Over There in England

The war pig gets a setback:

British Prime Minister David Cameron was dealt a blow Thursday in his push for a strong response, including possible military action, against Syria after the House of Commons voted down the measure.

The vote, 285-to-272, came just minutes after member of Parliament rejected a Labour Party motion calling for additional time for U.N. weapons inspectors to gather evidence over whether President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in suburban Damascus.

Kind of weird how other countries manage to grok the whole majority rule thing. If that were the US Senate vote, we’d be going to war tomorrow. At any rate, it looks like this is going to end up all on us unless we pull our heads out of our asses. Have no fear, we’re up to the challenge:

President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria, administration officials said on Thursday, even with a rejection of such action by Britain’s Parliament, an increasingly restive Congress, and lacking an endorsement from the United Nations Security Council.

Although the officials cautioned that Mr. Obama had not made a final decision, all indications suggest that the strike could occur as soon as United Nations inspectors, who are investigating the Aug. 21 attack that killed hundreds of Syrians, leave the country. They are scheduled to depart Damascus, the capital, on Saturday.

Maybe he is just trying to earn another Nobel Prize.






337 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Big powwow tonight. Stay tuned.

  2. 2
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Good for the UK. President Obama and the US need to do the same.

  3. 3
    MomSense says:

    You are sooo confident you got this one right Cole.

  4. 4
    some guy says:

    Al Qaeda’s Air Force will show that despot what’s what.

  5. 5

    I think that the usurper already said we’d go it alone to protect our “credibility”. Worst rationale ever.

  6. 6
    raven says:

    Send it to the congress and let them vote it down. Then gas the fucking shit out of em.

  7. 7
    lamh36 says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    People will die with intervention, and people will die without, I promise you, I’m ok w/no intervention. but then again I’m also not gonna be bothered by the sight of chemical war victims if chemical weapons are really being used.

    So I’ll be glad if we don’t get anywhere near Syria, but I swear if I see one person come crying about the victims,or one stupid blog post ala Sully showing victims of the Syrian chemical attacks, I will scream and I promise you I will troll hard.

    I’m just saying.

    ETA: Not a fan of the celebrations over this. Intervention or not, there will be people over there who will die and if CW is being used will die horribly. Don’t think that it should getting any f(*& yeah, type of celebration.

  8. 8
    piratedan says:

    supposedly 30 of Cameron’s own party members MP’s weren’t there for the vote and as such, they were reliant on Labour who let them twist in the wind

  9. 9
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    “Maybe he is just trying to earn another Nobel Prize.” = not trolling

    I’d rather we didn’t intervene either, but please.

  10. 10
    Warren Terra says:

    The nation in question is called “Britain” not “England” (actually, it’s “The United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland”, but that’s too much). I only point this out because the vast majority of the Tories come from English seats, and so I feel fairly sure that it was the Welsh and the Scottish that made the difference here and handed Cameron this defeat.

  11. 11
    MomSense says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    I think that the usurper already said we’d go it alone to protect our “credibility”. Worst rationale ever.

    Citation?

  12. 12
    raven says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: What’s wrong, you don’t like cute little shit?

  13. 13
    Voncey says:

    That’s nonsense. A vote to authorize a military strike would lose in the House and that’s why Boehner is not demanding that Congress needs to authorize a strike.

  14. 14
    TriassicSands says:

    Sigh. It seems like every Democratic president has to prove over and over and over that they aren’t weak on foreign policy. By doing so, they just prove over and over and over just how weak they really are.

    It certainly would be great if, on the eve of the upcoming ‘Whale of a Fight” with the Great Orange Bo(eh)ner, this Democratic president would show the world that he’s different.

  15. 15
    MikeJ says:

    “No 10 and the Foreign Office think Miliband is a fucking cunt and a copper-bottomed shit. The French hate him now and he’s got no chance of building an alliance with the US Democratic Party.”

  16. 16
    Alexandra says:

    Kind of weird how other countries manage to grok the whole majority rule thing.

    Well, we’re kind of blessed to some extent at the moment with a coalition government. If there had been a large Tory majority, if Cameron had been swept to power in 2010, my guess is that votes like this would have easily been won by the government.

    Additionally, and I’m not entirely sure why, the antiwar left over here in the UK spooked the establishment far more than they did in the US. Too many people in high places have had their fingers burned and careers ruined over the war in Iraq. Perhaps the various inquiries did a lot of damage and perhaps the media isn’t as servile.

  17. 17
    Howard Beale IV says:

    And now we find out that Snowden gave Gen. Alexander a dicking of his own making.

    The one who should be charged with treason is Alexander, as this all occurred under his command/watch.

    But he won’t be. And he won’t resign his commission either, even though he should. Hell, boat skippers and nuclear ordinance masters get the boot when they fuck up-why is Alexander curiously exempt?

  18. 18

    @ranchandsyrup: I don’t think he means the credibility of himself or the US, at least based on what he’s stated in the past. I think he means the credibility of the 100-odd nations that signed the treaty banning chemical weapons. We’ve got this here treaty that the moment someone breaks it we look down and kind of shuffle our feet. What’s the fucking point of having the treaty? May as well just tear it up. May as well do the biological weapons treaty as well, because every rationale for not intervening would apply if that happened too.

    I’m really torn on this. It’s a profoundly bad idea, yet, why bother trying to make these improvements to the world if we’re just going to decide we can be bothered to carry them through?

  19. 19
    Bitter Scribe says:

    But it’s cool that Russia, China and Iran are sticking up for Assad, right?

  20. 20

    @MomSense: I’m prolly conflating a direct quote with some of the hawks trying to prod him. But the rationale is: He set the “red line” (I disagree with it along the lines of Sonnergrunt’s post yesterday). No follow through = loss of credibility.
    Sorry that’s not in bluebook form. :)

  21. 21
    ruemara says:

    Intervening in Syria is derp of the highest magnitude. I’m just making sure that I say it upfront.

  22. 22
    raven says:

    @👾 Martin: Too many people are against it for my liking.

  23. 23
    chopper says:

    @👾 Martin:

    there’s gotta be some sort of effective response that isn’t military.

  24. 24
    PopeRatzo says:

    We have to attack because people killed by chemical weapons are 10x more dead than those killed by drones and tomahawk missiles.

    But I would prefer if President Obama at least did as the Constitution requires and ask fucking Congress first. And if they don’t say yes? Then he should put his dick back in his pants and apologize for his stupid “bright red line” tough talk. That was something you’d expect from George Bush.

  25. 25
    OGLiberal says:

    I swear that the only argument I’ve seen from any side, from any expert, from any non-expert, is that we have to bomb to send a message and ensure that lowlifes like Assad don’t thumb their noses at us. Nobody is saying this will help the rebels, nobody is saying we even want to help the rebels, nobody is saying the goal is to get Assad out, nobody is saying the goal is to destroy the government’s chemical weapon capabilities, nobody is saying this will save lives. It’s basically putting Assad in a 10-minute time-out, but with bombs that will destroy some shit that won’t change the equation on the ground and will likely kill some folks who have nothing to fucking do with any of this. I mean, if we thought that doing this would discourage Assad from doing it again then maybe, maybe, I could see why somebody might consider it an less than terrible but still bad idea. But nobody is even saying that…it’s not even a stated goal.

    Are we seriously going to do this? Are some token missiles really going to dissuade Assad or other leaders who see their control in jeopardy from doing whatever they have to do to retain that control. (and, again, still don’t have proof that Damascus central approved this attack) Also, I read something on Juan Cole today implying that some local commander either fucked up or did something he wasn’t supposed to do – ie, throw chem weapons at civilians. So we undertake what amounts to an act of war over something that may have been a fucking mistake/lone wolf?

  26. 26
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    At the same time as the Commons had its debate, you had a couple of senior retired generals in the Lords saying “what’s the objective, what are the criteria for success, where is the public support?”

    In terms of strict politics, Cameron botched this, because he looked like he’d signed off to an American plan before bothering with Parliament. Having Tony ‘that’ll be £100,000, Mr Dictator’ Blair on his side didn’t help, either. There is a lot of war-weariness in Britain.

    And again, in terms of strict politics, there’s the question of what happens when, as is likely, American planes use the RAF base in Cyprus.

  27. 27
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @lamh36: I wasn’t celebrating. Of course I am horrified by the murder of Syrians by their government (and by rebels on whatever side). As I’ve said before, the US (and other western democracies) didn’t intervene in other countries where thousands of people have been killed (the Congo, Darfur, Rwanda, Uganda). Britain intervened in Sierra Leone and ended the civil war there, so that appears to be the exception.

    What exactly will the US accomplish by getting involved in the Syrian civil war? To be effective, they’d have to send troops into Syria, which is just not going to happen.

  28. 28
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @PopeRatzo: This is the moment the GOP has been waiting for: If Obama doesn’t get Congresses’s blessing and starts lobbing ordinance, this’ll give them the ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’ they need for Articles of Impeachment. Sure, it’s a stretch, bu that’s not going to stop the Teahaeadists in the GOP and the more radical Dems.

  29. 29

    @Voncey:

    A vote to authorize a military strike would lose in the House and that’s why Boehner is not demanding Congress be consulted.

    But here’s the problem – Congress has no credibility because a vote to have fireworks on the 4th of July would fail in the House if Obama drafted the bill. Because congress has blocked even the ability to fill positions in the administration, they’ve really lost their credibility to be a balance against the executive. Obama going back to the AUMF well is the executive counter to the debt ceiling fights and filibustering the head of every agency. If the House doesn’t want to do this, they’re more than welcome to repeal those powers they gave the President Bush.

    That’s petty, but everyone here clamors for Democrats to throw elbows against this shit, until something like this comes up and then it’s all about deferring to procedure. Make up your damn minds. You’re as bad as Republicans.

    (Personally, I’d rather Obama to go Congress. At the same time, I don’t blame him for not doing it because they’re assholes.)

  30. 30

    @👾 Martin: Fair points, Martin. I appreciate them and share your conflict. I’m going to tamp down my tribalism on this one. Or try to at least.

  31. 31
    Felonius Monk says:

    Maybe he is just trying to earn another Nobel Prize.

    Would this be the Nobel Prize for War or the Nobel Prize for Swingin’ America’s Big Dick? Either way he wouldn’t be the first American prez to win.

  32. 32
    lamh36 says:

    @Patricia Kayden: wasnt’ calling you out in particular.

    I’m just reacting to what I’m reading on twitter and the like. the ETA part was in response to that. I shoulda posted it in another comment though.

  33. 33
    raven says:

    @Howard Beale IV: And if he doesn’t the are going to crucify him anyway.

  34. 34
    MikeJ says:

    @Howard Beale IV: Bullshit. There’s an actual US law that allows him to intervene militarily. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

  35. 35
    piratedan says:

    @TriassicSands: cripes…. based on what exactly?

    This is a shit sandwich no matter if you cut the crusts off the bread or not….

    treaties in place that prohibit this kind of shit and on the flip side of the coin is the knowledge that we helped Saddam gas Iran back in the day, surreptitiously supposedly allegedly…. (Thanks Republican foreign policy!)

    there are no teeth in the UN because the three major players are diametrically opposed to seeing anyone get the upper hand and so we have a fight by sectarian means, Sunni’s versus the Shiites again as well as a proxy fight between Russia and various Arab League members that are Sunni backed (Saudi Arabia). Plus you have the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qeida strands running through the opposition as well. This leaves out the secular nature of the original opposition which apparently are mostly inhabiting the refugee camps in Lebanon. The closest parallel I can find is the Chicago gangland wars of the 20’s.

    so do we continue to wear the mantle of being the only cop on the beat or do we continue to ignore the killing going on in the name of whichever side is performing the atrocity of the moment? Or do we allow vapor lock to take over because no matter who wins, they’re gonna hate us anyway?

