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I support authorizing the President to use military force in Syria because Assad's use of chemical weapons calls for the strongest possible response. Preventing the President from punishing Assad swiftly and painfully will mean that Assad's chemical weapon gambit worked and will set a horrible precedent.

One major criticism of the  proposed military strike is that it has no clear objective. I completely disagree with that. The objetive is to attack Assad's military assets and personnel and degrade them to the extent that it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would have been better off militarily had he never deployed chemical weapons.

To those who say we'd be better off spending money providing humanitarian aid to refugees rather than on missiles, I say get real. #1 not striking militarily actually decreases the likelihood that we'll provide humanitarian aid rather than increasing it. We have a long history of providing more humanitarian aid to areas where we've used force than areas we have not. #2 I'm not at all convinced that humanitarian aid to refugees will be more effective than cruise missiles in reducing human suffering in the long run. If Assad's chemical weapon strategy is vindicated that could lead him and other leaders to make decision that lead to immense future suffering.

To those who say this is just Iraq all over again, I say you are wrong. Syria is a grave problem looking for a strong response. Iraq was an extreme solution in search of a justification. I was strongly opposed to war in Iraq, as was our President. Syria is not Iraq. Syria is a true unfolding crisis that requires a swift, strong response. Other than the President's proposal to use military force in Syria. I have not seen any proposed response to Assad's use of chemical weapons that even comes to close to matching the urgency and severity of the situation.

The Syrian situation is a continuation of the "Arab Spring" that began nearly 3 years ago now. Assad has responded to the genuine desire of his people for self-determination with more brutality than any other leader in any of the effeted nations. The only leader who came close to matching his brutal response was Moamar Qaddaffi. Qaddaffi may have matched or exceeded Assad's brutality if we had not interceded.

In my view, the Libyan intervention was the right thing to do. Even though there are factors that make intervention in Syria more difficult, I think the logic in favor of intervention is just as compelling. That's why I am urging members of Congress to vote to authorize the President to use force in Syria.

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Comment Preferences

  •  so how you are killed makes all the difference? (25+ / 0-)

    That's nice to know. Good think that the Al Qaida bandits are only using bullets, shells, and explosives, often on civilian populations.

    If you haven't been carefully watching, we've been heavily involved in Syria since 2011. We were training, arming, providing intel and transport to Syrians in Lebanon and Jordan. We were using deceptive electronic weapons on Assad's military sites and various armies. We even armed locals, some of whom hate us more than they hate Assad.

    So your solution is to add more fuel to the fire. Sweet.

    N o t !

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 11:49:39 AM PDT

    •  I don't agree we'll be adding fuel to the fire (11+ / 0-)

      I think weakening Assad will lower the heat and ultimately save lives.

      `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

      by seanwright on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 11:57:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you not see the slightly confused (31+ / 0-)

        nature of launching a strike for "human rights purposes" against a regime we are already engaged in a covert, illegal war against? Not to mention the fact that the strike itself would be a violation of international law, according to the head of the U.N.

        If stopping the violence in Syria is the goal, how about stopping the arms shipments and demanding that our allies stop sending mercenaries and Jihadists (who are themselves committing atrocities) into the country?

        •  Yes (12+ / 0-)

          It's like jamming a stick in a hornet's nest and then looking shocked when you get swarmed.

        •  I think superficially that's a compelling argument (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mookins, ronnied

          but poke it a little bit and it falls apart. That's the equivalent of saying "Do you not see the confused nature of sending policemen with guns in reaction to a bank robbery being committed by other men using guns, especially in light of the history of police brutatlity in this country? Maybe if we just let the robbers take all the money, nobody would get hurt."

          `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

          by seanwright on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:03:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's really not the equivalent of that at all (6+ / 0-)

            And not sure why you would reduce it to such a silly analogy. When it comes to Syria, the U.S. is not just guilty of unrelated, generalized acts of "brutality" elsewhere in the world. The CIA has set up operational bases and training camps for the rebels, and our allies Qatar and Saudi Arabia have poured billions in arms and funding into the country.

            Among the forces unleashed in Syria by our allies: foreign Jihadists and death row inmates forced to fight as slaves. The rebels have slaughtered civilians and even committed suicide bombings.

            If an U.S. adversary was doing this to an ally, we would correctly call it "supporting terrorism." But the larger point is that we are already engaged in a proxy war in Syria, and our actions are perpetuating, not reducing, the violence and bloodshed there.

            Covert U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war is itself a violation of international law. A unilateral strike on Syria without U.N. approval, the kind you are urging, would be a second violation of international law.

            It's a bit detached from reality to ignore all of this, and urge intervention for the sake of "human rights" or "upholding international norms."

          •  more like sending in competing robbers (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ukit, James Hepburn, Linda Wood, Johnny Q

            also heavily armed, to compete for the bank's riches.

            we are not playing the role of a cop. To the contrary, we went to Iraq for power, oil, and for control in the region. going to syria will prove to be no better.

            What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

            by agnostic on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:52:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Let's do something good even if it's hypocritical. (5+ / 0-)

          And stopping the flow of arms to the rebels means accepting the terrible vengeance Assad will wreak everywhere he regains control.

          "The war on drugs followed by the war on terror has eliminated protections we have had since the Magna Carta." -Horace Boothroyd III

          by mookins on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:11:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  About stopping arms shipments... (4+ / 0-)

          Do you mean US arms to Syrian rebels? Among the many news articles I've read in the past few days, one (maybe WSJ) claimed that although Congress authorized arms for Syrian rebels, no arms had been delivered yet.

          About the strike being a violation of international law, that doesn't concern me because the structure of the UN Security Council means that the Council abrogates its responsibilities on issues such as this. Russia or China, both friends of Syria, can and likely will veto any motion for sanctions or strikes against Syria. And I would expect any statement by the UN General Secretary to be in support of UN rules, not the statements of a single member nation.

          Please note that I consider the UN a valuable organization except for the UN Security Council.

          I'm not attempting to address the first statement in your comment because it would take too long. I am leaning on the side of no strike against Assad.

          “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

          by SoCalSal on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:24:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Council is OK in theory (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SoCalSal, seanwright, ronnied

            However, when the veto is held by a government of thugs that represents organized crime, then the Council system becomes inoperable. In that situation, it is reasonable to look to regional security organs like the Arab League to set the agenda.

            Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

            by FischFry on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:02:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I want to see an ROI and cost benefit analysis (5+ / 0-)

        What is our track record on surgical strikes?
        Is there an end game? How do we define it?
        How do we get there with success?

        I don't want any more BS from Kerry who shouldn't be playing SOD, he should be the SOS looking for a diplomatic solution. It should be a two tiered approach of Kerry with the carrot and Hagel with the stick.

        It all seems half assed up to this point. I dread to see this go any further until we get our act together.

        The White House hasn't shown us that this can be a successful operation and that is why I am opposed to it.

      •  how will Assad be weakened? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linda Wood, Johnny Q

        Explain that.  Besides hiding the military equipment he wants to keep, and putting air defense weapons in residential neighborhoods, there are many complexities that will be unleashed by our adding fuel to the fire.

        We will be assisting rebels, many of whom are radical islamists along the lines of al queada.  And there are all the other folks in the middle east looking for validation that the US is a murderous evil empire. They will find it each time civilians are killed by our air strikes.  

