America Can’t Say No

James Fallows has promised to publish the best four or five rationales for going to war with Syria, so perhaps some of the specialists in international law who have been advocating intervention in the comments here might want to give it a shot. Meanwhile, our vestigial Congressional appendage has sent a strongly-worded letter begging the President to consult Congress. Perhaps I was asleep during the Schoolhouse Rock that explained how the whole legislating thing works, but I thought there was another way for Congress to express its will, something to do with putting a card in a slot and pressing a button.






228 replies
  1. 1
    RP says:

    Aren’t you begging the question by using the phrase “[g]o to war”? Or are you suggesting that the POTUS should need congressional approval to take any military action at all?

  2. 2
    Linda Featheringill says:

    I agree that the calls for consulting Congress are nonsense but if that nonsense delays the decision about what to do about Syria, maybe it’s a good thing.

  3. 3
    Soonergrunt says:

    I’m in the Against camp, but I submit the following two postings about intervention in Syria from actual experts:
    Against–Prof. John Schindler, US Naval War College: Thinking Strategically about Syria
    For–Prof. Tom Nichols, US Naval War College: The realities of the coming Syrian war
    While I remain unconvinced, Nichols’ posting is very well written, and lays out a decent, honest case.

  4. 4
    Alexandra says:

    I thought there was another way for Congress to express its will, something to do with putting a card in a slot and pressing a button.

    What, like authorising expenditure and raising taxes to pay for a war? That’s so 20th century! History is over, baby; Fukuyama told us himself… and Rove reputedly told everyone that:

    That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out

    Honestly, mistermix, you have so little imagination.

  5. 5
    Belafon says:

    As I have understood, Obama has been consulting with Congress on any military action he has taken, talking to the leadership of both parties. He even said his plan for this would include consulting with Congress.

    He’s also attempted to consult with Congress on all sorts of issues, and it’s generally gone worse than consulting with a day care on what would go best with steak for dinner.

    What the sternly worded letter people want is for the president to “consult” with Congress: Offer his resignation so that a more manly person can take over, like Boehner.

  6. 6
    mistermix says:

    @RP: Attacking another sovereign country is an act of war, isn’t it?

  7. 7
    Zifnab25 says:

    so perhaps some of the specialists in international law who have been advocating intervention in the comments here might want to give it a shot.

    How about we turn the blog over to all the specialists in international law generally by just shutting down the comment section entirely. :-p

    Meanwhile, our vestigial Congressional appendage has sent a strongly-worded letter begging the President to consult Congress.

    Hey! I know! Let’s call up Simpson-Bowles and get the band back together. These “committees to give us advice that we have no intention of following” have worked so well before, after all.

  8. 8
    Botsplainer says:

    Hey, Mix, why aren’t doing what the other patchouli kids are at Kos, and yammering about John Kerry the warmonger? Seems more your speed lately.

    It’s a shit sandwich either way, and there are significant pros and cons to either approach, but this reflexive lazy conservatism that I’m seeing (always do nothing, and the situation will sort itself out some way which may harm more people in the long run but so what, thinking and solving is hard) reflects just how much glibertarianism has metastasized through our national psyche.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Botsplainer says:

    @mistermix:

    Attacking another sovereign country is an act of war, isn’t it?

    Simpleton statement, vaguely jingoistic, lacks nuance or understanding.

    Yup, it’s a mix post.

  11. 11
    Jane2 says:

    @Soonergrunt: I know John Schindler, and he’s no peacenik. He has a persuasive argument.

    Of course, my thinking is also informed by this timely observation by the producers of American Experience:

    #50YearsAgo today, a top secret cable from Henry Cabot Lodge, the U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam reported: “We are launched on a course from which there is no turning back: the overthrow of the Diem government.”

    President Kennedy replied: “The US Government will support a coup which has a good chance of succeeding but plans no direct involvement of U.S. Armed Forces.”

  12. 12
    Comrade Jake says:

    Amazingly, Nick Kristof is calling for a strike. I’d post a link but the NYTimes website once again appears to be down.

  13. 13
    mistermix says:

    @Botsplainer: Better a dirty fucking hippie than an chairborne ranger.

  14. 14
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    “… so perhaps some of the specialists in international law who have been advocating intervention in the comments here might want to give it a shot.”

    Feelin’ yer oats this am are ya?

  15. 15
    RP says:

    So you do think Congress has to approve any military action against another country? Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about that. I can see both sides of the argument.

  16. 16
    some guy says:

    has Al Qaeda’s Air Force been given a date yet when they will be dropping Freedom Bombs on the Baathists?

    any idea on when UN inspector Carla Del Ponte’s report from May, that it was the Syrian opposition that used sarin gas in April, get any media play?

    now that Turkey has this week arrested Al Qaeda members with Sarin gas, located across the border from Syria, will the American media continue to ignore news reports that it may be Al Qaeda’s local Syrian outlet that is behind the latest sarin attacks?

    I’m betting this is going to be a Yes/No/Maybe kind of week!

  17. 17
    Botsplainer says:

    The blog is borked.

  18. 18
    James Gary says:

    Re the post title: is that a Throwing Muses reference? Always nice to know there are other TM fans out there….

  19. 19
    RP says:

    In any event, I’m not sure what you’re arguing. POTUS only has to notify Congress under the War Powers Resolution.

  20. 20
    RP says:

    In any event, I’m not sure what you’re arguing. POTUS only has to notify Congress under the War Powers Resolution.

  21. 21
    Punchy says:

    another way for Congress to express its will, something to do with putting a card in a slot and pressing a button.

    Say what? What card in what slot and what buttons to push?

  22. 22
    RP says:

    In any event, I’m not sure what you’re arguing. POTUS only has to notify Congress under the War Powers Resolution.

  23. 23
    mistermix says:

    @Botsplainer: Check out the title of this post:

    http://tomnichols.net/blog/201.....yrian-war/

    The realities of the coming Syrian war

    That’s Tom Nichols, who teaches at the USN War College, who thinks we should intervene in Syria, btw, calling what we’re going to do by its real name.

  24. 24
    Napoleon says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Andd he is right.

    You really are a first class asshole.

  25. 25
    mistermix says:

    @RP: The War Powers resolution doesn’t mean they couldn’t have a vote on whether to limit the President’s ability to go to war with Syria. What I’m saying is that they can vote on such a resolution instead of sending a letter.

  26. 26
    Belafon says:

    @mistermix: Isn’t it obvious to you that Congress doesn’t actually want to take responsibility for anything that actually involves governing?

  27. 27
    some guy says:

    I’m sorry, those Al Nusrah members arrested by the Turkish police, found with Sarin gas in their house, that was in May, not last week. clearly, Al Qaeda didn’t like the publicity (or lack thereof) when their members were caught wirth Sarin, and have completely sworn off using Sarin gas ever again.

    http://rt.com/news/sarin-gas-turkey-al-nusra-021/

  28. 28
    Belafon says:

    The only reason I see that the US has any reason to act is that the use of chemical weapons violates agreements. We, the world via the UN, either decide that it is worth enforcing these agreements or not. I think they should be enforced.

  29. 29
    mistermix says:

    @Belafon: Absolutely. Doesn’t mean I can’t mention that it’s fucked up.

  30. 30
    DaveinMaine says:

    I think the pisser of it all is that there is NO good solution. Either we stay out of it and basically concede that using chemical weapons will only get you a severe finger-wagging, or we intervene and get stuck in a quagmire that ends in either the Iranian-backed Assad staying in power or a country where Al-Qaeda/Islamists have more power than we’d ever want them to have.

    Fuck me dead.

  31. 31
    IowaOldLady says:

    I’m glad I don’t have to make this decision because there don’t seem to be any good ones. Mostly, I’m thinking here’s another destructive leftover from the disastrous W administration. We were lied into war and no longer trust anything anyone says. Or maybe that’s a good thing.

    Anyway, we’re confronted by the boy who cried wolf.

  32. 32
    John PM says:

    I had a co-worker tell me that he is against US action in Syria but that he could support it if the facts were different. I wish I were making this up.

  33. 33
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Pains me to agree with Marco Rubio

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued a statement on Syria late Wednesday that condemned a use of force if it was done “simply to save face.”
    “Military action, taken simply to save face, is not a wise use of force,” Rubio wrote in a press release, as quoted by the Miami Herald.

    Meanwhile, Gampy McCain is calling for regime change.

    @John PM: Hell, i could support military action against Lichtenstein if the facts were different enough. I wish the facts were so different that I looked like Brad Pitt and had Zuckerberg’s money.

  34. 34
    Linda Featheringill says:

    My goodness, mistermix. You certainly attracted a lot of charming people today, didn’t you?

  35. 35
    raven says:

    @mistermix: Why don’t you just say that and skip the high school shit?

  36. 36
    Botsplainer says:

    @Belafon:

    The only reason I see that the US has any reason to act is that the use of chemical weapons violates agreements. We, the world via the UN, either decide that it is worth enforcing these agreements or not. I think they should be enforced.

    Some of the brilliant thinkers on the left are trying to equate Assad’s use of Sarin gas with the use of tear gas to break up Occupy encampments, I shit you not.

    Equivalence!

