okay, we have to do something about syria

syria civilians

       “We HAVE to do something about Syria!”
       “Okay. Why?”
       “Because the Syrian government used chemical weapons against their own people!”
       “Okay. But hasn’t the Syrian government been killing their own people for a couple of years now?”
       “Yes. But this time they used chemical weapons!”
       “Okay. Do chemical weapons kill their victims deader than conventional weapons?”
       “You don’t understand! Chemical weapons are indiscriminate!”
       “Okay. But when the Syrian government shelled neighborhoods where insurgents were suspected of hiding, wasn’t that also indiscriminate?”
       “The chemical weapons killed noncombatants! Women! Children! Old people!”
       “Okay. Didn’t the shelling also kill women and children and old…”
       “We have to do something to stop the killing of innocents!”
       “Okay. What do you suggest?”
       “Launch missles! Drop smart bombs!”
       “Okay. And you can guarantee that won’t kill innocents?”
       “There is always collateral damage! But we have to stop Syrian President Assad from using chemical weapons!”
       “Okay. So we should destroy his chemical weapons facilities?”
       “No! That would contaminate the area!”
       “Okay, so we should drop bombs and launch missiles at Assad? We should kill him?”
       “No! He’s the only one we can negotiate with! And he’s not a radical Islamist!”
       “Okay. So who do we fire these missiles at? Who do we drop the bombs on?”
       “Airfields! Command and control centers! Military installations!”
       “Okay. But that’ll just kill a bunch of mid-level officers and support staff, won’t it?”
       “Yes, that’s correct!”
       “Okay. If we destroy a bunch of military installations and kill those people, will that prevent the Syrian government from deploying chemical weapons?”
       “No! Chemical weapons can be fired from any artillery piece!”
       “Okay. So we’d have to destroy all the Syrian government’s artillery. Can we do that?”
       “No! Many of them are deployed in areas inhabited by civilians!”
       “Okay. So what should we do? Send in ground troops?”
       “Are you fucking crazy? We can’t send in ground troops!”
       “Okay. So we can’t kill Assad, right?”
       “Correct!”
       “Okay, and we can’t target the places where the chemical weapons are created, right?”
       “Correct!”
       “Okay, and we can’t target the individual weapon systems that actually fire the weapons, right?”
       “Correct!”
       “Okay, and we can’t send in ground forces, right?”
       “Are you fucking crazy?!”
       “Okay. So basically, we can’t actually prevent Assad and his government from using chemical weapons against their own rebellious citizens.”
       “Correct! But we HAVE to do something, or America will be blamed and people will hate us!”
       “Okay. You’re saying if the U.S. does nothing, we’ll be blamed and people will hate us?”
       “Yes, that’s correct!”
       “Okay. But if we do something and it doesn’t work, won’t we still be blamed and won’t people still hate us?”
       “Yes, that’s correct!”
       “Okay. But even if we did something and somehow whatever we did magically worked, wouldn’t we be blamed for not acting sooner?”
       “Yes, that’s correct!”
       “Okay. So the United States is going to be blamed regardless. Won’t people hate us anyway?”
       “Yes, that’s correct!”
       “Okay. Okay, so to summarize, regardless of what we do or don’t do, the Assad government will be able to use chemical weapons against their own people and the United States will be blamed and hated regardless. And regardless of what we do or don’t do, civilians will continue to be killed at random.”
       “Yes, that’s correct!”
       “Okay. So we’re fucked.”
       “Yes, that’s correct!”
       “Okay. And the Assad government is fucked.”
       “Yes, that’s correct!”
       “Okay. And the Syrian people are fucked.”
       “Yes, that’s correct! Massively fucked! Fucked all around!”
       “Okay. And knowing all that, your position is…?”
       “We HAVE to do something about Syria!”

syria neighborhood

187 thoughts on “okay, we have to do something about syria

    • Jody, if it was just the US that was fucked, I think we’d be able to cope with that. The problem is, everybody involved is fucked. There really aren’t any good ways for this to end. Either a LOT more people will die and Assad will somehow stay in power…or a LOT more people will die and somebody with a Kalashnikov will be firing bullets in the air while Assad gets strung up on a makeshift gibbet.