        How about the risk of escalation if Iran or Russia decides to engage?  

        How a thinking person could even consider opening such a can of words is beyond me. It's just plain stupid.

        Power to the Peaceful!

        by misterwade on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:59:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If Assad won't be weakened, then how are we (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ronnied

          assisting rebels aligned with al Qaeda? It seems to me that the anti-authorization arguments you are presenting are contradictory.

          `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

          by seanwright on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:26:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not at all (0+ / 0-)

            We can give assistance to rebels (have been already actually) without weakening him. It may even strengthen him if people on the sidelines oppose us getting involved.  

            But let's say he is marginally weakened? So the fuck what?  What good does that do? Does that stop anyone from being killed?  Does that put the CW back in the box?

            And you didn't answer the fucking question (and on one else has either- right up to the White House), how is he going to be weakened? Insert "significantly" before weakened if you like.  

            Power to the Peaceful!

            by misterwade on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:32:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't believe that he can just hide all of his (0+ / 0-)

              most precious assets from us. I think we can, in fairly short order, bomb his forces to the point where he is in a much weaker position post-bombing than he enjoys today.

              `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

              by seanwright on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:37:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  agree to disagree about this (0+ / 0-)

                Power to the Peaceful!

                by misterwade on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:51:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  and how will a cruise missile get his testacles? (0+ / 0-)

                Oh, those aren't his most precious assets? prey tell, what is?

                We have been, are, and will continue to meddle in a sovereign state's civil uprising, and so far our report card sucks like a hooker who advertises that chrome on a towing hitch is at risk because of her talent.

                No, I am slowly coming to the conclusion that Mr. Kerry made a very, VERY bad deal. He figured out a way to get Bibi and his racist supporters to sit down with equally reprehensible Palestinians (no, folks, tossing missiles into a crowded city is NOT how to negotiate a peace) and start talking peace. He promised Bibi that we would attack the Basher Assad to help protect Israel from the northeast. Perhaps even making a permanent dent into the Heights, and allowing Israel to steal that land, as well. In exchange for these talks, Kerry may have promised Bibi that we will attack Syria, and find some almost believable excuse to support it.

                I also suspect that China, Russia, and a few others suspect that this deal was made, and that they are somewhat against it.

                What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                by agnostic on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:21:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  and China. (0+ / 0-)

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:31:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  consider that Assad has Russia, Iran, China (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q, agnostic

        in his corner. Doesn't that make it less likely that US involvement will simply and cleanly weaken Assad than that US intervention will fan the flames, draw Assad's defenders in, and morph Syria's horrible civil war into a protracted global proxy war?

    •  Peope need to know this (22+ / 0-)
      we've been heavily involved in Syria since 2011. We were training, arming, providing intel and transport to Syrians in Lebanon and Jordan. We were using deceptive electronic weapons on Assad's military sites and various armies. We even armed locals, some of whom hate us more than they hate Assad.
      And who knows?  If we hadn't been meddling would Assad have used the CW?  

      We don't have the whole story.  Few people do.  The CIA is all over this.  Much of the information will probably be classified for decades.  

      We don't know how we got here.  All we know is we're being manipulated into ADDING another war to the wars we are already fighting and have been fighting for 12 years.  

      I was on board for year one when this was all about 9/11.  But we have been used.  We have been conned.  We have been fighting for interests that are not mine.  We have no moral authority.   We had that on 9/11 and we blew it off because other interests had other agendas.  

      •  All military actions are not the same. (9+ / 0-)

        It must be nice to be able to put them all in the same box but the world doesn't work that way.

        •  one common denominator is that innocents die. (14+ / 0-)

          Interestingly, that seems to be unbelievably common.

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:25:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Innocents are dying...in huge numbers (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            seanwright, ronnied

            Pretending they won;t die if the US does nothing is...crazy.

            The hope is that fewer will die if do something, We know the killing will go on if we do nothing, but we don't know what will happen if we do something.

            Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

            by FischFry on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:03:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think we do know (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VeloDramatic, dewley notid, agnostic

              what will happen if we launch attacks. I think we've seen the theory of our enormous fire power ending violence for what it is, a lie. In Vietnam we were constantly told that the more we bombed the sooner the war would end. A decade later there was no end in sight. We couldn't even VISUALIZE the end of the tunnel much less see it.

              These wars are built to last. They are self-generating products of a military industrial death machine. The targets we destroy never make the difference we were hoping for. The more we arm one side or several sides, the more the heavy hitters of the East arm the other side.

              Chemical weapons are manufactured products provided illegally by the scum of the earth. It is they who need to be singled out, rounded up and done away with. It is precisely the fact that we NEVER DO THAT, we never do away with illegal arms trafficking, sneering, "we can't do anything about corruption," that shows we will have an enduring hell-hole in the Middle East as long as we keep applying explosives.

              And I agree with those here who see the CIA's slobber all over this mess. I see it in the smiles and the difficulty keeping a straight face when people like Nancy Pelosi tell us more children are going to be killed if we don't pony up. I believe her. I believe this will continue until we get to the people who cause it.

              •  You're wrong about where they get the stuff (0+ / 0-)

                They're almost certainly manufactured in Syria using imported everyday commercial chemical products like sodium flouride.

                CIA has nothing to do with it.

                Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                by FischFry on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 07:37:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The fact that any maniac or idiot (0+ / 0-)

                  can make these things doesn't mean such idiots can become entrenched military dictatorships with enough fire power and advanced weaponry to threaten world peace without the involvement of the merchants of death. In my opinion the CIA works for those interests. I have come to that conclusion by noticing who benefits from their work.

                  The most heinous features of the craven lawless bunch we call our previous administration include the fact that they personally provided Saddam Hussein with chemical and biological weapons precursors knowing he was a sadistic thug and then proceeded to arm both sides in the ensuing Iran/Iraq war, killing nearly a million people.

                  Chemical weapons are used by well-outfitted sadists empowered by an unregulated weapons cartel that arms everyone. They have no loyalties.

        •  Well, since you know how the world works (12+ / 0-)

          Given that we are embarking on year 13 of perpetual war how many more decades and deployments of the Minnesota National Guard are you going to need to get the middle east working just exactly how you want it and are you going to fully fund the VA through the many decades after you have fixed the middle east or might you just forget about that end of the deal?  You know we're still caring for the veterans of WWII so I figure we are committed for the next 70 years already.  

          Just keep that tax revenue coming from the 50 states not in the middle east.

          •  Remind me again how many troops will be going (0+ / 0-)

            into Syria?  TIA.

            •  We don't even know how many are there now (7+ / 0-)

              I mean they might not be calling them combat troops but special ops?  CIA?  Support troops already in Iraq and Jordan.  People say this isn't Iraq.  Ha!  Our embassy in Iraq is a military base which we're using to do whatever and the American people don't know what whatever is.  We don't know how many will get called up to support this mission if it's ongoing.  

              That's a big reason there is so much opposition.  We're not getting the whole story.  

            •  a shitload more than none (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Johnny Q

              Kerry has already qualified his "no boots on the ground" pronouncement. And once they get started, they will certainly use ground troops.  They already are using CIA and/or Special Ops boots on the ground.  

