The Raven Lunatic

Still trying to figure it all out

Bernadine Spitzsnogel

Bernadine Spitzsnogel
December 01
All material on "The Raven Lunatic" blog is copyrighted by the author. Author of "The Luxury of Daydreams"--available on amazon and all major book sites.


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AUGUST 30, 2013 5:55PM

So We Bomb Syria, and Then What Happens?

Rate: 29 Flag

One thousand four hundred and twenty nine Syrians are dead through a chemical attack waged by — Lord knows who — and thousands more have died in the brutal civil strife in the last two years. The chemical attack last week included the death of more than 400 children.

Drums beat for war.  Israeli citizens are lining up for gas masks, as they have often in the past.  A spokesperson for the Israeli Postal Service, which distributes the masks, reported four times as many orders as usual in the last two weeks.

Twice as many as usual are showing up at public centers to get government-issues masks and there has been talk of expanding the number of centers handing out gas masks to meet demand.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin last week rattled his sabers with threats of attacking Saudi Arabia, now he is quiet.  The New York Times reported a Russian deputy prime minister said the West dealt with the Islamic world like “a monkey with a grenade.”

President Obama, who says he has not made a decision on whether or not to lob cruise missiles from the four warships in the eastern Mediterranean into Syria, mentioned that there is a danger of terrorists getting Syrian chemical weapons and using them against U.S. interests.

The President has also said that we are not going to take out Syrian President Bashar Assad and the danger of striking chemical weapons sites is too high.

The Brits don’t want to play along; their Parliament voted to stay out of the military assault.

So if we do bomb Syria, then what?  And what happens the day after tomorrow?

Does any of this sound familiar?  Am I watching Colin Powell talk to the United Nations about Iraq and “weapons of mass destruction”?  Except this time, Russia isn’t on board as one of the five members of the U.N. Security Council.  It’s starting to feel like we’re taking this one on alone.

There is no question that what is happening in Syria is terrible, almost beyond belief. But do we have the “moral authority” to solve the world’s problems when so many of our own are out of control?  An MSNBC pundit this morning asked, rhetorically, why don’t we cure polio?  He quoted the World Health Organization’s statement that a billion dollars could fund the cure.  Or AIDS and parasite-borne illnesses in Africa?  Or homelessness in our country?  Or — wait for the flying bricks now — health care for all our citizens?

I was a “duck and cover” kid.  As a Baby Boomer, I participated in drills at our elementary school, either getting under our little metal desks, or crouching  against the concrete walls of the school hallways.  Tornadoes?  We were prepared?  Nuclear annihilation?  Still prepared?  This was the era of the LBJ daisy advertisement. In the ad, a tiny girl plucked petals off a flower; when she reached zero, the countdown to a nuclear blast began.  And then, boom, and nothingness.  Nothing like putting fear into the hearts of parents all over America.

I wasn’t old enough to really take in the fear. But today I am. I don’t know if our country is prepared to lose more of its fine young people, like we did in Iraq, and still in Afghanistan.

Secretary of State John Kerry assured the world today that, “We will not repeat that moment (referring to Iraq),” and also cited the international commitment before the War to End All Wars (WWI) to eliminate mustard gas and other weapons.  He asked Americans to read the unclassified documents about Syria and said, “Fatigue doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility.”

Kerry believes we should respond.  To me, the question is how.  Perhaps I am a  peacenik but I am uncertain that randomly killing others with our “shot across the bow” will deter more killing in Syria. Or anywhere else. Sojourners Magazine, a steady voice for peace, outlines a numbernon-violent solutions, if indeed America must move forward.

Secretary of State Kerry has thrown down the gauntlet and has asked Americans to read the evidence.  Let your Congressional representative know what you think.  I will be advocating for the diplomatic route to mine.

Originally published today at The Broad Side

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If we start to smash his air defenses, that is a warning not to continue with that course of using chemical weapons like that again, and moreover is a demonstration to Iran and North Korea that at some point, their WMD programs might not be a good idea.
They have already moved their airplanes and missiles. We could bomb some airfields. It would have been better to have an immediate strike but now it is almost irrelevant and would cause more trouble than it is worth. You ask some great questions here. What will happen next? Terrible.
There are no good answers, so take your pick or be damned for irrelevancy, but as Z pointed out, time is of the essence although I don't think it's entirely too late even now.
And rated for asking the question!
“Fatigue doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility.”

I'd say it's absolutely not the US's responsibility to intervene --
and my 'fatigue' comes from the militarized planetary overlord attitude our government has.
There is a large element of insanity in the idea that we are going to be killing Syrians to punish Syrians for killing Syrians.
That's why the focus has to be on beating their fiery sword into more manageable plowshares.
Sufficient force regardless of consequences to destroy the weapons themselves then pick up the pieces is the only viable option and not without danger itself, just the best bad option available to us.
I see no point to what they are contemplating. Every country in the world already knows we can send bombs their way, and drones and special ops and a lot of things I know nothing about. What are we trying to prove? And what will we do if someone decides to punish us for incarcerating citizens in secret prisons and torturing them? It's a vicious cycle.
jp, what they are contemplating by all appearances may indeed be too little too late.
This is the e-mail I just sent to President Obama this afternoon..

