Penny Lou Pingleton, You Are Absolutely, Positively, Permanently Punished

Syria is going on a diet of Saltines and Tang:

The timing of such an attack, which would probably last no more than two days and involve sea-launched cruise missiles — or, possibly, long-range bombers — striking military targets not directly related to Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, would be dependent on three factors: completion of an intelligence report assessing Syrian government culpability in last week’s alleged chemical attack; ongoing consultation with allies and Congress; and determination of a justification under international law.

It is nice to see that the branch of government with the war-making power, Congress, is going to be “consulted” — I’m sure they’ll all duck and cover so that any blowback from the use of cruise missiles or long-range bombers, which have a good chance of causing accidental civilian casualties, falls squarely on the Obama Administration.

There are two audiences for our actions here: Assad and the neocon warmongers. The former is in a fight to the death. How do you punish someone who is seeking a victory at any cost? Lobbing a few bombs in his general direction won’t do much unless he’s hit by one of them. The warmongers want a fucking war, and sending over a few cruise missiles is like giving a starving man a couple of peanuts. McCain and Graham are looking for the full meal deal, and this ain’t it.






112 replies
  1. 1
    jayackroyd says:

    Kerry:

    “Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the
    world’s most vulnerable people.”

  2. 2
    c u n d gulag says:

    I suspect the real cause, is that our MIC is pissed-off!

    They’re really p-o’d, because, unlike Hussein, who used OUR chemical and biological weapons, Assad’s using Russia’s.

    WHERE’S THEIR PROFITS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    And if we do this, at least they’ll make some more profits on replacing their ordinance.

  3. 3
    Belafon says:

    I realize we like to visualize all presidents as having their fingers on the trigger ready to send out all of the military, but I have yet to see Obama decide that the warmongers are the people to listen to. As has been shown, if he doesn’t attack they will describe him as weak, if he does attack they will describe him as weak and too easily led to war.

  4. 4
    patrick II says:

    By my rough count we would have had five more wars if McCain was president. At one time McCain wanted to send bombs or troops to Egypt, Libya, Iran, Syria, and most brilliantly against the Russians in Georgia (we are all Georgians now.) In addition he wanted to keep troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We ate very lucky he did not become president.

  5. 5
    mistermix says:

    @jayackroyd: Based on that Post story and the other stuff I read, what they will probably do is pick the most remote Syrian base possible, and turn it into rubble. That would limit civilian casualties. Presumably any weapons at that base are useless for urban war fighting (e.g., fighter jets), so I don’t see how that’s “accountability”, but whatever.

    As for Obama, I’m impressed that he has kept a lid on the war mongers for so long, but I think once they get a taste of military action, they’ll want more.

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    Also, what you call ‘Assad’ stands for the whole Assad family, the various non-Sunni sects, dynasties, local warlords, and miscellaneous proxies for a half-dozen outside powers. In the absence of opposing armed forces on the ground, marching in their direction, they won’t be deterred by a few Tomahawks.

  7. 7
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    I think the response in these pages, as I understand from the NSA story, will simply be “Military ends up actually killing people, who knew, Duh…” etc

  8. 8
    Schlemizel says:

    So, in a pissing contest between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda we are going to strike Hezbooah because they fight dirty? Nothing, nothing in the world, could throw into stark relief the foolishness of our attempt to be the policeman of the entire world. Will Al-Qaeda be grateful for our support? Will anyone, even the poor schmucks caught in the middle thanks us and consider the US an true friend of the down trodden? Will the attack ever be justified in a world of gray where it is just as likely that Al-Qaeda launched the attack simply to sucker the US into this response? The answers to all those and many similar questions all add up in one direction – there is not right thing to do and the US will gain nothing while continuing its role as bully of the Middle East.

  9. 9
    Belafon says:

    @mistermix:

    As for Obama, I’m impressed that he has kept a lid on the war mongers for so long, but I think once they get a taste of military action, they’ll want more.

    That could be hard, since he’s Commander in Chief. They only way they’d get their wish is getting a Republican president in office.

    Reason #299,792,458 to GOTV in every election.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    A somewhat OT observation. Until Obama, I don’t recall the most people in modern times using the term “war” to describe military actions that did not involve a significant commitment of ground troops. It seems like the language changed suddenly in the last few years.