              Power to the Peaceful!

              by misterwade on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:03:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Really? And you know this how? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                seanwright

                Which Special Ops troops are there?  CIA may be there but they're everywhere but as far as active military goes, bupkiss.  The concern is that Johnny down the block will be fighting Assad.  Not going to happen now, not going to happen later.  And yes, this can be assured.   Not a single troop is required to come within 500 miles of Syria to carry out what is currently being proposed.

                •  oh come on. you are not that dense. (0+ / 0-)

                  In Libya, we had boots (perhaps designer british Cheney hand made shoes) on the ground long before we sent in rescue squads to grab those pilots that crashed and parachuted after an air attack. We had intel coming in, laser guiding on critical locations, and contacts, PERSONAL contacts with those we hoped would become our allies.

                  All the news reports hinted at a long effort on our part (and the brits) and there was no other way we could have been so successful.  the Benghazi attack? no doubt retribution for our successful efforts over many years.

                  What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                  by agnostic on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:27:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  You're right: this one is particularly heinous (7+ / 0-)

          Exploiting the civil unrest in a country and sending the worst elements in to sow chaos - mercenaries, Jihadists, Al-Qaeda members, convicted murderers and rapists.

          Here are some of the actions committed by the people we are funding and supporting:

          Syrian Rebels Mutilating Bodies
          Syrian Rebels Caught Using Captured Prisoners As Suicide Bombers
          Syrian Rebels Torturing a Prisoner
          Syrian Rebels Tie a Prisoner to the Front of a Tank

          •  What evidence do you have that the US directly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            seanwright

            funds those particular rebels?

            InAntalya, an American living in Turkey, posted this diary today describing the many rebel groups in Syria.

            How do we find out which of those groups gets funding from the USA?

            “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

            by SoCalSal on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:32:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I doubt the U.S. itself knows (5+ / 0-)

              Since the Syrian opposition is so chaotic and fractured.

              Direct U.S. funding supposedly goes through the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The FSA is often characterized as moderate and secular, but in reality, at least half of the FSA's forces are made up of a subgroup of Islamist fighters, the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF).

              Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has funded a competing hardline Islamist group, The Syrian Islamic Front (SIF, not to be confused with SILF). Considering the close ties between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, it's hard to say this is happening without our knowledge.

              There was also a report that Saudi Arabia sent 1,200 death row inmates to Syria (maybe as part of SIF?).

              The Muslim Brotherhood, funded by Qatar is also extremely powerful and has been called the "dominant force" in distributing supplies and weapons.

              And keep in mind, all these Islamist factions don't even take into account the actual terrorist groups operating in Syria. al-Nusra is often mentioned, but more recently Al-Qaeda in Iraq (the Islamic state of Iraq) has entered the conflict as well.

              Add in the Kurdish fighters pursuing their own agenda, the Mossad agents that are on the ground (according to the head of the FSA), Hezbollah, and behind the scenes, the backing and control of various factions by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Russia and Iran, and it's quite a complex and volatile situation.

        •  some are much worse than others and we have (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q, dewley notid

          no guarantees after the bombing starts on Syria as to what may happen.

          "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

          by allenjo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:46:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not To The Dead Just Everyone Else (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo

      Yes you are just as dead no matter how you die. It only matters to the living. Make the same argument about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and see what kind of response you will get here on DK. My best guess is that you will see a ton of hypocrisy. If I am wrong I apologize in advance.

    •  Like everywhere else in the Arab Spring, (0+ / 0-)

      Al Qaeda had nothing to do with the uprising in Syria. And by dissuading Assad from further chem, we'd be subtracting fuel from the fire.

      "The war on drugs followed by the war on terror has eliminated protections we have had since the Magna Carta." -Horace Boothroyd III

      by mookins on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:02:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It does make some difference (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      seanwright, newinfluence, Hey338Too

      Maybe not to the dead person, but to human civilization.

      As horrible as any killing or any war is, we have adopted rules that set the outer perimeters of what the international system believe is morally permissible conduct. The use of nuclear weapons is certainly frowned on. Would you not agree that the world cannot tolerate a government that uses those weapons in today's world? Notwithstanding whether you might accept the US's right to strike at Iran to knock out a nuclear weapon program, you must surely agree that if Iran used a nuclear weapon against Israel, that the US would be forced into a massive military response.

      Are nuclear weapons worse than chemical munitions as WMD? More lethal, to be sure, but they're much less likely to be used for a host of reasons. With poison gas, forces can kill the opposition in large numbers and then occupy the land in short order. There are reasons why there is a separate convention to prohibit chemical munitions, even though attacking civilians is prohibited under original Geneva rules.

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

      by FischFry on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:59:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where's the proof that the Aug. 21 (21+ / 0-)

    chemical release was ordered by the Syrian government?

    A lot of folks who favor military intervention simply gloss over that question.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 11:53:43 AM PDT

  •  Hm, I'm still up in the air about this. (25+ / 0-)

    But I feel like this is coming from the heart and it's also a position that is yelled down to often here, so I'm going to tip and rec.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 11:54:20 AM PDT

  •  Well said, seanwright. (17+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing your views.  It's good to see an opposing view to the one that is predominately held by many here.  

  •  Let's go over this again. (15+ / 0-)

    How do you know that Assad ordered the chemical attack? Do you have proof?

    If so, please show your work. Thanks in advance.

    If you want to argue in good faith, own your shit and stop with the distractions. -- Dallasdoc

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 11:56:03 AM PDT

  •  I Actually Support Limited Intervention for (9+ / 0-)

    Different reasons, and against different targets.

    I would prefer a military objective of destroying any existing stocks of chemical weapons, and destroying the means to create more.

    From my POV the fact that civilians were targetted with them is much more important than who actually did it.  So you destroy all known CWs and all known facilities that produce them in Syria.  In terms of ongoing Civil War, the strategy is completely agnostic.

    •  Unfortunately, you cannot destroy chemical (9+ / 0-)

      weapons from the air.  Bombing, even saturation bombing (which would kill many civilians) can always just spread the chemical weapons around.

      For a military objective to truly secure and destroy chemical weapons, we would have to invade Syria.

      That's the enormous dilemma.

      IF there were an ironclad guarantee that we could destroy all the chemical weapons through air strikes, I'd be on board. But even our cruise missiles have a 15% failure rate -- meaning they miss their targets by meters or kilometers 15% of the time.  And it is almost certain the gas would spread through the surrounding areas.

      Add to that the fact that Assad has dispersed his weapons into schools, universities, national heritage museum and culturally important buildings, surrounded by civilians.

      This is a nation adjoining Israel, hit by Israeli air strikes and prepared for battle by a (relatively) sane dictator-family dynasty for many years.  It just won't be like Libya with a nutcase leader or Iraq with a massive invasion.

      The military option looks to be a bad option from almost every point of view.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:43:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am a retired miliary vet. I am still working (15+ / 0-)

    through my feelings regarding a strike. Consequently, I am doing a lot of reading of arguments from all sides of this issue, save the hypocritical GOP ones. Thank you for a well written and reasoned diary. Tipped and rec'ced.

