Is letting Syria’s Assad use chemical weapons really the best we can do?

Liberal action group, Credo (who we like, by the way), sent out an alert this morning on Syria.  And I have to admit, I got kind of creeped out by the thing.

First, here’s the petition Credo is asking people to sign, then some discussion:

“President Obama: With civilians being butchered and refugees suffering immensely, it is horrifying to watch the brutal civil war in Syria unfold. But U.S. military intervention is far more likely to make matters worse, not better. The U.S. should not bomb Syria. The best thing we can do is commit to holding war criminals accountable, expand humanitarian aid for refugees, and maintain constant diplomatic pressure for a negotiated end to the conflict.”

I’m not one of those who thinks “yeah but” discussions are necessarily off-limits.

Meaning, I do think it’s possible to be morally and intellectually consistent when you say: “yes, I think X is wrong, but…”  You don’t just do things, or not do things, because of some puritan desire to be consistent in life.  I know this first hand from the gay advocacy work I do.  I get involved in some things, and not others.  And I may get involved in the gay cause of the day, but not the environmental cause of the day.  There are only so many hours in the day, I can’t work on everything, so I have to triage my concern, not to mention it’s not always clear that by getting involved I’m actually helping.

So I get all of that.

But I still got seriously creeped out when I read Credo’s petition.  And I’d like to think through, with your assistance, why.

For starters, there’s the yeah-but, and I just can’t avoid it.  Yes, Assad is butchering civilians, but.  Yes, he used chemical weapons against his own people, but.  Yes, we said we’d never let any nation cross this line (again), but.

I think back to how many times we on the left complain about the other slaughters that went unanswered.  Rwanda comes to mind (a lot).  And then I wonder if this isn’t why Rwandas, and our non-response to such crises, happen in the first place.  There’s a always a good reason now not to get involved in something that in retrospect was a gross violation of human rights.  In retrospect our inaction looks so cowardly and hypocritical.  In real time it makes perfect, albeit sad, sense.

And I get the arguments about Iraq.  Though it depends what lessons we actually took from Iraq. Was the problem that Bush lied?  That he ran the war poorly?  Or is all intervention doomed to lead to more chaos?  Our efforts in Libya and Kosovo would say otherwise, as would the first Gulf War.  But their success doesn’t mean the current effort would be a slam dunk.  Nor does Iraq’s failure mean this would be a failure too.

But in the end, I keep coming back to the moral issue.  There was no moral imperative for going into Iraq in 2003 (nor was there an overriding strategic one).  That was my biggest problem with the effort.  There was for Kosovo.  And there is for Syria.  And I worry about what it says about us, and the message it sends to tyrants now and in the future, to say: “The best thing we can do is commit to holding war criminals accountable.”

Is that really the best we can do?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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100 Responses to “Is letting Syria’s Assad use chemical weapons really the best we can do?”

  1. DeWayne says:

    Ever do research into the stockpile of Saran Gas the Pentagon has stockpiled around the nation, I found interesting a southern State filing suit against the Pentagon, using a poor incinerator method trying to destroy old product.
    You missed the news of weapons grade materials not long ago mailed to enemies of the State, traced back to one of two military virus/chem laboratories. Is the US-Military Industrial Complex-Gov still active in producing war materials in contradiction to treaties signed… GOLLY… Ya think???

  2. phil says:

    You are full of crap. Our “military industrial complex” has not manf. these weapons for some time. (If they have is is a black operation that will remain in country for worst case scenario). Syria received their first weapons from Egypt back in the early 70’s, but have manufactured their own for the past 20 years. Don’t be a dope.

  3. theUglyTruth says:

    1. They have been found responsible for previous chemical weapons attacks.
    2. There are reports from the area that rebels handing chemical weapons improperly accidentally set them off from multiple people (original report is from a news website connect to the associated press, by a reputable journalist)
    3. It is completely illogical for Assad to wait and suddenly (when he is already winning with conventional weapons) launch a major chemical weapons attack right as UN inspectors arrived, only a few miles away from them, knowing this is what the US needs to justify going in. If he is willing to kill his own to stay in power, he is definately willing to take the most basic logical actions required to stay in power.
    4. While he has a strong motive NOT to have done this attack, the rebels, who have b een losing the war and are on the brink of complete loss, have EVERY reason in the world to conduct an attack and blame it on Assad.

    If you were serious about wanting to know my reasoning rather than just giving a polemical attack on me, there is a good in depth article here:
    http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/09/01/which-syrian-chemical-attack-account-is-more-credible/

  4. thedetonator says:

    And please tell me what are your reasons to believe the rebels did it? I’d like to know why the rebels are so accountable for it yet Assad who has already proof of going as far as killing his own civilians to stay in power has no reason to be held responsible.

  5. theUglyTruth says:

    Pfft there is no reason to believe Syria is responsible at the moment, and all the reason in the world to believe the rebels did it.

  6. DeWayne says:

    It is amazing how handy regime government leaders can be, when needed.

  7. DeWayne says:

    And the more intelligent reason, is that there are unknowns that are unknown.

  8. DeWayne says:

    The war against Middle East nations was written by cabals like PNAC well before year-2000, it has progressed apparently with little modification. Syria is of little importance, other than dragging Iran into protecting it’s neighbor, and then the sore spot concerning the Middle East can then be eliminated.
    The only small problem, Russia and China soon to be the economic capitals of the world, may find the PNAC mentally exactly what they need, after WWIII removing this dominant Empire of World Domination now a threat to them.

  9. DeWayne says:

    It is interesting, how those that win over another, write the history for all to see.