"The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn't bend on its own."
Well let this moral agent weigh in.
Immobilize the WMD's immediately with the stand-off force required to do that job.
After weighing the effectiveness of that campaign, do whatever needs to be done next.
Be the Rhinoceros in this fire scenario.
Stamp out the WMD's immediately, let the political chaff burn away in the flame of the back-fire that you set.
I think there's a thread of an argument for taking some military action but it's highly qualified. The main rationale is that governments should not be able to use chemical weapons against their own citizens with impunity. This is consistent with the 2005 UN Right to Protect (R2P) initiative. Another is to establish some standard of deterrence for other governments that might one day contemplate similar actions. However, there are several qualifications and I can imagine reasonable people taking issue with each one.

First, it would have to be clearly established that the chemical weapons were used by Assad's government. While this is probable it is not yet certain and the UN inspectors must finish their investigations and deliver a report.

Should such a report justify further action, Assad should first be given the opportunity to hand over his chemical weapons in lieu of and military strike, as recommended by The Economist.

Prior to any military strike, it should be ascertained whether forces opposing Assad and thought to be in favor of a liberal style of democracy would support one. Obviously this won’t be easy to determine but even if Assad deserves retaliation under R2P principles, it’s hard to see an overall benefit from taking an action opposed by all factions.

Likewise, a credible list of allies supporting any action would have to be secured. Thanks to the widespread opposition of the British public, the UK would not be one of them.

So if Assad is conclusively linked to the chemical attack, and if he refuses to hand over his chemical weapons, and if there is credible support within and outside of Syria for some manner of military intervention, then one might proceed.

Such action couldn't be one that kills Assad himself, blows up the chemicals, or kills lots of Syrians. Maybe blowing up planes on the ground or air defenses qualifies

It can't entail that foreign ground forces would subsequently invade.

Of course it’s difficult to project the repercussions of even a limited attack.

Taking Obama’s and Kerry’s most recent statements at face value, it sounds as though they are trying to proceed along these lines. I should add that I haven’t made up my own mind ion the matter, though I’m leaning to the “do nothing” position. While I think there’s a reasonable, if complicated, case to be made for a limited military strike, I respect the arguments of those who foresee this resulting in even worse consequences.
Nuclear winter is fun!! WOO!! Skating!!!! ~shrug~ And yeah, we'll be the turtle and the monkey in the movie...DUCK AND COVER!! JUMP OFF YOUR BIKE, HIT THE CURB!! :D
[r] Bernadine, I spent over 20 hours doing research from non-corporate media websites on my latest blog, "15 arguments against wmd playbook in obama's hands." an extremely different take from what mainstream media and Obama and Kerry are presenting. I know my attitude about Obama is offputting for many, but you may want to check out what is being said by non-corporate media.

good for you speaking up for diplomacy. that tool is NOT being pulled out of the toolbox and it should be. as I see it Obama adm. and Pentagon because of Israel want absolute regime change re Assad and don't want to use diplomacy because they are not willing to let go of that condition. I think they are over-demonizing Assad. He is no benign dictator but considering how extreme the real jihadist fighters are and what govt they would set up especially now with all the violence and al-Qaeda linked forces, I think the civilians in Syria would prefer Assad especially if he has external diplomatic pressure coming at him from US and Russia working together. My take. Also, the new president of Iran replacing Amadin. wants to negotiate and once again US/Israel cold-shouldering and unwilling to negotiate and US media demonizing Iran.
best, libby
Why are we getting involved?

I haven't heard what anyone expects to accomplish. I want to know exactly what domino the President expects to knock over and how he expects to do that. Until we know that, we can't make an intelligent decision, and making an unintelligent decision that involves killing people is just not a good idea.

We've got such a crappy recent track record of this sort of thing. Attacking Afghanistan in 2001 made sense at the time because they were harboring people who'd killed a couple of thousand Americans. But Shock and Awe didn't last long, the Bush administration made up a bunch of crap about Iraq, so they went in, got rid of the area's natural counterbalance to Iran, toppled a regime while not concentrating on how to handle the aftermath (instead, we attempted to do that on the cheap; thanks, Donald Rumsfeld), let Bin Laden escape until the Obama administration, and won the undying enmity of a whole lot of Iraqis whose despot we freed them from.

What are we expecting from any given action? This looks like a gesture to me so far.
2 things:

The plight of civilians, no fly zones and bombings will result in even more casualties and devastation for the citizens by a so-called humanitarian interference:

César Chelala in "Syrian Children Pay the Heaviest Price in War" writes:

The numbers of Syrian children affected by the brutal war ravaging their country are truly disheartening. According to UN agencies, one million children, three-quarters of them under age 11, have had to flee their country since the conflict began in 2011. “This one millionth child refugee is not just another number. This is a real child ripped from home, maybe even from a family, facing horrors we can only begin to comprehend,” stated grimly Anthony Lake, executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF.)

The children’s dramatic situation doesn’t end there, however. In addition to the one million who have been forced to flee their country, two million others are displaced within their own country, making of this one of the most serious humanitarian emergencies today.

