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A young Free Syrian Army fighter is seen with his weapon in old Aleppo, August 25, 2013. REUTERS/Molhem Barakat (SYRIA - - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTX12W3U
I've heard several arguments for action by the United States to tackle the Syrian problem.

The foremost and most compelling is that the United States should prevent the use of chemical weapons so as to uphold international law and the laws of war. There is also the argument of preventing the slaughter of innocent civilians as a result of the ongoing conflict. There is the argument of liberating a people from the oppression of a brutal dictator. Finally, there is the argument of containing the violence in Syria so as to prevent the war from escalating into a regional conflict.

Each of these reasons are good for the United States, as a country concerned about the welfare of human beings world wide, to take action of some sort to confront the challenges listed above. On that note, I am persuaded. Whatever actions the United States chooses to spend in its money, time, energy, and manpower on, should tackle each of these important problems in turn. The best possible solutions should be on the table and each given due consideration, as is proper for a great nation.

But, there is not a military solution to any of them. Follow me below the fold to learn why.

The problem with our current posture, towards Syria and all other conflicts of this sort, is that the United States all too quickly concludes that there is a military solution to each of these problems. Or that military action, in some way, will assist in solving them. This is the great problem in American foreign policy. American policymakers conclude much too often that foreign affairs should be conducted with military force as the cornerstone and backbone of policymaking.

This manner of doing business with the world, with American weaponry at the forefront, limits creative decision making and forces us into increasingly costly and ineffective options. We discount or ignore other non-lethal yet aggressive tools like subterfuge, secret diplomacy, bribery, and deception. We fail to deploy some of our greatest social assets in conducting foreign affairs, such as the appeal of our popular culture, our technological ingenuity, or business acumen. We fail to think of how to creatively deploy the full arsenal of American soft power, while relying too much, too often on the hard. Into the vacuum steps others, whose power to persuade seems to go further and prove more enduring than our power to kill.

I always think of Fadl Shaker. Fadl Shaker, if you don't know him, was one of the biggest pop singers in the Middle East. Huge number of hits, millions of records sold. A dozen hit albums. Influential to young men and women from Rabat to Baghdad. Especially women. Fadl is a handsome crooner, with a buttery voice that sang of love and lust. Fadl would have been just the sort of person America would have been well to contact. The kind of influential person who could have been invited to the United States and strategically placed in some silly romantic comedy alongside some Hollywood starlet or whatever. But we didn't get to him. One of the Sunni militant sheikhs, Ahmed al-Azeer, did. Fadl is now a militant Salafist soldier. Al-Azeer has called for Jihad in Syria against the Shia and Christians. Fadl is now singing about doing just that. I can imagine, not long after we have bombed something fierce, that he will be singing about a similar Jihad against America.

There are occasions where the strategic use of military force can have a positive effect on self-defense or defense of allies. Our long-standing military deployment in Germany, for example, backing up the NATO treaty alliance has created a long stretch of almost unheard-of peace in Western Europe. But there is a good argument to be made that the Marshall Plan, perhaps the most shining example of the effective use of American soft-power, was even more effective than establishing permanent bases in the heart of Europe.

The United States can't expect to solve every problem in the world, be it genocide or civil war or terrorism, solely through the dangerous and unpredictable nature of war. Not that there isn't a place for war. In self-defense or in defense of treaty allies, war is the only solution to a military attack. This is the primary reason we have a military force, to do what what it is trained to do: protect and defend territory. Not to conduct foreign policy.

Originally posted to Triple-B in the Building on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 08:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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  •  Imagine the good that could be done (139+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, ctsteve, bibble, Azazello, Mary Mike, i saw an old tree today, Teiresias70, Calvino Partigiani, aseth, greenbell, Sylv, greenbastard, leonard145b, annan, left rev, dance you monster, Raggedy Ann, 3goldens, Shahryar, triv33, SocioSam, Shockwave, congenitalefty, Wee Mama, Kimbeaux, Rick Aucoin, MBNYC, Chi, YucatanMan, joedemocrat, jayden, maggiejean, reginahny, US Blues, quince, maxomai, lunachickie, KrazyKitten, misterwade, CwV, JosephK74, DawnN, vahana, Cat Servant, Treetrunk, ichibon, gulfgal98, Hirodog, side pocket, Lost Left Coaster, Sunspots, puakev, AoT, Roxpert, nota bene, Superskepticalman, basquebob, bookwoman, lenzy1000, mkor7, radarlady, CenPhx, chuckvw, Oaktown Girl, mofembot, maryabein, Leftcandid, poligirl, thomask, JVolvo, shaharazade, Greenfinches, AllanTBG, dharmafarmer, allenjo, frostbite, fran1, flatford39, Livvy5, asterkitty, Rhysling, quagmiremonkey, JesseCW, skybluewater, zerelda, cpresley, Pandora, Late Again, Eric Nelson, Laconic Lib, Willa Rogers, mahakali overdrive, schumann, enhydra lutris, churchylafemme, kurt, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, Joieau, gerrilea, rmonroe, Plox, Uncle Bob, peachcreek, donaurora, conniptionfit, Kevskos, fugwb, PrometheusUnbound, Munchkn, democracy inaction, DefendOurConstitution, Enzo Valenzetti, HCKAD, Ryepower12, Debby, mrkvica, elkhunter, begone, onionjim, ZenTrainer, VeloDramatic, ColoTim, CarolinW, MikePhoenix, catilinus, caul, DarkLadyNyara, DeminNewJ, koNko, allergywoman, Jackson L Haveck, flowerfarmer, LillithMc, smokeymonkey, J M F, toby esterhase, kharma, Yellow Canary, blackjackal

    if we took 75% of our Military appropriations, and spent it on humanitarian projects around the world.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:02:32 AM PDT

  •  Well, there isn't even a well-defined problem (48+ / 0-)

    Yes, the brutality going on in Syria is a humanitarian problem. But the US in particular (and the wealthy nations in general) have looked the other way so many times in the face of humanitarian crises, that it's hard to see why this is different.

    Anyway, if you haven't defined your desired outcome, it's almost impossible to come up with a useful line of action.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:15:34 AM PDT

    •  And thank you double. (41+ / 0-)

      Could we please apply the Powell doctrine before we wreck our country, especially its economy, beyond repair?

      I'd be happy if even a few of these questions were answered:

      The Powell Doctrine states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States:
      Is a vital national security interest threatened?
      Do we have a clear attainable objective?
      Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
      Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
      Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
      Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
      Is the action supported by the American people?
      Do we have genuine broad international support?[1]

      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 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:36:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is why I don't buy the idea of a limited (29+ / 0-)


      Anyway, if you haven't defined your desired outcome, it's almost impossible to come up with a useful line of action.
      The plan, as the administration would have us believe, is to lob a few cruise missiles into Syria as a warning against the future use of chemical weapons.  Lets say that is the plan, what would be accomplished?  

      Assad would win the war, but perhaps a bit more slowly.  At that point, what exactly have we accomplished?  I don't think the Obama Administration and the people at the Pentagon are that stupid.  We've been funding the rebels for years.  We are going to want some return on that investment.  

      No, I believe the plan almost has to be to use enough military force as to cripple the Assad regime so the terrorist, oops I mean rebels, can win.  Instead of saving human life, we'll actually most likely just prolong the war.  We will go in with enough force to decapitate the regime and watch as a Sunni islamist takes his place at the top of pyramid.  That is a "good" outcome in the eyes of US forces here.  There is no pro-democracy rebels we can even point to.  No false hope they are even giving us.  

      I just don't understand what any of this will accomplish except planting the seeds for a bigger operation 10, 20, 30 years down the line against whoever assumes control of Syria.  We don't have any allies in this fight, just nebulous interests.  

    •  so was it wrong for us (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright, red moon dog, vcmvo2

      to look the other way before?

      If so, why does that become a reason to look away now?
      If not, why does that become a reason to look away now?

    •  For strong stomachs, here's the visible reality of (16+ / 0-)

      what is going on in Syria:

      Renewed and added to and drily cataloged daily, by the people of

      Everyone with a weapon is doing it to everyone else. If one needs a mental frame to try to understand what's happening, outside of the current bullshit from All The President's Men about "oh, the children with their glazen eyes and twitching limbs and foaming lips so we must ACT with our Tomahawks and take some MORE scalps," one could do worse than study up a bit on the notion of "anomie."

      These folks peddling the bullshit about how critical it is to protect the International Norm Against The Use Of Chemical Weapons That Has Been In Effect Since 90 Years Ago are just blowing toxic smoke. Ask the Vietnamese, and myself and a lot of fellow GIs about Agents Orange, Green and RedWhiteandBlue. Or the Kurds and Iranians about the poisons we in the West helped Saddam's critters make, encouraged them to use, and worked hard to cover up (along with Soviet chemical weapon use in Afghanistan when it was their turn to take and Empire-shaming drubbing, and selling the stuff to make the stuff, for a nice profit, to the "current Hitler." ).

      Even our own military dudes and some of our analyst types are saying "wrong place, wrong issue, wrong intent, wrong time, wrong consequences to the wrong people." And even the mopes that make up the "polls say" crowd wisdom in the US, let alone the rest of the world, seem to know that you maybe ought not to "punish" some autocrat by using your little brass hammer to beat on the fuze of a large unexploded shell casing, on the ground if not really in the belief that that will de-fuze it (or at least give you a chance to use your Mil-Spec $1200 hammer)...

      Vietnam vet 'thanking' the fuckers who frame "our" policy choices and have built the mother.h.effing enormous lockers full of Really Smart Weapons for gifting me back with more of those dreams and night sweats. What the hell is the matter with us? Are we just a cancer that's spreading, where the tumor cells are just loving the luxurious bath they get in blood-borne nutrients stolen from the rest of the body, not giving a shit whether they kill the long-suffering patient and effectively themselves?

      Here's what our Grand Strategy is breeding, among other excesses:

      Read down a few paragraphs to get to the stuff about how our Generals live so nicely high on the hog. People like Petraeus and McChrystal, who like Westmorelenad and MacArthur and Abrams and so many others before them got so many GIs and civilian "bugspats" killed thanks to their Grand Strategies and Massive Deployments.

      A High Caste of military officers, who just have to be able to meet at the same level with the CEOs who get paid tens of millions a year each to come up with corporate slogans like that wonderful slap in the face from Lochkeed-Martin, who remind the rest of us so archly that, speaking for itself with the regal personal pronoun "we,"  "We never forget who we're working for." Because on their retirement, it will be their turns to sit in the C-Suites and peddle the weapons of tomorrow that are starting to look more and more like that deservedly scary liquid metal creature from "Terminator II..."

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 10:45:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Amen, brother. My inadequate apologies for what (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poligirl, jm214, flowerfarmer

        those with Star Spangled Eyes did to you and your brothers.

        Some folks are born made to wave the flag,
        Ooh, they're red, white and blue.
        And when the band plays "Hail to the chief",
        Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,

        It ain't me, it ain't me,
        I ain't no senator's son, son.
        It ain't me, it ain't me;
        I ain't no fortunate one, no,

        Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
        Lord, don't they help themselves, oh.
        But when the taxman comes to the door,
        Lord, the house looka like a rummage sale, yes,

        It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no millionaire's son, no.
        It ain't me, it ain't me;
        I ain't no fortunate one, no.

        Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
        Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
        And when you ask them, "How much should we give?"
        Ooh, they only answer More! More! More! yoh,

        It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son.
        It ain't me, it ain't me;
        I ain't no fortunate one, one.

        It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no no no,
        It ain't me, it ain't me,
        I ain't no fortunate son, no no no


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

        by JVolvo on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:09:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Brutality has been going on in Bahrain for 2 years (11+ / 0-)

      The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is already there. You'd think we could do something.

