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Saturday, December 16, 2017

WASHINGTON — The debate over Syria is a jumble of metaphors, proof that every discussion of military action involves an argument about the last war. Yet beneath the surface, the fight in Congress over President Obama’s proposed strike against Bashar al-Assad’s regime is a struggle to break free from earlier syndromes to set a new course.

Obama himself is using the imperative that he back up his “red line” against chemical weapons as an occasion for revisiting his Syrian strategy. And both of our political parties are emerging from a post-9/11 period of frozen foreign policy thinking to a more natural and intellectually honest exchange over America’s long-term role in the world.

The mood of the public and of many in Congress is summarized easily: “No more Iraqs.” It’s a sensible impulse because the Iraq War never delivered on the promises of those who urged the country to battle. Especially among Democrats who initially endorsed the war, there is a lingering guilt that they never asked the Bush administration the questions that needed to be posed. Belatedly, those queries — about what the intelligence shows and what our goals are — are now being directed to Obama on Syria.

Still, there is another reaction among Democrats and liberals, including Obama. It is a return to a pre-Iraq view that shaped the Clinton administration’s policies in Bosnia and Kosovo after it failed to stop the Rwandan genocide: There are times when American power can be used to keep local wars from flying out of control, to prevent or limit humanitarian catastrophes and, yes, to advance the country’s interests.

Many Democrats supported Bush on Iraq because they mistakenly placed the war in the context of a humanitarian intervention. Yet this guardedly interventionist wing of the party also includes people such as House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who opposed the commitment in Iraq but never stopped believing in the positive uses of American military power. These Democrats are swinging Obama’s way on Syria not for partisan reasons but because he shares their position in the quarrel inside the party.

Nonetheless, Obama faces substantial resistance among Democrats because Vietnam and Iraq turned a large section of the party into principled non-interventionists who set an extremely high bar to any use of America’s armed forces. The same can be said of libertarian Republicans such as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Representative Justin Amash (R-MI). This left-right anti-war coalition has a long American pedigree, going back to the periods before both World War I and World War II.

172 Responses to Syria And The Return Of Dissent

  1. This article is implying that giving the President authority to launch a few missiles that will weaken his capacity to make war and hope that he will sue for peace.

    This is not a humanitarian intervention, it is a geo-political intervention. This bombing campaign will be sold to Republicans as a way to challenge Iran, and protect Isreal. Just as it is being sold to the Democrats as a stand against crimes against humanity.

    The only way to stop the killing in Syria is to go there. This would require large troop numbers, a large coalition, and like all things, lots and lots of money. Nobody feels this strongly about going, not the French, definitely not the Brits, and not the United States.

    People act like this is a choice between intervention or not. But when we go into the details we are talking about authorizing the bombardment of a country to send a message with the hope that this will teach them a lesson. We can play the what if game all day.

    But doing the right thing requires dialogue with Russia, and China, UN backing, a large coalition of willing peacekeepers and money.

    We have none of these things so how about we just agree not to bomb someone in the hopes that it scares them and teaches them and all dictators a lesson.

    • Unfortunately, John, dictators like Assad will never see reason as an alternative when it threatens their status quo, no matter how precarious it is. Currently, saying Assad is in charge of Syria is like saying John Boehner is the nominal leader of the Republicans in the House, or like Dave Bing is the Mayor of Detroit. The title is there, but due to conflicting interests, neither is actually in charge of what their titles claim.
      The difference is Assad has what’s left of the Syrian Army and Hezbollah, along with clandestine support from Iran and Russia. The other side originally had what could be termed “moderate” rebels trying to overthrow him. However, they have been co-opted by radical Sunni Islamists (Al Quaida backed militants, Muslim Brotherhood back militants, etc.). Any change in regime will not result in a democratic Syria, but in another Islamic Republic, with no love for the United States, Israel and either the Saudi’s or Iran, depending on which side ends up dominating the country.
      So before we go into Syria, even with air strikes only, we must ask the question that was also never asked when we went into Iraq, “Cui bono?”

      • Bear in mind that most of the money used to finance Al Qaeda comes from Saudi Arabia, the same country that financed 9/11, the homeland of 15 out of the 18 terrorists that carried out that attack, and the homeland of its mastermind, Osama bin Laden.
        You are correct in pointing out that most Syrian rebel groups have been infiltrated by radical Sunnis and Shiites vying for power if al-Assad is ousted. The chaos in that country is no longer a struggle between disaffected Syrians, it is now a struggle between radical Saudi Sunnis (the ones whose crime was sanctioned by George W. Bush when he declared Saudi Arabia a Most Favored Nation after 9/11) and radical Iranian Shiites. Those two spheres of power in the Persian Gulf region are positioning themselves to expand their influence to the Middle East and, ultimately, threaten Israel’s security. There is a lot more at play than moral imperatives…Needless to say, this is why it is so difficult for us to define objectives and what would constitute victory if we do intervene, regardless of how limited our military action turns out to be.

        • Rebels in Syria are mostly Sunni, not Shia
          The problem is Wahhabism branch of Islam (Sunni) and their strict interpretation of Islam. Unfortunately the power of the House of Saud is derived from their support.
          The quicker we become self sufficient in oil, the quicker we can disallowed that relationship between the US and the Saudis

          • Germansmith: I agree but would prefer: “the quicker we become self sufficient in energy” rather than “self sufficient in oil”.

          • If you want to say it that way, it is fineWe are mostly self sufficient with other forms of energy, but most of our vehicles still need oil to run (gas or diesel) ethanol from corn is a bad bet that makes our food more expensive.

          • I definitely agree with you, Germansmith, that ethanol from corn is a bad idea & would go farther and say that it is a disastrous idea. Other countries get their ethanol from crop waste so it has no effect on food prices & even tends to clean up the environment (no more burning of crop waste & causing air pollution) and does not require government subsidies to make ethanol production profitable.

        • What you just wrote above makes sense, but seems to me to be a strong argument for our refusing to get involved there in any way.

          How do you reconcile what you wrote above with your opinion that we have no choice but to bomb Syria? Has common sense invaded your thinking?

          • So, the answer to misguided, under informed hatred, is to hate back? That’s what the KKK does, I’m just sayin! Again, leave me out of your “me only” vision of America, tyvm!

          • Consider yourself gladly left out of my vision of America, which will be no problem once you leave for Syria to fight for the downtrodden Syrians. You know what I mean: Put your money where your big mouth is.

            Oh and what does “tyvm” mean?

          • Sorry, thank you very much. Anyway, no one is going to Syria. We are just going to destroy his Chemical Weapon stash. No war, no troops, just a few very precise strikes. Stop over reacting.

          • You seem to know a lot about this, so let me ask you a question: When the chemical weapon storage areas get hit, how do we stop the gas from being distributed to the surrounding area?

          • OK, I was away for a bit. To answer your question, this is my best guess:

            The U.S. Air Force has spent years developing so-called “Agent Defeat Weapons” designed to target and destroy stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons without dispersing or releasing them to surrounding areas, service officials said.

            “The U.S. Air Force has Agent Defeat Weapons designed to limit collateral damage and effects,” Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy told Military​.com. “The munitions are PAW (Passive Attack Weapon) and Crash Pad.”

            Read more: http://defensetech.org/2013/08/30/air-force-developed-bombs-capable-of-destroying-syrias-chemical-weapons/#ixzz2e3YXnVqx

            Defense.org

          • That sounds like the typical public relations crap that a governmental spokesperson would hand out. It doesn’t make sense. For example, your Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy said that the ADWs are designed to LIMIT collateral damage. So, in Air Force speak, that means there WILL be collateral damage.

            If those “chemical weapons” include nerve gas, that collateral damage can be horrific.

            Oh, one other thing: Can we use something more graphic and honest than a euphemism like “collateral damage”? I can’t think of one at the moment, but I’m open to suggestions.

          • One last thing from me. I have admitted repeatedly that I’m not as educated as most of you who post here regularly. I just know that if nothing is done to Assad for using the Saran, it will send a signal that all bets are off. Have a Nuke, shoot it. Have some gas, release it. The last Country that gave a crap, has turned it’s head.

        • While moderate Shiite and Sunni Muslims disagree with one another, without the fundamentalism and extremism we find in the Middle East, these two would NOT be at war with one another. While Iraq was ostensibly sectarian, they were a dictatorial theocracy, just like their neighbor Iran. Were it not for fundamentalism, these two countries would have been much better neighbors, but still separate.

      • Bingo
        Expect to be insulted by people that do not share your opinion.
        It always amazes me that the same people that were against our involvement in Iraq are now are eager for hostile actions against a country that have never attacked the US in any way based on a disapproval in the proper way to kill civilians. (sarcasm)

    • Great posting, John. It’s short and identifies the key issues beautifully, from the Republicans’ desire to suck up to Israel, to our domestic liberals’ yearning to seize upon a human rights issue without having to think very much about the end result of what they propose to do.