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      • I can’t help but feel if we do nothing, we’re just sitting by and watching a bully at work basically. But as you pointed out, until the bully started using chemicals, no one cared.

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  1. This sounds like a conversation I’ve had with myself several times now. ‘Something’ needs to be done, but I don’t see where any intervention will actually do anything beneficial…

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    • It’s such a frustrating situation, isn’t it. I mean, it really IS important for world powers to reinforce the concept that chemical warfare isn’t to be tolerated. But at the same time, it would be monumentally stupid and pointless to get drawn into the sinkhole of Syria’s civil war.

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      • @..”It’s such a frustrating situation, isn’t it. I mean, it really IS important for world powers to reinforce the concept that chemical warfare isn’t to be tolerated. But at the same time, it would be monumentally stupid and pointless to get drawn into the sinkhole of Syria’s civil war….”

        >>My sentiments to a T! Good questions & even better responses..

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  2. I’ve been hearing that the rebels are actually the ones with the chemicl weapons. They have been posting videos of them using them and there have been a few rebels openly admitting to journalists that they are the ones with the chemical weapons. The media lies and so does the president.

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    • I’m sure they’ve used limited amounts of chemical weapons, but 1) the target of the attack, 2) the scale of the attack, 3) the military grade quality of the munitions, and 4) satellite detection of multiple rocket launches from government-controlled sites preceding the first reports of chemical attacks in social media…well, it all indicates it was the Syrian government that’s responsible for this particular atrocity. Of course, there are plenty of atrocities on both sides, but this one can be laid at the doorstep of the Syrian government.

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      • Alex Jones? You’re citing Alex ‘the US controls the weather and uses it as a weapon’ Jones as a source? Seriously?

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      • Lol I think that was taken out of context when he was taking about that. And yes I do take him seriously. He may seem a little wacky sometimes but that’s bc he is very passionate about waking people up.

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      • I’m sorry…I don’t mean to be rude, but Alex Jones is a conspiracy theorist of the worst sort. I can excuse an excess of passion, but I can’t trust anything Jones reports. Sorry.

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      • Greg, lets try some logic here. Clearly knowing that chemicals will draw in US and allies, why would Assad risk using chemical weapons? Its not like he achieved something by killing 1500 people using chemical weapons! Rebels on the other hand would benefit a lot by staging a false flag operation and blame it on Assad.
        1)The area attacked is partially held by Syrian army and rebels. Shouldn’t Assad be targeting rebel strongholds instead? 2) How do you conclude the scale of attack pointed to Syrian forces? Sarin is deadly in a densely populated area and can kill more people with less amount 3) Contrary opinion is that this is a false flag operation with rebels getting the chemicals from another state. In that case munitions still would be military grade. 4) Social media ? seriously?, are you going to hold a government responsible for use of WMD based on reports on social media. Did it occur to you that if it was a false flag operation the perpetrators plant stories of Syrian rockets before executing the attack?

        You need conclusive evidence before making a judgement here.

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  3. No one ever mentions the Russian government. I’d be starting by pressuring and shaming Russia. But no one ever mentions the Russian government. I’d say that the US is the easier target these days.

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    • It’s absolutely true…Russia has made it impossible for the United Nations to act against the Syrian government. Of course, Russia has a naval base in Syria (I think it’s one of the few Russian naval bases remaining outside Russia) and the Syrian government buys a LOT of military equipment from Russia. So they’re not particularly eager for the Assad government to fail. Russia needs the cash.

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      • Greg, that was a wonderfully histerical dialogue )
        It is not about Russia needing cash. Russia doesn’t really need that cash (it has got plenty), it can profit more from the oil price rise following a large-scale war, if it breaks out. It is about the “sphere of interest” thing. About influence. About keeping the last remaining outpost in the Middle East and playing a role there and in the Mediterranean.

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      • Yeah, you’re right about the oil. And the influence. I think it’s difficult for a lot of folks to see the situation through Russian eyes (I certainly can’t do it). But their global influence has diminished, so it would be all the more important for them to retain as much influence as they can. It’s a shame that events in the Middle East are never just about events in the Middle East.

