    Help Kickstart World War III!


    • jimino

      “I believe that it [events on the United Airlines plane that crashed on 9/11] was the first counter-attack to World War III.” George W. Bush, May 5, 2006

      And that ain’t no parody, you fool (I only say that because you admit you weren’t sure the video FROM A COMEDY.NETWORK!!! was serious or not)

      Looks like you’re a little behind the times.

  • Andrew Page

    “Placed under international control…” What does that mean exactly? Is someone going to take them away and then when the civil war is over give them back? Is someone going to put ‘boots on the ground’ at the depots where these weapons are stored? Is that going to stop terrorist groups from wanting to get them for themselves? The last time I remember someone’s weapons being under ‘international’ control was when Yugoslavia was breaking up, the leftover weapons(tanks, artillery pieces) from the army were placed under “international control” until about 5 minutes after the Bosnian Serbs decided they wanted them back and they simply “pushed the UN aside, cut the locks off the warehouses and took them.”

  • Coastghost

    Disingenuity 102: Secretary Kerry praises Syrian use of chemical weapons as a stimulus to diplomatic efforts to limit their use.

    • Coastghost

      LATE-BREAKING: the New York Times reports that the Obama White House is now working with international partners to avert an American military strike on Syria. (The report seems not to mention just what pressure the Obama White House will bring to bear on the intransigent US government.)

    • brettearle


  • JeffEwener

    Is this an Obama victory? “To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence. Supreme excellence is defeating the enemy without fighting.” So Sun Tzu says yes.

    Incredibly ironic, still, that Obama blundered into this with a thoughtless throw-away line. Now Kerry, God willing, may have blundered out of with another thoughtless throw-away line. In both cases, they were trying to sound tough and determined, and stepped onto a water-slide they never knew was there.

  • Sy2502

    And so Russia comes in and saves the day…

  • HonestDebate1

    So was Assad quaking in his boots because of a threat of an unbelievably small symbolic attack that there weren’t enough votes for? Not likely.

    • Ray in VT

      Maybe Putin just asked nicely, and Assad, being the good guy that he is, said ok.

      • HonestDebate1

        Should Obama still have the vote so Assad knows we mean business… unbelievably small, very limited business?

  • OnPointComments

    If a Hollywood script writer proposed a movie in which an inept president, in an unscripted moment, delivers an ultimatum then denies making the ultimatum; causing an inept Secretary of State to say that bombing another country isn’t war and, in another unscripted moment, provides a loophole for the country being attacked; then the president asks an inept Congress to vote on the non-war but the vote isn’t binding and most members cast their votes opposite of their voting history; which prompts the evil archenemy to broker a solution to the non-ultimatum and unscripted moments, and thus avoids the non-war; if this concept was proposed, the producers would declare it absurd and never make the movie.

    • Coastghost

      If ever reality was stranger than fiction . . . I mean, not even the Hubble telescope can spot anything as odd as the District of Columbia (sorry, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue) these days, no matter how close or far away. Bizarro Obama: wouldn’t make a feature film, but might make a TV pilot that would not make it into syndication.

    • Coastghost

      On another hand: just think what a great documentary it would make!

    • jimino

      How many US troops die or suffer life-long disability in your hypothetical script? Does it also lead to rash of suicides by those returning home? Or is that kind of stuff not of interest to your intended audience?

  • Michael Bristol

    Israel rains down white phosphorous on Gaza.
    Why is it allowed to keep its cache of chemical weapons?
    The US blasts white phosphorous onto Fallujah.
    And mum’s the word here, from all the pundits that we’ll ever get to hear from. The US and the British pour depleted uranium into Iraq over a period of many years. Our morality and patriot based press don’t bother us with that one.
    All the shitheads are elsewhere.

  • Potter

    good show… good guests!

  • HonestDebate1

    “It will be a White House address in which a president argues for an endeavor he is abandoning. It will be a president appealing for public support for an action he intends not to take.

    We’ve never had a presidential speech like that!”