      Winston Churchill once said “Jaw, jaw, jaw is better than war, war, war.” As you say in your penultimate sentence: “But doing the right thing requires dialogue with Russia, and China, UN backing, a large coalition of willing peacekeepers and money.”

      • I really don’t feel like any of this is about humanitarianism. I feel like this is merely a way to accomplish strategic geo-political goals in the region. It feels very similar to Iraq.

        I don’t think the American people are thrilled with the notion of continual war.

        • I agree with you, but you know what? I think that what passes for leadership in this country doesn’t give a damn about what the majority of the people want. They’re going to go to war, regardless of public opinion.

          I’m not surprised by the Republicans’ stance. They’re a bunch of warmongers. Obama’s position puzzles me. Why has he done a one-eighty reversal of his previous position, e.g. getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan? The whole thing smells of a “deal” that isn’t going to redound to the benefit of the American people.

          Maybe the defense industry has bought him off. He may be actively planning for a very cushy retirement.

    • If you ask Israel, they would probably prefer a known dictator who they had no hostilities with in power, than hot heads Sunni fundamentalist rebels with a traditional hate of the Jews

  2. A spirited debate on issues of national importance should not be categorized as dissent. It is, in fact, an integral part of a democracy, particularly when it involves one of the most critical decisions a nation can make, which is to go to war regardless of how minimal a military operation may be. Instead of looking at the ongoing debates as a negative, we should welcome them, respect the opinion of others, and listen to what everyone is saying.
    The most important facet of this issue, in addition to the reprehensible use of chemical weapons against civilians, is what do we – the American people – believe our role should be on the world stage from now on. If we don’t mind ceding our leadership role to countries like China and Russia, the obvious position to take is to oppose intervention. However, if we remain convinced that we are still the leaders of the free world, and we understand the responsibilities that come with that leadership role, we have no choice but to launch a limited punitive strike against Syrian military/police facilities, especially WMD storage facilities.
    The reluctance of so many Americans to support another war, regardless of how minimal the proposed military intervention is expected to be, is understandable. One of the legacies of our decision to invade Iraq, a country that was not our enemy or a threat to us and a former ally, is the fact that we no longer trust our government when it comes to foreign policy and the use of force.
    The choices are clear, let a ruthless dictator know that he went too far, or withdraw from the world stage and embrace isolationism. It is up to us to decide.

    • The main problem here is that Bush…and even Colin Powell lied to us about WMD in Iraq. I do not put it pass Kerry and Obama
      The situation in Syria is too fluid and confusing to really trust that Assad actually ordered a chemical attack against the rebel positions. Could it be….
      -Assad’s general took it upon himself to deploy chemical weapons without orders? Or a renegade General getting tired of this war and expecting the US to come and finish this off did it to lure us in.
      -Rebels used captured chemical weapons against another rebel faction to kill them and draw the US in?
      -Assad ordered the chemical attack to draw the US in and them claim being attack by Christian crusaders, lackeys of Israel expecting to gain the support of the people?
      -Hezbollah using the chemical weapons against the rebels?
      Not getting involved in a country where all sides fighting the war are likely our enemies, with no clear goal or objective and no US interest in that country and that also happens that the faction we be attacking is an strong Russian ally, does NOT mean we are “embracing isolationism”, it means our leaders would be smart enough not to get duped in that unsolved mess.
      Well…Good Luck with That

      • Without the benefit of having access to the classified information that has been gathered, and shared behind closed doors with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I have no choice but to agree with you, not only because all the points you elaborated are valid concerns, but because I have said the same in recent days. I suspect that the reluctance of so many Americans to get involved in another mess in a part of the world notorious for its nihilism, treachery, ruthless leaders and would be leaders, and people with agenda that does not include rapprochement with the West, all those points
        I doubt President Obama is trying to use deceit to get us involved in another war. In fact, the impression I get when I watch him and hear what he has to say on this issue, is that he is being dragged into it and that he would much rather talk marriage and gender equality, ACA, and gun control.
        Unfortunately, the use of chemical weapons is undeniable and regardless of who did it, something must be done. That something does not have to – and must not include – an all out war or ousting a foreign leader we do not like. In the end, I would not be surprised if punitive action is limited to a few cruise and Tomahawk missiles and a few high precision bombs. The targets are, most likely, going to be isolated missile sites and suspected WMD storage facilities.
        Unfortunately, even if our missiles and bombs strike the intended targets, that will do absolutely nothing to dissuade the al-Assad regime to end his heinous attacks against civilians, regardless of whether or not the orders came from al-Assad, from someone in his upper echelon, from a renegade military or police officer, or due to infighting between rebel factions.

        • And may also end up killing a few more civilians if we by hitting their WMD sites also release Sarin or Mustard gas in the process.
          Short of actual boots on the ground to secure the WMD weapons (and nobody have the stomach for that) any other action may cause more harm than good.

          • Yeah, I was thinking about that, too. The various components are in separate containers within the weapons in most cases, but hitting the weapon with high explosive seems likely to cause at least some mixing, unless they actually store some components elsewhere and load them just before employing the weapon.

        • That’s another thing Dominick I can guarantee that President Obama and Mr. Kerry know a lot more about this than we do. And being classified information we shouldn’t know everything.

        • A Senator ask Kerry in the hearings yesterday if he was telling the absolute truth! There was hesitation! Not good enough! I don’t trust him since he lied about his “honorable” service record!

          • That’s all you got, a 10 second sound bite of something that sounds like something else that looks like. Get a life.

          • He didn’t lie. I don’t believe in political parties and do not belong to one, but that was the first time I started wondering about a specific party that spends billions on lying about their opponent.

          • Since you are steeped in ideological bias, you didn’t even bother to find out that the “Swift Boat people” were lying. Big money was behind that and dissing a real hero’s service record is a low. There were servicemen thugs who wanted to hurt Kerry because he testified in the Mai Lai massacre. I, for one, thinks that anyone who disgraces this country by creating wholesale murder should be brought to trial, just as any other murderer. I even heard one person justify throwing a baby up and catching it on a bayonet that the baby might have had a grenade in his diaper. However, the discussion is about whether we should jump into another conflict.

    • How cleverly you phrase your arguments! “If we don’t mind ceding our leadership role to countries like China and Russia….” So, if we don’t drop bombs on Syria, we’re committing ourselves to letting the Russians and Chinese take “our leadership role.”

      Well, I don’t want us to have a world leadership role. It’s a bullshit title anyway. It has heavy costs and few if any benefits. Only a damn fool or a militarist would put any value on it. Which are you, Dominick? Take your pick.

      • We should not “bomb Syria”, and to the best of my knowledge there are no plans to do so. What is being debated involves targeted and limited strikes against WMD storage facilities, helping moderate rebel groups (if there is such a thing in that part of the world) and, perhaps, striking the military or police units suspected to be involved in the recent chemical weapons attack.
        The problem with inaction when something terrible happens is that we lose our credibility and that the rest of the world will interpret our inaction as a sign of weakness and lack of resolve. There are other superpowers ready to fill the void the moment we leave the world stage, and embrace isolationism and pacifism. We did not earn the global position and privileges we have by being afraid of doing whatever it took to protect and advance our interests. Yes, we have made many mistakes, and we will probably make many more, but that’s the price nations make when they decide to be the dominant superpower in the world.

        • Mr. Vila:

          President Obama wants to send cruise missiles into Syria. The cruise missiles will carry explosives, i.e. bombs. Regardless of how you wish to sugarcoat what’s being proposed with euphemisms, the proposal is to BOMB Syria and that’s an act of war.

          Let’s go to another euphemism: “limited strikes.” Please tell me exactly what that means. Is it short of a nuclear attack? Is it short of carpet bombing? Will they cause collateral damage? Know what I think? I think that once this starts and Syria’s allies help her retaliate, we’ll be nickel and dimed into putting American troops into Syria. Viet Nam allover again.

          I think that it’s big of you to admit that we’ve made “many mistakes,” yet, you advocate our making another one. Every action causes a reaction and there’s no way to effectively control where things will wind up. Remember, our involvement in View Nam started with Dwight Eisenhower, who gave World War II fighter planes to France to enable it to fight the Viet Minh in French Indo China.

          The trouble with you bleeding heart liberals is that you think that you can reason everything out and control everything. You can’t control much of anything once the shooting starts, except to admit that you’re in a war and the worst thing that you can do in a war is to lose it. If he were alive today, you could check with Lyndon Johnson on that. He and that dipshit McNamara thought that they had the situation well in hand, but they didn’t did they?