      Oh, wait a minute, that's right; it's a Gulf monarchy, so we support the brutality and/or look the other way.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by lotlizard on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 11:17:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just yesterday (9+ / 0-)

      I posted this below:

      What outcome does the US hope to effect
      by "surgical bombing" of Syria?  I want this question answered by the administration since they are the ones pushing for this ill advised foray into Syria.

      1) How will our "surgical bombing" stop Assad from killing people in his own country if we do not want a regime change in Syria?

      2) How does our "surgical bombing" prevent collateral loss of life and injury among the civilian population?

      3) If our "surgical bombing" does effect a regime change in Syria, what is to prevent al Qaeda from taking over the country and further killing more civilians?

      4) What is the cost/benefit of our becoming involved in a civil war in Syria?  How does it promote peace and prevent future terrorism?  Is there any guaranteed positive outcome from this both for the American people and the people of Syria?

      This is absolutely not about humanitarian reasons.  Killing people to save them is not a good reason for war.

      "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West speaking to Occupy Tallahassee on January 18, 2012

      by gulfgal98 on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 11:36:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good questions. I will attempt some answers: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leo Flinnwood, JustBeKos

        1. Destruction of fuel dumps will inhibit mobility of government forces, and deter Assad's offensive operations. Targeting parked aircraft, mobile missile launchers, and armored vehicles could further degrade the army's capacity to fight.

        2. Precision bombing will cause collateral damage and loss of life. No one but Donald Rumsfeld  would deny this. People are going to die if we act, and people are going to die if we don't act. The question is how many and to what purpose?

        3. The best way to prevent a takeover by extremists and/or "ethnic cleansing" of communities loyal to the government is to coerce Damascus into a cease-fire and negotiations with the rebels.

        4. It is not the U.S.'s intention to become "involved" in a civil war. This is a one-time opportunity to bring it to a halt. If it doesn't work, the cover-story of "punitive" action in response the use of CW allows the U.S. to walk away rather than escalate.

        The Syrian conflict is a virtual stalemate. The cost to degrade Assad's ability to attack the rebels will be low - on par with Libya - relative to the benefits.

        The benefits of diminishing the Syrian army's advantage include: a cease-fire with U.N. peacekeeping troops to enforce it, chemical weapons remain under the control of military units. The minority Alawites remain armed to prevent post-conflict massacres, the return of refugees from desert camps before winter, opportunities to deliver humanitarian and reconstruction aid directly into Syria.

        There are no guarantees. There are never any guarantees... with intervention or with non-intervention.

        No one expects to "save people by killing them". The U.S. proposes to attack military installations operated by uniformed military personnel who serve a brutal, repressive, unpopular regime. 60,000 of them have deserted to the rebels or the refugee camps since the conflict began. That option remains to those who stayed behind.

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 10:00:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Syrias hangars are hardened. Syria, it turns out, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          maryabein, jorogo, rwgate

          borders on Israel and is in fact technically still in a state of war with that country.  Apparently, their entire military doctrine revolves around being able to survive and remain functional after 48 hours of all-out assault by the world fourth most powerful Air Force.

          We're not going to cripple them with cruise missiles.

          "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 05:54:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There is indeed a well defined problem. (0+ / 0-)

      The use of sarin gas against unarmed civillian populations. A strike intended to eliminate or deter the use of that gas is a text book example of a limited intervention.

      "Buying Horizon Milk to support organic farming is like purchasing an English muffin in an effort to prop up the British economy." -Windowdog

      by Windowdog on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 11:13:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let Syria play itself out....then let the Ruskies (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rick Aucoin, US Blues, jds1978, JesseCW

    and Chinese and Arabs start screaming....might be painful in the short term but these Middle East nutcases have got to cease.

  •  excellent diary (13+ / 0-)

    thank you

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:27:42 AM PDT

  •  Actually it will be ended by force (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, NYFM, lotlizard, Lefty Coaster

    it just won't be force used by the US. When one side has killed enough people it will emerge victorious. The winners will then kill the losers. This means perhaps hundreds of thousands more people are destined to die. Our problem is we just can't sit by and watch this happen. Helplessness is not a positive American character trait. We must do something about it. This is why we continue to debate the use of force in Syria. Syria's misfortune is to be located in an area where we must pay attention to it. Better for Syria to be located someplace where we could ignore it.

  •  Peter King is right, (25+ / 0-)

    in a way, when he says

    President Obama is abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief and undermining the authority of future presidents.
    right, that is, if you place "illegitimate" or "unconstitutional" before the word "authority".

    King and other war-mongers know that by taking the matter before Congress, Obama is setting a precedent for future presidents to follow the constitution, and have a check placed on their otherwise unbridled war powers.  

    King is right to be afraid.

    "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

    by Calvino Partigiani on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:32:45 AM PDT

    •  I'm not so sure progressives should be beating the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Treetrunk, whizdom, sviscusi

      drums of having the President take all his foreign policy or military issues to Congress. I hear some of this, "Obama is violating the Constitution not to let Congress decide, after all Congress should be the decider on matters of military action."

      Well, O.K. then, Mr. President, as they are imploring you, let the Republican Congress decide if you should end the War in Afghanistan in 2014 before you decide to end military engagement there.

      Let the Republican Congress decide if you should attack Iran before you take it on yourself to state there will not be a military solution there at this point.

      It is interesting how many who identify as Democrats can demand that the Congress, dominated in the house by Republicans, should have a say on matters in which they are against the President, but why not on other matters?

      There are many in the Republican Congress right this minute would like to attack Iran, while the President is against it, why don't we have the President put his policy of not striking Iran to a Congressional vote, and let the Congress decide this issue?

      I hear some saying that the President should not have drawn a line in the sand concerning chemical weapons in the first place. The way this issue is being viewed by some, the President had no right making statements concerning a military action unless he consulted with Congress first, because he would not be able to act without Congress' approval.... This is quite interesting.....

      So, let us have a co-presidency on all matters of the military from now on, even though the President has all right to act here and has precedence on his side, nevertheless...Mr. President, let Congress decide your actions in terms of the military from now on....

      Is this snark? I'm still deciding....

      •  Nowhere did I advocate that (13+ / 0-)
        the President take all his foreign policy or military issues to Congress.
        Nor did I say that the President should need to ask Congress to not declare war (like in your Iran example). That would be absurd.

        Nor did I say that we should have "a co-presidency on all matters of the military."

        Nor did I say that "the President had no right making statements concerning a military action unless he consulted with Congress first."

        What I am saying is that the Constitution says the President must get Congressional authorization for going to war, and it is good that Obama is doing so, and that it would be good for future presidents to do so.

        So, setting all your straw-men arguments aside, we have this situation:

        To sum up: U.S. citizens and military personnel are not under attack. It is not a split-second emergency. The President does not face a request from the Security Council, NATO, the Arab League or even the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

        This is precisely the kind of situation for which the Framers of our Constitution designed its division of authority between President and Congress. Sending our missiles against Syria is an act of war. If it is to be done, Congress, not the president, should approve.

        Pretty straightforward, actually.

        "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

        by Calvino Partigiani on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 10:43:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lookit, the US has declared WAR just a handful of (0+ / 0-)

          of times in the last 100 years.

          And we have participated in military action against foreign entities on quite a few occasions without a Congressional declaration of war.

          The Syrian government has violated international law as it relates to crimes against humanity. There are treaties that more than 90 percent of the world, including the United States, has signed in terms of prohibiting such crimes against humanity.

          The President has precedence on his side for acting in a limited fashion against Syria. This has NOT required a Congressional declaration of War in the past.

          Therefore my point is this: The President made a statement cautioning Syria against using chemical weapons in the past, with the suggestion that there would be consequences. Syria disregard such caution and proceeded with the use of chemical weapons against his own people.

          Now you and others are asserting that the President is in violation of the Constitution unless he receives Congressional approval to engage in military action against Syria.

          Therefore, my question is this.... If the President thought of  this limited military action with Syria, when he made his remark, would it not then hold true that the president should have had consultation with members of Congress before making his initial remark cautioning Syria not to use chemical weapons or face consequences????  

          •  Please consider this as an (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            answer to your question

            If the President thought of  this limited military action with Syria, when he made his remark, would it not then hold true that the president should have had consultation with members of Congress before making his initial remark cautioning Syria not to use chemical weapons or face consequences????  
            It actually does not matter in the least what the President thought, apart from what he said.  We cannot read his mind. And here's what he said as reported by ABC:  
            “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” the president said a year ago last week. “That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

            It was also unclear what the consequences of crossing that “red line” would be.

            So, an all seriousness, no, saying that he'd "change my calculus" would not require consultation with Congress.

            Don't you agree?

            "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

            by Calvino Partigiani on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 11:53:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree. But why are you negating thought? Because (0+ / 0-)

              thought prompts speech. So if the President thought of utilizing a limited military strike against Syria when he said:

              “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” the president said a year ago last week. “That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”
              should he have first consulted with Congress on his statement? Knowing that Congress reserve the Right to veto all military action against foreign entities?

              I think it's a valid question.

              •  Its a pointless question. (9+ / 0-)

                No. The president doesn't have to consult with Congress before he makes statements. There. Happy?

                The president doesn't have to consult with Congress even before starting a full fledged war, troops in and everything. Happy about that too?

                But after 60 days of war, he does have to get Congressional authorization to continue any further, otherwise his money is cut off. That's the law. Its not a 'veto'.

                None of this, of course, matters to the central question here. Which is: Is military force the best response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria? If it is, why?

                •  you are in disagreement with many here that he (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sam I Am

                  even should consult with Congress before starting a full fledged war, so you would disagree with my posed question. I agree with much of what you said in this regard, except for an all out war.

                  In terms of whether or not military force is the best response to Syria?

                  Assad is desperate at this point, he realizes that, at the very least, giving up or being vanquished means imprisonment for crimes his regime has committed.

                  At the very worst he is facing sure death from his enemies.

                  So, I doubt an individual who is backed into a corner, through his own devices, would end his campaign of violence for any other purpose than one which also threatens his physical safety or his protection through his military. He may well decide to end his use of chemical weapons simply because there is very little defense against an all out attack from the US military.

                  •  He's winning. (6+ / 0-)

                    I don't know what reports you've been reading, but Assad's forces control damn near all of the country. He's winning the war pretty well.

                    He's not isolated in the least. Russia is behind him, China continues to have normal relations, Iran is behind him, and so is Lebanon. He's got good relations with the Shia government in Iraq. Jordan refuses to participate in any aggressive actions against him, including as a staging area for American forces.

                    Basically the only hostile nations he has on his borders are Turkey and Israel. And there are half a million militant Alawites in Turkey, so they really don't want the mess.

                    So I don't know what makes you think he's backed into a corner. He's meeting with the press regularly, right out in the open. His troops and tribe appear extremely loyal and show no signs of cracking. And most importantly, they are the ones gaining ground, not the Al Qaeda and Sunni militants.

                  •  What are the distinctions, really, between (0+ / 0-)

                    "all out war", "full fledged war", "declared war", "military action", and how can anyone possibly contain any of those to a point where "acting in a limited fashion" is predictable or controllable?  

                    Semantics are of little consequence to those killed and maimed by "war". So let's just call them all "war" and discuss this without all the equivocation.

                    "All war is stupid" - JFK

                    by jorogo on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 11:35:28 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  You're mostly wrong. The President *only* (7+ / 0-)

                  has the authority to launch hostilities without Congressional approval if we've been attacked.

                  That does include attacks on our assets abroad.  There is a reasonable case that it includes truly imminent attacks.  If Iran blockades the Strait of Hormuz and their gunboats are streaking toward one our carriers, the President doesn't need to convene Congress or wait for a Carrier to get sunk.

                  But the shit Reagan did in Grenada, Bush did in Panama, Clinton did in Kosovo?

                  Totally illegal.  However, in addition to having Presidents who have no respect for the rule of law, we mostly elect Representatives who feel the same way.

