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President Obama’s Case On Syria

The President makes his case on Syria.  We turn to Congress and you for reaction.

President Barack Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade towards the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, ahead of his daily briefing. (AP)

President Barack Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade towards the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, ahead of his daily briefing. (AP)

And so the President came to the “my fellow Americans” moment last night on Syria.  White House trappings.  Stern appeal.  A wrong has been done.  A wrong that threatens a dark world.  America must raise its might to respond.

But not yet.  First, a stab at diplomacy.  With the Russians.  It was not an easy sell.  Americans have become a tough audience on war, or even its glimmer.  Congress, too.  So where do we stand?

This hour, On Point:  Reaction from you and from a big line-up of members of Congress to President Obama’s call on Syria.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Gergen, senior political analyst and director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. Former Presidential adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. (@david_gergen)

Rep. Eliot Engel, Democratic member of Congress for New York’s 16th District. Ranking minority member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. (@repeliotengel)

Rep. Michael Burgess, Republican member of Congress for Texas’ 26th District. (@michaelcburgess)

Rep. Alan Grayson, Democratic member of Congress for Florida’s 9th District and a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Last week, the New York Times published his op-ed, headlined: “On Syria Vote, Trust, but Verify.” He has started an online petition against intervention in Syria at www.dontattacksyria.com. (@alangrayson)

From Tom’s Reading List

Los Angeles Times: Obama, in speech on Syria, says America can’t ‘look the other way’ – “In a rare prime-time address from the White House, Obama declared that he saw “encouraging signs” in negotiations sparked by an unexpected Russian proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles under international control. But the president also counseled caution, and argued that the U.S. must maintain the threat of an attack to put pressure on the Syrian government.”

New York Magazine: Obama Talked War Tonight, But Lucked Into Peace – “President Obama’s East Room speech tonight was unusual, and probably unique, because it raised throughout the question: Why are you giving this speech? It was originally conceived as an argument for military action in Syria, but then two things happened in quick succession to make that moot. First, public opinion turned from skeptical to wildly hostile, especially among Republicans, killing any chance of passage in the House. Next, John Kerry, or perhaps Albert Brooks, set off an accidental chain of events that relocated the crisis into the diplomatic realm.”

NBC News: Obama will try more diplomacy on Syria but warns US ‘doesn’t do pinpricks’ – “Obama pledged not to send American troops into Syria but warned: ‘The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver.’”

 

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  • Coastghost

    Even though David Gergen is first on your guest-list and Rep. Grayson is last, I hope you’re able to work Rep. Grayson in early, to address a key assertion Obama made in his Tuesday address.
    Interviewed by WaPo’s Ezra Klein last Friday, Rep. Grayson seemed adamant that the evidence that Assad ordered the gas attack was no more than purely circumstantial. Yet Obama spoke assuredly Tuesday evening: “we know the Assad regime was responsible”.
    Does Rep. Grayson, after the whirlwind of the intervening days, still see the “evidence” implicating the Assad regime as no more than circumstantial? (id est: no new intelligence more clearly implicating Assad has come to light?) If his view on the nature of the evidence he has seen has not substantively changed, then Obama would seem to’ve failed yet again to make his case for military action in Syria. (NPR’s Tom Bowman admitted last night that not all Syrian CW munitions are under the strict control of the Assad regime.)

    • NewtonWhale

      The UN weighed in this morning on the broader question of which side is most responsible for atrocities in Syria:

      Syria Massacres: UN Probe Finds 8 Were Perpetuated By Syria Regime, 1 By Rebels

      GENEVA — At least eight massacres have been perpetrated in Syria by President Bashar Assad’s regime and supporters and one by rebels over the past year and a half, a U.N. commission said Wednesday.

      “Relentless shelling has killed thousands of civilians and displaced the populations of entire towns. Massacres and other unlawful killings are perpetrated with impunity,” the commission concludes. “An untold number of men, children and women have disappeared. Many are killed in detention; survivors live with physical and mental scars of torture. Hospitals and schools have been bombarded.”

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/11/syria-massacres_n_3905323.html

      If Grayson believes we should not get involved because we may do more harm than good, he should make that case. But it’s disingenuous to suggest that both sides are equally to blame.

      • Coastghost

        It’s also disingenuous to suggest (on the basis of my post, at least: I’m not familiar enough with the Congressman to know his various positions) that Grayson claims “that both sides are equally to blame”.
        Clearly, on the basis of what you report, both sides are to blame: your imputation or suggestion of “non-equality of blame” flies right past concern over responsibility for the 21 August attack.
        May well turn out that Assad IS responsible: but apparently, if Rep. Grayson does not know this to be the case, it is utterly marvelous that Pres. Obama would himself know or that, knowing, he fails to disclose the evidence when making his further case for military intervention.

  • Coastghost

    Concerning “the Russian proposal”: why have our media not dubbed it “the Kerry proposal”? after all, it was Kerry’s glib remark that led to the diplomatic activity that last week Samantha Power had already given up on.
    Wouldn’t the US rather risk having a newly-minted Nobel peace laureate to go with the one we’re already blessed with?

  • 2Gary2

    Obummer needs to lead from the front and be the first in Syria if he thinks it is a good idea. No more leading from behind like obummer has been doing all along. There is nothing in Syria that is worth Americans dying for. For the MF who think going to Syria is good then let them go and fight. Its too easy to send someone else kid to go and die.

    How about we fix Detroit or address the shockingly high childhood poverty here in the USA?

    • Shag_Wevera

      I wish you just refer to him as President Obama. It is a little less middle school fart humor.

      • 2Gary2

        I voted for him 2x and was part of OFA. I have lost all respect for the man who talks a good talk but does not walk the walk. We need a president like Elizabeth Warren. There are a fair amount of us former OFA volunteers who feel as I do.

        I am so sick of having to choose between the lesser of two bad candidates.

        • Don_B1

          I think you should just buck up and get used to it. With the diversity of opinions in this country over a range of issues, it will be virtually impossible for a majority of voters to agree with a single candidate on even most of the issues that affect them.

          This is the aspect of a democracy that does seem to frustrate a lot of its participants. It is easy for those not having to win the support of a majority to assume that their view would be the right one for the country.

          But each day we see others either not voting for candidates who support our view or who actively vote for candidates who oppose them.

          • nj_v2

            If you haven’t noticed, we no longer have a functioning democracy. By the time a “choice” is offered for President, the entire corrupt, gamed system will only produce placeholders/puppets that will do the bidding of the moneyed forces which control the system.

            Thus, we’ll get Tweedle Dee/Tweedle Dum choices unless and until the pool is drained and we start over, which will take sustained organizing and involvement of the citizenry on a scale that is not yet imaginable.

          • Don_B1

            The real trick, and it will be difficult, is to find candidates with appeal to the center who also support realistic efforts to modernize parts of our democracy that have put it in a state of disarray.

            The biggest source of corruption is campaign money from moneyed interests, and the only solution is a change in campaign financing. While efforts on other fronts may lead to small gains from time to time, they can easily be erased by moneyed interests in later elections.

        • Shag_Wevera

          I agree with all you’ve said, and I share your disappointment. Just don’t stoop to Rush Limbaugh humor.

          • Ray in VT

            Can I get a Coffee Annan? Oh wait, that was Savage.

  • 2Gary2

    BTW–Is Kerry even alive? He looks like a corpse.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Does he share a plastic surgeon with Bruce Jenner?

    • alsordi

      People like Kerry who lose their integrity behind money and lies never look very alive. They always look miserable and grey.

  • 2Gary2

    Oh yeah I almost forgot–F obummers creditability–he lost that when he had control of all congress in 2009-2010 and did nothing to deal with the crooks on wall street.

    • Don_B1

      Unfortunately, the Justice Department determined that at least most of what the Wall Street Banks had done was not illegal (however unethical and immoral), so at least most of them were not prosecutable.

      Initially most legislators were unwilling to come to grips with changing financial regulations, particularly in the face of Republican cries of regulation causing job losses in the face of a Great Recession, as well as their having to digest the effects of the Republican campaign in opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which the Republicans were doing everything they could to stretch out and confuse the process, occupying a lot of legislators’ time.

      There is no question that the Republicans have made a fantastic use of the general public’s ignorance in economic matters and the general human tendency to strike out blindly when in a hurt state and confused about its cause.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    China has an army of almost 300,000; India has an army of almost 1,323,000; even Pakistan has an army of over 600,000. Let them do some fighting. Why should the US clean up all the messes of the World on borrowed money from China ? If we could get those in power to focus on America , we could, I believe, in 20 to 50 years accelerate our technologies to extra-ordinary levels and our per capita wealth to seemingly unimaginable levels! By pulling back, we would be able to bring our enemies to their knees, by default ! First, we need to reestablish Constitutional Rights by eliminating the assault on our 4th Amendment Rights. The Arabs have a saying, “If you sleep with dogs, you get fleas.” Well, the Internationalist of the US have been sleeping with dogs and bringing these invasive flea species home with them. Now all of that chemical pest control has poisoned the very essence of America. These people are pulling us in, learning our tactics, playing us against other countries. These are warring strategies, people. Don’t buy into the manipulation of your ancient primal brain.

  • Shag_Wevera

    I don’t care who said what, If it keeps us from military engagement in Syria it is a good thing.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    We now know what Obama meant by ‘ tell Vlad I’ll have more flexibility’ after the election.

    Apparently he meant elevating Putin as the leading influential power in the Middle East.
    Russia is now arming Iran.

    http://www.france24.com/en/20130911-russia-renew-offer-supply-300s-iran

    • NewtonWhale

      This is not a zero sum game. A diplomatic solution is in everyone’s interest.

      It seems highly improbable that this development coincidentally happened immediately after Obama’s meeting with Putin:

      “Secretary of State John Kerry has been ridiculed in some quarters for having “accidentally” raised the idea that is now central to the deal being worked on — if not yet fully worked out — to turn Syria’s chemical weapons over to Russia for safekeeping and prompt destruction under U.N. supervision.

      In fact, the idea had been discussed on and off for weeks in a “very tight circle,” one administration official said — a circle that included Kerry, the president, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power. It surfaced in public in the Israeli press over the weekend, and Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had talked about it well before that.

      And Obama said in interviews Monday night that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed the idea at the G-20 last week. “This wasn’t an accident,” said one top White House official.”

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/10/syria-attack_n_3900671.html

      • TFRX

        I love the RW talking point about Putin being the Reaganesque manlyman wet dream of leader Obama isn’t.

        It’s funny because that same crowd was nowhere to be found hunting for the chickenhawks after the Iraq invasion turned into a disaster. They learned nothing.

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

      So we should do what to stop Russia?

      These are the machinations and politics of international arms dealers, and we are the biggest exporter of death tech on the planet.

      • Don_B1

        You hit the nail directly on the head with that first paragraph!

        Republicans have prided themselves on being the “Strong Defense” party with an aggressive military policy. They just cannot stand President Obama’s use of a military threat to accomplish goals for peace anywhere.

        This whole process has been messy, but what process will not be messy short of outright military aggression by one of the parties, in this case the U.S. And that option is only supported by a diminishing segment of the Republican Party, and exists only with a Republican president.

  • NewtonWhale

    The reason this diplomatic effort exists is because Russia and Syria believed Obama would use force, not because they believed Congress would stop him.

    • HonestDebate1

      Yes, extremely limited, unbelievably small symbolic force. I do not view this as a diplomatic effort, it’s a scam.

      • NewtonWhale

        In 2 years of heavy fighting Assad’s entire military has not been able to defeat the rebels, who have no air force. A missile strike that cripples his air force could very well hand victory to the rebels. That’s what happened in Libya.

        • HonestDebate1

          It would take more than an extremely limited unbelievably small symbolic strike to cripple his air force.

          • NewtonWhale

            I think it’s fair to say that Kerry strayed pretty far off the reservation with that inept remark. Clearly Russia and Syria did not believe that the strikes would be inconsequential.

          • HonestDebate1

            Fair enough but I disagree. Assad was emboldened when he stomped over the red line a year ago without consequence.

          • Ray in VT

            How did he do that a year ago, and what was the red line as stated by the President? An accurate quote would be nice.

          • NewtonWhale

            Obama’s comment came in response to being asked specifically if he would use military force to safeguard Syrian chemical weapons:

            Chuck Todd.

            Q Mr. President, could you update us on your latest thinking of where you think things are in Syria, and in particular, whether you envision using U.S. military, if simply for nothing else, the safe keeping of the chemical weapons, and if you’re confident that the chemical weapons are safe?

            Obama:

            I have, at this point, not ordered military engagement in the situation. But the point that you made about chemical and biological weapons is critical. That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria; it concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us. We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.

            We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

            http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/20/remarks-president-white-house-press-corps

          • Ray in VT

            That was the one that I was looking for, but I was really hoping to get a good, inaccurate one from the peanut gallery.

          • NewtonWhale

            Is your point that Obama should have launched a strike last year, and done so without support from Congress?

          • HonestDebate1

            No, my point is he should never have issued a red line in the first place. If he had good reason to act immediately then he didn’t need Congress but Congress should have already been informed and on the same page. That’s leadership. If he didn’t have congressional approval before he issued the red line then he should have immediately sought it and not waited a year.

      • 1Brett1

        Ah, yes, but you are only measuring the military “force” in its flaccid form.

        • Don_B1

          DisHonestDebate’s every thought process is “flaccid.”

          • HonestDebate1

            Flaccid was not what Kerry said.

  • RolloMartins

    So the US is now lecturing Syria concerning Total War after dealing same w/ Sherman, Tokyo fire bombing, two atomic blasts, using napalm in Vietnam, targeting for Iraq’s chemical weapons, and torturing prisoners. OK, I still get it; Total War is something to work against, to eliminate forever. But still, the hypocrisy is a bit daunting. The US ain’t some spring flower on the battle front.