    I don’t believe that there are many easy answers here, but after Egypt, Tunisia and Libya can we cut the guy in the big chair a bit of slack?

  36. 36
    chopper says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    unless the war powers act is either 1) overturned or 2) found to be unconstitutional before tomorrow, i don’t see how that would work.

    we lobbed tomahawks at libya without congressional approval and the GOP backed off on that shit.

  37. 37
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    We have to attack because people killed by chemical weapons are 10x more dead than those killed by drones and tomahawk missiles.

    So, biological weapons are fine and dandy? Dead’s Dead, right?

  38. 38
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @OGLiberal:

    implying that some local commander either fucked up or did something he wasn’t supposed to do – ie, throw chem weapons at civilians.

    As the War Nerd likes to say, massacres and counter-massacres are how wars normally work, especially civil wars. There are fuckups and there are reprisals and there’s no bullshit about nobility.

    The French are gung-ho about this, because Syria’s still part of their imaginary empire along with bits of Africa. That will make a few heads spin.

  39. 39
    raven says:

    @chopper: It would work by them doing it. It doesn’t matter if he is convicted.

  40. 40
    MomSense says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    Why would you accept the right’s characterization of the “red line” comment?

    Did you read it or listen to it for yourself?

    He clearly says that Assad or any other actors moving or using chemical weapons would cause him to reevaluate, change his calculations and that there should be consequences. In the PBS interview he says repeatedly that he hasn’t reached a decision.

    I’m all for a vigorous debate but why try and portray him as something he is not? Why portray this decision as any less wrenching or complicated than it is?

  41. 41
    spacewalrus says:

    End up on all of us.

    HA!

    Dude–you’re a screamer on a blog who pre-emptively flips his shit on everything. The only time you seem to get motivated to act politically is when it comes to offering an unequivocal defense of Glenn Greenwald.

    How exactly has your temperament changed since your days as a Republican during the Bush years? You learned to parrot glib leftwing bullshit. That’s it.

  42. 42
    OGLiberal says:

    @TriassicSands: @TriassicSands: Dude killed Bin Laden, helped take out Qaddafi, and sends drones after anybody who even hints at something terrorist related. Can’t figure out why he still feels the need to swing his cock around for the likes of Bill Kristol and the WaPo editorial page.

  43. 43
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @MikeJ: US Code cite?

    And as we have seen throughout our history, the laws are routinely ignored/violated, especially by the Feds. So your strawman had best be able to survive an F5 tornado.

  44. 44
    grass says:

    Maybe he is just trying to earn another Nobel Prize.

    Nice. Who’s more deserving of it in your opinion, Assad or Putin?

  45. 45
    chopper says:

    @raven:

    it would be seriously bizzaro-world if the GOP actually impeached a president for sending a few missiles into a muslim country in the mideast.

    then again, these guys have spite for breakfast, spite for lunch and then a sensible dinner, so anything is possible.

  46. 46

    @chopper:

    there’s gotta be some sort of effective response that isn’t military.

    I agree. The super-easy act (diplomatically), that won’t inflame anything (other than Republicans) would be a massive aid package for those displaced. At least help the neighboring countries deal with this before Lebanon collapses under the stress of it (which they’re increasingly falling to). But it’s spending, and helping brown people, so Boehner and his crew will hate it even more than bombing them. So politically, that’s probably a non-starter.

    No fly zone? Maybe. But that seems like a gesture for the sake of making a gesture. It’d help some but not much. It’s a big undertaking though and it puts Americans at risk (which I personally don’t have a problem with but many others do). I don’t know what else. It’s a black hole of badness.

  47. 47
    lamh36 says:

    Again, Intervention or no intervention, people will die and many will die horribly. So cutesy things like, “Maybe he is just trying to earn another Nobel Prize.“, are very cute and trolley, but maybe too cute by half.

    Syria crisis: Incendiary bomb victims ‘like the walking dead’

    A BBC team inside Syria filming for Panorama has witnessed the aftermath of a fresh horrific incident – an incendiary bomb dropped onto a school playground in the north of the country – which has left scores of children with napalm-like burns over their bodies.

    Eyewitnesses describe a fighter jet dropping the device, a low explosion, followed by columns of fire and smoke.

    Warning: Ian Pannell and cameraman Darren Conway’s report contains images viewers may find extremely distressing.

  48. 48
    raven says:

    @chopper: Indeed. “The base” demands it. Meanwhile Obama’s base it having all kinds of fun talking about his dick.

  49. 49
    raven says:

    IT’S THE JEWS!

  50. 50
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: Seems like President Hollande is expressing caution about how to respond to Syria.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....90541.html

  51. 51
    chopper says:

    @raven:

    this is why we can’t have nice things.

  52. 52
    jamick6000 says:

    This is good news. Hopefully we can avoid getting dragged into this thing.

  53. 53
    grass says:

    @👾 Martin:
    A no fly zone would require even more bombing than the limited response so far proposed. All SAM sites, radar, working jets and AA would have to be destroyed.

  54. 54
    Steve M. says:

    If that were the US Senate vote, we’d be going to war tomorrow.

    And if that were the US House vote, Obama would be blocked even if he were responding to Pearl Harbor rather than pursuing a war of choice, just ‘cuz.

  55. 55
    raven says:

    @chopper: I just thought I’d get it out of the way.

  56. 56
    Mike in NC says:

    @Alexandra:

    Too many people in high places have had their fingers burned and careers ruined over the war in Iraq. Perhaps the various inquiries did a lot of damage and perhaps the media isn’t as servile.

    I’m fairly certain nobody inside the DC Beltway saw their careers ruined after signing off on the Iraq debacle. On the contrary, all seem to be thriving at neocon think tanks, etc.

    But we certainly have a servile media utterly incapable of questioning authority.

  57. 57
    Felonius Monk says:

    @👾 Martin:

    We’ve got this here treaty that the moment someone breaks it we look down and kind of shuffle our feet.

    My understanding is that Syria was never a signatory to said treaty. So how has that treaty been broken?

    And even more importantly, where is there any confirmed evidence that the Assad regime was the perpetrator of this attack?

  58. 58
    Lol says:

    If Obama doesn’t intervene, I have every confidence that every leftie attacking him for thinking of intervening now will be attacking him in a few years for not intervening and imply it was because they didn’t have enough oil something something and how Hopey McChange doesn’t care about brown people getting killed.

    That is to say, we are all Ted Cruz now.

  59. 59
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @jamick6000: BBC World Service was reporting that after the Iraq Disaster the Brits aren’t so willing to give 10 Downing Street the benefit of the doubt.

    Seems like the rank-and-file made their voices heard.

    Too bad that won’t happen with the US Sheeple.

  60. 60
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Maybe he is just trying to earn another Nobel Prize.

    Hey, being a warmongering criminal worked for Henry Kissinger!

  61. 61
    chopper says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    50 U.S.C. 1541-1548.

  62. 62
    Jeremy says:

    @TriassicSands: Will you stop acting like they are pretending to be tough. Democrats have always been interventionist since Woodrow Wilson. It’s not like they did it in the past to show republicans and the broader public.

    Clearly Obama is responding due to the red line.

  63. 63
    chopper says:

    @grass:

    and syria has some pretty decent air defense systems.

  64. 64
    raven says:

    I hope Syria’s defense is better than North Carolina’s.

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    And even more importantly, where is there any confirmed evidence that the Assad regime was the perpetrator of this attack?

    There is all the evidence that Colin Powell needs to make a ridiculous presentation to the UN Security Council that Assad has WMDs and is willing to use them.

    You can take that to the bank, just like you can take the election of President Rmoney to the bank.

  66. 66
    Rex Everything says:

    Maybe he is just trying to earn another Nobel Prize.

    RACIST!!

  67. 67
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @chopper: And it will be abused, as it always has been.

  68. 68
    Keith P says:

    In unrelated, yet funny, news, TMZ.com is reporting that Ted Nugent’s wife was just arrested in Dallas for bringing a gun into an airline terminal. Yet another responsible gun owner. She apparently did not try the “you’ll take my gun over my dead body” bravado they all say they’ll do.

  69. 69
    jamick6000 says:

    My prediction is if we don’t bomb, we’ll have to save face by giving (more) weapons to the jihadists, who are the backbone of the anti-Assad forces.

  70. 70
    Anoniminous says:

    @👾 Martin:

    Syria didn’t sign the treaty.

  71. 71
    chopper says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    still legal tho.

    wouldn’t put it past the GOP to impeach a guy for ‘not breaking the law’, but it’s congress’s own law. they can change it any time they want.

  72. 72

    @MomSense: It appears that you meant the question rhetorically but I listened to it. Then he reconsidered and appears ready to go at it still. Maybe he won’t. But I’m making my own observations here.

  73. 73
    PopeRatzo says:

    @👾 Martin:

    I think he means the credibility of the 100-odd nations that signed the treaty banning chemical weapons. We’ve got this here treaty that the moment someone breaks it we look down and kind of shuffle our feet. What’s the fucking point of having the treaty? May as well just tear it up. May as well do the biological weapons treaty as well, because every rationale for not intervening would apply if that happened too.

    If we can’t get the rest of the “100-odd nations” to get on board with an intervention, then it’s not our responsibility to go it alone.

    How can we even be having this discussion so soon after Iraq? Can we really say that Obama should do what we’re ready to send Bush to the Hague over?

  74. 74
    Seanly says:

    @raven:

    Unclear pronoun reference! Who ya wanna gas?

    For all those referencing the Chemical Weapons Convention, Syria is not a signatory to that treaty.

  75. 75
    raven says:

    @PopeRatzo: Who the fuck is WE?

  76. 76
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @lamh36: Even more reason to not have any more blood on our hands now, isn’t it?

    The United States is still the only nation to have used nuclear weapons in anger-theses days, we lost the moral anger, and with technology advancements we’ve lost the meaning of what it is to be at actual war (save for those who have paid with limbs and lives on battle boondoggles.)

    So whatchagonnado?

  77. 77
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @chopper: And remember that juts ‘cuz it’s legal doesn’t mean its constitutional, either.

  78. 78
    MomSense says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    I actually didn’t mean it rhetorically. What do you think he meant by the comment?

  79. 79
    Anoniminous says:

    @chopper:

    Syria has a State of the Art anti-air defense bought from Russia. The Prowlers and Wild Weasels may be able to get in and attack but Russia has been working for years to be able to defeat them. We may be about to find out if they’ve succeeded.

  80. 80
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Lol: Hillary on the campaign trail, pointing to Syria, and saying “I won’t miss that 3am call!”

  81. 81
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @PopeRatzo: Can we really say that Obama should do what we’re ready to send Bush to the Hague over?

    Obama is sending 500,000 troops in to Syria to overthrow Assad and occupy the country? Damn, the news moves fast.

  82. 82
    Jeremy says:

    @PopeRatzo: The problem is that this is not comparable to Iraq. A air strike for a few days is not the same as the Iraq war and if you want to say that it’s impeachable then a whole bunch of Presidents before Obama (Democrats, Republicans) should have been impeached for similar actions.

  83. 83
    chopper says:

    @Lol:

    If Obama doesn’t intervene, I have every confidence that every leftie attacking him for thinking of intervening now will be attacking him in a few years for not intervening and imply it was because they didn’t have enough oil something something and how Hopey McChange doesn’t care about brown people getting killed.

    mah nishtana?

  84. 84
    chopper says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    as i said, it’s congress’s own law. i guess they could argue that the president, by following their own law, was violating the constitution. only in the addled mind of goopers and firebaggers is that a viable reason to impeach a president.