                  1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

                  by JesseCW on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 01:33:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Regardless of President's views, this was smart. (3+ / 0-)

        If the President didn't put Congress into account, the GOP would have ran Rand-Paul-the-fake-libertarian in 2016 as the Republican nominee, running on a platform that the GOP is now peaceful and a party of hippies and doves. Yet they can't suddenly change their stripes in 2016 if a majority voted for intervention, here. Regardless of whatever one believes in Syria, this was a smart move by the President.

        •  I do believe the President is smart :) But my (0+ / 0-)

          question was intended to determine just how anxious we all are in having Congress weigh in on military matters, because if it means that the President has to seek Congressional approval before participating in this limited action, which Presidents have done before, does it mean he should not have cautioned Syria not to use chemical weapons in the first place (or face consequences) before seeking Congress' permission?

          If the answer is he does not have to seek Congress' permission  to make this type of statement, then are we saying he should just go ahead and make a declarative statement concerning consequences and end up being embarrassed by Congress when they vote against his intention?

          Are we looking for Congress to have more of a role in shaping the President's message, as it relates to statements involving the military?

        •  he's also (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          managed to give Congress something actually important to talk about, which is a welcome change from endless bullshit votes on repealing Obamacare and other counterproductive/useless grandstanding.

          And the silver lining in all this is that it'll be entertaining watching the different wings of the GOP wrestle with what the most conservative imaginable response to the Syria question might be. It's vexed, from their perspective; the hawks are going to say yes because they always say yes, but then this puts them on the same side as Obama, which runs against their anti-Obama contrarianism.

          So there's that.

          And if Congress blocks the action, then we have an excellent precedent to point to in an attempt to slow down a stampede to war in the future. Even better.

          Nothing says "we care" like a Tomahawk missile strike.

          by nota bene on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 01:41:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Obama placed Congress on the hook (0+ / 0-)

            They thought, especially the Republicans, that these next few years would be ideological playtime where they would do nothing, pass nothing and just treat Congress like a right wing think tank.

            Now they actually have to make a difficult decision and  back it up with facts, not fluffed up rhetoric written by ALEC.

            Watching Mitch Mcconnell squirm is priceless.

        •  You underestimate the hypocrisy and chutzpa (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, dhshoops, jorogo

          of the right. They're perfectly happy to vote for it in the morning, and decry it in the afternoon.

          And Fox will edit the video to show them always being against it.

      •  What's stopping Boehner from declaring war on Iran (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        … using his GOP majority in the House, if that's what he wants to do? The Congress has the constitutional power, right? Legally, he doesn't need an invitation from the president.

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ☮ ♥ ☺

        by lotlizard on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 11:39:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even if Boehner passed a House bill declaring war (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          AND got the Senate to pass it, there's nothing forcing Obama to actually commit any troops.

          •  U.S. Constitution presupposes a will to follow it. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            If both the Congress and the Supreme Court in practice depend on the executive branch to carry out and enforce their decisions . . . but the people actually controlling the executive branch have other ideas . . .

            Seen in that light, our brilliant 200-year old system isn't looking so brilliant after all. The whole concept of checks and balances among three co-equal branches of government jealous of their prerogatives is proving to be a mirage.

            The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ☮ ♥ ☺

            by lotlizard on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 01:48:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, stick a fork in that guy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Treetrunk, Calvino Partigiani

      he's DONE.
      He want to run for President! HAHAHAHAHA818181818181!!!!!!!!!!!!

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 10:26:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you. (8+ / 0-)

    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 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:34:34 AM PDT

  •  Did you know about this POW??? (24+ / 0-)

    Four years the Taliban have had their son.  Who knew!

    The story of Sergeant Bergdahl, 26, America’s only known current prisoner of war, is one of the strangest and now most consequential mysteries in the 10-year involvement of the United States in Afghanistan. He was captured under still unclear circumstances in June 2009 by insurgents in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, only two months after he arrived on the battlefield, and is now believed to be held, alive and relatively well, by the militant Haqqani network across the border in the tribal area of Pakistan’s northwest frontier.

    Last week his anguished family broke a yearlong silence and announced that their son had become the centerpiece in secret but stalled negotiations between the Obama administration and the Taliban over a proposed prisoner exchange. The deal, which would trade five Taliban prisoners held in Guantánamo Bay for Sergeant Bergdahl, is considered a crucial first step toward striking a broader political settlement with the Taliban to bring the decade-long war to an end.

    Sergeant Bergdahl’s father, Robert Bergdahl, who said he went public to try to push the Obama administration to revive the talks, has in the meantime reached out to the insurgents. He is now in regular e-mail contact with a man he believes is a member of the Taliban with accurate knowledge of his son.  link

    Enough is enough..  No more bombs, no more wars.  Obama and the U$ need to find something else to make a living off of.

    I have three politically incorrect, straight, white male, grandchildren; and I don't care if you think they're important or not.

    by dkmich on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:38:03 AM PDT

    •  That story is from May, 2012, (0+ / 0-)

      and no, I had not know about it.

      He admired the military for its discipline and for what he saw as its role in protecting the American way of life.

      ...............he was lured by the promises of military recruiters that he would be helping people in other parts of the world. He had come to see the military as a kind of Peace Corps with guns.

      “I don’t think he understood really what he was going to do,” said Sky Bergdahl, Sergeant Bergdahl’s older sister.

      Seems, sadly, the MIC propaganda is strong in many. I share your sentiments that we need to find another way.

      "All war is stupid" - JFK

      by jorogo on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 11:48:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No, not a solution--a response to terror. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, KJB Oregon, Treetrunk, red moon dog

    Assad broke the laws of humanity by gassing civilians.  To suffer no punishment is giving him license.  A missile bombing will not solve this, it will respond to Assad's terror.

    My best guess was a reflection that did not look back, an image lost in every mirror.

    by Zacapoet on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:38:14 AM PDT

  •  Yes. This. (21+ / 0-)

    I ache with wanting to do something-not just in Syria, but throughout the world and here in America, when inhumanity is the operating paradigm.

    Inhumanity is not changed with bombs, air strikes, no fly zones, sanctions that cause widespread suffering to a populaition, or small arms fire. Its not even threatened. It simply resurfaces somewhere else.

    I'm not advocating doing nothing. I'm advocating changing the operating paradigm. And that's long term hard work requiring dedication with many short term approaches, many of which will not work, and which may have no immediate benefit. It will take many ideas, many people, many approaches. There is no one size fits all.

    Going it alone with our big hammer....

    Kyrie eleison.

    If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.-Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s

    by left rev on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:39:20 AM PDT

    •  Very well said. (20+ / 0-)

      Again and again, those who advocate more violence keep saying that by not attacking we would be "doing nothing".

      It's a highly misleading claim that needs to be debunked once and for all.

      "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

      by Calvino Partigiani on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:53:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Send the NRA. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eyesbright, JesseCW

        They are so keen on having guns on them to shoot the nearest shooter when violence in their hindsight develops. Tell them to go instead of the kids that can't afford college (which is every kid).

      •  Right.. We're Witnessing the Ultimate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in hypocrisy and Orwellian level politics with the apparent acceptance by "democrats" of Assad using conventional weapons to kill nearly 100,000 Syrians... but by gosh "we have to do something about the use of poison gas"... "Assad must only use conventional weapons to kill his own people, that's OK with us".


        "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

        by Superpole on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 03:09:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Massacre civilians? Kill POW's? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kimbeaux, Superpole

          Burn inhabited towns to the ground?  Use anti-personnel mines in residential areas?  Bombard refugee camps?  Use cluster munitions?

          All ok...

          Oh, shit, the one heinous act we don't often engage in?  Let's bomb the fucker!

          "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 06:02:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right.. and How "Ironic" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            it's coming out now that a few EU nations assisted Assad with starting his chem weapon program.

            where's the list of this.. and what U.S. companies sold to Syria?

            "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

            by Superpole on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 03:39:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Okay, so then you are kind of admitting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sam I Am, sviscusi

      that since it's a long term strategy, it likely won't help those Syrian civilians. Fine.

      All I see during this debate is "I'm not advocating we do nothing...we just have to have an approach, an idea, a new paradigm."  

      So let's do a "for example" with Syria. Tell me what's the first non-lethal approach we should try. Does it involve Assad's buy-in or no? Does it involve money?  Can it be accomplished without Russia and China's support?

      That's all I'm looking for.  Many have pretty much decided that a military strike is not the answer. So now it's time to move on. What is the answer?  And please, spare no detail.

      •  We could start with the refugees. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        antirove, jorogo

        It may involve Assad; it might involve one or more of the multitude of factions; it might involve none of them. It may take the form of working with the surrounding nations. It might take the form of NGOs. It might take the form of the UN (no-don't laugh-they do have a role to play in international issues, however ineffective it might seem at the time). I couldn't hope to come up with all the answers on my own-could you? There are many paths that can be taken, none of which involve a military response.

        I'm sorry, but nothing we do is going to bring those dead Syrians back to life. And very little we do is going to prevent other deaths-the entire country is at war. Adding our $,02 in the form of bombs isn't going to change that calculus.

        And spare no detail applies equally well to those who do feel a military response is the answer. HOW will it work? Air strikes don't happen in a vacuum-how are we prepared to respond to the ripple effect throughout. Exactly HOW does bombing Syria, even a surgical strike, actually punish Assad, unless he is a victim of it? Is that the plan or the hope? Whomever has used chemical weapons on the Syrians has already demonstrated a tendency to not give a shit about the Syrians.

        If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.-Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s

        by left rev on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:56:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  who is going to protect the NGO's? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          red moon dog

          Assad is not going to sit by and let groups that he is fighting to the death receive food and supplys.

          You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

          by Sam I Am on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 02:30:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Rev (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          left rev

          Thanks for brainstorming. The problem is we need a John Kerry-type to make the case for the alternatives side. If something specific (with Step 1, Step 2, etc) was offered up, maybe the war talk wouldn't so dominate the discussion.

          I understand the complaint about not having all the answers, but my frustration is that when people both simultaneously say they don't want military intervention but also say something has to be done to end the conflict and suffering and that we must deal with the chemical weapons,  that always seems to be where it ends.  

          I think we're either going to strike or, if we don't, just sit by and watch the war drag on until one side is beaten or gives up.  If that happens,  our focus then should be how Jordan and Turkey will assimilate all these refugees. We will need to stem the bleeding, even if there is nothing we can do to save the Syrian people left in Syria.

          •  Thank you for the response. (0+ / 0-)

            If there is one universal thing I believe everyone feels about this situation, its frustration. We're OBE-overtaken by events, always trying to play catch up, trying to figure out what's true and what isn't when so many players with their own agendas are involved. There is no good answer here.

            I wish I had the good answers. I'm afraid that most of what I have are more questions.

            Peace, KAK1958

            If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.-Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s

            by left rev on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 05:40:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I think the first thing we should do (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, left rev, nota bene, antirove

        is tackle the refugee crisis on all sides of the conflict. A big show of kindness and neutrality. That would encourage civilians to flee dangerous areas and give the armed the space to fight it out. I'd especially encourage Christians to flee to the American refugee camps.

        I think the second thing we should do is begin to open back channel intelligence relationships with Assad. I'd supply him with satellite images and other information on the location of Al Qaeda movements so he can kill them. In return for this information, I'd demand he begin moving his chemical stockpiles to the Turks. The more chemicals he supplies, the more information about his enemies he gets. If he turns over the whole lot, I'd supply him with cash and a promise to lift sanctions when and if he kills the rebels.

        Finally, I'd begin placing diplomatic pressure on the Saudis to let them know we've switched sides and are now behind Assad and they should cut off funding for the rebels. I'd let Russia know I was doing this and let them know if they put pressure on Assad to turn his chemical weapons over to the Turks, we would turn a blind eye if they sold more conventional weapons to Assad.