    To be clear, I applaud this development. I see no reason for euphemisms when we already have a good three-letter word that works. But it will be interesting to see if this new “straight talk” sticks around after 2016.

  11. 11
    Schlemizel says:

    @patrick II:

    While you are absolutely right that the nation dodged a bullet in ’08 I am not sure we would have had those extra wars. The rage machine known as McCain is free to call for nuclear strikes against orphanages as a Senator and does so not because he personally believes it should be done but to further the work of his insane cabal of corpratist goons who would gladly set the world on fire to regain complete control for their sugar daddies. It furthers the “Obama is weak and rudderless” story line. Even if Obama does what McCain et al suggest there will be problems & those could be blamed on the President as well since everyone in th US seems to forget a politicians pronouncements 48 hours after they are reported.

  12. 12
    MattW says:

    McCain knows how to win wars. He said so.

  13. 13
    NotMax says:

    Jaw-droppingly vapid.

  14. 14
    Chyron HR says:

    I pre-emptively denounce Obama’s imperial invasion of Iran Libya Chained CPI Syria.

  15. 15
    MattF says:

    @MattW: Y’know, about McCain… one can be cynical about him, but I think he really is a crazy warmonger.

  16. 16
    Jane2 says:

    This primer shows there are no white hats and black hats in Syria, and this will not end well for anyone, least of all the Syrians the “allies” (love how that word comes up again and again) are supposedly helping.

  17. 17
    weaselone says:

    The former is in a fight to the death. How do you punish someone who is seeking a victory at any cost? Lobbing a few bombs in his general direction won’t do much unless he’s hit by one of them.

    I doubt Assad wants to fight his battle to the death with both of his arms broken. Unless his regime is already on the verge of complete collapse, a limited strike followed by a promise of something more crippling if he ever utilizes chemical weapons again could be effective.

  18. 18
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Schlemizel: Word.

  19. 19
    negative 1 says:

    @mistermix: So you read an article in a newspaper which suddenly turned you into an expert on military strategy? Here’s an idea – he will probably consult with the military generals on which targets to strike, if that’s the decision.
    To everyone else — do we not support this because we don’t believe they used chemical weapons, or because we don’t care if they used chemical weapons, or do we want this to be a UN action? Gassing civilians seems to be pretty bad in my eyes. Or, put another way, is there no difference between this and the ‘preemptive prevention of nuclear proliferation’ that McCain et al. favored with Iran?

  20. 20
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @negative 1: May be it is just that your country should stay out of this, since you have a gigantic MIC focussed on war. It would be good for everyone if you guys just could keep your pants up about, you know, at least one conflict.
    By the way, do not complain later how “They hate you for your freedomz”

  21. 21
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    With McCain as president or even Romney, there would be such a massive discovery by Democrats of the value of civil liberties or military adventures that you will suddenly have 50% of the American population actually against such wars. That may be a net benefit for the world.

  22. 22
    negative 1 says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Except that generally the losing side never actually feels that way. If you truly believe that, why do we have the UN? Should it be abolished? I’m not trolling, I really want to know.

  23. 23
    Belafon says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Consider this: Only 9% of the US population is for any intervention.

  24. 24
    Botsplainer says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    Too much troll sauce. You should’be skipped the Muslim Indian theme and attempt to link to a seldom posted blog. If you’re gonna firebag, you should go with a nym that is more phrase than name.

  25. 25
    mistermix says:

    @weaselone:

    Unless his regime is already on the verge of complete collapse, a limited strike followed by a promise of something more crippling if he ever utilizes chemical weapons again could be effective.

    My assumption is that the war machinery that will be hit isn’t any good for urban warfare, so no real damage will be done to Assad’s ability to defend himself against the current threat. But maybe someone with more knowledge of what Syria is fighting with can weigh in on that.

  26. 26
    jayackroyd says:

    @mistermix:

    First I just think it is incredible that Kerry could say that with a straight face. Kerry in particular.

    Second, you’re right. Obama must be under enormous pressure from the Deep State participants to respond militarily.

    Third, yes, I think they will try to kill as few innocents as they can in order to placate the Deep State. Or at least tell themselves they’ve done all they can to minimize “collateral damage.” And then they’ll go home and play with their kids.

    Fourth, Obama is in the unique position of being able to call out those pressures, and say “This insanity ends here.” As you say, that’s a lot to ask. It’s easy to whack (wank?) away on a keyboard. But it is nonetheless insanity.