    Guns are never the principle in the commission of a crime, but they are usually an accomplice

    by MadGeorgiaDem on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:03:50 PM PDT

  •  how wonderful that sounds (22+ / 0-)
    The objetive is to attack Assad's military assets and personnel and degrade them to the extent that it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would have been better off militarily had he never deployed chemical weapons.
    of course, no one is explaining what that entails, what it costs, how many more civilians would be killed, or how it is calibrated to prevent an even deeper and more vicious civil war.  

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:04:17 PM PDT

    •  No One Is Explaining It... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, seanwright, doroma

      ....to you, you mean.

    •  The idea that we can know all the costs and detail (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MadGeorgiaDem, doroma

      Before acting is an utter fantasy. If all people want is an estimate in advance, then they should ask for that.

      `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

      by seanwright on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:12:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  they have been asking (8+ / 0-)

        they haven't been getting answers.

        this is war. it would be nice to have an idea of the costs and details before going to war.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:14:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  While you're working on that estimate,... (6+ / 0-)

        ...please also explain (since you'll need this info for your estimate) what "degrade" means in your diary.  What would you degrade that cannot be easily replaced or repaired, making it not-actually-degraded?  And how would civilian casualties be avoided in such an attack?  And how would that degradation prevent any future use of chemical weapons, the putative purpose of "doing something?"

      •  Fantasy? (5+ / 0-)

        Odd - when I did this kind of planning in the service, we didn't call it fantasy - we called it preparation.  We did extensive simulation, cost estimates, gaming out options and troop numbers and placement, checked availability and cost and shipping options for various weapons systems, and looked at every option from a dozen perspectives before even putting it on the table for the flag officers to look at.

        We would never go into a situation without knowing what it entailed and what it might cost.  Why is another matter - that was left to the politicians - but how was (almost) always left to us.  the 'experts.'  Some of us spent the majority of our time on this kind of thing, because we had a knack for seeing around corners.

        And with the exception of skimping on helicopters (which we were overruled on), we did pretty well.

        You have, to me, covered none of the important issues in this.  That's fine - you don't have any say in the execution and are just presenting an opinion - but please try to be realistic and polite when people present opposing views or ideas.

        I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

        by trumpeter on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:18:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Obviously you have to make estimates (0+ / 0-)

          But estimating the costs and knowing the costs are two very different things. If people are arguing that the President should offer various estimates about the costs in money and human life that the operation would entail, I would fully agree with that. What I don't agree with is that we should put the brakes on acting until we have assurances that we know exactly what all the costs and risks are and can guarantee that nothing will go wrong.

          `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

          by seanwright on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:32:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That seems to be (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Linda Wood

            one of the psychological divides here.  You speak of "putting the brakes on acting", while others (myself included) say we should not even start the car without very good reason.  And no, I do not feel we have good reason.

            We have only some idea about who might have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack, we have so far been notably inactive even through 100,000+ deaths and millions displaced, and we don't have (as far as has been said so far) good targets that would accomplish anything worthy.

            it is the inevitability of this that bothers many of us.  Jumping in half-cocked has been our military raison d'etre for far too long, and there has to be a better way.

            I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

            by trumpeter on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:05:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  There are known unknowns. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        costello7, Linda Wood, Johnny Q
            There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
        There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know.
        But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know.
        I feel much better.
      •  Huh. I thought serious military folks actually DO (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q

        PLAN things out, assets needed, contingencies, logistics, etc.

        You're saying they don't do that?

        Or just not in this case? And why would that be?

        As of 9pm 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able) ~ JV

        by JVolvo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:22:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Gen. Dempsey in July (15+ / 0-)

      In a letter to Sen. Carl Levin in July, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outlined what would be involved in Syria options.

      Regarding limited strikes:

      This option uses lethal force to strike targets that enable the regime to conduct military operations, proliferate advanced weapons, and defend itself. Potential targets include high-value regime air defense, air, ground, missile, and naval forces as well as the supporting military facilities and command nodes. Stand-off air and missile systems could be used to strike hundreds of targets at a tempo of our choosing. Force requirements would include hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines, and other enablers. Depending on duration, the costs would be in the billions. Over time, the impact would be the significant degradation of regime capabilities and an increase in regime desertions. There is a risk that the regime could withstand limited strikes by dispersing its assets. Retaliatory attacks are also possible, and there is a probability for collateral damage impacting civilians and foreigners inside the country.
      Regarding the control of chemical weapons:
      This option uses lethal force to prevent the use or proliferation of chemical weapons. We do this by destroying portions of Syria’s massive stockpile, interdicting its movement and delivery, or by seizing and securing program components. At a minimum, this option would call for a no-fly zone as well as air and missile strikes involving hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines, and other enablers. Thousands of special operations forces and other ground forces would be needed to assault and secure critical sites. Costs could also average well over one billion dollars per month. The impact would be the control of some, but not all chemical weapons. It would also help prevent their further proliferation into the hands of extremist groups. Our inability to fully control Syria’s storage and delivery systems could allow extremists to gain better access. Risks are similar to the no-fly zone with the added risk of U.S. boots on the ground.
      He warned:
      We must anticipate and be prepared for the unintended consequences of our action. Should the regime's institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.
      And:
      Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid. We should also act in accordance with the law, and to the extent possible, in concert with our allies and partners to share the burden and solidify the outcome.
  •  Without a very much more robust attack (11+ / 0-)

    than is seemingly in the works, we will not be able to significantly degrade Assad's military capability.
    The MUCH more likely scenario is that we will end up killing and maiming civilians without influencing Assad at all.
    Here, read this:
    http://www.dailykos.com/...
    (H/T Th0rn)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:05:36 PM PDT

  •  I think we need to do this internationally (10+ / 0-)

    not unilaterally. With an Arab League or UN authorization, I would be all over it. Without, I'm not. It is too easy to make a mistake when one decides to do things unilaterally. And then it's one's unilateral mistake.

  •  i agree, except to the extent of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TooFolkGR, eglantine, seanwright

    diminishing the utility of providing humanitarian aid to refugees.  That is an ongoing and important part of our existing policy response to Syria.  It's important to recognize that airstrikes on offer are not the sole, or even primary, aspect of our actions in the region, which includes efforts to isolate Damascus and varying degrees of support for rebel groups, as well as relief aid.  We are trying to bring about Assad's removal with those means, and to degrade his ability to deliver chemical weapons with the air strikes, as i understand it.  

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:07:18 PM PDT

  •  Tipped and rec'd for adding to the conversation, (14+ / 0-)

    and for adding to the conversation without insulting anyone with differing views.

    “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

    by SoCalSal on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:08:48 PM PDT

  •  Recommended for discussion. (19+ / 0-)

    I'm glad someone finally engaged the issue here.  This should not just be an echo-chamber.  I think it is a close question.  My preference is a last try at diplomacy again.  

    I also think that people of and in good faith can disagree on this proposal and neither side is evil for holding their position.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:09:24 PM PDT

  •  This kind of justification (15+ / 0-)

    is narrow in scope, in my view. The Syrian situation with regard to US foreign policy far pre-dates the Arab Spring.  The Walrus man Bolton pin pointed Syria as one of the extra axis of evil actor nations along with Libya back in 2002. Those with greater knowledge of the region's history than I could go into more detail and go further back, no doubt.

    The justification being used to initiate this strike may be Chemical Weapons, but taking on Assad and Syria is a right wing foreign policy goal of long standing and is part of a much larger goal of taking on Iran, Syria's ally.