        The goal would be help Assad get control over the country again as a client of Russia, not Iran, and to remove the chemical stockpiles from his control by moving them to a NATO ally.

        And the whole time, we get to be the public good guy, neutrally providing help to the needy.

        •  I don't mean to paint Putin as a particularly (7+ / 0-)

          trustworthy actor, but Russia intends to strengthen their Mediterranean Fleet and very much wants to improve their Syrian port facilities.

          I'd suggest letting Russian the Russians lock down Assads Chemical Weapons.  They're not remotely a neutral broker, but they've got every reason to go along with keeping them from being used and they have a pretty good record (despite their many war crimes) of not using them themselves.

          Russia and China then agree to a very limited UN resolution banning the sale of precursors and allowing inspectors in to confirm the seizure.  

          In return, we leave their ports the fuck alone and don't bomb their only ally in the region.

          Russia and Iran are the only nations with credible influence on Assad right now.  

          It may not be the worst thing in the world to reach out to the new Iranian leadership and see what they may be willing to do in terms of leveraging Hezbollah to restrict themselves to defending Shia areas only, rather than participating in offensives.

          Then we have to let the Saudi's know that there are no more fancy jets and cluster bombs until they fucking stop arming liver eating circus geeks.

          1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

          by JesseCW on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 01:49:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not a bad idea at all. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW, Kimbeaux, maryabein, jorogo

            At least you are using your imagination to see the various levers and buttons that diplomacy has to offer. Seems to me a much more feasible thing to TRY rather than trying bombing.

          •  The new Iranian leadership (0+ / 0-)

            is the biggest casualty in all this. I think there may have been an opening there, but the Syria stuff now complicates it.  

            I would prefer someone other than Russia get the weapons. It was only last year when Romney was telling everyone that Russia was our biggest concern. Many people still agree with that, and giving them a boatload of chemical weapons wouldn't help.  I'd go with Turkey before Russia.

            While we all know about the "liver eating" rebels, please don't overlook that Assad is not exactly Mr. Rogers.  The man had a whole report devoted to his first decade in office by Human Rights Watch.  This is clearly a case of picking our poison, but we need to realize, as Colin Powell said recently, he's a pathological liar. If we have to prop him up for the sake of some stability, so be it, but I wouldn't put all our diplomatic eggs in that basket by completely cutting off the Saudis.  

            •  Syria won't go with Turkey. There's almost (0+ / 0-)

              no chance of Assad agreeing to it.

              He's going to assume the Turks are just compiling target lists as they get transported around his country.

              1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

              by JesseCW on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 05:12:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  feature or a flaw? (0+ / 0-)

          on the second thing, supplying intelligence, what happens if Assad's govt uses satellite images to attack AQ with chemical weapons? Would you then be liable to be charged with war crimes? I realize that you would try to have clauses that demand they don't do this but it seems the Assad govt is capable of lying, so what happens if they do? Just to identify that all of the possible solutions have some seriously bad downsides plus, of course, unintended consequences.

          Also, I recognize that you are trying to come up with some solutions that don't require the US to attack.

          (Another concern: the solution above doesn't do anything to reduce war but simply makes the Syrian govt attacks more efficient, i.e., killing more rebels per civilian. At least in theory.)

          •  I don't care if he gasses them. (0+ / 0-)

            But Assad isn't irrational. There's nothing to be gained from that with him getting good intelligence and plenty of Russian arms to deal with the conventionally. But if he did gas Al Qaeda, at least he would be getting rid of them and his chemical weapons. Two birds with one stone.

        •  Well alrighty then. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          A few points - not "american" refugee camps.  Make it a global responsibility so it is globally funded and managed. Those tea party folks don't like foreign aid. The less the better.

          As for your RealPolitik take on all this, interesting that you've picked the Shia over the Sunni, which would require undoing all the current alliances in the region.  (I will add that I think about 75% of Turkey's population is Sunni Muslim. But they may be the closest thing to stability we've got).  

          I'm not so sure you can move what is apparently one of the biggest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world without people knowing. Assad won't want to look like he's giving in to western demands, so they'll have to come up with some public explanation.  

          When the congress talks about "debating" the issue, I would like to think the alternatives debate will be as robust as this. It won't be, but it should be.

        •  So wait, a military attack is a huge problem (0+ / 0-)

          but we should back the Assad regime to the extent of giving him basically logistical and intelligence support?

          Should we have supported Gaddafi as well? How far do we go?

          When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

          by PhillyJeff on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:02:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, supporting Gadaffi would (0+ / 0-)

            have been the smartest move we could have made, albeit quietly. Quite frankly, our Libya policy is a complete catastrophe. That country is an abysmal mess, much worse off than it was under Gadaffi's dictatorship. An across the board disaster. Read up on Libya if you don't believe me. We're going to have to go back there, next time with troops.

            It's the biggest Al Qaeda training ground in the world now. We're going to have to go back there, and not just with bombers.

  •  The Obamabot phenomenon in a chart (4+ / 4-)

    Over at slate.

    Or why the left seems to be as hypocritical as the right some times.

    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

    by Minerva on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:39:23 AM PDT

    •  Divide by cucumber error- (4+ / 0-)

      please reboot the universe.

      If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.-Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s

      by left rev on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:55:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of maybe there is not a one-shoe (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, Satya1, Treetrunk, Eyesbright

      response to everything?  There's a big difference between Iraq and if we do something in Syria.  Not everyone on the left is 100% pacifistic 100% of the time....

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:58:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The study is well worth reading (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, Lefty Coaster, FG, Brecht

      If we take a closer look at the study that produced that chart, we see that from Sep 2008 until Mar 2009 when Dem party composition halved from 54% to 27% coincided with

      1) confidence in Obama on Iraq remaining high (pg 9)
      2) reduction is size of protests (pg 8)

      So yes, more people likely stayed home after Obama was elected, confident or at least hoping that Obama would handle Iraq more effectively than Bush and biding some time to see how the new president would respond.

      It's an interesting study and the methodology and factors included in the study are complex and sometimes surprising.

      I think your "obamabot phenomenon" comment is inaccurate.  I think it is pretty obvious that a change to a Dem president who, unlike Dubya, can chew gum and walk at the same time is the key.  Almost any reasonably intelligent Dem pres would have provided the same pattern, IMHO.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 10:35:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Please don't use that phrase. (8+ / 0-)

      It's a rw meme and divisive as hell.  You've been around long enough to know not to use it.


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

      by Lawrence on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 10:46:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Y'know (5+ / 0-)

      a few days ago Dallasdoc and I had a good discussion.  He was more pro-intervention, I was less.

      Whatever else, by the standards that guide DKos, I would be more Obamabot, he would be less.

      The question of what to do in Syria does not break down on the same lines as Social Security, NSA and all the rest that divides the site.

      Also, just as BBB said, there are compelling arguments for intervention.  BBB listed 4.  Like BBB, I don't see them as sufficient, but there are people I respect greatly who disagree with me on that.  

      So what I am trying to say is simple...just a BBB accurately says that the US should stop trying to use the same military hammer to achieve its ends, perhaps you should stop using the same stupid Obamabot hammer to achieve all of yours.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 10:58:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  HR'd for "Obamabot" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive, tytalus

      The commenter who used that rightwing slur has been here far too long to not know better.  So has at least one of the upraters.  Nor does the article itself stoop that low.
      There is no excuse for it.

      It's not a question of whether our founding fathers are rolling in their graves but rather of how many RPM they're clocking.

      by Eyesbright on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:24:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And also, it's not accurate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I don't think it's divided along support for Obama at all. If anything, it seems like people could care less about that right now compared with the basic question of the ethics and morals of military intervention vs. other forms of resolution for the crisis in Syria.

        Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

        by mahakali overdrive on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 02:46:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Depends on the problem (14+ / 0-)

    Take a long hard look at the AUMF.  Could be we're actually authorizing war with Iran.  Lots of vague words in there.  You think you're looking at a description of a limited war on Syria but seems to me the WMD word, threats of use, partners and allies start morphing a bit far from the announced purpose.  

    Are we being asked to authorize Neocon War II as a pretext for Neocon War III?

  •  our leaders are not running the war machine (28+ / 0-)

    it is running them.

    It's grown so big that it behaves like a living organism. It acts to preserve itself and to grow and expand. That is what this war is about: the machine needs fresh blood on which to feed.

    The pretext by which expansion is achieved is immaterial, so long as it is achieved. That's why the narrow focus on "but they say it's just a limited strike" is beside the point. What Obama personally thinks this war is about is beside the point.

    The draft AUMF the WH submitted is extraordinarily broad, and that's because the machine refuses to be caged in any way. It wants to be free to consume as much prey as it can. If the conflict spreads to Lebanon or Jordan or Iran, so much the better.

    Many of the supporters of this action are under the illusion that Obama is controlling events, and therefore, that we have nothing to worry about.

    But he is not, and has not been for some time. He is simply reacting to much larger imperatives. The machine hungers for prey, and our leaders must appease it or face its wrath.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:43:37 AM PDT

  •  Who's looking for a solution? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texas Lefty, FG, Reepicheep, Treetrunk, Inland

    The point of the issue is to punish Assad for using chemical weapons.  A spanking is not a "solution" to raising a child correctly, but it could very well keep it from raiding the cookie jar again.  

  •  Good points (7+ / 0-)

    But are you assuming that in this specific case we are not also employing subterfuge as well as soft power?

    Personally I've seen material that shows our government is pursuing this with a number of methods on a number of channels.  So I think the tone of the piece is implying something that likely isn't happening:

    We discount or ignore other non-lethal yet aggressive tools like subterfuge, secret diplomacy, bribery, and deception. We fail to deploy some of our greatest social assets in conducting foreign affairs, such as the appeal of our popular culture, our technological ingenuity, or business acumen. We fail to think of how to creatively deploy the full arsenal of American soft power...
    What do you think of Teddy Roosevelt's philosophy now?  "Speak softly and carry a big stick."

    But I  also agree completely about the spirit of the piece.  Americans (not just their government) put too much value and faith in military power.  I see it as a problem of American values as much as a problem of the MIC.  We are a nation of militarists.  The ease with which we were panicked, herded and hypnotized into invading Iraq clinches that.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:50:57 AM PDT

  •  Just for discussion purposes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, Eyesbright

    South Korea is concerned about the precedent set for North Korea if Syria is left unpunished.

    North Korea has been helping Syria in a number of ways, with some evidence that it aided the Syrians in their chem programs:

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:54:53 AM PDT

  •  So the alternative is not to respond at all? (4+ / 0-)

    That will say that chemical weapons are ok to use and they will become a part of everyone's arsenal. Are there any good non-military responses? If there are any, we should seriously consider them.

    And of course there is no military solution (at least not the one involving US) to the civil war in Syria. But no one is trying to solve that.

    •  Re: What no one outside of the Beltway is saying (8+ / 0-)

      Oh, gee. Assad used chemical weapons. If the USA doesn't do anything then the USA is over as a superpower.

      What makes the USA look ridiculous is that it sweats so publicly over what people think of it as a government.

      "OMG if we don't act people will think we are weak."

      "Uh...we weren't thinking of that at all."

      "NO! You WILL think we are weak unless we respond!"

      "Really. Not doing that."

      (USA Stamps foot.) "You WILL be upset if we don't act, or so help us we'll throw a fit!"

      "Yeah.. ok. You win. We will think you're weak if you don't pitch a fit. Please don't pitch a fit."

      "So glad you see things America's way."

      "Yeah... that's what we do here..."

      •  You must have missed some of the recent headlines (0+ / 0-)
        "Relief in Damascus, as Syrians mock Obama the 'coward'"

        Just a couple of excerpts:
        "Obama is a coward. He didn't strike because he knows that our President Bashar (al-Assad) is all-powerful.."
        "I saw him, he was trembling like a leaf as he spoke, he seemed really troubled," said Azzam, leafing through a copy of the state newspaper Ath-Thawra.