          • Why must you bring up “bleeding heart liberals” and thereby pretty much nullify the relatively non-partisan arguments you made (though not too diplomatically). What liberals there are in the US are divided on this, and don’t appreciate being lumped together to suit promotion of your political “side.”

          • No it is not an act of war as defined by a Congressional resolution that would have to be made to have a “war.”

            You also go into the false “Ad hominem” argument that we are going down
            the path of WW3 by launching a strike….actually, we are trying to
            prevent a greater expansion in middle east by removing Assad and his
            illegal war crime weapons and push back his backers who are trying to
            control the middle east ie Russia, Iran and China.

            History teaches us to act early against despotic dictator
            megalomaniacs like Assad who are backed by powerful countries with money(Russia, Iran, China). Germany pre 1938 is an example. Pol Pot in Cambodia (backed by China) and numerous others…Assad’s weapons of mass destruction/chemicals/gas must be eliminated as much as possible. Not a war..just targeted removal.

            No appeasement. You either support Assads use of illegal weapons of mass destruction and ability to keep them and use them or you dont.

            I do not.

            Again. history has taught us of the consequences of failure to act against an Assad like megalomaniac.

      • CPA, you have seen my comments on here enough to know, I lean left past the middle bar. That being said, YES, The USA must always remain at the forefront when the task of standing up for those who cannot stand for themselves is at hand!

        Whether we stand up for minorities, gays, children, the disabled, the elderly, and the poor, we must do it at home AND abroad! Maybe a lot of the Syrians we are trying to protect, will in fact turn on us. The fact still remains that many many more, innocents were wiped out, as if they were no more than a pesky insect in my back yard. The day The USA stops defending any of these, is the day I consider leaving.

        • The USA has to defend its citizens and that’s all. You arrogantly want us to be the world’s policeman. I think that’s the height of stupidity.

          I sincerely hope that no one listens to your childish rants. I also hope that you put your money where your mouth is and go to Syria to personally fight for the downtrodden Syrians.

          • The US has since its inception been the champion of the underdog and the downtrodden. Is that not the gist of the inscription on Ellis Island, where many of our ancestors entered this country? Our major mistakes in the past fifty years have been FAILURE to act when our principles have required it, in places like Rwanda and Sudan, and many other similar places around the globe where dictators have used whatever means at their disposal to ethnically cleanse their countries, eliminating opposition and dissent. Our Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights included in the charter of the UN require us, and all our allies and other UN members, requires us to do no less than what we are contemplating in Syria. In this case, the parable of the Good Samaritan seems appropriate.

          • Your first sentence is pure fantasy. At our country’s inception, it didn’t have the strength to champion anything more than its independence from England. In fact, without France’s intercession, the American revolution may well have failed.

            Our constitution says nothing about championing underdogs and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has no legal force anywhere.

            As to the parable of the Good Samaritan: It’s a fantasy. It never happened. It’s a heart warming story, but it’s fiction.

            Your ideas would bankrupt us. Have you noticed that none of our allies are supporting Obama in this? They probably regard him as a fool.

          • Please define your term “none”. France has only said they will not go alone. Turkey has said they will back us. Britain’s Labor Party, who turned down the first vote, has asked for another. Even Putin has relaxed his stance. You are simply mistaken on that point. Whether you believe in the parable is largely irrelevant for the moral lessons it teaches are part of the moral basis for this country, unless, of course, you wish to deny that the US is founded upon Christian values. I am not talking about the Articles of Confederation, but of the numerous places in the Constitution which lead our government to pursue and establish policies, once again based upon our Christian ethos, for the help and betterment of society. As we were not yet a nation during the Revolution and did not for another dozen years have the Constitution, of course we had no such values as a nation.

          • Our nation started in 1776. True, we didn’t have a constitution until 1789, but we did have the Articles of Confederation, which I believe were adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1781. The Second Continental Congress sat throughout the war. Bottom line: We were a country from 1776 on. We celebrated a bicentennial in 1976, so you’re wrong on that point.

            Many of the founding fathers were Deists, which means that they believed in God, but didn’t belong to any formal religion. As to whether the principles on which the United States was founded were Christian, I would say that’s irrelevant to our argument, because we are not obligated to come to the aid of foreigners, especially foreigners who are our sworn enemies because their religion tells them to kill us as non-believers.

            We are not obligated to help people who are dedicated to our destruction .If you maintain that we are because it conforms to some bizarre beliefs that you insist are”Christian,” then I would conclude that you suffer from dementia.

          • Foreigners, just because of the being foreigners, does not of necessity entail their being our enemies. Nor is it accurate to claim that Muslims, because of their being Muslims, are our enemies. Very little is mentioned in the Constitution (or other founding documents) about religion because the secular humanists who wrote those documents had ALL experienced the depredations of a religiously controlled state. Humanists believe in the ability of Reason to overcome obstacles we create. One of those obstacles has indeed been religion. Most of the colonies had their own rigidly enforced religious mandates. That being said, the values of the Christian Bible are incorporated in the principles upon which this country is founded, albeit from a Humanist standpoint.

          • So, now you’re backing off from your grandiose statements that we are morally obligated to intervene in Syria.

            I love the smoke screen that you threw up, but it won’t work with me. There’s nothing in our founding documents that obligates us to intervene in Syria. Indeed, the rebels appear to be coming under the sway of the radical Muslims organized as al Quaida, those wonderful folks who gave us the September 11 attacks.

          • I didn’t back off anything. The international community, including the US Congress, has established norms of behavior with regard to the use (and very existence) of chemical weapons. IF we are to be seen as believing in what we say, then we are morally obligated to do something about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. We cannot say that we believe in the rule of law, make laws, and then ignore them.

          • Your response shows that you’re very high principled. I’m sure your opinion will cut a lot of ice with the friends and relatives of the 3,000-plus people who died on nine eleven.

          • And your comment bears what relevance to my posting? How did what I said morph into something about 9/11?

          • You advocate our protecting the very people who committed the 9/11 atrocities, i.e. Muslims.

            My point of view is that these people are the enemies of anyone who isn’t a Muslim, because the Muslims are taught that it is the duty of every Muslim to kill those who are not Muslims.

            We are in a religious war: Muslims against all non-Muslims. Hopefully for the world, the Muslims will be eradicated.

          • I believe in dealing honestly and straightforwardly with those who disagree with me, avoiding hyperbole and insult so that both parties can engage in a reasonable exchange of information, ideas, and opinions. That being said, your posting is some of the stupidest shit I have ever read on this site. Because someone is a Muslim, he is our enemy, and ALL Muslims are our enemies. Wow, racism at its rawest.

          • You are the kind of well meaning asshole that makes it easy for homicidal bastards like al Quaida to commit their atrocities. You cannot deal “honestly and straightforwardly” with terrorists. You must kill them, because if you don’t they may well kill you.

            I would, however, like to compliment you on one thing: I do believe that all Muslims are our enemies. I’m glad that you have the minimal intelligence needed to figure that out. However, racism has nothing to do with it. I voted for Obama in 2012. My opinion of the Muslims is based on their egregious acts of violence. They are a violent group that deserves to be eradicated from the world.

          • I have NO issue with killing terrorists, as long as we KNOW they are terrorists. Just because someone is a Muslim does not make him a terrorist. You are the kind of stupid fucking bigot who can’t see around your sorry white ass.

          • Sorry WHITE ass, eh? Glad to see that you’re an admitted colored bigot. What color are you: yellow, tan. green, polka dotted?

          • Oh, excuse me, did I offend your holiness with the “white ass” comment? WERE I a racist, I could not achieve the level of ignorance and depravity you have achieved in your denial of your bigotry. You condemn ALL Muslims simply because of their religion. Is that not bigotry? Is that not blind prejudice? Is that not, in effect, racism?

          • If you’re not a bigot, why did you use the term “WHITE ass”?

            You put your foot in your mouth with that one, probably because your hatred of the white race caused you to lose your better judgment and spout off.

          • “Whatever”? Is that all you can muster for an answer? What is that supposed to mean? You surrender? You don’t care? You are such an egotist that you don’t countenance anyone else’s opinion?

            Come on, tell us what it means.

          • Interesting response, coming from you, of all people. Looks like you must have finally looked in the mirror.

          • You are so into your little ethnocentric world that you are willing to exclude everyone who is not a member of your tribe. You summarily dismiss the entire Muslim population and civilization for something perpetrated by a small clique of fanatics. Your opinion is NOT what I don’t countenance, but you apparent sense of hatred for a people about whom you probably know nothing. Many Americans, myself included, looked to New York as the logical place for Ellis Island, because where better for an immigrant to get the idea of what America is about. With people like you using it in your moniker, I can understand why New York was targeted.
            Apparently, it would be reasonable to assume you hate the entire population of the planet, for their is NO ethnic group that has not participated in some form of genocide on a much grander scale than that perpetrated on 9/11. IF you were personally affected by the events of 9/11, my condolences. Also my statement to “get over it.” When you seek revenge, it is said, ’tis best to dig TWO graves.
            Based upon your postings, I seriously doubt that you are capable of introspection, but it would be a good thing if you were. Elie Wiesel, who endured much worse than most of us can comprehend. has devoted his life to getting beyond the Holocaust, and helping other do so. Unfortunately, as he is probably of a different tribe from you, you would find his wisdom unbearable and untenable.