    • TFRX


      Hey, if only Obama did whatever the Ghost of Reagan would have done…

      Really, you quoting Nooners is the perfect storm of idiocy.

      • HonestDebate1

        I could understand if you wrote that before the speech but Nooners what right on so maybe you should consider that.

  • HonestDebate1

    “You know, Senator Chuck Hagel, when he was senator, Senator Chuck Hagel, now secretary of Defense, and when I was a senator, we opposed the president’s decision to go into Iraq, but we know full well how that evidence was used to persuade all of us that authority ought to be given.” -John Kerry on MSNBC 9/5/13

    Hagel and Kerry both voted for the war in Iraq, Kerry knows that so he lied. Can anyone dispute that? Does anyone want to try and split those hairs? He lied.

    Here is Kerry in 2002:

    “I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”
    – Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

    Here he is in 1998:

    “[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”
    Letter to President Clinton, signed by:
    – Democratic Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others, Oct. 9, 1998

    • hennorama

      Debates Not, He – one realizes your difficulty in holding two seemingly contradictory thoughts at the same time.

      One notes that you misquoted then-Senator Kerry’s remarks made on Oct. 9, 2002. See the actual quote, from the Congressional Record, near the bottom, below.

      You did not cite a source for your misquote. This of course is unsurprising.

      A few more quotes from then-Senator John Kerry:

      Boston Herald, Feb. 14, 2002:

      “Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), a Foreign Relations Committee member, said plotting the best way to remove Saddam poses a daunting challenge for Bush. “There’s no question in my mind that Saddam Hussein has to be toppled one way or another, but the question is how,” he told the Herald.

      “Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Md.), a fellow Foreign Relations panel member, said America risks destabilizing the region as it targets Iraq. “The easy part, if you will, is taking Saddam out,” Biden said on CNN. “The hard part is what you do after.”

      “Kerry said he would prefer to see anti-Saddam Iraqi rebels carry the fight, rather than risking U.S. troops.

      “It’s quite possible Hussein can be removed by pressures from within Iraq,” said Kerry. “We should certainly push the curve on that process, even as we extend Hussein a serious ultimatum.”

      “Kerry noted that Saddam has failed to respond to past U.S. warnings about permitting United Nations arms inspectors to do their job in Iraq.

      “It’s clear that Saddam Hussein continues to be a major threat . . . in part because some in this country were slow-footed and didn’t have the stomach to hold Saddam accountable,” said Kerry.

      COMMENT: Biden’s views were certainly prescient.


      Sen. Kerry in July 2002, to the Democratic Leadership Council:

      “I agree completely with this administration’s goal of a regime change in Iraq. Saddam Hussein is a renegade and outlaw who turned his back on the tough conditions of his surrender put in place by the United Nations in 1991. But the administration’s rhetoric has far exceeded their plans or their groundwork. In fact, their single-mindedness, secrecy and high-blown rhetoric has alienated our allies and threatened to unravel the stability of the region.”




      And from an op-ed in the New York Times published September 06, 2002:

      “We Still Have a Choice on Iraq

      By John F. Kerry

      “It may well be that the United States will go to war with Iraq. But if so, it should be because we have to — not because we want to. For the American people to accept the legitimacy of this conflict and give their consent to it, the Bush administration must first present detailed evidence of the threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and then prove that all other avenues of protecting our nation’s security interests have been exhausted. Exhaustion of remedies is critical to winning the consent of a civilized people in the decision to go to war. And consent, as we have learned before, is essential to carrying out the mission. President Bush’s overdue statement this week that he would consult Congress is a beginning, but the administration’s strategy remains adrift.

      “Regime change in Iraq is a worthy goal. But regime change by itself is not a justification for going to war. Absent a Qaeda connection, overthrowing Saddam Hussein — the ultimate weapons-inspection enforcement mechanism — should be the last step, not the first. Those who think that the inspection process is merely a waste of time should be reminded that legitimacy in the conduct of war, among our people and our allies, is not a waste, but an essential foundation of success.”