        Syria's Response to Obama Speech: We Won

        "The Syrian army's readiness is what warded off U.S. aggression against Syria," Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadr Jamil declared in Damascus."
        On al Manar, Hezbollah's TV network in Lebanon, an analyst claimed a "strategic victory" over America, saying that the joint stance of Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah frightened Obama into retreat.

        It's not a question of whether our founding fathers are rolling in their graves but rather of how many RPM they're clocking.

        by Eyesbright on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 01:02:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And guess what? Had the US govt not put on a diva (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laconic Lib

          drama, people would think the USA is being a diva.

          Also, as I see it war is more evil than rape, because every evil (including rape) possible comes along with war.

          So it's especially disgusting when people talk about how necessary or righteous war is.

          And cheerleading for either rape or war is especially pathetic.

        •  And you think if Syria was pounded with 300 (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nota bene, Laconic Lib

          cruise missiles Hezbollah would air a hastily constructed documentary about how they had just lost the war?

          You think Syrian state media would broadcast Assad giving a speech about how very brave and tough Obama is?

          1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

          by JesseCW on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 01:54:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We should consider them. But are we? (6+ / 0-)

      Are we having a vote about any of the alternatives?

      Has the White House, Foggy Bottom, or the Pentagon discussed any alternatives publicly?

      Are we having a debate over the alternatives?

      Better yet...are we even having a debate of the effects of doing nothing? No. We are not.

      Are we having a debate about the only solution on the table: military force.

      That's a bad way to even go about using military force.

  •  A man with a hammer (6+ / 0-)

    views every problem as a nail.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 10:05:01 AM PDT

  •  No effective, long-term military solutions... (7+ / 0-)

    to the Syria conflict/ chemical weapons use...

    Our intervention in Iraq has only served to kill many soldiers and civilians, and unleash ongoing almost daily violence, where reports like this are commonplace:  (Aug. 28, 13) Iraq Bombings, House Raid Kill at Least 80 People...

    Our long 12+ year quagmire in Afghanistan continues:  In Afghanistan resurgent Taliban Takes Toll: More than 100 die in Attacks over the Past Week.

    The big problem with US military action is that there are no good military options available, and there are risks of consequences of any military action in Syria.  

    OTOH, there are also consequences for not taking any action.

    Doing nothing is also a decision, with it's own consequences.  

    Which is the worst choice?  Only time will tell, and if the choice made seems to have been the wrong one, then it's too late to take the other course.  

  •  We should send the peace corp and other aid worker (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The message would basically be the same, that we are doing something about this mess, without dropping a single bomb.

    Assad would not dare touch the American aid workers, and risk threatening our national interests. Then we can go around strutting that we are still the most powerful nation in the world, and that noone will mess with us.

    This will also give Putin some time to save face and play it hard to get before coming to an agreement with the United States, and give the weapons' inspectors the time that they didn't have leading up towards the war in Iraq.

    •  The terrorist groups that are trying to topple (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein, chuckvw, JesseCW, Sam I Am

      Assad would make mince meat of any American aid workers or Peace Corps volunteers. We do not have any friends in this fight, only factions that are trying to use us for their own ends.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:00:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The al Nusra types would enthusiastically (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, Sam I Am, Orinoco

      chop off the heads of such aid workers, and put the video with a rousing musical accompaniment on youtube.

      There's none so blind as those that will not see. --Jonathan Swift

      by chuckvw on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:02:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How do we insert "the peace corp" into a Syrian (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      war zone with no protection? We airdrop them? Have them all buy their own tickets to Turkey and just randomly hire people to drive them to Syria?

      You're basically saying that you're ok sending people to their deaths in an active war zone.

      We need to think these things through and be realistic.

      When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

      by PhillyJeff on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:04:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this diary!!! (8+ / 0-)

    This is exactly what I and many others here have been trying to say.  I have posted here on a number of occasions that the proposed military strike will not solve anything and has the distinct possibility of making things worse. I have posted various scenarios and none of them are beneficial. If we use military force in Syria, it will not end well for anyone.

    Every Saturday, I now meet with a group of anti-war activists in front of the local courthouse.  I am a newbie, but these men have been doing this for over ten years and the oldest is a 90 year old WWII vet.  This Saturday we all were terribly saddened by the administration and others pushing for military strikes.  But heart warmingly, an overwhelming majority of people who drove and walked by us are for us getting out of all these wars and for giving peace a chance.  

    "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West speaking to Occupy Tallahassee on January 18, 2012

    by gulfgal98 on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 10:53:45 AM PDT

  •  when chemical weapons were most feared (0+ / 0-)

    was at the start of WWII.. the British were certain that war would bring chemical bomb attacks on major cities around the world.

    That is the issue at hand. Fear of this stuff being used more and more once the genie is allowed out of the bottle. It should have nothing to do with Syria, other than they are the ones using it.

    Has the world turned a blind eye to these in the past? if so, does that imply it should continue to do so?.. and are all of those situations comparable in terms of risk of proliferation outside of a country's territory..

    When should others intervene when a leader wants to slaughter his own people? I guess the world concluded that's okay as long as "what goes on in Uganda stays in Uganda".

    People seems to fear that this might not stay in Syria. Otherwise we would care less. So.. it really isn't about Syria at all, and that is why we are acting. It just so happens to be someone we don't mind slamming anyway.

    This is certainly not any sort of attempt at a military solution in Syria.

  •  a question on usage (6+ / 0-)

    Assad's opponents are called "rebels," but the people setting off car bombs and whatnot in Iraq for the last ten years are "insurgents."

    I guess that's more of an observation, rather than a question.

    Why do you hate America?

    by nota bene on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 11:03:53 AM PDT

  • hacked... (0+ / 0-)

    The website was hacked with a slew of photos of U.S. military personnel holding signs that they don't want to fight for Al Qaeda.

    So, maybe, the military doesn't want a military solution, either.

  •  Thought experiment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If you really, really wanted to weaken Iran militarily and reduce its' regional influence, and prevent any negotiations with Iran that might lead to a peaceful settlement of the nuclear weapons dispute, that leaves the regime and military in place, how would you do it?  Where would you start?  In the face of general US popular fatigue with expensive military adventures?

    Where would you start?  

    •  Suppose we took as a starting point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whizdom, greenbell

      Iran's military forces, population, economic heft, regional influence and nuclear program.

      Then we ask: do we want this country as an ally or an enemy?

      If we decide we want Iran as an ally, the question becomes: how do we do that?

      Recall: China has most favored nation trading status with us and Vietnam welcomes our tourists.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:08:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That is correct. (0+ / 0-)

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 11:26:59 AM PDT

  •  Bombing from High Moral Position (0+ / 0-)

    is sort of hard for me to parse.

    Tristero has a diary up this morning on Digbys blog, linking to:

    Makes more sense than anything I have heard coming out of Washington.

    Reality is a good thing to know about, as long as you keep it separate from the Opera we live in

    by greatferm on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 11:35:43 AM PDT

  •  Putin is in a difficult position, too. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Of course he is going to veto any UN solution. He doesn't want to look like an easy date.  This is why the business of negotiations seem to take so long. Yet "no" doesn't mean "never".

    If we had intervened to prevent a chemical weapons' attack, then this would be a time-sensitive issue that I would probably say there's a ticking time bomb and we don't have time to negotiate with Russia or even with Congress.

    Yet the cow has left the barn. There is nothing wrong with taking time to let the inspectors do their job or to go through the lengthy square dance that Putin wants us to do.

  •  I posted this in another diary. I was asked to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, fran1, Livvy5, begone

    find Damascus on a map. So I stare at maps.

    Here's what I saw. Yes there is no military solution.


      Damascus is 55 miles from Beirut
        109 miles from Aman
        135 miles from Jerusalem
        382 miles from Cairo
        469 miles from Baghdad
        483 miles from Ankara
        873 miles from Tehran
    Washington DC is 38 miles from Baltimore
        108 miles from Richmond
        136 miles from Philadelphia
        394 miles from Boston
        399 miles from Charlotte
        505 miles from Cincinnati
        847 miles from Orlando
    I am thinking that no one will sit still for humanitarian aid any more than military intervention. You would need one to do the other. I said before this game is like playing Jinga with all the blocks on fire or hot coals. There is an answer, I'm glad it doesn't fall on me to find it.
  •  The hardcore Salafi Jihadists in Syria would love (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, JesseCW

    it if the US bombed the country. It would swell their ranks globally.

    The jihadist victories have mostly come from the damage that the US has inflicted on itself in its overreaction to their terrorist acts. They spend pennies to the US's thousands. One hundred of them would gladly give their lives for one dead 'apostate'. They are highly committed in their belief system. This is why they have become a significant player in Syria despite their lessor numbers.

    The following is a RAND report from 2008 (123 pages) that may explain the reasoning behind the US government's decision making. It covers every country where the US is now engaged.

    The "Long War" refers to fighting Islamic terrorism on a global scale.

    Deterrence -- From Cold War to Long War - RAND Corporation (pdf)

    The concept of deterrence has been somewhat neglected in the nearly two decades since the end of the Cold War, particularly after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Yet deterrence will likely remain a major component of U.S. foreign and defense policy. The RAND Corporation was central to the development of modern deterrence theory and examining its more than six decades of research on the subject helps explain both why deterrence is so necessary for the United States and how to improve its practice with potential adversaries ranging from peer competitors to terrorist networks.

    This research was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and conducted within RAND Project AIR FORCE and the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute.

  •  Depends on what you want as a solution. (0+ / 0-)

    They go from country to country fucking them up beyond all recognition and everybody says they fucked it up.  Oh well, let's try it again, then they fuck it up again.  But this time they really are going to help people.  No, maybe they want to fuck everything up.  Maybe that is their solution.

  •  When you have a trillion dollar hammer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nota bene, Laconic Lib

    there is great urgency to find a nail... or something that plausibly looks like a nail.

    There's none so blind as those that will not see. --Jonathan Swift

    by chuckvw on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:04:00 PM PDT

  •  punish Russia (0+ / 0-)

    If we have conclusive evidence--and if Russia blocks UN action, we could put a tariff on Russian goods, we could deny entry to any ship that docks in Syria, we could publicize embarrassing Putin actions.  Yes, go personal since sarin is personal.

    Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

    by melvynny on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:04:29 PM PDT

  •  Please write this diary tomorrow (1+ / 0-)

    and the day after
    and again the next day
    and the next
    and every day

  •  Actually, this has diplomacy as its end point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jjohnjj, eglantine

    All wars eventually end.  And almost always there is some treaty or agreement that ends them.

    Obama is not talking about a WW2 style conquest.  He is talking about using force to make clear to Assad that his own hope of a military solution is not going to happen.

    What is happening now in Syria is bad.  Doing nothing will lead to worse.  This conflict will grow fiercer and spread.  And a nation that turns its back on rows of gassed civilians has forfeited its moral authority.

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:21:43 PM PDT

    •  Wait (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, keestone
      He is talking about using force to make clear to Assad that his own hope of a military solution is not going to happen.

      Are you under the illusion that this is going to stop the war?

      And a nation that turns its back on rows of gassed civilians has forfeited its moral authority.
      Are you also under the illusion that bombing Syria will restore America's "moral authority" even a tiny bit? Because in terms of preserving the moral authority of US foreign policy, that ship sailed a looooooong time ago.

      Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

      by Boogalord on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 01:47:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I said... (0+ / 0-)

        ...this is not likely to be easy and it is risky.  But there is risk as well in doing nothing.  

        There are no illusions here.  There are no sure things.  

        Yes, I do think it matters that we show we are prepared to act.  It would have mattered if we had acted earlier in Rwanda, in Haiti, in Bosnia.  

        Also, per Libya, I think the Obama Administration won't stop at one or two bombings.  I believe this to be part of a deeper strategy involving the opposition.  That is the take away from the more supportive comments today from McCain.