  10. DeWayne says:

    I believe it comes from historic record… US diplomat Gillespie appeared to recognize the connection, when Saddam warned of Kuwait slant drilling into Iraq oil reserves.

  11. DeWayne says:

    I would add only one correction, little known about the “Iranian Revolution’… that never happened.
    The US-Gov overthrew Iran-Gov in 1953 to install dictator Shah (honorary title), using SAVAK SS from 1953-1979 to keep this puppet in Office.
    By 1978 the Shah was diagnosed in last stages of cancer, leaving Iran in 1979, he died of cancer 1980 in Egypt… another well known ‘Democracy’.
    The Khomeini who had been banned from Iran for bad mouthing the atrocities of the Shah, in 1980 elections was asked to return as Shia Cleric Overseer… so much for bull-excrement the US-Media puts out.

  12. DeWayne says:

    About the only thing TV is good for, would take a newspaper, if I had a bird cage in which to put it.

  13. DeWayne says:

    Obama is a common stooge, like all the past, puppets that live a long time doing what is right.

  14. DeWayne says:

    mirth…
    With you all the way, if Americans ever get control of our government again, I suggest breaking up (to big to go to prison) Int’l-Mega Cartels, such as Four Sister Oil Cartel, into MANY small Wholesale Only and Retail Only businesses, with no crossover ownership, not even in the pet dogs name.

  15. DeWayne says:

    Better idea, tell the super powers to stop killing or contracting killer’s and murder’s, might almost end war around the entire globe.

  16. DeWayne says:

    Consider, this (farce) began with (unk) Freedom Fighters wanting to ‘change regime’… into what?
    This farce began winding down when ‘Freedom Fighters’ began losing ground in Syria… remember when Saddam began losing the war (1982) with IRAN… and (someone) sold WMD to Saddam.
    I do not believe the mentally deranged behind this obscenity have an imagination, enough to at least change a little in their ‘World Domination’ program.

  17. DeWayne says:

    Might I remind, the origin of most Weapons Grade Virus, Chemical, and Weapons sold around the world, are predominately product of the US “Military Industrial Complex”, the same also setting up military installations all over the world, to… police “strategic locations’.

  18. DeWayne says:

    This ‘story’ of Syrian military using chemical weapons killing their own people, stinks to high heaven of the identical propaganda used saying Gadhafi was killing his citizens. In fact the UN Human Rights Commission in Jan-2012 of same year was finishing report of accolades, telling how Libya citizens enjoyed a better life style than nations around them… including Russia.
    What is perhaps obvious, is Syria being used to draw IRAN into (our) war, and that Russia and China as result might make (our war) WWIII.

  19. ezpz says:

    Since “harmless bombs and bullets” is oxymoronic, I assume your whole comment to be snark, no?

  20. karmanot says:

    Follow the money. The reason Bushies thought some WMD’s existed in iraq is that Bushie senior sold poison gas to Sadam. It’s time to sunshine the receipts. My guess is that the Chinese have been providing base elements, much as they have to the Mexican drug cartels.

  21. karmanot says:

    Obozo is a Renaissance man. He can drone, pontificate, 11ty dimensional and shit at the same time.

  22. karmanot says:

    Excellent article goulo

  23. Bill_Perdue says:

    The US is the nation that regularly commits genocides and lesser war crimes. Other nations and groups do the same, especially our client state, the zionist colony in Palestine.

    Nothing excuses war crimes.

  24. NorthKoreasunshine says:

    Right on, John. What people don’t seem to get is, if the United States takes decisive action to punish Assad for using poison gas, he’ll learn his lesson and go back to using harmless bombs and bullets (which have already killed over 100,000).

  25. goulo says:

    John, I recommend this Ted Rall article which just appeared as well:

    http://rall.com/2013/08/29/syndicated-column-7-questions-you-should-ask-about-syria

  26. lynchie says:

    So now that Assad knows we are going to bomb the shit out of him did anyone think he has moved the supposed chemical weapons to these same military targets and in effect gets us to gas his own people. We have a military who obviously don’t care who they kill, maim or destroy. Remember Bush’s line “we got to fight them over there so we don’t fight them here”. O’highness should get the U.N. to take action if the allegations are proven but to focus on jobs, putting corporate crooks in jail, spending in infrastructure, dealing with poverty and lack of health care, and glory be JOBS. Lots of money for killing, little for keeping people alive, families in their homes, food on the table or a future for the country.

  27. lynchie says:

    But then the U.S. doesn’t get to rape and pillage the resources and in this case take Syria out of Russian control. That is the whole Neocon push in the middle east. They had a grand plan that had the U .S. take over the 7 oil countries surrounding Israel guaranteeing control of most of the oil in world and of course delivering it to the Oil companies. Here is a clip of Wesley Clark talking about just such a plan.

    http://www.infowars.com/libya-and-syria-the-neocon-plan-to-attack-seven-countries-in-five-years/

    If bombing other countries without provocation isn’t a crime I don’t know what is. America loves to put despots in charge in countries where we want resources then when convenient we simply throw them out with the trash. Saddam was good as long as he fought Iran and if he gassed a few Kurds with chemical weapons we gave him so be it. I can’t name a President in the last century who didn’t invade or invade another country. The middle east is a powder keg. The Israelis want to throw the bomb at some Arabs. The oil companies want the black gold but don’t even want to pay their taxes to finance these escapades. The politicians want their kickbacks and board of directors jobs when they leave office and in all of this the poor and elderly are told to shut the fuck up and share the pain at the bottom. I don’t see much of a future for the middle class and poor we are caught in a cycle we can’t get out of. Apparently we have millions for bombs and drones for Syria but we can’t fix roads, bridges or pay a decent wage to teachers, or help the poor get an education, or fix our health system. We spent $1.1 billion bombing Libya yet the fighting still continues we have spent $trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fighting continues. Where has military action purged the bad and kept only the good….never. This could easily escalate and that follows nicely the Neocon dreams.