    • thequietkid10

      I’m no big fan of Obama, but he wasn’t President when any of that happened. You may be right, but more then that you are pretentious and self righteousness

      • jefe68

        But he does have point unfortunately he forgot to mention the lasting effects of white phosphorus and depleted uranium on the population of Fallujah from the US bombing of the city and surrounding area.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        Rollo is right because of the standard that the rest of the world will judge us by. We’ve used CW since WWII at least… We said nothing as 20,000 Iranians died from Sadams’s gas attacks and another 60,000 were injured in 1980. We even provide the intel that he used. We did nothing when he killed 5000 Kurds later in his reign of terror that we supported for over a decade. We used CW (wp) in our recent wars. So why now are we growing a spine? Is it an honest desire to eliminate CWs on moral grounds or a veiled maneuver to keep the out of the hands of Right wing extremist Islamic fighters to reduce their threat to us and our interests overseas?

        • Ray in VT

          It could be some combination of both of your suggested motivations, and I think think that either aim would be worthwhile.

        • Don_B1

          But President Obama has not endorsed any of those actions and is trying to take the world away from that.

          When does anyone get credit for trying to do the correct thing? How would that change ever take place if it is not praised?

          [By the way where does the Dresden fire bombing fit in here?]

    • Shag_Wevera

      Don’t forget the Dresden firebombing.

  • alsordi

    Obama’s speech should have been given today on 9-11, so we can celebrate even more lies and deceit.

    • alsordi

      Geez, again I get three knockdown votes one hour before the show starts. The house watchdogs: Brett, BEarl and Jeff ???

      • 1Brett1

        Further evidence of your unstable mind and tendency toward paranoia. Please don’t accuse me (or anyone else on this forum) of something without any shred of evidence.

        Besides, don’t comment if your comments are met with disdain and you have difficulty handling that without it effecting your consciousness. We already have to endure your “false flag” diatribes (especially heightened today on 9-11)

        • alsordi

          I’ll have to get someone more respected like Collin Powell to come up with the “evidence”.

      • jefe68

        I did not vote you down. But now that you mentioned it I will.

      • brettearle

        He who worries about his detractors cannot escape his own self-deception.

  • 1Brett1

    A surprising shift in events…it’ll be interesting to see if the President keeps the threat on in conjunction with showing a strong diplomatic response, as it were, and that if this leads to Syria actually turning over it’s chemical weapons stockpile. If they do, to whom? How will the inventory be handled, so to speak? Will they be required to turn over ALL chemical weapons? How about ALL raw materials? How would their subsequent activity be monitored, if at all? What role will Putin actually play, if any, in negotiations? What, if anything, was discussed by Obama and Putin at the G20? Will the international community show a little more support? Will the citizenry modify their individual and collective positions? Will commentators modify their position, as well, or will this be a collective example of cognitive dissonance, both in the general population and on this forum, of people simply spouting the same opinions (and nonsense) over and over without any regard for evolving changes in this dynamic? When is my coffee going to be ready this morning? It seems like it is taking for ever!

    Another thing that’ll be interesting? What if all of this works out and it is determined that all of these strategies (as muddled as they appear) actually did lead to a peaceful solution? What if some sort of reasonable negotiated agreement can be worked out among Assad and the Obama Administration with the help of Putin? While I am very skeptical, stranger things have happened in this world. What’ll be even more interesting if this all goes down on the good side? That one’s easily answered: it’s to see the neocons double down on their criticisms of the Obama Administration (wait, did I say “interesting”? I meant predictable). How many ways and times can the neocon pundits say Putin b*tch-slapped Obama or gave him a proverbial wedgie? How many times can Ann Coulter call the President “a monkey” in one interview?

    • alsordi

      How about having the US, UK , France and Israel turn over their white phosphorous, napalm, depleted uranium, killing gasses and nuclear bombs ?

      • 1Brett1

        Yeah, no solutions should be sought, no actions taken, no discussion among world leaders should take place, etc, unless or until any and all contradictions, all hypocrisy, and all inconsistencies can be addressed and accommodated…that’s good thinking, there, alsordi. It’ll move all parties concerned along smoothly and successfully. I’d like to add that you forgot human rights violations, major contributors to global pollution, etc., and…well, I’m sure you could make your list quite long.

        • alsordi

          …whatever it takes to neutralize the bullies in the school yard.

        • skelly74

          How about we deal with a dictator who possess a large cache of chemical weapons and is willing to use them on non-combatants just to stay in power first…then work to end all human conflict after…

          • 1Brett1

            Yes, exactly! I agree whole heartedly.(I was being sarcastic in my reply to alsordi, skelly74, in case you didn’t read it that way.)

          • skelly74

            Whoops! Friendly fire..

          • HonestDebate1

            Do you mean Sadaam?

          • skelly74

            Yes…psychopath dictators come and go…but they typically “hang” around long enough to regret their actions.

            Assad should take notice.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, we really went after him when he had and was using WMDs in the 1980s.

          • skelly74

            You shouldn’t pick a scab until it’s ready to come off..

            Assad night not be ripe for the picking yet either..

          • Ray in VT

            You’re right, although I often can’t resist scratching at a scab.

            On the other hand, the best course is likely to not be to wait for a good 15 years, totally screw the pooch on intelligence, try to dubiously connect the guy to al-Qaeda, invade the country and find relatively jack squat.

          • skelly74

            Yes…i agree, in ten years, Syria could hide their chemical weapons or even ship them back to Iraq..then the UN will be scratching their blue helmets.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, they’d have to do an awfully good job of it in order to elude detection for another 10 years following that.

          • HonestDebate1

            What if inspectors are refused access for 5 years? Then they don’t have to work that hard now do they?

          • Ray in VT

            Plus once they do get back in, we can already have decided to attack months before, and we can not give them the time to do their job and we can also just not listen to them when they ultimately turn out to be right.

          • HonestDebate1

            So give them a 5 year head start then cry uncle? That’s silly.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s in line with how Iraq went down.

          • Shag_Wevera

            No thanks. We’re busy.

          • skelly74

            True…Football season just started and we’re heading into the MLB playoffs…couldn’t this wait until February?

      • 1Brett1

        I voted your comment down, just so you don’t begin imagining some vast conspiratorial plot/false flag scenario because of the downward vote…I hope this helps.

  • skelly74

    The Obama Administration should be applauded.

    The premises is clear:
    1. The use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated and action is required to emphasize the mandate.

    2. No action taken by the international community sets a precedent that the use of chemical weapons can be used indiscriminately despite the disapproval of the international community.

    The current developments are the result of the Obama administrations willingness to use force to punish Assad over the reckless use of chemical weapons. Obama should be applauded for holding his ground despite the pressure to look the other way.

    Obama has finally earned his Nobel Peace prize.

  • Outside_of_the_Box

    I don’t care who came up with it, the proposal is brilliant and should be worked out and implemented asap.
    Then the world can see if Assad is serious about removing all chemical weapons (and the rebels)
    But also if Obama/Kerry are serious when they say only a political solution can resolve this conflict.

    Too bad the US didn’t have the same opinion with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Iran…..
    If you disagree, please tell me what war and drone strikes accomplished in any of these places?
    Besides thousands of dead, injured, and mentally ill American soldiers, innocent civilians, and “terrorist” fighters, trillions of tax payer dollars handed over to special interests, pissing off the Arabs/Muslims everywhere, distracting Americans from the financial crisis at home, losing all credibility on the world stage, instituting a big brother monster both home and abroad, and the list goes on…..

    • Shag_Wevera

      I agree with everything you say, except the part about the brilliance of the plan. IF Syria gives up ALL of its chem weapons, it can easily get more at a later date. Verification and inspection are completely inneffective. That being said, I’ll still take the deal if it means us staying out of Syria.

      • Outside_of_the_Box

        Yes, but there will be a framework in place with the backing of all players including China and Russia. If Assad tries to stockpile and/or use again, the US (and allies) will be in a much stronger position to take necessary action with int support and credibility.

  • YesMan11

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/10/silent-military-coup-took-over-washington

    Russia’s peace deal over chemical weapons will, in time, be treated with the contempt that all militarists reserve for diplomacy. With al-Qaida now among its allies, and US-armed coupmasters secure in Cairo, the US intends to crush the last independent states in the Middle East: Syria first, then Iran.

  • alsordi

    To commemorate 9-11 there should be the establishment of an official “FALSE FLAG BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION” the “FFBI” to add to plethora of police and intelligence agencies in the USA. And do it before the US or Israel attacks Syria.

  • HonestDebate1

    This issue reminds me to the gun control debate. The libs love to focus on the weapon while gangs are reeking havoc. What difference does it make if chemical weapons are used? Conventional or biological weapons are just as deadly and indiscriminate.

    • 1Brett1

      What? Nothing about Benghazi? Or what about the IRS? …I suppose it’s early, yet.

      • Ray in VT

        Give it time.

        • 1Brett1

          There did seem to be an allusion to Benghazi with his, “what difference does it make if chemical weapons are used.” the statement might have been more of an effective allusion, however (a la Clinton’s testimony on the Hill) if it was phrased, “what difference does it NOW make if chemical weapons are used.”

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not an allusion it’s your illusion.

            No, it had nothing to do with that. It was an actual question to go with a brilliant analogy. I’m happy to talk Benghazi on this anniversary but that is not topic. Assad is still killing with conventional weapons as we speak.

      • HonestDebate1

        Where is my logic flawed?

        • jefe68

          There are not enough hours in a day to go into the many levels of flawed logic that you wear as a badge of honor.

      • jefe68

        He’ll get there by 11. He’s the captain of the Benghazi meme patrol.

        • HonestDebate1

          How ’bout you? Do you have a comment on what I actually wrote?

          • jefe68

            No, it’s not worth commenting on.
            If you don’t like that, well to bad.

          • HonestDebate1

            But you did comment:

            I keep thinking that about all of what you post.

            He’ll get there by 11. He’s the captain of the Benghazi meme patrol.

            If you don’t like that, well to [sic] bad.

          • jefe68

            Then why ask sparky.

          • HonestDebate1

            Just trying to get you to add something coherent and relevant. Why do you reply? Just to be nasty?

            When I was on the road I was always coming up with ideas for songs to learn or write, for choreography, for staging concepts, for unique ways to fit in rehearsals and other such things. Most of the time my spark lit big successful fires. The guys called me sparky. I loved that. Thanks for the memories.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Gangs in MA use guns bought in the gun friendly red states, and I am SO sick of hearing that amendment about the militia brought up as a personal right.

      • HonestDebate1

        Non-sequitur.

        • jefe68

          I keep thinking that about all of what you post.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Sequitur. If the red states had gun control, the gangs wouldn’t be so well armed, and they wouldn’t be “reeking” havoc.

          • Ray in VT

            Do they smell really bad or something?

          • HonestDebate1

            Gangs kill, weapons don’t.

          • Ray in VT
          • Ray in VT

            This comment is showing a negative 1 down vote. 1. How is that possible. 2. Is that the same as an up vote, being something of a double negative.

          • TFRX

            I don’t know. I voted i on it.

            Now if only someone else would join me.

            (A little irrational humor, ha!)

          • Ray in VT

            We don’t need no stinking math humor… or badgers.

          • TFRX

            (Is that a Monty Python reference? I thought I knew them all.)

          • Ray in VT

            Nope, UHF. You get nothing! (except to drink from the fire hose)

          • TFRX

            Okay, that reference I get.

            The “casualty list” from that movie is growing: Victoria Jackson stopped being funny, Michael Richards showed his thin skin and lost his comic cool…

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, what happened to Victoria Jackson? She went totally nuts. I liked her on The Sinatra Group though.

          • HonestDebate1

            I voted “present”

          • HonestDebate1

            Okay, which do you fear more, a loaded gun with no one to pull the trigger or a gang member without a gun but full of hate?

            http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/08/09/st-paul-man-fights-for-life-after-being-beaten-by-several-people/

            BTW, Jeffry Babbit has died from his injuries, neither his nor the above example involved guns.

          • Ray in VT

            I’d be more likely to fear a combination of the two, or any idiot with a gun and half a mind to do some damage with it.

          • HonestDebate1

            Your silly graphic did not offer that choice. A gun is harmless by itself. A thug is not.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            LOL, the man speaks in talking points. Gangs with guns “reek” havoc, gangs without guns don’t.

          • HonestDebate1

            They reek havoc with knifes, fist, clubs and fire.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Pathetic

          • jefe68

            You’re reeking of regressive right wing ideology.

          • Ray in VT

            Some statements really to reek or something.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – your stubborn repetition of a misused homophone reminds one of your stubbornly repetitive use of “forrest.”

            Unlike Mitt Romney and his “No Apology” concept, you should simply acknowledge your error, correct it, and move forward.

          • Ray in VT

            What on earth makes you think that that might happen?

          • HonestDebate1

            Look at all the dodging and gratuitous nastiness. TElew is the only one to actually comment on the thread and made a good counter argument which I acknowledged. I’m all about honest debate and I gave an honest opinion. I think it has merit but all I get is hate.

          • Ray in VT

            I merely asked a question about how gangs smell, as I have no knowledge of them reeking, and I have merely made a comment based upon my experience. I think that you rather generally get what is coming to you based upon your words and actions, although I far from agree with all, or even a majority, of comments and commentors.

          • HonestDebate1

            You replied to Hennon who said I should admit my error but I made no error.

          • Ray in VT

            So the gangs reek havoc? “Madam, I stink; you smell.”

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT – I know from personal experience that an old dog can indeed learn new tricks.

            My nearly 17-year old Jack Russell terrier is a great example. His hearing is uneven, as he has nearly lost all hearing in one ear. This makes him look in the wrong direction when he reacts to a sudden noise, or when I whistle to him.

            Through frequent and consistent training, combining aural and visual cues with rewards, he’s learning to compensate. Just the other night he correctly looked in the direction of a screaming catfight, and he continues to improve almost daily.

            Possibilities abound when one is patient and consistent.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s “forest”.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – well done. You get a gold star.

            Now please address your use of the word “reek,” as it stinks.

          • Ray in VT

            It is defined differently in the special dictionary that he has. You’re welcome in advance.

          • HonestDebate1

            If I had written wreak then you would have nothing to schoolmarm about. You certainly have not addressed my point which was valid. You’re welcome.

            Do you smell something?

          • hennorama

            Needs To Bathe – any odor you detect is either self-generated, or from the equine excrement you are so expert at both wearing and spreading.

            My view of your nonsense about “gangs … reeking [sic] havoc” is well documented, rendering comment on your current nonsense unnecessary.