Children’s nightmarish situation is just a reflection of the wider conflict in their country, which so far has cost the lives of 100,000 people since protests broke out against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011. Since then, Syrians of all religious beliefs have been fleeing to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and, increasingly, to North Africa and Europe. ......


... Many children are suffering the psychological consequences of seeing their family members and friends killed or injured, and become terrified at the sounds and scenes of the conflict.

Drinking water is a hard commodity now in Syria. In the most deprived areas, access to water has fallen by two-thirds, resulting in increased skin and respiratory infections. Four million people inside the country have access to safe water. However, basic infrastructure and public services have been systematically destroyed over the last 24 months, warns UNICEF.

Many children in Syria have been victims of human rights violations including arbitrary detention, torture, and killing, and many have been recruited and made to fight by one of the armies in conflict. In addition, many children are maimed as a result of stepping into explosive remnants of war.



Julian Pecquet in "Kucinich: Syria Strike Would Turn US Into 'al Qaeda's Air Force" writes:

The War Powers Resolution permits the president to introduce U.S. forces into hostile action with a congressional declaration of war, a congressional authorization for use of force or in the event of a foreign attack on the United States or its forces. Once hostilities start, presidents have 60 days to act before they either remove the troops or get congressional approval.

In the international arena, two circumstances generally permit war making: national self-defense and action authorized by the U.N. Security Council.

Self-defense doesn’t apply in the Syrian case, O’Connell said, because “the use of chemical weapons within Syria is not an armed attack on the United States.”

Security Council authorization of international action requires the support of nine member nations on the 15-member panel. However, any of the five permanent members, which include China and Russia as well as the United States, can veto any proposed action. That seems likely in the case of Syria.

“Using force without the approval of the U.N. Security Council is a very grave violation of international law," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters Monday at a Moscow news conference.

In 1999, Russia blocked U.N. Security Council support for military action in Kosovo, in the former Yugoslavia. The United States and other NATO countries, nonetheless, undertook a 78-day air war that ended with the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces.

Russia also resisted a 2003 Bush administration push for a key Security Council resolution targeting Iraq. As with Kosovo, the U.S.-led war proceeded regardless of the council’s inaction.


In March 2011, for instance, U.S. ships and warplanes began participating in an international air assault on Libya. The U.S. contribution to the six-month-long campaign included cruise missiles, drone strikes, bombers, fighters and more. Nonetheless, the State Department’s top legal adviser insisted the actions didn’t amount to “hostilities,” a legally significant term.

Using logic that could recur with Syria, then-legal adviser Harold Koh told a skeptical Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June 2011 that the “limited exposure for U.S. troops, limited risk of serious escalation and . . . limited military means” meant the Libyan campaign didn’t amount to hostile action. As a result, Obama asserted that he didn’t have to comply with the War Powers Resolution’s requirement that U.S. troops be withdrawn within 60 days of the start of hostilities unless Congress authorizes action.

“’Hostilities’ is an ambiguous term of art,” Koh testified.

Airstrikes on Syria would turn the U.S. military into “al Qaeda's air force,” former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) told The Hill.

The outspoken anti-war activist said any such action would plunge the United States into another war in the Middle East and embolden Islamist militants fighting Bashar Assad's regime.

"So what, we're about to become Al Qaeda's air force now?” Kucinich said. “This is a very, very serious matter that has broad implications internationally. And to try to minimize it by saying we're just going to have a 'targeted strike' — that's an act of war. It's not anything to be trifled with.”

The comments echo warnings from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who voted against legislation to arm the Syrian rebels earlier this year by saying such a move would boost al Qaeda.

Kucinich also said President Obama would be violating the Constitution if he doesn't get congressional approval before taking any military action in Syria.

ps, of course so many war addicts in Congress and Israel firsters that they may easily authorize a war in Syria and that is a whole other can of worms for us all.
I had a comment prepared, but then I saw Ted Frier's and realized he said it better than I could.
Didn't Kosovo involve halting the genocide of Bosnian Muslims? That one was necessary.

Forgot to add the above and congrats on the EP and Cover!!!

We'll see tomorrow.......I'm guessing war!!! We're bored! ~shrug~
Our focus needs to be a pinpoint philosophically ,,,
Beat and I do mean beat the Syrian WMD's till they are plowshares.
Everything else at this juncture is secondary and counter-productive.
There is the minor issue of finding them
No duh!

That's why I'm saying more not less than what's being telegraphed.
kosh --

The past US international war criminality with Kosovo should not be used as “legal” precedent for illegitimate intervention into Syria!

Since there is no legal basis for interference in Syria imperialists are beginning to cite the so-called “Kosovo model”.