          • I hate the Muslim bastards that perpetrated Nine-eleven and the stupid Americans who preach forbearance for them. I’m appalled by your silly reasoning, namely that because “….their (sic) is NO ethnic group that has not participated in some form of genocide on a much grander scale than that perpetrated on 9/11.”, we should not hate them.

            They are not in the least bit sorry for what they have done. Their effrontery in constructing a mosque near the World Trade Center speaks volumes. A day after the tragedy the news media showed Palestinian women dancing in the street. These are the people to whom we should show forbearance in your opinion. For having that opinion, I consider you to be a fool.

            I would rid America of the Muslims by denying them entry and passing a law outlawing the practice of their religion in America. I would get our troops out of the Middle East entirely. The whole area is a vast garbage heap. I certainly oppose extending any humanitarian assistance to the Syrian rebels, who are violent Muslims. If the radical Muslims of the region want to start revolutions in Syria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, the Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Oman and other Muslim dumps, then more power to them. Let the Muslim rebels and the Muslim rulers annihilate each other. The world will be better off, because there will be fewer Muslims.

          • You miss one very important point. I wonder if you can figure it out on your own.
            Your hatred extends to ALL Muslims, including those who are fighting against the dictators in Egypt, Libya, even Iran, including the Muslims in the US who are desperately working toward a peaceful world, against the Muslims in Palestine/Israel who are being imprisoned in their own country, against the Muslims around the world who are suffering for what those on 9/11 did. You are refusing to accept the irrefutable fact that ALL Muslims are NOT alike, just as all Christians are not alike, or all blacks are not alike. To hate ALL Muslims for the simple fact that they are Muslims is one short step away from hating ALL others simply because they are other. When you withdraw into your lonely little shell, it becomes increasingly difficult to hear or heed the cries of humanity. You are following the same path that led Hitler to Auschwitz, or that led leaders in other countries from South Africa to the American plains to demonize and dehumanize an entire group of people so they could do what they wished with what they saw as justification.

          • The Muslims who are fighting against the dictators in Egypt and Syria are dominated by al Quaida. Do you want them to assume power in those countries? I do not.

            This creates a big problem, in that we don’t like harsh dictators, but we must recognize al Quaida as our mortal enemy. If we support the rebels, we are supporting al Quaida. How do you propose solving that riddle? I’m assuming that you are opposed to al Quaida, the perpetrators of the Twin Towers massacre and the other obscenities on Nine eleven.

          • I am vehemently opposed to a blanket condemnation of ALL Muslims because of the events of 9/11 and other instances of radical Islamist deeds. Those events do NOT tell us who Muslims in general are. Yes, 9/11 was an atrocity, and those who perpetrated it are in the process of explaining to ALLAH just why they did them. The majority of the protestors in Egypt are NOT radical Muslims or members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

          • Are you a Muslim? Your statement that those who perpetrated 9/11 “… are in the process of explaining to ALLAH just why they did them.” resonates badly with me, because those criminals thought that they were perpetrating their crime in God’s name.

            If you are a Muslim, then your position makes sense to me, although I find it abhorrent. If you are not a Muslim, then I don’t understand you at all.

          • I am not speaking in tongues. I am using plain English, something with which you are apparently unfamiliar. What are you, an Indian CPA? The ciphering must be a little confusing for you, but apparently not as confusing as the English.
            We can both agree on one thing, at least – that the perpetrators on the four planes on 9/11 are dead, as in no longer of this earth. Which means, be you Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, or whatever that they have gone to their Creator where they must make an accounting of their lives. Are you with me so far? I hope I am not going too fast for you and am not skipping anything. (One thing you must note by now is that I am not a Muslim, for they do not do well with sarcasm in English) /as their term for GOD is ALLAH, they will have to explain to their God why they did what they did. Do you get it now, or did it get too confusing there at the end?

          • “I am not speaking in tongues.” What the hell is that supposed to mean, that you’re not lying? If that’s what you mean, say so. Use the “plain English” that you claim you’re using.

            You write like a pseudo intellectual religious nut. You’re a man of many words, but little sense. You blather. The Muslim criminals who perpetrated nine-eleven must explain their atrocities to their God you say. How do you know that? Are you in contact with God?

            I would get rid of every Muslim in America. Kick them all out of the country. Those who refuse to leave must be imprisoned. They are a miserable, backward people who adhere to a miserable, hateful religion that is more appropriate to the middle ages than to the 21st century.

          • You are conflating a minority (al Quaida, et al) with all Muslims, and then compound that error with the statement that “Muslims are taught that it is the duty of every Muslim to kill those who are not Muslims”. By what authority are all Muslims taught to kill all non-Muslims? It is certainly not the Koran, which states that the Abrahamic tribes are all “people of the book”. The Sunni and Shia disagree on many things, so they agree that all non-Muslims should be killed? I grant you that there violent Muslim hate groups that would like to kill all non-Muslims, but your words convey your apparent belief that these hate groups constitute the majority of all Muslims in the world. I maintain that they are in a minority (albeit a very vocal and violent one) of all of the world’s Muslims.

          • That is a good post. However, I wish to point out that all civilizations had codes of conduct, even the primitive ones. Rules, to enable us to co-exist on this earth, are not limited to Christianity. In fact, there have been people on this board, claiming to be Christian, whose behavior was anything but.

          • Ancient civilizations, long before the Old Testament, thrived because they established rules of ethical and moral conduct. While I cannot personally attest to these rules, I ASSUME they existed LONG before the establishment of the Christian religion. Even ancient civilizations in the Americas that pre-existed Christianity had established codified principles of social living. As we like to consider ourselves a “Christian nation”, it is almost compulsory that we believe that our rules of behavior are from our Christian Bible, even though we know that even the laws handed down through Moses existed long before he did. Our rules of conduct, as a culture, have been codified in our Constitution and in our laws, even though most of this structure was established in one form or another long before our founding as a nation. The Founders, some of whom were not even Christian, were Humanists, who believed that Reason is necessary for civilization to advance, and that Reason must be used in establishing codes of conduct.

          • The best way to treat this problem is to make a case to the other nations so they will vote to send a police action in via the UN. We already have Sweden and Russia saying they would vote for action.

          • Those members who are currently sitting in the House have voted distinctly against. The House goes back in session Monday, and things may change there. Interesting how Putin has changed so readily after referring to Kerry and Obama as liars.

        • Mikey: Please, Stay here and fight for true and effective leadership by the US in this battle for the people of Syria and the Middle-East. Fight to get our members of Congress and our President to stand down right now, go to the UN, send emissaries to foreign governments to support UN General Assembly support for action. Work for diplomacy, negotiation and, only if that fails, international military action against the Syrian government.
          The “Security Council” is stuck with and in the status quo just as our Congress and center-right administration are. The people of America are not saying “do nothing” they are saying “don’t do the wrong thing just to be doing something quickly.” It is a valid and valuable message for you and all of us to be sending our members of Congress and the White House as well as citizens of the world to be sending to the General Assembly of the UN.

          • I’m an American and I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to get involved with the Middle East, which I think is one of the world’s cesspools.

            All I want to do is buy their oil. To do that, we don’t need to have any military presence there. If the place experiences one of its periodic upheavals, we don’t have to get involved. We’re not obligated.

    • False choice, Dominick! The option is not ceding leadership to Russia or China, it is either leading us blindly into what would be an illegal war based on both Domestic law and International law or leading the world to recognize that there is an appropriate method to reinforce the rule of law.
      The US could advance our role as international leaders by working with the United Nations, pursuing diplomacy and complete investigation and, as a last resort, even with the opposition of China and Russia, initiating internationally supported action against the Syrian violations of international norms.

  3. Something a friend of mine told me about Syria I thought was so good I would share it. “I’m not very knowledgeable about foreign affairs, so I know someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s my understanding this is only the third time in history a country’s leader has used chemical weapons on his own people — first Hitler, then Sadam Hussein and now Assad. We know how those first two got away with it to the tune of over 6 million lost lives — do we sit back, wait and see? I don’t want to see a war started over this, but at some point does the humanitarian issue outweigh the squabbles between conservatives and liberals?” My thoughts are I hope so.