    To deny the bigger picture, the intense right wing influence on the US Military, the numerous other actors in the region, including Russia who wants to keep that port on the Mediterranean, ignores the inherent risks associated with igniting the powder keg. That denial is dangerously foolish.

    The use of Chemical Weapons must be addressed, certainly. It would best be addressed in an International Court in my opinion. The use of Torture and the initiation of illegal wars ought to be addressed as well, in an international court of law.

    War is hell. And have doubt, bombing Syria is an act of war.

    Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top. ~Edward Abbey

    by cosmic debris on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:17:46 PM PDT

  •  me, too. (7+ / 0-)

    Although it looks like no matter how honest and sober this administration tries to be regarding Syria, George Walker Bush and his diastrously dishonest and incompetent foreign policy have made the country completely cynical when it comes to matters like these.

    t's becoming more and more apparent to me exactly how disastrous the “my way or the highway” cowboy foreign policy of George Walker Bush actually was for this country, not only short-term, but long-term, as well. The needless invasion of Iraq by the U.S., all for no good reason and all based on lies, has created a pervasive cynicism throughout the country, including the halls of Congress (which is usually at least a few steps behind the rest of the country).

    That's not to say the American people aren't justified in their cynicism, after having been conned into war by an administration that  simply felt like misusing the lives of soldiers and civilians for its own authoritarian, ideological and personal political purposes (for an allegedly “pro-life” president and administration, they sure demonstrated a wanton disregard for life).

    What's going on here in the U.S. regarding Syria, whereby the President wants the authority to be able to take some kind of action in response to heinous acts against humanity by a brutal dictator, shows exactly how badly Bush's failed policies have hurt this country, externally and internally.

    It appears that Congress simply has no appetite for this, based on current news reports about where members stand.

    My guess is that the administration will likely need to go back, start from square one and try a different approach (such as a much longer, more methodical method of building international support before even thinking about taking any kind of future military action).

  •  A question from the real world? (9+ / 0-)

    How many Americans are you willing to deprive of food stamps or other sustanance programs to go bomb other people?  The money spent on just one day of bombing and killing other people--and lets not pretend our "intervention" won't kill innocent civilians (though I'm sure the Pentagon will declare them "potential enemy combatants" or some such)--could save hundreds of thousands of our own people right here at home.  Now its true that our Congress, these days, has been unwilling to spend our tax dollars to feed, clothe, and educate American children.  And they will, no doubt, open the bank vaults to kill people in foreign lands.  But that money's going to come from somewhere.  It will come from Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and Food Stamps and Head Start and infrastructure and...

    When the government comes forward and tells me they're ready to nationalize the banks and confiscate the wealth of the 1% to pay for international mayhem, then I'll listen.  Until then, this just smacks of another scheme to suck the money (what little remains) of the poor and middle class into the pockets of the wealthy.

    As for the use of chemical weapons requiring a strong response else Assad and other rulers be emboldened to escalate their flaunting of international norms, that's kind of what a lot of us were saying when the U.S. committed torture in our names.  And, son of a gun, we were right.  Our use of torture has emboldened other nations to toss out the long-standing rules of war.  Who could have seen that coming?  But, no, we couldn't hold any of those War Criminals responsible for their atrocities.  We had to "look forward", not back.  Again, when we address the crap pile in our own yard, I'll listen to calls to clean up the neighbor's yard.

    This is supposedly the purpose of the UN.  If they can't do their job, then its time to stop paying their rent and evict them.  That the UN cannot do their jobs well enough to please us is in no way justification for America to play George Zimmerman.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

    by costello7 on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:19:57 PM PDT

  •  If you feel this strongly about it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo, Johnny Q

    how would you react if Congress rejected authorization and President Obama complied by not bombing Syria?  Would you oppose the President in that decision or support it?

    Given how strongly you feel that a military strike is necessary, I assume you'd condemn the President for inaction in the face of Congressional rejection, especially considering that there is a considerable contingent of folks who believe the President doesn't really need congressional authorization (including, based on his own statements and those of his administration, President Obama himself).  Am I correct?

    "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

    by puakev on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:21:04 PM PDT

  •  can we mong attacks like we mong war /nt (0+ / 0-)

    (sic)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:21:32 PM PDT

  •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

    I see this as a moral imperative.

  •  OK, bombs away (11+ / 0-)

    Let's suppose that our missiles succeed in "degrading" Assad's military capability so that he is worse off than before using them. I presume that you would agree that one result would be that an Assad victory would be made less likely. So, what next? A prolonged stalemate in which the slaughter grinds up what is left of the civilian population? A rebel victory? That would mean Somalia North and some truly nasty people seizing control of the chemical weapons now in storage.
         If you are serious about making sure that chemical weapons are not used in the future, you should support a massive American ground invasion to seize and secure the chemicals.  Do you? I don't.
         If you just want to punish Assad, keep in mind that he personally won't be the one the missiles kill. And any weaponry destroyed can be replaced by the Russians practically overnight. Unless, of course, you support a blockade of Syria and are willing to dare the Russians to violate it. Do you? I don't.
         Every war starts with noble intentions. A lot of wars begin in August or September, and everyone assumes the boys will be home for Christmas. Before pulling the trigger, every other avenue of response (many of which have been detailed in diaries, such as airdropping nerve gas antidote and gas masks) should be exhausted.

    "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

    by Reston history guy on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:26:56 PM PDT

    •  "Every war starts with noble intentions. " (4+ / 0-)

      You sure about that?

      Sounds like a rhetorical bone-toss to me.  Statistically closer to the truth is the proposition that no war is started with noble intentions.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:36:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, Linda Wood

           When it comes to the people who actually make the decisions in the government, you may well be right. It is not quite so clear when it comes to the poor bastards going off to do the fighting and the dying.  I think of 1914, and millions of men marching off as women threw flowers and everyone cheered. The ordinary people, the ones who do the fighting and the dying, they go because they think it is their duty that they owe to their fellow countrymen and women. They may be wrong, but I don't think their intentions are ignoble. The politicians and military leaders, on the other hand.....

        "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

        by Reston history guy on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:44:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The "poor bastards" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q

          didn't start the war.  Although particularly in the case of World War I I have trouble feeling sorry for the "poor bastards," most of whom went jingoistically into battle expecting a glorious easy victory against the unspeakably perfidious and bestial foe.

          The anecdote about how a breastpocket copy of Also sprach Zarathustra didn't save young German Übermenschen from bullets was already a truism in 1915.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:47:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Rather terrifically put, corvo. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo
  •  How do you feel about helping Al Quaeda? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    costello7, corvo, Johnny Q, Linda Wood

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:33:28 PM PDT

  •  Here's a relevant reference to Iraq: (10+ / 0-)

    The US invaded Iraq in a war of aggression precisely due to claimed "weapons of mass destruction" -- chemical weapons.

    We didn't just use cruise missiles, we used practically everything in our arsenal outside of nuclear weapons. We used white phosphorus.  We killed nearly a million people and leveled entire cities, let alone destroying the infrastructure which still is not functioning well 10 years later.

    We hunted Saddam Hussein down like a dog and watched our Iraqi puppet government hang him.

    We destroyed their palaces and watched their museums and national heritage be looted and destroyed. Anything that Iraqis may have cared about before the war lay in ruins after.