  28. Thom Allen says:

    PRICKnick, your reading and comprehension skills are really poor. I never used the word “immoral.” Please try to reread my posts, getting someone to help you, if necessary.

    A challenge? Hardly, just stating known facts, which you seem to be unable to do.

    Dead is dead but the time preceding death can be horrendous. Have you ever watched a human suffocate? I have. It’s horrible and can take several minutes. MUCH better to be killed instantly in an explosion.

    “Welcome to the world of killing?” Wow, I’m impressed. Are you a professional killer, or just a moron?

  29. ronbo says:

    This appears to be just another case of for-profit war. But instead of based on pure lies (WMDs in Tikret), there has been some “proof” put into place (repugnant that people had to die for their sins). All the prima facie elements are there… motive, capability and evidence of manipulation of evidence.

    We live in a sad time, when good people stand by allowing evil to flourish. Assad may be a bad person; but, justice is not served by framing him with criminal actions by UaxiSA of for-profit Evil.

  30. koralroget7yq says:

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

    Assad knows he can get away with it, that’s why he did it in the first place. Who dares stop him? No one.

  31. Thom Allen says:

    Let’s be fair. Russia committed war crimes in Afghanistan, among other places as did Iraq, Albania, North Korea and the list goes on. And, you can demand all you want, it’s not going to happen. The genie does not go back into the lamp.

  32. mirth says:

    Or use a superpower’s influence to tell everyone else to stop the killing. Enough with all of it. But that requires a truly democractic and moral government, neither of which we have.

  33. DonDong says:

    My guess is that it’s just an excuse to surround Israel, then destroy it. As they say in the “white” house, “Hail Satan!”

  34. mirth says:

    Criminality & Theft & Theater. Makes for good tv and pitifully uninformed blog mewlings.

  35. DonDong says:

    Why would Syria, or any country with bullets & bombs use Sarin gas, of all things on the enemy? Why would Assad want to give BO an excuse — no matter how lame — to “intervene”…?? This gas doesn’t even work well in an enclosed space like a subway. Bombs would be more deadly with less “fuss”.
    Any excuse to start WW3, right, Ayatoilet Obama?!

  36. pricknick says:

    And yet, not 10 hours ago, you thought something should be done to whoever used a gas.
    You challenged that gas agents were more immoral than conventional explosive to kill.
    I’m happy to say, welcome to the world of killing.
    Wounded may be wounded, but dead is dead.
    Peace

  37. kenthomes says:

    First of all – the rebels were found to be the perpetrators of the last attack – which is why Obomber backed off. Assad has been winning the war lately, which is why there is no way in the world he would have ordered this attack – especially on the same day the UN weapons’ inspectors were arriving. This is blatant propaganda once again, designed to ignite World War III – according to the plan which was shown to General Wesley Clarke, prior to 9/11 – regarding taking down 7 Arab regimes within a few years, starting with Libya. Syria had been a serious bump in their plans – whose ultimate bulls eye is fixed on Iran and total control of Eurasia and it’s vast energy reserves – shutting out China and Russia – as outlined by Leonid Bryzensky? in his “Project for a new American Century”. Syria is not having a legitimate “civil war”. The CIA and Mossad, ect are training Al Qaeda afilliated, Al Nusrah front terrorist (yes, the same ones they have you wetting your pants about at the airport) arming the hell out of them – and unleashing these filth on the Syrian people. Assad is not saint – but he is a secular Arab leader and Christians and Arabs have been living in relative harmony for years. This is totally insane – especially considering America, Israel and Britain have all used chemical warfare recently (see Fallujah, Gaza (white phosphorus) and depleted Uranium. America also gave and assisted Saddam with the chemical weapons he used to kill thousand of Kurds and Iranians. This is all just more America, Nato bullshit to start World War III. ENOUGH!! NO WAR ON SYRIA!!

  38. masaccio68 says:

    This isn’t an adequate analysis of the Syrian disaster and its ramifications. We don’t go killing people just because they kill people. The Obama red line about chemical weapons made no sense when he said it and makes no sense now. Nothing we do will make this better in any way. It will just add to the death totals.

    We’ve been killing people my whole life based on everything from fear of commies to fear of terrorists to some moral claim, or just plain killing. Enough. Let someone else kill.

  39. karmanot says:

    President Obozo has conveniently given plenty of warning to Syria, in order that they may move their strategic military centers and thus, give the show of plenty of bombs and bombast, while accomplishing nothing except showtime.

  40. jomicur says:

    Sad to say, the most disgusting thing about this is the fact that it is so completely unsurprising.

  41. Bill_Perdue says:

    Iran claims Kuwait and it was stolen by the English. Taiwan is Chinese.

  42. perljammer says:

    On 19 June 1961, Kuwait became independent with the end of the British protectorate; the sheikh Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah, became an emir, and the country joined the Arab League. Iraq laid claim that Kuwait was part of its territory, but formally recognized Kuwait’s independence and its borders in October 1963. [Wikipedia arrival on Kuwait]

    Prior to being subsumed by the Ottoman Empire, Kuwait was not part of Iraq.

    It’s not uncommon for countries to claim territories as belonging to them. See, for example, India and Pakistan re: Kashmir, or the PRC re: Taiwan.