      The Los Angeles Times reported the following on October 06, 2002:

      “Kerry repeatedly expressed skepticism about launching an American attack on Iraq without broad international support–though he never explicitly said that he would oppose a resolution authorizing Bush to invade when the Senate votes, probably this week.

      “I am prepared to hold Saddam Hussein accountable and destroy his weapons of mass destruction,” Kerry declared. “I would be willing to be the first to put my uniform back on and go defend this country. But I don’t think we should pretend that protecting the security of our nation is defined by turning our back on a century of effort … to build an international structure of law and to live by those standards.” Kerry, citing his experience as a Vietnam veteran, was most impassioned in defending the right of critics to ask questions and dissent from Bush’s policy.

      “We need to understand that you have to ask those questions now, because you don’t go to war as a matter of first resort; you go to war as a matter of last resort,” he said.”




      And Sen. Kerry, speaking on the floor of the Senate on October 09, 2002, just prior to the vote:

      “The reason for going to war, if we must fight, is not because Saddam Hussein has failed to deliver gulf war prisoners or Kuwaiti property. As much as we decry the way he has treated his people, regime change alone is not a sufficient reason for going to war, as desirable as it is to change the regime.

      “Regime change has been an American policy under the Clinton administration, and it is the current policy. I support the policy. But regime change in and of itself is not sufficient justification for going to war–particularly unilaterally–unless regime change is the only way to disarm Iraq of the weapons of mass destruction pursuant to the United Nations resolution.

      And further,

      “America wants the U.N. to be an effective organization that helps keep the peace. And that is why we are urging the Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough, immediate requirements.

      “Because of my concerns, and because of the need to understand, with clarity, what this resolution meant, I traveled to New York a week ago. I met with members of the Security Council and came away with a conviction that they will indeed move to enforce, that they understand the need to enforce, if Saddam Hussein does not fulfill his obligation to disarm.

      “And I believe they made it clear that if the United States operates through the U.N., and through the Security Council, they–all of them–will also bear responsibility for the aftermath of rebuilding Iraq and for the joint efforts to do what we need to do as a consequence of that enforcement.

      “I talked to Secretary General Kofi Annan at the end of last week and again felt a reiteration of the seriousness with which the United Nations takes this and that they will respond.

      “If the President arbitrarily walks away from this course of action–without good cause or reason–the legitimacy of any subsequent action by the United States against Iraq will be challenged by the American people and the international community. And I would vigorously oppose the President doing so.


      “When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region. I will vote yes because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. And the administration, I believe, is now committed to a recognition that war must be the last option to address this threat, not the first, and that we must act in concert with allies around the globe to make the world’s case against Saddam Hussein.

      “As the President made clear earlier this week, “Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable.” It means “America speaks with one voice.”

      And further,

      “Let there be no doubt or confusion about where we stand on this. I will support a multilateral effort to disarm him by force, if we ever exhaust those other options, as the President has promised, but I will not support a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq unless that threat is imminent and the multilateral effort has not proven possible under any circumstances.

      “In voting to grant the President the authority, I am not giving him carte blanche to run roughshod over every country that poses or may pose some kind of potential threat to the United States. Every nation has the right to act preemptively, if it faces an imminent and grave threat, for its self-defense under the standards of law. The threat we face today with Iraq does not meet that test yet. I emphasize “yet.” Yes, it is grave because of the deadliness of Saddam Hussein’s arsenal and the very high probability that he might use these weapons one day if not disarmed. But it is not imminent, and no one in the CIA, no intelligence briefing we have had suggests it is imminent. None of our intelligence reports suggest that he is about to launch an attack.”


      http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/Z?r107:S09OC2-0013: (from near the bottom of Page S10170 thru mid-Page S10175])

      http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2002-10-09/html/CREC-2002-10-09-pt1-PgS10164.htm (same page references)

      • Ray in VT

        A misquote? I am shocked. Shocked!

        • HonestDebate1

          Yea, except Hennon is lying. It’s BS. My quote was accurate. Henny just added 1000 words, that’s what she does. It amazes me the lengths some will go for ideology, Kerry said he and Hagel opposed the Iraq war. That was a lie, they both voted for the resolution. Writing a library sized comment does not change that undeniable fact.