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      • Events in the Middle East have never been just about events in the Middle East since the first crusade, which was never really about the holy land.

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      • “Russia needs the cash”. Er, I don’t think so. Russia has $513bn of foreign currency reserves (Wikipedia rankings no.4 worldwide) equal to about 25% of its $2tr GDP; with public debt around 10% of GDP. The days when Russia was seriously strapped for cash are long gone with the rise in the price of oil. Maybe when oil crashes.

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      • There’s a Russian naval facility in the port of the city of Syria. Russia provides weapons and the makings of WMDs to the Middle East. Whatever the US has or hasn’t done, it is constantly being held to account for it. Russia is not.

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  4. The blogs and Twitter are currently linking to a report datelined August 29th by Dale Gavlak, an experienced Middle East reporter of 20 years’ standing who has written for the BBC, Associated Press and NPR …

    http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/

    SUMMARY: The chemical weapons “attack” by Assad was actually an accident on the part of a group of rebels who had been supplied with the weapons, but no training, by Saudi Arabia. The curious rebels didn’t know what the weapons were, and started investigating them in a tunnel used as an arms dump. Some of the weapons fired, killing about 12 of the rebels instantly, then there was an explosion leading to a larger release of gas and more widespread deaths.

    *If* the report turns out to be accurate it would cast a huge shadow over the “intelligence” on which British Prime Minister Cameron’s Commons performance was based (i.e. “The rebels don’t have chem weapons, so it must have been Assad”), in the debate on whether Britain should join in the fun. I think it unlikely that the UK’s spooks would have been unaware of Saudi intentions, much less the CIA (who would have supplied Saudi with the weapons).

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    • It’s an interesting article, to be sure. In the Clarification, they acknowledge that Gavlak “assisted in the research and writing process” and didn’t actually interview anybody.

      The interviewing itself seems a tad weak. “Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.” I’ve added the emphasis there. Belief isn’t evidence. And this: “The father described the weapons as having a ‘tube-like structure’ while others were like a ‘huge gas bottle.'” There are a lot of weapons that have a tube-like structure — anything from a mortar (which is certainly capable of firing shells with weaponized chemical agents) to a Light Anti-Tank Weapons (which isn’t). And I’m not familiar with any weapon system that looks like a huge gas bottle. I don’t find that very compelling.

      As to the rebel groups having chemical weapons, I don’t think there’s much doubt that some of the rebel groups have had access to small amounts of chemical weapons. But probably not in the quantity or ‘quality’ (if I can use that term to describe chemical weapons) that were apparently used in the most recent attack.

      You can’t discount anything, of course. But it seems to me the evidence leans heavily toward the Syrian government being responsible.

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      • Didn’t see any Clarifications section, and the Mint Press News website is now down again. (Update: Google now shows me that Mint Press have added a paragraph to the top of the article since I first read it.) Yes, it does weaken the article to know that Gavlak wasn’t actually there to do the interviews. However, one has to ask why Assad would use chemical weapons, given that he’s not stupid and would know what sort of reaction it would provoke. Unless he’s playing some kind of very dangerous double bluff.

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  5. Too complicated. Keep it simple.

    Obama = Bush
    Kerry = Colin Powell
    You and me = SUCKERS

    here’s a .pdf file I’m printing out and putting up! Simple, easy, pictures and no words.
    SpreadAnIdea.wordpress.com

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    • I suppose it’s possible to reduce the history of the Syrian conflict and its implications for the Middle East to ‘simple, easy, pictures and no words’ but I’m not sure I’d want to rely on that for policy decisions.

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      • Hullo! rational debate is COMPLETELY IGNORED by the mainstream. the only thing politicians care about is votes and money. you have to mobilize regular folks who are turned off by brainy stuff.

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      • Yeah, but I’m not sure the best response is to try to tune the debate to the lowest possible note. It might be an effective introduction, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that some things are just really fucking complex and aren’t reducible to a few images. Just my opinion.

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      • but most people realized that they were in fact lied to. I remember trying to convince my coworkers of this in 2004. I was made fun of. 2005, still made fun of. 2006, they started to shut up. 2007-2008, everyone pretty much admitted that we were screwed over by the war planners. Just tap into that simple memory.