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 03:44:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We did act earlier in Haiti. We've "acted" in (0+ / 0-)

          Haiti more than any other nation on Earth - more than 14 times in fact.

          How's Haiti doing as a result of all of our "acting"?

          "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 06:05:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "There is risk in doing nothing" (0+ / 0-)

          Such as?

          I have yet to hear anyone give me a good reason for how a bombing campaign will destroy all of Assad's chemical weapons, make America safer in any way, or improve our credibility with Syrians or anyone else.

          Also, per Libya, I think the Obama Administration won't stop at one or two bombings.  I believe this to be part of a deeper strategy involving the opposition.
          What "deeper strategy"? If we're bombing Assad we're basically helping Al-Qaeda-backed rebels. Is Step Two going to be bombing them as well?

          Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

          by Boogalord on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 08:05:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Round Two (0+ / 0-)

        Begins. The 1% media steps in. The than thou, smirk knows what  you  need vs. the doesn't matter who, gloat/bloat. Military industrial complex & bankers rub their hands. Cognition on for the 2014 elections, the 100 year anniversary of WW I, the beginning of that is.

    March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:35:21 PM PDT

  •  Good job, BB. I 100% agree. (1+ / 0-)

    It needs to be repeated.

    collards, meat, butter, sourdough, eggs, cheese, raw milk

    by Tirge Caps on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:42:14 PM PDT

  •  Maybe US Military Action Won't Solve The Conflict (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in Syria, but it damn well will send a message to every dictator in the world who thinks that the world shrugging is a license to use chemical weapons whenever they like.  Assad gassed little children who did nothing wrong but be in a region of Syria that opposition rebels were known to be.  This is a cowards way of doing war.  Civilians have been caught in the civil war by conventional weapons and died, but they did not until now get gassed while they were sleeping and had no idea that it was coming.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 12:51:20 PM PDT

  •  We shouldn't get involved at all (0+ / 0-)

    I feel like this would be the best policy. To be honest, even if a civil war continues in Syria for the next decade, it would not affect the US at all. we should not waste our resources or else we will have another Iraq on our hands.

    Fitness Blog

  •  Solution as the goal? (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think anyone is kidding themsleves into thinking that under the best scenario, any American military action against Syria would be a "solution" to anything. It's really a matter of what is right and wrong and how to best go about doing those things that America ought to be doing, or not be doing. Destroying weapons, assasinating Assad, or any other American military action in itself will never resolve the situation in Syria. I don't think any individual country other than perhaps Russia, has any real ability to influence any outcome in Syria. The question is whether any military action can be conducted effectively and whether its the right thing to do and ultimately is action clearly a better option than no action. I don't think any of us can answer any of those questions with any degree of certainty at this point.

  •  It's true: American advertizing/marketing.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive industry that takes a back seat to no one - especially in pop-culture

    We discount or ignore other non-lethal yet aggressive tools like subterfuge, secret diplomacy, bribery, and deception. We fail to deploy some of our greatest social assets in conducting foreign affairs, such as the appeal of our popular culture, our technological ingenuity, or business acumen.
    Our war machine/military is not known its prowess in public relations (it's gotten better over the years) but American advertizing industry could sell anything to just about anyone - That is a proven fact - popular culture appeal- wow

    Also too:

    Setting up a safe border zone in Turkey or Jordan with clean water, food, shelter, medical, combined with an international music industry star (as just one example) to promote peace talks, and whatever else is on the agenda  

    Or a live show of some sort, maybe like Bing Crosby did  for the troops only in this case for the people involved, a celebrity appropriate to this cause

    The kind of influential person who could have been invited to the United States and strategically placed in some silly romantic comedy alongside some Hollywood starlet or whatever. But we didn't get to him. One of the Sunni militant sheikhs, Ahmed al-Aseer, did. Fadl is now a militant Salafist soldier.
    Good insights on this angle of thought BBB
  •  Yes, thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    Dead on and very much in accordance with most of my own views on this. Sorry for the vague comment... working... but this diary pretty much expresses most of how I feel, and the long and the short of that is that military intervention just isn't a good solution to solve MOST instances of civil war or genocide, although there are some exceptions: in this case, my reservations are both ethical and practical. The practical side being that we can't ensure that this won't destabilize the ENTIRE region and only create a cycle of yet more pain, dislocation, and internal strife for those not only in Syria but in other countries also in area. This is an extremely real possibility. The U.S. has a tendency to intervene and then cut and leave, leaving behind things that are worse than they were before for nations not previously involved. You can directly see this particularly in areas where we've had widespread involvement without follow-through in areas which are surrounded by particular vulnerable, particularly weakened countries (Italy didn't suffer, per se, after Bosnia, for example, because they were strong enough to take surrounding conflict. Is Yemen? Jordan? Iraq?)

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 02:33:56 PM PDT

  •  You're right; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dancing Frog

    there is no military solution.

    There also is no non-military solution.

    Every course of action, whether military, diplomatic or humanitarian, or inaction as well, is fraught with unpredictability and risk.

    Your diary seems to either sweep aside the risks inherent to other actions or inaction, or assume that all risks are equal therefore we should not risk blood or treasure as the investment is greater for equal risk. I don't think that's necessarily true.

    I'm strongly against unilateral American action because I believe the risks are much greater, mind you, but that's a whole other ball of wax.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 03:55:45 PM PDT

    •  The risks of diplomatic involvement (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      are a lot more predictable than those of military involvement. 'Fog of War' tends to lead to things nobody can reasonably predict. Every general has a great plan right up to the day the first shot is fired.

      You are correct that using other avenues of soft power carries risks as well. I do think they are less damaging to us than military involvement.

      •  I don't think (0+ / 0-)

        that given the number of moving pieces here, and the far-reaching implications of the use of chemical weapons (again) becoming something for which one can expect no international consequence, that you greatly overestimate the predictability of said diplomatic involvement.

        But at least we seem to agree that there are no good answers here.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 04:33:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that's a hyped up hyperbole too. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Which is that if chemical weapons are used here, that there will be an outbreak of chemical weapons all over the place. That's conjecture and rank speculation at best, and hyperbole at worst.

          I much more worried about the far reaching implications of American military involvement. On the flip side, Israel tends to strike inside Syria at will when facing what they deem a nuclear threat. Yet, they've shown no similar willingness to do so for chemical weapons. That's enough for me to conclude they feel the risk to them, who share a border with Syria, is low.

          Obviously, we aren't at risk of Syria using them on us either.

          •  Hyperbole? (0+ / 0-)

            I think one needs look at one war where chemical weapons were employed freely and often -- World War I. That shows a particularly nasty legacy of their use, and why their use was internationally banned not long after.

            And I think you're not quite right about what Israel is doing and has done, to date.

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 04:44:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  How 'bout looking at Iran/Iraq war in 1985 (0+ / 0-)

              We are not talking about a war that used horsecarts:


              The United States helped Saddam Hussein attack Iran with chemical weapons in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war, it has been claimed.

              Ronald Regan's administration, who supported the Iraqi dictator topple two decades later by the Bush government, fed information to Baghdad that helped them launch strikes.

              U.S. officials gave Saddam's army details about the whereabouts of Iranian forces in 1988 knowing that he would deploy chemical weapons, Foreign Policy magazine reported.

  •  My Mama sez (0+ / 0-)

    Instead of droppin' bombs on 'em, maybe we should be droppin' gas masks!

    I don't understand why no one except us little people is even considering a humanitarian response to Syria.  Drop some healthcare on the refugees.  Or some food.  Try harder at the UN to get both sides at the table to talk cease fire and peace.  Dammit, every American kid gets told "USE YOUR WORDS!"  Maybe our American adults need to try it!

    Or just drop the whole mess on their neighbors and let THEM figure it out.  We just don't have a dog in this fight.

    •  What makes you think they aren't trying (0+ / 0-)

      to get the UN involved. What words exactly are going to make Vladimir Putin stop supporting Assad?

      How would a humanitarian "solution" solve anything. We just randomly drop some food and gas masks on areas of Syria (which means overflying their country and risking more American lives than a cruise missile strike would) and hope they get to the right people?

      Then what? Boom, the war is over?

      When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

      by PhillyJeff on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:08:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You're telling the wrong people. (0+ / 0-)

    The civil war started two years ago.  The only military solution we're looking at is the problem of using nerve gas on civilians.  All the rest is on them.

    HEY COGNITIVE INFILTRATORS! I googled "confirmation bias" and Daily Kos raided my house! And and and smashed my hard drives! Ask CNN, it's all truthy!

    by Inland on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 06:01:02 PM PDT

    •  And that's the point: that one we can't fix (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As many other diaries here have discussed, the obvious and attractive military action -- just bomb all the chemical weapons production and storage sites to smithereens, and then leave -- is not practical and risks releasing even more chemical weapons into the surrounding areas.

      So it's not at all clear what military solution would actually make a difference in terms of future chemical weapons use. The best theory seems to be that you slap Assad's hand hard enough that next time he won't do it -- but as any parent knows, that often doesn't work. Instead, it makes the slap-ee angry and determined not to let some big bully order him around -- which means using the chemical weapons again just to prove you won't be dictated to.

  •  I disagree with your initial proposition... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...that the US feels there's a military solution.  Nowhere did I hear the President say this or even take sides in the conflict.  He only proposed measures to signal the offender that those egregious crimes should not pass without a response from civilized nations. Unfortunately (or fortunately, to some) we are in leadership role. And we are best positioned to send that message.

    If we do attack some targets with the limited objective of sending a message, let's see if there are any more chemical weapon attacks on civilians afterwards. If that nonsense stops as a result, we'll have done some good.

    Military solutions? That's all humbug. There are none, and no one here in power (except perhaps for McCain) is pretending there are, IMHO.

    Evolution IS Intelligent Design!

    by msirt on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 07:04:04 PM PDT

  •  The Beatings Will Continue... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...until morale improves.

    Then we will be greeted as liberators.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 08:28:56 PM PDT

  •  I completely agree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dancing Frog, JesseCW

    There's a lot of misinformation out there, too. A lot of people who support strikes assume we'll take out the chemical weapons. Even if we knew where all of them were (and we just about may, for all I know), that's not going to happen.

    Why? If we strike the chemical weapons, we'll just serve to release the chemical weapons.

    The only way to stop the use of chemical weapons is to go in there and get them. That would probably take upwards of 100,000 troops. It's not going to happen, nor should it. We'd be worse for it and Syria would be dramatically worse for it... and it really wouldn't stop Syria from using the chemical weapons, an invasion in fact could force their hand to use them in their own campaign of Shock and Awe.

    So, even under the best intentions, there's no room for military intervention.

  •  i hear that (0+ / 0-)

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:04:05 PM PDT

  •  Nice Arab boy grows a beard and joins the jihad... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... therefore: there is no military solution to the Syrian civil war.

    That leap of logic can be measured in light-years.

    Does Fadl Shaker want to kill Christians and Shias because America invaded and occupied Iraq? Or does he hate those Syrians because the French & British set them up as a ruling elite over the majority of Sunni Arabs?

    After independence, the Russians continued to prop up the colonial ruling elite. Can we be sure that Mr. Shaker will be angry at America for helping to remove them from power?

    America's "soft power" is formidable, but once the fighting starts, it's useless. It would have been great if the allies in WWI had instituted a Marshall Plan in defeated Germany to forestall the rise of Nazism. But they didn't.

    Once the Nazis invaded Poland and France, no "Marshall Plan" in the world would have persuaded them to go back to Berlin. It took the armies of America, Russia and the U.K. to accomplish that.

    Only then, when the fighting was over, was the U.S. able to win hearts and minds by keeping Europe from starving (altho this was done to forestall communist party gains in western Europe as much as anything else).

    Syria is now in a state of war. We've given the humanitarian aid, we've tried diplomacy and we've tried arming the rebels to fight their own battles.