          • Ray in VT

            How is she lying? Your quote is not exactly what Kerry said there, so if you are referring to those comments made on that date, then it is inaccurate, and your presentation of his comments leaves out much of what he said regarding how he was not viewing a yes vote on authorization as a green light for invasion.

            Making your own claims about what you say that someone said doesn’t change the undeniable fact of what that person said. Not with Kerry. Not with Baucus. Not with anyone.

          • HonestDebate1

            She is lying because I did not misquote Kerry. If she wants to say I did not produce the entire speech then fine but I did not need to. Kerry voted yes because of the threat of WMD. Period, end of story. That is not opposing the war in Iraq as he now says he did. That’s a lie.

            What the hell do you mean by “making my own claims”. He said it. He is the one lying about what he said, not me. Why are you doing back flips to excuse the lie?

          • Ray in VT

            “I will be voting to give the President of the United States the
            authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein
            because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction
            in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”

            “When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to
            use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I
            believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his
            hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our
            allies in the Persian Gulf region.”

            Are those two the same? It does not seem so to me, even totally leaving aside the fact that you excerpted what he said in such a way so as to change the meaning of his broader statement. It isn’t surprising to me at this point, but it is still disappointing every time that I see you dishonestly do it. Maybe you just have the super power to tell people what they said and what they meant. Where can I sign up for that? If I listen to Rush for long enough do I get that power?

          • HonestDebate1

            Fail. Are you talking about the difference between “When I vote” and “I will be voting”? Or does the ellipses bother you? You can’t be serious. I am not budging no matter how hard you insist on being dishonest. And no I did not change the meaning of anything. Bush made the same broad points with the same caveats. Kerry voted yes. He supported the war with his vote. And now he says he did not support the war. That’s a lie. For you and Hennon to ignore that fact with your collective 40+ paragraphs is the antithesis of honest debate.

            Are you really trying to say his broad point on the day he voted to support the war was that he opposed the war? That’s ludicrous Ray, no wonder you won’t comment on the vote.

            Here’s more of what he said:

            “With respect to Saddam Hussein and the threat he presents, we must ask ourselves a simple question: Why? Why is Saddam Hussein pursuing weapons that most nations have agreed to limit or give up? Why is Saddam Hussein guilty of breaking his own cease-fire agreement with the international community? Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don’t even try, and responsible nations that have them attempt to limit their potential for disaster? Why did Saddam Hussein threaten and provoke? Why does he develop missiles that exceed allowable limits? Why did Saddam Hussein lie and deceive the inspection teams previously? Why did Saddam Hussein not account for all of the weapons of mass destruction which UNSCOM identified? Why is he seeking to develop unmanned airborne vehicles for delivery of biological agents?

            Does he do all of these things because he wants to live by international standards of behavior? Because he respects international law? Because he is a nice guy underneath it all and the world should trust him?

            It would be naive to the point of grave danger not to believe that, left to his own devices, Saddam Hussein will provoke, misjudge, or stumble into a future, more dangerous confrontation with the civilized world. He has as much as promised it. He has already created a stunning track record of miscalculation. He miscalculated an 8-year war with Iran. He miscalculated the invasion of Kuwait. He miscalculated America’s responses to it. He miscalculated the result of setting oil rigs on fire. He miscalculated the impact of sending Scuds into Israel. He miscalculated his own military might. He miscalculated the Arab world’s response to his plight. He miscalculated in attempting an assassination of a former President of the United States. And he is miscalculating now America’s judgments about his miscalculations.

            All those miscalculations are compounded by the rest of history. A brutal, oppressive dictator, guilty of personally murdering and condoning murder and torture, grotesque violence against women, execution of political opponents, a war criminal who used chemical weapons against another nation and, of course, as we know, against his own people, the Kurds. He has diverted funds from the Oil-for-Food program, intended by the international community to go to his own people. He has supported and harbored terrorist groups, particularly radical Palestinian groups such as Abu Nidal, and he has given money to families of suicide murderers in Israel.”