  85. 85
    James E. Powell says:

    @OGLiberal:

    Can’t figure out why he still feels the need to swing his cock around for the likes of Bill Kristol and the WaPo editorial page.

    My take? It’s the spectres of Srebrenica and Rwanda. Just think how it would look to have televised massacres, chemical weapons or otherwise, running all day and all night on cable. Not to mention that Al Jazeera just went live all over the country.

    We still live in a country where, given the least little reason, Americans hold the president responsible for whatever happens anywhere in the world. True, it is almost always an angle used against a Democrat, but it is there and the president has to deal with it. I haven’t heard or read any big hitters coming out and saying don’t do it. Whatever happens, Rs & neo-con Ds will all say that Obama’s weakness made the world worse.

  86. 86
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Anoniminous: And if there’s one thing that kinda gets lost on the War Nerds is that when it comes to desert environments, the US plays second-fiddle to the Russians with their air gear.

  87. 87
    Comrade Jake says:

    If Obama’s doing this to prove he’s tough on defense, after everything he’s already done, there’s something seriously wrong with him. No, I don’t think that’s it.

    I’ve been reading Fallows on this of late and I still have no fucking clue why Obama thinks this might be a good idea.

  88. 88
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @👾 Martin: individual nation states can’t play vigilante and enforce breaches of international law by themselves. That is itself illegal. If you value the rule of law, exert pressure legally on Russia and the PRC.

  89. 89
    raven says:

    @Howard Beale IV: Yea, their shit really smoked us in Iraq didn’t it?

  90. 90
    jl says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    If Obama doesn’t go to the Senate, I guess he figures that the House is going to impeach him anyway. why not provide some grounds?

  91. 91

    @MomSense: That he meant that there was no decision at that time but subsequently indicated he would go forward. I said this above as well. Back to work for me…….

  92. 92
    chopper says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    he’s a real devil, that obama.

    @Jeremy:

    it’s more like libya, where at one point we actually did lob some tomahawks in to ‘soften up’ gaddhafi’s military. different reasoning tho.

  93. 93
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @chopper: And there still be questions on its constitutionality. So sit back and grab the popcorn.

  94. 94
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @raven: Nice try, but that dog won’t hunt.

  95. 95
    Jeremy says:

    Also can some stop with this “Obama is weak and trying to placate the right” nonsense.

    Obama doesn’t base his actions on republican complaints. If he did we would have invaded Iran and put boots on the ground in Libya. The man was never a pacifist and none of our past presidents as well. Democrats from Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Clinton, and Obama have all supported intervention or military action in some cases so stop pretending that they are doing it to placate republicans.

  96. 96
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @chopper: different terrain, different gov’t, most significantly a gov’t with a lot of powerful and dangerous allies. I opposed Libya too b/c of a lack of congressional approval, but even if congress does approve this, it’s a bad idea. but it’s not Iraq.

    @Howard Beale IV: is there some challenge to the War Powers Act working it’s way to the USSC?

  97. 97
    MomSense says:

    I’m just going to say this. I am conflicted about this. There are no easy answers and there are no good options.

    Go watch some of the videos. See the teenagers who were burned because the Syrian government dropped a napalm like substance on a fucking playground or watch the little boy about 4 or 5 seize and convulse and foam at the mouth and then tell me if you think it is appropriate to be so clever by saying things like “earn another Nobel Prize” as if this is just a matter of the President’s ego and not an actual crisis. Maybe this makes it easier for some of you–to pretend that what is happening in Syria is just bully US politics or manufactured to benefit the military industrial complex, or for the President to save face.

    Be for it or be against it but try to be decent human beings. Right now a lot of you sound like psychopathic assholes.

  98. 98
    chopper says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    i don’t think it’s that much like libya. but it’s a hell of a lot more like libya than iraq.

    seriously, iraq? shoosh.

  99. 99
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    I’ve been reading Fallows on this of late and I still have no fucking clue why Obama thinks this might be a good idea.

    Because if it can be proven that Assad is gassing his own people, and all we do is send a sternly worded sanction, then its open season for the Syrian government – and any other government that finds its back to the wall – to make it rain sarin without repercussion.

  100. 100

    @Anoniminous:

    Syria didn’t sign the treaty.

    But everyone else did which is what established use of chemical weapons as against international norms.

    So, the argument now is that if Libya had done this, everyone opposed to acting here would have been on board there? I don’t buy that for a minute. If anyone has reasons to oppose enforcing the chemical or biological weapons treaty, then lets hear them, because that’s effectively where we’re at. In fact, of the arguments so far presented, none would allow for us to intervene if a nuclear attack occurred. It still wouldn’t impact our national security, everyone flatly rejects any sort of economic impact as irrelevant (oil, what have you). There is no consideration for the lives or suffering of the people there – 100,000 are already just as dead as if they had been nuked and dying from a chemical attack is similarly horrific to dying from a nuclear attack. And it would still be spending in lieu of domestic concerns.

    I hear the arguments from those that are unconvinced that we can improve the situation, and I respect those. But the ones that argue a different form of American exceptionalism – that Syrian lives are simply not worth our accounting, I can’t accept those. I don’t see how that argument is any different from the nativists who demand machine guns at our border. And those same voices constantly bring up the UN or Congress as the great moderator of our actions when it is convenient to do so, but ignore any treaty obligations or even basic morality on our part when it goes against their viewpoint. That’s not helping either.

  101. 101
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I have some doubts that the US will go forward with attacks absent the umbrella of UN or NATO authorization.

    @Anoniminous: @👾 Martin: With over 150 signatories, the argument can be made that the prohibition on use of chemical weapons is an enforceable international norm.

    ETA: I fall in the group who is not convinced that there is a proportional military response that will have a positive effect.

  102. 102
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Separation of Duties throws many moneky wrenches into the War Powers Resolution.

  103. 103
    raven says:

    @👾 Martin: Peace at any cost no matter how many people get killed!

  104. 104
    Jeremy says:

    And let me say I’m no fan of intervention but the talk by some about Obama’s motives are ridiculous, and condescending.

  105. 105
    chopper says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-:

    and any other government that finds its back to the wall

    well, any other government that isn’t a signatory to the chem. weapons convention.

  106. 106
    lamh36 says:

    @James E. Powell:

    To be clear though, I fully expect Maddow and Hayes and the rest to be showing these massacre photos if they occur and then chiding the admin for not doing anything about it.

    I also expect it to happen on the rest of the devout left blogs as well. Oh and people on this blog are heartbroken when they are shown pics of animal abuse, so I also expect that here at BJ, the photos of massacres will be use to chide as well.

    That’s why all I’m am saying is that as someone who is for non-intervention, then I have to be able to live with the possibilility of seeing possible victims. I’m saying that I can do that, not sure if other people will be able to also.

  107. 107
    Comrade Jake says:

    Everyone appreciates that we’ve telegraphed this so much at this stage, that practically speaking we’re going to be blowing up a bunch of empty buildings, right? It’s going to be like a little bee sting for Assad’s forces. In other words, in all likelihood, it’s not going to accomplish jack shit.

    It’s all kabuki theatre, albeit with bigger explosions.

  108. 108
    MomSense says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    Well I guess I can infer from this comment that you no longer think it solely a matter of the President trying to preserve his credibility.

    Yes, reconsidering is a more accurate characterization of his “red line” remarks.

  109. 109
    chopper says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    that doesn’t answer the question.

  110. 110
    raven says:

    @lamh36: See the pukes have it perfected, it’s Obama’s weakness that has led to this so it doesn’t matter which way it goes.

  111. 111
    different-church-lady says:

    We should ask Muammar Gaddafi what he thinks of all this. He’s someone who’s had a bit of direct experience with this sort of thing.

  112. 112
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @chopper: Yeah, but we’re still one step closer to it being just a scrap of paper that can be easily discarded in the case of a National Emergency.

  113. 113
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @PopeRatzo: Our schools are shot, the infrastructure is shit, the elderly, the young and the poor are hanging by their fingernails, while the 1% is living high on the hog, paying niente, for taxes, and America is balls on for war. AHHH life in the modern Roman Empire.

  114. 114
    Emma says:

    @OGLiberal: Maybe, just fucking maybe, he’s thinking about it because he thinks it’s the right thing to do? The one thing Obama has demonstrated again and again is that he will do what he thinks is right, no matter how much the teabaggers and emoprogs bitch and moan, or how popular it makes him with the Village.

    The most amazing thing to watch in all this is how easily the left has adopted the methods/beliefs/smears of the right to speak about the President.

  115. 115
    hildebrand says:

    There are absolutely no good options in this situation. None. No matter what decision is made, it will be bad for the people of Syria, people absolutely stuck in the worst kind of predicament. If we act, they lose. If we don’t act, they lose.

    I would love for some brilliant, know-it-all, type, like our good Mr. Cole, to illuminate the masses on how this can come to a satisfactory conclusion.

  116. 116
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    yes, but that’s on shakier legal ground, especially if the US decides to act unilaterally.

  117. 117
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @👾 Martin: If you’re not a signatory you can give the rest of the world a bug Fuck You-just like the United States has done with their backing away after they signed on to the tenants of The International Criminal Court in The Hague….

  118. 118
    chopper says:

    @Emma:

    pfft. obama’s a celebrity, remember? all he cares about is his image.

  119. 119
    raven says:

    @hildebrand: Just like McCain, they don’t have to. Just use anything that happens to bitch and moan.

  120. 120
    Comrade Jake says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-: yes I just don’t believe the repercussions are going to be all that serious here. Nor am I convinced that this is some widespread threat, and that some kind of message needs to be sent to all the international bad guys.

  121. 121
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @chopper:Only in the fullness of time will we see what happens. Right now there may not be anything in the pipeline but that can change overnight.

  122. 122
    Bargal20 says:

    Anyone who thinks this isn’t about the USA’s pressing need to show everyone the ginormousness of its pee pee is either dumb or dumber.

  123. 123
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @chopper: Well, the violation of international norms argument is the one that should be made to the UN. I fully expect that Russia and/or the PRC will veto any resolution. I think NATO will not support action.

  124. 124
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I fall in the group who is not convinced that there is a proportional military response that will have a positive effect.

    that’s where i am. i also fall into the group that finds a unilateral strike as having dubious basis in international law, to say the least.

  125. 125
    Keith P says:

    @different-church-lady: I imagine he thinks, “Damn, these Americans sure do have a stick up their ass about going to war!” QADDAFI!!!!

  126. 126
    grass says:

    @hildebrand: As long as it’s happening over there, and not here, I suspect JC is fine with whatever Assad does.

  127. 127
    different-church-lady says:

    “How is it different” tweet from GG comparing drones to incendiary bombs in 5… 4… 3… 2…

  128. 128
    chopper says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    that can change overnight.

    WITH CONGRESS? lol. i wouldn’t trust those fuckers to find chicago on a map of chicago. you think they’d aw, forget it.

  129. 129
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @chopper: We are on the same exact page then.

  130. 130
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @chopper: And there’s the old saying:

    An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.

    In that respect, Obama wins in spades, only because his adversaries are batshit crazy, to which he can thank his lucky stars (and the Koch Brothers. )

  131. 131

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    but it’s not Iraq.

    But it is Iraq in what comes after. Syria, like Iraq was, is held together by brute force. Once that goes away, it’s a free for all with a lot of parties wanting in. The aftermath of Syria will look a lot more like Iraq than like Libya.

    I agree that the action going in looks nothing like Iraq, but I’m more worried about what comes after. Even if we’re 100% successful and the very first bomb lands on Assad’s head, we’re still fucked.

  132. 132

    @MomSense: If I intended it to relate to Obama only I would have said “his” credibility not “our” credibility. If you’re going to parse so deeply, you should parse all of it.