  37. 37
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Botsplainer: on a long car trip yesterday, flipping around Sirius/XM, I had the misfortune to hear many seconds of Mike Papantonio. “Even Dubya eventually realized he was being used by the Cheney war machine!” was a typical comment. I don’t think we should lob missiles, but comparing this to Iraq is fifteen different kinds of stupid.

  38. 38
    Botsplainer says:

    @DaveinMaine:

    I think the pisser of it all is that there is NO good solution. Either we stay out of it and basically concede that using chemical weapons will only get you a severe finger-wagging, or we intervene and get stuck in a quagmire that ends in either the Iranian-backed Assad staying in power or a country where Al-Qaeda/Islamists have more power than we’d ever want them to have.

    In a nutshell. Perhaps the only proper military action is to remove the ability of whatever regime emerges to project force beyond the borders.

  39. 39
    cleek says:

    “no”

    there, i said it

  40. 40
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @some guy: Not necessarily saying you’re wrong, but I’d like to see a *slightly* more impartial news source than Russia Today, you know?

  41. 41
    Botsplainer says:

    I’ll toss this in for shits and giggles – this all gets much easier when the “demographic bomb” swings Israel from Jewish state to Palestinian state.

    Assad’s threat to drag the Israelis in complicates this overmuch.

  42. 42

    @Botsplainer:

    It’s a shit sandwich either way, and there are significant pros and cons to either approach, but this reflexive lazy conservatism that I’m seeing (always do nothing, and the situation will sort itself out some way which may harm more people in the long run but so what, thinking and solving is hard) reflects just how much glibertarianism has metastasized through our national psyche.

    I call shenanigans. What happened was Iraq. If you remember back to ten years ago, maybe 75, 80 percent of the glibertarians out there (Instapundit, Steven Den Beste, Ken Layne, etc.) were on the war bandwagon along with some liberals like myself and conservatives like Cole. Antiwar conservatism in the early 2000s was the domain of cranky Buchananite paleocons, who were really a different lot, and whose position has hardly taken the world by storm, though I suppose Buchanan got an outlet on Maddow for a while.

    These days, we are remembering what an incredibly dumbass, destructive move war advocacy was. It’s not an automatic answer to every question about military action but it’s a pretty good default starting position. Speaking personally, if military action is going to make the situation worse in the name of “sending a message” then I’m not in.

  43. 43
    Jeremy says:

    This is really not a war. I’m no fan of intervention but comparing this to Iraq is ridiculous and plain stupid. The proper comparison would be the strike against Libya in the 80’s for Pan Am, or the strike against bin laden by president Clinton. A limited strike for a day or two is not a full blown war.

  44. 44
    mistermix says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Yeah, armchair warriors are either obnoxious or delusional. Example:

    “Perhaps the only proper military action is to remove the ability of whatever regime emerges to project force beyond the borders.”

    It’s like the world is their big game of Risk and the US is the giant hand moving all the pieces on the board.

  45. 45
    burnspbesq says:

    @mistermix:

    I think the point is that there is no evidence of any actual thought behind your position.

    A knee-jerk but correct reaction is still a knee-jerk reaction, and should be avoided. That is, if you’re capable of avoiding it, which is a matter of some doubt.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    burnspbesq says:

    @mistermix:

    Better a dirty fucking hippie than an chairborne ranger.

    So it all reduces to tribalism for you. Good to know.

  48. 48
    jon says:

    @some guy: It’s clear that not all the gas is in the hands of the regime. I don’t think for a second that none of the generals who defected from Assad didn’t take any more than photographs of the family and an extra pair of boots when they cleaned out their desks.

    So anyone could have released the sarin. Rebels, Assad’ s guys, or rogue generals. Occam’s Razor cuts one way, but that’s not enough to go on. Who has the most to gain from getting the US to take out Assad? Is that the right question? Can it be ignored even if it isn’t right?

  49. 49

    The lesson from 2003 for me was that if the President wants a war, the President will get one. Being a practicing Gliberal, I can either get upset about that or go back to making Miley Cyrus jokes. I’ll probably choose jokes. I’m not even actually sure if this comment is meant to be ironic.

  50. 50
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @some guy: More impartial than Russia Today, yes. Did you bother to read and compare the stories? Quite different conclusions.

  51. 51
    jamick6000 says:

    I still don’t believe the administration would go to war (or is it w**?) with Syria. Playing “pick the ethnic group that gets to kill of the other ethnic group” is just so obviously something we should not do.

  52. 52
    ericblair says:

    @Belafon:

    Isn’t it obvious to you that Congress doesn’t actually want to take responsibility for anything that actually involves governing?

    We can hark back to the Libya days, where the House in all its decisive glory resolved to both not authorize support for the Libya NATO mission and not block funding for it. They decided a long time ago that they were going to be the permanent floating Democrat witch hunt, and the media just shrugged and accepted this as normal.

  53. 53
    some guy says:

    or maybe you would prefer Reuters:

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....YO20130530

    whatever happened to the 4.5 pouinds of Sarin the Turkish police seized in Adana? if only there was some kind of organization that could explain and disseminate this information from Reuters? I know May 30th, 2013 was a really really really long time ago, so I understand how people may have forgotten that Al Qaeda operatives were actually arrested with Sarin in Turkey, or may have forgotten that UN inspectors pointed to Al Qaeda as the source of the chemical weapons attacks in April in Syria. But I am sure Al Qaeda has given that all up, now that they are soon to have Tomahawk missiles at their disposal.

  54. 54
    HomerUK says:

    @some guy: that report says that reports of Sarin gas being at the house were wrong, to wit: “He denied earlier Turkish media reports that quantities of the deadly nerve agent sarin had been found in the raids”. Also the UN Report in June 2013 at paragraphs 137 and 138 expressly stated that the Syrian government had chemical weapons that “might fall into the hands of the rebels” and that there was no evidence that the rebels had any access to or capabality in chemical weapons. I can understand arguments against intervention but please let’s get facts right and let’s make sure sources we rely on are saying what we think they are saying.

  55. 55
    mistermix says:

    @burnspbesq: This from a guy whose idea of original thought is citing some obscure piece of the federal code. Jesus wept.

  56. 56
    Botsplainer says:

    @mistermix:

    “Perhaps the only proper military action is to remove the ability of whatever regime emerges to project force beyond the borders.”

    God forbid that one may wish to think this through and conceive of possible solutions. That is too much like work.

    We must allow the market, er, situation to sort itself out in God’s own time, and if Assad wishes to use chemical weapons against civilian populations with impunity, it must be allowed so that principles of non-violence, peace and love can align the planets with the stars.

    After all, the Assad government has staked out a position where he says “we get to do what we want to do to our civilians, and if you try and stop us, we’ll attack a country that isn’t in this fight”. Clearly, all he seeks is peace, like the peace he achieved in Lebanon in 2006.

    Yep, the dude abides.

  57. 57
    HomerUK says:

    @some guy: as if to prove my point, that Reuters article says this: “Cos said unknown chemical materials were found during the raids and sent away for investigation. He denied media reports that a small amount of the nerve agent sarin had been uncovered.

    Six of those arrested were later released, Cos said, while the other six were being kept for further questioning. He did not say which organization had been targeted in the raids.

    Earlier, several Turkish newspapers had reported that 12 people from Syria’s al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front who allegedly had been planning an attack inside Turkey and were in possession of 2 kg (4.5 pounds) of sarin, had been detained in Adana.”

    Once again – he denied media reports that a small amount of the nerve agent sarin had been uncovered.

  58. 58
    catclub says:

    @mistermix: There were a LOT of burning strawmen in that article. It also had very few details on what positive (hah!) actions would be.

  59. 59
    Cacti says:

    Seroquel, mistermix. Seroquel.

    Did someone forget theirs?

  60. 60
    jamick6000 says:

    @ericblair:

    We can hark back to the Libya days, where the House in all its decisive glory resolved to both not authorize support for the Libya NATO mission and not block funding for it. They decided a long time ago that they were going to be the permanent floating Democrat witch hunt, and the media just shrugged and accepted this as normal.

    I dislike Congress as much as anyone, but if the *Obama administration* decides to bomb Syria, you can’t blame Congress.

  61. 61
    some guy says:

    While Adana mayor Hüseyin Avni Cos denied that the suspects were captured with sarin gas and warned against labeling them as part of any terror organization, the Turkish mainstream dailies Sabah and Milliyet are reporting today that the suspects were in fact members of the al Qaeda-linked Al Nusrah Front and were captured with sarin gas. Sabah reports that they were planning attacks on the Incirlik Air Base in Adana and in Gaziantep, a city near Turkey’s border with Syria. Turkish security units have also allegedly received intelligence that three bomb-laden vehicles have entered Turkey from Syria and are planning attacks even larger than the previous one in Reyhanli, and authorities are now on high alert. According to another daily, Radikal, however, the suspects said that they planned to take the materials back to the conflict areas in Syria.

    http://www.longwarjournal.org/.....z2dMqyjIHO

  62. 62
    some guy says:

    so the Turkish dailies reported that the Al Qaeda operatives WERE arrested with Sarin, but the mayor of the town denies it was sarin and claims it was some other chemical? all of this a few weeks after an alleged Sarin attack that the UN inspectors indicated came from the Syrian opposition.

    clearly, we need to drop some bombs on the Baathists, if only so we can make sure the Baathists opponents stop using sarin . makes perfect sense.