          • Ray in VT

            And when did he say that, and how does that change the fact that he said that ““Let there be no doubt or confusion about where we stand on this. I will
            support a multilateral effort to disarm him by force, if we ever
            exhaust those other options, as the President has promised, but I will
            not support a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq unless that threat is
            imminent and the multilateral effort has not proven possible under any

            So, I guess that we can just ignore the things that he said regarding what his yes vote constituted in order to get his words to fit into the box that you want them to. Fail. The dishonesty continues. But please, tell me more about how what he said isn’t what he meant or that it was something that he explicitly said that it wasn’t.

          • HonestDebate1

            “When did he say that?” I am assuming you mean Kerry and the elaborated quote I posted. It was from the same speech that he said everything else we’ve been debating.

            He voted for it Ray. There was no unilateral war, there were 50 allies and a unanimous Security council vote. The vote was not for a unilateral effort. Are you confusing it with the unilateral effort in Syria Kerry and Obama were pushing for before the gaffe? That’s just more irony. But then again in your cherry picked quote, that had nothing to do with the vote, Kerry did not rule out supporting a unilateral effort. He just qualified it. What have I ignored?

            What part of “I will support a multilateral effort to disarm him by force…” do you not understand? Ditto the extra four paragraphs I provided?

          • Ray in VT

            Just checking, seeing as how you provided no source for it or for your original “quote”. Yes, Kerry did vote for it, albeit in a qualified manner, including “if we ever exhaust those other options,” which included non-war options, which the President promised to pursue, which I do not think that Mr. Bush did in any sort of real or honest manner. The options were not exhausted. Bush had chosen war long before Kerry speech. We just didn’t know it yet.

            When did the security council pass a resolution authorizing the American invasion of Iraq? Kofi Annan certainly felt the U.N. and legal basis for the invasion was not valid or sanctioned by that body.

          • HonestDebate1

            Every option was exhausted, Congress and the UN agreed. But I’m glad you can at least admit Kerry supported the war. He now says he didn’t. Obviously given your very low bar that is a lie.

          • Ray in VT

            No, it was not. Not by a long shot. When did the U.N. agree? It is very easy to reconcile his current statement with what he said at the time, just so long as one is willing to look at what he said and not just exclude the parts that one does not like.

            What is the only definition of lie again? I forget, and I could use a laugh today.

          • HonestDebate1

            It impossible to lie if you don’t know you are lying. All dictionaries point to intent. Kerry knew he voted to support the war. He lied. You cannot have read what he said. I dissected your cherry picked line already and I gave you more to ignore. Nobody but nobody, Bush included, supported a war without caveats. The only reference to Kerry not supporting the effort involved unilateral action which was never the case… with Iraq not Syria.

            “I will support a multilateral effort to disarm him by force, if we ever exhaust those other options,”

            And he did vote yes signaling the options were exhausted.

            And you know about UN res. 1441. Even after it passed 15-0 Bush gave Hussein one more chance. Then the coalition of the willing acted.

          • Ray in VT

            That is a lie. Various dictionary definitions say nothing about intent, unless one imagines it, which is just blatantly intellectually, or otherwise, dishonest.

            Options were not exhausted. If they had been, then why did the inspectors go back in to search for weapons in late 2002? We could have avoided war, but Bush and his advisers chose not to.

            Please provide the text of Resolution 1441 that authorizes any or a specific nation to invade Iraq if that nation does not feel that it is meeting the terms of the resolution.

          • HonestDebate1

            You have never cited a dictionary that did not specify the intent to deceive. Never. All of them say it.

            You have never been able to tell me the difference between a lie and being wrong. You refuse. That is because the ONLY difference is intent. Do you have another difference you can cite or just another dodge? I swear Ray, your line of reasoning on this blows my mind. It’s crazy, how can you lie without knowing you are lying? It’s impossible.

            If the options were not exhausted then why did Kerry vote for it? He said he would only vote for it if the options were exhausted.