  133. 133
    Emma says:

    @chopper: Yeah. Remember how he issued executive orders on DOMA and DADT and then President Cruz just reversed it with another EO and now gay rights are back to square one? No? Me neither.

  134. 134
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Emma: so the “right thing to do” here is to launch an air strike, for… humanitarian reasons?

    I’m giving you a hard time but it’s possible you’re right. That’s basically what it came down to with Libya for Obama. None of his advisors thought that was a good idea, or that it was in our national interests.

    God fucking help us.

  135. 135
    different-church-lady says:

    @Emma: Which, when you get right down to it, is the heart of the problem with the emo-left: they never approach it from the angle where he’s got honest intent, but he’s wrong. They always approach it from the angle where he simply wants to do the wrong thing because he’s inherently awful.

    I have no idea whether Syria is a good idea or a bad idea, but I feel pretty safe in saying Obama’s not licking his chops over it.

  136. 136
  137. 137
    Anoniminous says:

    @raven:

    Iraq didn’t have modern anti-air weapons systems:

    Robert Hewson, editor of IHS Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, said it was plausible that some parts of the S-300s had already arrived in Syria, as the president, Bashar al-Assad, claimed on Thursday. “The whole thing is a collection of vehicles. You have a launcher, radar and a command and control vehicle. You need all of that working together.” He described the system as formidable and respected by western military planners: “If your plan is to waltz into Syrian airspace and start bombing things this is a big wrinkle.”

    Hewson said he expected the Russians to supply military advisers who would work closely with their Syrian counterparts and train them how to use the system: “There is a big danger that if you blow the SA-300 up you will kill a lot of Russians. I don’t think the Israelis want to do that. This is Russia operating at a big international level and saying: ‘Assad is still our guy and we stand beside him.'”

    S-300 specs.

    Syria also has an extensive collection of older SA series anti-air missiles. Should the US attack there’s no reason to keep them in a arm’s depots. They have a goodly number of manpad anti-air missiles as well. And they have some unknown number of reconnaissance drones of unknown tech (some of them are ancient) and capability.

    Syria has been preparing for combat with the Israeli Air Force for over 40 years. The IAF is the USAF in miniature. It’s conceivable the Syrian Air Defense can give a good account of themselves.

  138. 138
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Bargal20: The problem is that the US has a ginormous dick to swing and it doesn’t do it all that well. To the rest of the world, the US is nothing more than a bunch of pussies engaged in tit-for-tat responses, too scared to drop a W88 to show that when the US gets pissed, it gets seriously pissed.

  139. 139
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @hildebrand: How about realizing the United States cannot save the world from itself? How about realizing as bad as things are over there, isn’t there any pressing need to deal with the issues here? We lost in Iraq, we lost in Afghanistan, time for the Pentagon to take a time out.

  140. 140

    @👾 Martin:

    Personally, I’d rather Obama to go Congress.

    Personally, I’d love it if Obama went to Congress, precisely because they’d tell him no. Then we would win twice: once when we didn’t bomb the shit out of people, and once when everything that goes wrong in Syria could be pinned on the Republicans blocking our involvement.

  141. 141
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    Chemical warfare has just been re-normalized.

    Enjoy your 21st century, folks. You just got the one you deserve.

  142. 142
    MomSense says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    That is why I asked you about it and your explanations were about Obama –using “he” not “our”. I apologize if I misunderstood.

  143. 143
    Emma says:

    @Comrade Jake: No. I am saying that maybe we should consider that when he thinks about issues he really thinks about them. It’s not about “dick swinging” or “another Nobel” or whatever. It’s basically being in the driver seat of the biggest goddamn warship in the world and trying to do the right thing.

    You don’t have to agree with him. Just stop talking like freaking republicans.

  144. 144
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @👾 Martin: But it is Iraq in what comes after. Syria, like Iraq was, is held together by brute force.

    Which is why Obama isn’t for regime change, and has stopped saying “Assad has to go”. You’re assuming Assad is done for. I’m no expert, but opinion seems divided on his staying power. A lot of people seem to think Putin et al can prop him (them) up.

    And as far as domestic politics goes, there are people I thought smarter talking about how this “feels” just like 2003! and a kind of interesting segment I heard on the radio today of on-the-street interviews of people for whom “intervention” necessarily means “invasion” “How many of our boys have to die…” It’s not unlike, IMHO, people confusing “deficit” with “bad economy”

  145. 145
    raven says:

    @Anoniminous: Yea, that’s exactly the same as the ” US plays second-fiddle to the Russians with their air gear. ” isn’t it?

  146. 146

    @Roger Moore: Well, that’s a different angle… more than a little crude and cynical, but pretty much anything that happens here is likely to be anyway.

  147. 147
    grass says:

    @👾 Martin: I think what is currently happening in Syria is far worse than anything during Iraq. Today Iraq is doing relatively okay. There’s semi-regular dreadful car bombings, but it’s mostly peaceful otherwise and is booming economically with 10% growth.

  148. 148

    @MomSense: No harm no foul. I understand where you’re coming from and I wasn’t doing such a great job of eloquently stating my position.

  149. 149
    mk3872 says:

    So, NOT trying to protect people from massive chemical weapons attack IS a way to earn a Nobel Peace Prize ??

  150. 150
    Anoniminous says:

    @👾 Martin:

    And there are 112 signatories for the Anti-Cluster Munitions Treaty.

    Are we now supposed to bomb ourselves for using them in Iraq and Afghanistan?

  151. 151
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Anoniminous: That’s why the US will do their best to lob Tomahawks, Harpoons and drones. If they have to scramble warm bodies and they start getting picked off, the public mood will (already on tenterhooks as it is) change in a heartbeat.

  152. 152
    Belafon says:

    @lamh36: I’m of the opinion that we (the world we) should be doing something if they have used chemical weapons. I completely agree with you on what I will do to people who start going “They really used chemical weapons and look at how many people died or were permanently injured. We should have done something.”

  153. 153
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Maybe he is just trying to earn another Nobel Prize.

    lol

  154. 154
    Jeremy says:

    @👾 Martin: I agree. But the administration has pointed out time and again that this is not about regime change. Assad is not going to be taken out by this strike. This is basically a slap on the wrist for chemical weapons.

    People need to stop comparing this to Iraq when this is closer to the Air strike against Libya for the bombing of PAN AM by Reagan.

  155. 155
    Comrade Jake says:

    Paraphrasing Fallows’ most recent post on this, why is the US acting as though the only option here involves tomahawk missiles? Have we really exhausted everything that can be done via diplomacy?

  156. 156
    MomSense says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    No worries. This is just a difficult discussion all around.

  157. 157
    raven says:

    @Belafon: You understand that McCain is already blaming Obama for ALL the deaths for not doing something?

  158. 158
    PopeRatzo says:

    @hildebrand:

    I would love for some brilliant, know-it-all, type, like our good Mr. Cole, to illuminate the masses on how this can come to a satisfactory conclusion.

    You called?

    Unfortunately, there is no conclusion that will be satisfactory to everyone involved. Satisfactory for Assad is not the same as satisfactory for the opposition. Satisfactory for me is not the same as satisfactory for the CEO of Raytheon.

    But satisfactory for the United States is, “Don’t break international law and decide you’re going to attack another country on your own that didn’t attack us. Don’t use military ordnance unless you’ve got an endgame in mind. And finally, have a goal (and just punishing the Syrian government by breaking their expensive stuff and killing a bunch of people is not a goal).

    “Satisfactory” for the United States is, “Please don’t get us involved in more military bullshit on the other side of the world without a goddamn good plan”. There’s just too much that can go wrong.

  159. 159

    @Anoniminous:

    Are we now supposed to bomb ourselves for using them in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Fair point.

  160. 160
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Diplomacy is a way of saying ‘nice doggie’..until you can find a rock.

  161. 161
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Emma: I understand what you’re saying, but I’m hard pressed to see where anyone here is talking like a Republican. Please. The GOP criticizes Obama over everything and anything, whether they have due justification or not. That’s not what’s going on here.

  162. 162
    OGLiberal says:

    @James E. Powell: He also has a person in his administration in Sam Power who was critical of our non-involvement in those tragedies and, in particular, critical of Obama’s current National Security Adviser and her predecessor at the UN. I’m sure he’s hearing a lot from her about why we need to do something, anything…and I’m sure he respects her, or she wouldn’t be where she is today. I don’t know who else in the administration thinks it’s a good idea – I don’t get the feeling this is something Biden or Hagel would be gung-ho about, or even Kerry. But Power is a strong voice among the liberal interventionist crowd and she’s probably made a pretty compelling case. Of course, I’m just guessing here but based on her history, I have to think she’s fully behind doing something and making it known.

    My problem is that what we’re going to do isn’t going to fix Syria, isn’t going to end the civil war, and isn’t going to stop Assad and future baddies from using bad shit against their enemies or their own people. Shooting cruise missiles into Rwanda wasn’t going to stop the massacres there. Nothing short of a full blow occupation would have prevented what happened there. If the goal is to save lives then we need to put together a coalition – or go it alone – put boots on the ground, and make sure this shit doesn’t happen but being there with thousands of troops and big guns pointed at Assad (and his opponents, who are far from angels) and saying, “just try it, fucker”. But nobody is arguing that we should do that, nobody would support doing that, and we probably can’t do it. So what the fuck is what is being proposed going to solve? If it’s in any way going to make anything worse – for us, for Syria, for Israel, for Iraq, for Jordan, for Lebanon, etc – then we shouldn’t do it. And I think there’s more of a chance of bad coming out the proposed “action” than good.

  163. 163
    Steve S says:

    please everyone call the white house comments line tomorrow between 9-5 EST. 202-456-1111. Tell them not to intervene in syria. There’s no upside, only downside.

    please call. It”l just take a minute. This blog community can do great things.

    202-456-1111

  164. 164
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @raven: McCain lost all moral authority when he put Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket. Had he not done that, he may be the one excoriating Congress right now on not acting.

    Thankfully/Unfortunately, he didn’t win.

  165. 165

    @chopper:

    50 USC 1541:

    (c) Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation
    The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to
    (1) a declaration of war,
    (2) specific statutory authorization, or
    (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

    How does this apply?

  166. 166
    Anoniminous says:

    @raven:

    No. It’s saying the Russians have been gathering military intelligence on US air operations for 20 years and have been building systems specifically designed to defeat US air ops and Syria has bought those systems.

  167. 167
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Anoniminous: The prohibitions on chemical weapons have longer standing, but I think that both land mines and cluster munitions will reach the point where they are perceived to be against international norms. Really, land mines are already there.

  168. 168

    @Comrade Jake:

    Have we really exhausted everything that can be done via diplomacy?

    Possibly. Russia and Iran are arming Assad. That effectively puts us right back into the kinds of cold war disasters that dominated the 50s-70s. Russia prevents the UN from doing anything meaningful. There’s already sanctions.

  169. 169

    @chopper:

    Also, too:

    Article One, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution states that “The Congress shall have Power to …define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations.”

  170. 170
    raven says:

    @Anoniminous: Well I’m sorry but I don’t think we’ve just been standing pat.

  171. 171
    Comrade Jake says:

    And by the way, Boehner doesn’t want a vote in the House because the current arrangement allows him to blame Obama no matter what happens. He can plausibly claim the House would have never given approval just as easily as he can claim that they would have insisted on a strike.

  172. 172
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    We lost in Iraq…

    That must be some tremendously powerful epoxy you’re inhaling.

  173. 173
    Will Reks says:

    @lamh36: This civil war has been raging for more than two years now. There are plenty of photos of all manner of atrocities that predate the chemical attack. I wouldn’t worry too much about this coming back around to the President. I think you know very well that he doesn’t waste much sleep on what Maddow, Hayes. or any number of commenters on a random blog think about anything.