    • You call this a “squabble”? I call it a major decision that could well lead to World War III. Your attitude is symptomatic of the idiots who for patriotism or some misplaced feelings for the welfare of the downtrodden want us to go to war. And. let’s not try to sugar coat this: dropping bombs on Syria is an act of war.

      If Syria has mutual defense treaties with any other country, anywhere in the world, that country is obligated to enter into hostilities with us.

      • For most of us, a war is an engagement or a fight carried out by the military of two or more countries. The USA is not going to war against the Syrian military, there are no plans to put boots on the ground, we are not planning to invade Syria, and if I was a betting man I would bet we will be out of that entire area (naval and USAF units) within a couple of weeks.
        Putin is not going to declare war if we strike Syria. His opposition to intervention is fueled by his conviction that removing al-Assad from power may unleash a sequence of events that could cause problems for Russia, a country that has Islamic Republics and neighbors.

        • Really? “For most of us, war is an engagement or a fight carried out by the military of two or more countries.” From what eighteenth century book did you get that outdated concept? Wars are carried out against civilian populations as well as military units.

          I love the certainty with which you write. It’s almost as if you actually know something. You think that we’ll be out of the area within a couple of weeks. Care to show us less informed how you calculated “within a couple of weeks,” or did you just pull that out of thin air?

          You assure us that “Putin is not going to declare war if we strike Syria….” Really? And where did you get that wonderfully reassuring piece of intelligence? Are you on a personal basis with Putin?

          You write well, Mr. Vila, but i’m not impressed by your cockamamie conclusions.

          • The calculation of “a couple weeks” is based upon the administration’s own assessment, involving ONLY limited strikes to degrade the ability of the Assad regime to use chemical weapons in the future. Such a limited involvement depends ONLY upon our ability to locate their stocks of chemical weapons and their delivery systems, which can be accomplished without “boots on the ground”. IF the Assad regime and his military wish to contest our mission, then our involvement could deepen and widen. But, unless you just have not been watching a listening, you would understand the limited nature of BOTH what the president is asking and what the Congress is willing to grant.

          • Thank you for your deep, penetrating analysis. I feel so much better. Unfortunately, I’ve seen situations that got quickly out of control, despite the best assurances of our governmental and military experts, so I’ll continue to oppose the idea of bombing Syria.

          • Do you realistically think, in your wildest imaginings, that Putin would declare war on the USA, let alone retaliate at all in a military way, were we to take limited action against Assad’s chemical weapons. The last time I looked, we have 900 or so nukes, any number of which are ready to deploy on very short notice. I believe that the doctrine of MAD (mutually assured destruction) still holds true. Mr. Putin may be many things, but suicidal is not one of them.

        • Firing missiles into a sovereign State is a declaration of war as clear as a headline message before Congress. You and the idealists supporting this attack on Syria have no idea what the US War Machine is prepared to do when Syria and her allies fire back.
          Boots on the Ground have nothing to do with declaration of war. This is not a war for territory. This is a war for resources and presentation of power. It can be done correctly if done in conjunction with the UN or it can be done Bush/Cheney fashion with a coalition of the willing. The latter is initiation of an illegal war against a Sovereign State.
          This is not WW II or WW I but it sure as hell could be the start of WW III.

          • “Firing missiles into a sovereign State is a declaration of war..”

            no it isn’t

            There is no declared war or anything like it proposed….get off it already…

          • If you think limited surgical strikes do not constitute a defacto war declaration how do you think we would feel if China launched limited surgical strikes against our military or government facilities.

            If we expect to be called the “good guys” then we must seek legitimacy. At bare min, a UN resolution authorizing action for war crimes. If we do not receive this, then our attack is illegal.

            Bombing another country is always war. And bombing another country without multinational support and UN backing is going to do the same thing as Iraq. Boost recruitment for anti-American elements.

          • There is no such think as a “de factor” war. Congress must formally and legally declare it under the Constitiution. Please research and post me a “cut and paste” from whatever Intertnational Law you are citing that states that a surgical strike aganist a country that has utilized weapons of mass destrucion is ann “act of war.” You wont find any.

            Bombing another country is not always war, and your repeating of Rush Limbaughs warning that this will “Boost recruitment for anti-American elements.” is rediculous.

            There will always be from now until we end global poverty, homelessness, suffering and host of other global problems recruitment against “the great satan” America because feeble minds blame us for everything….it is a convenient way to gain loca ltribal power by fanatics needing a cause…

            2nd…This is a tangible, real 2013 Assad use of illegal (International Law) weapon of mass destruction. Has nothing to do with anything else like Iraq, Afghanistan etc…

            3rd The USA is already a “legitimate” world power with no need to be a “good guy.” We need to be the country, working with the global commmitity to be “The moral guys” by removing Assads weapons as we did to Gaddfy and others…

            Finally—and you really must go read the 13 volume set of Durrant’s HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION—History teaches us to act early against despotic dictator megalomaniacs
            like Assad who are backed by powerful countries with money(Russia, Iran, China). Germany pre 1938 is an example. Pol Pot in Cambodia (backed by China) and numerous others…

            4th. Your China hypothetical is absurd and laughable.

          • There is such a thing as de facto War. Vietnam is one instance of a de facto War. Just because you don’t label it “war in the classic sense” that doesn’t negate the fact that you are mobilizing and using American Military and personnel. Bombing Syria is still military aggression, whether you would define it that way or not.

            Additionally Assads government has never signed any agreements against the use of chemical weapons.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_Weapons_Convention

            I find it interesting that you see no comparison between Iraq and Syria, especially since Iraq did use chemical weapons against his own people.

            Yes, the US is a world power. But that means we have a responsibility to go before the UN. Thats what the UN is for. If we are just going to bomb who the media tells us too, and take our allies with us regardless of the consequences, then why are we even members?

            If you want to use a historical narrative to examine this topic I highly recommend looking at it from more than one angle. A basic study of South West Asian colonialism will show you how Britian and France created artificial countries for strategic geo political goals.

            The problem is bigger than a dictator. And if we have to stop all dictators no matter what the cost then we should invade half the world in the name of Democracy.

          • This issue is solely about Assad 2013, and not a general statement you post: “The problem is bigger than a dictator. And if we have to stop all dictators no matter what the cost then we should invade half the world in the name of Democracy.”

            The Un “Security Council” is not providing any security to the people of Syria or this planet. They are not a true council of non conflict of interest members hence Russia and China will veto anything related to stopping Syria as they are main allies of Assad…. Iran and Hezbollah not included but players.

            History teaches us to act early against despotic dictator megalomaniacs like Assad who are backed by powerful countries with money. Germany pre 1938 is an example. Pol Pot in Cambodia and numerous others…

            Assad’s weapons of mass destruction/chemicals/gas must be eliminated as much as possible. Not a war..just targeted removal.

            The end game CERTAINLY is clear: tactical limited 90 day strike to stop Assad’s use of chemical weapons, and Russia, Iran and China’s ability to inflame the region further since they are the money and power behind Assad’s abiliy to stay in power.

            The world did nearly same in Libya, but the Libyain people rose up after Gaddfy’s ability to massacre them was stopped by tacticle airstrikes… and it it worked.

            Assad blew it by using chemical weapons….he needs to step down and allow the UN to broker a demilitarized zone in Syria to get Assad out, and a governing council established for reconciliation.

          • So because you do not like the UNSC then we should refuse to have dialogue. It is disappointing that using the United Nation requires talking to other Nations and getting them united. That is what diplomacy is for. How much Diplomacy do you think is going on here?

            You can’t target/remove chemical weapons? You want to bomb the same warehouses that store these ordinances? That will only serve to possibly expose more of the populace to the chemical gasses.

            You think that the Civil War will stop just because we launch a “limited” and “surgical” strike? If anything it will escalate with religious supporters of Assad targeting Americans. You think Iran is going to like it that we bomb their dog in this fight. No they will find other methods to respond. Most likely terror against American facilities or people.

            The world did not do the same. Once again the UN was no used, a handful of nations banded together to do something without thinking of the consequences. This intervention had far more to do with oil profits, and European refugees, than it did humanitarian intervention. And it is useful that you cite Libya as a case study particularly if you look at the impact Libya had upon Mali.

            History is not an examination of one angle at one time. There are a plethora of different angles to consider. Libertarians will cite that WW II was only possible with the US intervening in WWI. Without US support the member nations would have been forced to seek a diplomatically fair solution. Or consider the guns of August, where each nation had their military’s advancing war as the solution for the countries problems regardless of the consequences. Consider Noam Chomskey who argued that we got involved in Iraq not for humanitarian or self defense purposes, but for concrete geo-political goals and strategies.

            Without the UN any action will be unjust/illegal (Iraq e.i.). Without boots on ground, the violence will continue.
            The Administration has said the bombing is not to help Assad lose but merely to teach him a lesson. So if we won’t be able to stop him, we have no legitimacy in enforcement, and we cannot stop the violence, why do it?