  27. 27
    daveNYC says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Yeah right.

    We might have soured somewhat on full on boots on the ground wars, but we still love ourselves some quick and easy Airstrikes for Freedom.

  28. 28
    GregB says:

    The Guns of August.

    Cheesiest sequel ever.

    I’m going to assume this will be accomplished without spending a penny because I am told daily by most in he body politic and the mainscream media that we are broke.

  29. 29
    daveNYC says:

    @mistermix: Dunno, if they managed to hit his jets and maybe attack helicoptors, that might be able to do the trick. Those items have the advantage of being things the rebels don’t have much answer for, and they’re pretty expensive to replace.

    I wouldn’t push the big red button on the basis of that analysis though.

  30. 30
    Ash Can says:

    The timing of such an attack…would be dependent on three factors: completion of an intelligence report assessing Syrian government culpability in last week’s alleged chemical attack; ongoing consultation with allies and Congress; and determination of a justification under international law.

    That’s a lot of wiggle room there. Just sayin’.

  31. 31
    Comrade Jake says:

    Here’s what Larison had to say:

    Choosing not to bomb a country whose government has used these weapons does not signal approval of that use, and launching some cruise missiles at government forces in response to that use isn’t going to keep them from being used in the future. All that it does do is potentially invite Syrian retaliation against the U.S. and its clients and allies. At best, it is a reaction designed to show that the U.S. will “do something” while achieving nothing, and at worst it is the beginning of the slide towards escalation to a major war.

    Sounds about right. Emphasis mine.

  32. 32
    Cacti says:

    As long as we don’t use drones, cause those are like the worstest thing ever.

  33. 33
    Botsplainer says:

    @mistermix:

    But maybe someone with more knowledge of what Syria is fighting with can weigh in on that

    Syria is fucked eiher way. If you “hold Assad accountable” you weaken him and endanger socially moderate Christians and secular Muslims that are aligned with him for financial reasons and protection. Also, there are significant American connections in this group. Attacking Assad actually runs counter to American interests.

    Likewise, aiding the rebels leads to bad results, as the dominant groups inthat coalition are hard core Islamists who won’t express gratitude for the help.

    About the only thing that could be done would be to eliminate the Syrian ability to project into Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq or Israel, so as to confine the conflict.

  34. 34
    raven says:

    Why don’t you all just use the easy peasy link and jump over and see what Pat Lang has to say?

  35. 35
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Jane2: Gah, that link goes through facebook to get to a non-FB site, which means I have to let FB run javascript to go any further.

    Here’s a link that skips FB’s “Sites outside of Facebook are dangerous!!!” warning and FB’s logging that you clicked on it. 10 simple points to help you understand the Syria conflict

  36. 36
    Mandalay says:

    @jayackroyd:

    Kerry: “Make no mistake…

    Would that be the same John Kerry who assured us less than a month ago that the army was “restoring democracy” in Egypt?

    John “make no mistake” Kerry has become a clown as SoS.

  37. 37
    jayackroyd says:

    @Cacti: Well, why not? Why not target Assad? He’s the guy the warmongers want to influence, isn’t he? Why isn’t his residence, his offices first on the target list?

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Cacti says:

    @jayackroyd:

    Well, why not? Why not target Assad? He’s the guy the warmongers want to influence, isn’t he? Why isn’t his residence, his offices first on the target list?

    I have it on good authority from multiple front pagers that drone strikes are a grievous violation of something something, in a way that a big, fluffy, cruise missile of democracy is not.

  40. 40
    longtime lurk says:

    “duck and cover” as used here I take to mean “has not and will not authorize”, meaning the administration is going to do this without congressional approval. Meaning that the “accidental civilian casualties”, which are entirely predictable and in fact inevitable, will, quite rightly, “fall[ ] squarely on the Obama Administration.”