            You can look up the text of Res 1441 but it wasn’t about a single nation doing anything. It was about a mighty coalition of many nations. But here you go, it would do you good to read it and realize 1441 was not about setting terms, it was about the 16 prior resolutions Hussein violated. We give Obama a hard time for setting a red line in Syria because of the message sent by not enforcing it. Iraq had 16 red lines over 12 years that were not enforced.


          • Ray in VT

            You know, I have never considered the possibility that you may in fact just be stupid, but I’m starting to.

            I am just so sick of posting and reposting things like definitions, which you then don’t claim that I do.

            I think that Jefe is in part right. The worst part about you isn’t the idiotic posts, like taking numbers about black violence from racist sources. It’s the absolute willingness to stand by any truly moronic point. Definition of lie is a prime example, as is inalienable/unalienable.

            Please give me the text in 1441 that authorizes any nation to take action? Can you give me that? I scanned it very quickly this morning, and I did not see any specific text relating to invasion, or any military action, being a consequence of not complying. So, 1441 wasn’t about doing anything, but it was the authorization for invading? Please explain.

          • HonestDebate1

            The closest you ever got was citing a definition from MW that implied intent but the main definition cited intent. There is no respectable dictionary that does not cite intent to deceive as a criteria. I will donate $100 to the NAACP if you can name a dictionary that does not refer to intent in the definition of lie. I’ll double it if you can show me where you ever told me the difference between a lie and a unintentional mistake without intent being that difference.

            I knew you would dodge. I knew you could not tell me the difference between being wrong and lying. I knew it. Aren’t you embarrassed? I don’t think you’re stupid but the ideology must be pretty strong for you to cling to this insane notion on record like this. I also knew you would claim you already have.

            And why are you playing dumb about Res. 1441? Why are you reframing what I said. Did I say it authorizes any nation to take action. The text used was “serious consequences”, that means action. Does it not? The world agreed Hussein was a threat because of WMD. That’s what I said. Some 50 nations joined in what you tried to imply was a unilateral effort.

            BTW, Thomas Sowell and Larry Elder are not racists. Just so you know. To my knowledge Hennon is the only one who goes to sites like that.

          • Ray in VT

            Pretty much every dictionary has a definition that says nothing about intent. Maybe you have a reading comprehension problem, or maybe I just don’t have the magical eyesight that lets me see the words that I want to see in order to support a baseless position.

            Feel free to check the various dictionary definitions that I have previously cited, where I have also addressed the issue of being wrong versus lying and the issue of intent. It’s all there in the history.

            You’ll donate $100 to an organization which you say that you don’t know why people don’t view it in the same light as the Klan? I thought that you gave your last $20 to Newt last year? It amazes me that you have any money, considering how that terrible Obama, with his ruling by decree and his revenge as voiced by Valerie Jarrett, has taken all of your money, considering that white people have it so bad these days, what with Obama stirring up the minorities and all.

            Please tell me where I said that the invasion of Iraq was a unilateral effort. I have merely asked where in the resolution which supposedly justified the invasion it does so. Unspecified consequences for not complying strikes me as shaking ground.

            You might want to check where some of your numbers come from. I traced your 39 times claim back to a racist group. If it came originally from somewhere else, then please do tell, and can i repeat claims by racists or some other detestible group and then claim ignorance as to where it came from if someone calls me on it?

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes I will, that’s why I picked NAACP. I will never have to do it. All dictionaries cite intent to deceive. And remember $200 if you can show me where you have ever given me the difference between a lie and being wrong without mentioning intent. But again, fail. You can’t do it because it never happened.

            Just scroll up a bit to see your comment when as evidence that Kerry did not support the war you cited: “… but I will not support a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq unless that threat is
            imminent and the multilateral effort has not proven possible under any

            Gone fish in’ see ya’.

          • Ray in VT

            So, you are again saying that the NAACP is comparable to the Klan. More “honesty”. I am very willing to allow my comment history do the talking, as I am quite sick of repeating myself to someone who employs your tired, dishonest tactics.