            There are hundreds of thousands of refugees that fled Syria, lets spend billions of dollars to help them. Thats the right thing to do, but its far easier to send a cruise missile against our enemies than do something right.

          • We simply must await the final reports from the UN inspectors to see whether or not Assad used chemicals weapons.

            This issue is solely about Assad 2013, and not a general statements you post about your interpretation of history or “what if” scenarios..

            You have expressed impassioned opinion based with a little bit of knoweledge and have leaped to conclusions like:
            “You can’t target/remove chemical weapons? You want to bomb the same warehouses that store these ordinances?”

            According to Jane’s Defense and other military sites, we certainly CAN target and remove chemical weapons with vaporizing cruise missles…this is just one example of your hyperbole….and lack of facts.

            You make conclusions about my posts based upon theoretical discourse in the guise of concrete facts. Example your opening attack: “So because you do not like the UNSC then we should refuse to have dialogue…”

            Here is the fact: The Un “Security Council” is not providing any security to the people of Syria or this planet. They are not a true council of non conflict of interest members hence Russia and China will veto anything related to stopping Syria as they are main allies of Assad…. Iran and Hezbollah not included but players…”

            I am the first to get a WHOLE UN vote after the UN Inspectors report their findings. Our GOP led Congress must wait for these findings as well.

            This is about Assad’s war crime of using illegal banned chemical weapons.

            If the world does nothing it means you condone Assad’s use.

            So why bother to have a UN at all?

            Whether you like it our night, just as there will be a sunrise and a sunset and the world is round: History teaches us to act early against despotic dictator megalomaniacs like Assad who are backed by powerful countries with money.

          • Anytime you bomb something there is no guarantee that everything will happen exactly as it is supposed to. Yes, I believe you when you say a cruise missile dropped atop a weapons depot will vaporize the contents. But what about the building next door? Or what about the buildings across the street? How do you know they won’t move them to hospitals or schools? Bombing Syria risks exposing more people to chemical contaminants, regardless of what journalists say.

            You keep spouting that the US is obligated to do something against dictators. No we are not, especially when we spend a great deal of time and energy backing them and giving them weapons. The last time there was a chemical attack the world did nothing, 10 years later we invaded and deposed the dictator responsible and managed to completely alienate the country in the process.

            You keep saying history teaches us this lesson that I read in this particular book. History is dynamic, it is constantly giving us different narratives and different points of view, historically there are just as many arguments against intervention as for it.

          • Political solution being proposed by Putin.

            Assad blew it by using chemical weapons and Russia, China, Iran know it….

            Assad simply needs to immediately step down and turn over weapons of mass destruction. Then…allow the UN to broker a demilitarized zone in Syria to get Assad out, and a governing council established for reconciliation.

            Russia to push Syria to surrender chemical weapons.

            see breaking news at A.P.

            http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_RUSSIA_SYRIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-09-09-10-56-16

          • So now you favor diplomacy before we bomb? Aren’t you supposed to start with dialogue and diplomacy?

            Its interesting to note that quite a few other nations have used chemical weapons with no consequences. We do not care that chemical weapons were used. This is being used as a pretext to send a message to Syria, and to back Saudi interests.

          • I have always favored peace and negotiation….but not under the 2013 Syrian circumstances ie until the new Hitler Assad arrived and gas his people with illegal weapons…

            Now—lets negotiate….allow the UN to broker a demilitarized zone in Syria to get Assad out, and a governing council established for reconciliation.

            Thnaks for all your great posts..

            Dan

          • So, if the USA ( alone, or in concert with some of its allies) were to eliminate Assad’s stockpile of chemical weapons, that would actually be in compliance with the CWC? Sweet!

          • ? I don’t think its possible to bomb chemical weapons out of existence without further risk to the civilian population.

            And any action without UN support is not right.

            I’m not really sure what your point was here?

          • In fairness, it is difficult to decide at times whether or not a particular monster ruling a particular country requires us to “stand up,” but one should point out that in this case we’re talking about a country pretty much completely dependent upon others for its weapons and the training of its personnel to use them. That was not the case at all with Germany by the time it became dangerous. Germany was also not flanked by a nuclear-armed enemy that has demonstrated repeatedly that it will not tolerate aggression by neighbors. Its other neighbors are – aside from Lebanon – sympathetic regimes it is unlikely to attack (who are similarly dependent upon others for their major weapons, though Iran has been creative in obtaining and maintaining some weapons for a long time without outside support) plus Turkey, a NATO member that is likely able to take care of itself without too much NATO help.
            I do sometimes worry that we may fail to stand up when we really need to, but – based on recent history – it appears that for the immediate future we have the opposite problem.

        • troll

          A social media troll as someone who seeks to lure or bait people into negative, disruptive rhetoric for their own edification or to commandeer an otherwise free-flowing discussion among colleagues. They don’t recognize anyone that may be interested in discussing something that bores them and opt to criticize or yell “boring” instead of engaging in the discussion. They choose to belittle those who seek the information and discourse as well as those who try to provide it. They simply have no interest in anything that is not self-serving. Trolls will defend their focus on expressing contrary opinions as an honorable attempt to rid the online community of fake-experts, get to the truth of a matter or enlighten their followers; however, their intent has nothing to do with community building or public enlightenment.

    • Instead of mindlessly dropping bombs, we should have talks with all members of the UN. Sweden has already agreed to backing a strike against Syria and Russia is amenable. If all the UN countries back a strike, then UN forces should be in charge of the strike. This is another conflict, we should move slowly on as wars are costly and innocent lives are lost. Yes, using chemical weapons is a violation of international law and the international community should be involved.

      • I’m with you on that I think we should exhaust all options with peace talks and sanctions or what ever we can before we start a military action, but I don’t think anyone not just us should just look the other way while it happens. I DO NOT WANT ANOTHER WAR.

        • That response is totally uncalled for, we are all part of this United States and whether you agree or not, you should keep your ignorant, inconsiderate and insulting opinion to yourself. Crawl back under your FOX rock and take highpckts with you.

        • troll you be…

          A social media troll as someone who seeks to lure or bait people into negative, disruptive rhetoric for their own edification or to commandeer an otherwise free-flowing discussion among colleagues. They don’t recognize anyone that may be interested in discussing something that bores them and opt to criticize or yell “boring” instead of engaging in the discussion. They choose to belittle those who seek the information and discourse as well as those who try to provide it. They simply have no interest in anything that is not self-serving. Trolls will defend their focus on expressing contrary opinions as an honorable attempt to rid the online community of fake-experts, get to the truth of a matter or enlighten their followers; however, their intent has nothing to do with community building or public enlightenment.

      • Unfortunately, what the UN has become will not be conducive to a Security Council consensus about Syria. While Russia is backing off its previous stance and showing hints of support, China still holds a veto and will undoubtedly use it. Even a debate in the General Assembly would probably NOT come to a consensus. Putin has voiced his support IF the US can demonstrate irrefutable proof of our claims against Assad. Why not assume a conciliatory stance when your conditions will not be met?

      • Unfortunately, torture is also against both international and US law, but was flagrantly performed for eight years and probably continues on some of the remote bases which the administration considers outside the rule of US law. This is not an attempt to distract or disrupt this discussion, but it seems to me the US is in a weak position to condemn others for war crimes.

    • I have read a lot of books on the holocaust and I have always wondered, how could a country as powerful as the United States turn such a blind eye to the killing of 9 million, including women and children.

      • Exactly we ‘CAN NOT’ let that happen again, although it’s only 1400 people we as a people and the rest of the world can not sit idly by and watch. Something has to be done, if talks work or sanctions or what ever works then do that first. And hello I haven’t seen you in awhile.

        • Hello to you as well, I have been very busy. I have adopted the saying “I am so far behind that I think I am first”. I do agree that something needs to be done and we have people in place to evaluate these situations and make the best decision that will be beneficial to everyone including the United States and hopefully save lifes.

  4. EJ is correct whe he states: “Obama has forced himself to recalibrate a Syrian strategy that had reached a dead end, and to clarify his goals. He is stepping up support for more moderate Syrian opposition elements and his plans to “degrade”
    Assad’s military are more extensive than simply a warning shot. ”

    History teaches us to act early against despotic dictator megalomaniacs like Assad who are backed by powerful countries with money. Germany pre 1938 is an example. Pol Pot in Cambodia and numerous others…

    Assad’s weapons of mass destruction/chemicals/gas must be eliminated as much as possible. Not a war..just targeted removal.

    Our NSA/CIA PRISM satellites-one launched by USA over a week ago and another launched by Israelover 3 days ago–have allowed us to track for many months and especially now days in advance just where Assad is hiding weapons and mechanisms.