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      • >> Yeah, but I’m not sure the best response is to try to tune the debate to the lowest possible note.

        Well if there existed a debate which was judged by the quality of the logic in the arguments, or the quality of the factual research, or the poetic goodness of the rhetoric, I would agree. But as far as I can see, that would be like trying to fight fair when your opposition is not. You’re going up against something with the power of the McDonalds advertising machinery. They go right for our base instincts. Pretty colors. Simple messages. Bam! they’re the most profitable restaurant in my town (where 50% of the population is Ivy league students, faculty, and university employees).

        My mind made up for the time being, so I’m going out and spamming a bit, for the sake of attracting attention. Anyway, thanks for responding & all the best!

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  6. I remember there had been a lot of very reliable intel about Saddam having WMDs, which were never found. Why not wait for UN team to deliver their findings in about two weeks?

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    • Actually, the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq consistently reported that they couldn’t find any chemical or biological weapons, or evidence of CBW production. But the US and UK governments mocked up their own ‘evidence.’ I suppose that’s possible now as well, but it seems less likely (ot me, at any rate).

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  7. PS- I remember going to a couple of pretty vigorous protests in 2003 and 2004. wall-to-wall people for 15 blocks on a big wide New York Avenue. The war happened anyway, but still. This time everyone is acting like it’s already a done deal.

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  8. Chemical warfare via tobacco and it’s added highly addictive chemicals is
    killing millions worldwide / including / Americans/ British / Syrians / etc etc
    USA political parties as British political parties having been funded with the
    profits of tobacco tothe tune of / Tens of $millions thus they have turned a
    blind eys to the millions of victims of tobacco as it’s added highly addictive
    added chemicals / the movie industry churning out decades of movies that
    being nought but the promotion of tobbaco and it’s addictive chemicals…..
    The power of the tobacco companes such that it took decades just to get
    a law in place that banned smoking in public places / in debate for such a
    law the politicians would stand and give a speach defending the tobacco
    companies not the people / an appalling situation of betrayal of the people
    where the power of money blinded those whom ‘s duty t’was to protect the
    people/ to uphod the law / that the rights of all being hounered protected.
    That a USA govt decides wto judge others / yet not judge it’s own appalling
    crimes against humanity / but reveals it for what it is / a terrorist nation that
    having committed appalling crimes under a cover that it protects democracy
    and freedom / yes its true many in SYRIA should be brought to accont / the
    greater truth many Americans should be brought to account / govt as military
    they being guilty of mass murder / torture / false imprisonment / as countless
    appalling crimes of inhumanity /brining death suffering as injustice worldwide.

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    • I’m not convinced the sale of tobacco, as nasty as it is, really qualifies as terrorism or chemical warfare. I’ll agree that it’s emblematic of capitalism though.

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      • Greg / If killing millions worldwide with tobacco and it’s
        added highly addictive chemicals / an act which is only
        regarded in judgement as only nasty then the few that
        killed in SYRIA / under normal circumstances would go
        unnoticed / giving little concern to the rest of humanity.
        The problem be a USA govt need use distraction as a
        means taking focus of americans away from how bad
        the situation a USA is in ..the problems many and dire.

        The MONSANTO company having used the American population as guinea pigs in genetic acts of terrorism in changing the genetic structure of plants where they now produce frankenstein foods /feed to the American people.
        The result on animals given such food is cancers tumors
        bad news to a extreme for Americans in that MONSANTO
        simply used Americans as if they being laboritory testing
        animals / numbers such frankenstein food will kill being in millions / MONSANTO spun a story to the USA govt of how
        they would control the worlds food supply / such earning a
        USA $TRILLIONS of course a USA govt but believed them
        they don’t come more halfbaked gullible / than USA govt’s.
        The MONSANTO disaster but one of many dire problems a USA in facing / rather than in coming to terms as accepting
        the problems facing them govt & military command seeking diversion as seeking distraction than facing the stark reality of situation / (where need ask all nations for help & support.