            Many dictionaries give a definition that does not does include intent. Maybe you should check into them, as your dictionary is obviously defective.

            Kerry’s words supporting action only if every other option was exhausted speaks for itself, even if you choose to ignore it, possibly because the magic power that allows you to see words that are not there also works in reverse when it suits your needs to present things dishonestly.

          • Ray in VT

            Do you stand by these statements?:

            “by any definition it impossible to lie without knowing you are lying”



            “it is impossible to lie if you don’t know you are lying by any definition”


            If so, then you are spreading a falsehood, also known as a lie, no matter how much you may believe in the lie. Believing a lie does not make it the truth and it does not make the liar honest.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, I stand by them as does the entire universe. Believing something false doesn’t make it true but that’s a different issue. Maybe you are thinking of the word as a noun to say a lie was told by someone who was not lying (verb). I could torture logic enough to split that hair I suppose… but not really.

          • Ray in VT

            I thought that you were going fishing? If so, then why did you only bring back here a steaming hot turd burger?

            Well then, you are not only wrong, but you are a liar, as you have been made fully aware of definitions that do not say anything regarding intent, and yet you continue to claim that they do not exist, but go ahead and try to keep spreading that falsehood.

            I’m just thinking of what the dictionaries clearly state. No twisted logic. No words imagined to change the written meaning.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – your bravely indirect accusation is noted.

            It’s also notable that you seem completely unable to distinguish between the idea of opposing war and then voting to give a President authorization for military action to rid a dictator of “weapons of mass destruction.”

            If your “quote was accurate,” then you of course can provide a source that is superior to the Congressional Record. If so, please do.

            As you will be unable to do so, let’s compare the two quotes, shall we?

            YOUR “quote” begins:

            “I will be voting …”


            “When I vote …”

            YOUR “quote” continues, accurately:

            “…to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein …”


            “…to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein,…”

            YOUR “quote” continues, deleting two words (it is):

            “…because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is…”


            “…it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is…”

            YOUR “quote” continues, substituting the words “real and” for “threat, and a,” and then completely deleting “ and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region.”:

            …a real and grave threat to our security.”

            – Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002


            “…a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region.”

            I for one shan’t be waiting for your citation, acknowledgment of your error, your correction, and your apology.

            However, your bravely indirect accusation, that “…[hennorama] is lying” requires a retraction, as it is completely false.

          • HonestDebate1

            As I wrote: ” Does anyone want to try and split those hairs? He lied.”

            And no, you can’t oppose a war and vote for the war resolution authorizing military force. Split all the hairs you want to, you just look silly.

            There is nothing indirect about it, you are lying and you are devious. This is the way you always do. Kerry supported disarming Hussein by force in the Iraq war resolution because of the threat of WMD. It is a lie to insinuate otherwise. And you want to harp on a couple of meaningless words that don’t change squat.

            So it doesn’t surprise me that you want to focus on some distinction without a difference as our Secretary of State lies with a bald face. I remember seeing the video of the quote and it is very hard to hear. If the transcriber missed “it is” or some other such minutia, I don’t care. The quote I provided is accurate if not verbatim but that’s a distinction you can’t grasp. Congressional records get updated and corrected every day, whichever is more correct, the meanings are identical. He supported the war. I also gave another quote from 1998, ignored. You posted the entire speech and he was completely clear in his support.

            How far will you go in the name of ideology to cloud a simple truth with all the irrelevant minutia you can muster? It’s amazing and consistent.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – one appreciates the favor of a reply.

            I’m curious about your final sentence.

            Why did you write “I’m not afraid of you.”? An uncharitable observer might characterize this as paranoid. I of course couldn’t possibly comment, as I am not a health care professional. If instead your statement was a reference to my use of the phrase “your bravely indirect accusation is noted,” then a question arises:

            Is it the coward or the brave person who makes an accusation that someone has lied, by writing to a third party rather than directly to the party being accused?