  174. 174
    Salacious Crumb says:

    the British people are racist for having defied the Dear Leader’s desire to bomb Syria!!

    ABL, Mnemosyne, please write a post asking all Obots to boycott travel to the UK!!

  175. 175
    J says:

    @Lol: So easy to caricature the views of anyone who isn’t gung ho about intervening in circumstances where it’s very hard to see what good the measures under contemplation are likely to have and there is a real danger they will only do harm.

  176. 176
    sapient says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Depends on which international law we’re talking about, but don’t let details get in the way.

  177. 177
    Emma says:

    @Comrade Jake: Really? “he’s doing it just to swing his dick for the Washington Post” “maybe he thinks it’ll get him another Nobel prize” “he’s trying to prove he’s not weak”. And I’m not even going to hit some of the real cesspools in other threads. Wait. One more. “Dear leader.”

    I don’t agree with Obama on a number of things, but I always begin by assuming that he’s thinking about what he’s doing. I don’t start by assuming he’s out to spite me personally.

  178. 178

    If you’ll excuse a bit of blog-whoring on my part:

    Why Attacking Syria Is Moral But Not Legal

    And yes, I supported and worked for the election of Barack Obama twice. I support him in most things, but I cannot agree with this.

  179. 179
    MomSense says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:

    Why stop with biological? We could spend all the money we currently allocate to locking up loose nukes on other things because dead is dead.

  180. 180
    Bitter Scribe says:

    When Richard Nixon ended the draft, he made an implicit devil’s bargain with the American people that every president has tacitly renewed since: Let me start wars without involving Congress, and I won’t force your sons to fight in them.

  181. 181
    Comrade Jake says:

    @👾 Martin: I’d suppose I’d feel better if the President or someone in the administration were making such an argument. The fact of the matter is, the only discussion has been when we should launch the tomahawks.

  182. 182
    Anoniminous says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Which everybody agrees is pointless.

    @ everybody:

    I hate chemical weapons. I think using them is a Crime Against Humanity. I hope everybody involved in using them in Syria dies hideously and in agony.

    BUT

    I don’t see how the US can stop them unless we’re willing to put boots on the ground and physically capture the arms dumps.

  183. 183
    lamh36 says:

    @Will Reks: oh, I’m not overly worried about it.

    And as I said, I’m non-interventionist, but I also know I can be perfectly fine ignoring any of the types of photos expected.

    But I do get really tired of the same cycle of do nothing/do this and then when consequences are such that they are not good, then wondering why they aren’t addressing the consequences.

    I’m just doing a prophylactic shot to immune myself from the cycle I guess…lol

  184. 184
    Jeremy says:

    @Salacious Crumb: Well the British government has been the main one pushing for intervention along with the French while the president has avoided it until the chemical weapon red line.

  185. 185
    Donald G says:

    So, have we pinpointed “the Schaivo Moment” in the last six months when John Cole became a full-on Firebagger, the very embodiment of the manic-progressive he so used to love to punch?

    Was it Greenwald/Snowden? Was it earlier?

    John’s posts from the last few months sound like he’s inches away from calling those who disagree with him “cudlips” and “sheeple”.

    Granted, there are no good options when it comes to Syria. It’s a nightmare, and the president on this issue is damned if he acts and damned if he doesn’t.

    After the last dozen years, the American people will not support another war in the Middle East, and certainly not one that will involve any sort of sustained commitment or nation building after the post-war failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The bizarre alliance that currently exist between the far left and the far right to hamstring the current administration is against action in Syria and aren’t going to sit on their asses to block it.

    Those few neocon leftovers urging Obama to take action will withdraw their support and vociferously turn against it should the president do as they wish and victory not come easy. President McCain will start second-guessiing and wanting to micromanage the military campaign through weekly appearances on the Sunday bobblehead shows.

    No matter what Obama decides, independent of whether strikes against Syria are (or are not) an appropriate action to take, the situation is a domestic political loser for this administration.

    Still, Obama’s can’t run for re-election in 2016, so that concern is off the table for him. But taking action can have dire political consequences for Democrats in 2016. I mean, suppose the John Cole/Greenwald emoprog wing of the party cement their alliance with the Rand Paul glibertarians over this, fracturing the democrats and throwing the election to Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

    That would sure show that Obama and the rest of the O-bots, not to mention the moderates and centrists brainwashed by the cult of High Broderism, that a certain subset of the Balloon Juice frontpagers were right, wouldn’t it? And in the political blogosphere, that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

  186. 186
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Emma: sorry, I don’t pay attention to all the posters here. My pie filter works reasonably well.

    Anyway, I assume some of that is people just being cynical dickheads rather than trying to act like dickheads alone, aka Republicans.

  187. 187
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: Your arguments are a big part of the reason I doubt the US will do anything without UN or NATO approval. The US has statutory authority to act in response to a UN or NATO call to action. As a result, such an action would comply with the War Powers Resolution.

  188. 188
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @different-church-lady: Oh so we “won” what did we win, the right of the Chinese to develop the oilfields? A million Iraqis dead, that was victory? What did we “win”?Also I notice you are quite quiet on Afghanistan. Hell maybe we can get George Clooney to do John Wayne-esque movies on how spanked that Islamic backside. Maybe Steven Spielberg can do some “Band of Brothers” type of movies about Iraq. I breathlessly await!

  189. 189
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @different-church-lady: Oh so we “won” what did we win, the right of the Chinese to develop the oilfields? A million Iraqis dead, that was victory? What did we “win”?Also I notice you are quite quiet on Afghanistan. Hell maybe we can get George Clooney to do John Wayne-esque movies on how spanked that Islamic backside. Maybe Steven Spielberg can do some “Band of Brothers” type of movies about Iraq. I breathlessly await!

  190. 190
    OGLiberal says:

    @Emma: Tell me how it’s the right thing to do. Putting 300k+ troops on the ground in Syria, arresting and putting Assad on trial for war crimes (along with any rebels who may also be guilty), rebuilding their infrastructure, helping them establishing a working government, and getting the fuck out as soon as we do that without worrying about any financial benefit it may bring to our nation and its corporations (not much oil in Syria so probably not many opportunities anyway) would be the right thing to do if the goal was to save innocent Syrian civilians. Anything short of that is symbolic bullshit that I can only assume is being done to “save face” or make some domestic constituency happy. What we and our allies did in Libya turned the tide there for the rebels. Actually, it put the final nail in Qaddafi’s coffin. Nobody is arguing that we are in any position to do that here. I might not support a humanitarian invasion and occupation – in fact, I know I wouldn’t – but if the goal is to save Syria, that’s what should be on the table now….that’s the case that people should be making. Not even the neo-cons are on board with that.

    And my point is that Obama has proven to be tough and take military action in situations where the end goal was clear, where the likelihood of success was at least over 50%, where doing what we did made tactical and strategic sense. I don’t see that here – seems like whatever we’re proposing is going to by largely symbolic and based more on emotion than anything else. That’s not a good reason for a superpower to bomb somebody and it’s the type of gut feeling bullshit I’d expect from others, not Obama. I’m hoping he does the right thing but, for the love of pete, it sounds like this is a done deal at this point, the only things left to determine are a) what we hit, b) when we hit it and c) who is going to be on the shortlist of allies fully on board with what we do.

  191. 191
    Jeremy says:

    @Emma: This is the problem I have. I’m for doing nothing when it comes to Syria but I’m tired of the condescending comments about the motives of the president.

  192. 192

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    True, but with Russia and China on the Security Council, are we likely to get a UN Resolution? Don’t know what the mechanism is for a NATO call to arms, but they’re talking about starting this bombing by Monday. I haven’t’ heard any suggestion that Obama plans to seek either one.

  193. 193
    Mandalay says:

    @👾 Martin:

    But everyone else did which is what established use of chemical weapons as against international norms.

    Violations of international norms happen all the time (stoning people to death, cutting of the hands of thieves, caning raped women, sentencing those guilty of infidelity to death) and nothing is done.

    Violating a norm does not automatically entitle third parties to intervene. And there is no precedent case for intervening over the use of chemical weapons. Ironically, the last time chemical weapons were used on a large scale, in Iraq, we aided the perpetrator.

    Using that argument is also weakened by the Administration using the absurd rationale that Syria’s use has threatened our national security interests, while Britain was arguing that intervention was justified on humanitarian grounds!

    Three completely different reasons for intervention, concocted by lawyers. And for a large fee they’ll give you many more.

  194. 194
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: This goes back to my belief that ultimately we won’t bomb. I think, in the end, what we will have is the equivalent of a guy in being “held back” from a fight by his friends.

  195. 195
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: Oh one more thing, since a good number of you are willing to go to war, I hope you are of enlistment age, or your kids or grandkids are. Hey how about it! How about letting poor rural and minority kids sit this one out?

  196. 196
    Emma says:

    @OGLiberal: I am not arguing about that. I am saying that I am getting pretty disgusted with the way the so-called “liberals” feel free to attack the President’s motives. I agree with many of the commenters here about not seeing a good outcome to any of this. But I don’t go all in making stupid comments about the man himself.

  197. 197
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: How many people are arguing in favor of a war? Do you consider the action in Libya to be a war? The most that people seem to be arguing for is an involvement of that level.

  198. 198
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Emma: people here make stupid comments about the President all the time. Heck, it’s practically Ted & Hellen’s full-time job. You have to learn to separate the signal from the noise.

  199. 199
  200. 200

    @👾 Martin:

    Well, that’s a different angle… more than a little crude and cynical

    Basically, I horrified by the situation and don’t see a lot of good coming from it. I don’t see any level of intervention that’s likely to stop the killing; even if we move in and depose Assad, the killing will continue with us in the middle trying to stop it. Therefore, the only right response is to stay out. Unfortunately, staying out is potentially political poison, because every bad thing that happens from this point on will be blamed on us not stepping in when we had a chance. The only good that can possibly come of it is if that political blame can be used for positive effect here in the USA, i.e. pin the blame on the Republicans and flay them for it.

  201. 201
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: We “won” a country so fucked up by history and our own warfare that it took 10 years to glue it back together well enough to hand the mess off to its own population.

    I was a stupid fucking endeavor to try to win that prize, but win it we undoubtedly did. Bush fulfilled his objectives. He just refused to acknowledge what the cost of those objectives would be.

    I left Afghanistan out because it’s still not a done deal, and I don’t really have an idea of what “winning” there would entail in the first place. It’s a mystery to me and I admit it.

  202. 202
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: So do I.

  203. 203
    Jeremy says:

    @Donald G: The problem is that 2 days of strikes is not going to lead to entanglement.

    It seems like too many people believe this is Iraq. I will say this a thousand times : THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS THE IRAQ WAR.

    We can argue over whether this is right decision but the hyperbole around this is ridiculous. This strike would be nothing more than a slap on the wrist which will not lead to the removal of Assad.

  204. 204
    different-church-lady says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    You have to learn to separate the signal from the noise.

    Little hard to do when the ratio runs about 1:2 on a reliable basis.

  205. 205
    Anoniminous says:

    @raven:

    I’m sure they haven’t. Is it enough?

    A question I’d just as soon not have the answer to.

  206. 206
    different-church-lady says:

    @Jeremy:

    We can argue over whether this is right decision but the hyperbole around this is ridiculous.

    Agreed, with the modification that it’s not hype as much as it’s intellectual laziness.

    But…

    This strike would be nothing more than a slap on the wrist which will not lead to the removal of Assad.

    Then why do it?