            That you compare the debate over a potential U.S. military strike in Syria with “the gun control debate,” and fail to recognize the implications inherent in the use of chemical weapons, combined with the fact that you equate “Conventional or biological weapons” requires no further comment, as it speaks for itself.

          • HonestDebate1

            To my knowledge you have never addressed gang violence. Neither has Obama. Maybe I missed it.

            And I equated nothing, why are you playing dumb? I am saying we should be more concerned with the brutal killers than their method of choice. I stand by the analogy.

            Not counting the soldiers: “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the toll since the beginning of the 29-month uprising now stands at 110,371 people, with at least 40,146 civilians killed including nearly 4,000 women and more than 5,800 children.”

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/01/syria-death-toll_n_3851982.html

            Our current estimates of deaths by sarin is about 1500.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – thank you for responding.

            First, a point of clarification. You cite “the toll” of the religious civil war in Syria as “110,371 people” (BTW, you inaccurately described this figure as “Not counting the soldiers,” so you might want to reread your source), and then go on to write “Our current estimates of deaths by sarin is about 1500.”

            Question: Why do you cite these two separate figures? Is your point that the smaller figure is less significant due to its relative size? Or is it that we should ignore the method by which “about 1500” people were killed? Or something else altogether?

            As I often do, I ask these questions to avoid misinterpretation and misunderstanding.

            Without putting words onto your fingertips, your argument that “…we should be more concerned with the brutal killers than their method of choice” is the equivalent of “if the ends are the same, the means don’t matter.”

            Please confirm or deny this equivalence.

            More to follow on the topic of your first sentence.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are doing it again. you are not addressing my point and instead looking for a loophole to exploit that has nothing to do with my point. You are asking questions but you don’t answer mine. Why? Did my point go over your head? I am not saying we should ignore the method that killed the 1500, I am pointing to the irony of ignoring the first 100K and getting outraged about the last 1500. I say atrocity is atrocity. What’s so hard to understand?

            And if your follow up is a lengthy dissertation of instances where you wrote about gangs then don’t bother, I won’t read it. If I was wrong just say it, I don’t read all of your comments and said I may have missed it as I already said.

            I got the numbers from Huffpo. The article lists the soldiers deaths separately but I now see they are included in the grand total, so I got that wrong. It does not change my point or take away from my analogy.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – You wrote “To my knowledge you have never addressed gang violence.”

            This comment is odd, as I wrote about “My view of your nonsense about ‘gangs … reeking [sic] havoc’ .“ This specified that I was commenting about “…your nonsense …” and not directly about gang violence.

            Regardless, please allow me to “refresh your recollection,” as the kids say:

            Back in June of this year, we had this exchange:

            YOU (in part):

            “I posted link after link after link of videos and reports of flash mobs here:

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/06/21/week-taliban-nsa-immigration#disqus_thread

            “Time after time the perpetrators are black, time after time the reports don’t mention it but the videos speak for themselves, over and over, all around the country. None show gangs of whites preying on blacks. “

            ME:

            “Gregg Smith – I read virtually all of your posts on this topic, read the linked articles, and viewed most of the videos. Videos are ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE and are not statistically valid. Virtually all of your video “evidence” of this so-called “epidemic” involved teenagers doing stupid and often petty nonsense, and/or gang-on-gang violence.

            “Not exactly new phenomena.

            “The simple tactic of using a large number of people to distract clerks or to overwhelm security is nothing new, nor is it limited to any group of offenders. This is the reason certain establishments try to restrict the number of persons entering at any one time. Some jewelry stores are an example of this, as are some convenience stores.

            “You continue to write variations of “if you are white you are far far more likely to be the victim of a violent crime perpetrated but a black than vise versa [sic].”

            “Prove it.

            “You state this as it it were fact, yet offer no proof.

            “Prove it.

            “You parroted the following, multiple times:

            “Blacks are 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against whites then vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit a robbery.”

            “Prove it.

            “You claim that you’re “all about ‘honest debate’ “

            “Prove it.”

            See:
            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/06/27/scotus-voting-rights#comment-944736460

            ======

            The number of comments I’ve made about the above topics are too numerous to list.

            As you well know.

          • jefe68

            Yeah, the stench of mendacity.

          • HonestDebate1

            Thanks for reminding me. Perfect!

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoUW93Buv_4

    • TELew

      Yes, I agree, use of conventional or other weapons is bad. We should do everything we can to avoid war. But I think you are missing something.

      If we do not respond to what Assad has done, we have changed the paradigm. We have given chemical weapons the same status as conventional weapons, and thereby (re) opened Pandora’s box. Rather than being a weapon that nations have agreed not to use, it becomes a weapon that is in the arsenal. And as it is not the best weapon for a battlefield, it becomes a standard weapon for suppression of civilian populations. Think of it this way–we do not use tactical nuclear weapons. Why is this? Because it exponentializes the destruction, something that is not acceptable to world leaders.

      No, bombing Assad is not in our short term interest. It might cause a change in momentum in the civil war that sees a conservative Islamist regime in power in Syria, ie. one friendly to Al Quaida. But if we don’t do something–and the only feasible alternative if Assad does not go through with surrendering his chemical weapons is a military strike–then we accept the degradation of civilization, one of the few real advances we have had in the last 100 years.

      • HonestDebate1

        I don’t disagree but that wasn’t really my point. I just think if atrocities of any kind warrant any action at all then everything ought to be on the table. Otherwise, stay home. Empty threats and meaningless measures only make it worse. The problem is a brutal regime that is willing to use WMD, it is not the chemical weapons themselves. Bin Laden used box cutters and jets, there is a bigger issue involved here.

        But I do get your point.

        • TELew

          Fair enough.

          But I think the most important lesson of the past decade–and one I already believed–is that these various dictators serve as effective “stoppers on bottles”–ie. they are the only thing that bring order to their respective countries. Sort of like Tito in Yugoslavia.

          I think it would be wonderful to bring democracy to the whole world, so the people of various nations could have a voice in determining their own destinies. The problem here though is what they want is more often than not something we do not want.

          Who could have predicted the outcome in Iraq? Me, and anyone else educated in history and Middle Eastern culture.

          In the aftermath of World War II, the United States inherited a role it (and probably no nation) cannot effectively fill. But the problem remains–if not us, then who?

          • HonestDebate1

            Again, I don’t argue but I come at it a little differently.

            Your question about predicting the outcome of Iraq seems to assume the outcome was worse than what may have happened if we did not act. Please correct me as I may have inferred that. Of course it could be true but there is no way to know. Despite that, the assumption seems to be taken as gospel.

          • TELew

            The truth is these dictators are very evil men. I knew an Iraqi Christian when I lived in the dorm in the 1980s who described living in Iraq as “hell.”

            I am not saying that having a dictator in charge is better. In terms of justice, getting rid of Saddam was the right thing to do, and I supported it. But in terms of the expectations that the Bush administration pushed, they were never realistic. As I said, anyone who has actually studied history and Middle Eastern culture would have been skeptical that what the Bush administration predicted had any real chance of happening.

            The fact is that al-Qaida considered Saddam their enemy. He was a secular ruler who embraced ways contrary to what AQ wanted. Because both were our enemies, we decided that they were in league together. But that was simply not true. (I am not going to answer a “how do you know” question).

            What Saddam really wanted was to be our lap dog, like he was during the Reagan administration. Getting rid of him was just, but it also took the stopper out of the bottle.

            Iraq is a majority Shia country. Saddam was Sunni, although a bad one. It was only natural that the Shias look to Iran, rather than the United States, for leadership. By removing Saddam, who served as a counterbalance to Iran, we guaranteed that we lose what had been a strategic partner.

            I will admit I did not realize the importance of ethnicity–Kurds (who are Sunni) versus the Arabs. And the chaos that ensued allowed al-Quaida to come into Iraq.

            I view the Assad situation in a similar fashion. He is a horrible dictator that justice demands should be removed from power. But if he is removed from power, there is no group to effectively replace him. Chaos will ensue, and al-Qaida will thrive.

            So after all that, my answer is that none of the solutions are very good. Those aspiring to democracy in places like Iran, Iraq, and Syria are admirable. But their efforts, at least for the present, are doomed to failure because of the overwhelming strength of the anti-democratic elements, who resort to violence first and foremost to assert their power.

            That’s my somewhat informed opinion. I admit I am not Middle East expert, but I know enough.

          • HonestDebate1

            Again, I can’t disagree. I particularly agree about voids being filled by something worse. We are finding that out in Egypt.

            In a nut shell, Bush decided whack-a-mole revenge was useless. He was of the mind that the only real solution was changing the face of the entire Middle East. I agree that may be an unrealistic goal but I also think he is absolutely right about it being the only real solution. I understand that involves unstopping many bottles but to continue your most excellent analogy let’s assume the contents are carbonated and being agitated. In the end they can’t contain the pressure indefinitely.

            And I’m not sure it’s impossible given the yearning for freedom most Muslims crave. They don’t want to strap bombs on their children. They don’t want to be brutalized. But the larger point for America is we are not safe if that goes on even if it’s a half a world away.

            So, in my admittedly dramatic view, civilization as we know it depends on it.

          • TELew

            And I don’t disagree with your points. The one thing I will say is I think the changes must occur from within and can’t be imposed from without. Unfortunately it will be a long time before that happens.

            Wow, a civil discussion between people. Imagine that!

    • hennorama

      Debates Not, He – please allow a moment for the irony of your use of former Secretary of State Clinton’s words “What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?” to sink in.

      Your skill at comic relief knows no bounds. Well done, sir.

      • HonestDebate1

        I have no idea what relevance Hillary’s despicable comment has to my point.

        • hennorama

          Debates Not, He – your lack of ideas is unsurprising, as is your pretense.

  • HonestDebate1

    So what happens if after a decade Assad is still in power but he has swindled the world for over $10 billion, has violated multiple UN resolutions and not cooperated with inspectors to the point that they leave for a few years? Would we assume he is no threat?

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Did you just change “Saddam” to “Assad” in one of your scripts? Why not have a look at how the orignal version worked out?

      • HonestDebate1

        Yes I did and that’s my point.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Any lessons learned in round 1?

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, sanctions, inspectors and a decade of kicking the can are useless, cause more death and lead to a bigger conflict in the end.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            That’s absurd. Sanctions changed iraq from a mini superpower to a basket case and removed the WMD, no-fly allowed the kurds to set up their own state in the great dictator’s backyard. It takes major ideological blindness to say that’s useless. Without W’s stupid invasion spilling our blood and treasure, saddam’s regime was ready to collapse.

            Nothing learned about falling for war propaganda?

          • TFRX

            Re your last paragraph: If talking to a dead-ender, do you expect anything to be learned?

          • HonestDebate1

            The sanction “Oil for food” profited Hussein over $10 billion. He built multiple palaces while his people starved. We had no inspections after 1998 despite the UN resolutions.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Yes I know that’s the official TP.

            Our goal was to degrade his military power and we succeeded brilliantly. Saddam with nuke program, Reagan’s gift of chem weapons, strong army etc –> basket case with kurds taking over 1/3 of the country and all you can talk about is oil for food. I know that’s your programming, but it’s ridiculous, it’s a distraction.

          • HonestDebate1

            $10 billion is a lot of money to throw down a rat hole in the name of compassion. Even France was on the take. These things matter.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Let’s be real. Syria giving up its chem weapons is a smokescreen at best. Verification and inspection are completely useless. This is all an excuse to save face for the administration, and that’s just fine if you ask me.

    • HonestDebate1

      That’s honest.

  • SteveTheTeacher

    Glad to see that, despite all the hype for dropping bombs, there was a diplomatic alternative.

    What I am not seeing presented in the mainstream media are the following questions:

    - Will the US government take an active role in assuring the success of the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpiles, or will government officials simply look for any excuse to declare the plan a failure?

    - Will the US government take up the Iranian offer to assist as an opportunity to build, if not trust, a working relationship between the two governments?

    - Will the US government take advantage of the peaceful alternative to bombing as an opportunity to engage other regional powers, such as Hezbollah and Turkey, in order to reduce regional tensions?

    - What efforts will the US government take to promote a peace process that can draw to a close the Syrian war that has killed over 100,000 and sent millions into exile or internal displacement?

  • Shag_Wevera

    I wonder how the US government would react to a militant minority taking up arms and trying to overthrow it? Would we seek diplomatic intervention from foreign nations or would we squash the insurrection like a bug? Would we respond to foreign criticism regarding the way we waged our military effort? We chastise Syria for ignoring the world community, then we ignore NATO, the United Nations, and many of our allies and threaten to attack. It is sheer hypocritical madness.

  • William

    The rush to war still seems to be the plan of action for the administration.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    President Obama told us horror stories but did not offer a plan. He didn’t explain how “tiny” (Kerry) air strikes wd change anything.

    Best I can tell, the idea is that if Dr Assad knows some Tomahawks are coming if he uses gas, he won’t do it.

  • TFRX

    David “Gurgle” Gergen is here? That’s a guest who On Point should replace with dead air.

    Can this panel get any more Inbred and Conventional Wisdom (sic) than him?

    • HonestDebate1

      They should get John Bolton.

      • TFRX

        …because NPR needs to spend whatever credibility it has remaining chasing the appoval of wingnuts like you.

        • HonestDebate1

          Or Rush.

          • TFRX

            Yes, more of that merdestain that never washes out. Just the move to make NPR for “real Americans”.

          • HonestDebate1

            It would be their largest audience ever.

          • Ray in VT

            And the biggest drop to the collective audience IQ.

          • jefe68

            The bottom feeder is just trying to wind people up. Playing the fool is easy.

          • HonestDebate1

            Tom Ashbrook would kill for an audience the size of Rush’s.

          • brettearle

            And Rush kills for his audience, already.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t understand, please elaborate.

          • brettearle

            “Barack, The Magic Negro”

            Obama is “Halfrican American”

            “he is behaving like an African colonial despot”

            Obama is “an affirmative action candidate”

            “if Obama weren’t black, he’d be a tour guide in Honolulu”

            Those are just a few of the many hundreds of comments that Limbaugh has made, over the years, that help to KILL the spirit of the American Public and the country.