            While you ponder how you can best duck that question, please allow me to continue as to the remainder of your post:

            1. You wrote “There is nothing indirect about it, you are lying and you are devious.”

            As the kids say, “Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat.” Your accusation requires proof, sir. Point out the exact words that demonstrate ANY inaccuracy, or lack of truthfulness in my original post. That post consisted of a supposition about you (“Debates Not, He – one realizes your difficulty in holding two seemingly contradictory thoughts at the same time.”), followed by two statements:

            A. “One notes that you misquoted then-Senator Kerry’s remarks made on Oct. 9, 2002.” This is absolutely accurate, as you acknowledge in your subsequent comments.

            B. “You did not cite a source for your misquote.” This is an indisputable fact.

            The remainder of my post consisted of various quotes from news and other online sources, none of which were my words.

            As my original post was the one to which you referred when you wrote (to [Ray in VT]), “Yea, except Hennon is lying. It’s BS. My quote was accurate,” you are limited to what’s in that post.

            By the way, please define your acronym “BS.” My interpretation, based on your history, is “Brain Strain.”

            Please also acknowledge the falsity of your subsequent statement, “My quote was accurate.” Your subsequent commentary indicates that you agree that your quote was NOT accurate, as evidenced by you having ultimately written “And also, let’s go with the Congressional Record as it makes my point with a smidge more emphasis.”

            This indicates your complete agreement with MY source, The Congressional Record.

            One notes also your brave continued failure to cite a source for YOUR inaccurate quote, sir, as is your wont.

            The hilarity involved in your internally illogical “The quote I provided is accurate if not verbatim…” is noted and appreciated. You really are honing your comic relief skills.

            Purely out of curiosity, can you provide any source defining the word “quote” that does not indicate that an exact repetition (aka “verbatim”) is required?

            Good luck in your quest.

          • Ray in VT

            “The quote I provided is accurate if not verbatim…”

            Then it is not a quote, no?

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — “Then it is not a quote…” YES.

            Misquotes and inaccuracies abound, yet are stubbornly clung to. Such is the nature of 1DishonestPontificator. It’s simultaneously pathetic and hilarious.

            Still, one is obliged to continue to point such things out, in an admittedly quixotic quest for behavioral change.

          • Ray in VT

            Maybe his special dictionary defines quote differently. I mean it does with lie, so maybe….

          • hennorama

            As usual, your point is both well-made and well-taken.

          • HonestDebate1

            Kerry supported the Iraq War Resolution by voting in the affirmative. Now he says he did not support the effort. That is a lie. You have written a library without addressing my point. Why?

            I quoted Kerry accurately but it is really completely irrelevant. It’s just something you are trying to cloud the issue with. Our Secretary of State (and his predecessor) lying to America is a big deal. How far will you go to excuse or distract from it?

          • Ray in VT

            You quoted him accurately but not verbatim?

          • HonestDebate1

            And also, let’s go with the Congressional Record as it makes my point with a smidge more emphasis. Thanks.

        • hennorama

          OK there, Captain Renault. ;-)

      • HonestDebate1

        Apologize immediately.

        • hennorama

          Debates Not, He – I don’t care what anyone else says — you DO have a sense of humor.

          Thank you for the comic relief.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m serious, your tactic to distract, lie and forgive the Kerry lie is despicable. I elaborated to Ray already. Apologize.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – please don’t let me stop you from making further hilarious comments.

            You’re really getting the hang of comic relief.

          • HonestDebate1

            Kerry supported the war and voted for the resolution. Now he says he opposed it. That’s a lie and not a laughing matter. Yuk it up all you want but the fact remains. It’s not debatable.

  • pete18

    My favorite analyisis of tonight’s speech: http://pjmedia.com/vodkapundit/2013/09/10/drunkblogging-tsyria/

  • Outside_of_the_Box

    I don’t care who is behind this turn of events, it’s literally a life saver, and we should do everything we can to give it time and make it work. This will reveal if Assad is serious about removing chemical weapons, but also if Kerry/Obama (US) stand behind the assertion that there is only a political solution in this conflict.

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