  43. KB says:

    Pleh. Two of the first four.

  44. KB says:

    Britain, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, most of the nations in the Middle East and others have condemned Assad and his regime.
    All showing, I’m sure, the same pluck and independence that three of first four did when they forced down Evo Morales’ jet.

  45. KB says:

    The big tell: Kerry demanded that the UN inspection team not be allowed to investigate the source of the attacks as a precondition for their going forward.
    Why would he have done that unless he expected a repeat of last May, when the UN inspectors fingered the rebels as the source of the chemical attack?
    Why would he have expected that unless he himself knew that the whole thing was bogus?

  46. Bill_Perdue says:

    Iraq has claimed Kuwait since the end of WW1. The English, as I said separated Iraq and Kuwait to make oil extraction easier.

  47. Bill_Perdue says:

    Starting the nation that routinely commits war crimes and has since the end of World War II, the United States.

  48. Bill_Perdue says:

    oops, sorry, I misread.

  49. Thom Allen says:

    We should demand that EVERY government destroy their WMDs. But they won’t, even if they say they will.

  50. mirth says:

    What’s a little deadly gas to make way for bombs when the oil and gas pipelines must be reopened and connect up and safely get the stolen products to the Mediterranean? It has taken some doing, not surprisingly kickstarted on 9/11, some would say, but the oil&gas boys have this all worked out and their sycophants, pretend-colored in various hues of red and blue and with their collectively greedy, bloody, war-criminal hands on the necessary military assist, are ensconced in governing offices to make the plan not only doable but now almost complete. A very few will condemn the Syrian bombing, some will cheer for it, some more cautious ones or ones simply too stupid to recognize what is really going down will give their approval, albeit mealy-mouth, but the oil&gas boys and their cohorts, like the honey badger, don’t give a fuck what any of us think.

    http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/oil-pipelines-middle-east.jpg?00cfb7

  51. perljammer says:

    Sigh. A sense of outrage is not a substitute for checking your figures.

    365 x 1000 = 365,000. 365,000 x 4 = 1,460,000. Not 14,600,000. And, I said two years (1937 – 1938), not four. So, 730,000.

    No, exaggerated is not the word for it.

    The source is the Wikipedia page on “Great Purge”.

  52. perljammer says:

    Iraq and Kuwait were BOTH part of the Ottoman Empire until their borders were drawn after WWI. Kuwait was never part of Iraq.

  53. Bill_Perdue says:

    You mean the Stalin purges killed almost 15 million (365 x 4 years x 1000 per day = 14,600,000.

    As a long time left opponent of the Stalin regime I have a pretty clear idea of how bad it was but where did you get those figures.

    Stalin murdered tens of thousands of Bolsheviks and leaders of the Red Army. “The purge of the Red Army and Military Maritime Fleet removed three of five marshals (then equivalent to five-star generals), 13 of 15 army commanders (then equivalent to three- and four-star generals), eight of nine admirals (the purge fell heavily on the Navy, who were suspected of exploiting their opportunities for foreign contacts), 50 of 57 army corps commanders, 154 out of 186 division commanders, 16 of 16 army commissars, and 25 of 28 army corps commissars (wiki)” and thousands more intellectuals, doctors, artists and etc. Wiki reports that “According to the declassified Soviet archives, during 1937 and 1938, the NKVD detained 1,548,366 victims, of whom 681,692 were shot – an average of 1,000 executions a day (in comparison, the Tsarists executed 3,932 persons for political crimes from 1825 to 1910 – an average of less than 1 execution per week).”

    It seems you’ve exaggerated, if that’s the word for it, by a factor of 10.

  54. Bill_Perdue says:

    Truthout reports that “ In Rush to Strike Syria, US Tried to Derail UN Probe After initially insisting that Syria give United Nations investigators unimpeded access to the site of an alleged nerve gas attack, the administration of President Barack Obama reversed its position on Sunday and tried unsuccessfully to get the U.N. to call off its investigation.” http://truth-out.org/news/item/18447-in-rush-to-strike-syria-us-tried-to-derail-un-probe

  55. Bill_Perdue says:

    Kuwait was part of Iraq until the English split it off to make oil profiteering easier.

    The Brits knew all about oil deposits in the region and that’s why they demanded control of the region when the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 and in later imperialist interventions. After World War Two the English declared Kuwait to be an “independent sheikhdom under British protectorate.”

    From Wiki – “The discovery of oil in Kuwait, in 1938, revolutionized Kuwait’s economy and made it a valuable asset to Britain. In 1941 on the same day as the German invasion of Russia (22 June) the British took total control over Iraq and Kuwait (the British and Russians would invade the neighboring Iran in September of that year). … On 19 June 1961, Kuwait became fully independent following an exchange of notes with the United Kingdom. When Kuwait became independent in 1961, Iraq claimed Kuwait, under the rationale that Kuwait had been part of the Ottoman Empire subject to Iraqi suzerainty. Iraq appeared to be mobilizing for a military invasion and on 27 June 1961 the emir of Kuwait requested assistance from the Saudi Arabian and British Governments. Britain rapidly deployed troops, aircraft and ships to the area (Operation Vantage).[11] In 1963, after Iraqi prime minister Abd al-Karim Qasim had been killed in a coup, Iraq reaffirmed its acceptance of Kuwaiti sovereignty and the boundary it had agreed to in 1913 and 1932, in the “Agreed Minutes between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Iraq Regarding the Restoration of Friendly Relations, Recognition, and Related Matters.” In the 1960s and 1970s however there were still periodic border clashes. … “

  56. Bill_Perdue says:

    How about instead Obama, Assad, the leaders of the zionist colony in Palestine, Karzai, the Clintons and the Bushes etc. must be tried for their war crimes, in abstentia if necessary, and upon conviction measures taken to seize any personal wealth they may have acquired, use the proceeds to provide some recompense to their victims, and prevent them from starting more wars for the rest of their natural lives.