Nile Bowie in "Western Logic on Syria: ‘We Need To Bomb It To Save It" writes:

"Reports indicate that Obama’s team is now studying the NATO mission in Kosovo as a “possible blueprint for acting without a mandate from the United Nations.” It is ominous, alarming and bizarre how NATO’s intervention in the former Yugoslavia could be used a positive reference point for anything. NATO rained down bombs for 78 straight days, effectively smashing civilian infrastructure in Serbia and Montenegro while hospitals, schools, and public utilities were damaged beyond repair, killing over 1,200 civilians and injuring 4,500 more.”

end of quote

Pepe Escobar in “Obama Set For Holy Tomahawk War”:

As for that bunch of amateurs surrounding Obama - including R2P groupies such as Susan Rice and new Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, all of them liberal hawks - they are all suckers for Kosovo. Kosovo - with a Libya add-on - is being spun as the ideal model for Syria; R2P via (illegal) air strikes. Right on cue, the New York Times is already frantically parroting the idea.

end of quote

Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer in ”Killing Civilians to Protect Civilians in Syria" write:

President Barack Obama admitted, “If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a UN mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it . . .” The Obama administration is studying the 1999 “NATO air war in Kosovo as a possible blueprint for acting without a mandate from the United Nations,” the New York Times reported. But NATO’s Kosovo bombing also violated the UN Charter as the Security Council never approved it, and it was not carried out in self-defense. The UN Charter does not permit the use of military force for “humanitarian interventions.” Humanitarian concerns do not constitute self-defense. In fact, humanitarian concerns should spur the international community to seek peace and end the suffering, not increase military attacks, which could endanger peace in the entire region.

end of quote
The only American interest in that region is oil. The only people who have a stake in the oil are the multinational oil companies and the military and their contractors who protect their interest.

Kerry just proves my point there is no difference between democrat and republican when it comes to war.
I've found more in common with Republicans on this site than the faux liberals and certainly "radical democrats for obama" led by the late "dr." potatoe-head.

Consequently, I find Ted's comment:

"There is a large element of insanity in the idea that we are going to be killing Syrians to punish Syrians for killing Syrians."

to bed superb in its simplicity and logic.

Note to M. Todd:

In terms of oil, BP estimates that Iraq and Iran control 20% of the world’s oil, and the Middle East collectively has 48% of it. Getting access to this oil was and still is a goal of the imperialist vulture countries no matter how many thousands of Iraqis and now Syrians lose their lives as well as cannon-fodder troops involved in the attempts at conquest. ("The war drive against Syria" by Alex Lantier)
bed = be; and:

I've found more in common with MANY OF THE Republicans on this site
Re Afghanistan: The Taliban governance of Afghanistan were willing to surrender bin Laden when his group hid out there. They simply asked the Bush regime to provide some EVIDENCE because it was sanely at that point being regarded as a "police action" (which it should have been and NOT a never-ending GWOT but then the US/NATO WARMACHINE couldn't begin steamrolling the world) so OBL could be extradited. Bush got hyper-high-handed (cravenly -- it was a pretext) and declared WAR on Afghanistan for not immediately cooperating. A double-standard!

It was NOT insanely inappropriate for a country to require serious information about someone deemed criminal by another nation -- to provide evidence for heaven's sake and communication and to work with the country where the alleged criminal had fled to -- but to faux-histrionically suddenly decide to and declare WAR on said country? Ulterior motives! We want your resources and your oil and your geopolitical positioning. And look at what that war has cost us, the troops and the residents of Afghanistan? We have established a corrupt governance there that is so fragile and we have set its culture back centuries. But the corporatists, contractors, arms manufacturers, banksters and pols made a obscene amounts of money.

As for Iraq, Saddam Hussein hated bin Laden and his forces but by the time the American corporate mainstream media was done with us, people were accusing Saddam of 9/11, mixing up his name with OBL or figuring they were in it together. But the corporatists, contractors, arms manufacturers, banksters and pols made a obscene amounts of money. Oh and did I mention we set a very sophisticated culture there back centuries?

And as for the majority of 9/11 terrorists being from Saudi Arabian, WTF? The Bushes had cronies there. No interference with Saudi Arabia, in fact help "Saudis of interest" re 9/11 crime investigation in America were helped to escape our country by Bush administration helping them fly out of US immediately after 9/11 even though all flights were supposedly cancelled!

I know this is ancient history, but some of it being recycled by the Obama administration! [though I know, Obama is not responsible for anything negative going on throughout his terms, everything simply obstructs his good intentions. NOT]