  63. 63
    jamick6000 says:

    @Jeremy:

    This is really not a war. I’m no fan of intervention but comparing this to Iraq is ridiculous and plain stupid.

    [eats a wooden spoon full of paste]

  64. 64
    Botsplainer says:

    @Cacti:

    Seroquel, mistermix. Seroquel.

    Did someone forget theirs?

    If this was Friday night, it could be the greatest cocktail party ever.

  65. 65

    @Jeremy: It’s not the Iraq invasion, no: that had months of buildup advertised in advance. But I don’t think we yet know where this ends. To me it feels like Obama’s Libya intervention but in a worse powderkeg.

  66. 66
    Poopyman says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    I’d post a link but the NYTimes website once again appears to be down.

    Could be a targeted attack by these guys.

  67. 67
    grass says:

    What will reactions be by non-interventionists to a second chemical attack? A third? Regular, large scale use? Does it all remain Syria’s internal issue, little different to the artillery and bombs used now, or do you think it constitutes a shift that will have global significance in how the world deals with similar weapons?

    My opinion is if the use of sarin is ignored, it effectively legalises it for internal use by all, chemical weapons ban be damned. The Iran-Iraq war is brought up sometimes to point out US hypocrisy. Well, Iraq used chemical weapons in 80, realised there was no blow back and they were effective against mass attacks by Iranians and subsequently ramped up production and use, culminating in the gassing of Kurds in 88. That’s certainly a black mark against the US, and the ironic thing is that people are using it, on liberal blogs no less, to argue we should permit something similar today.

  68. 68
    Botsplainer says:

    @jamick6000:

    [eats a wooden spoon full of paste]

    You talking about you?

  69. 69
    Cacti says:

    @some guy:

    so the Turkish dailies reported that the Al Qaeda operatives WERE arrested with Sarin

    We do have an AUMF against Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

    But every time it’s exercised, the dudebros and emo progs scream “DROOOONEZ!!”

  70. 70
    jamick6000 says:

    Yes, how could anyone compare Syria to Iraq? Is there a Ba’athist dictator we want to overthrow who’s using chemical weapons on his own people? Does Syria have any deep sectarian divisions like Iraq? Has anyone heard an clear exit strategy/endgame for the possible Syrian war?

    Buhh? Zuuhhh? Guhhhh?

  71. 71
    some guy says:

    @HomerUK:

    Once again – he denied media reports that a small amount of the nerve agent sarin had been uncovered.

    so the mayor of the town where Al Qaeda operatives were arrested with some kind of chemical denies that it was Sarin, and yet the chemical was sent off for analysis and the Al Qaeda operatives are still in jail. I for one am so glad the US and British press have been all over this story, carefully explaining why Syrian jihadists were making chemical weapons in Turkey, and exactly what those chemical weapons were.

    please clap louder.

  72. 72

    Thursday morning funny:

    Doug Sehorne, a hardcore King James Baptist Evangelist who describes himself as an "old-fashioned bible preacher," recently released his latest e-book entitled Bible Principles of Child Discipline (from the Book of Proverbs).

    Surprisingly, the book wasn't gaining much traction on Amazon — that is, until someone happened to notice the book's somewhat incongruous cover, which features an image from the acclaimed ABC series Modern Family.

  73. 73
    Botsplainer says:

    @grass:

    My opinion is if the use of sarin is ignored, it effectively legalises it for internal use by all, chemical weapons ban be damned.

    I might be OK with that, provided that domestically, we limit its use to Occupy encampments and Teatard rallies.

    Call it a twofer.

  74. 74
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @Botsplainer:

    this reflexive lazy conservatism that I’m seeing (always do nothing, and the situation will sort itself out some way which may harm more people in the long run but so what, thinking and solving is hard) reflects just how much glibertarianism has metastasized through our national psyche

    +5 Astute.

  75. 75
    jamick6000 says:

    I seem to remember America getting in the middle of a sectarian civil in the Middle East a few years back. Whatever happened with that? It turned out really good, right? For everyone.

  76. 76

    I feel really stupid about this Syria thing, isn’t this why we created the UN so when some asshole gasses his own people the world has a mechanism to respond? Is the UN just for sternly worded letters?

  77. 77

    @jamick6000:

    I seem to remember Congress and the news media being really gung-ho for that adventure and anyone who tried to ask a few of the questions we’re hearing now was UNAMERICAN and HATED FREEDOM. Remember that?

    Remember pouring bottles of French wine down the gutters?

  78. 78
    Botsplainer says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I feel really stupid about this Syria thing, isn’t this why we created the UN so when some asshole gasses his own people the world has a mechanism to respond? Is the UN just for sternly worded letters?

    Three words – Security Council Veto.

  79. 79
    some guy says:

    @Cacti:

    We do have an AUMF against Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

    and now we are about to provide them with their very own Air Force. bravo for us.

  80. 80
    catclub says:

    @grass: Maybe conceding the use of chemical weapons is the future. I have heard people say that ‘We cannot possibly let Iran Get nuclear weapons.”
    But if Iran gets nuclear weapons and does not use them, as almost all other nations that have obtained nuclear weapons have done, then that is a better solution than a huge war to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and THEN Iran obtains nuclear weapons and holds a grudge.

    If the added cost to attacking Syria, to demonstrate that using chemical weapons is something we disapprove of, is Iran and Russia coming even more into the Syrian war, or widening the conflict to Lebanon and Israel, I think that is too high a cost. They sound like this might be the case.

  81. 81
    some guy says:

    What will reactions be by non-interventionists to a second chemical attack? A third? Regular, large scale use?

    great point. Exactly how many chemical weapons attacks from Al Qaeda will it take before we finally start bombing their opponents?

    too funny.

  82. 82
    Cacti says:

    @some guy:

    and now we are about to provide them with their very own Air Force. bravo for us.

    I’m totes with ya dudebro.

    Dronez is evil. Chemical weapons attacks on primarily civilian areas, meh.

    Let me go put on my skinny jeans and Buddy Holly glasses.

  83. 83
    some guy says:

    I have a question. Are Security Council vetoes ONLY legitimate when the US is the one doing the vetoing? just wondering?

  84. 84

    @Southern Beale:

    Is the UN just for sternly worded letters?

    As we speak the UN is working on a sternly worded reply to your comment.

  85. 85
    Cacti says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Three words – Security Council Veto.

    +1

    Russia is a permanent SC member and probably sold Assad both the munitions and the chemicals that were used.

    Probably won’t hear much about that on Russia Today.

  86. 86
    Cacti says:

    @some guy:

    I have a question. Are Security Council vetoes ONLY legitimate when the US is the one doing the vetoing? just wondering?

    Trust Putin.

    Obama bad.

  87. 87
    grass says:

    @some guy:
    I’m always interested by how much evidence certain people require to be convinced of some things, and then how little they need for others.

  88. 88
    some guy says:

    @Cacti:

    so I take that as an affirmative, UN Security Council vetoes are ONLY legitimate when done by the United States government.

    please clap louder. getting a war on ain’t gonna happen without cheerleaders

  89. 89
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @some guy:
    I agree that we should be wary of ‘false flag’ gas attacks by AQ. However, even if they had access to the Sarin, they do not (as far as I have been able to find out) have access to the type of rocket used in the attacks. Hence the blame on the regime.

    That said, I’d like to see more solid evidence tying the Assad regime itself to the attacks. Who gave the order?

    We can’t assume that Syria has a stable, unbroken chain of command like the US does.

  90. 90
    Suffern ACE says:

    @jamick6000: O.K. But there was more than one Iraq. You want this to be Iraq circa 2003-2011. This is more like Iraq 1992-2003.

  91. 91
    chopper says:

    so perhaps some of the specialists in international law who have been advocating intervention in the comments here might want to give it a shot

    you sure got our number. this blog is chock-full of interventionists, from the ‘i dunno what we should do’ camp to the ‘i just can’t figure out the right answer’ camp.

    to war!

  92. 92
    grass says:

    @catclub: Iran and Russia are already up to their necks supporting Assad in this war, which makes calls for non-interference by Putin a little bit thin. As to spreading to other countries, it’s already happening. Hezbollah fighting Sunnis in Lebanon is the most likely flashpoint. Turkey is being pretty restrained despite attacks along it’s border.

    A nice little regional war is quite possible with zero input from the US. Early and heavy support of the initial moderate uprising might have averted this.

  93. 93
    Cacti says:

    @some guy:

    so I take that as an affirmative, UN Security Council vetoes are ONLY legitimate when done by the United States government.

    Nope, I’m totes with you dudebro.

    Best to trust in the impartiality of the offending belligerent’s top arms supplier.

    Hand me a Pabst.

  94. 94
    some guy says:

    since 2001 there have been 14 vetoes of UN Security Council resolutions. 4 of them have been by Russia. Guess who vetoed the other 10?

  95. 95
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @Southern Beale:
    Russia’s on the UN Security Council, and therefore holds a full veto on any UN vote. Given their relationship with Syria, Russia will vote ‘no’.