  57. perljammer says:

    “… the Iraqi province or [sic] Kuwait …” Where the heck did that come from?? Kuwait has been under the control of a lot of countries, from Portugal to the Ottoman Empire to Great Britain (and yes, Iraq while it was occupied during the Gulf War), but it’s never been part of Iraq.

  58. Bill_Perdue says:

    Any war effort supported by Democrats like Obama, Kerry, or the Clintons is going to be a major civilian killer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkS9y5t0tR0

  59. perljammer says:

    During 1937 and 1938, Stalin’s “Great Purge” resulted in the execution of roughly 1,000 people EVERY DAY. Oh, well — at least they didn’t use chemicals. For the most part.

  60. Bill_Perdue says:

    The rich, who run America and the military and political hired hands in the federal government are greatest threat to world peace. They think, as they have since Vietnam, that they have the right to invade and occupy or destroy every nation that gets in their way.

    The leaders of both right wing parties assume that they have carte blanche to attack other nations and have done so for decades. Republicans have a deserved reputation as warmongers
    but Democrats, because people are confused about them and fooled by them do just as much damage.

    It was Truman who invaded Korea, not a Republican. Eisenhower continued Truman’s war, threatened the Chinese and Russians with nuclear war and played empire builder in Asia, Africa and much of Latin America. But nothing he did was close to the war crimes of his predecessor
    Truman or his successors, JFK and LBJ, who gave us Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Dominican Republican and the attack on Cuba.

    Nixon continued LBJ’s war and, happily for the world, lost, retreating across 14943.72 kilometers (9285.6 miles) of teh Pacific ocean with his tail between his legs, yelping about how he was ‘betrayed’ by the civilian and GI antiwar movements. Another reason to celebrate his resignation it that it probably saved the lives of tens of thousands of civilians and GIs in nations he had his eye on.

    Carter attempted to interfere with Iranian Revolution and drove it to the right and their kidnapping stunt drove him out of office.

    Reagan attacked Libya and other countries and propped up right wing regimes everywhere and we owe our lives to the fact that the Soviets didn’t respond to his nuclear saber rattling.

    Bush1 led the invasion of the Iraqi province or Kuwait and set the stage for two decades of mass murder by the US and their junior partners the UK in the region.

    Bill Clinton callously and deliberately murdered half a million Iraqi children citing lies about Iraqi WMDs. Clinton is a war criminal and a monster. (see the video below)

    Bush2 invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq, actions which led to the murder of a further
    1,000,000 plus Iraqis. He too is a warmongering monster.

    Obama seems intent on going after other nations like Iran and Syria, after aiding the NATO attack on Libya Iran and escalated in Afghanistan. We should demand the total and immediate withdrawal and demobilization of all US armed forces, back a treaty compensating nations attacked by the US, another treaty promising to invade other countries and laws fight for laws criminalizing the promotion of war to create profits for businesses.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4 – Clinton is a war criminal
    kills children

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOuK7jtbZq0 – Bush is a war criminal

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krHV9iT20zw – Obama is a war criminal

  61. samizdat says:

    Your first sentence reminds me of a Dead Kennedy’s spoken word/jam with Jello Biafra mockingly mimicking a USian gov war-monger telling (over the phone) Margaret Thatcher that the US and Britain need to start another war because the death merchants needed more profits. The person playing Maggie made it sound as if ol’ Iron Hair was positively orgasmic at the prospect of emptying Britain’s “dole queue” for a war.

    Funny how reality has come full circle, doubling back on itself as surrealism.

  62. RyansTake says:

    I didn’t say they’re the same thing, just that they’re similarly horrific. Firebombs spread, too. That was the whole point. Picking individual targets wasn’t working, so the US decided to say “to hell with it” and employ bombs that would create firebombs — “spreading” to giant swaths of a city because the conventional weapons weren’t hitting the targets the US wanted with the accuracy it wanted.

    So, they’re different… but equally horrific. The idea of being in a city being firebombed with ‘conventional’ weapons versus being in a city where chemical weapons were dropped would be equally scary — with people praying the wind blows in the other direction, lest they meet a horrific death no one should suffer.

  63. Thom Allen says:

    I didn’t classify nerve gas agents as weapons of mass destruction. The UN and many other countries did. And my points are still valid re: chemical weapons like nerve gas. They can be spread to others by people who have been contaminated with the gas. Doesn’t happen with firebombs.

  64. RyansTake says:

    No fly zones are very helpful, but unlike when we’ve instituted no-fly zones elsewhere… Syria is well stocked to combat it. They’d eventually lose their ability to resist a no-fly zone, but the casualties would be much higher for any allied forces making attacks.

    One key issue that’s not well known by many: the US would not target any chemical weapons facilities, because to do so would release the chemical weapon agents in the process.

    So, should we to go bomb Syria because they used chemical weapons, when our bombing of them wouldn’t actually do significant damage to Syria’s ability to employ chemical weapons?

    That’s the part that doesn’t smell right to me… we’d essentially be using an excuse to go in there that literally can’t go away. Awfully scary proposition — or a convenient one for the military industrial complex.

    At the very least, we shouldn’t go taking any military actions without a clear cut answer as to how those military actions will help solve whatever reasons are used to get us to go in there in the first place.