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      • Yes, I understand you’re outraged by Monsanto, but accusing them of terrorism is to minimize real terrorist actions. Terrorism, by definition and design, is intended to create terror. Monsanto is about making huge profits by marketing their products, and you don’t sell your products by terrorizing people.

        I dislike Monsanto’s business practices, but they’re capitalists, not terrorists. If you want to rant against capitalism, then I’m all for that.

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  9. Great article which cleverly points out all the reasons why we should stick out nose into Syria. Personally, I feel like this is a case of “Nothing-going-well-at-home-let’s-start-a-war-people”. Obama hasn’t been able to turn any positive corners at home, so this may be his last effort to do something good. And Satan surely does pave his roads with good intentions. If the US goes down this road, we’re walking straight into hell!

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  10. There was a talkshow on television in which someone said that Chemical Weapons originate from the USA, so he wondered why it was possible for Syria in the first place to use Chemical Weapons. In my opinion we have to worry more about atomic weapons, I think those will be far more harmful to humankind, although we can’t say that what happens to Syria isn’t horrible, one thing though which I notice is how the media are trying to create a certain image of this situation, just like the media in the Islamic world does when something happens.

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  11. My solution is to have Russia step in to be the policecountry this time. The syrians are their friends, the rebel hate the russians, and we get to stay out of it. Russia gets a bit of up front glory for being in there and will be tied up for the next 10 years or so with blood feuds… Win for us at least… We stay out of it, the world will see that we aren’t the only folks capable of stepping in like for the last few decades and maybe the radicals will refocus on someone other than us… Now how do we get the Chinese to step up and work over NK?

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    • I’m not sure Russia would be willing to police Syria. I mean, they haven’t done it so far. It seems unlikely they would be willing to do it just to implement US policy. But it’s a nice thought.

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      • Russia (or more accurately the USSR) Have already had their ten years trying to police Afganistan during the ’80s. I can’t see them doing the same thing in Syria any time soon which means they’ve learned from their mistakes. So Russia’s ‘Just let them get on with it’ stance appears nore credible from their point of view.

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  12. I think they would like a chance to improve their political standing, help an ally, and Putin is just dying to get a Nobel just Like Obama.

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  13. IMO, using chemical weapons is a lot like what a small ‘s’ suicidal person does. They want to get noticed in their now-desperate state but without actually dying. Syria is caught up in something that has gotten out of hand so they need something to end it. Whether the USA goes in or not it will be the ‘something.’ The chemical attack is a cry for help– sending up a flare — just to know you did something that might cause a different stir. If you were there wouldn’t you do that?
    If I were the US I would do nothing and lean heavily on the diplomatic side. Wait a minute, does the USA do diplomacy? Maybe they should try it. I’ve talked to bullies on what they do/did and many of them say that once they found out about the diplomatic approach to things they liked it and no longer saw bullying as the way to deal with everything.

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    • I confess, I hadn’t considered the chemical weapons attack in terms of a ‘cry for help.’ It’s an interesting take on it. I’ll have to think about that.

      But yes, the US does diplomacy. We didn’t for a while, but once President Bush left office, the US rediscovered the value of diplomacy. I’m not saying we’re really good at it, but we’ve been talking directly and indirectly with Syria since this mess began.

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  14. Diplomacy in this case =”Take two aspirins and call me in the morning.” For all intents and purposes, things are already calming down Syria-side There have been no more chemical attacks and there likely won’t be any more. Like when a fighting couple gets heard by the neighbors, they miraculously calm down. When the police come by, the couple is heavily into the makeup sex. Humans are weird.

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  15. Thanks, Greg. Nice to insert a little humor into our country’s latest outrageous behavior. I sure wouldn’t want to be Obama right now – your post sounds like it might have been taped in the Oval Office! Congrats on the FP! Well deserved, and you’ve started a great conversation!