    Unless there’s some Cookie they’ll accept in exchange for a ‘yes’ vote (or an abstain), the UN is useless on this matter.

  96. 96
    some guy says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    have access to the type of rocket used in the attacks

    remind me again what type of rockets those are?

  97. 97
    jamick6000 says:

    @Cacti: what is a “dudebro”? Is it like “emoprog” but used by even dumber people?

  98. 98
    Botsplainer says:

    @Cacti:

    Dronez is evil. Chemical weapons attacks on primarily civilian areas, meh.

    Wondering how conflicted Griftwald is on this what with pro-Assad hackers taking out Twitter for a time.

    He’s magnanimous, and I predict will be forgiving of a masculine strongman dictator. He’s generally forgiven them in the past, particularly if they share his antipathy to Obama.

  99. 99
    Cacti says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    We can’t assume that Syria has a stable, unbroken chain of command like the US does.

    That doesn’t make things sound better.

    If someone did “go rogue” so to speak, it suggests that a country with one of the world’s largest chemical weapons stockpiles, does not control their own arsenal.

  100. 100
    catclub says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec: “We can’t assume that Syria has a stable, unbroken chain of command like the US does.”

    When those lowlevel soldiers were convicted of abuse in Abu Ghraib, every commander above them in the chain of command was convicted as well. I remember it well.

  101. 101
    some guy says:

    If someone did “go rogue” so to speak, it suggests that a country with one of the world’s largest chemical weapons stockpiles, does not control their own arsenal.

    Let me guess, they are stored East and West and North and South of Damascus, right?

  102. 102
    Suffern ACE says:

    @some guy: I thought the initial reports said that they were fired in artillery shells at 2:00am. And now they were fired in rockets. And both those things proove that the regime unquestionably used the weapons. Oh, well. Fog of war. Tomorrow we shall note that they were launched from submaries using a type of slingshot that only iranians know how to use.

  103. 103
    Seanly says:

    Throwing Muses have a song entitled “America (She Can’t Say No)” off their first album (1986, re-released 1998). While I like the Decemberists, I luvs TM & Kristin Hersh.

    We’re bound for war – TV was left on MSNBC last night & this morning it started with Chuck Todd talking with Sen. Johnson about war. They both had a hard-on for doing Syria. There was a little mention of how Americans should get behind it, but no mention that NO AMERICANS WANT A WAR OR EVEN INTERVENTION WITH SYRIA.

  104. 104
    some guy says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    I have my money on aluminum tubes .

  105. 105
    Botsplainer says:

    @Seanly:

    NO AMERICANS WANT A WAR OR EVEN INTERVENTION WITH SYRIA.

    Really? You talked to all of them?

  106. 106
    Cacti says:

    @some guy:

    Let me guess, they are stored East and West and North and South of Damascus, right?

    Killer snark, dudebro.

    Are you disputing that Syria has chemical weapons?

  107. 107
    jamick6000 says:

    @Cacti: what is a dudebro?

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    you sure got our number. this blog is chock-full of interventionists, from the ‘i dunno what we should do’ camp to the ‘i just can’t figure out the right answer’ camp.

    Don’t forget mine, which is the ‘somebody else should do it’ camp. But apparently that makes me a warmongering warmonger who loves war.

  109. 109
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @chopper: Shit, I am generally one of the more philosophically pro-intervention people posting comments here and the most you are going to get out of me is: The use of chemical weapons is a serious enough violation of international norms that it justifies a strong reaction from the international community. However, in the case of Syria, I don’t know of any military action that would be both proportional and effective. As a result, I am not in favor of a military response at this time.

  110. 110
    Cacti says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Don’t forget mine, which is the ‘somebody else should do it’ camp. But apparently that makes me a warmongering warmonger who loves war.

    Obama is the warmongeriest warmonger who ever warmongered.

    Trust Russia and Syria.

  111. 111
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Botsplainer: No. However, I believe that the number stood at 9%. That’s 1 in 10, so yeah, let’s pretend that this is something that would pass a referendum if only people knew more about it. I suppose there are lots of Syrian intervention curious people out there who could be persuaded. You might get 20% by next week. Bomb on the momentum, I say.

    As a comparison, 80% supported Panama after years of Noreiga being portrayed as the drug dealing threat to Panama Canal. Perhaps the Establishment should be trying a little harder to convince people.

  112. 112
  113. 113
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @some guy:
    I’m loving this new BJ debate technique. “How do you KNOW, man? How do you REALLY KNOW, man?” (I hereby dub this the “Dennis Hopper Defense”).

    Anyway, Syria buys these from the Russians, and they have been known to equip these as the “delivery system” for their chemical weapons. These rockets were fired from regime-held areas, BTW.

    You seem to think that AQ can just strap a Tupperware full of Sarin on top of a jury-rigged rocket and fire it off. It just doesn’t work this way– they’d be as likely to poison themselves as anyone else. You need trained personnel (ie regular army) to equip and fire these types of weapons.

    Interestingly, the Israeli sources I’ve read (e.g. debkafile and haartez) refer to “shells” (as in artillery), which would definitely implicate the regime (unless AQ has suddenly acquired standard infantry skills).

    It’d be nice to see a picture of these rockets (or shell casings), but I havent been able to find any.

  114. 114
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Cacti: some guy is right wing, not an emotarian. Can’t tell yet if he’s a Buchananesque paleocon or just has a Pam Geller hard on for Arab deaths. Still, I can’t disagree that unilateral military action by the U.S. is whack. It’s illegal and will cause far more harm than good, there is no national security interest at stake (not of the United States anyway), no well-defined goals or missions, and no exit strategy.

    But hey, what could go wrong?

    The only reason to intervene militarily would be to show that there are consequences for violating international laws, but individual nation states don’t have the authority to play vigilante. And if Russia and the PRC block multilateral action, there are legal means of pressuring them.

  115. 115
  116. 116
    Botsplainer says:

    @Cacti:

    Obama is the warmongeriest warmonger who ever warmongered.

    I’m picturing somebody digging up Tom Hayden for a sepulchural sounding speech on warmongering.

  117. 117
    jamick6000 says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    I suppose there are lots of Syrian intervention curious people out there who could be persuaded. You might get 20% by next week. Bomb on the momentum, I say.

    lmao

  118. 118
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @Morbo:
    Pictures!

    Those are NOT SS-21s.

    ETA: I wouldn’t call those ‘shells’, either.

    Does anyone here recognize those?

  119. 119
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    because we’re not all reflexively DO NOTHING, OBAMA which for some reason makes us “interventionists” worthy of derision.

  120. 120
    TAPX486 says:

    iT’S fascinating listening to the likes of Hannity and Ollie North demand answers as to why we should go to war, what the end game is, etc. All good questions that they did not ask when Dubya was selling Iraq. They are outraged that the administration is leaking information to support the case for war but seem to have forgotten that Judy Miller spent more time with her ear to the Oval Office keyhole than she did at her desk.

  121. 121
    flukebucket says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Thank you. It is so helpful to follow links that are actually informative and well thought out.

  122. 122
    Cacti says:

    France: Military ready to go to Syria if needed.

    Those warmongering cheese eating surrender monkeys.

  123. 123
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I’m wondering how many of you all are becoming feverish from over thinking the issue. We’re running out of wars. The only hot war left is in Afghanistan and Obama seems likely to spoil that by pulling out most of the troops. If, FSM forbid, we’re not in a war somewhere then some deluded Congresscritter may eventually conclude that we don’t need to shovel quite so much money at the MIC. Do you really want to see defense contractors and generals standing at freeway on ramps waving signs that read “Will blow stuff up for food”?

  124. 124
    Cacti says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    The only reason to intervene militarily would be to show that there are consequences for violating international laws,

    The alpha and omega for intervention is this. Complete non-response essentially normalizes chemical warfare in the 21st century.

    The problem is, the offending party’s largest arms supplier will veto any UN security council response.

    Solutions? No easy ones that I can see, but plenty of facile comparisons between this and Iraq can be found.

  125. 125
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    mistermix, a question for you: should a country be able to use chemical weapons without consequences imposed by the international community?

    FWIW, I think the answer should be no. I also think that it would have been appropriate for the international community to have sanctioned the US for invading Iraq back in 2003.

  126. 126
    TAPX486 says:

    @Soonergrunt: From the Nichols post ‘In Syria, the moral, strategic, and political arguments all converge in favor of decisive action to stop the killing, if not forever, at least for now, to create a space for peace. But if the lessons of the past two years are any guide, the wheels of violence will keep on turning.’.
    What an utterly depressing rational for going to war. We will launch an attack, resulting in unintended consequences, and it won’t make a bloody bit of Difference
    .

  127. 127

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Speaking from personal experience growing up in the Washington, DC metro area, there’s nothing like involvement in the defense industry to turn a conservative skeptic of big government into a situational Keynesian.