    There will be no retaliation by Russia, Chine or Iran. It is not in their collective best interests to provoke this any further escalation as it means we will shut down the Straight of Hormuz and other vital ports that these countries need.

    The end game CERTAINLY is clear: tactical limited 90 day strike or less to stop Assad’s use of chemical weapons, and Russia, Iran and China’s ability to inflame the region further since they are the money and power behind Assad’s abiliy to stay in power.

    The world did nearly same in Libya, but the Libyain people rose up after Gaddfy’s ability to massacre them was stopped by tacticle airstrikes… and it it worked.

    Assad blew it by using chemical weapons….he needs to step down and allow the UN to broker a demilitarized zone in Syria to get Assad out, and a governing council established for reconciliation.

    THAT—is really what is in the best interests of all parties including the nations of this planet.

    I hate that this had to happen, but there is no other solution.

    • There are other solutions. You offer a false choice: Commit war crimes and violate domestic law by attacking Syria or do nothing. Your argument is really only that we can launch an effective attack, not that we should do it now or that it is the correct option to take. Of course we are prepared to launch and effective attack. We are the strongest military and intelligence power the world has ever known. We have the most robust and controlling military industrial complex existing today. But, because we can attack today does not mean we should attack today. There are other options. Other solutions.
      The US can demonstrate domestic leadership and exercise international leadership by standing down our military, sending envoys around the world through our embassies and consulates to share our information to the world and the citizens and leaders around the world as we are showing to the people of the US. We can ignore the opposition in the Security council of Syria’s allies, Russia, Iran and China. We can take our case to the people of the world through the UN General Assembly. Then negotiations through the UN, giving Syria and her Allies a voice. If that fails to end the use and threat of chemical weapons, then bring a resolution to the General Assembly to punish Assad and remove him from power.
      in the meantime, I doubt anyone in Syria is going to release any more poison into the public with everyone in the country and the world watching. Everyone in the world knows now that our satellites are watching and that the US navy is ready to respond, sitting offshore with tomahawk missiles standing at the ready. Assad has been warned. With that knowledge and warning, he will not sin again.
      THAT is the wise use of the tremendous power of the United States, effective leadership, not blustering into a potential WW III. We don’t have to be the thug “enforcers” of the rule of law like gangs coming in to enforce bad gambling debts, but we can be “protectors’ of the rule of law like the cops who watch the streets protecting the public against the gangs and thugs who threaten the peace..

      • NIce post–appreciate you analysis.

        Your premse, however, assumes facts that are not in evidence ie “You offer a false choice: Commit war crimes and violate domestic law by attacking Syria or do nothing. ”
        I offer no false choice whatsover because what Obama will do is not a “war crime” because no formal declaration of war is being proposed or authorized by Congress nor is there any violation of USA domestic law.

        Hence, and argument based on a false premise as yours leads to a false conclusion that somehow I offer a false choice. I don’t. I offer a clear choice and rationale for it.

        Bottom line after it all:

        History teaches us to act early against despotic dictator
        megalomaniacs like Assad who are backed by powerful countries with
        money(Russia, Iran, China). Germany pre 1938 is an example. Pol Pot in Cambodia (backed by China) and numerous others…Assad’s weapons of mass destruction/chemicals/gas must be eliminated as much as possible. Not a war..just targeted removal.

        No appeasement. You either support Assads use of illegal weapons of mass destruction and ability to keep them and use them or you dont.

        I do not.

        Again. history has taught us of the consequences of failure to act against an Assad like megalomaniac.

        • It is a violation of Domestic law to initiate a war without a declaration of war by the US Congress. If Congress passes a resolution to take military action, the first challenge is met.
          International law does not define war by one country against another by the definition or declaration of the attacking country but by the action of the attacking country without approval by the United Nations. We might be able to squeeze by if we got a General Assembly resolution rather than Security Council declaration, but certainly military action as proposed against Libya without even GA resolution would be against international law.
          “Targeted Removal” of a person or item by one sovereign nation against another sovereign nation is an Act of War. We are no longer in the 19th or even 20th century. We have the ability to discover today who released the poison, where it was released, how much was released and even where it came from. We have the technology to find out the answers (and the questions) that were always in the shadows in past decades.
          History, even recent history, has taught us the folly of acting precipitously in going to war alone in violation of international law, not morals or mores or norms, but law.
          No appeasement, indeed, of the war machine driven by the US military industrial complex against the wishes of the people of the United States.
          We can do this right and do it completely with world approval if we are willing to lead by reason rather than emotion.

          • “Targeted Removal” of a person or item by one sovereign nation against another sovereign nation is an Act of War….”but certainly military action as proposed against Libya without even GA resolution would be against international law.”

            No it isn’t…please research and post me a “cut and paste” from wherever you are getting that intrepretation…

            “History, even recent history, has taught us the folly of acting
            precipitously in going to war alone in violation of international law, not morals or mores or norms, but law.”

            Please list me 3 examples of the USA “going to war alone in violation of international law.

            Finally…whether you want to face historic reality, in this case, history teaches us to act early against despotic dictator
            megalomaniacs like Assad who are backed by powerful countries with
            money(Russia, Iran, China). Germany pre 1938 is an example. Pol Pot in Cambodia (backed by China) and numerous others…

            Assad’s weapons of mass destruction/chemicals/gas must be eliminated as much as possible.

    • Individually no—collectively through elected represenatives that we elected yes. What do you think of EJ’s article? Can you give us more detail in your post?

  5. Talking about the Iraq war as anything but a case of fraud and exploitation is offensive. Despite the untruths that were used to bolster support for the Vietnam War, the whole enterprise was not an exercise in fraud. The basic premises may have been flawed, but they were actually believed by those pushing for intervention. I for one remain unconvinced that this was the case for Iraq: evidence shows Bush and Cheney were looking for an excuse from day one of their administration, or even before.

    • EJ Dionne’s article premise restated:

      “The debate over Syria is a jumble of metaphors, proof that every
      discussion of military action involves an argument about the last war.
      Yet beneath the surface, the fight in Congress over President Obama’s
      proposed strike against Bashar al-Assad’s regime is a struggle to break
      free f

      • But that is only the first step in “breaking free”. Doing what we did in Iraq, only with tomahawks instead of B2 bombers and tanks is not breaking free. Next step is demonstrating how to handle thugs with intelligence instead of brute force.

        Breaking free would be Using the UN and our world wide embassies and consulates to bring the world to a full understanding of the evil of the use of chemical weapons. Then to go before the General Assembly of the UN. Present a resolution. Make speeches. Force negotiation. Then, if all else fails, join with the UN, to bring the end to the brutalism of Assad.

        THAT would finally “break us free”

        • Yes. Breaking international law is under the auspices of the UN. We should present it to the individual nations and then to the UN. If the members of the UN vote to strike, the war will be jointly financed.

    • what are you talking about?

      A social media troll as someone who seeks to lure or bait people into negative, disruptive rhetoric for their own edification or to commandeer an otherwise free-flowing discussion among colleagues. They don’t recognize anyone that may be interested in discussing something that bores them and opt to criticize or yell “boring” instead of engaging in the discussion. They choose to belittle those who seek the information and discourse as well as those who try to provide it. They simply have no interest in anything that is not self-serving. Trolls will defend their focus on expressing contrary opinions as an honorable attempt to rid the online community of fake-experts, get to the truth of a matter or enlighten their followers; however, their intent has nothing to do with community building or public enlightenment.

  6. I am all in favor of ending Assads chemical warfare abilities.They should not be let to stand.The problem is why does the U.S. always have to be the cop on the block.The countries that want some action to be taken should be flocking to us with offers of support but where are they?
    Saddam Hussein needed to be removed but that action did not require a full blown war that was little more than gross cowboy overkill that provided a haven for terrorists where none had previously existed.The same scenario has been created by Assads war against his people. Some certain individual with specific abilities,[and you all know what I mean] needs to go and put a bullet in that bastards head and leave the country of Syria alone.

    • I agree with you when you post:

      “I am all in favor of ending Assads chemical warfare abilities.They should not be let to stand.”

      Had you stopped there…well…you didnt.

      First this is 2013 and Syria is no where near any comparison to Iraq by any stretch of imagination.

      Second, there is no need to assassinate Assad…he’s done that to himself. It is only a matter of time after we remove his weapons of mass destruction, push back Putin, Iran and China, will there be any chance of the Syrian people of being free from Assad’s “war crimes.”

      So let’s stick with Syria today 2013 and not confuse this with Iraq.

      • Those who forget or deny the lessons of history, no matter how recent the lessons are delivered, are doomed to repeat them. Iraq – Syria: not a dimes worth of difference except Bush lied his way into duping the Congress into approving his actions in Iraq.