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  16. Many people in the West are so hard on the Middle East. That part of the world is very old and has many intricacies within it. I guess China doesn’t have that problem too much because it has stayed China throughout. It’s big enough to do so.
    Wait until we reach the 6000+ year mark and see all the old battles we will have accumulated by then still grinding and groaning.
    Another thing that I think everyone personally knows but for some reason forgets when others do it, is that when you get into something a little too far and someone has to help you save yourself from yourself, you aren’t exactly grateful for their intervention. You’re more embarrassed and have to save face by hating them….Hence the saying, No good deed goes unpunished. At this point in time USA is the world’s scapegoat and it doesn’t like it.: USA has a hero mentality which is impractical. Just suck it up USA, You wouldn’t be where you are today without knowledge and people from the Middle East who came to your shores. Just play your relative part like one family member in a huge dysfunctional family. i.e. the world. One day it will be your turn to call on a catalyst.

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  17. We have a neighborhood. We have, a bad neighbor. Some shit goes down and we all talk about what we need to do about that neighbor. Everyone in the neighborhood, has some history or vested interest that let the neighbor stay around to begin with, which we find out, led to the problem.

    This scenario leaves the kids out, who are not involved with the discussion, unless they have a friend who lives where the bad neighbor is so it gets complicated for them. The rest of the kids in the neighborhood is US, having this discussion.

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  18. It’s time we stayed home and worked on taking care of us. There is nothing we can do to correct a situation we have no business in.
    Big business and even bigger government want to protect ‘their’ vital interests, namely, oil. If we are to actually discuss a solution to aid those in the Middle East it would be to start with looking at ourselves, first.
    We, middle American, are the real losers and will continue to be as long as we listen to mainstream America’s media machine sway us here, and then sway us there. I’ve got a future I hope and pray for that I’ve worked all my life to leave to my two grown children. College debt is eating me alive, providing for those that are here illegally is straining every paying taxpayer. The medical insurance promised under ObamaCare has take away more and substantially increased in price for services I am allowed. Illegals receive free education, free medical care and the welfare system, itself, is a sorry excuse for teaching someone how to fish.

    I love my country, my country comes first. One more conflict in a region that despises our incessant need to dictate our principles to them is not our answer, nor there’s.
    We have to have our own house in order if we want to be an example of something to hope for.

    Your post is timely cast. I don’t know many who haven’t been mulling a similar dialog in their grey matter. I am angered that we are even faced with this, AGAIN! We have a Congress that is too polarized to give a ray’s ass, and a President set on trying to please everyone except the taxpayer.
    It’s time to stand before we fall for something none of us wants.

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    • The argument in favor of acting now against the Syrian government isn’t so much a desire to impose the will of the United States as it is to reinforce the modern (since the 1925 Geneva Conventions) and widely accepted notion that the use of chemical weapons has to be actively discouraged in warfare. That’s a laudable and compelling argument, given the nature of chemical and biological weapons (they’re really effective against civilian populations, but not very effective at achieving military goals).

      The problem is 1) the US is probably the wrong nation to do it, 2) the US is probably the only nation willing to do it, and 3) anything the US does really won’t degrade Syria’s ability to use tactical chemical weapons, and 4) whatever the US does will only piss off more people on every side of the conflict.

      Basically we’re talking about Waiting for Godot with Chemical Weaponry. “I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”

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      • Can the US destroy Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal? Probably not (at least, not from the air without risking an accidental release of those chemical weapons). But the real question is, can the US inflict enough pain on the Assad regime to deter him from using them again – i.e., to make it clear that chemical weapons will not be a war winning strategy for Assad. It’s not necessary to destroy Assad’s chemical weapons stock, it’s sufficient to deter their future use.

        The Chosky’s make a compelling case that targeting Syria’s air fields and air force infrastructure would serious impair the Assad government’s war efforts, with minimal risk to either Syrian civilians or US personnel (www.realclearworld.com/articles/2013/08/30/what_to_bomb_in_syria_–_and_why-2.html). The Assad government is going to use chemical weapons if it thinks they will help it win the war. It isn’t going to use those weapons if the price of using them means that it loses its supply line from Iran or Russia or its ability to reinforce government outposts around Syria. Deterrence, for lack of a better word, works.