  207. 207

    @Comrade Jake:

    And by the way, Boehner doesn’t want a vote in the House because the current arrangement allows him to blame Obama no matter what happens

    Well, then, we have to come up with a way of not letting him off the hook. IMO, the right response is for the President to formally ask for Congressional approval for an attack. At that point, Boehner has to choose sides or look like a pussy for failing to respond to a direct request for authorization.

  208. 208
    OGLiberal says:

    @Emma: I love the guy, fully support him, but, again, this isn’t being presented as something that is still being thought out…it’s being presented as a matter of when and how. I hope that’s not the case but nothing I’ve read or seen leads me to believe otherwise. Even politicians I love and respect can do stupid shit I don’t agree with and not have the best motives. And I’m not talking nefarious motives here, I’m talking silly motives, once that don’t make sense, ones that go against my view of how the guy operates. Hope I’m wrong. But if he does go through with this I’m going to be out there voting blue in 2014 as strongly and proudly as I ever have….dude (and my party) is entitled to a fuck up here and there. So in that sense, I’m certainly not a “so called liberal” – just don’t see any logic in what we’re proposing to do here so have to think there’s something beyond “doing to right thing” at play here. Happy to be wrong.

  209. 209
    Jeremy says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: Wait who are you talking about. No one here is in favor of strikes. And once again no troops are going to Syria so what are you talking about ? Last time I checked 2 days of strikes is not really a full blown war.

  210. 210
    Comrade Jake says:

    @different-church-lady: it’s really not that difficult. Learn to recognize the names of the people whose opinion you respect, and the rest is easy.

  211. 211

    @Jeremy:

    You’re right. This will not be another Iraq.

    But as always, Andy Borowitz nails it:

    OBAMA PROMISES SYRIA STRIKE WILL HAVE NO OBJECTIVE:

    Attempting to quell criticism of his proposal for a limited military mission in Syria, President Obama floated a more modest strategy today, saying that any U.S. action in Syria would have “no objective whatsoever.”

    “Let me be clear,” he said in an interview on CNN. “Our goal will not be to effect régime change, or alter the balance of power in Syria, or bring the civil war there to an end. We will simply do something random there for one or two days and then leave.”

  212. 212
    raven says:

    @Anoniminous: I don’t know either but, for the record, I’m against this shit too.

  213. 213
    OGLiberal says:

    @Jeremy: “This strike would be nothing more than a slap on the wrist which will not lead to the removal of Assad.” Agreed – so why do it?

  214. 214
    Botsplainer says:

    Fuck it, put me down as advocating using Sarin to clear Occupy encampments and teatard rallies. It’s no big deal, no different than clubs, teargas and bullets, as they’re all tyrannically violent.

  215. 215
    different-church-lady says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: The sad thing is that’s a more cogent analysis of the situation than anything anyone has said on this entire thread (myself included).

  216. 216
    Botsplainer says:

    Fuck it, put me down as advocating using Sarin to clear Occupy encampments and teatard rallies. It’s no big deal, no different than clubs, teargas and bullets, as they’re all tyrannically violent.

  217. 217
    John Cole says:

    @Jeremy: And two days of random air strikes at military targets that will most likely abandoned will not change anything. So shut the fuck up about this not being Iraq. We get it. But what we see being floated in the media is basically the equivalent of the military rubbing one out for two days in Syria.

    I mean, fer fuck’s sake, Al Jazeera has a handy graphic with all the military targets. If they know that, and I know that, you can bet the Syrians and the Israelis and the US know it, too. So we can launch some bullshit in there, do nothing other than kill a few maids and janitors not in the know, and all feel better about ourselves.

    Fucking why?

  218. 218
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @grass: Have you decided which groups in Syria you prefer to see slaughtered? Because if you’re making that argument, you obviously have something approaching a preference on the massacres you want.

  219. 219
    MaryJane says:

    @Donald G:

    Well, with BFFs like Greenwald and Ted & Hellen…

  220. 220
    Jeremy says:

    @different-church-lady: Because unfortunately the chemical red line was crossed and the President got boxed in with the red line talk which he shouldn’t have said. I don’t support intervention in Syria but this is a tough situation and Obama will be attacked no matter what he does.

  221. 221
  222. 222
    Mandalay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    IMO, the right response is for the President to formally ask for Congressional approval for an attack

    This.

    Regardless of whether or not that vote will give the president the result he wants, what is wrong with that approach? Let those bastards put their votes where their mouth is, with 9% of the public approving of intervention.

    Honestly, how is our nation worse off by allowing Congress to vote on this?

  223. 223
    Voncey says:

    I think we should impose sanctions on Russia until they stop arming Assad.

  224. 224
    chopper says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    yeah, now read the rest. specifically 1543.

    libya only became a legal issue under the WPR after 60 days. this is the way the WPR works. the president can introduce the armed forces for a limited amount of time without congressional approval or a declaration of war.

    ETA: 1544 as well.

  225. 225
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Roger Moore: I’m all for Obama going to Congress for authorization. Don’t think it’s gonna happen tho’.

  226. 226
    different-church-lady says:

    @Jeremy: OK, well, pretty crappy reason, and if that’s what comes out of it then Obama botched this one.

  227. 227
    raven says:

    @John Cole: So Obama can wave his dick and get an award, right?

  228. 228
    Jeremy says:

    @John Cole: First of all I don’t support intervention but the reason why they would strike is because no response to chemical weapons will show that the international community has no issue with the use of chemical weapons especially after Obama declared a red line. This is a difficult position.

  229. 229
    Hal says:

    For Fucks sake, Obama doesn’t have to do anything, red line talk or not. The folks who think he’s a wimp will always think that, and I cannot imagine he can’t make an argument that a military strike is not a good idea. Or at least go with this do nothing Congress and let the decision fall on their heads.

  230. 230

    @Comrade Jake:

    I’m all for Obama going to Congress for authorization. Don’t think it’s gonna happen tho’.

    Which, the authorization, or the request. It seems to me that the request is the best way of finessing the issue. If the request is authorized, we go ahead and do what we think is a legitimate response to the use of chemical weapons and then stop. If the request is denies, we hammer the Republicans on every single thing that goes wrong in Syria from now until the civil war finally grinds to a halt. Make the fuckers own it, one way or the other.

  231. 231
    Comrade Jake says:

    Our intervention in Libya sure did give Assad pause about slaughtering the populace or using chemical weapons, didn’t it?

    Our credibility is overrated.

  232. 232

    @chopper:

    1543 or 1544 don’t override 1541, it provides for what happens once forces are committed. 1543 imposes a requirement that the President explain to Congress, within 48 hours, why forces were committed, under what “constitutional and legislative authority” forces were committed, and how long they’re expected to be there.

    Nowhere in the wording of 1543 or 1544 is there any legislative authority outside of that granted in 1541 or elsewhere.

    (Edited to add that 1544 doesn’t do it either)

  233. 233
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Hal: Yeah, the whole “credibility” argument leaves me indifferent. Seems to me an off-shoot of the “who lost [insert name of non-European country here], as if Tehran is going to bomb Jerusalem or not depending on whether or not we bomb Damascus.

  234. 234
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Roger Moore: the request. I don’t see Obama asking Congress for it. He absolutely should, but I think he’s convinced himself that he doesn’t need it, unfortunately.

  235. 235
    Mandalay says:

    @Donald G:

    No matter what Obama decides, independent of whether strikes against Syria are (or are not) an appropriate action to take, the situation is a domestic political loser for this administration.

    That is exactly what I thought until I read post #207.

  236. 236
    Belafon says:

    @raven: Like Obama, I’m not going to listen to him.

  237. 237
    Emma says:

    @OGLiberal: See, this is the thing. I am not sitting where he is and I don’t see what he sees. The only view I have of him is that he’s a thoughtful adult and treats the rest of us as if we were too. That does NOT mean I agree with him all the time OR that I won’t try to influence the decision. It means that I don’t speak about him in the condescending tones that some of the basement-chair warmers here do. And I sure as hell won’t borrow tropes from the other side.

  238. 238

    @Roger Moore:

    I don’t know how unpopular a denial of authorization by Boehner would be. Last I heard, the vast majority of the American people polled were against an attack. Hell, it might make him more popular as “the one who kept us out of war in Syria.”

  239. 239
    Belafon says:

    @Anoniminous: 83 countries have ratified it.

  240. 240
    Comrade Jake says:

    I’m not 100 percent convinced the House would vote the authorization down. Matters of defense/national security/warmongering seem to fall outside the normal patterns of behavior or logic.

  241. 241
    Cacti says:

    Just to be clear about this Cole, there is a M-U-C-H stronger case for intervention in this instance than there ever was for that misadventure that you waved your poms-poms for and cheered…”RAH, RAH go George Dubya” for 10 years ago.

    Because of the bogus war that you and your BFF Greenwald supported back then, Assad will likely get away with gassing a few thousand civilians.

    Brogressive Victory!

  242. 242
  243. 243
  244. 244
    Keith G says:

    A few days ago, I said that time and time again, the historical record shows that poison gas is a poor tactical weapon on a battle front. It’s only reliable use is as a weapon of terror against civilian settlements. Women, children, and the elderly and infirm.

    Women, children, and the elderly and infirm.

    If a specific group of people have a unique ability to possibly reduce the effectiveness of, limit or deter such attacks, what are the moral implications for those people? Is effort required of them?

    Is there such a thing as morality? So you want the man who was standing at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday talking about “the arc of the moral universe” not bending on it’s own to now be the man who now says, “Nope, sorry. Those were just words. Morality, smorality you kids over there, you are on your own. Sucks to be you.”

    I guess it makes sense not to get involved. It is messy. There are no easy outcomes. There is no way to guarantee success. We don’t owe the kids who will be killed in the next gas attack a god damned thing, so why even try.

  245. 245
    srv says:

    Unconventional weapons require unconventional response.

    Tell them if it happens again, we’ll drop sarin on an Alawite village.

    This isn’t so hard if you really want to stop this shit. Anything else is like John says, just rubbing one out.

  246. 246
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @James E. Powell:

    Even knowing that Assad may have used chemical weapons against his own fellow citizens, the majority of Americans are against any US military intervention. I don’t think they’ll hold it against President Obama if he does not authorize an air strike or otherwise intervene in Syria’s civil war.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/P.....king-Syria

  247. 247
    Cacti says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    And normalizing the use of chemical weapons in the post Convention on Chemical Weapons era will have no long term negative consequences. Temporary expediency is the best course.

    Kids dying from Dr0neZ is worst the thing ever. Kids dying from a sarin gas strike: yawn.

  248. 248
    Jeremy says:

    Let Congress vote on it and see what happens. The British parliament voted against action and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Congress does the same. And then when more people die the blame will be on the legislative branch.

  249. 249
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @OGLiberal: “Nothing short of a full blow occupation would have prevented what happened there.”

    And that’s exactly what is not going to happen. I cannot imagine Americans wanting to invade another Middle Eastern country. A coalition of countries, not including the US, is a better option.

  250. 250
    hildebrand says:

    @Comrade Jake: I am not sure about that – I don’t know if there is an upper limit to their reflexive anti-Obamaism. I would love to test it. Obama should get Congressional authorization, so going to Congress is win-win. The anti-Obama left couldn’t beat him with the standard Obama-as-war-criminal stick, and the anti-Obama right would have to figure out if they wanted to thwart Obama or blow-up brown people more.

  251. 251
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @John Cole: So a sternly worded letter to the Syrians is what’s in order, eh?