  128. 128
    elmo says:

    My opinion is if the use of sarin is ignored, it effectively legalises it for internal use by all, chemical weapons ban be damned. The Iran-Iraq war is brought up sometimes to point out US hypocrisy. Well, Iraq used chemical weapons in 80, realised there was no blow back and they were effective against mass attacks by Iranians and subsequently ramped up production and use, culminating in the gassing of Kurds in 88. That’s certainly a black mark against the US, and the ironic thing is that people are using it, on liberal blogs no less, to argue we should permit something similar today.

    The existence of a terrible problem does not imply the existence of a solution. Let’s agree for the sake of discussion that if America does not intervene, then the use of sarin gas is effectively legalized for internal use.

    But how, exactly, will American intervention change that calculus, and will the collateral damage of intervention be a worse outcome? That’s the part that you have to answer, and nobody has. I keep hearing that we can’t allow the use of gas to go unchallenged, or unpunished, or whatever, because “international norms” and “international community” and blah blah. But what I don’t hear – *ever* – is how, exactly, American bombs will effectively punish the use of sarin gas in a civil war for survival. What further punishment could the US inflict – without turning the country into glass and killing the very civilians we’re all so desperate to help – that would change a dictator’s calculus from “use every means at my disposal to put down rebellion or I’ll hang in the street” to “don’t touch the sarin gas or Uncle Sam will get upset.”

  129. 129
    cleek says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Is the UN just for sternly worded letters?

    apparently, yes.

    because the permanent security council members are all involved in every other country in the world, there’s no way to get agreement on any potential military action. every country is a client of at least one of the security council members.

  130. 130
    LAC says:

    @TAPX486: Which adds a level of “WTF” to the Times editorial today. Almost self-congratulatory in its new found ability to put the drums away.

  131. 131
    cleek says:

    @elmo:
    this

    the calls for “do something!” never explain how that something will actually make anything better for the people of Syria in the short run or in the long run. and that should be the most important issue.

    bombing Assad’s forces but not eliminating them will be a setback for him, but it’s highly unlikely to get him to leave power or to stop defending his position. and if he does leave, Syria will probably go down the path of Iraq and Libya: endless civil war between sects and ethnicities, with Al-Q throwing bombs into marketplaces. and we clearly suck at nation-building, so there should be no call for us to go in and try to set up a coalition government or whatever.

  132. 132
    MomSense says:

    @grass:

    Confirmation bias is a fascinating thing.

  133. 133
    Rex Everything says:

    @Belafon:

    We, the world via the UN, either decide that it is worth enforcing these agreements or not. I think they should be enforced.

    Surely there are other ways to penalize violations than armed assault.

  134. 134
    chopper says:

    @cleek:

    bombing Assad’s forces but not eliminating them will be a setback for him, but it’s highly unlikely to get him to leave power or to stop defending his position.

    no. OTOH, it may get him to reconsider future use of CW. which may be the point of the whole exercise. maybe the intent is not to have some positive strategic effect on the civil war there or get assad out or ‘stop’ the war, which would be a fool’s errand.

    maybe it’s just to punish him for using CW so he doesn’t do it again.

  135. 135
    srv says:

    Presuming there is evidence the Syrian leadership was behind this attack (there likely will be none), these are all true:

    1) We cannot target or secure any CW stockpiles
    2) We cannot win this war
    3) We cannot affect the outcome of this war
    4) The only way to make the use of unconventional weapons costly to the Syrian leadership is to target them or their families.

    Anything else is a waste of bombs, our time and any moral argument. There’s no there there. If you’re going to draw Red Lines against despots, you have to make it personal.

  136. 136
    mistermix says:

    @elmo: Well put.

  137. 137
    grass says:

    @elmo: I think it’s well within American capabilities to inflict enough damage on Assad’s military infrastructure to make any further contemplation of using chemical weapons inconceivable, except perhaps as a last and terrible fuck you to the west (which if Assad is ever on the verge on losing completely I think is a risk). The attack on the 21st was an attempt to take a suburb of Damascus. Is clearing it of rebels worth losing significant resources desperately needed to fight elsewhere?

  138. 138
    chopper says:

    @Rex Everything:

    i hope so. i would like to know what they are. suspend syria from the UN for a while? sanctions would be brutal on the civilian population to be sure.

  139. 139
    Mandalay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Nobody should be taken in by Cameron piously claiming “It would be unthinkable to proceed if there was overwhelming opposition in the (U.N.) security council”.

    Cameron knows damn well that Russia and China will oppose attacking Syria. It is a convenient excuse for the warmongering bootlicker to avoid domestic humiliation

    Prime Minister David Cameron was forced on Wednesday to push back his plans for an imminent military strike against Syria in a humiliating climb-down for Britain ‘s leader after coming under fierce domestic and international pressure.

    Just a day after recalling Britain’s parliament to vote on how to respond to Syria’s suspected use of chemical weapons , Cameron was ambushed when the opposition Labour party said it wanted greater parliamentary scrutiny and rebel lawmakers in his own ruling Conservative party said they would oppose him…

    Inspired by the legacy of public mistrust left behind by former Prime Minister Tony Blair ‘s contested decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003, Labour leader Ed Miliband and some rebel Conservatives used the prospect of a government defeat in parliament to force Cameron to delay action.

    Apart from some blustering, Britain is out of the shenanigans. France next?

  140. 140
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Lemme see now, I’m a stone evil dictator and part of my population has risen in rebellion against me. The US is threatening action I:

    a) Stop using every weapon at my disposal lest I suffer nuisance raids by US assets. This may result in my being torn to shreds by an angry mob, but the US will turn its frown upside down.

    b) Continue to brutally and ruthlessly put down the rebellion so that I and my fellow Alawites can remain in power.

    What a dilemma!

  141. 141
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @elmo:

    But what I don’t hear – *ever* – is how, exactly, American bombs will effectively punish the use of sarin gas in a civil war for survival.

    Find out who is responsible. Kill them.

    And make sure the next fucker who thinks about ordering the use of chemical weapons on civilians knows why their predecessors are dead.

  142. 142
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay:

    Apart from some blustering, Britain is out of the shenanigans.

    That was my point.

  143. 143
    MomSense says:

    @Cacti:

    “Obama is the warmongeriest warmonger who ever warmongered.”

    Don’t forget bully, also too.

  144. 144
    chopper says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    nuisance raids

    guess that depends on what the intervention is. i mean, bombing some military bases to shit may sound stupid, but taking out a few billion dollars worth of assad’s military assets is gonna sting.

    my question is, how nuts is the guy? if he really will ignore the effects of any attack and keep gassing people, then why bother at all?

  145. 145
    Rex Everything says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I call shenanigans.

    Dude, you’ll be calling shenanigans on this guy till you’re out of breath.

    Meet Botsplainer. His schtick is taking classically liberal or leftist positions and labeling them “conservative,” “libertarian,” “jingoist,” and so on. Isn’t that delightful? Isn’t it wonderful Shavian contrarianism, turning convention on its head and finding truth in the unexpected? He’s just a liberal Malcolm Gladwell, huh?

    No? You think instead that it’s an embarrassingly cheap and lazy attempt at flipping the script? Brainless, clueless, and substance-free? Congratulations: you have something better than shit between your ears.

  146. 146
    Jane2 says:

    @Cacti: Hmmm….and US non-response in 1988 or so did what exactly?

  147. 147
    elmo says:

    @grass:

    I think it’s well within American capabilities to inflict enough damage on Assad’s military infrastructure to make any further contemplation of using chemical weapons inconceivable

    Without causing so much collateral damage to civilian infrastructure and civilians themselves that it becomes a Pyrrhic exercise? I doubt it. I doubt it very much.

  148. 148
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @catclub:

    Given that the orders most likely emanated from the office of the Dark Lord itself, and that the US military has traditionally punished the low level people, not others higher in the chain of command (taking out Lt. Calley about as high up as they’ll go), this is pretty much to be expected.

    However, the point is, you can’t assume that an order was given by Assad to use chem weapons. You can’t assume that the Syrians have an intact top-down chain of command in place for everything, and you can’t assume civilian control the way the US does things. Some low level commander may have made the call if the Assad forces indeed used those weapons, which we cannot know with certainty at this point…the fanatical religious aspect of this conflict lends itself. You cannot assume US military norms for the use of these weapons…that they’ll never be deployed without the explicit order of the commander-in-chief.

  149. 149
    elmo says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    LOL, I wouldn’t have put it quite that way, but I love that you did.

  150. 150
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec: Katyusha?

  151. 151

    The only valid argument that I’ve seen for a response is that, if the international community doesn’t consistently respond to acts like this, then there really is not reason to have a ban on these weapons. I’ve seen the ‘we didn’t act when Saddam did this, or when xxx did this’ line of reasoning for why we shouldn’t act, and that’s precisely the point. Inconsistency means that you can spin whatever argument you want. If the international community decides that any act involving a banned weapon would carry a consequence (which is what they say, we’ve got a whole treaty dedicated to it), then they damn well better stick to that or else it’s really a pointless exercise.

    Now, that basically ignores any and all local considerations. It no longer matters if it’s in the US’s best interests or France’s or the UKs, any more than we demand that it be in the policeman’s best interest in order to arrest their cousin for breaking the law – you break the law you face a consequence, and we get pretty pissed off around here when we see that being applied inconsistently. I think that’s a pretty powerful argument if we can apply it consistently.