    The result has been a bloody, tragic stalemate.

    Assad's chemical weapons blunder presents us with a one-time opportunity to bring it the fighting to an end.

    The Rebels are exhausted. Desertions have reduced the Syrian Army from 220,000 men to 50,000, but they still have the advantage of armor, artillery and mobility. American strikes on the regime's fuel supplies would neutralize that advantage and persuade the Alawite leadership to start doing some hard thinking about a cease-fire and a negotiated peace... with or without Assad.

    Don't ask for guarantees. There are none... ever. Eisenhower couldn't guarantee that the Normandy Invasion would succeed, nor could Gandhi guarantee that non-violence would achieve independence for India.

    But the cover story of "punishing" Syria for using the CW makes it hard for Russia and Iran to respond  to American intervention overtly, and it makes it easy for President Obama to walk away if the gamble doesn't pay off.

    An opportunity like this will only come once.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 11:35:06 PM PDT

  •  If All You Have Is a Hammer (0+ / 0-)

    If all you have is a military, then every problem looks like a bombing target.

    But if all you have is a hammer, then perhaps it's time to make or buy a different tool.

  •  Two questions for you, then. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scamperdo, eglantine

    If we damage Assad's interests in some serious way (e.g. by destroying all of his aircraft), will he and others like him be (A) more likely or (B) less likely to consider the use of poison gas against civilians in the future?

    And in either case, what actions are available to us that would be more effective in deterring future war crimes?

    •  If Assad thinks he's about to fall, he's going (0+ / 0-)

      to resort to whatever weapons he feels he must.

      Take his aircraft, and what do you leave him with?

      "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 06:11:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        So what's a reasonable course of action?

        I take it as axiomatic that we need to punish individuals and organizations that commit war crimes, lest we encourage others to do the same.

        What would punish Assad dramatically without making him even more likely to use gas again?

        The point is that he needs to come out behind, by his own reckoning, for using gas -- so much so that he would never even consider it again.

        •  Ahem. Iraq war (cough cough.) (0+ / 0-)
          I take it as axiomatic that we need to punish individuals and organizations that commit war crimes, lest we encourage others to do the same.
          Is irony totally dead, or do people really have such short memories?    The US committed so many war crimes in Iraq that it stopped even being news (torture or 'torture?') and violated the Nuclear nonproliferation treaty as well.   (The NPT specifies that nuclear powers can not attack non-nuclear states; they give up nukes and we say we won't attack them.)

          Here were are, pissed off because Russia and China veto resolutions authorizing the use of force against Syria for unproven war crimes, yet we have vetoed even the most gentle criticism of Israel.     Our President even bragged about it (that "unfair" Goldstone report.)

          Somehow it is different when it is the other guy's proxy.

    •  Probably more likely. (0+ / 0-)

      The less conventional arms he has, the more likely he will use whatever he's got.

      The best deterrent in controlling dangerous arms, if history is any guide, is negotiation and arms control.

      I suppose the Soviets could have bombed us to prevent us from ever doing Hiroshima again. But somehow, I don't think that would have worked.

  •  I'm against US going it alone (0+ / 0-)

    WE do have limited resources and an economy that still hasn't recovered with many folks suffering here. I feel for the Syrian refuges but I also feel for the homeless families and those living on the edge I know right here.

    If this was a UN mission where the costs and resources would be SHARED, I might well feel differently.

    But if it's just US? I don't think I can support Obama on this one. Libya made sense because it was a joint effort. This is not. This is the rest of the world leaving it up to us and saying go ahead YOU PAY TO FIX THIS MESS.

  •  I've been re-reading Rachel Maddow's Drift (0+ / 0-)

    which can be summarized as that the US government has discarded all of its tools except the hammer.  This diary illustrates why that is such a foolish thing to do.  

    If you accept the evidence that Assad gassed his own people you still have a lot of work to do to justify using the military.  Or, rather, you should have a lot of work to do to justify a military option.  I think of it as leading with our chin; extremely risky, even foolishly so.

    Tip'd, rec'd, sent to my hotlist.  Thank you.

    "There's something wrong with a system where a handful of people have more than they'd ever need and the mass of the people have less than they always need." -- Rev. Joseph Lowery

    by caul on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 01:55:12 AM PDT

  •  There never is a military solution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but military action can be a necessary part of a solution. Especially with dealing with a regime who commits crimes against mankind, and a leader who declares that his opponents must be anihilated, and acts accordingly.

    Obama - POTUS quondam, POTUS futurus The Once and Future President

    by French Imp on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 10:26:47 AM PDT

  •  Clausewitz never gets old: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    "War is merely the continuation of policy by other means."
    "War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will."
    Is it our will  that Assad to stop killing his people with poison gas?   Or is that just a utopian wish?   If it's more than that, we have to decide if we are willing to go to war over that.  

    I don't get a sense that this is the collective will of the people, or even good policy.  

    What I see is a President who stupidly drew a "red line" in the sand and who now realizes that he will look weak if he doesn't follow through.  That John McCain agrees with him is proof enough for me that this is a bad idea.  

    Note to the President:  It takes more strength to admit that you were wrong.   Jumping into tribal warfare is a bad idea.   Maintain a fire break and let them all kill each other until they are all gone or until they realize that the madness has to end on their own.  

    I'm not a misanthrope, I'm just very selective about who I'm willing to waste my time on.

    by SpamNunn on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 10:31:21 AM PDT

  •  I do not see President Obama "quickly concluding" (0+ / 0-)


    Near as I understand, he has taken two and half years of observation with no military action, and so far nearly a month about a treacherous chemical attack on civilians, and has yet to act.

    Rather he is putting the case forward... send a message that such action (massive chemical attack on civilian neighborhood) is unacceptable.

    Do it strategically...take out ability to launch missile capability that launches chemicals.

    Remember that Iran is watching and waiting to see how much the international community will put up with regard to nuclear/chemical weapons.

    There are no simplistic answers.

  •  So, what's up with the US policing Syria? (0+ / 0-)

    Why doesn't the US government start cleaning up its own country first?

  •  The only solution... (0+ / 0-)

    is to force each of these groups to the table to form a new government. Violence wanes when politics are engaged. What I mean here is that you change one battlefield for another.

    Bring your foes into the political arena and deliberate how to move your country forward TOGETHER. Each of these groups have some power overall, but shooting each other, blowing each other up and even gassing doesn't end the fighting. It just creates more. The only way out of this cycle is to bring your enemies into the government as opponents. They become the opposition parties and figuratively fight for what they believe is best.

    I think this is where the outside forces are trying to herd Assad when they called him to Geneva. Threatening force is a stick to goad him into making concessions such as these in his government. Otherwise the bloodshed will continue.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 10:37:46 AM PDT

    •  good luck with that... (0+ / 0-)

      Assad has no interest in talking. To him, the other side are a bunch of traitors that need to be crushed.

      The other side has no centralized authority who can represent them anyway. It's hardly a cohesive opposition.

      So, how exactly do you plan to force these talks?

      Freedom isn't free. That's why we pay taxes.

      by walk2live on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 11:14:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They are all around... (0+ / 0-)

        Perhaps you missed some things being said along the way. There are multiple groups that have stepped up to be heard as representatives. These people are trying to be included in any transformation of the government in Syria. This is how you bring peace to a region where there is civil war. Bring everyone to the table and beat out a power sharing deal in the new government. Assad isn't winning here by any means. His government has degraded to the point of bloodshed because he cannot keep control without it. He needs a stable Syria as much as the next person. He has as much to gain by this deal as the rest of the people.

        "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

        by Wynter on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 06:45:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am not so naive. (0+ / 0-)

    The world would not become a better place if America were just to everyone else.  A bully, and there are a frightening lot of them on this planet, only understands and responds to one thing - POWER.  Assad and others like him only submit to another authority if their lives literally depend upon it, and even then they chafe under the loss of face that follows.

    Atrocities such as are now occuring in Syrian must not be allowed.  We and others with some power in the world have allowed them to happen far to often in the past (see Chamberlain, Neville), but this gives us no excuse for not acting now.  There is no tool of diplomacy that will convince a bully to cease and desist, other than the threat of actual death to said bully.  This truth is as old as humanity, and regrettably we have not evolved very far beyond such tribalism.

    This nation has to stand for something.  With the power we have comes the responsibility to stare down those among us that would oppress, or else all our pretty words mean nothing and the world will know it...

  •  Not true (0+ / 0-)

    "There is no military solution, folks." is false.
    We could easily kill every Syrian and end this civil war.

  •  The Militaries purpose (0+ / 0-)

    Is to kill people and break things in the pursuit of Victory.  Annihilate the enemy and Win the War.  All in the pursuit of National sovereignty, security and interest.

    This BS about surgical strikes and "teaching lessons"  is creative and selective situational analysis and ethics.

    NO WAR.

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 10:41:49 AM PDT

  •  Sheathing the Sword, We need to! (0+ / 0-)

    Excellent comments regarding the need for a foreign policy, not a military policy, in the middle east.

    Also, note that although the rhetoric of drawing a line in the sand was made, time and the wind have now distorted that line so we can no longer discern it and the argument the US credibility will be shattered if we don't pursue a military option at this time is erroneous. Our credibility will be bolstered by doing the right thing and that doesn't include a military attack on Syria.

    Finally, if Sens. McCain and Graham and Rep. Boehner are now supporting the aggression in Syria, this should give all a reason to pause and rethink the situation- these three have been on the wrong side of so many issues they are nearly a weather vane for bad policy.

    Finally, it is a sad day to see President Obama and especially John Kerry brandishing weapons on this issue.

  •  Win him over with love! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calvino Partigiani

    A bouquet of flowers will certainly stop Assad from committing atrocities.

    •  Great comment! It's very (0+ / 0-)

      refreshing to read such an insightful statement!

      Particularly after reading so many comments from posters whose analytical power and political imagination has been shriveled by over-exposure to propaganda.

      "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

      by Calvino Partigiani on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 11:06:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's never about the pretext (0+ / 0-)

    It would be comforting to think that this latest round of saber rattling (and likely bomb dropping) is just because policy makers are again failing to see the bigger picture, since that explanation implies the oversight can be corrected.

    The question becomes why can't policy makers (and the general consensus is that Obama administration are sophisticated thinkers) see the very miscalculation that is so clear to bloggers such as Brooklynbadboy or Rachel Maddow and others who advance this explanation.

    Perhaps it really is because policy makers are "trapped in the beltway" and can't see past (or google beyond) this insider technocratic world-view. So, tragic!!!!!

    Another explanation, however, is that once again the US is attempting to play geo-political chess in this powder keg region for very specific political and economic reasons. It is worth remembering that Syria has been in the US cross-hairs for almost a decade:

  •  Your keyboard to God's monitor! (0+ / 0-)

    Most rational piece on Syria and the larger question of the role of military force that I've read.

    "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little. " --Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jg6544 on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 10:54:45 AM PDT

  •  I support strikes on military targets (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texas Lefty

    It should have happened long ago when this was strictly an Assad assault.  All the lives that could have been saved.  Now, two years later, millions of refugees and untold thousands dead, the stigma of chemical weapons being used on civilians has finally got Congress to maybe do something.  Unfortunately, this long delay has allowed Assad, who lost a significant amount of his army, to call in thousands of reinforcements from Iran and Hezbollah, and acquire military hardware from Russia and China.. AND Iran.  Assad is no longer in control, having called for help from these other countries/factions.  They call the shots now, which makes it all the more imperative that Assad be deposed.

    Never miss an opportunity to take out a dictator.  Strategic strikes against troops and hardware will change the game.  And no, Al Qaeda isn't going to take over the entire country that wants secular rule.  They're numbers are small, and based near the Iraq border, which is currently being sealed off by the CIA.  You don't think Obama knows where these jokers are?