          • HonestDebate1

            I still don’t understand what you meant but never mind. You are wrong about Rush. He illustrates absurdity with absurdity and hack sites like Media Matters and more make a living by spreading the false narrative. I’m not sure if this will mean anything to you coming from me, I know it doesn’t to others but maybe you’re different. I have been listing to Rush since 1991, I respect him. There is no way on earth I would listen to or respect anyone who is a racist or even has racist leanings. Never.

            Here is the origin of the “magic negro” which Rush parodies to illustrate the absurdity:

            http://www.latimes.com/la-oe-ehrenstein19mar19,0,1054126.story

            BTW, the author is black.

            Here is the honolulu thing:

            http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/07/07/keith-olbermann-cherry-picks-rush-limbaugh-make-him-look-racist

            It bears a resemblance to the what Bill Clinton told Ted Kennedy about Obama.

            “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee”

            http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/bill-clinton-told-ted-kennedy-obama-coffee-years-game-change-article-1.197492#ixzz2ec4I2XqO

            Here is the context of the Colonial thing:

            http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2009/06/26/barack_obama_seeks_to_turn_america_into_a_third_world_country

            And “halfrican American” is accurate, an accepted term, funny and harmless.

            http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Halfrican%20American

            http://newyorktheatrereview.blogspot.com/2012/12/aurin-squire-on-halfrican-american-by.html

            So regarding what you think you know about Rush, allow me to quote a very wise person who wrote: “Take away all these snap-judgement conclusions–based on a sweeping obsession to pigeon hole and categorize everyone who has an opinion, about anything–and you’ve got Vacant Analysis….and, oh so, nothing more…..”

            [follow up edit]

            You may have noticed I get called a racist regularly by a couple (3 at most) of the nastiest commenters. That is because I refuse to be cowed into avoiding legitimate criticism out of the fear of being labeled a racist. That fear has crippled conservatives. I take it further, I get in peoples face with it. I will say affirmative action judges by the color of skin. I will say there is an epidemic of black on black crime. I will say black on white violence is abhorrently disproportionate. I will not make excuses for someone who is inarticulate and uneducated because they are black. I will apply the same rules and expectations to everyone without regard to color of skin. This gets me called a racist but my points are never addressed because to do so would reveal conflicts that cannot be squared. I would submit that is what happens with Rush, he usually agrees with me.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – I am hereby issuing a Consistency Challenge to you, sir.

            You wrote,

            “Here is the origin of the “magic negro” which Rush parodies to illustrate the absurdity:

            http://www.latimes.com/la-oe-ehrenstein19mar19,0,1054126.story

            “BTW, the author is black.”

            ==========

            By your definition, your statement is erroneous. See more below.

            You also have written the following:

            “I don’t post anything without verifying.” [1]

            AND

            “BTW, do you have any criticism for those who regularly and erroneously refer to our President as black? Have you ever referred to him as black?

            “[edit: While "erroneously" may be the proper term regarding Lane's murderers, "purposely" better describes the mislabeling of Obama. “ [2]

            AND

            “We already know he [Pres. Obama] has an animosity towards whites, of course he would disown his heritage but the facts are the facts. Obama is half black (or African American take your pick), what difference does it make what he says?” [3]

            ==========

            The Consistency Challenge:

            1. Did you verify the author David Ehrenstein’s racial background prior to posting your statement “BTW, the author is black.”?

            2. If David Ehrenstein himself wrote the following about his racial background:

            “…my father, a highly unobservant Jew who came from Jamaica just before World War II. His ancestors hailed from Poland. But that’s not my “black side.” That proceeds from my mother, the last of seven children in a common-law marriage between an African-American man and a white Irish immigrant woman” [4]

            does that make Mr. Ehrenstein “black” according to the standards you set for President Obama (i.e. “…erroneously refer to our President as black” and “the mislabeling of Obama“ and “the facts are the facts. Obama is half black”)?

            [1] See: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/06/28/week-scotus-obama-snowden#comment-951197788

            [2] See: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/08/23/week-in-the-news-syria-manning-nsa#comment-1016223462

            [3] See: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/08/23/week-in-the-news-syria-manning-nsa#comment-1016589783

            [4] See: http://www.laweekly.com/2005-04-21/columns/david-ehrenstein-meet-david-ehrenstein/

            The gauntlet is thrown down, sir. I look forward to your “honest” response.

          • HonestDebate1

            You’re so funny! First of all, your file on me is creepy. Secondly, it was I who was pointing out your inconsistency with the comment you quoted. YOU were the one making a big deal about one of Lane’s murderers being labeled as black while NEVER having a problem with labeling Obama as black. Regarding Ehrenstein, here’s his picture:

            http://www.bonusround.com/book3-2/images/ehrenstein4.jpg

            Call him what you want, I don’t care. Limbaugh was not the one who called Obama a magic negro as implied. He was not being racial with his parody as implied. Giving a dissertation from ancestry dot com is typical of your irrelevant style. Why do you try so hard to defend race baiting. Is it that hard for you to focus on the point? Limbaugh is a force in American politics. He his a very scholarly and informed man. He is a communications expert. He is highly regarded. I would think yu would be able to challenge him in the arena of ideas with intellect. But instead you just pile on to the hate and then defend that hate. Even your reference to him as Oxymoron is weird has hell but I’m sure you consider it clever. No it’s just nasty and inaccurate as you avoid getting into the arena if ideas man to man.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – as usual, you failed to candidly answer two simple and direct questions. I believe you call this a “tactic to distract.”

            Responding to your nonsense sequentially:

            1. Thank you.
            2. I have no “file on [you].” My investigators may, but I don’t speak for them or track their activities. As an aside, you might want to learn about this newfangled idea called “Search.” I hear there’s some money in it.
            3. I was not “making a big deal about one of Lane’s murderers being labeled as black.” I was pointing out the issues of how the alleged offenders had erroneously been identified as “three black teens” and how one person in the forum was also erroneously identifying their racial backgrounds. I was the only person who clarified the matter. And you are merely continuing your silly argument about President Obama’s background.
            4. I have already seen an image of Mr. Ehrenstein, but thank you for indicating that you also have.
            5. I have not “called” Mr. Ehrenstein anything at all, nor have I implied anything about Mr. Limbaugh’s comments. As stated, one could infer such an implication, were one so inclined, as you clearly are. I believe this calls for reminders from the Gregg Smith Response-O-matic:
            [Please don't tell me what I think] [Smarty pants].
            6. I gave no “dissertation from ancestry dot com.” Perhaps you are referring to Mr. Ehrenstein’s own description of his background. If so, you may want to brush up on the old RC.
            7 I am not “defend[ing] race baiting.” See again the reminders in 5. above.
            8. Mr. Limbaugh is a paid entertainer and nothing more. He appeals to the baser instincts of the ill-informed.
            9. I neither “pile on to the hate” nor “defend that hate” whatever “the hate” is by your definition. Perhaps you will define the term, although I shan’t hold my breath waiting.
            10. As previously stated, I thought Rush Limbaugh was “society’s favorite oxymoron” based on his reportedly illegal acquisition and use of OxyContin. In addition, his rotundity makes his first name itself an oxymoron. Hope that helps.

          • hennorama

            brettearle – Don’t forget Rush “OxyMoron” Limbaugh’s latest comments about Syria as “Operation Shuck And Jive”:

            From a transcript of the show on 09/09/2013:

            “In fact, you know, this operation? Bush had Shock and Awe? We’re looking at shuck and jive here. That’s what I’m gonna name this. The Obama operation in Syria, Operation Shuck and Jive, because that’s what this is. “No, we don’t do Shock and Awe. That’s too big, that’s too dangerous, that’s too mean. We’re not. No, no, no.”

            See:
            http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2013/09/09/new_regime_spin_it_s_about_iran

            For some reason my brain turns part of the phrase back at the OxyMoron by deleting “Operation” then adding “you” and “turkey” – “Shuck You Jive Turkey.”

            Of course none of this is surprising, coming from the bloviator who said this just before the 2008 elections:

            “We thought that it was just liberal welfare policies and all that that kept blacks from progressing while other minorities grew and prospered, but, no, it is these wackos from Bill Ayers to Jeremiah Wright to other anti-American Afrocentric black liberation theologists with ACORN, and Barack Obama is smack dab in the middle of it, they have been training young black kids to hate, hate, hate this country, and they trained their parents before that to hate, hate, hate this country. It was a movement.”

            See:
            http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2008/10/14/acorn_s_aim_chaos_at_the_polls

          • brettearle

            Are you familiar with the quote (don’t quote me) when Lear’s on the Heath and he says to his Fool (when he realizes that he was duped by one (or two) of his daughters):

            “Oh, I am such a Fool.”

            To which the Fool says,

            “All the other Titles thou was’t given. But that thou was’t born with.”

            Well, that’s how I feel about Rush’s relationship to the word, `bloviate’.

            Thanks for your comments. If I can, I’ll go to the reference, his web site.

            I wish you could have read Debates Not Me’s answer. I don’t know what happened to it. I certainly didn’t delete it.

            Far be it from me.

          • HonestDebate1

            My answer is still there below, please read it.

          • hennorama

            brettearle – unlike the real life OxyMoron, the Fool is a source of wisdom in the play.

            Yes, I’m familiar with the Fool and King Lear on the heath, and offer only one slight correction. Lear asks the Fool “Dost thou call me fool, boy?” Then the Fool says, in effect, “Well, you’ve given away all the other titles you were born with, so yes – the title of ‘fool’ is all you have left.”

            As to The Bloviator (a title Limbaugh shares with The Newtster, BTW) – I’m unaware that he has any titles to give away. Certainly he remains a bloviator, regardless of whether he’s given any titles away.

            And don’t bother going to the sources of the quotes, unless you’re interested in further pollution of your “necessary psychic resources.” The pertinent stuff is in the quotes.

            More plain truth revealed:

            Bloviator = Vital Boor = Oval Orbit = Oil Vat Bro

            Rush Limbaugh = Blahs Guru, Him = I Gab, Hurl Mush = Um…Largish Hub = Uh…Largish Bum = Big Ham. Hurl, Us = Uh…Mulish Brag = ….

            OK, stopping now. (Conservation of resources and all, yanno.)

          • brettearle

            You are Too Much

          • hennorama

            brettearle – my initial reply, an anagram of yours, appears to be undergoing “moderation.”

            As such, allow me to repeat it with a slight modification. Please switch the H and C in the following, and note this definition of the resultant first word:

            “Full Definition of “H”UM
            : along with being : and”

            Here we go:

            “Hum A Cero To You”

          • brettearle

            Henn–

            Please keep them coming.

            They’re `lovely’….

            But as Gumby said once, at a Press Conference,

            Wellll…uh….uh….I ask for your forbearance.”

          • hennorama

            brettearle – your kind words are appreciated. Thank you.

            My response:

            HELLO! We are neither TF nor Gumby, dammit!

            ======
            One supposes that this Gumby may need a specialist:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoXluAsy_jc&feature=player_detailpage

            See also:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M68GeL8PafE

          • HonestDebate1

            I actually made a thoughtful reply to your points. My reply was an effort at honest debate. You are a commenter I disagree with but respect, unlike the nasty or disingenuous ones. I hope I can maintain that level of respect.

          • brettearle

            Not sure what you’re getting at….

            You and I both have lives, offline.

            If you are wondering why I haven’t looked at your references, it isn’t because Henn has advised against it.

            I listen to you [although, admittedly, with more of a filter] and I listen to Henn, but I do what I want or can.

            [Which brings up another point, that is on my mind, which has nothing to do with the "On Point" forum--and, yes, I'd like your opinion and Henn's opinion on it. But I must go, as is often the case (or should be) with most of us.]

          • HonestDebate1

            You made the assertions and implications about Limbaugh. I would think you could defend them, that’s all.

          • HonestDebate1

            And you see racism?!

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – why do you ask? Does the word “racism” appear anywhere in my comment?

          • HonestDebate1

            Because of the context of the comment you replied to. Duh! I just asked the question and you answered with another question.

            There is absolutely nothing racist about either of the comments you linked. There certainly isn’t a racist bone in Rush’s body. Do you agree? If you disagree then why are you playing this silly game?

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – your response is appreciated.

            Please note that [brettearle]‘s comment, to which I had replied, also does not contain the word “racism,” nor does it contain the word “racist.”

            You seem to be seeing things that are absent.

            Please note also that I have not written a single word of accusation about The Bloviator.

            In addition, you no doubt will recall the following words that I posted in reply to [1Brett1] about three weeks ago:

            “While I generally agree with the tenor of your comments, and generally disagree with Gregg’s comments, I can’t in any way condone the use of the word “racist,” as no one but Gregg knows what is in his heart. In addition, one can think and believe anything they wish. One’s actions can confirm one’s beliefs, as they speak much louder than words. Without evidence of action, an observer has no confirmation, and is left only with suspicion.”

            And

            “I understand your use of the term “racist” completely, but simply prefer to give everyone, regardless of their words, the benefit of the doubt in the absence of any confirming action on their part.”

            Again, your response was appreciated.

          • HonestDebate1

            What difference does it make if you used the word racist or racism? It’s irrelevant. Why won’t you answer my very simple question?

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – Sir, is your short term memory so poor that you forgot your own words from mere hours ago, to which I replied?

            If so, allow me to quote you:

            “And you see racism?!”

            And later,

            “There is absolutely nothing racist about either of the comments you linked. There certainly isn’t a racist bone in Rush’s body.”

            As to your “very simple question” – to which of the five questions you posed to me in this sequence, including your first, above, do you refer?

            And if you are referring to your first question, my response is “Asked and answered.”

          • HonestDebate1

            That was about a worthless reply. You imply racism but don’t have the cojones to clarify. Just say it. I’m asking if you see racism in the Rush quotes you posted and you steadfastly refuse to answer.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – your belated specification is appreciated. Your editorializing – not so much. And your use of the word “cojones” is odd, given your repeated references to [hennorama] as “she.” Please explain this apparent contradiction, sir.

            You wrote, “You imply racism but don’t have the cojones to clarify.”

            Indeed, one could infer such an implication, were one so inclined.

            Allow me to repeat your original “very simple question,” which in contextual hindsight seems to actually have been questions, plural:

            “And you see racism?!”
            “There certainly isn’t a racist bone in Rush’s body. Do you agree?”