best, libby
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Although there is serious doubt that the Syrian Government is responsible for the gas attack there is no doubt that the US Government lies if that seems the way to satisfy its agenda. That has been proven over and over again. So we must assume the reasonable possibility that the Syrian rebels made the gas attack. On that basis should Obama be permitted to satisfy his blood lust by killing eve more Syrians with bombs. Why not ask for volunteers from Syria to come to the White house and letting President Obama and perhaps his vice president (who is also enthusiastic on the issue) each shoot them in the forehead with pistols which would be rather painless and far less messy and much Syrian infrastructure would be saved. The Syrians could reward the volunteers posthumously with hero medals and there would be age limitations no children would be harmed. If Obama were generous he could reward the victims with a presidential dinner before he shot them so everybody would be in an excellent mood by the ceremonial sacrifice. Thereby humans could demonstrate their high level of civilization to any extraterrestrials in the crowd. A good time would be had by all and even Russia and China could have representatives present although they would be provided with bullet proof vests and helmets since since the temptations to shoot them as well might overtake the president and vice president in moments of enthusiasm. John McCain, of course would be strip searched if he were present.
To me, the question is what happens ten years from now. I am never convinced that any attack will be arms-length and ground troops will not get involved. Once that happens, we are adding thousands to the rolls of veterans with PTSD and depression who will have a terrible time reintegrating. Long term impact on families is just huge. I'd like us for once to look further down the road at what will happen to veterans.
Although I'm sure my little sarcastic comment was taken as a grotesque attempt at humor but looked at straight, I'm sure that the procedures suggested are less grotesque than assigning a military group of heroes the task of murdering innocents and enduring the inevitable reprisals. With real human blood on his hands and running across the floor of the White-house Obama might finally get the message embedded in his sadistic agendas and perhaps there is a particle of humanity deeply buried inside his mental mechanism that might awaken a scream in horror at what his presidential performance is accomplishing. A bit of hard reality dished out in the right quarters might effect some primitive response of basic decency.That's what hope is for.
We can bomb his chemical weapons stocks with fuel air and/or thermobarics, particularly his missile factory in Allepo.
Moreover, he can move things, and we can track them, so that does him zero good. You can attack chemical munitions with the right weapons systems with little danger of collateral damage, other than if you miss, as to the heat involved, somewhat like napalm, but hotter now.
I have no suggestions or solutions but I applaud your statement of the problem...
We're bombing military targets. I'm sure some Syrians will likely perish in the attacks, but those are likely to be members of the Syrian military.

It's not like we're gonna be lobbing cruise missiles in the same neighborhoods where the chemical weapons were unleashed just to prove we're sadists.

Have you ever seen the horrors of these weapons? There are still parts of France, because of the landscape and airflow patterns, that cannot be traversed by humans because the remnants of these ghastly weapons linger.

Bombing Syria is less about Syria and more about anyone else who would ever contemplate using these weapons of terror and torture.

I'm not a big fan of military incursions, nor of our backward policy in Syria, but this is one area where if we don't do something now, it's going to be an open invitation to other nations who have stores of these weapons to use them.

A short, directed strike of military targets, in this instance, is not only appropriate, it's necessary.
We could end a lot of problems if we weren't such greedy bastards. But then could all of humanity.
A reasonable number of people are fashioned to recognize other humans as other humans but there are mentally distorted people who look at people and find they are targets or other things because they may come from another country or a different religion or are so designated by weird government officials as not people who can be freely butchered because of some damned label or other. A rather frightening phenomena.
This is te e-mail I just sent to

"Tell Congress to get their ass back in town.

Say it just like that."
Somebody wrote:

"There is a large element of insanity in the idea that we are going to be killing Syrians to punish Syrians for killing Syrians."

It might well be the case that those who gassed people in Syria were not all Syrians, but 'rebels' from abroad arranged to be in Syria by ... the US government, of course.

We don't know yet, who did the gas attack, but I would be quite surprised if it really was Assad's forces. I think it was some kind of 'rebels', who did it.

I'm inviting you to read a couple of recent articles available in the Net:

The Mint Press server seems to be down, but most of their article's content is available at the above link.

While the Mint Press server is down, please read this article, which is telling a part of the same story and printed in the mainstream media:

It is no wonder, the UK Parliament said 'NO' to the idea of joining with Obama's bombing campaign.
I don't care who did it.
I want the weapons destroyed.
And sooner rather than too later.
After 2 failed wars in the middle east, what do we imagine will happen in Syria? We may bloody Assad, but we can't create a new and better Syria, just a different one. And possibly even a worse one.
I don't care about Assad, I want the weapons destroyed.
Why are you all agreeing with Fox news?
This is a damned-if-we-do-damned-if-we-don’t situation, Amy. For all we know Hezbollah dropped those chemicals just to draw the U.S. into the conflict. If we don’t go in and try to cut off the access to or, better yet, destroy all those chemical and biological weapons, if they aren’t already in the hands of Hezbollah, they soon could be. God only knows what they would do with them.

I’ve spent the last two days on the phone with my son. His first question to me was “why does the United States have to jump into every country’s internal disputes? I agree. But when our President draws a line in the sand and that line is deliberately and blatantly crossed, for him to go back on is word would open the doors for all kinds of negative results for Americans.

I am opposed to putting any troops in Syria. I am reluctant to believe our so-called intelligence. One of the things I said to Stephen today was “remember Colin Powell?” This is one hot mess!

I think it is again good to read Glenn Greenwald:

"In 2008, President Obama, when he was a candidate for President, had this question-and-answer exchange with the Boston Globe:

"Q. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

"OBAMA: The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

"As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent."

Given that not even the most ardent interventionists for Syria contend that the bombing is necessary for US national security, how can a military attack on Syria without Congressional approval possibly be reconciled with that position? When the same issue arose with Obama's war in Libya in the absence of Congressional approval (indeed, after Congress expressly rejected its authorization), State Department adviser Harold Koh was forced to repudiate Obama's own words and say he was wrong back then. Who will play that role this time? As is so often the case, there is a much starker debate between candidate Obama and President Obama than there is between the leadership of both political parties in Washington."