  41. 41
    Soonergrunt says:

    @mistermix: The current forces arrayed against Assad, or to use an operational term of art, the “order of battle” of rebel forces is very much like what you saw in the beginnings of the insurgency in Libya. Mostly civilians with light arms, with a sprinkling of military veterans amongst them in irregular forces with varying levels of combat experience. Medium and heavy machine guns make rare appearances in battle primarily because the ammunition for them is rather scarce. Some light mortars (Russian-made 82mm w/range ~3000-4200m, model-dependent) are in use, but the limiting factors are skill of the crews and availability of ammo. As with most insurgencies, logistics is their biggest challenge, and tactical communications is their next biggest. Just about any comms technology available to insurgents is going to be relatively easily traceable for the government. They primarily resupply themselves from captured government stores. Whether or not they can build and secure supply lines from outside the country will be the biggest determining factor in the success or failure of the Syrian insurgency. Where do they procure supplies, and how do they get them from Iraq (most likely) or Turkey (less likely) to the fighting areas where they are needed?

  42. 42
    Gene108 says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    Being against a war after the fact is different than getting involved in the first place. The American public’s desire for war making is very very low.

    It went from very high after 9/11 to very low now after two protracted wars that achieved little.

    Obama has done a solid job in keeping us out of the mess in the Middle East. A statement like what Sec. Kerry made is different than actually dropping bombs.

    I think people need to step back and chill out over this.

    Libya was more of a NATO action than something we wanted to drag the world into.

    So again chill out over this.

    Also, like your blog. It reminds me that I Need to relearn the Tamil alphabet.

  43. 43

    Oh, goodie. Another war. Sweet flipping Buddha, can’t we just go one gorram year without lobbing missiles at someone?

    The whole moral outrage at chemical weapons seems like it’s the product of a bunch of generals and politicians sitting back sipping tea thousands of miles from the front saying, “It’s okay to perforate our soldiers with bullets and knives, blow them to pieces with grenades and bombs, shred them with shrapnel, horribly burn them with phosphorus, flamethrowers, and the resultant fire from the aforementioned bombs, and leave them horribly broken mentally and physically from the daily horrors of seeing the results of all that, and if some civilians happen to get caught in the middle, they’re simply collateral damage, but good sir, choking people with poison is just uncivilized and war must be civilized.”

    Sigh… If we have to get involved because we’re worried about everyone using chemical weapons, then I’ll second the notion that if you’re going to get involved with teaching Assad a lesson, one missile lobbed at his presidential office would probably be more effective than raining death from above at his grunts.

  44. 44
    Chris says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Yes… that is, unfortunately, pretty much my take on it as well.

  45. 45
    Mandalay says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Will the attack ever be justified in a world of gray where it is just as likely that Al-Qaeda launched the attack simply to sucker the US into this response?

    Well said. Kerry seems to have made up his mind that Assad is responsible and crossed the “line” regardless.

    Kerry shamelessly cranked up his emotiometer to 11 at a press briefing yesterday:

    the killing of women and children…
    innocent bystanders…
    one more gut-wrenching time…
    As a father…
    a man who held up his dead child…
    entire families dead in their beds…
    bodies contorting in spasms…

    All true I’m sure, but of course all those manipulative comments have been just as applicable every day for over two years in Syria. Kerry has suddenly got religion only because his boss made an imprudent and ambiguous comments about a “red line”, and now we can’t back down.

  46. 46
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Schlemizel:

    the US will gain nothing while continuing its role as bully of the Middle East.

    AMEN. I guess after our stunning successes in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s time to go for the hat trick.

  47. 47
    Linda Featheringill says:

    They tell me assassination is illegal. So if we don’t like what some dictator is doing, we have the right to bomb the hell out of his people?

    And don’t bother with arguments about “surgical strikes” and “smart bombs”. I’m not dumb enough to believe that either of those techniques would just take out the bad guys and leave the innocent folks alone.

  48. 48
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    With McCain as president or even Romney, there would be such a massive discovery by Democrats of the value of civil liberties or military adventures that you will suddenly have 50% of the American population actually against such wars. That may be a net benefit for the world.

    I’ve heard this cited before as a positive reason for liberals to help elect Republicans by voting third-party, or staying home.

    But that’s not what happened the last time, or the time before that, or the time before that. A simple partisan model doesn’t explain what happened. Many Democrats reached across the aisle to support Bush’s wars and the other Bush’s wars. War creates its own bipartisan constituency. I hold myself culpable for this and have no intention of participating again, but I have no confidence that it won’t happen again.

    Yet the fact remains that, ever since the elder Bush, Democratic Presidents do their share of military adventuring and civil-liberty-abridging, but we get the really big wars started during Republican administrations. Functionally, Democratic warmongering is actually worse when there’s a Republican in the White House getting the ball rolling.