            One observes your sensitivity to racism and racist bones, despite the absence of any use of those words by others. Curious, that.

            Here are my direct replies to your inferences:

            No.
            I neither agree nor disagree, as I haven’t given any thought whatsoever to the nature of any of Rush “The OxyMoron” Limbaugh’s bones, and find any such thoughts repugnant. Do you often think of Mr. Limbaugh’s bones, sir?

            Your latest post, to which I am now replying, asks no further questions, and consists only of statements and a command.

            As to your command – as it is impossible to communicate in the manner you commanded, writing will be substituted – “it.”

            One hopes that is satisfactory.

            If instead your intention was to ask “Do you think Rush Limbaugh is a racist?,” please allow a preemptively anticipatory and responsive reply. Please note that it may seem quite familiar.

            While I generally disagree with Rush Limbaugh’s comments, I can’t in any way condone the use of the word “racist,” as no one but Rush Limbaugh knows what is in his heart. In addition, one can think and believe anything they wish. One’s actions can confirm one’s beliefs, as they speak much louder than words. Without evidence of action, an observer has no confirmation, and is left only with suspicion.

            I understand your use of the terms “racism” and “racist” completely, but simply prefer to give everyone, regardless of their words, the benefit of the doubt in the absence of any confirming action on their part.

            As previously stated your “very simple question(s)” had already been asked and answered.

          • HonestDebate1

            Then your reply to Brettearle was irrelevant and useless with no point. I have no idea why you would add to his comment with the quotes you chose.

          • HonestDebate1

            Because of the context of the comment you replied to. Duh! I just asked the question and you answered with another question.

            There is absolutely nothing racist about either of the comments you linked. There certainly isn’t a racist bone in Rush’s body. Do you agree? If you disagree then why are you playing this silly game?

          • jefe68

            Try to use some gray matter…

          • nj_v2

            ^ DisHonestMidDebatorGreggg putting the finishing touches on his descent into self-parody.

          • hennorama

            TFRX – that gets a [Vote up] on the basis of “merdestain” alone.

  • Coastghost

    (Won’t be addressed by any guest today, I don’t suspect, but: might it not be helpful to name the weapons “poison gas munitions”? Yes, we all know what is intended by “chemical weapons”, but we also know that, strictly, all weapons are chemical in composition. [Nor are all "poison gas munitions" nerve agents, necessarily, if I understand what's available for use.]
    Would be positively enlightening to hear David Gergen sputter his explanation over why and how the US maintains its own stockpiles of nerve agents and poison gas munitions or acquired them well after signing the 1925 convention, why our entire inventory has not yet been destroyed or neutralized.)

    • TELew

      Right on!

      Since we started destroying our stockpiles of chemical weapons, we have only reduced our supply from 30,000 tons to 500 tons. Oh, that is just inexcusable. Why haven’t we destroyed the remaining 500 tons. That is criminal! (Blah, blah, blah)

  • Coastghost

    I suspect that by now even Obama begins to regret his preference for leading from behind: if the past week has shown him anything, it has shown how comparable his conception of style is to the career modeled by Sisyphus.

    • skelly74

      Obama is maintaining the pressure. The chips are starting to pile up.

      I have changed my opinion of Obama.

    • anamaria23

      “it has shown how comparable his conception of style is to the career modeled by Sisyphus”

  • hellokitty0580

    I really appreciate the President explaining his position on involving Congress on the decision whether or not to strike Assad. It shows that he’s sticking to the principles he’s had on the US Constitution before he was elected President. I don’t see how he can be condemned for creating a debate which supports democracy.

    • Coastghost

      Requisite specificity: Obama only conceded to consult Congress AFTER the British Parliament rebuffed PM Cameron’s resolve. Obama has not renounced his understanding that he is equipped as Commander-in-Chief to “go it alone” if he so chooses. Last night, he only conceded that it helps immensely for a President to act with the support of Congress and the American people: it can be maintained only with great difficulty that Obama has “been out in front” of Congress or the American public on this one, since well over half of Americans (approaching 70% prior to last night) do not want to see US military intervention in Syria, Obama’s moral indignation notwithstanding.

      • hellokitty0580

        Obama’s correct in that he IS Commander-in-Chief, as stated by the Constitution. But the Constitution is also ambiguous as to whether all military action is under the soul authority of the President as Congress holds the purse strings. I believe that says more about the ambiguity of the Constitution and less about Obama’s firmness. He respects nuance and gray areas. That doesn’t mean he’s wishy-washy. It takes finesse and measured analysis. Generally, those are two characteristics I believe most Americans have very little understanding of or appreciation for.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Sadly it is no longer requisite of our politicians to have any historical perspective with which to evaluate problems and formulate solutions. I posit that as a nation we are mentally incompetent as our airwaves are filled with shout radio purveying ignorance and falsehoods and our corporate media channels neither remind us of historic realities or challenge politicians for telling lies or making completely unsubstantiated assertions.

    There is too much emotion founded on ignorance and misinformation. This is just one more event driving this point home as we refuse to confront our own trespasses with chemical weapons and fail to recognize that the memory of the rest of the world is far longer than ours and quite inconvenient for us, and until we address such issues, our collective hypocrisy and stupidity will continue to fan the flames of hatred for us around the world and galvanize millions upon millions against us.

  • toc1234

    odd speech last night. it was basically two speeches pasted together. part 1) sarin bad, urgent action needed (written days ago). part 2) now it is time for diplomacy (written that afternoon). part 3) sarin bad, urgent action needed (written days ago). I think we can all agree that Obama is basically hoping this whole Syria thing will go away if he just stumbles/bumbles long enough…

  • TFRX

    Has the Churchill quote, “It is better to jaw jaw than to war war” fallen out of favor?

  • Yar

    Not everyone wants peace. Many profit from war and threat of war. Start with truth.

  • Casey Reyner

    I don’t believe diplomacy is possible without the threat of military action. Whether it be us, or preferably the international community, there must be accountability for the failure of Assad to cede his chemical weapons.

    • HonestDebate1

      Should Congress still hold a vote to confirm that?

      • Casey Reyner

        Yes, and I think they should, even though it appears that they won’t.

        • HonestDebate1

          I agree.

          • Casey Reyner

            Even if they did confirm I hope that it would not be needed or used. I just fear that the Russian and Syria would back away as soon as the threat of force is retracted. I definitely believe that the unexpected consequences of a strike are potentially catastrophic. So, if congress did not confirm it would probably be for the best for our national interest, even if short suffering and struggle in Syria continue in their horrific direction.

  • Jon

    David Gergen “make a pact with the devil” – what ultimately gets Americans wrong is the Americans firmly believe there is the devil

    • Jon

      here is the eternal logic – if there is no devil there is no god. If there is no god anything is permitted…there you go

  • http://www.facebook.com/paola.sebastiani.56 Paola Sebastiani

    My question is: if the diplomatic solution works and Assad surrenders all his arsenal of chemical weapons, then will he not face any additional penalty? Shouldn’t he be trialed as a war criminal because he gassed his own people?

    • adks12020

      I agree. I think that is what France has proposed as a condition recently.

    • Agnostic58

      Assuming he did, he should be.

  • Coastghost

    How can Americans have confidence in Obama’s “leadership” concerning US response to Syria when US policy is now being led by an initiative that we give Moscow credit for authoring?

  • TFRX

    “As much as people want thie President to succeed, and they do…”

    Step away from the Beltway.

    We got half the Congress and about 40% of the commercial press who doesn’t want President Obama to succeed and will do anything to further their ends.

    PS Gergen quoting Maureen Dowd? Please, NPR: You’ re supposed to be less “savvy” than this.

    PPS Gergen saying “Coalition of the Willing” with a straight face?

    I said Gurgle would be a Beltway Inbred disaster of a guest who would lead this hour down a rabbit hole. This is a small taste of why I stopped bothering with Political Junkie Wednesday on Talk of the Nation (drops microphone, gangsta style).

  • toc1234

    Obama getting any credit for killing OBL is ridiculous.

  • toc1234

    head’s up Gergen, you are probably the only pundit calling this speech “clear and concise”.

  • Coastghost

    Loose-lips Obama 2012: “red line”.
    Glib Kerry 2013: “if Assad’s regime were only to relinquish its CW stockpiles”.
    Progress, hunh?

  • jefe68

    Rep. Michael Burgess is a fool, period.
    This guy would blame Obama if his eggs were overcooked.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Did you mean Alan Grayson?

      • jefe68

        I’m pretty sure Burgess is making the comments at 10:25 AM.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Yes, but I thought we were talking about fools.

          • jefe68

            I was, and Burgess is a an idiot.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            What did you disagree with? He sounded quite reasonable right now. Ironically, it sounds like he agrees with Mr. Grayson on this one.

  • TFRX

    “Trust the Russians to be in charge of our foreign policy,” says the Tea Party’s Burgess.

    Time to start fact checking any Tea Party guest on NPR.

    Never get involved militarily for purely emotional reasons. says Burgess?

    If he were a liberal in 2002, he’d be called a traitor who loves 9/11.

    Our host is doing his best, but we’re seeing some serious Gish Galloping here. And Burgess has been in Congress since 2003.

    This is predictable result of getting a guest like this. We need a journalist or liberal to do the fact checking.

  • hellokitty0580

    “Chew bubble gum and walk at the same time.” Love it.

  • Coastghost

    Why trust Obama’s leadership as Commander-in-Chief when his Administration is not leading the diplomatic effort to head off military intervention? Samantha Power last week publicly dismissed ALL further diplomatic efforts, she saw NONE . . . until His Glibness John Kerry (mis)spoke.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    OMG — Karl plays the race card. It only took 20 minutes.

  • Yar

    Which Congressional districts make cruise missiles?

  • toc1234

    does Karl have a hotline into the show? and gotta love how Tom does his best to let him steer the discussion towards race. Keep up the biased work, Tom!

  • William

    Tom is pulling out all stops to support Obama.

  • revlimid

    NPR is so biased in favor of war they are making me sick. I’m listening to Geregen the old war hawk saying outrageous things that are going unchallenged such as saying that Russia is already imposing conditions when the fact is that it is the United States, Britain and France who are imposing conditions that Syria couldn’t possibly comply with. NPR and especially Tom Ashbrook is ignoring the very intelligent opposition to this war. We can judge you by the people you invite to talk and it has been the endless parade of old discredited foreign policy experts from both parties.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      IMHO, it is more about propping up a flailing President than supporting military action. The support for military action is a side effect.

  • brian copeland

    Is there a feasibility to use a cyber attack? I haven’t heard this mentioned at all whatsoever. It seems this may be the most peaceful attack option.

    I don’t think this diplomatic solution will be a good solution. Experts have stated the efforts to move and/or destroy the chemical weapons very difficult, time consuming and costly, among other things.

  • toc1234

    Tom, calm down… we all get you are Obama’s biggest fanboy…

    • d clark

      And you are Rush Limbaugh’s goon.

  • adks12020

    I’m all for any good option that doesn’t include bombs but I am extremely skeptical about this diplomatic option involving the Russians. I will believe Assad is going to give up his chemical weapons when I see it. For all any of us know this could just be a stall tactic by the Assad regime. The old “tell them what they want to hear” while we figure out what to do tactic. I hope, beyond hope, that it isn’t but until Assad actually gives up the weapons I have a hard time believing him. I think it’s wise to keep up pressure on him until he acts. Otherwise he will see that we just want a reason to back out and keep playing us and the rest of the world while he kills more of his own people.

  • Ray in VT

    Maybe Alex Jones, Fox guest and frequent Drudge Report “source”(?), is right. Could the international take over of Syrian WMDs just be a part of an attempt to destroy humans and replace them with immortal cyborgs (or something)?

  • Chuck P

    Here, here to the last caller. If our leaders want to fight a war they should be the first to go.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    While we all desire a diplomatic solution it is tough watching our President being played by Putin.

    • anamaria23

      Putin, for his own gain, enables a tyrant who gasses innocents in their sleep, then steps out and asks the world to deal with the WMD’s that he has affirmed Assad has, who he has enabled, then is regarded as a hero.
      There would be no Obama WMD predicament to be saved from if not for Putin’s very complicity and support for Assad’s psychopathology.
      I do not support a strike for the risks involved, but do understand that it is an immensely complex situation that cannot be ignored. It is not some vast video game.
      I believe that the President is seeking a solution that is best for the world, and is proceeding with reason.
      Without this pause for debate, Assad may well have gone on to gas millions.

      • TELew

        Actually, it is my understanding that Syria has had chemical weapons much longer than Putin has been in power–including his first go around.

        • Ray in VT

          There are some good sources out there addressing that, and those sources do not suggest that he got them from Saddam.

          • HonestDebate1

            If by chance they did come from Iraq there is no way Obama will let it be known. I just wonder if chemical weapons have a signature that can identify their source.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m guessing that if there was some solid evidence to support the 10 year old contentions that they did, then it must have been discovered at least since Bush left office, because there’s no way that they would have sat on that one for more than a couple of seconds.

            As to your latter comment. I have no idea. Maybe. If so, then it might vary from weapon type to weapon type. One would probably need to try to trace a sample to a device or strain and then match that to other known devices or strains.

          • HonestDebate1

            “Guessing”? “Must have been”? I thought you liked proof. I say it can’t be ruled out.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m not ruling it out, but where is the evidence? I think that if there was real evidence to support such statements then the Bush administration would have dropped that knowledge on the public faster then they dropped Larry Lindsey for saying that Iraq would cost the outrageous sum of $100 billion.

          • HonestDebate1

            How can you say you are not ruling it out and still maintain the certainty that Bush lied?

          • Ray in VT

            Evidence.

        • anamaria23

          I may be wrong, but I do not remember the use of them before this uprising.

          • TELew

            If you are thinking of Assad, then to my best knowledge you are correct. Saddam Hussein, as you probably know, did use them, both against the Iranians and against Iraqi civilians.

            But that is why the use of chemical weapons is such a major issue, regardless of the fact that 100,000 people have died.

            While governments have possessed chemical weapons, as a rule they have not been willing to use them. If Assad uses them without any consequences, then other dictators will use them in the future, probably against their own population.

            Chemical weapons such as mustard gas were used in large quantities during World War I. Their effects were so horrific that the warring countries agreed never to use them again.