        The sort of limited strike contemplated by the Obama administration won’t end the killing of civilians in Syria – that’ll go on as long as the fighting lasts and, as I’ve noted elsewhere (http://ifiwantedyouropinion.com/2013/09/03/what-the-hell-is-obama-doing-why-hasnt-assad-been-bombed-yet/#more-582), if either side wins outright, the likely outcome is the mass slaughter and exodus of the losers, meaning that the ”best” result is that both sides slug it out for a few more years before negotiating a peace agreement that slices up Syria like a Christmas goose along religious and ethnic lines (i.e., the Yugoslavia solution). That’s not a good result, since in the meantime tens of thousands (or more) Syrians (mostly civilians) will die, but in this fight there are no “good” outcomes, just better or worse outcomes.

        At best, by denying the Syrian regime the ability to use chemical weapons as a “war winning” strategy, the US might make them more inclined to consider a negotiated settlement (on the theory that fighting only makes sense if you think you can win – though I’m not optimistic). But since the use of chemical weapons allows the Syrian government to kill a lot more people and might help them win (resulting in the aforementioned bloodbath) or at least might help them think they can win (giving them no incentive to negotiate), deterring their further use likely will help minimize future civilian casualties.

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    • Nobody appointed the U.S. the world’s policeman, but when despots start gassing kids and the U.N. once again proves its as limp and useless as Hugh Hefner’s pee-pee without Viagra, somebody has to step up and call a time-out on that kind of thing or what you will get are more despots gassing kids, not less.

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      • I don’t think it’s terribly helpful to view this through a testosterone lens. But it’s true that the use of biological or chemical weapons has to be actively discouraged.

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    • President Kennedy, maybe? lol, I’m just old enough to remember him. I often find myself feeling “we have to do something!” Then ask myself, why does it have to be us that feels so strongly? I’m an Air Force Vet and military widow so maybe I was brain washed from childhood and in my years of service. I have said many times that I knew I was being brainwashed and approved. The conditioning lowered my response time when it was important. I worked on birds on the line ;-)

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      • I’m also a veteran. I come from a military family. That’s partly why I feel strongly about this stuff. But on the other hand, there really IS some value in backing up the Geneva Conventions (even though, in my opinion, the US violated them by engaging in torture). Chemical and biological warfare are really good ways to kills lots of civilians, but they suck at achieving military goals. They need to be actively discouraged. I just wish somebody other than the US would do the discouraging.

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  19. Greg / I do not believe that your interpretation of terrorism
    means that you can dismiss the killing of millions / in that if
    the killing’s done for monetary profit it NOT a crime if done
    under the false cover of defending democracy freedom it’s
    not a crime. Greg the only sense your having is NONsense.
    You are simply doing as politicians /playing people for fools.

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    • What I believe is that words have meaning. Terrorism is a tactic; it requires the use or threat of violence intended to create a sense of fear in a specific community. I don’t think Monsanto intends to create fear in anybody. I think they want to create complacency in everybody. A lot of folks may believe that’s more insidious than terrorism, but it’s not terrorism.

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      • greg / words do have meaning but just using words to spin out meaningless nonsense / is just playing people for fools.

        .

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  20. A lot of good points. But I think we are hidden from some facts. We do not care about the Syrian people because there is a no win scenario playing out there. The common person has compassion for children and the incidences in Syria revolve around children. But the governments, rightly or wrongly care about the effects we would have if we entered the fray. Chemical warfare scares everyone. There are canisters already smuggled in the United States in empty apartments in some cities. They can be triggered by a phone call. This scenario although made up is plausible. The Boston incident shows how vulnerable we are. Imagine a detonation of a nerve gas in Boston or New York by a radical group. In Syria it was fifteen hundred. In the United States it could be five thousand. Somewhere there is a think tank contemplating our actions and the retaliation that would happen after the attack. We already know Tel Aviv will be on the target list. So fifteen hundred, poor dead souls and our retaliation leads to twenty thousand dead poor souls and one understands the delay. There is another possible explanation. Our sources lead us to believe that the killing of Assad is around the corner. We wait and the problem could resolve itself. Time will tell.

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  21. Reblogged this on Ginger Musings and commented:
    This is utter brilliant and frames the shitty situation that is the Syrian “conflict.” And to me, highlights exactly why we should stay out of it. Which itself doesn’t even get into whether we have the legal or moral ability to do so.