  252. 252
    Mandalay says:

    @Anoniminous:

    And there are 112 signatories for the Anti-Cluster Munitions Treaty. Are we now supposed to bomb ourselves for using them in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Good question. The entire debate over intervention in Syria is riddled with important people spewing lies and hypocrisy. But the justification for our refusal to sign the Anti-Cluster Munitions Treaty in 2008 is just nauseating…

    We think that it is going to be impossible to ban cluster munitions, as many in the Oslo process would like to do, because these are weapons that have a certain military utility and are of use. The United States relies on them as an important part of our own defense strategy. Many of our allies rely on them as well. But again, I repeat, we believe it’s vitally important to regulate, strictly regulate the use of these weapons to take humanitarian considerations into account, and we do so.

    So rather than ban them, we think a much more effective way to go about this is to pursue technological fixes that will make sure that these weapons are no longer viable once the conflict is over; in other words, that they explode when they’re supposed to against the enemy you’re trying to use them with and not six months later when kids are playing in the neighborhood.

    The double standards at work in our foreign policy are mind blowing.

  253. 253
    Comrade Jake says:

    @hildebrand: I’d love to test it too, but I prefer a test in which one of the outcomes doesn’t involve launching a fusillade of $600k missiles at empty targets in the Middle East.

  254. 254
    Cacti says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:

    So a sternly worded letter to the Syrians is what’s in order, eh?

    He just doesn’t find it as persuasive as Dubya’s talk about the menace of Saddam’s WMD.

    Also, too. John Cole calling anyone a war pig?

    Irony is truly dead.

  255. 255
    Heliopause says:

    This is a tough call for Obama. Either act alone or risk disappointing Reichsfuhrer McCain and Deputy Reichsfuhrer Graham. For the first time in my adult life I might actually go out of my way to watch Reichsministers Gregory and Shieffer on Sunday to find out what’s what.

  256. 256
    Poopyman says:

    I’m more concerned about why Assad is going out of his way to practically beg the international community into a response. First sarin and now napalm? Maybe he did it just because he could, but he knows that the more outrageous his actions the more likely some form of violent response. Why does he want that, and what will he do using such an attack as his rationale?

    Try to think more than two steps ahead, people.

  257. 257
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: How about facing the bitter truth that the US cannot save the world? Yeah lets bomb Syria, so we can get hard on’s, and the rest of the world will bow before us. Then what is next? The sound of giggling is the Chinese knowing the US is going to blunder this one, if it is green-lighted. Meanwhile our people get even poorer, but let it be said, the US tried to be the planets savior!
    OH SUPERMAN WHERE ARE YOU NOW!
    WHERE EVERYTHING’S GONE WRONG SOMEHOW
    THE MEN OF STEEL, MEN OF POWER,
    LOSING CONTROL BY THE HOUR!!

  258. 258
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Poopyman: Maybe it’s to show the opposition that their support in the west is shallow.

  259. 259
    Emma says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: Actually there’s a great deal of “you broke it it’s yours” in it somewhere. And it’s the good opinion of the Chinese or their derision that we should be concerned about?

  260. 260
    Keith G says:

    @Heliopause: I am thinking that you didn’t mean to suggest that the President is wondering about superficial political concerns right now.. If he is, not only is he not the man I voted for twice, but as far as I am concerned anyone using such a thought process needs to go DIAF.

  261. 261
    chopper says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    well, you’re at odds with the way the law has been interpreted since the ink dried 40 years ago, so good luck with that.

  262. 262
    different-church-lady says:

    @Cacti:

    Kids dying from Dr0neZ NSA maybe theoretically copying your LOL cats to a bunch of hard drives in Utah and then maybe theoretically someday accidentally looking at them is worst the thing ever. Kids dying from a sarin gas strike: yawn.

    The maintenance guy at my school had a great sign in his office: “If it’s jammed, force it. If it breaks, it needed fixing anyway.”

  263. 263
    Anoniminous says:

    @Belafon:

    Old data. The count is up to 112.

  264. 264
    srv says:

    @Mandalay: The difference between 1M dead in Korea and 5M.

    Until you have an alternative plan to stop North Korea, I think you should embrace those clusters.

    @Poopyman: We presume Assad is actually calling the shots.

  265. 265
  266. 266

    I blog-whored this below, but I do wonder if we’re going to be renaming English muffins Freedom Muffins, and if not, why not?

  267. 267
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @srv:

    Until you have an alternative plan to stop North Korea, I think you should embrace those clusters.

    Or move Seoul, it’s often forgotten that downtown Seoul is 25 miles from the boarder.

  268. 268
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: I am not in favor of an intervention.

  269. 269
    different-church-lady says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:

    Or move Seoul, it’s often forgotten that downtown Seoul is 25 miles from the boarder.

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just move that one guy to a different boarding house?

  270. 270
    raven says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Last time I was there that’s where it was.

  271. 271
    Poopyman says:

    @srv: True! But we’d better bomb the shit out of his supposed “command centers” just in case so that the next time there’s a rogue use of sarin or napalm we can do …. ?

    “Tell me how this ends” will forever be a most useful question.

  272. 272
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @different-church-lady: Border, OK?

  273. 273
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @raven: It’s a tad bit bigger now.

  274. 274
    PopeRatzo says:

    @Jeremy:

    The problem is that this is not comparable to Iraq.

    Because the President is our guy.

  275. 275
    different-church-lady says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: I don’t usually pick on common typos, but the set-up was just too good to resist. ;-)

  276. 276
    PopeRatzo says:

    @Heliopause:

    Either act alone or risk disappointing Reichsfuhrer McCain and Deputy Reichsfuhrer Graham.

    If he’s concerned about disappointing those two, then Obama is even more pitiful than I thought.

  277. 277
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @PopeRatzo:Because the President is our guy.

    No, dumbfuck. Because among other differences he’s not talking about invasion or regime change. Are those minor distinctions really too much for your little rage bunny brain? This is why we call you emo-progs, you have to distort the facts to fit your emotions

    If he’s concerned about disappointing those two,

    If that were his concern, he would have sent ground troops to Libya and invaded Syria two years ago.

    Obama is even more pitiful than I thought.

    I’m sure he lies awake at night wishing he could achieve as much in life as you have.

  278. 278
    Cacti says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    Because the President is our guy.

    And the chemical weapons are real, and they were actually used on the civilian population.

    But aside from that, pretty much the same.

  279. 279
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m still kind of amazed at how many people on the left are retroactively justifying our use of Agent Orange in Vietnam. After all, dead is dead, amirite? It doesn’t matter if we use conventional munitions or chemical weapons or even nuclear weapons, because everyone who’s killed is dead no matter what.

    So what the hell, let’s bring on the bunker-buster nukes since the type of weapon doesn’t matter anymore.

  280. 280
    Heliopause says:

    @Keith G:

    I was being somewhat snarky. There are other concerns beside what HRH Lindsey Graham thinks, namely, empowering that human rights nirvana Saudi Arabia in the ongoing cold war with Iran. Conversely, this is a dangerous escalation in the newly simmering cold war with Russia. I think this is a genuinely tough call for an executive thoroughly ensconced in the national security consensus but, hell, he wanted the job, so eff ‘im.

  281. 281
  282. 282
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Jeremy: “… but I’m tired of the condescending comments about the motives of the president. “

    Get used to it, it’s the hot new thing here and all of the Cool Kids are on board with it!

  283. 283
    Joe Bauers says:

    So it looks like we can A) lob some missiles at some empty toolsheds and whatnot, and it costs us tens or hundreds of millions of dollars and Assad can look tough by defying us and it isn’t going to make a damn bit of difference and the people of Syria are going to suffer horribly. Or we can B) do nothing at a cost of no dollars and Assad has to look elsewhere for his photo op and nothing will change and the people of Syria are going to suffer horribly.

    What’s the case for Plan A again?

  284. 284
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Cacti:

    Aww man, give him a break. John’s just trying to make up for his past mistakes!

  285. 285
    Cacti says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    Aww man, give him a break. John’s just trying to make up for his past mistakes!

    By being a knee jerk reactionary both then and now?

  286. 286
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @sapient: Not really.

    Unilateral military action would be illegal. Full stop. Going to Congress doesn’t fix that, either.

  287. 287
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Cacti:

    Well you do have to admit that being knee-jerk in a reaction to something is a hell of a lot easier than having to think about it first and then react. Jerk right, jerk left and jerk everywhere.

    We’ve become a nation of jerks.

  288. 288
    Valdivia says:

    @MomSense:

    Amen. Been mostly lurking because life but needed to second you. No good solution either way but the glibness I have been seeing about all of this is such a turn off.

  289. 289
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    OT: Yesterday I was thinking that I haven’t heard anything from Glennward Snowjob lately and that was quickly followed up with the thought that the silence wasn’t going to last much longer. Sure enough, just checked at Daily Koswald and found the newest revelations from them about the ginormous NSA black budget!

    Farmer Glenn treats this stuff like a cow with the way he’s milking it for everything he can.

  290. 290

    @chopper:

    The WPR’s been interpreted to contradict its plain language? By whom? I’d like to see some actual case law on that. Or at least a memo from someone not a fucking war criminal like John Yoo.

    Unless by “interpreted” you mean “blatantly broken by several Presidents who weren’t called on it by a chickenshit Congress.”

    Yeah, good luck with that.

  291. 291
    different-church-lady says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: All in good fun, but that one came from the WaPo, not Glenwaldia.

    Seems like the GG might be occupied straining his thinker on how he’s gonna justify the identify theft. Crafting that one into whistleblowing might take a bit more than a ball peen hammer.

  292. 292
    magurakurin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Well, I’m well aware of that, and I think many others are, too. And for the record I am in your camp, if something could be done it should be done, but it can’t and a purely punitive show of force will only make things worse.
    And the vast majority here hold very similar views and very few people are in favor of intervention, even less absent UN approval and absolutely none that I can see who don’t see intervention as an agonizing choice. The fact that we are discussing that this is an exceedingly gray and difficult moral question seems to go right over the heads of many including our host and mistermix.

    If Obama chooses to do this, it will be his biggest mistake to date and I will be disappointed. But it won’t be because he is evil, or because he is a war pig, or because he wants to swing his dick, or for oil, or any of the numerous other facile and unhelpful debate points.

  293. 293
    chopper says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    Well, yeah. You name me a president who got in hot water in the last 40 years for dropping some cruise missiles without congressional approval.

    4 decades of that has a lot to do with what the law actually means. Coupled with a scotus that has always sided with a president’s C-in-C powers and you have a legal basis.

  294. 294

    @magurakurin:

    This, this, a thousand times this.

  295. 295
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Aww darn… ;)

    Identity theft?

    ETA: nvm, I just took a look at LGF and caught it. Gee, I remember when we used to talk about stuff like that here…lol

  296. 296

    @chopper:

    Well, yeah. You name me a president who got in hot water in the last 40 years for dropping some cruise missiles without congressional approval.

    “Well, X got away with it” is not a winning defense if you’re flying in the face of the clear language of the statute.

    Is that the model you want Obama to use? You really are getting into “well, illegal acts are okay if it’s our guy” territory there.

  297. 297
    sapient says:

    @Bobby Thomson: The link you provided represents one view. Here is another.

    And self-defense is another instance when a country has a right to invade another, such as arguably (for example) our invasion of Afghanistan, and in accordance with the AUMF.

    A UN resolution isn’t required when other treaties, such as NATO, and other mutual defense treaties, allow a country to come to the defense of another.

    Anyway, there are exceptions, and arguments to be made. That’s why there are people who are trained in the law.

    That said, I believe that Obama will be living dangerously if he chooses to attack Syria with so little international or domestic support, and would prefer that he obtain the backing of the international community, even if he is unable to get a Security Council resolution. And Congress’s explicit buy-in as well. Going it alone is unwise, unless it results in a spectacular human rights success. I don’t see how that’s possible in this situation.

  298. 298
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @raven: Seoul.