  49. 49
    ottercliff says:

    How can anything go wrong if we have”ongoing consultation with allies and Congress”? Remember the “Coalition of the Willing” Dick & W put together?

  50. 50
    Cacti says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Yet the fact remains that, ever since the elder Bush, Democratic Presidents do their share of military adventuring

    Que? Vietnam? LBJ?

    I think he was before Bush I.

  51. 51
    Mandalay says:

    @jayackroyd:

    Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle!

    I wonder what goes through his head as he falls asleep these days. I guess he must block out his younger, saner life. If he didn’t he’d go insane.

    :(

  52. 52
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Sigh… If we have to get involved because we’re worried about everyone using chemical weapons, then I’ll second the notion that if you’re going to get involved with teaching Assad a lesson, one missile lobbed at his presidential office would probably be more effective than raining death from above at his grunts.

    I think I have history behind me when I say that that trick never works.

  53. 53

    @Matt McIrvin: Neither does blowing up a factory, an artillery piece, or an airfield, unless you’re going to commit to a full scale war.

  54. 54
    Comrade Jake says:

    What could possibly go wrong?

  55. 55
    Gene108 says:

    @daveNYC:

    The people who might like “freedom and easy airstrikes” are all right-wingers, who have a more deeply seated hatred of all things Obama.

    The rest of the country really does not want to get involved.

  56. 56
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Cacti: Somalia, Clinton’s Afghanistan and Sudan cruise-missile strikes, the Iraq no-fly zone, the Libya involvement, the expansion of the drone war. All done by post-GHWB Democratic Presidents, and we could argue the necessity of it all on a case-by-case basis, but none of it up to the level of the wars the Bushes started.

  57. 57
    Chris says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    They tell me assassination is illegal. So if we don’t like what some dictator is doing, we have the right to bomb the hell out of his people?

    I have always thought that was a big bunch of shit. And a holdover from the feudal “war is a game that kings play with each other, but the kings shouldn’t die, that’s not civilized” mentality.

    You’re telling me that going to war with, say, Iraq in 1991 and getting a fuckton of our soldiers, his soldiers, his civilians, and our allies’ civilians killed… that’s not murder. It’s “war.” But if we’d been able to kill Saddam, the one guy in the entire mess who was actually responsible for starting it… that would’ve been “murder,” and it would’ve been worse?

    The niceties of the law escape me completely in that instance.

  58. 58
    NotMax says:

    @Mandalay

    Other than that some of the arms used by us there are conveniently excluded from the proscribed list of chemical weapons, Kerry’s words could have been describing Fallujah.

  59. 59
    Mandalay says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    The whole moral outrage at chemical weapons seems like it’s the product of a bunch of generals and politicians sitting back sipping tea thousands of miles from the front

    Exactly. Chemical weapons are to war what child rape is to crime. Everyone, absolutely everyone, is empowered to take the moral high ground and look down, no matter what form of low life shit you may be.

    So in prison even the old lady killers get to look down on the child molesters. And in war even the politicians who ensure that war killing is done with “decent” weapons like drones and tanks and bombs and rifles get to look down on those who use chemical weapons.

    But that is all a facade. The old lady killers and the politicians are still low life shits.

  60. 60
    Cacti says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Somalia, Clinton’s Afghanistan and Sudan cruise-missile strikes, the Iraq no-fly zone, the Libya involvement, the expansion of the drone war. All done by post-GHWB Democratic Presidents, and we could argue the necessity of it all on a case-by-case basis, but none of it up to the level of the wars the Bushes started.

    Our national policy in the entire post-WWII age has been one of interventionism, starting with Korea. It hasn’t been confined to either political party.

  61. 61
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Chris: “Now we come to the matter of the specific targeting of officers during engagements. Of course you must know that in civilized warfare, officers in the field must not be accorded inappropriate levels of hostile attention.”

  62. 62
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mandalay:

    Exactly. Chemical weapons are to war what child rape is to crime. Everyone, absolutely everyone, is empowered to take the moral high ground and look down, no matter what form of low life shit you may be.

    I think a lot of mischief has been done by grouping them with nuclear and biological weapons in the “weapons of mass destruction” category, so that using or having them is treated the same way as using or having a nuke. That was a significant component of what was going in the run-up to invading Iraq. Gassing people is a crime against humanity but it’s not a nuclear bomb and probably shouldn’t be treated the same way.