    'Slower Traffic - Keep Right!'

    by luvbrothel on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 10:56:32 AM PDT

  •  Military solution? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texas Lefty

    I'm not seeing many if any claims about military solutions.  I just see claims that leaders/nations who contravene international law and convention by using chemical weapons to slaughter massive amounts of people need to be held to account in some way.

    Whether or not a military strike is the right way to do it is another question.  However, it is not intended as a  "military solution" at all to the larger situation.

  •  Sometimes there are military solutions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texas Lefty

    Or at least military action can be part of a solution. Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya... just a few examples that come to mind.

    It's never just as simple as "drop a few bombs and see what happens". But, we can't just discount it out of hand.

    No solution should be an "either or" - either we use the military, or use "soft power". That's a false choice. We could do both.

    I'm not certain or convinced that we should or need to use military action in Syria, but I'm at least open to the possibiltiy that it could be part of a solution.

    One thing I do appreciate is the discussion on the topic.

    Freedom isn't free. That's why we pay taxes.

    by walk2live on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 11:05:52 AM PDT

    •  If you think it is in the US interest, argue it (0+ / 0-)

      but do not do any moralizing about how we have to support international law, since an unprovoked attack on another country is a violation of international law.    

      Do not argue about some "higher moral law" since it is a cynical pretense.   After all, Syria is facing an existential threat -- seriously, google Sunni & Shia if you don't believe me.   Is that only the "get out of jail free" card for countries that we like?  

      Do not argue that "if the international community doesn't act we must act" because that logic actually hurts our best friend in the region.    If the UN security council veto is meaningless, then Israel is in a world of hurt -- in the pretend logical world where nations act in anything other than the best interest of the current ruling party -- constrained by the massive nuclear arsenals in the US, Russia, and China.

      Don't argue that it is for humanitarian reasons because we explicitly say that the actions planned will do nothing to stop the war, change the regime, or get rid of its massive supplies of chemical weapons.   If you are choosing sides, look at how liberal and pro-human-rights Saudi Arabia (the main rebel backer) is.   Remember the Taliban?   Yeah, by all means they are a tiny minority of Muslim thought but in this particular case, that is the side that you are backing.

      For darn sure don't say "it is for the children" since they will promptly be forgotten when it is our bombs that are falling upon them.  

      Don't argue that it will do any good since bombing 'military' targets in Syria has been an Israeli pastime for decades.

      I can't believe we are here again; I saw the same high-and-mighty moral arguments used before we invaded Iraq.   They died in the "shock and awe" -- (which was not Bush's fault, it is what our military does and they are very good at it.)    A little bit of torture to save U.S. soldiers lives?   Boo-yeah!

      So really, come up with a case where bombing Syria is in the United State's interest, and is so much in our interest that it is worth overthrowing the United Nations and scrapping international law.

      •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

        I never did argue any of these things. I'm simply saying that in the past, US military intervention has achieved goals that until then had proven unachievable soley by other means. Do you disagree with that?

        I'm not saying that all of our interventions were wise, moral, well-run, etc... but some of them have been. This is not a black and white issue.

        As for why we might want to intervene militarily in another country? There might be any number of reasons... and it's being debated at length in many other forums.

        As for the details... Syria is a place with very obvious military targets - giant bases, and obvious military hardware. It's a heck of a lot easier to use a tool as blunt as a bomb when the targets are so clear. In other places, it's completely different.

        My biggest reservations on this are the consequences. Nobody knows what those would be. Syria could lash-out against Israel, which would leave us... where? Another country might come to Syria's defense... Syria might use unconventional means to strike back at the US directly.  

        Anyway, I don't think this is clear-cut in either direction. I just wish people would quit with the simplistic "all military options = bad" viewpoint.

        Freedom isn't free. That's why we pay taxes.

        by walk2live on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 01:55:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Christianne Amanpour lost all objectivity... (0+ / 0-)

    Acting as a member of the State Department and not a journalist, Amanpour just held an adversarial and accusatory interview with Syria's UN ambassador.  She even asked him how he "sleeps at night", knowing he's defending his government's use of Sarin gas.  State TV at its worst.

  •  Agree with your major premise, but (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think that anyone is winning in Syria if you take a long term view. The government has captured some territory in recent weeks, and rebel groups are fighting one another, but Hezbollah has doubled down and Lebanon in reality has had no central government for 5 months.  Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam’s attempts to form a new Cabinet have been blocked.
    Parliament is paralyzed and unable to convene because of a dispute over the constitutionality of Parliamentary sessions under a caretaker Cabinet.

    With or without a US symbolic strike, the most likely outcome is a failed state encompassing both Syria and Lebanon. Israel may be able to hold such a state at bay at great cost, but they can't "solve it" which will likely require new national boundaries. No wonder that they aren't sure what should be done. China and/or Russia can't prevent that and might even welcome it rather than a solution acceptable to Western powers. Never underestimate the power of 1. the human lust for war especially when justified by religion and ideology 2. schadenfreude. Arms given to the rebels will mostly end up in jihadist hands. If the Saudis are so eager for fighting, let them send their own troops.

  •  While I don't think (0+ / 0-)

    Violence is in any way, the sole or even the first solution to the vast majority of problems, I would like to say... With respect... you're an idiot.

    You advocate "other non-lethal yet aggressive tools like subterfuge, secret diplomacy, bribery, and deception. " which is all fine and grand, when one is discussing day to day invasions and transgressions.  The run of the mill "normal" crap that goes on in the world. But... what kind of message are we sending in this case, with subterfuge, secrets, diplomacy, pandering... crap... No message at all, except that "oh poo poo, we will slap your wrist and negotiate til you get what you want while hundreds or thousands die"

    No sir, this is exactly the case where prompt Decisive, VISIBLE statements need be made. NO! We will not negotiate, NO! we will NOT stand idly by whilst you gas your peoples! NO! we will NOT pussy foot around. We WILL slap down to the dirt, immediately and with extreme prejudice in such a manner as to let you KNOW, beyond doubt, forever, that the answer to this behaviour is NO, RESOLUTELY ABSOLUTELY forever NO. Consider said slap down your first and ONLY warning... And the world should take note... diplomacy is great when you are merely blocking food trucks or cable tv to a district you control... the systematic extermination of your peoples is NOT a diplomatic tool, weapon, shield or bargaining chip, it is NOT the way to get us to listen to you... Diplomacy may resume as soon as you quit torturing your populace to death ...

  •  then there's the legal and constitutional reasons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calvino Partigiani

    You offer the practical reasons against military action (which are obvious, see: Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan), but there are also the constitutional and legal reasons.  There is nothing in the Constitution or international law that permits a U.S. President to unilaterally go to war against a state that has not attacked us, has no intent to attack us, and has no means to attack us.  Period. Full stop.

    P.S. The only "authorization" which would permit this is a declaration of war by Congress.

    •  A Congressional declaration of war (0+ / 0-)

      "solves" the domestic legality, but not the international one. The UN Charter, as a ratified treaty, is also the law of the land. Any tyrant worthy of the name can get his legislature to rubber-stamp any aggression.

      If progressives were voting for policies they believe in, they would be voting for Dr. Jill Stein.

      by Wahrheit on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 03:23:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right (0+ / 0-)

        Good point.

        I guess that I, with my limited expectations, would settle for the requirement of a declaration of war as going a long way into making us really think about these things.

        It sure would be better than some loose-mouth "red line" comment as being the determining factor. ("Our word and credibility is at stake. We must go to war!")  That's even weaker than the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

        But international law? That may be a bridge to far for us.

  •  margaret warner reporting fro Cairo (0+ / 0-)

    I caught Margaret Warner reporting on Syria from Cairo yesterday on the radio and it was the single most complete, comprehensive and inclusive aural essay on the current situation. Recommend  it to all who want to know more about this situation.

  •  What!?!? (0+ / 0-)

    We have spent trillions of dollars on this military to make it the most potent and destructive killing machine the world has ever known. We have been at war since 1941 so if all the nails in the world don't want to meet our hammer then they should just STFU and do as they are told. What good is it to be an Empire if we don't get to treat the world as our personal sandbox, 'cause....freedom!

    If progressives were voting for policies they believe in, they would be voting for Dr. Jill Stein.

    by Wahrheit on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 03:19:27 PM PDT

  •  This is an ancient political war (0+ / 0-)

    between Sunni Arabs and Shia Arabs. They've been killing each other for many centuries, since opposing factions claimed to be the only true descendants of Mohammed. I hope they figure that out some day, but meanwhile Bush/Cheney knew nothing about the Sunni/Shia split when they destroyed the Sunni dictatorship in Iraq, essentially annexing most of Iraq to Iran (a Shia theocracy) and making Iran into a regional superpower (and got no access to oil or military bases either - an epic fail prompted by Ahmed Chalabi, a Shia.). Iran is now Assad's strongest ally.
    It would be impossible for the US or any outside power or coalition end this war. I would like to see Obama and every other politician and pundit make this ancient feud into a teachable moment by describing the political power struggle between Arab factions. If only we'd known about it before invading Iraq. It wouldn't help end the fighting in the short term, but it would move the debate from merely listing the latest atrocities to the actual historical context that is at the foundation of the fighting. Such a debate could eventually help bring about some understanding and co-existence.
    But that won't happen.

    A revolutionary and evolutionary idea: Too many people - too much consumption.

    by howardfromUSA on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 02:56:04 PM PDT

  •  The single, most influential piece you may (0+ / 0-)

    ever write. It deserves a Paul Krugman-sized audience.

    Which is why I suggest that every kossack shares this posting with soneone else,  or even better yet, with a lot of someones.


    tip'd, Rec'd & Tweeted.

    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 04:42:04 PM PDT

  •  Wrong about Potential Helpfulness of Fadl Shaker (0+ / 0-)

    See relevant potion of Wikipedia entry, quoted below.

    In short, F.S has rejected secular singing, so stopped his career, 'joined' a Salafist group, working for it by supporting Syrian rebels.  Claims to have killed two Lebanese on behalf of/with Ahmad Al-Assir, leader of Salafist group associated with.

    Larger picture:  Let us please not assume that religious affiliation is always a matter of 'individual conscience' in other people, even as much as it may be that way for ourselves.  For most all Muslims, being Muslim means being part of the 'tribe' of Islam, and is the central core of their identity, something very problematic for the cause of individual rights and freedoms.  It's just like trying to reason with a Bible Baptist.  They too reject secularism -- that the government's laws should never be religiously based/ that even an atheist could be convinced of the rationality of the law.  (their arguments re: marriage for gay couples issue; abortion.)

    Mr. Shaker seems to be an example of how a 'modern' or 'cosmopolitan' Muslim can quickly go 'fundamentalist'.

    More Generally:
    I ask my fellow liberals to stop embracing the 'Co-Exist' fallacy.  All liberals rightly criticize the 'Christian Right' in response to such things as their heterosexism, to give an easy and timely example,  but, then, some liberals suddenly 'wimp out' when responding to unjust action and the 'bad' thinking when of, say, Orthodox Christians, Orthodox Jews, 'Conservative' Hindus, or Muslims.  The inconsistency is just maddening!

    "After the uprising in Syria started in 2011, Fadel Shaker announced that he is a supporter of the militants cause and sang a song for the Islamic Salafism. He later announced that he is a prime supporter of Ahmad Al-Assir, a Lebanese party leader of the Salafi sect of Islam.[6] While addressing a large audience with the Salafist leader, Shaker declared that he now considers all non-Islamic music to be haram, apologized for participating in this, "superficial" culture, and has chosen to put his music career on hold to focus on Islamic studies..[7]

    On Sunday 23 June 2013, after a group of militants loyal to Ahmed Assir attacked and killed 17 Lebanese soldiers in Sidon, Shaker later claimed to have killed two of them himself.[8] Lebanese authorities have issued arrest warrants for Ahmed al-Assir and 123 members of his militia, including Fadl Shaker. ..."

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