    Now.

    Having done all that on account of chemical weapons, could you explain to me how a couple hundred cruise missiles lobbed over Syria, killing Syrian people, will send any stronger message to Assad than the occupation and widespread destruction through the entire country directly to his east?  

    Syria borders Iraq. He's well aware of the US military power.

    He apparently doesn't care.

    So, why should the US government kill more people in Syria than are going to die already? What can we do without invading that will truly make a difference?

    Make no mistake, Assad should be held accountable, just as the brutal killers of Bosnia and Kosovo have been held accountable.  But we should not institute collective punishment on the people of Syria.

    It was Assad, not the Syrian people, who did this.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:34:56 PM PDT

  •  LOL (8+ / 0-)
    Syria is a true unfolding crisis that requires a swift, strong response.
    Syria has been going on for two years, with 100,00+ dead. And even if we do strike in response to the chemical weapons attack, it will be months after the incident occurred. And, as the President himself said, the purpose of such a strike would just be punishment...a "shot across the bow", and not designed to remove Assad.

    So where does the "swift and strong" part come in?

    Not to mention that such an action would be illegal under international law. If you ever called Iraq an "illegal" war, you have absolutely no wiggle room with Syria. NONE. Unless you're just into hypocrisy.

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:36:11 PM PDT

  •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seanwright, Amber6541, Lawrence

    for bravely airing your stance on this difficult dilemma.

    It is a very emotional issue to discuss, and I have found myself being uncharacteristically  harsh with some folks who have disagreed with me....my fault.

    There are pitfalls with any action, or inaction in Syria.

    I am hoping that the President can find the sweet spot that might entail a more international coalition that can help bring pressure to bear on Assad and his allies.

    I fear that Assad has decided that he has nothing to lose now that he has gone to chemical weapons.

    I wish they could destroy the chemicals weapons but everyone is saying that it would be a dicey proposition that could unleash a chemical cloud that kills more Syrians.

    The US has done this type of operation many times, with presidents in the past going around congress.
    Now, every situation is unique so there are good reasons to be cautious this time, no doubt.

    If we really could be confident that inaction would not embolden Iran and Assad, I would be more open to inaction.  

    Sometimes we put stuff off longer than we should and in the end we end up paying much more in blood and treasure.

    We somewhat ignored Bin Laden until 9/11 and the cost has been horrendous in blood and treasure.

    From a purely strategical standpoint, we need to try to figure out how to thread the needle in the middle east.
    It is not going away.
    If Iran blocks the Straits of Vormouz(sp), the oil shock would send the worlds economy reeling.

    I am overloaded with theories now, and admit I have no idea what the best course will be....but the President does not have the benefit of hindsight....tough call for him. I still trust him....just me.

  •  I have to disagree. (6+ / 0-)

    But then again I don't buy into American exceptionalism. We have to respond? Why? Why us?

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:46:01 PM PDT

  •  Maybe after this we can go after other chem users (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    costello7, Linda Wood

    Like those dastardly countries using white phosphorous.  The big question will be whether we bomb Tel Aviv or Saint Louis first.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:48:50 PM PDT

  •  I would be more likely to support an attack... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allenjo, wozzlecat

    ...if it seemed likely to improve something somehow, or even if the rebels seemed like better people than Assad.  

    Chemical weapons are bad and wrong, but it's not as if the US has been consistently against them all this time.  It's not really our job to be the world police.

  •  Here. Have fun with this. (5+ / 0-)

    Syria leads to Iran

    and in case you harbor some blogwars resentment against FDL, here's the source article:

    Source article from Wall St Journal

    So, thank you very much for being willing to expose your fellow Americans to the danger of getting drawn into war with Iran, and possibly even with Russia, because you want to teach Assad a lesson.  

    The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:59:31 PM PDT

  •  So, one more in favor of killing random strangers. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    costello7, Johnny Q, delver rootnose

    Noted.

    It turns out that the skill set required to get elected is completely different than the skill set required to effectively govern.

    by VictorLaszlo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:03:48 PM PDT

  •  I don’t understand why so many of you have (6+ / 0-)

    misgivings about going in and getting
    the bad guys

    My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.

    Now you may think that we’re diverting money that could be spent at home to repair our own economy,but
    Syrian oil money could be used to finance the war.

    And it’s ridiculous to think that there will be collateral damage affecting large numbers of civilians.  After all,
    we know right where the weapons are- kind of in the east, west, south and north somewhat.

    Look, we’ve been made fools of before,  but how likely is that to happen again?

    •  US actual wars, not-wars, whatever lies between (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnny Q, nookular

      Obama Administration Says Syria Strike Wouldn't Be 'War,' But Here's Proof It's Not That Simple

      How exactly do we define "war," and is the official definition, under which Congress declares war and commits troops, really what matters most?

      prior U.S. military engagements. Can you tell which ones are from actual "wars," which ones are from "not-wars," and which ones are from whatever lies between?

      (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

      by allenjo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:16:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you put a piece of pork on a string and feed it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    delver rootnose

    to a goose, the pork and the string will pass thru and then if you feed it to another goose the same thing will happen and if you feed it to another goose, the same thing and so forth until you have a string of birds all strung like pearls on the same line...etc ..etc...

    pork=da administration's justifications for war...

    geese=folks who swallow this line of thinking...

  •  "Obama can't win. Even if Congress approves... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo

    the Syria adventure, the president still loses."  The Syrian situation is complex, with no easy solutions.  No matter what the US does or doesn't do, there will be consequences.  

    . Consider the possibilities:

    One: Congress votes against authorizing military action in Syria, so Obama decides not to move ahead with military action. But wait: Obama already informed the nation that as commander-in-chief, he has "decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets ...  If that's true -- and if Obama also believes he has the authority to act without congressional authorization -- how can he possibly refrain from military action merely because he can't get enough votes in a famously dysfunctional, do-nothing Congress?

    Two: Congress votes against authorizing military action in Syria, and Obama -- the one-time constitutional law professor -- goes ahead with airstrikes anyway, ignoring the clearly expressed will of Congress.

    Three: Congress votes in favor of authorizing military action in Syria, leaving Obama permanently beholden to congressional Republicans. This means the White House can kiss its domestic legislative agenda goodbye.

    "These are all rotten outcomes for Obama. And, lest I forget, U.S. military action in Syria is also a tragic outcome... The president proposed limited "punitive" air strikes aimed merely at destroying the Assad regime's chemical weapons capabilities, but these are probably pointless: They won't change the balance of power in Syria..."(as for more extensive strikes?): "But this, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey warned last week, could easily "escalate and ... commit us decisively to the conflict..." (See: Iraq, 2003.)"

    Then there's how all this was (mis?) handled by the POTUS:  With his missteps on Syria, Obama has alienated just about everyone -- friends and frenemies alike.
    It's not easy to get yourself into the kind of predicament that the president of the United States finds himself in today...a political no man's land...

    ...To one substantial group of Americans, he is too hawkish, recklessly pushing America into another Middle East war. To another group, he is too dovish...

    ...In fact, centrists, moderates, and the world's other middle-of-the-roaders are also deeply unhappy with the president's position. Moderate Arab states feel the signals he's sent are so confusing that he has done damage to what common causes we do share...