    Now, it says nothing about whether bombing ought to be that consequence. It could just be sanctions, etc. But the consequence needs to have meaning to those that committed the act, and so far nothing we’ve done has had meaning. I’m not sure that The Hague would have meaning – like with Libya, the Assad regime seems to be in this to the end. Besides, we’ve long passed that consequence.

    So, put me down in the ‘something must be done’ column due to the above. Put me also down in the ‘I think any military action would be counterproductive’ column. So, we should do something, but I have no fucking idea what. Not all problems have solutions. Never forget that.

  152. 152
    elmo says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    Find out who is responsible. Kill them.

    Sounds good. How? Are we going to send Lt. Columbo, complete with trenchcoat, into the civil war to question suspects?

    “Well. Anyway. Thanks for your time, Mr. Assad. I’ll just let myself out.
    [pause]
    But there was one thing that bothered me…”

  153. 153
    Rex Everything says:

    @👾 Martin:

    If the international community decides that any act involving a banned weapon would carry a consequence (which is what they say, we’ve got a whole treaty dedicated to it), then they damn well better stick to that or else it’s really a pointless exercise.

    Yeah, like when Israel white phosphorused the Gaza Strip. We really laid down the law.

  154. 154
    elmo says:

    @👾 Martin:

    So, put me down in the ‘something must be done’ column due to the above. Put me also down in the ‘I think any military action would be counterproductive’ column. So, we should do something, but I have no fucking idea what. Not all problems have solutions. Never forget that.

    Honest and true. I like that.

    And now asking the group: Is there any value to the proposition that a leader’s violation of certain international norms and laws should void the international norms and laws against assassination with respect to that person? I for one wouldn’t weep bitter tears for international comity if somebody decided to take out Assad himself. Or Kim Jong-un, for that matter.

    Or is that a bridge too far?

  155. 155
    Mandalay says:

    It is now crystal clear that there is no hard evidence that Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attacks. Jay Carney implicitly conceded it during a press conference, and now David Cameron has explicitly admitted it:

    A British military attack on Syria will have to be a “judgment call” as there is no “single smoking piece of intelligence” that the regime used chemical weapons, David Cameron said at the beginning of the emergency Commons debate on Syria…

    However, the prime minister did concede that there could be no 100% certainty about the intelligence on which Britain would have to make a decision on whether to intervene in Syria.

  156. 156
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    OK, I lost a thought in my last, and my browser is being a total PITA today, and wouldn’t load the comment for editing, so…here we go…

    the fanatical religious aspect of this conflict lends itself the other side doing it to frame Assad’s people. The assumption that only the government forces have access to sarin is a poor one, given the chaos that ensued in the former USSR (which held the world’s largest stockpiles of the stuff) that some of it didn’t hit the black market and fall into the hands of Al Qaeda types.

  157. 157
    HG Hay says:

    @elmo: Both the pro and con articles Soonergrunt posted upthread seem to agree that the how is going to be a lot more difficult than “kill them”, that’s for sure.

  158. 158
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @elmo:

    It all depends on what you propose doing about it. It also depends on how unified the international community is about the violation, about punishing the violator of the norms.

    Calling for an international trade embargo of Syria is one thing, but you can bet your sweet ass that Russia and Iran will flout such an embargo.

  159. 159
    LAC says:

    @Mandalay: His statements were far more nuanced than that. But, please proceed, armchair narrator…

  160. 160
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:
    Right size, but Katyusha rockets look (almost comically) like mini-V2s. You’d also have to be insane and/or suicidal to try to use those to deliver nerve agents.

    Syria has a number of multi-rocket launchers in its arsenal, but I haven’t been able to match those from the picture.

    Unfortunately, the Russians have a special fondness for building trucks that shoot lots of rockets at once, and almost every Arab country is even more fond of buying them.

  161. 161
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    Which is one of the serious practical problems with chemical weapons…the wind shifts unexpectedly, and you gas your own lines.

  162. 162

    @Rex Everything:

    Yeah, like when Israel white phosphorused the Gaza Strip. We really laid down the law.

    Unfortunately WP isn’t banned under any treaty. But I’m also not defending any prior inaction on our point. I’m merely noting that a consistent policy and response would be a good thing. And the ‘what about this time’ line of excuses is complete shit. So we shouldn’t punish civil rights abuses because we allowed it in the 50s? We shouldn’t punish gay rights abuses because we allowed it in the 80s? There’s no end to that. It’s a pointless argument designed to avoid dealing with the issue by proclaiming that we can never be better than we once were. It is the very antithesis of what it mean to be a progressive.

  163. 163
    Sly says:

    @Soonergrunt:
    The Nichols piece is pretty good, and summarizes better a lot of my own thoughts on the matter in a way I don’t have the expertise to articulate.

    @elmo:

    That’s the part that you have to answer, and nobody has. I keep hearing that we can’t allow the use of gas to go unchallenged, or unpunished, or whatever, because “international norms” and “international community” and blah blah. But what I don’t hear – *ever* – is how, exactly, American bombs will effectively punish the use of sarin gas in a civil war for survival. What further punishment could the US inflict – without turning the country into glass and killing the very civilians we’re all so desperate to help – that would change a dictator’s calculus from “use every means at my disposal to put down rebellion or I’ll hang in the street” to “don’t touch the sarin gas or Uncle Sam will get upset.”

    A useful historical example on how air strikes can deprive a state of certain military capabilities may be found in Operation Desert Fox, the 1998 bombing of Iraq’s WMD production and delivery centers. We don’t know, and will likely never know, if any WMD production facilities were destroyed in that attack or had already been dismantled, but Iraq’s delivery capability was seriously undermined. Which was the express and only purpose of the strikes, even though they were carried out under the rubric of the Iraq Liberation Act, which did hold up “regime change” as the ultimate goal for all U.S. action.

    Yes, the strikes killed civilians. Yes, people were saying the same thing about those strikes before they happened that they are about strikes in Syria, and some of the same exact people are saying the same exact thing. No, I don’t know if the results would be replicated in Syria. No one does.

  164. 164
    tybee says:

    @some guy:

    yellow cake with an aluminium tube frosting

  165. 165
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @elmo:

    Sounds good. How?

    Drone? Seal Team Six? Cruise Missile for breakfast?

    I’m a boffin. Not the CIC.

  166. 166
  167. 167
    chopper says:

    @👾 Martin:

    And the ‘what about this time’ line of excuses is complete shit. So we shouldn’t punish civil rights abuses because we allowed it in the 50s? We shouldn’t punish gay rights abuses because we allowed it in the 80s? There’s no end to that. It’s a pointless argument designed to avoid dealing with the issue by proclaiming that we can never be better than we once were. It is the very antithesis of what it mean to be a progressive.

    ^this.

  168. 168
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @Morbo:
    Good catch.

    So… Syria, Iran, or…. Hezbollah?

    Joy.

  169. 169
    patroclus says:

    I think it would be a mistake for the U.S. or NATO to launch bombs on Syria but that doesn’t make me a non-interventionist generally. I supported the Libyan intervention and (at least initially) the Afghanistan intervention. But here, I just don’t see what it is we will accomplish. I’d prefer diplomacy and sanctions prior to war. I’d prefer at least waiting until the UN inspectors have filed a report. I’d prefer a real debate at the Security Council. I’d prefer the exhaustion of all other remedies. I’d prefer a debate in Congress. I’d prefer drones before tomahawks and cruise missiles. I’m just not convinced as yet, and given the Iraq fiasco, it’s gonna take a lot more to convince me.

  170. 170

    @elmo:

    Or is that a bridge too far?

    No. And I don’t think anyone would actually dispute that too much. This is not a political action but a military one. Yamamoto was not assassinated, he was a valid military target, even though he was singled out. Given that Assad has clearly initiated a military act, I think targeting him would be viewed as a military act in the same was as targeting Obama during a war would be a military act (we would, of course object, but…) Now, if we had Kim Jong Un killed, that would clearly be a political act, and therefore illegal (under our own rules).

  171. 171
    chopper says:

    @patroclus:

    and while i’m not a fan of the equivocating ‘dead is dead no matter the mechanism’ shtick making its way around liberal blogs right now, the fact is that civilians will die regardless of whether or not more CW are used before any response occurs. responding right now is not going to somehow lower the civilian death toll, so a military intervention can wait.

  172. 172
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    Unfortunately, the Russians have a special fondness for building trucks that shoot lots of rockets at once, and almost every Arab country is even more fond of buying them.

    Yeah, that’s why I mentioned them. I know a lot more about ACW and WWII hardware than modern, but I figured there was a good chance it was one of the descendants of the original katyusha.

    @Morbo: As if we needed any more lessons in how complicated this is.

  173. 173
    chopper says:

    @👾 Martin:

    yamamoto was a valid military target because we were at war with japan. for assad to be a valid military target, rather than subject to a political assassination, we’d have to be in a state of war with syria, “declared” or not.

  174. 174
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    Find out who is responsible. Kill them.

    The killling part is easy, assuming you can actually do the hard part (finding out who is responsible) AND locate them.

    The latter is stuck, permanently, in the “too hard” box.