  63. 63
    srv says:

    I am perfectly comfortable that John McCain’s Secretary of State does not find any need for evidence here.

    We simply can’t be burdened like Colin Powell was.

  64. 64
    elmo says:

    Nothing has ever so successfully illustrated the folly of : “We must do something. This is something; therefore we must do this.”

    Two serial killers are beating the hell out of each other, and in the process tearing down their own house. We’ve shouted “Hey you! Stop that!” until we’re hoarse, to no effect. Their wives and kids and extended family members are getting hurt from the house being torn down around them, but like many domestic violence victims, they will turn on us in an instant if we break into the house. Anything we do to put a stop to the fighting – at least, anything we do that has a chance of being effective – will do further damage to the house and also hurt or kill the innocent family members.

    On a small scale like the above, what you’d try to do is get as many children out of the house as you can, and put them in foster care. But you can’t do that on the scale of the Syrian population.

    There are simply no good options, and no option that promises a better result than watching from a distance.

  65. 65
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Cacti: Yes. My main point was, you don’t necessarily get a groundswell of Democratic opposition to it just because there’s a Republican President. Often the opposite, in fact. So while this can be a reason to criticize Democrats, the awakening of Democratic opposition to war is no good reason to elect Republicans.

  66. 66
  67. 67
    catclub says:

    @Comrade Jake: “Choosing not to bomb a country whose government has used these weapons does not signal approval of that use, ”

    Agreed.

    Nobody thinks that Germany or Denmark approves, just because they have no plans to bomb Syria. Now would be a good time to drop the global policeman role.

  68. 68
    catclub says:

    @Matt McIrvin: “probably shouldn’t be treated the same way. ”

    let me think, how WAS using a nuclear bomb (twice) treated by the international community…. hm…. they put us on the UN Security Council. Punishment enough.

  69. 69
    taylormattd says:

    @mistermix: what is your solution?

  70. 70
    taylormattd says:

    @srv: why exactly do you believe John Kerry has found no evidence Assad used chemical weapons?

  71. 71

    @Botsplainer: I don’t think he is Muslim, at least from his handle.

  72. 72
    jayackroyd says:

    @taylormattd: What makes this a problem?

  73. 73
    jayackroyd says:

    Nothing has ever so successfully illustrated the folly

    I nominate the drug war.

  74. 74
    Chris says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    OH YEAH?

    Let’s see the birth certificate.

    No, the LONG FORM one.

    NO! The REAL long form one!

    (Also I believe Ramiyah is a “she” name… RA, my apologies if I’m wrong).

  75. 75
    negative 1 says:

    @Mandalay: I don’t think that’s true. The catalyst for today’s news is the use of chemical weapons. The policy has been that we won’t intervene provided that wholesale slaughter of civilians doesn’t take place and provided that chemical weapons aren’t used. People seem to be doubting the evidence that chemical weapons were used, but what the rest of the world is saying is that a line that was drawn in the sand seems to have been crossed. What comes next?

  76. 76

    @Chris: I knew a Ramiah who was a woman but this one seems to be a guy from some of the blog posts. But then of course I could be wrong. For all you know I is a kitteh in a box, either dead or alive.

    ETA: There is a post titled interview with my wife, so most probably a man.

  77. 77

    WP eated my post. HALP!

  78. 78

    Deleted; WP horked back my earlier post.

  79. 79
    Chris says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I have always pictured you that way, yes :D

    ETA: that’s what I get for not reading posters’ blogs. And for assuming that other people are as unimaginative as me and use their real names.

  80. 80

    @Chris: My given name is pretty unique, that’s one reason I don’t like to use it on blogs, Chris is gender ambiguous though, could be short for Christopher or Christina.

  81. 81

    It’s not about poison gas. It’s about natural gas:

    http://www.sott.net/article/26.....nstruction

  82. 82
    Mandalay says:

    @negative 1:

    People seem to be doubting the evidence that chemical weapons were used

    I’m not seeing that at all. There appears to be agreement from all that chemical weapons have been used. The issues are over who actually did it, and what is the strength of the evidence against Assad?

  83. 83
    Chris says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    It’s also generic, common and ordinary, so there’s not much concern about being identified from my blog posts.