That is from:

I think it would be good, if Obama would ask Congress, if it is a good idea to bomb Syria. I think that Congress would answer: 'NO', it is not a good idea. Many Congress members maybe are fools, but I don't think that the majority of Congress members would be that fools that they wanted to bomb Syria.
Congress is taking a vacation and Syrian news is already crowing that they've won because too few supported the President and he caved.
(The Prez wants to consult Congress now.)
Dithering in a time of crisis.
Congratulations OStriches.
You do realize this isn't your post for you to host, don't you Fred?
Your point has been made, many times over.
I'm not playing games here, are you?
Sure wish Forign Affairs weren't so expensive nowadays.

When the evil flies, with the love, nothing forgiven, just keep on liven'.
This is up, this is down----all of the mothers wearing a frown---
Fred Hallman, I would think one of the purposes of this, if we go in, is to destroy the weapons, but I also heard several people say earlier in the week that it was too dangerous to blow up the weapons. I guess I don't fully understand the goal here.
For some people, the only goal is to make Obama look good. I would guess that this group includes Obama. Notice how he is tippy-toeing. His handlers haven't yet figured out what will work out best for him. The UK decision must have hit them where they live.
B, that's why I've been annoying the hell out of everyone her for two days in a virtual filibuster.
Defending the foreign weak and oppressed may be admirable goals but don't come up to the standard of threat that the War Powers act authorizes.
The possibility of huge stores of WMD's, in some ways (portability and tactical utility) more threatening even than nukes, getting out of strict control of a responsible governance is the reason that we should have already acted.
Imminence is not limited to time.
If we let the genie of utter destruction out of the bottle we die as well.
The escape of the weapons is the imminent genie, not their use.
The use after their escape would be unavoidable.
P.S. "Genie" derives from "Djinn", the Arabic word for demon.



adjective: imminent


about to happen.

"they were in imminent danger of being swept away"

synonyms: impending, close (at hand), near, (fast) approaching, coming, forthcoming, on the way, in the offing, in the pipeline, on the horizon, in the air, just around the corner, coming down the pike, expected, anticipated, brewing, looming, threatening, menacing;"
No, no games, just wondering.

My point has been clearly made here as far as Syria goes: humanitarian aid is all the US ought to be offering.
Invasion by missile or any other form will only make more enemies, bring more death, even more missiles, even more children suffering.

I do understand this is my opinion only and that repeating it endlessly will nothing to convince anyone who doesn't agree.
I too respect your opinion, but hammering my point home was only necessary to penetrate the fog.
I don't require everyone to agree with me, and I can relax and watch football tonight knowing I've done all that one man can do to awaken the hen-house to the fact that maybe the worst fox in history is trying to get in (or out of the cage).
Nothing's going to happen for 9 days now so the iron will have cooled and by then all of the hammering in the world won't make a dent or impression.
I struck while it was a hot topic.
I have heard at least one official from the military weapons side (on CNN, I think) say there IS, in fact, a way to destroy the chemical weapons without releasing the toxins into the air. I also read that the weapons are allegedly housed far enough away from populated areas to make it a moot point. Again, it is hard to know what's true and what's not. If they are lying again, there will be hell to pay for sure.
...this is why I am still concerned about trying to take out the weapons:

I am against boots on the ground under ANY circumstances.
Lezlie -- I am so distrustful of anything said but if they knew they could get the weapons and only the weapons I think that would be a good thing. But who do you believe?
Chemical weapons burn like all things, napalm, fuel air, advanced thermobarics, they all do the trick, although if you miss, then it looks kind of ugly as to burning people and/or buildings.
After Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya ... you all can strain to JUSTIFY our government as well as France and UK that all have been working with Saudi Arabia and Israel and Qatar and Turkey and Jordan who have been financing DEATH SQUAD AL QAEDA-LINKED MERCENARIES for two years that haven't been able to "regime change" a sovereign country and now, despite the hellish bloodbath, the western vulture countries want to add more mass killing machinery in the guise of finding "chemical weapons arsenals" to protect those poor civilians. 100,000 dead 2 million displaced. So, 1 million dead in Iraq and God knows how many in Afghanistan, they never bothered counting, as in Libya, but you are willing to believe the sociopaths behind war who say they only want to tiptoe in and SAVE Syrians by finding the chemical weapons arsenals and then tiptoe away after doing such a bogus-"humanitarian" action when it is probable the CIA or Saudi Arabia or one of the other vulture countries has provided the chemical weapons.

Also keep in mind Fallujah among other targets the US inflicted chemical weaponry on. Israel using phosphorous against the innocent Gazans.