  175. 175

    Jim Garrison, 1967:

    Over the years, I guess I’ve developed a somewhat conservative attitude — in the traditional libertarian sense of conservatism, as opposed to the thumbscrew–and–rack conservatism of the paramilitary right — particularly in regard to the importance of the individual as opposed to the state and the individual’s own responsibilities to humanity. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to formulate this into a coherent political philosophy, but at the root of my concern is the conviction that a human being is not a digit; he’s not a digit in regard to the state and he’s not a digit in the sense that he can ignore his fellow men and his obligations to society.

    I was with the artillery supporting the division that took Dachau; I arrived there the day after it was taken, when bulldozers were making pyramids of human bodies outside the camp. What I saw there has haunted me ever since. Because the law is my profession, I’ve always wondered about the judges throughout Germany who sentenced men to jail for picking pockets at a time when their own government was jerking gold from the teeth of men murdered in gas chambers. I’m concerned about all of this because it isn’t a German phenomenon; it’s a human phenomenon. It can happen here, because there has been no change and there has been no progress and there has been no increase of understanding on the part of men for their fellow man.

    What worries me deeply, and I have seen it exemplified in this case, is that we in America are in great danger of slowly evolving into a proto–fascist state. It will be a different kind of fascist state from the one of the Germans evolved; theirs grew out of depression and promised bread and work, while ours, curiously enough, seems to be emerging from prosperity.

    But in the final analysis, it’s based on power and on the inability to put human goals and human conscience above the dictates of the state. Its origins can be traced in the tremendous war machine we’ve built since 1945, the “military–industrial complex” that Eisenhower vainly warned us about, which now dominates every aspect of our life. The power of the states and Congress has gradually been abandoned to the Executive Department, because of war conditions; and we’ve seen the creation of an arrogant, swollen bureaucratic complex totally unfettered by the checks and balances of the Constitution. In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society.

  176. 176
    catclub says:

    @Bob In Portland: Slippery slope arguments look bad when, 45 years later, things seem little or no different, and we do not seem too much worse for the wear.

    “and we’ve seen the creation of an arrogant, swollen bureaucratic complex totally unfettered by the checks and balances of the Constitution. ” Sounds just like today’s teabaggers. And about as accurate.

  177. 177

    @catclub: Congress is a debating society and the country is run by the CIA and the military-industrial complex.

    Nice that you’ve gotten used to it. These unending wars, the spying of citizens, none this bothers you. That’s great for you. Showers to the right.

    This is what Garrison said next:

    Of course, you can’t spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can’t look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won’t be there. We won’t build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line. We’re not going to wake up one morning and suddenly find ourselves in gray uniforms goose–stepping off to work. But this isn’t the test. The test is: What happens to the individual who dissents? In Nazi Germany, he was physically destroyed; here, the process is more subtle, but the end results can be the same.

    I’ve learned enough about the machinations of the CIA in the past year to know that this is no longer the dreamworld America I once believed in. The imperatives of the population explosion, which almost inevitably will lessen our belief in the sanctity of the individual human life, combined with the awesome power of the CIA and the defense establishment, seem destined to seal the fate of the America I knew as a child and bring us into a new Orwellian world where the citizen exists for the state and where raw power justifies any and every immoral act. I’ve always had a kind of knee–jerk trust in my Government’s basic integrity, whatever political blunders it may make.

    But I’ve come to realize that in Washington, deceiving and manipulating the public are viewed by some as the natural prerogatives of office. Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti–fascism.” I’m afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security.

  178. 178

    @MomSense: Except that he’s also a pussy.

  179. 179
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    lol, yes. watch it, you don’t want to be sent to a reeducation camp of the mind.

  180. 180
    hoodie says:

    @Bob In Portland: That is one magic loogie.

  181. 181
  182. 182
    chopper says:

    @hoodie:

    you never know. just this morning i found the military-industrial complex under my bed.

  183. 183
  184. 184
    cleek says:

    @catclub:

    “and we’ve seen the creation of an arrogant, swollen bureaucratic complex totally unfettered by the checks and balances of the Constitution. ” Sounds just like today’s teabaggers. And about as accurate.

    there’s nothing teabaggy about that. you can find that identical sentiment anywhere Americans talk politics.

  185. 185

    @chopper: You might have found them in your federal taxes, or you might have found them on the internet. You might find them in your crippled or dead cousin who went to Iraq. You might find them under a bridge. If you were South Central in the 80s you would have found them in your crack cocaine, but not under your bed.

  186. 186
    ericblair says:

    The idea that the military-industrial complex wants war is vastly overstated, even if you want to be completely cynical. You’ll get mercenary outfits like Xe (who shouldn’t exist), and perhaps the Bechtels of the world who do the theater-area construction and some supply contractors who will benefit. But otherwise, it means replacing a bunch of beans, bullets, and Humvees, which is not very profitable and not very sexy, and tends to take money and attention away from developing the newest shiny toys. Even worse, messy engagements like this might prove that the new shiny toys aren’t really that useful and can be safely shitcanned. Congress and the defense industry would much rather pump out a few thousand more tanks and nifty airplanes to zip around the desert on nice predictable exercises.

  187. 187
    Keith G says:

    A regime that continually uses chemical weapons must be confronted. It’s a fucked up mess of a thing, but doing nothing sends a message heard in other places than Damascus.

  188. 188
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    when i dropped my son off at day care today, i got a strong whiff that the woman who runs it is CIA.

  189. 189

    @ericblair: You don’t seem to understand. You think the sole purpose of war is for war. War is for wealth and power. It always has been. You may not be privileged to looking over the balance sheets, but no arms company ever went broke supplying a war. And the oil companies seems to be doing pretty well to. Was the coup in Iran in 1953 for freedom or oil?

    You really seem to be incapable of getting your lobes around this.

  190. 190
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    The imperatives of the population explosion, which almost inevitably will lessen our belief in the sanctity of the individual human life, combined with the awesome power of the CIA and the defense establishment, seem destined to seal the fate of the America I knew as a child and bring us into a new Orwellian world where the citizen exists for the state and where raw power justifies any and every immoral act.

    Unfortunately for conservatives of all stripes, the predicted massive population explosion that would require “Soylent Green”-like population control measures never actually happened. Turns out that when people have access to birth control and a decent standard of living, they actually prefer small families.

  191. 191

    @Mnemosyne: I agree that the population explosion is not now seen as the threat that it was in 1967.

    You may have noticed, though, that there is one political party trying to deny large swaths of our population birth control and decent standards of living. You may have also noticed that it’s getting a little hot and humid in this pot of water.

  192. 192
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    i doubt that tossing a few cruise missiles at some syrian airbases is really going to be a huge moneymaker for the defense industry.

  193. 193
    ericblair says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    You really seem to be incapable of getting your lobes around this.

    Right, dude, you seem to have a total handle on what’s actually going on inside the government, so have fun.

  194. 194

    @Jockey Full of Malbec: What kind of rockets did Aum Shinrikyo use in the Tokyo subways? I forget.

  195. 195

    @ericblair: You weren’t talking about government, you were talking about war. You said that the idea that the military-industrial complex wants war is vastly overstated. Or did you forget that you said that?

    Yeah, that’s why the head of Lockheed is forever burning his draft card and pledging support to the Peace and Freedom Party candidates. That’s why the board at Exxon and BP have jointly announced that they are opposed to any intervention in the Mideast. Yeah, that’s the ticket, eric. When do you graduate high school? Or have you given up?

  196. 196
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    unless you’re arguing that rockets weren’t used in this attack, this is a non-sequitur.

  197. 197
    fuckwit says:

    @Mandalay: Oh for fuck’s sake, this again??? Jeebus, I’m tired of these clowns just lying their way into wars over and over again. SOMEONE used chemical weapons, but they don’t know who? Well, then solve that problem first.

  198. 198

    @Cacti: Cacti, are you disputing that the rebels have chemical weapons?

  199. 199
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Yeah, that’s why the head of Lockheed is forever burning his draft card and pledging support to the Peace and Freedom Party candidates.

    i doubt that the head of lockheed is pushing hard for obama to toss some tomahawks at syrian airbases.

  200. 200

    @chopper: Chopper, please tell us what rockets were used in the attack. And that there was sarin in the rockets. You must be a step ahead of the UN inspectors.

    Pro-interventionists have said that the rebels couldn’t have done this because they don’t have rockets. But Aum Shinrikyo deployed sarin gas in the Tokyo subways without ANY military ordinance. So that theory doesn’t work.

    Instead, you now argue the bluntheaded argument that The sarin (or whatever it is) had to be delivered by rocket because….

    What would prevent al Nusra of deploying poison gas in the middle of war zone?

    Admit it, you don’t know jack. You only know what you are told, and if you are capable of taking the US government at its word after Afghanistan and Iraq you have quite nicely defined your intellectual position.

  201. 201

    @chopper: But I bet the head of Raytheon is crying his eyes out.

  202. 202
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    i know as much as you know. according to reports, civilians following this attack showed evidence of exposure to nerve gas. rockets were found in the vicinity of the attack and witnesses claim they saw rockets impacting the area at the time and place of the gassing. this implies that rockets were used to release the gas.

    of course, maybe there was no gas at all and it’s all a huge conspiracy. the military-industrial complex and the CIA could have staged the whole thing.