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  22. This conversation started with an ‘absolute’ Statement: the Syrian government used chemical weapons against their won people. You must be very clever to know this, seeing as noone else does. The only thing that is certain is chemical weapons were used, but we don’t know by whom. President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s statements are not evidence, they are accusations, nothing more, and anyone who uses a public platform or provides a public platform to further unsabstantiated information is trading in propaganda. We do not know who used the chems, but maybe we will after the inspectors have prepared their report.

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    • My comments are of course addressed to the conversationalist, but I do agree that something has to be done, but not using that method to light the fuse. It is highly likely the rebels instigated the whole thing with outside help – this, I also don’t know. No one knows as yet, except Obama and Kerry, it seems.

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    • I agree we need to hear the reports of the weapons inspectors before anybody does anything. That said, the most reliable evidence we have at this time indicates the weapons were launched by the Syrian government.

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  23. Hot topic everywhere right now. The problem is no one has an answer and we all know the innocent will suffer if they go in guns blazing.So what we need now is a really cool Mission impossible team, but I’m dreaming.

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  24. Greg,
    After having read just about everything posted here, wearing a scarf on Fridays and with dear friends that are Serian, I fear your internal conversation pretty much sounds like mine. I try very hard to refrain from the F! However, it seams appropriate here, we are all really F__d!

    Like

  25. This is too funny, at least from where I see the whole … the issue is not Syria. The issue here unfortunately, is America. The old game can’t be executed anymore … it seems America has a ‘self esteem’ problem — wanting to be so loved, can only come from such emptiness although I’m confident the peaceful Americans know the difference. What needs taken to task is the root of the problem, and that starts there, in congress.

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  26. It is such a complicated situation, and you didn’t even get into what other countries say and feel about this (i.e., China, Russia, Iran). It just gets worse, doesn’t it?

    Great post. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

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    • It just gets worse until…no, it continues to get worse after that. But at some point there’ll be an equilibrium. Which will last until it all gets unstable again.

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  27. Greg

    If Bashir al Assad is toppled frrom power , who is there to replace him ? The US still has yet to learn from what is now taking place in bot Iraq and Afghanistan with the leaders now in power there . And if tis situation is now said to be so damn important , then were was the outcry from this country concerning the genocide that took place in Darfur , Congo and and Rwanda ?

    tophatal …………..

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    • That, as I understand it, is one of the primary reasons nobody is providing significant help to the rebels. Another failed state in the Middle East doesn’t benefit anybody — and the odds are that when Assad falls there’ll be continuing sectarian violence in Syria. There’s no way this ends well. For anybody.

      As to the acts of genocide you mention, the issue isn’t whether or not the Assad regime is killing its own citizens; the issue is the use of weaponry modes outlawed by the Geneva Conventions.

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  28. The US should only get involved in conflicts when they pose a danger to the US. While its tragic, the conflict in Syria poses a threat to who exactly? Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel? Don’t those nations have enough weapons, soldiers and money to make a coalition and go after Assad?

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  29. Common sense says there is nothing going on in Syria. This has been going on forever. If it was all true the way it is put there would not be any people left in Syria. It is called governemnt defense department begging for more money. This government is being put down too and it is nothing more then give the military more money to protect the legislatures being put down. All theri admins are being executed . Use some common sense.

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      • I am sure there is a war there no bigger then we have a war here. I am a veteran. They spray crap on us here too. They experiment on all of us too. All this exsgeration is no more then fund raising. Territory controlling for resources etc. Then when we disclose we get the targeted treatment. We do not have whistleblower laws because they all do just a great job. It takes millions of victims to get those protection laws and it takes million sof men not us women. The governemnt is and always has been male dominated. Due to position I got immunity the only reason I got anything.

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      • greg / mkesing63 is but giving a comment in your
        own style as in own language of course you don’t understand it (reason) it’s but complete nonsense.

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    • I think a LOT of people care if chemical weapons were used. It has more to do with the conventions of how war is conducted than with who used the weaponry. Chemical and biological weapons are handy for killing lots of people indiscriminately, but they’re not terribly effective in achieving military goals (like capturing territory). That’s why they were banned under the 1925 Geneva Conventions.

      Like

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