Life in the American jingoistic and exceptionalism bubble. I thought more enlightenment progress was being made in terms of reality even on this site. The wilfulness to cling on to trust in a government that is betraying our privacy TOTALLY after denying it

This is chilling. The enabling of citizens of evil. Even deeper evil.
To answer your title question: we proceed in lock step toward WW3
Killing people in order to save them seems to be the easy answer these days to frightful problems where the facts are so buried under uncertainties and total lies that no one can make sensible decisions. The USA has such filthy hands in this whole business that there is no reason to believe anything a US official claims anymore, Anyone accepting the charges against the Syrian Government as the basis for further murdering civilians s so naive as to be considered a total fool. There simply is no basis for the dumb concept that brutal force can spare innocents since it really matters not at all whether someone is killed by a bullet or a sniff of nerve gas. Death is death and there are no sensible excuses for furthering the forces of death. The people in power in the USA have overwhelmingly demonstrated by both domestic and foreign policies which kill, imprison and oppress the general public to further the wealth of the wealthy majority and their motivations which are so totally polluted by personal ambition and vile greed and basic stupidity that nothing they say can be taken at face value.
The whole idea of incinerating poison gases and precursors with a "surgical" strike, using "hyperbarics", napalm or whatever modern wonder weapons, sits very badly with me. Clearly Obama came to realize that as well and is using the obvious tactic of tossing the potato to Congress to give the issue time to go away. I suppose we'll hear token justifications from the real hawks in Congress in a week or so, but the American sentiment for attacks seems to be limited mainly to kindly old ladies who are sure "we just can't stand back; we have to do something to help those poor people...." Yeah, like incinerate the rest of their country.

Fred Hallman, normally I agree with many of your opinions, but why are you so manically in favor of destroying chemical weapons in a densely-populated country, while there are probably hundreds of still-unaccounted nuclear devices within reach of extremists in Europe and the former Soviet Union? Chances are pretty good anyway that they already have enough of both to do serious harm.

As for libby''s implication that the Israeli hawks are just rubbing their hands in glee over an attack by the US on Syria, you might be totally wrong regardless of your esteemed sources. Civil war in Syria might be a temporary reprieve for some Israeli security concerns, but instability is not in its longterm interest. The Golan Heights has been quiet for decades under the Assads' rule, but is unlikely to remain so if this mess continues much longer.
"thermobarics".... I get the concept, Don.
"I don't care about Assad, I want the weapons destroyed."
yeah, of course, done with our GUARANTEED MORALLY SUPERIOR WEAPONS. tomahawk missiles, battleships, drones, jet fighters, smart bombs.
how do we know they are MORALLY SUPERIOR?
the MSM and HOLLYWOOD assure us it is so, it does not even require THINKING.
....and this morning (and for the past two years) I wonder whether the worse threat -- to everyone on the planet -- and one that ought to have every human alarmed much more than Syria, is the continued leaking of the radiation from Fukushima into the Pacific Ocean.
That will eventually kill us ALL.
I marveled at Kerry's histrionics Friday, describing babies "frothing at the mouth" and convulsing to death. Syria's civil war had claimed 100,000 lives before the chemical attacks, and we didn't hear any impassioned pleas then. Apparently, innocent civilians dying is not as important as *how* they die.

What this is really about is a president trying to save face after stupidly being goaded into drawing a "red line" in the sand last year. The irony is too rich. An alleged anti-war president screaming for military response to situation that has not crossed borders to threaten the security of any other nearby country much less ours? Hollywood couldn't make this up. We bailed in Lebanon when the barracks exploded. We cut and ran in Somalia after the Blackhawk went down. And we blithely ignored Darfur. At the risk of being cynical, Syria doesn't even have oil.

Will I live long enough to see the United States get over itself and shed this role of hypocritical world policeman?
Thank you everyone for this civil discussion. There are a number of other posts about this, including Lezlie in the Southeast's. Check it out.
You make sense to me.
Bombing Syria doesn't.
I wanted to add a link to my short post here
the bottom line for me is not what ought to be done, but what can be done? and for me, I don't think we can do anything without spending far more lives and treasure than we can imagine.
I agree. In this age of "surgical strikes," it's such a symptom of America's engagement in "lite wars." For god's sake, if we citizens can't stomach seeing the cows get killed to make our Whoppers, why should we want to get our hands dirty on the ground in Syria?
Well said.
This a copy of my comment on my own post.


I think that this whole mess in Syria started, because the US wanted to attack Iran.

The most powerful enemy for that plan to become successful seemed to be Hezbollah. They have got the capacity to drive Israel's army out of Lebanon already twice. And if Americans and Israel would attack Iran, Hezbollah would no doubt attack Israel. They have got in hand such missiles, which can hit any city of Israel and no known weapon can protect Israel from those missiles.

Hezbollah is quite much dependent on Syria, which is providing to them many supplies and as well the route to get their weapons in.

So the US decided to put Syria and its government in chaos, to make it so unstable that Syria couldn't be used as the route to provide to Hezbollah the supplies it needs.

The US hired all kinds of terrorists (='rebels') available and used them trying to topple Assad. But so far this plan has not been successful. The US and the hired 'rebels' have tried almost everything possible (including computer viruses and gas attacks), but no way, Assad is still there.

I was waiting for half an year, what they'll try next. And now we have seen their latest idea?
I hope we don't bomb any others for the sake of stabilization. Refugees are easy targets and any strikes will come with heavy casualties.

Write your officials and tell them NO! No more war! No more deaths! No more stupidity.
I would like to second this:

"Write your officials and tell them NO! No more war! No more deaths!"