    Even those closest to the president (including many of those out there on the hustings now defending his position and arguing powerfully that Congress should support him) are furious with the way this decision was handled. Even as they correctly acknowledge the complexities posed by the situation on the ground in Syria, they observe with palpable concern and disapproval that the president blind-sided his national security team -- essentially hanging his own secretary of state and vice president out to dry after asking them to make strong statements supporting immediate action and then privately, without consultation, reversing his position...

    •  Good points all. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      newinfluence

      This is truly a lose, lose, lose situation. But, after careful consideration, I think the least bad outcome is for the President to get the use of force authorization. However, I also believe that once force is used there will be plenty of evidence that can be pointed to to say it was the wrong choice.

      `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

      by seanwright on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:37:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  so you see this... (0+ / 0-)

        ...whole exercise as a political decision and how well it goes by how well it reflects on the President???

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 05:58:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am honestly baffled by how you took (0+ / 0-)

          that away from my response. All I'm saying is that regardless of what the president does in this situation there is going to be enough bad shit happening in Syria that any fool can and will be able to make the case that he acted wrongly.

          `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

          by seanwright on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 08:27:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Do you think that white phosphorous (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    costello7, quagmiremonkey, Linda Wood

    is a chemical weapon?  It melts the flesh off of people exposed to it.  What about depleted uranium which causes birth defects and cancer?  What about the use of Agent Orange?  It seems to me that the U.S. is opposed to CW only when used by Muslim countries.

    The U.S. used white phosphorous in Fallujah.  In '09 when Obama was president Israel used white phosphorous on civilian populations in Labanon and was widely condemned by the civilized world EXCEPT FOR THE U.S.  The Obama administration vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning Israel's actions in Lebanon just like Russia and China are protecting Syria.  If the U.S. wants support from the rest of the world maybe we should be acting a little more consistently.  We should not be protecting countries for political reasons.

    If the U.S. truly believed in the rule of law Obama would advocate the prosecution of Asaad in the Hague.  

    •  Fine, the U.S. is a bunch of hypocrites. (0+ / 0-)

      Why don't we just dissolve the country? To me the recitation of past wrongs of the U.S. is pretty much irrelevant to the discussion.

      `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

      by seanwright on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:50:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not just "past wrongs" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quagmiremonkey

        It's the use of chemical weapons.  Your support for punishing Asaad would be less hypocritical if you would admit that the U.S. and it's allies are also guilty of using chemical weapons.

        I find it distasteful for the only country to ever use nuclear weapons to preach to other countries about morals and ethics.

      •  If we can't ride a high horse and punish others (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linda Wood, delver rootnose

        while forgiving ourselves of every crime, then I don't want to play anymore!

        "I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." President Barack Obama

        by quagmiremonkey on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:22:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The response should come from the UN.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q, Linda Wood

    ...or some other international apparatus.  If the president is correct an the use of chemical weapons offends the sensibilities of the world, and not just us, it should be easy to get the world behind a unified action against Syria.  The failure of the UN or other groups to effectively sanction Syria for the use of chemical weapons is not our fault or our responsibility to correct either morally or legally.

    To say WE have to resolve this PROBLEM and PUNISH Assad begs the questions.

    1. why does the WE have to be the US when there is not international agreement.  Let the countries at risk like Israel, Jordan, and Turkey deal with their neighbor.

    2. Why is this a problem for the US more than any other nation.  Again let the countries more at risk from Assad's weapons deal with it.  Like in addition to those mentioned above the EU countries.  

    3. By what law do we punish Assad if the UN does not want to.  We would be violating the charter of the UN if we do act.  Why do we in the US have the hubris to feel that we are the cops on the beat to protect the world.  We certainly don't have the moral high ground necessary to do so or the good will of the region needed to make it effective.

    And to say if we bomb them it would allow us to give more humanitarian aid them is silly.  How about we just skip the expense of the bombs, and the ill will, and go straight to the aid part.  It would be cheaper and may actually allow us to recover some of the moral credibility needed for future actions.

    But hey if dropping bombs makes you feel good and think we are actually doing something noble and useful go ahead just don't cry when it doesn't work and more terrorists are made and target the US.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:51:40 PM PDT

  •  OK, so how do we guarantee success? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda Wood, delver rootnose

    From Assad's point of view, what if he responds with more gassing? If Assad is toppled by his people, he gets the end of a noose or a firing squad if he's lucky (as opposed to Ghadaffi). No sympathy from me, but
    from his perspective, he has nothing to lose. Since regime change is supposedly off the table for us, and we're not sure we can destroy his CW capabilities, what happens if our strikes are unsuccessful at limiting the carnage? Will we have proved any kind of point? If they're successful, we then have to worry they might have been to effective, and opened the door for rebels to seize power. Are we comfortable with that?

    And if it's such a grave, red line, why are we going to have to go it alone, without much support from the international community? Technically, we'd be violating international law with an intervention that is neither in self-defense or approved by the UN Security Council.

  •  "Libyan intervention was the right thing to do" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda Wood
    Liberal interventionists thought they had this one. Their doctrine had seemingly triumphed in Libya. Not only were the usual suspects, the Christopher Hitchenses, the Bernard-Henri Levys, peddling the notion that NATO could be a global constabulary for the enforcement of human rights, but more careful commentators like Juan Cole and Gilbert Achcar had also backed Western intervention. If NATO’s war in Libya has now lost some of its initial luster, it is primarily because the murder of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans brought worldwide attention to the nature of the forces the war unleashed and to the chaotic state in which Libyans now find themselves.

    But the shine was, from the start, an illusion, as Maximilian Forte proves in his important new book, Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO's War on Libya and Africa. Forte thoroughly chronicles NATO’s bombing of Libya and the crimes against humanity for which NATO is responsible. The author takes us on a tour of Sirte after it had been subject to intense NATO bombardment by chronicling journalists’ impressions of the city in October 2011. Reporters observed, “Nothing could survive in here for very long,” that the city was “reduced to rubble, a ghost town filled with the stench of death and where bodies litter the streets,” that it was a place “almost without an intact building,” whose infrastructure “simply ceased to exist,” and resembled “Ypres in 1915, or Grozny in 1995,” or postwar “Leningrad, Gaza or Beirut.”

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

    http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/...

    "I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." President Barack Obama

    by quagmiremonkey on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:20:53 PM PDT

  •  Why I Think You're Dead Wrong (with knobs on) (0+ / 0-)

    1) We are not the morality police of the world.  The Military Industrial Complex would like us to think that we are responsible for rectifying every outrage on the globe -- it is nothing more than a lot of outrageous jingoistic bullshit that gives them purpose, profits, and perpetual opportunity.

    2) There is no way in Hell that anyone, anywhere, anytime, in any given position can foretell with any degree accuracy what sort of reaction will result from unilateral air strike in a country at war with itself.  Assad is literally fighting for his life.  How the hell can you tell me that he's going to be contained?  What the fuck does he have to lose?

    3) Remember the UN weapons inspectors?  Why is it that we give these people responsibility and never LISTEN TO WHAT THE HELL THEY HAVE TO SAY?  HUH?  Why is that?  Europe seems to be getting the idea this time around.  Why is it we just can't seem to pull our heads out of our assholes long enough to listen to what they're telling us?