  203. 203

    @Keith G: So if al Nusra deployed the sarin, and they got it from Turkey, or the CIA, we should bomb Ankara and Langley in addition to the rebel forces?

    I just want to be clear about this because the last time the US violated the Geneva Conventions (Extraordinary Renditions) I don’t recall a groundswell about sending Bush and Cheney to The Hague.

  204. 204
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    WOO HOO, that’ll boost raytheon’s yearly profits by a whole 6th of a percent. he must be personally calling the WH as we speak.

  205. 205
    catclub says:

    @cleek: I agree nothing _uniquely_ teabaggy, but I hope you are not denying that teabaggers say this. I think they do.

  206. 206

    @chopper: This only took sixty years to get out:

    After the first coup attempt failed, General Zahedi, declaring that he was the rightful prime minister of Iran, shuttled between multiple safe houses attempting to avoid arrest. Mossadegh ordered security forces to round up the coup plotters, and dozens were imprisoned. Believing that he had succeeded, and that he was in full control of the government, Mossadegh erred. Assuming that the CIA coup failed, he asked his supporters to return to their homes and to continue with their lives as normal. The Tudeh party members also returned to their homes, no longer carrying out enforcement duties.[6][7][8]

    However, General Zahedi, who was still on the run, met with the pro-Shah Ayatollah Mohammad Behbahani and other Shah supporters in secret. There (using CIA money deridingly known as “Behbahani dollars”), they quickly created a new plan. Already, much of the country was in shock from the Shah’s flight from Iran, fears of communism, and Mossadegh’s arrests of opponents. They capitalized on this sentiment in their plans.

    The Ayatollah Behbahani also used his influence to rally religious demonstrators against Mossadegh.[6][7][8]
    On August 19, hired infiltrators posing as Tudeh party members began to organize a “communist revolution”. They came and encouraged real Tudeh members to join in. Soon, the Tudeh members took to the streets attacking virually any symbols of capitalism, and looting private businesses and destroying shops. Much of southern Tehran’s business district, including the baazars, were vandalized. With sudden mass public revulsion against this act, the next part of Zahedi’s plan came into action. From the vandalized bazaars, a second group of paid infiltrators, this time posing as Shah supporters, organized angry crowds of common Iranians who were terrified about a “communist revolution” and sickened by the violence.[6][7][8]

    By the middle of the day, large crowds of regular citizens, armed with improvised weapons, took to the streets in mass demonstrations, and beat back the Tudeh party members. Under Zahedi’s authority, the army left its barracks and drove off the communist Tudeh and then stormed all government buildings with the support of demonstrators. Mossadegh fled after a tank fired a single shell into his house, but he later turned himself in to the army’s custody. To prevent further bloodshed, he refused a last attempt to organize his supporters.[69] By the end of the day, Zahedi and the army were in control of the government.[6][7][8]
    The Shah stayed in Italy until he learned that the coup removed Mossadegh.[65] Alan Dulles, the director of the CIA, flew back with the Shah from Rome to Tehran.[70] Zahedi officially replaced Mosaddegh.

    Mossadegh was arrested, tried, and originally sentenced to death. But on the Shah’s personal orders, his sentence was commuted[7][8][71][72] to three years’ solitary confinement in a military prison, followed by house arrest until his death.[73]

  207. 207

    @chopper: That’s the difference between a Republican and Democratic President. Raytheon calls a Democratic President. A Republican President calls Raytheon.

  208. 208
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    okay, what are you arguing happened? were the rockets found at the scene planted? are the eyewitnesses claiming rockets landing with a thud at the scene of the gassing part of the conspiracy?

    that rockets delivered the gas has much more a tingle of common sense than the infowars-style shit you appear to be peddling.

  209. 209

    @chopper: Jumping the gun a little chopper? You haven’t shared any proof that there were rockets with sarin gas in them.

    I don’t know what happened. I am saying that in the middle of a war zone in the middle of the night lots of things can happen. And without positive proof there is no reason for bombing Syria. And bombing Syria is not going to make things better.

    Do you have the names of witnesses? Their backgrounds? Whose side they are on? Pal, I don’t mind you eating shit. And you’ve got a table full of turds in front of you. Just don’t spit it back at us.

    Aluminum tubes, chopper. Tastes good, eh?

  210. 210
    Rex Everything says:

    Unfortunately WP isn’t banned under any treaty.

    The use of incendiary weapons against civilian populations is banned by both the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons.

    @👾 Martin:

    And the ‘what about this time’ line of excuses is complete shit. So we shouldn’t punish civil rights abuses because we allowed it in the 50s? We shouldn’t punish gay rights abuses because we allowed it in the 80s? There’s no end to that. It’s a pointless argument designed to avoid dealing with the issue by proclaiming that we can never be better than we once were.

    Fuck that shit. I’ll go with your lame ass analogy just to make a point. “We shouldn’t punish civil rights abuses”—? We should, in the U.S. We shouldn’t use civil rights abuses outside our borders as an excuse to bomb other countries. And if we were to do such a thing, we should absolutely apply the rules consistently. Failure to enforce the rules 3 1/2 years ago isn’t like allowing civil rights violations six decades ago.

  211. 211
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @chopper:
    None of it’s REAL, man, don’t you get it?

    There isnt even a real Syria, man… You ever been there? it’s all just a computer simulation, run by the STATE, man…

    Wake up, sheeple!

  212. 212
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    i’m not advocating we bomb syria.

    i am saying that what has been reported points to a rocket gas attack. if you think the rebels gassed these people (which you seemed to imply above), i’d like to see what you have to back that up. if all you have is conspiracy-mongering skepticism and no actual alternate explanation well then that’s absolutely useless.

    Aluminum tubes

    the thing about those was, back in 02/03 there was a better, more rational explanation for them than centrifuge parts. this information was available.

    if you want to argue that this was not a rocket attack, give me some information rather than skepticism for it’s own sake. whaddya got outside of ‘don’t believe anything!’

    Just don’t spit it back at us.

    wow, a smug, ignorant conspiracy-mongering moron on the internet. why don’t you tell us all how “9/11 was an inside job”.

  213. 213

    @chopper: Well, they were charging 1.41 million each for a Tomahawk, but I hear they just got a new contract to make ’em for around a half-mil apiece. That means they’re gonna have to make their profit selling in bulk.

  214. 214
    chopper says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    it’s all made up. remember, you can’t spell ‘syria’ without C-I-A.

  215. 215
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    wow, half a mil. so if obama sends some in there they’ll make, what, a cool million off it in profit? OMG, this goes all the way to the top!

  216. 216

    @chopper: So chopper, you admit that between your ad hominems that you don’t have any proof who delivered what. I don’t have to prove anything to say don’t go to war and you don’t have to prove anything to say let’s go to war.

    I bet you even sleep at night.

  217. 217

    @chopper: Ad hominem without advancing any proof. Thanks.

  218. 218

    @chopper: chopper, you are somehow arguing that the military-industrial complex doesn’t make money on war, right? That’s your point? Does your mother hold your spoon?

  219. 219
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    ad hominems

    is there anything sadder than a hack who talks all sorts of smack, and when someone responds in kind starts complaining about it? the kiddie pool is that way, son.

    you don’t have to prove anything to say let’s go to war.

    jesus, does your head whistle in a cross wind? i’m not advocating for bombing, numbnuts.

  220. 220
    MomSense says:

    @Keith G:

    It is such a fucked up mess of a thing with no good outcomes. Heartbreaking and horrifying. The BBC did some interviews today with people in Syria. They talked to a woman in Damascus who doesn’t want the US, France, etc to bomb because she is afraid they will hit the chemical weapons stores. They interviewed another woman who had kept wet clothes on her children’s faces to try and protect them and she was crying, begging the US to help them.

    I think we are all conflicted about what to do because it is just so godawful. It feels terrible and that is the appropriate thing to feel. Just a fucked up mess of a thing.

  221. 221
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    you are somehow arguing that the military-industrial complex doesn’t make money on war, right?

    of course not. only a pig-ignorant shithead would think that’s my argument.

    i am saying that the “military-industrial complex” isn’t gonna rake it in if the president decides to toss a few cruise missiles at syria.

  222. 222
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    the fact that you can’t seem to grasp even the most basic of points is astounding. did you get your diploma from a box of tampons?

  223. 223

    @chopper: How much have the military-industrial complex made from the last twelve years of war?

    Thank you.

  224. 224

    @chopper: Then what the hell are you advocating? “Missiling”?

  225. 225

    @chopper: What basic point am I missing? That there is no proof who shot what?

    Blowing up people does not make their lives better.

  226. 226
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Beats me. I’m not arguing that it doesn’t make money. I’m arguing that it won’t over tossing a few cruise missiles.

  227. 227
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    I don’t want to see a military intervention of any sort. That’s pretty clear if you read my posts on the subject.

  228. 228
    chopper says:

    @Bob In Portland:
    That my argument is towards the proposed intervention, not large-scale war.

    Blowing up people does not make their lives better.

    you still haven’t got it through your thick skull that I’m against an intervention here. It’s like arguing with a dinner plate.

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