I'm not an American and it would be somewhat wrong to contact Ameircan Congressmen as a foreigner. I've contacted my Foreign Minister, Erkki Tuomioja.

While writing this I'm listening American Blues Music. I'm once again thinking that the nation, which created this great music can't be totally bad. The piece at present on my plate is:

Sonny Boy Williamson:

'Let your conscience be your guide'

If Obama happens to read this, I'm inviting him to listen the same piece.

When I tried to contact GWB, in the time, he was planning to attack Afghanistan, I wrote to him that we might like similar movies... I wrote to him as well asking him, if his father told him how you are feeling while killing people completely unknown to you.

Now it is already Alfred King:

'California blues'.

Obama might be a Chicago guy, but Alfred King visited my town once. I went to listen him to the neighbor town, too.
I'm sorry, I made a mistake. (I already was thinking that something was wrong while listening 'California Blues'.)

It was Albert King, not Alfred King, who visited my town. He played his guitar in the dark, with sparks flying out his pipe. But, anyway Chicago Blues is great and so is 'California Blues'.

And Obama should listen that Sonny Boy Williamson's piece.
I vote NO. No mas.

If we are this vehement about deaths, why don't we use this same tactic in dealing with thousands whom are killed in Mexico by their corrupt government aficionado's killing of their own via cartel?
Obama is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. My suspicion is that it's a trap, and if Obama falls into it Assad will double down and use it to become the hero of the anti-Americans and Israelis in the Middle East. Putting the decision at the foot of Congress will force more of them to reveal themselves and let them fall into the trap rather than him.
You put my exact feelings into words. I have been writing my congressmen about this, though their responses seem like they are intent on understanding what I say differently than what I mean. I'm tired of perpetual war, so I guess I need to write them again.
Obama is just following the orders he got from DoD and cia. He was told that 'we' must get Syria under our thumb and our latest plan is to try Tomahawk missiles. Obama's job is to create political willingness to attack.

The gas attack is just 'the normal pretext' to attack. Similar as the pretext to attack Iraq.

But American people can still stop this madness.

You can send to Congress members millions of email and promise to them that there would be millions of people on streets to demonstrate against Obama, if Obama would try walking over Congress decision.

You must remember that Obama is not the next president. You can prevent him doing this insanity.
Here is a link for

World Can't Wait.

For example Dennis Loo, from Open Salon has got good texts there.
It is difficult to find any case, when the US started a war not based on lies.

This time I don't see any indications, which would hint that this case would be different. Everything we see points to the direction that lies are being told again.

We haven't seen any proof that a gas attack was done by Assad's forces. It is much more probable that a gas attack was done by 'rebels' hired for the war arranged by Americans.
I think that Congress will say: 'NO'.


The comprehensive poll of Congress says that only a small fraction of the 533 lawmakers — 22 senators and 22 House members — are willing to say they will support the use of force in response to the reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. Far more overall — 19 senators and 130 House members — say they will oppose a resolution that would authorize military strikes. Two seats in the 435-member House are vacant.


The largest group of lawmakers remains undecided, including a majority of the Senate and the House. That could create an opportunity for the president to persuade them in a string of six interviews with TV network anchors today and a televised address to the nation Tuesday. The Senate could vote as early as Wednesday.


Congress isn’t convinced. In the survey:

Democrats haven’t fallen in line behind the president, at least not yet. Congressional Democrats are as likely to oppose the measure as support it, although most say they are undecided. At the moment, 28 Democrats support action; 28 oppose it.

Republicans who have made a decision overwhelmingly oppose Obama, by nearly 8-1. Sixteen Republicans support action; 121 oppose it.

In a majority of states, not a single member of Congress has gone on record endorsing the president’s request for authorization of a military strike. That includes a dozen states that Obama carried in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections: Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

“I think it’s an uphill slog from here,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and one of the handful of Republicans who support the president, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday.

He said the White House has “done an awful job” in explaining the reason for a strike and added, “It’s a confusing mess.”

On “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he was horrified by images of the alleged chemical-weapons attack in Syria but warned that the strikes could destabilize the country or even increase the odds that opposition forces obtain chemical weapons.

“I don’t think we’re going to do anything to (Syrian President Bashar) Assad,” he said.


So, I think that Congress is going to listen people. Obama will get defeated there. We'll see what he'll try doing next.
"The greatest potential blowout, however, is if the administration attack Syria without congressional approval. If this happens, it’s almost assured that future negotiations between the White House and Congress — particularly on gun control, the budget, the debt ceiling and immigration — would become impassable minefields. Not only would the president lose support in his own party, but it’s reasonable to expect congressional Republicans to use the opportunity to turn their back on the president.

The administration has roughly indicated it will not proceed in Syria without congressional approval. Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said Friday that “it’s neither [President Obama’s] desire nor intention to use that authority absent Congress backing him.”



So I think Americans should work for getting Congress telling 'NO' to the act of war.
Watch this video of chemical weapons being fired. This is all a set up . . . and the reason I no longer vote. And, of course, all the eve of 9/11 . . .
thank you for beginning the conversation here. much to think about.