    @Mandalay:

    I’m not rooting for intervention and since I’m not an expert I have no idea whether it looks like chemical weapons were used or not…

    … but if they were, who else would it be but Assad? He’s the one who’s had the state apparatus to develop these weapons for years. I don’t see private militias having that capacity, and I don’t see any of their nation-state allies sticking their neck out as far as giving them WMDs. I suppose it’s always possible they could’ve bought them on the black market.

  84. 84
    Lee says:

    @Mandalay:

    I was wondering the same thing. It seems that everyone is just assuming that Assad was the one that deployed the chemical weapons.

    A few facts from our journalists might actually be helpful.

  85. 85
    voncey says:

    @catclub:

    I agree, but the press doesn’t nor does the rest of the world including Assad.

  86. 86
    catclub says:

    @Lee: “A few facts from our journalists might actually be helpful. ”

    I was just mentioning to someone that the phrase “This way lies madness” seems to be cropping up a lot lately.

  87. 87
    Morbo says:

    Syria’s foreign minister said this morning that they would rather sustain the strike than strike a deal, so… yeahhh.

  88. 88
    NotMax says:

    @Chris

    One of the hallmark tactics of the opposition has been to take over military facilities (sometimes remaining in control, sometimes not), their key location often meaning denying use of roads to the government for resupply. What may or may not have been deployed or stored at any of those places is an open question.

    Also, from the report issued by Doctors Without Borders:

    “[We] can neither scientifically confirm the cause of these symptoms nor establish who is responsible for the attack,” said Dr. Janssens. “However, the reported symptoms of the patients, in addition to the epidemiological pattern of the events—characterized by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers—strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent. This would constitute a violation of international humanitarian law, which absolutely prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons.” (a href=”http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/press/release.cfm?id=7029&cat=press-release”>Source

  89. 89
    NotMax says:

    Link fix for the Doctors Without Borders info in #88.

    Source

  90. 90
    Botsplainer says:

    Oh, fuck me. I just saw a set of facebook posts among a circle of fundivangelicals.

    Not to bore anyone with direct quotes, suffice it to say that one says that the US used to be a no nonsense nation that didn’t take this kind of “crap” (that term revealing the age of the poster as being “of a certain age”). Another poster offered the sage wisdom of what happened on Andy Griffith when Opie confronted a bully, and how successful it turned out.

    I’m banging my head on my credenza now.

  91. 91
    patroclus says:

    Bombing Syria would be a mistake. I hope Obama and the U.S. don’t make it. I don’t mind Kerry saber-rattling a little, but getting involved in that civil war more than we already are would have serious unintended consequences.

  92. 92
    Greg says:

    @Chris:

    You’re telling me that going to war with, say, Iraq in 1991 and getting a fuckton of our soldiers, his soldiers, his civilians, and our allies’ civilians killed… that’s not murder. It’s “war.” But if we’d been able to kill Saddam, the one guy in the entire mess who was actually responsible for starting it… that would’ve been “murder,” and it would’ve been worse?

    The niceties of the law escape me completely in that instance.

    In fact, the laws of war aren’t quite that crazy. If we are NOT at war with Iraq, then killing Saddam is murder (political assassination, to be more specific, banned by executive order). If we ARE at war with Iraq, then killing Saddam is attacking a legitimate command & control target.

    This is one of the reasons why a declaration of war is supposed to be a big deal, and why Congress lying down on the job of doing so and letting the executive branch get away with using military force without such declarations causes such a legal mess.

  93. 93
    chopper says:

    @Chris:

    I don’t see private militias having that capacity, and I don’t see any of their nation-state allies sticking their neck out as far as giving them WMDs. I suppose it’s always possible they could’ve bought them on the black market.

    likewise, if these sort of private militias were getting their hands on chemical weapons, we’d likely be seeing these attacks more often and in other places than syria.

  94. 94
    Chris says:

    @Botsplainer:

    They mean Syria? “Take this kind of crap?” What the fuck are they talking about? No one bombed Pearl Harbor. No one burned the White House. No one flew planes into the World Trade Center. This is Syrians versus Syrians. No one’s giving the U.S. any kind of crap. Christ on a pogo stick.

    And if this allowing a dictator to brutalize his people is “taking crap,” then the U.S. has been doing it for over two hundred years.

  95. 95
    chopper says:

    @Botsplainer:

    lol. when it comes to craziness in the middle east, we need to be tough like an old-school president. like reagan. so let’s pull out of the area and attack grenada in order to maintain cred.