  299. 299

    Watching the USA for the past decade, I am convinced that this has little to do with Syria. It seems basically the US war machine needs a bombing every 2-3 years and then they go looking for reasons. Most of the war coverage then focuses on which missiles worked, what was their accuracy etc. So it seems that these “interventions” are used for testing weaponry in actual combat and to see if they do really rip limbs apart.

  300. 300
    different-church-lady says:

    And I’ma just drop this here to kick us up to 6 dTB.

  301. 301
    chopper says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    Actually, yes it is. 40 years of congressional intent matters a great deal in terms of what a law actually means.

    As to the rest of your post, I’ve clearly established that I’m against an intervention. But someone asked for a legal authority so I gave them one.

    Tho if it makes you feel better to paint me as an asshole warmonger knock yourself out.

  302. 302
    Suffern ACE says:

    Nope this isn’t going to happen. And frankly, if it turns out that Assad continues to gas his people, its on Russia and China, and not US for looking the other way. We weren’t looking the other way.

    BTW, this is what the Hague is for when the fighting there is over. There’s noting that says Assad if he’s not slapped for this now he won’t be slapped for it later.

  303. 303
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suffern ACE: Oddly, William Hague is currently Britain’s Foreign Secretary.

  304. 304

    Aren’t the people agonising over chemical weapons here the same ones who go “droooonezz” and mock drone victims? May be there is someone mocking your concern of chemical weapons in the Assad regime.
    In reality, if your cities were being blown up every time you dropped a weapon on someone else, you will not be having this abstract discussion about international law.

  305. 305

    @chopper:

    if it makes you feel better to paint me as an asshole warmonger knock yourself out.

    And if it makes you feel better to paint yourself as the victim of an attack I never made, you do the same. The fact that you felt the need to pull that shit betrays how weak you know your argument is.

    But hey, thanks for playing.

  306. 306
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    Aren’t the people agonising over chemical weapons here the same ones who go “droooonezz” and mock drone victims?

    No.

  307. 307

    Despite roadblocks in forming an international coalition, Obama appeared undeterred and advisers said he would be willing to retaliate against Syria on his own.
    “The president of the United States is elected with the duty to protect the national security interests in the United States of America,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
    There you go. The Mafiosi is elected to duly protect the mafia interests.

  308. 308
    chopper says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    The last part of your post in question was quite clear. Backpedal if you want, but merely citing a legal authority in response to a question does not equate to a belief that the authority should be used.

    You do seem pretty pissed off tho. You should have a fresca or something.

  309. 309
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I was gonna say the same thing. But when I went to type it “droooooooonez” came out.

  310. 310

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    Despite roadblocks in forming an international coalition, Obama appeared undeterred and advisers said he would be willing to retaliate against Syria on his own.
    “The president of the United States is elected with the duty to protect the national security interests in the United States of America,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

    God damn it. He’s not only completely ignoring the law, he’s tossing aside years of carefully crafted strategic doctrine. As a female friend is fond of saying, “oh, honey, no.”

  311. 311
    chopper says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    I said it a few threads back, the carter doctrine is still in effect as far as i know. Thanks again, jimmy.

  312. 312

    @chopper: Funny. When I try to type drooonezz I keep hearing your 9/11 whining. The whining has not stopped after 12 years.

  313. 313
    chopper says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    Can I buy pot from you?

  314. 314

    @chopper:

    “Gee, you seem really angry” is another one of the dodges used by weak debaters who are losing an argument because they can’t come up with any real authority for their bullshit. You’re turning into a veritable dictionary of lame-ass online trolling techniques. Try being a little less cliched and boring next time, mmm’kay? And do your fucking homework.

  315. 315
    chopper says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    cliches

    mmm’kay

    Lol. You’re a keeper.

  316. 316

    @chopper:

    You’re a keeper.

    Your mom said the same thing.

  317. 317
    chopper says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    Meh, I expected better from a guy what complains about cliches.

  318. 318

    @chopper:

    You got as much of my attention as you’ve shown that you deserve.

  319. 319
    Suffern ACE says:

    Nicaragua. I was trying to figure out what this situation was like. And I’m thinking 1980s Nicaragua is probably closest. I wonder if we’ll mine the harbors and pretend we didn’t know how those mines got there.

  320. 320
    chopper says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    Swing, and a miss.

    I’m out for the night. Keep working at it, kid. Maybe practice some insults in the mirror.

  321. 321
    DTOzone says:

    @Lol

    : If Obama doesn’t intervene, I have every confidence that every leftie attacking him for thinking of intervening now will be attacking him in a few years for not intervening and imply it was because they didn’t have enough oil something something and how Hopey McChange doesn’t care about brown people getting killed.

    This reminds me of when we didn’t intervene in Iran in 2009 and many on the left whined about leaving them to die, then whined about getting involved in Libya.

    I’m not sure how the left expects to tackle those sorts of problems.

    I don’t think we should get involved, but mainly because there is no organized opposition to allow for a smooth transition (unlike Libya)

  322. 322
    Suffern ACE says:

    @DTOzone: I only remember the complaints of the McCainiacs on that one. “We didn’t have military options” or something like that. I don’t think the left is really all that interested in overthrowing the Iranian regime, even if the people on the streets remind them of themselves. The whole “regime change in the axis of evil” that we had to deal with from our foreign policy betters for the last decade kind of makes the left run from that kind of stench. And rightfully so.

  323. 323
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m still kind of amazed at how many people on the left are retroactively justifying our use of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

    LOL

    Man, you are one crazy bint.

  324. 324
    lol says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    The left (with exceptions) will never be interested in intervention, but they’ll certainly use the lack of it to attack Obama (or Clinton or whomever).

    Like I said, look at what Ted Cruz said. In one sentence, he manages to attack Obama for thinking of intervening in Syria while attacking him for “allowing” the slaughter to happen. The circle is complete.

  325. 325
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    Get used to it, it’s the hot new thing here and all of the Cool Kids are on board with it!

    That’s right mofo. There’s a whole new set of Kool Kids in town. You old farts need to get out of the way.

  326. 326
    Suffern ACE says:

    @lol: Your example of the left is Ted Cruz?

    You are going to have to find actual lefties who have been calling for intervention. And no, Andrew Sullivan’s Green Banner movement doesn’t much count as being leftist. That’s kind of leftish.

    And I don’t think Ted Cruz is being all that stupid by talking out of both sides of his mouth here. The supposedly super patriotic bellicose Republicans are more split than even the Democrats on the issue of Syria. Being against intervention and aghast at the carnage is actually, what shall we say, the popular sentiment at the moment. If the Democrats wish to declare that sentiment irrelevant, fine. But if you look at the polls, he’s actually taking the popular Republican position and one that is also in line with almost everyone elses. That’s kind of the mainstream position being taken by a guy who isn’t really all that mainstream.

  327. 327
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @sapient: The op-ed I linked was written by Oona Hathaway, a Yale Law School professor who has written extensively on treaties, the U.N. Charter, and international law.

    And self-defense is another instance when a country has a right to invade another, such as arguably (for example) our invasion of Afghanistan, and in accordance with the AUMF.

    True, but not applicable here. There is no way in hell attacking Syria is a legitimate act of self defense.

    A UN resolution isn’t required when other treaties, such as NATO, and other mutual defense treaties, allow a country to come to the defense of another.

    And no such treaty is in play here. No U.S. ally has been attacked, and attacking preemptively on the chance that Syria otherwise might do so is getting into Ch*ney territory.

    Anyway, there are exceptions, and arguments to be made.

    None of which have any merit here.

    That’s why there are people who are trained in the law.

    Hathaway is. I suspect you are not. The Useless News and World Distort op-ed you linked is written by a political scientist, and even his second paragraph states:

    International law forbids the use of force by one country against another. This is a commitment that all countries have accepted. It forms the constitutional underpinning of the modern international order and has a central place in the United Nations Charter. The use of force is only legal if authorized by the Security Council or taken in self-defense.

    The subtitle to his op-ed is “Striking at the Assad regime will likely mean tossing aside the U.N. charter.” It’s disturbing that apparently Sam Power is advising the president that he can just create new law by breaking existing law, which is just a pretty way of saying that might makes right and reminds me of nothing more than this:

    The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”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. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    When you’re echoing Karl Rove and Dick Ch*ney, ur doin it wrong. You’re definitely not complying with international law.

  328. 328
    Yatsuno says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    No U.S. ally has been attacked

    Not technically true. Turkey has had attacks from Syria on their soil plus has forced down Syrian jets flying without permission in their skies. Turkey, however, has a bunch of other considerations that are keeping it from attacking Syria directly at this point. This, however, could change, and they could invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty. I think Turkey is the big deal here right now.

  329. 329
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    Sounds like you’re referring to the “military industrial complex” mentioned long ago by President Eisenhower.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/a.....-ever.html

  330. 330
    AxelFoley says:

    @lamh36:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    People will die with intervention, and people will die without, I promise you, I’m ok w/no intervention. but then again I’m also not gonna be bothered by the sight of chemical war victims if chemical weapons are really being used.

    So I’ll be glad if we don’t get anywhere near Syria, but I swear if I see one person come crying about the victims,or one stupid blog post ala Sully showing victims of the Syrian chemical attacks, I will scream and I promise you I will troll hard.

    I’m just saying.

    ETA: Not a fan of the celebrations over this. Intervention or not, there will be people over there who will die and if CW is being used will die horribly. Don’t think that it should getting any f(*& yeah, type of celebration.

    This.

  331. 331
    AxelFoley says:

    @piratedan:

    I don’t believe that there are many easy answers here, but after Egypt, Tunisia and Libya can we cut the guy in the big chair a bit of slack?

    Thank you.

  332. 332
    AxelFoley says:

    @OGLiberal:

    Can’t figure out why he still feels the need to swing his cock around for the likes of Bill Kristol and the WaPo editorial page

    Projecting much, asswipe?

  333. 333
    AxelFoley says:

    @MomSense:

    I’m just going to say this. I am conflicted about this. There are no easy answers and there are no good options.

    Go watch some of the videos. See the teenagers who were burned because the Syrian government dropped a napalm like substance on a fucking playground or watch the little boy about 4 or 5 seize and convulse and foam at the mouth and then tell me if you think it is appropriate to be so clever by saying things like “earn another Nobel Prize” as if this is just a matter of the President’s ego and not an actual crisis. Maybe this makes it easier for some of you–to pretend that what is happening in Syria is just bully US politics or manufactured to benefit the military industrial complex, or for the President to save face.

    Be for it or be against it but try to be decent human beings. Right now a lot of you sound like psychopathic assholes.

    Thank you. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Cole.

  334. 334
    AxelFoley says:

    @Jeremy:

    And let me say I’m no fan of intervention but the talk by some about Obama’s motives are ridiculous, and condescending.

    It’s what I’ve come to expect from the professional and amateur left.

  335. 335
    AxelFoley says:

    @Emma:

    @OGLiberal: Maybe, just fucking maybe, he’s thinking about it because he thinks it’s the right thing to do? The one thing Obama has demonstrated again and again is that he will do what he thinks is right, no matter how much the teabaggers and emoprogs bitch and moan, or how popular it makes him with the Village.

    The most amazing thing to watch in all this is how easily the left has adopted the methods/beliefs/smears of the right to speak about the President.

    I repeat: It’s what I’ve come to expect from the professional and amateur left.

  336. 336
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Yatsuno: Yes, I was sloppy to write that, and should have added the qualifier “with chemical weapons.” The proffered justification for attacking Syria is that they used chemical weapons, not that they have in the past attacked Turkey.

  337. 337
    Bargal20 says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Ugh…next you’re be quoting to me from “The Pussification of the American Male”.

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