            If Assad uses his chemical weapons, and there are no consequences, then this changes standards that have prevailed for a century. And yes, conventional weapons yield horrible results, and yes, it is somewhat hypocritical to continue their use. But to place chemical weapons in the same category as conventional weapons promises an increase in horrors, as they are very effective at killing people and spreading terror.

  • Coastghost

    It would BEGIN as missiles fired from ships without boots on the ground: once the missiles hit (or miss) their targets, all promises of “no boots on the ground” are worthless.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Why do you say that? Is the US government so rogue that it can’t be held to account? That when the President says no boots on the ground, Congress says the same ( and wouldn’t vote money for it) why is there this presumption in the American public that the opposite will occur?

      What’s more, how far does fear of an extended commitment go to stymie action that might be appropriate/the right thing to do?

      • Coastghost

        I say it chiefly or only because that is the nature of war: plans are plans, and then there’s the wholly unexpected. We have no idea yet of what a strike would consist of, so we further have no idea how Assad would respond (desperation volleys at Jordan, Turkey, or Israel, though unlikely, cannot be ruled out, since Assad is fighting for his life). In the midst of a nasty civil war, ANYthing we do will only increase volatility on the ground, stability will not be enhanced. “No boots on the ground” is fine only in terms of any initial attack: after that, it’s a promise that cannot be kept. (It’s a political advertisement, that is: you don’t hear military planners spouting “no boots on the ground, guaranteed!”)

        • HonestDebate1

          You are of course correct but aside from your most excellent point, isn’t telegraphing our intentions, or lack thereof, an incredibly stupid tactical idea? It’s speaking loudly while carrying a little twig.

          • Coastghost

            And you are correct: which explains why I could not vote for Obama at any time after his “tough Obama” speech at the Wilson Center in Aug 2007, when he declared publicly his unilateralist disregard for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the very speech that all the other Democratic nominees (except: Hillary Clinton) publicly rebuked Obama for. In Biden’s very words (paraphrased): “You don’t telegraph your intentions like this”.
            But the Democrats nominated Obama anyway, and the blithering American electorate put him in the White House (twice without my assistance). Obama seems to believe firmly in the unilateral intent of all his utterances, as if they only can be heard by those HE is addressing.
            (It’s early, but I begin to entertain myself with the thought that, for Hillary or any other Democrat to have a realistic shot in 2016, the Democratic Party will have to disown Obama, since his entire second term seems to be cratering a la Carter’s only term.)

  • Agnostic58

    It’s not a war, it’s a strike. What a pile of bilge. It’s an act of war and it will either be significant or not. If it’s not, what’s the point of it? If it is, it’s the start of something.

  • Coastghost

    “He was going to get the vote in the Senate”: clarification, please, Rep. Engel and Tom Ashbrook: a Senate vote was about to be held, or Obama was on the verge of getting Senate endorsement?

  • musicluva

    When has war ever solved a darn thing in the Middle East. Ask the Brits, Russians, and Americans over history and several administrations. I think Obama was pushed by those HAWKS who’ve been wanting U.S. military action in Syria since day one, into saying the red line is chemical weapons. Then poof a chemical weapons attack happens and now we the U.S. just have to send in our military war machine. The Prez has been trying to stay out of Syria since the war began, by doing his best to negotiate a viable solution. That has not worked. I think given his own druthers Obama would have went to Congress in the first place-but in order or appear “strong” was duped, persuaded cajoled to act militarily.

    I for one think there are only bad actors in this conflict, and was on board against the US using military force.

    Whatever happens moving forward FINALLY the people are having a voice and are part of the conversation. So many worldwide marches and demonstrations took place in protest of the US going into Iraq, but the powers that be chose to ignore the people, and look at the fallout. At that time the UK and a Liberal Prime Minister and the US had a Conservative Pres. this time the roles are reversed but the two leaders were still trying to make a case for intervention. For those of us who’d love to believe that this is a Liberal vs Conservative discussion then you are solely mistaken. It’s much bigger than that.

    You can attack and criticize the “person” that you didn’t vote for until you are blue in the face, but as long as Israel sits in that desert, along as there is oil under Middle East sand, and so long as there are strategic military routes through those fractured lands, and weapons to be sold to the highest bidder (code word “our interest”) we will be at the ready for war!

    The only small chance we have is a little public debate and outrage. Had Iraq and Afghanistan not happened, this discussion would not be happening. The U.S. would have been engaged in Syria two years ago, and perhaps under a Conservative Administration.

    Call Obama weak all you want, but the Bush years prove that hubris solves nothing and only emboldens our enemies. Arming the rebels (McCain and Grahams) suggestion is what lead to Al-Qada and the Taliban now being heavily armed adversaries.
    Now the rebels want the US to supply them with more weapons? No wonder Obama wanted nothing to do with this mess.

    Hell I’d rather him look weak and loose face, than to shoot only because he said he would. If you are unwilling to back down and change course when faced with difficult challenges and changing landscape because you are afraid what others will think of you IS NOT leadership. It’s high school silliness.

    We may still end up in Syria one way or the other. But one thing we should all agree on, is this is the first time the left, right and middle have be united on an issue in a looooooonnnnnnnnnggg time. More of this kind of debate and discussion should be happening about all facets of our government, from education, to health care reform, to jobs, and the treaties we sign, and corporations we subsidies. Stop choosing sides best on party lines and open up our minds to great ideas and viable long term solutions. The politicians are doing just fine, they aren’t the one’s that suffer because of poor policy and bickering, we the people do.

    For God’s sake and for your own stop the name calling, stand up, think, and speak out!

    • Kelly

      I’m not in agreement with going into Syria. I do know that Obama will make a yes or no decision, but it does feel good to fianlly feel like EVERYONE is saying we don’t want this!!! I agree thatwe need to do this all the time in our City, State & Federal issues no matter how big or small!!!

  • toc1234

    caller John, put down the bong or the phone.. thank you.

  • toc1234

    Engel – Obama said months ago he was sending arms to the rebels… they never arrived… more lip service by Obama, no?

  • Roy-in-Boise

    The bottom line is that the lack of support this POTUS is getting has everything to do with his race. It is personal between himself and the GOP. This is a sad time in the American experiment.

    • Ray in VT

      I don’t really think that that is the case. I think that a lot of it has to deal with weariness regarding 10 years in Iraq and 12 years in Afghanistan, as well as a general lack among the public of regard for this situation being our problem or a threat to us.

      • TFRX

        The neocons and savvy red-shirt wavers have done the improbable: Ruined the American public’s taste for war. (As a result, we’re having the debate now we should have had eleven years ago.)

        Well, at least until a Republican is in the Oval Office.

        If only FoxNation took up the cause…

        • hennorama

          TFRX – you wrote “If only FoxNation took up the cause…”

          FYI, here’s part of their “Statement of Purpose”:

          “The Fox Nation is committed to the core principles of tolerance, open debate, civil discourse, and fair and balanced coverage of the news. It is for those opposed to intolerance, excessive government control of our lives, and attempts to monopolize opinion or suppress freedom of thought, expression, and worship.”

          The idiom “Do as I say, not as I do” comes to mind for some reason.

          See:
          http://nation.foxnews.com/our-purpose

          • TFRX

            That SoP is as Orwellian as any boilerplate coming from Fox News.

            Thanks for the fine print.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, well the Soviet constitution was great on paper.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      “his race”
      The white half or the black half?

      Seriously, I find that you think race has anything to do with his lack of support very sad. Consider it could have something to do with his incompetence and failed leadership.

      • Ray in VT

        I think that some use the one drop rule on him.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          I understand. That is why I prefaced the remainder of my comment with “seriously”.

          I find this reflexive call of racism without evidence counterproductive. Akin to yelling “fire” in a crowded theater or falsely accusing rape.

        • HonestDebate1

          We’ve all got a drop, I’m sure I have a few.

    • Agnostic58

      Yeah I can imagine Martlin Luther King Jr. being right behind this one.

    • TELew

      I think the fact that he is a Democrat might have a little something to do with it as well.

      • Agnostic58

        Last I checked Rep. Alan Grayson is anything but Republican.

        • TELew

          So, Alan Grayson is opposing Obama on this because of his race?

          • Agnostic58

            He’s opposing it because it’s a bad idea. Some of us still do that.

          • TELew

            My friend, if you read above, this part of the larger thread is on the question of whether the GOP members of Congress are opposing Obama on the basis of his race.

            To repost Ray-in Boise’s original message, “The bottom line is that the lack of support this POTUS is getting has everything to do with his race. It is personal between himself and the GOP.”

            I know the GOP despises the president, and I don’t doubt a large part of it has to do with race. But I think people who emphasize that forget that the current GOP would despise any Democratic president, regardless of race or gender. Do you think they would despise Hillary Clinton any less than they do Obama?

            Things turned nasty and dirty when Newt Gingrich became the leader of the Republicans in Congress in the 1990s, and they have only gotten worse.

          • Agnostic58

            I realize that. And I rebutted it by expressing doubt that Martin Luther King Jr. would support this “strike”. And then it was said it was probably more a partisan opposition than a racial one and I rebutted that by stating that Alan Grayson, who spoke clearly against the strike on the show, was a Democrat.

        • TFRX

          And for that Grayson can be recognized as an honest broker.

          But Grayson is not a Savvy Beltway Insider. The mass of people tastemaking what was accpetable debate over Iraq who are now worried about what the public thinks were enabling, or directly propagating, “let’s go to war, unless you’re a Muslim lover” back then.

          Strange set of circumstances brought this about. And as I always say, the next Republican won’t likely find the obstacles hi the way.

          • brettearle

            disqus

          • HonestDebate1

            Mr. “die quickly” of “Taliban Dan” fame is an honest broker?!

    • TFRX

      I dunno, I think it’s a bit of column A, and a bit of column B. A lot of unpacking to do.

      Still looking for the media to not wimp out on this. The chickenhawks of Iraq who’ve turned into skeptics over Syria are not getting same treatment that Hans (I Got Iraq Right and All I got Was Fired) Blix enjoyed.

      • Ray in VT

        And why is no one changing the Capital Dining Room’s menu to include Liberty Muffins as a response to the stab in the back?

        • TFRX

          As a West Ham United fan, do I need to start calling it the Liberty Premier League?

          • Ray in VT

            Definitely. I am also going to start speaking Liberty.

    • 228929292AABBB

      This President had the authority to back up his own words with action without asking for support. He didn’t, as he never does, and that is why Syria felt it was ok to gas their people after the American President said it was the one thing he would not tolerate. I don’t think focusing on race is helpful, but if you insist on it the more likely parallel is that the reason this President hasn’t the courage of a man and buckles every time it matters is probably connected to his growing up without a positive male role model from a father in the home, which is a condition sadly but strongly linked to African American society. So his failure as a President, if it is to be attributed to race at all, probably has as much to do with the failure of black society as it does with whites.

      • anamaria23

        How does that explain the failed Presidencies of white men from intact families?

        • 228929292AABBB

          Well I think once you’re using the ‘if what you’re saying doesn’t explain everything in the world it doesn’t explain anything in the world’ reply you know as well as I do you’re pretty much admitting you’re out of ammo. But regardless, the particular problem with this President is gutlessness, his ideas are good but he hasn’t the belief in himself to stand up for them, or for whatever reason he hasn’t something one needs to stand up for his own beliefs. I do think that’s rare, and is not the same problem that other Presidents have. Most of them, for whatever their flaws, are strong individuals, this one is weak.

    • HonestDebate1

      That’s sick.

    • brettearle

      I agree Race is a statistical part. And the numbers may be larger than I care to acknowledge.

      But you do yourself a disservice by going overboard.

      Our Republican opponents won’t take responsibility for the racism entrenched within some of their political colleagues’ views–if you do that.

      Not ALL opposition to Obama is because of the color of his skin.

      And to suggest that it is, is to fall victim to superficial radical ideals which almost proclaim that….

      ……anyone who has never marched on Washington, for civil rights, are secret members of the KKK.

      While my comment is pretty exaggerated to make a point, your comment is virtually stating that all of the GOP is racist.

      I’m sure that some of my respected liberal colleagues, on this thread, would disagree with you–that all Republicans are racists

      Your comment is unfair, noticeably biased, disruptive, and divisive.

      You are make things worse.

  • Ray in VT

    The Congressman’s comment about Assad not wanting to negotiate now because of a change of advantage reminds me of both the Thirty Years and Peloponnesian wars, where such thinking drove those conflicts needlessly on for years because each side thought that the current upper hand would swiftly lead them to victory.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      If Assad loses power via negotiation or military he is dead (see Saddam or Khadafi). Therefore, he is all in.

      • brettearle

        It is worrisome to think what Assad might do out of desperation.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Yes.

      • Ray in VT

        Maybe, but maybe not. Perhaps he could be convinced to relocate to Iran. It’s not a great solution to put him with another bunch we don’t like, but they are probably the only people who would take him, unless we’re going to rehab St. Helena.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Or Moscow? I guess anything is possible.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah. They seem sweet on the guy. Maybe Assad and Putin can go shirtless hunting or something.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Maybe Assad can work on Putin’s teeth.

          • Ray in VT

            Good one. He can find a second calling as Dentist to the Despots. Some channel would air that reality show, right?

          • keltcrusader

            lol

  • Ann

    If and when we bomb Syria, who will we bomb? Is the intent to Kill Asad or is the objective to inflict more death on the people of Syria? Who will we kill with the strikes? Will it be a game changer and to whose advantage – Asad, rebels, etc..?

  • hennorama

    On this 12th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, I offer my utmost respect for the fallen, and sincerest sympathy and best wishes to their family, friends and loved ones.

    • Ray in VT

      One of my co-workers could see the Towers from her office building. Ultimately that contributed to her moving out of NYC. It’s still a tough one to explain to my older son.

      • hennorama

        Yikes.

    • http://www.findingourdream.blogspot.com Hal Horvath

      I’m thinking of the American victims all around us that die early from various forms of aggression, including addictive food additives designed to increase profits but which also lead to diabetes. Another big one are the coal emissions of mercury, arsenic, and particulates that kill over 3,000 per year in the U.S. an average of 14 years early. There are so many wrongs that are ongoing.