  65. RyansTake says:

    I recommend you look up “firebombing” and compare stories of Tokyo and Dresden to stories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or even just look at the before and after pictures, since they look eerily similar.

    We killed 100,000 people firebombing Tokyo. 100,000!

    Among the 25,000 people we killed in Dresden, thousands and thousands of them were in bomb shelters. They suffocated because the firestorms we created using ‘conventional bombs’ sucked up all their air.

    Tell those people that conventional weapons can’t be Weapons of Mass Destruction.

  66. RyansTake says:

    Bombing won’t stop chemical weapons attacks — the US is already on record saying they won’t target chemical weapon facilities, even if they knew where all of them were, because blowing them up would just release the chemical agents.

    So if we bomb Syria, we’re still not stopping their ability to use chemical weapons.

    So, basically the reason why we’d drop bombs on Syria would not go away.

    I smell quagmire.

    France and the UK have been very boisterous about Syria. Turkey is right on Syria’s doorstep. All three are capable of ample bombing campaigns and instituting no-fly zones if they want to. Why don’t we let one of them do it?

    I’ve yet to see any instance in the past ten years where us dropping bombs, however well intentioned, has improved any situation Every country is worse off today than when we dropped bombs. I’d submit that’s for a good reason: bombing countries and making them better doesn’t really go hand in hand.

  67. cole3244 says:

    we know when others have committed war crimes because we are the experts on war crimes and how to cover them up.

  68. nicho says:

    Update: John Kerry has just reported a WMD trailer, labeled Yellowcake, pulling away from a building where Assad was seen throwing babies out of their incubators into the Gulf of Tonkin.

  69. docsterx says:

    Maybe he’s not demented, maybe he’s just delirious with wealth, power and hate, similar to Donald Trump. I think he confabulates, like other right-wingers. Hr needs to say something hateful and nasty about a group he despises. When nothing is readily apparent, he makes something up to fill the bill.

  70. nicho says:

    It’s like the old joke about Saddam. We know Assad had chemical weapons because we still have the receipts.

  71. BeccaM says:

    Thanks. And yeah — ships, planes, drones, bombs, and missiles all chew up billions of dollars, hence why they’re always the preferred ‘hammer’ to any perceived nail.

  72. lynchie says:

    Haliburton and boeing stock up today. I want some proof which side did the gassing. Not some spook he just wants some brown people dead.

  73. ezpz says:

    “The best thing we can do is commit to holding war criminals accountable.”

    Indeed, Mr. President! Let’s start with those who caused death, destruction, carnage to so many innocent civilians:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=victims+of+drone+strikes&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=WGIeUs78G6mlsQT7nYGACA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1280&bih=680

    And that this president has given a pass to the former administration makes him complicit and an accessory after the fact. Plus it’s obstruction of justice and a violation of his oath to both the Constitution and international law to give retroactive immunity to war criminals.

  74. Steve_in_RI says:

    Once again your measured and clear response is right on target. I’m afraid that the fix may already be in however and that military industrial complex drum corps is already on the march.

  75. ezpz says:

    If – BIG if – chemical weapons were used, how do we know that the canisters don’t say “made in USA”?
    And how do we know *who* used them? The rebels to whom we provided weapons or the Assad govt?

  76. Thom Allen says:

    Reuters/Ipsos poll: majority of Americans surveyed do NOT want the US to get involved in an attack on Syria. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/25/us-syria-crisis-usa-poll-idUSBRE97O00E20130825

  77. Thom Allen says:

    A statement from the UN says that some form of chemical agent was used that resulted in the deaths of the rebels. They as yet don’t know what the chemical(s) were. They are still doing analysis on samples, examining bodies and the site where the attack occurred and interviewing witnesses. They don’t have an exact number of casualties from the chemical attack yet. They estimate a few hundred to a few thousand.

    Britain, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, most of the nations in the Middle East and others have condemned Assad and his regime. Some countries have taken diplomatic action. The UN has criticized Assad and the attack. IF there is going to be an attack on Syria, let our allies and the UN take the lead. We’re barely out of the fiasco that was Iraq. We may be getting out of Afghanistan. We don’t need to get involved in this war.

    For decades, the US has sacrificed troops, money and munitions as peacekeeping forces, to attack other countries, defend yet others. It’s long past time that we let other countries do a very substantial part of that. Let them gear up, invest billions. send their best young people off to help the Syrians. So far, the neighboring countries in the Middle East have done little other than providing some sites for refugees who have fled Syria. They can get mobilized and get some manpower and weapons into the area. They can get help from the above named countries and aid the Syrian rebels by attacking Syria, if necessary.

    That way, our defense industries would have to get their cash stream from those governments and not from the US. We have enough wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan that we aren’t taking care of properly in the US because of government cuts. We don’t need more. IF the UN Security Council calls for an attack by UN member countries, the US needs to just opt out, citing the number of times we’ve been involved in the past.

  78. BeccaM says:

    Here’s the main problem I have with CREDO’s statement:

    The best thing we can do is commit to holding war criminals accountable…

    ‘Commit.’ In other words, merely make statements of intent, promises easily broken, neglected, or simply never followed through upon. I might’ve overlooked the bland haplessness of their list of actions if it had instead said, “The best thing we can do is to hold war criminals accountable.” Period. Not ‘commit’, but actually do it.

    How about instead, “Assad must be tried for his war crimes, in abstentia if necessary, and upon conviction measures taken to seize any personal wealth he may have acquired, use the proceeds to provide some recompense to his victims, and imprison Assad for the rest of his natural life.”