    4) Our economy has been under assault from fear mongering deficit hawks for FIVE goddamned years. We just pulled food from the mouths tens of millions of our poorest children. We have (in reality) an unemployment rate hovering at around 12? and now you want to throw a few hundred billion $ into the fire in Syria?  Gee, WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS FUCKING PICTURE?

    5) I could give shit about Syria or any other part of the primitive treacherous tribal society that is known collectively as the Middle East.  I've had enough.  I'm through.  I'm done.

    "There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind." F. Scott Fitzgerald

    by upperatmos on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:24:34 PM PDT

    •  Point by point rebuttal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence

      1. I'm not saying we are the morality police, but sometimes shit happens in the world that we need to responsd to, sometimes with force. Assad using chemical weapons is one such situation in my judgment and the judgment of our President.

      2. Assad has demonstrated that he is willing to stoop to any atrocity to prevail in his civil war. He is not going to be appeased into backing down. He will have to be weakened.

      3. The weapons inspectors haven't said shit that would lead me to believe that Assad didn't use chemical weapons.

      4. Whether we use force in Syria or not isn't going to make the tinies bit of difference in the state of our economy.

      5. This just seems king isolationist and racist to me.

      `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

      by seanwright on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:54:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  my re-rebuttal.. (0+ / 0-)

        1. That is exactly what you are saying when you say we just have to react.  Why do we have to react, especially when even the president admits there is no imminent threat to the US.  Your judgment and the presidents judgment is predisposed by you moralistic view of the world and without international support or even US public support we do not have the moral standing to do anything.

        2. Assad is not going to be appeased into negotiations, you may be correct, but he is desperate so weakening him will not make him come to the negotiating table.  He has already shown he is capable of using gas once and barring the US destroying his weapons, which is not the plan, what makes you think he won't use them again in desperation.  It is like beating a cornered animal.  They fight back.  It would be better to offer Assad a way out of his situation to another country, like Russia, with his money and family but that won't happen because his supporters need him in power to control the routes to the sea.

        3. it is irrelevant to me if Assad used the weapons.  I personally think he did.  That does not make it our responsibility to fix especially if the neighboring countries show no interest in taking the risks to do so.

        4. I think this is really BS that is like when they said going into Iraq would pay for itself.  And even if it is only a few missiles it will still cost around 100 million.  It is more than amounts it is priorities.

        5. you might be correct about this one but I am just replying I am not the original commenter you replied to and it is not germane.  Although there is a difference between not getting involved militarily in a civil war and being an isolationist.

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 05:53:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seanwright, SaoMagnifico, Lawrence

    Actually, I find your diary refreshing, and I thank you for writing it, as those who support the President seem to be simply dismissed on DKos.

  •  Under what authority (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q, pasadena beggar, Linda Wood

    meaning the Constitution and the law, domestic or international, may the president make a military attack on Syria?

  •  Every time I see a liberal whining... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seanwright, Lawrence

    "No more bombs! No more violence! No more war!" I want to tear my hair out.

    The Syrian civil war has already killed 100,000. How many people were killed in the Iraqi civil war before we invaded that country ten years ago in a spectacularly wasteful misadventure? Well, none, because there was no Iraqi civil war. So liberal protesters -- including the ones who blocked a major bridge in Portland -- rallying against war in Iraq had a very good point.

    We started a war in Iraq. But the war in Syria is raging on. The idea behind military strikes is to prevent more mass-casualty events and put pressure on Assad to negotiate, which he has thus far refused to do. In essence, the idea is to keep the death toll from rising (yes, even if that means taking the lives of some soldiers and thugs who are menacing civilians, as we did in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya) and hopefully bring a swifter resolution to the war.

    Don't talk to me about how your "principled stance against violence" is the best chance for "peace". There is no peace in Syria. You can take a "principled stance against violence", but violence is happening all the same -- and it's going to get a lot worse unless we follow through on our commitment to keep Assad from doing it again.

    Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

    by SaoMagnifico on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:19:06 PM PDT

    •  well it would be... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Linda Wood

      ...a lot easier to sell this...

      The idea behind military strikes is to prevent more mass-casualty events and put pressure on Assad to negotiate, which he has thus far refused to do. In essence, the idea is to keep the death toll from rising (yes, even if that means taking the lives of some soldiers and thugs who are menacing civilians, as we did in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya) and hopefully bring a swifter resolution to the war.
      ...

      ..if this was more than an idea and a hope. Or that the resolution would be one we would like.

      As I see it either resolution is bad.  Either Assad stays in power or the rebels win, rebels I am not all that confident wouldn't start killing people in a spate of sectarian revenge.

      I don't trust anyone to say with confidence that our actions would not make the situation worse or even cause the war to become regional.

      We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

      by delver rootnose on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 05:36:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and Rec'd (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seanwright, Lawrence, delver rootnose

    Not because I necessarily agree -- I really don't know where I stand on two horrible choices -- but because both sides need to be discussed in a matter more intelligent than "uh huh, nuh uhnh".

    No, you can't fix stupid. You OUTNUMBER stupid. -Wildthumb, 1/10/2013

    by newinfluence on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:44:09 PM PDT

  •  Syria and international law (0+ / 0-)

    The doctrine of humanitarian intervention holds that one state has the right to intervene militarily to protect population in another state. A United States military court recognized as much at Nuremberg. http://www.loc.gov/... p. 981-982. The doctrine does not require action.  But it would legitimize punishment for use of chemical weapons.

    The doctrine of reprisals allows the taking of otherwise unlawful action to punish and deter violations of the law of war. In World War II, for example, Germany put Canadian POWs in chains, and the Canadians retaliated by doing the same to German POWs. Reprisals are not allowed against civilians and civilian objects, but that leaves a wealth of legitimate military targets. This doctrine, too, would legitimize strikes in response to use of chemical weapons.

    Neither of these doctrines amounts to an obligation, however. They are permissive, that is, they legitimate an attack on Syria, facts permitting, but do not require it. I say “facts permitting,” because there has to be strong and valid evidence in order to invoke them. They aren’t a carte-blanche.

    The use of poison gas has been against international law since 1900, if not earlier. That was entry-into-force date of treaties banning use of "poison or poisoned arms" and missiles delivering "asphyxiating or deleterious gases" in international armed conflict.
    http://bit.ly/... (Art. 22) and http://bit.ly/... . A 1907 treaty banned nearly identical to one of those earlier ones, use of “poison and poisoned weapons” http://bit.ly/... (Art. 23). Key parts of the two major treaties are known loosely as the "Hague Regulations," not "The Geneva Convention." Turkey and France ratified all three agreements. Turkey and later France controlled the territory that became Syria. Therefore, Syria, too, is bound by those conventions.

    Many allude to a chemical weapons treaty of 1925, calling it the Geneva Convention. Actually, it’s the Geneva Protocol of 1925, and the “Geneva Conventions” are separate treaties entirely. The Protocol didn’t actually ban chemical weapons, but it confirmed earlier treaty provisions that did (see above) and extended the ban to “bacteriological” weapons.

    In any event, the International Committee of the Red Cross found that there is now a rule at customary international law which prohibits use of chemical weapons, even in non-international armed conflict. http://bit.ly/.... The customary-law status of this rule makes it binding on Syria.

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