      • hennorama

        Hal Horvath – Thank you for your response.

        Indeed, there’s more than enough premature death to go around, in various forms and due to myriad causes. One supports your thoughts, and gently suggests converting them to some form of action, if such action is not already ongoing.

        Thank you again for your response.

  • Agnostic58

    Yeah Clinton’s strike on the aspirin factory in Sudan. Good example, Gergen. Sickening how trivial lethal military action has become “as these things go”..

  • r_gold

    i just don’t understand the opposition. This is a humanitarian crisis. Action is necessary. Syria and Russia would not be at the negotiation table if there hadn’t been a threat of force. I have no doubt that Obama was using this threat to negotiate a political solution well before the Russian proposal. The projection of Power is essential in the Middle East as the caller from Iran pointed out. Obama needs to speak in a language that they understand. Fear is a universal language. Then negotiate for peace. This just makes sense.

    • Kelly

      It might be seen as a humanitarian crisis, but in the end if he decides to strike it could lead to war & never EVER remembered as a humanitarian effort. I see the bigger picture & I feel this is why the american people are very hesitant to allow him to make this decision.

    • William

      Then why not attack North Korea?

      • Agnostic58

        Especially considering how many red lines they’ve crossed. They’ve actually belligerently attacked other countries to no counter response.

      • Ray in VT

        Not wanting to tick off China would probably be high on a list of reasons.

        • Agnostic58

          The risks of engaging in Syria’s civil war are equally foolhardy. That’s the point.

          • Ray in VT

            Most definitely. I’ve personally been wanting us to stay out of it for the last 2.5 years. I didn’t think that Assad would hang on so long.

        • William

          Ticking off the Muslims around the world is a bad idea too.

          • Ray in VT

            That is true, and we’ve certainly done our share of that. I think that there are quite a few Muslims who would like to see Assad go, including more than a few who we like even less than him.

    • brettearle

      Obama may well have hoped for a political solution.

      But his threats were overwhelmingly based on Moral Imperative–which I supported, only with a back up of an International effort.

  • Brandon brock

    Here is why diplomatic ” scolding” or punishments won’t work listen carefully America: all that will do is allow other tyrants that have chemical weapons is to make sure when they use them to make it count go big or go home because right after all they have to do is make sure they have a few left to give up to the un and all is forgiving.

  • Kelly

    When my coworker says…”Your listening to that crap? why bother?” I will listen & I do bother to care!! I might along with the entire world be the reason why Obama has hesitated making a decision almost ALL of us don’t want made!!! This is the way it should be. Everyone must wake up!! We have the right to say yes or no. It our country along with the presidents. Stand up & use your voice!

    • Agnostic58

      Couldn’t agree more!

  • Thinkin15

    Americans, congress, and the senate are upset because they have to think, learn, care, and make a moral and practical decision about what they really think and feel. They would rather the President does it for them and then they can just say, “shoulda, coulda, woulda”. No one wants any more war or conflict. The U.S. blew all it’s blood, money, and admiration of the world, on a fool’s errand in Iraq. How do we get that cred back? At least Obama isn’t waiting more than a dozen years to call out a dictator on his use of chemical weapons. Of course he thought this country and peace loving nations who signed the agreement were with him. Reagan knew Saddam used them and looked the other way. You know the rest.

  • Thinkin15

    The Arab countries should be leading this disarming of Assad. They will suffer from him and all the refugees spilling out of Syria. Make them put up their blood and treasure for once!

  • alsordi

    After Vietnam, NPR was a bastion of anti-war for many years, enforced by the pseudo liberals. But for the past two decades, the wars have been for Israel, so the psuedo liberals public radio listeners have been showing their warmongering Straussian stripes. Take away gay marriage and global warming issues and it sounds just like FOX news.

    • brettearle

      Take away all these snap-judgement conclusions–based on a sweeping obsession to pigeon hole and categorize everyone who has an opinion, about anything–and you’ve got Vacant Analysis….and, oh so, nothing more…..

      • 1Brett1

        Well said!

        • brettearle

          Thanks…

          That kinda stuff is almost viral, at this point, don’tya think?

    • SteveTheTeacher

      Wait a minute.

      While I’d say that the US wars of the last 2 decades have primarily been about oil, geo-political dominance, and profits for the military industrial complex (richest 1%), in comparison to FOX, NPR clearly uses much more sophisticated vocabulary in its warmongering.

      I expect that next, noting that the military-industrial complex falls under the umbrella of corporations, you’ll quote Ralph Nader in saying:

      “The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door.”

    • 1Brett1

      al-sordi, I just voted you down. I’m letting you know, as you accused me of doing so earlier, which was a false…wait for it…”FLAG” accusation. I thought I’d let you know every time I do, now, since you tend toward having a loose cannon of an imagination of you don’t know something for sure…I hope this helps.

      • Ray in VT

        Brett, you are cracking me up. Thanks for that.

  • Coastghost

    Obama seems to be his own victim of temporality. He began expressing concern about Syrian stockpiles of poison gas munitions well before last year’s election and seems to’ve been possessed of the assurance of public support that the election gave him.
    He was still living in the past after 21 August, when he began to signal his willingness for military intervention. He was unceremoniously snapped back into present reality the very moment he got the news of the British Parliament rebuff to PM Cameron. Obama has been laboring to catch up with events ever since: he is still behind.

    • brettearle

      You are wrong, Political-Analyst Breath:

      Obama faked many of us out.

      His obdurate stance–against the lack of International support, in this crisis–may very well have forced Syria-Russia to blink simultaneously.

      • Coastghost

        I agree only with your assertion of Obama’s talent for fakery.

      • pete18

        Although I think his concern about the world’s response to chemical weapons use is a legitimate one, with both moral and strategic ramifications, and the situation in Syria now is at best a Sophie’s choice, even for the most competent strategist, I don’t think Russia or Syria have blinked. They have played Obama and he is taking advantage of that to get out of an embarrassing political situation of his own making. I would give credit to Obama for creating a solution, even if it was due to his bumbling policy, if the feign of force had engendered a real elimination of Assad’s chemical weapons, but I don’t see how that will happen. Assad will not give them up in the middle of a civil war and it will be virtually impossible for the international community to enter Syria and confirm all the stockpiles and dismantle them. More likely there will be a lot more chattering and posturing about it and Obama’s concern about this will slowly slide to the back burner without a vote in Congress.

        • Coastghost

          AND without US military intervention in Syria, unless or until: IF Obama proceeds with any military strike without Congressional authorization and international support, his moral indignation will hit his own Presidency harder than any cruise missile will strike any Syrian target.

          • pete18

            I agree, but given public opinion on the matter, I think Obama will find a way NOT to strike if he doesn’t get Congressional approval. His promises and red lines are about as solid as chemical gas.

        • brettearle

          To me, your comments are thoughtful and plausible–even though I don’t necessary agree with all of your analyses, of what has happened; nor do I fully agree with all of your anticipatory speculations.

          [Incidentally, you write well.]

          I am sure that you can speculate that a lot is going on behind the scenes that we aren’t privy to.

          One thing to keep in mind in analyzing Assad’s stance is that Putin might have been accurate when he said, recently, that the tide is turning against the rebels.

          Obama’s digging in his heels–for whatever reason: be it Ego, Bluster, Conviction, or Strategy, or a combination of all these variables–will force him to stay on top of any monitoring that is to be done.

          I don’t agree that the issue will fade. Even if Media doesn’t cover it on a daily basis, the scrutiny will be there.

          However, careful scrutiny, by us, may be challenged even more–because of enemy techniques and technology that may have developed since Iraq inspection days.

          • pete18

            Thanks, I hope I’m wrong about Russia’s proposition, because I think the Syrians and the world would be much better off with those chemical weapons secured, but I don’t see any evidence that Putin can be trusted on anything. I also don’t see any evidence in his previous actions that would suggest Obama would be staying on top of the monitoring or anything else, but we’ll see.

  • SuziVt

    Would people really rather have a president that’s “decisive” whether he’s right or wrong? I keep hearing how indecisive Obama is, as if that’s all the proof you need to rank him as a terrible president. I can remember when the republicans accused Bill Clinton of the same thing, saying that he would change his mind in the wee hours of the night. As far as I’m concerned, I would rather have someone in charge of our country that considers every detail thoroughly and is willing to face his opposition when he has changed his mind. I see strength in a person who works to do what’s right even at the risk of being called indecisive. I heard today or yesterday that Kennedy also drew a line, then ended up regretting it. When a close associate questioned the wisdom of his stand against Cuba, Mr.Kennedy reminded his friend that he had gone public with his threat, so he could not back down now. Thank goodness, what was meant to be a bluff had the intended effect. I’m so thankful John McCain is not our Commander in Chief. He is adamant about military intervention now and, it seems to me, always. Sometimes military force seems like our only option, but in reality rarely solves anything in the long term. I’m thankful when our president is thoughtful, doesn’t allow critics to dictate his decisions, whoever he is and whatever party he/she belong to. The critics of Obama and Clinton are and were, respectively, constantly seeking yet another way to find fault with any and all actions they took. I have no doubt that those same people would criticize Obama for whatever he says or does.

  • hennorama

    Weird Trivia: Today is Bashar al-Assad’s 48th birthday.

    Unhappy Birthday to him, and few more

    Source:
    http://www.biography.com/people/bashar-al-assad-20878575

  • 228929292AABBB

    Lost in the discussion of whether Congress will support the President is the key issue – the President promised to, had the authority to, and failed to act on his own. He is weak, his words mean nothing, he buckles every time he’s pressured, and this crisis demonstrates how dangerous a world is when the American President is a weak sister. The Syrian’s never would have used gas in the face of the President’s edict that it was the one thing he would absolutely not tolerate if President Obama was anything but an international laughing stock. The President himself gassed those poor people with his elastic backbone. It is doubly sad because he seems to know what is right to do. He seems like a moral and intelligent man who can’t summon personal courage, while our past President was the inverse. Perhaps we need Obama to think and bring Bush in as a pinch hitter once the decision is made.

    • Agnostic58

      The Brit’s common sense unnerved him.

      • StilllHere

        Any common sense seems to.

    • TELew

      Actually, I would put it, “We need Obama to think, and Bush to unthink.”

  • StilllHere

    Ok, here’s the ground rule: all criticism of Obama is race-based and can therefore be dismissed. Let the idolatry begin!

    • TFRX

      Hey, isn’t it time for you to “eat a bag of” (something salted), ClassAct?

      • StilllHere

        I believe you swallowed the bag, contents and all. Wipe your mouth, it’s unseemly.

        • TFRX

          No wonder nobody wants to play with you, troll.

        • TFRX

          Please, describe the contents again, ClassAct. Do it in front of the assembled audience so we know what kind of person you are.

          • Ray in VT

            One common bag is full of something that a New York City mayoral candidate tweeted an image of.

          • StilllHere

            I’ll leave it to you and your lackeys to find the original post, and you’ll note it wasn’t mine.

          • Ray in VT

            Easy there, Chester.

          • StilllHere

            Did you find it yet?

          • Ray in VT

            Nope. Wasn’t looking. Don’t really care.

          • TFRX

            And you turned it on me for no reason.

            Well, except that you’re a troll who loves slinging slop.

      • Ray in VT

        Don’t you mean ClasssAct?

    • brettearle

      OK, here’s the ground rule:

      SOME criticism of Obama is being guided by subtle, unconscious denial of one’s attitude–that is race-based and should therefore be given careful scrutiny, by others.

      Let the irresponsibility and bias end!

      • StilllHere

        And you’ll be the arbiter. Perfect!

    • jefe68

      Troll.

  • MvGuy

    Thanks Tom……… I had forgotten what a schill you are….

    STILL, you could have mentioned EVIDENCE…………. AS in WHERE IS IT…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Does it make any difference WHO did the gassing…???

    Or is the plan to hit Assad’s forces so the Al Quaeta rebels WE have been supporting can get the gas—————– Then. OF COURSE. we would HAVE TO put “Boots on the ground to “secure” the gas………from those dangerous radicals…………..
    .
    Strong & stupid………. blind too….. What a policy…

    • Agnostic58

      Exactly. Where’s the serious factual reporting and inquiry? Where the analysis? All you cover is the horse race about Obama getting the votes to do his “shot over the bow” strike.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Show the corporate media high resolution photos with circles and arrows and they’ll parrot whatever the gvt tells them.

        Where’s the proof? I’m still not convinced that our future allies AL QUEDA – kinda ironic on 9/11, eh? – didn’t do it. Rummy told us about Saddam’s WMD in no uncertain terms “We KNOW where they are, they’re around Tikrit and….” So now this administration KNOWS all about Dr Assad’s gas. Give me a break. Freaking sheep with no intermediate-term memory.

  • Ray in VT

    I just came across this hearing relating to both Syria and Iran:

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-112hhrg67051/pdf/CHRG-112hhrg67051.pdf

    and I see that Representative Engel was on the committee then. Part 2 is here:

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-112hhrg70667/pdf/CHRG-112hhrg70667.pdf

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    I wonder if the US hadn’t been duped into the war in Iraq and mired in Afghanistan if we’d be debating at all about whether we should “punish” Assad.

    Ever since Vietnam we’ve been unable to reconcile our love affair with military force and the principles on which the nation claims to be guided by.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      We are guided by the principles “To promote the general welfare” – of Raytheon, Lockheed, Halliburton, etc.

      • pete18

        Sure, because that is always a bigger motivation for presidents rather than how they will be perceived by the public, history and the voting booth. The whole reason they run for office is to make money for munitions factories.

    • Agnostic58

      Ike’s prescience was bang on.

  • tbphkm33

    I could see this becoming known as the “Obama Doctrine” in terms of strong diplomacy backed up by military threat. We are entering a new era, the era of resource struggles. In many ways, the Syrian Civil War is actually the first conflict of the resource era. Academics have made a strong case that drought since 2010 is the underlying factor for the Syrian struggles.

    The world needs new ways to manage and contain armed conflicts in the “resource struggles” – an era that is expected to last 50 to 75 years, largely tied to global warming and its affects on various regions. This “Obama Doctrine” could become a key element in insuring national strife, conflict between nations and regional crisis are somewhat kept in check.