    Parsing the rest of it: “expand humanitarian aid for refugees” — but not take any meaningful action to prevent thousands more Syrian citizens from being turned into refugees.

    “Maintain constant diplomatic pressure for a negotiated end to the conflict” — wow, talk about passive, not to mention incredibly non-specific. “Oh Assad, please stop shelling or gassing your people, or we shall be very cross with you!”

    I am myself, by nature and preference, a pacifist. I firmly believe war should be the absolute last resort and should always be viewed through the prism of, “We did not manage to avoid this war, which means we failed.” And, “We’re in this war now, but have the duty to end it as quickly as possible and bring our troops back home.” I also feel that high altitude bombing and Hellfire drone-strikes are moral abominations right up there with chemical weaponry and acts of terrorism. Murdered is murdered, whether it’s committed by an individual, a warlord’s army, or a nation. All are horrible, all could’ve been avoided.

    Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian non-combatants have been slaughtered in the name of “liberating” them from their tyrannical rulers. And most wars of choice are started for reasons entirely different than the ones governments use to sell them to their citizens.

    My problem isn’t with the means Assad is using to butcher his own people. It’s the fact he’s doing it at all. And furthermore that nothing substantive is being done to stop it in as peaceful a means as possible, with an absolute minimum of additional bloodshed. The only part of CREDO’s statement I agree with is that bombing won’t ‘fix’ Syria.

  79. Thom Allen says:

    Not really. People who are exposed to nerve gas can absorb gas into their clothes. If they themselves haven’t received an immediately fatal dose, they can walk and gas, sometimes fatally, others with whom they come into contact. Or, rescue workers can be affected, and possibly die while treating the exposed. Additionally, when gas is released, it can spread for long distances before it is eventually diluted by air to non-toxic levels. The clouds can spread to areas where there are non-combatants (hospitals, schools) and kill them easily. These don’t happen with explosives, though, sometimes explosives go off target and strike unintended sites. These are a few of the reasons that nerve agents are classed as weapons of mass destruction.

  80. pricknick says:

    Same for conventional explosives.

  81. Thom Allen says:

    Death from nerve gas exposure is not pretty and may not necessarily be quick.

  82. nicho says:

    It’s more like he just knows his audience. They will lap this stuff up — and send him more money — lots and lots of it. Not so crazy after all, is it?

  83. nicho says:

    All you need to know is that the giant multi-national corporations who make bombs, missiles, fighter jets, etc. are getting antsy. We haven’t used any of these in a long time. They’d really like us to start using up our stockpile — or they might have to lay off the third shift. If you don’t have a clear idea what this war is about, that’s a sure sign that the US government is lying to you.

  84. BeccaM says:

    I read that and said to myself, “How is it nobody is saying the obvious, that Pat Robertson obviously has senile dementia and/or is batsh*t insane?”

  85. goulo says:

    First reason for the US not to enter yet another war, this time in Syria:

    Experts Point To Long, Glorious History Of Successful U.S. Bombing Campaigns
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/experts-point-to-long-glorious-history-of-successf,33642/

    Seriously, you’re being played just like you were to support invading Iraq. In the first place, is there really any genuinely credible evidence that chemical weapons were even used (beyond the government simply telling us so – gee, where have we heard that before?)?

    I recommend reading Ian Welsh’s recent article:
    http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-real-reason-the-us-and-uk-will-attack-syria/

    >>>
    The Real Reason the US and UK will attack Syria is not because Syria used chemical weapons, since the UK says that even if the UN team does not find evidence the Syrian government used chemical weapons they may attack anyway.

    There is no reason why the Syrian government would use chemical weapons in any case, they have nothing to gain and everything to lose, since they are, with the help of Hizbollah, winning the war now. The people who have something to benefit are the Syrian rebels, who are losing, and who need intervention. If they can frame the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack, they get what they need.
    <<<

    It would behoove the US to learn the lessons of its own sordid history of lying the US into wars which only help the profits of some large corporations while causing insane destruction to people in the invaded country as well as to US soldiers cynically used for this purpose.

  86. nicho says:

    Totally OT — but absolutely freaking hilarious.

    http://blog.sfgate.com/hottopics/2013/08/28/pat-robertsons-ridiculous-accusation-against-s-f-gay-men/

    Still stuck in the homophobic fog of the 1980s, Pat Robertson mentioned in passing on his TV show The 700 Club Tuesday that gay men with HIV or AIDS wear special rings designed to purposely infect others with the virus.

    “You know what they do in San Francisco, some in the gay community there, they want to get people, so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,”

  87. SomeYankInRio says:

    The US could also support the United Nations and, if enough other nations agree, join a multinational force with International legitimacy instead of constantly charging in unilaterally and causing more harm than good. Isn’t that one of the things the UN is there for?

  88. Indigo says:

    There is that and we can dismantle their entire social infrastructure at no additional charge.

  89. nicho says:

    No, it’s not the best we can do. We can kill them for him. We have a lot of experience in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  90. ComradeRutherford says:

    War profiteers are still outraged that there’s one penny left in the public Treasury and not in their offshore bank vaults. That is who the Federal Government represents.

  91. Indigo says:

    Green-lighting. That’s a nicely corporate expression, I like it. Let’s review: the US government currently green-lights homelessness for the poor, the unemployed and the mentally ill, destitution in diverse parts of the country from Appalachia to the Amerindian holding-pen reservations, underfunding for schools and the elderly poor, corporate profiteering at the medical, pharmaceutical, industrial, construction, military, and investment troughs, widespread bank fraud, and immunity from prosecution for war criminals retired from government and living in the open inside the United States, along with green-lighting anti-technical enigneer persecutions in the cases of several current whistle-blowers, and you’re asking me to be concerned about the government’s green-lighting a military action in a foreign country, waged against its own citizens? Is this one of those “progressive” issues that prioritizes foreign intervention over domestic well-being?