  96. 96
    rea says:

    Congress has the exclusive power to “declare war” but that does not mean only Congress can authorize the beginning of fighting. Most wars in the time of the founders were undeclared. George Washington started combat operations against the French in 1754, butwar was not declared until 1756, and then only by the French, not the British. John Adams started naval operations aginst the French when he became president without declaring war. Retaliation against the Syrian government in no way requires a congressional declaration.

  97. 97
    liberal says:

    @Comrade Dread:
    It’s important to note that chemical weapons aren’t necessarily all that more effective than plain old high explosive.

  98. 98
    chopper says:

    @patroclus:

    this. i dunno, i expect some cruise missile attacks on military targets out of this, but not much more. mostly just to let assad know that if he uses chemical weapons on people he’s gonna lose some of his pretty things. if that ends up being our ‘intervention’ i won’t mind too much.

    given the make-up of the rebels here, we can’t reasonably pick a side. unfortunately, we’ll have to watch the civilian population get decimated there.

  99. 99
    chopper says:

    @liberal:

    not even the president can order the wind around.

  100. 100
    Cacti says:

    @rea:

    Congress has the exclusive power to “declare war” but that does not mean only Congress can authorize the beginning of fighting. Most wars in the time of the founders were undeclared. George Washington started combat operations against the French in 1754, butwar was not declared until 1756, and then only by the French, not the British. John Adams started naval operations aginst the French when he became president without declaring war. Retaliation against the Syrian government in no way requires a congressional declaration.

    The entire Civil War was also fought without a declaration of war. The US government treated it as an insurgency, and refrained from declaring war, as it would have legitimized the secessionist claim that it was a conflict between separate sovereign nations.

  101. 101
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @chopper: Anyone can order the wind around. It making the wind obey the order that is problematic. Spirits, vasty deep, etc.

  102. 102
    Roy G. says:

    Try replacing ‘Assad’ with ‘Saddam’ and see how nicely it fits.

  103. 103
    Ruckus says:

    Nobody thinks that Germany or Denmark approves, just because they have no plans to bomb Syria. Now would be a good time to drop the global policeman, judge, jury and executioner role.

    Adjusted it for you.

  104. 104
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Botsplainer: Sheriff Andy also refused to let Barney Fife carry a loaded gun.

  105. 105
    Suffern ACE says:

    Based on the strategy we’ve been hoping to use here, Obama should have said that the red line involved Assad drinking bleach while sticking an ice pick up his…

    Saddam being even less of a threat than Iraq should probably concern us less. Less than 10% of the population support doing anything there and that is after 2 years of the bombslovers grabbing every microphone and camera. We really do need to start thinking about developing our own local currencies if our elected officials keep getting us involved in these things.

  106. 106
    Ruckus says:

    @Matt McIrvin:
    And sheriff Andy didn’t carry one at all.

    Maybe there is a lesson here after all.

    Of course it was a small rural town with one drunk who checked himself in jail as the main town issue so it may be hard to see or make any connection.

  107. 107
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Ted Cruz is coming out against air strikes, announcing that we shouldn’t be the world’s policeman, calling Obama irresolute and advocating invading Syria to secure the chemical weapons stockpiles. OK then.

  108. 108
    longtime lurk says:

    There’s nothing like having a Democrat in office to make good “liberals” twist themselves into pretzels to defend a policy of bombing the shit out of some country on the other side of the planet. GO Team Blue!

  109. 109
    cleek says:

    @longtime lurk:
    where are these “”liberals”” ?

  110. 110
    taylormattd says:

    @jayackroyd: did you just ask “what makes the use of chemical weapons a problem?”

  111. 111
    Heliopause says:

    There are two audiences for our actions here: Assad and the neocon warmongers.

    Let me fix this for you. There are two more important audiences: Russia and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia in that this action would ostensibly be for them and the other gulf dictatorships, who will quickly brush aside any genuine democracy-lovers attempting to fill the power vacuum and install a favorable client regime. Russia in that it will be another tit-for-tat in the ongoing mini-cold-war.

  112. 112
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I smell wingnut mushroom cloud from fighting them there so we don’t fight them here because boots on the ground beat airstrikes and we shouldn’t be there anyway so BHO is a wuss no matter what he does.

    Is it me or does Cruz sound like Palin’s fraternal twin?

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