    The U.S. need not be the worlds policeman, but it is in the U.S. strategic interests to contain the resource struggles. Setting a strong precedence up front that can benefit the world for the next 50 to 75 years.

    • HonestDebate1

      On what basis do you say it is backed up by a legitimate military threat?

      • StilllHere

        It wasn’t legitimate given that it’s been explicitly on the table for over a year. It’s a desperate attempt to look presidential.

        • jefe68

          Be gone troll.

          • HonestDebate1

            Troll: One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

            “Then why ask sparky.

            Yeah, the stench of mendacity.

            Try to use some gray matter…

            Troll

            You’re reeking of regressive right wing ideology.

            There are not enough hours in a day to go into the many levels of flawed logic that you wear as a badge of honor.

            I was, and Burgess is a an idiot.

            No, it’s not worth commenting on.
            If you don’t like that, well to bad.

            Rep. Michael Burgess is a fool, period.
            This guy would blame Obama if his eggs were overcooked.

            I did not vote you down. But now that you mentioned it I will.

            The bottom feeder is just trying to wind people up. Playing the fool is easy.

            Please stop going out in public with your PJ’s (sweats) and Uggs.

            What a load of bunk.”

          • jefe68

            Hey, I call them as I seem them troll boy.
            And you reek of mendacity. It’s all over your petty small minded act.

          • HonestDebate1

            Add that comment to my list… please.

            Really, you should look at your profile periodically. On any given day it’s full of the same nasty irrelevance. I understand you disagree with many comments, especially mine. But the commenters you attack are making honest points and your replies do not move discourse forward. Why are you here?

          • jefe68

            You’re list.. That’s hilarious.
            Who do you think you are anyway? You know what’s the worse thing about you buddy, it’s the smugness. The attitude that for some reason you think this is your country, and people who don’t agree with the right wing extreme ideology you post on here day in and day out don’t deserve to be here. It’s there in the subtext. You try to hind behind that false facade of self righteousness, which is where the mendacity is coming from. You’re the worse kind of bigot, because you wont admit even when you post volumes about young black males. You’re not even aware of how the language you use if offensive.

            It’s laughable that you even use the word discourse. You insult the meaning of the word. You’re not interested in discourse, you only want to post your diatribes and regurgitated Limbaugh memes.

            You know what’s irrelevant, that false self-righteous act you put on here.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not about me.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s about the lies and distortions that you spread and stick by even when presented with evidence to the contrary.

          • HonestDebate1

            Never.

            Obama said Benghazi was about the video when he knew it wasn’t 2 weeks out.

            Kerry said he did not support the Iraq war when he voted for it.

            Obama said the public would have 5 days to look at every bill that came to his desk

            He said no lobbyists will be in his administration

            He said Obamacare would make insurance premiums go down

            He swore Obamacare was not a tax and argued to the SCOTUS it was

            He excoriated Hillary for having a mandate in her health care plan and said his plan did not have the mandate

            He said he would cut the deficit in half

            He said he would push immigration reform in his first term

            He said if you like your health care plan you could keep it

            Here’s 67 more documented lies from Politifact:

            tp://www.politifact.com/personalities/barack-obama/statements/byruling/false/?page=4

            And yet you refuse to say Obama ever lied. Don’t wag your finger at me.

          • jefe68

            But it’s not about you.

          • Ray in VT

            Got it. If you believe in a lie, as you seem to, then that can make you honest (at least in your own eyes).

            Let’s see, you criticize Obama when there was conflicting accounts regarding Benghazi, but still make excuses for Bush and his administration’s lies regarding Iraq after more then 10 years. Very honest of you.

            Kerry’s statement regarding his vote speaks for itself, unless you want to lie to yourself on that one too.

            The ACA has certainly seem premium costs go down in some states. I’m willing to wait this one out to see how it plays out after full implementation.

            I think that the mandate could be legitimately argued either way. Obama defended the ACA before the Supreme Court. That’s news to me.

            Did Obama’s plan have a mandate at that time?

            The deficit has been cut in half (roughly) in 5 years. Better late than never.

            I like my health care plan, and I have kept it, so how is that a lie.

            Let us apply the same standard to Obama that you apply to Bush and others on the right. Please prove intent, or lack of it, at the time of the statement that makes it a lie.

            I’ve never said that Obama never lied or never does, although I see little benefit from criticizing, for legitimate reasons, the statements of a President whom I generally like and support when faced with the sort of dishonest, deceitful and idiotic criticism that you continually peddle. I see no reason to yield any ground when faced with a biased, fanatical ideologue such as yourself.

          • HonestDebate1

            Talk about contortions to fit ideology, that’s breathtaking.

          • jefe68

            Interesting, what you’re critical of in this case, you endorse when it suits your right wing agenda. A tad hypocritical methinks.

          • Ray in VT

            I know. It’s really amazing trying to watch you try to manipulate the facts in ever new and interesting ways.

          • HonestDebate1

            You know in your heart Obama lied about many thing including Benghazi. You know in your heart many many many Democrats from Clinton on down supported the Iraq war because of the threat of WMD.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that many fewer members of both parties may have not supported the war if they were fully aware of the extent to which the intelligence was being dishonestly presented. If they supported it knowing full well that what was being publicly presented was a much more certain and monolithic assessment than was the case within the intelligence community, then they should certainly be condemned, and I am glad that my state’s delegation all voted against the resolution.

          • jefe68

            The wing-nut tree…

          • HonestDebate1

            It was crystal clear two weeks out the attack was not about the video. There were no conflicts. None.

            Yes, Kerry’s support for the war speaks for itself.

            Premiums are going through the roof. Every month a new report comes out to say they will go even higher. There are something like 19 parts of Obamacare that ave been delayed because it’s unworkable;e You will not be able to keep your plan if to ever gets fully implemented.

            Yes Obama argued to the SCOTUS it was a tax.

            All he was doing was distancing hisself from Hillary for victory, at least she was honest about the mandate. Or maybe he was just stupid as hell, it that what you are suggesting.

            Obama quadrupled the deficit. It is now twice Bush’s last deficit. Is that what you call cutting it in half. Nice.

            Keep going you have only about 70 more lies to explain away in the name of ideology.

          • Ray in VT

            I was willing to wait for evidence to disprove the conflicting accounts as to whether or not there was no initial protest, just as I am willing to wait for evidence regarding Saddam sending WMDs to Syria.

            Indeed, Kerry’s position regarding wanting to exercise all available options before using force does speak for itself. Thank you for agreeing. It’s only too bad that he may have been trying to deal honestly with a dishonest administration.

            I have looked at some reports, and some of them fail to take into account the benefits available people in various situations that affect what they will have to pay for those premiums. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, among other things, were predicted to be the death knell of America and freedom before, and those haven’t worked out, so I’m willing to be patient.

            When did Obama argue to the Supreme Court? Was it when he was a lawyer in Chicago?

            Your inability to either understand or accept numbers or facts regarding just what a mess Bush left the debt, deficit and economy in is not surprising. More dishonest debate.

            So, again, is any false statement a lie when Obama or a Democrat does it? It must be nice to be someone like Bush, or at least to have such blind followers, who can lie and deceive, send thousands to their deaths based upon that and still get apologized for.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, not all false statement are lies as you believe. that’s nuts. There must be an intent to deceive. A lie does’t have anything to do with party.

            I am not going to argue with you all day about Iraq. I’ve been clear about my views and so have you. I’ll leave it to others to decide that I’m right and you are wrong.

          • Ray in VT

            I didn’t know that I believed that. Wow. I really do learn something new about myself from what you tell me about me quite regularly, and I think that your very free use of the term liar with Democrats versus Republicans suggests otherwise.

            I don’t have much interest in arguing Iraq with you either. You’re entitled to your wrong opinion.

          • jefe68

            And yet somehow it always is about you.
            Again with the false self righteous act.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • StilllHere

            That was an unpleasant trip down memory lane. But really, you’re wasting your time. It’s some lame postbot, not a logical, sentient being. I ignore it but its poor programming won’t recognize this and so pixels are wasted but not my time.
            Keep up the good fight, but ignore this meaningless programming bug.

          • jefe68

            You two clowns should join the circus.

    • zarn

      first? are you serious? and Iraq was what? Lybia was what?

  • OnPointComments

    In my opinion, the demand that President Obama’s threatened military action be given credit for forcing Russia to come to Syria’s aid (as is happening now, time and time again, in Jay Carney’s press conference) is evidence of the superficiality and shallowness of this administration. A true statesman would praise the result and eschew the credit.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      I prefer whatever you call it to W’s crazy, disastrous behavior. BHO may not be a great leader, but he’s a giant by comparison.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        he’s a giant ____

        Fill in the blank.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          I already did: ___”compared to W”

    • Agnostic58

      “There’s no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”
      - Ronald Reagan

    • StilllHere

      Especially when he wasn’t going to get Congress’ sign-off, unlike recent precedent.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Maybe Dennis Rodman should lead a new attempt to establish relations with Dr. Assad?

  • TELew

    I’m sorry. Doesn’t the events of the past few days negate your contention in point 1, ie. Obama did not take any action?

  • TELew

    Upon re-reading your post, I withdraw my question.

  • MrBigStuff

    David Gergen maintains that President Obama’s current team is indecisive and zig-zagging, implying that it is a stark contrast from his previous team. After reading Vali Nasr’s “Dispensable Nation” I’m not sure if the Obama foreign policy team was ever decisive or consistent.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Unlike W’s team, that decisively and consistently moved to get us 50,000 American casualties, hundreds of thousands of iraqi casualties, >$1trillion in debt, and a boost for Iran by changing their enemy into an ally. Those were the good old days!

      • MrBigStuff

        You’re incorrect if you’re assuming that by my post, I’m a Bush apologist. Bush was consistent, albeit consistently wrong.

        • zarn

          very consistent. no nation building, small government platform. expanded gov’t, more wars than anybody before him….he was consistently dumb and ineffectual i’ll give you that though

  • zarn

    the rest of the world already knows this is just theater. there is no proof that Asad used chemical weapons. whereas there is proof that the rebels did and those were supplied by the Saudis. They admitted to this already. Why does this not make it into US mainstream media…. Tom?

  • Guest

    the rest of the world already knows this is just theater. there is no proof that Asad used chemical weapons. whereas there is proof that the rebels did and those were supplied by the Saudis. They admitted to this already. Why does this not make it into US mainstream media….Tom?

  • TomK_in_Boston
    • HonestDebate1

      I read that earlier and was blown away at the arrogance and hutzpah. Were you impressed?

      • TomK_in_Boston

        As I’ve said before, I don’t believe any gvt when they’re talking about war, but I think it’s better to listen to all of them instead of just one. I’m not impressed with President Obama’s case for syria and I was not impressed with Bush’s circles and arrows pointing to Saddam’s WMD. I was right then, were you? Putin is no worse and he is 100% right that our military adventures are not helping the USA.

        • HonestDebate1

          Did Putin help Russia by invading Georgia? Who is he to talk?

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Do I care?
            What he said abt our state of perpetual war is true, and none of his own behavior changes that.

          • brettearle

            I worry about Putin’s intolerance of Obama’s Exceptionalism comment.

            And the reason is the following:

            We have lost considerable political capital, from the standpoint of how the Russians view our country’s foreign policy, in recent years.

            I am referring to the Serbs and Iraq.

            Putin’s perception of our arrogance, in my view, has a breaking point–and I think that breaking point is Iran.

            It isn’t only Russia’s economic and political interests that I think of, as Russia’s motivation–if it were to becomes aggressive towards to the United States.

            But rather the tipping point would be Russia’s recognizing the US as an Imperialist nation, that is hopelessly out of control.

            Russia could well act impulsively and go after us, without thinking of the Mutual Deterrence factor.

            At that point, I could see the distinct danger of WWIII.

            So infrequently is this discussed.

            Why?

            Because it is the 4,000 pound elephant in the room that we all, on some level, think is unthinkable.

            Well, I don’t think it IS unthinkable.

            And those who think that a nuclear holocaust is unlikely will dismiss us realists as alarmists.

            It’s called Denial.

            Just like what happened, after the first World Trade Center Bombing, in 1993.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            You are absolutely right to bring up the nukes. As one who grew up under threat of global nuke war I think it’s absurd to hear the chorus of how much more dangerous things are now. Relations with Russia should be a top priority, and they aren’t.

            I wasn’t trying to promote Putin, but I don’t believe in closing my eyes and ears. And as I said, he is exactly right in saying that our military adventures have been bad for us.

          • brettearle

            Thanks for your reply.

            I actually believe that it is pure fear that prevents us from recognizing this danger.

            When we think of “how much more dangerous things are now”, as you state it, I believe it is, however, a conglomerate Enemy, an amalgam Enemy, a smorgasbord Enemy, that we perceive, in a nebulous way, in the Middle East.

            In the Middle East we do not recognize and isolate an exact enemy: It could be al Qaeda, Assad, the Iranians, Hezbollah, etc.

            The Middle East is, in fact “fuzzy dangerous”:

            That is, we know it’s dangerous but we can’t exact out an Isolated Enemy that we can look at and say,

            Uh, oh….it’s Him we’d better fear.

            But with Russia, we’ve ALWAYS feared the Big Red Bear. It is easier to identify as the Bogeyman.

            Which now, by virtue of how large Russia might be looming, is too fearful for us to do anything other than to be in Denial about it.

            The Middle East–regardless of how inextricably wound up Russia is, in its affairs–is a convenient decoy for our deeper fears, perhaps.

            I think THAT’S crazy and potentially self-destructive.

          • zarn

            He invaded Georgia because they wanted to take territory that was in Russian borders at the time. Too bad Sakashvili was betrayed by the west. They just used him as a pawn and left him in a lurch.

        • HonestDebate1

          In Putin’s defense, he did call Kerry a liar.

    • hennorama

      TomK_in_Boston — one has to give grudging respect for the self-serving argument Putin puts forward.

      One also must give respect to the NY Times for publishing this op-ed.

      As to my personal response to the president of Russia — take the illustration from the article, but curl down three of the fingers and the thumb. You get to choose which finger remains upright, the finger that indicates “American Exceptionalism,” or “the” finger.

      http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2013/09/12/opinion/0912OPEDmunday.html

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