  92. Jonathan Kuyper says:

    Indeed. Too many supporters of military intervention seem to use moral outrage the same way a drunk would use a lamppost: for blind support, rather than for illumination. As you correctly point out, our government has lied to us too many times, on too many occasions, in support of too many wars, to still be credible.

  93. ComradeRutherford says:

    Assad knows he can get away with it, that’s why he did it in the first place. Who dares stop him? No one.

  94. pricknick says:

    As horrible as chemical weapons are, is it any more humane to blow people up with conventional weapons?

  95. tamarz says:

    I have no clear sense of what we should do about Syria. Part of it is my woeful lack of understanding of what various military interventions will do. My husband keeps repeating “no-fly zone.” What will that do to protect civilians (or rebels)? I’m not clear at all. Or we bomb selected sites. How does that stop Assad from doing anything? And I’m with Markos at Daily Kos that killing is killing is killing. Whether people die from Sarin gas or from U.S. bombs, they’re just as dead.
    Until we know what purpose our intervention serves, and what the likelihood is that it will succeed, I will continue to be skeptical of military interventions.

  96. Blogvader says:

    Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday condemned the Syrian regime’s
    apparent use of chemical weapons as “undeniable” and “inexcusable,”

    Where have I heard that before?

    Oh yes.

    Dick Cheney: “We know he’s been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”
    –March 16, 2003″

    George Tenet: “”It’s a slam-dunk case!” – December 21, 2002

    George Bush: “Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations.”

    Colin Powell: “Ladies and gentlemen, these are not assertions. These are facts, corroborated by many sources, some of them sources of the intelligence services of other countries.”

    Donald Rumsfeld: “I don’t know anybody that I can think of who has contended that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons.”

    Condi Rice: “If you connected the dots about everything that we knew about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs going back to 1991 and going all the way up until March 2003 when we launched the attack against Iraq, you could come to only one conclusion, and that was that when
    this was an active program, that this was a dangerous program, this was a program that was effectively concealed.”

    The Verdict; They were lying then, and these folks are lying now. We can’t afford (literally, cannot afford) to believe them. (And launch yet another moronic, ill-fated military campaign.) I don’t understand why we’re seeing this same pattern, and liberals are simply swallowing it as gospel, knowing that our government routinely lies about such things in order to necessitate the purchase of even more war materials and secure the continued favor of their campaign contributors.

    Besides, what virtue is there in killing even more people with ‘approved’ weapons via air strikes than would have been killed by the Syrians in the first place?

  97. Ford Prefect says:

    Nations do not go to war over moral issues. They are defending or pursuing their interests. That doesn’t mean there can’t be any moral aspects to these various wars. It just means morality is not a prime driver–and given the amoral nature of our civilian leadership these days, I’d venture to say Kerry’s own crocodile tears are meaningless in the extreme. In the Syrian case, there simply isn’t a moral argument to be made without maintaining massively willful ignorance. The Obama administration has decided to take the side of Al Qaeda in the Syrian Civil War. Please demonstrate how that is the moral thing to do in any case at all.

    It is a fact that the jihadi “rebels” we suddenly view as moral actors (putting aside their promises of ethnic cleansing and genocide after they depose Assad) have been caught with crude Sarin weapons in Turkey and elsewhere. This may also be one of those occasions, judging by US opposition to the UN experts actually doing their jobs.

    That said, what are the vital national interests that require defending here? I don’t see any.

    What is the strategic rationale for this round of mass murder? I don’t see any and the administration isn’t saying what, if any strategic rubric they’re using. Gen. Dempsey has been rather clear on this question and no one in congress or the WH has answered his concerns. If in fact there is no strategy, then of course our contribution to the bloodshed will only make things worse. If there is a strategy, then not stating it is not only morally wrong, but political malpractice as well. We’re being led by people who think in terms of “X number of dead civilians gives us more credibility than we had before.” What kind of monster really wants that kind of credibility? And don’t we have a massive stockpile of that already?

    Lastly, if you think Libya was a success, then you don’t understand what happened and what’s still happening in North Africa as a result of that little misadventure. I’m not sure how many innocent people have to die from our Freedom Bombs before Americans start accessing their moral compasses, but apparently it’s a number sufficiently massive to shock the conscience of normal people.

    The first rule of thumb ought to be, “If we’re making things worse, then we shouldn’t do it.” But unfortunately, making things worse is apparently a requirement for US policy. It’s what we seem to be best at and it’s also what we seem to enjoy most about foreign policy more generally. Our leaders even think jumping in bed with the folks who brought us 9/11 is perfectly doable and “moral.” Chances are that’s why a whopping 9% support this intervention. Most people find that idea repulsive.

  98. jomicur says:

    The situation in Syria is far from clear. The UN is urging the US not to act hastily, i.e. wait till the weapons inspectors have had a chance to finish their job and report. (You remember the weapons inspectors who reported correctly that there were no WMDs in Iraq, don’t you?) http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/28/syria-crisis-labour-cameron-commons Going off half-cocked based on faulty “intelligence”–reports by US agencies that cherry-picked evidence and told the president what he wanted to hear– is what got us into the Iraq quagmire. Repeating that hideous mistake would be dire and unconscionable. If nothing else it would quite certainly generate more anti-American terrorists. How many times must this country repeat the same blundering villainy before we finally learn better?

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