        • The ultimate irony of Iraq is that we spent all those lives and all that money to replace a bitter enemy of our opponents in Iran and Syria with an ally, or at least a far friendlier regime.
          But then, Iran is our enemy because we replaced a Democratically-elected and friendly government there with the Shah, who by his persecutions made the religious fanatics seem attractive, and perhaps the best irony of all is that we did it to protect BP’s control of Iranian oil.

      • No confusion here pal.If there were no similarities between Syria and Iraq I would not have brought them up.Once again radical forces have taken advantage of the turmoil and integrated themselves within the population.The overall conflict has once again though not entirely devolved into a fight for control between Sunni and Shiite which is an advantage not only to Assad but also to terror groups.If it were possible to identify that group which is most positive or sincere in their wish to establish a just government they would still have to deal with at least two opposing forces if not more and don’t forget Assad.I don’t favor bombing the place no matter how much pin point accuracy is applied.Overt military action is not required to remove Assad or his chemicals.All of that could be done and the world would not be the wiser as to who dunnit.

    • Now we should take the issue to the UN General Assembly as Russia, China and others do when we hold the Security Council ‘hostage’ from doing what they want. Generate world opinion on our side before we act.

      • The UN is part of the problem. Sorry you can’t see this fact and politcal geopolitical reality.

        In this case, The “Security Council” is not providing any security to the people of Syria or this planet. They are not a true council of non conflict of interest members hence Russia and China will veto anything related to stopping Syria as they are main allies of Assad…. Iran and Hezbollah not included but players.

        History teaches us to act early against despotic dictator megalomaniacs like Assad.

        There will be no retaliation by Russia, Chine or Iran. It is not in their collective best interests to provoke this any further escalation as it means we will shut down the Straight of Hormuz and other vital ports that these countries need.

        The end game CERTAINLY is clear: tactical limited 90 day strike to stop Assad’s use of chemical weapons, and Russia, Iran and China’s ability to inflame the region further since they are the money and power behind Assad’s abiliy to stay in power.

        The world did nearly same in Libya, but the Libyain people rose up after Gaddfy’s ability to massacre them was stopped by tacticle airstrikes… and it it worked.

        Assad blew it by using chemical weapons….he needs to step down and allow the UN to broker a demilitarized zone in Syria to get Assad out, and a governing council established for reconciliation.

        THAT—is really what is in the best interests of all parties including the nations of this planet.

        • We both make assumptions. You assume the accuracy and truth as well as the prognostications of the Administration. I assume that the accuracy and truth of the Administration have not yet been proven and that the prognostication is likely way off the mark.

          If the United States Military proceeds based on your assumptions are correct the people of the US who are defeated by their government will just have to suck it up and move on while the war machine supporters cheer the power of the USA, USA.

          If on the other hand, the US military proceeds based on your assumptions and prognostications and those prove to have been in error and mine correct, we will likely, at best, end up in at least a dirty, illegal regional conflict in which tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of innocent people die. At worst, we could be looking at an international conflict that could lead to WW III.

          OTOH, If the US Military proceeds based on my assumptions and my assumptions are correct, we will end up in the UN General Assembly, making our case to the world in a forum that Russia and China and Iran cannot block, the US will show leadership of the world instead of the “West” with the conclusion that if negotiations to remove either Assad or his chemical weapons are not removed under UN authority, we will join the UN in taking military action against Assad regime.

          If my assumptions prove not to be correct, the worst that will happen is that the US will be seen as the most powerful country in the world that is willing to show the proof of the commission of the acts, by the people, for the reasons that we presented. We will also be seen as the country that does not see exercise of overwhelming military power as the first, rather than the last option in a war weary world. Then we would defer to the war machine and risk WW III.

          The best that will happen is that we will either negotiate peace and the removal of either Assad or the chemical weapons or The USA will take the lead with UN forces and the support of most of the members of the UNGA in forcibly removing Assad or the Chemical weapons.

          Your way, with regard to the chemical weapons, we either blow them up or we take the risk that Assad throws caution and the chemical poisons to the wind in retribution to our strike.

          All parties agree:
          1. US will not put troops on the ground.
          2. No other country will put troops on the ground.
          3. The only way to remove chemical weapons is with troops on the ground.

          Your way offers high risk with little or no reward other than the USA, USA chants by folks in the USA. Oh, yeah, continued fear of the US as the bully who will do what we want if we want regardless of what our citizens or the citizens of the world want.

          My way offers low risk (Saudis won’t like us as much, Libya gets to decide where the gas line goes, North Korea will…What? and Iran will see how we deal with breaches of international law and will no longer be fearful of precipitous bombing by US or allies).

          But with high rewards: Demonstrated US leadership challenging violations of international mores and agreements on use of chemical weapons, the possibilities of removing either Assad or the chemical weapons without war and the international understanding that we will stand up for principle, work with the rest of the world and proceed to war only as a last resort.

          • You have the last word as you are hell bent on continued
            ad hominem personal attacks and theories .

            I agree with this statement you made:

            “The best that will happen is that we will either negotiate peace and the removal of either Assad or the chemical weapons or The USA will take the lead with UN forces and the support of most of the members of the UNGA in forcibly removing Assad or the Chemical weapons.”

            Which came first? Chicken or the egg? The chicken (the actual) ..the egg is the potential. Aristotle’s logic from 2000 years ago is appropriate in Syria.

            We must “actually” remove the “Syrian bully on the playground” (Assad) tools for genocide first…then…negotiate the peace–the potential…

            The further potential is of severely weakening him to the point of forcing him out of Syria to go to Russia..

            I have enjoyed our exchanges, but we simply differ on the “historical imperative” of the need o strike.

            History (Hitlers rise unchecked by the world that led to WW2) teaches us to act early against despotic dictator megalomaniacs like Assad, and his backers Russia, Iran and China…

    • If we violate international law we will have lost the moral high ground that we have left after Iraq.

      “Administration officials” and the Senators calling for a preemptive strike against Libya are pimping for the war machine led by the military industrial complex, not the military, but the Lockheed/ (former) blackwater and their ilk who compose the industrial of the military industrial complex.

      • We are and will not violate international law as Assad has done. Get the facts straight.

        The military industrial complex is not committing war crimes, Assad is. and will continue to do so if he is not stopped.

        No one is pimping anyone. There are no conspiracy theories or agendas that may be releasing a bit of paranoia in rational thinking people.

        The subject of EJ Dionnes article is how we can dissent and how to deal with Syria. Not the MIC, Eisenhowe’rs admonitions from 1959, or anything else off topic from EJ Dionnes remarkable and well thought out article…

        As you keep posting, I think you need to revisit the definition of disruptive posting….

        A social media troll is someone who seeks to lure or bait people into negative, disruptive rhetoric for their own edification or to commandeer an otherwise free-flowing discussion among colleagues.

        They don’t recognize anyone that may be interested in discussing something that bores them and opt to criticize or yell “boring” instead of engaging in the discussion.

        They choose to belittle those who seek the information and discourse as well as those who try to provide it. They simply have no interest in anything that is not self-serving.

        Trolls will defend their focus on expressing contrary opinions as an honorable attempt to rid the online community of fake-experts, get to the truth of a matter or enlighten their followers; however, their intent has nothing to do with community building or public enlightenment.

  7. I wonder if the left will jump up and start calling those protestors in the picture “racist.”
    And I should have known the National Memo would be connected to the Washington Post (or is it now the Amazon Post?)

    • Has nothing to left right progressive conservative…it’s called being
      free to express opinion whether that opinion is grossly misinformed,
      failing to heed warnings of history or otherwise….it is great that we
      can have opinions here at National memo and other sites… free from the secret police knocking down our
      door—as is done by Assad in Syria–and dozens of other
      countries…because we dissent…

      So–personal attacks while your right to express them, shows a level of education that you may want to consider reading the 113 volume set of Will and Aurial Durants HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION….that will give you a 200 years historic perspective on how to handle the Assads of the world.

    • You needn’t worry: there is no “left” to speak of in the US, aside from a few thoroughly marginalized individuals and small groups. It is true that the center-right Democratic party is to the left of the lunatics who control the GOP, if that’s what you meant.

        • No, in fact it is your idea that is warped and advertises your ignorance.
          As I said before, when sitting far out on the right in Mussolini-Franco-Hitler land, just about anyone sane and reasonable looks like “the left,” and I suppose in relation to the delusional fanatics you obviously believe in, they are.
          That doesn’t make them “leftists” in world terms.

  8. Wow, republicans are now against war? They really will do ANYTHING that is opposite of what Obama wants. Time to play some reverse psychology Obama. Just do the opposite of what you want and then after the imbeciles in the GOP start complaining madly then give them what they want! Would love to see the looks on their faces! Their poor little brains just might explode.

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