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1 Romantic Heretic  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 4:52:27am

Christ. They’re never happy unless American kids are dying in some far away land for the single purpose of proving American exceptionalism.

It’s rarely their kids who are doing the dying though.

2 team_fukit  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 5:15:21am

I’ve been a little confused by the politics of the whole bomb Syria thing, since all the teabaggers and the radical lefties I know both oppose any sort of military intervention. I haven’t decided what I think should be done either, but this drama reveals well the fissures in the GOP and the fecklessness of the DNC.

3 Vicious Babushka  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 5:18:14am

re: #2 team_fukit

I’ve been a little confused by the politics of the whole bomb Syria thing, since all the teabaggers and the radical lefties I know both oppose any sort of military intervention. I haven’t decided what I think should be done either, but this drama reveals well the fissures in the GOP and the fecklessness of the DNC.

The teabaggers are only against a war with Syria because OBAMA but otherwise they totally want a war with Syria because THEIR KILLING TEH CHRISTIANS!!!11!!!!

4 Bulworth  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 5:47:26am

re: #2 team_fukit

Yeah I’m pretty confused too. One minute the Right is yelling “Red Line Crossed, Red Line Crossed, Do Something!!!” Another minute they’re all “Hey you gotta justify this to Congress and What are you doing and Blah Blah Blah. I don’t get it.

5 aagcobb  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 7:04:04am

re: #4 Bulworth

Yeah I’m pretty confused too. One minute the Right is yelling “Red Line Crossed, Red Line Crossed, Do Something!!!” Another minute they’re all “Hey you gotta justify this to Congress and What are you doing and Blah Blah Blah. I don’t get it.

Its a deep split between the neocons who were ascendant during Bush, and the isolationist libertarians led by Rand Paul. With a dash of Obama Derangement Syndrome. Newt split with himself during Libya, first criticizing the President for not intervening, then immediately criticizing the President when he did intervene.

6 rosiee  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 8:10:30am

re: #1 Romantic Heretic

[citation needed]

7 Skip Intro  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 9:29:01am

Just don’t expect the teabaggers to agree to pay for their next little war. Instead, they’ll go back to the tried and true solutions of trying to gut Medicare, eliminate Social Security, and cut all non-military spending to the bone while expanding CEO welfare .

8 Ace-o-aces  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 9:43:20am

re: #3 Vicious Babushka

The teabaggers are only against a war with Syria because OBAMA but otherwise they totally want a war with Syria because THEIR KILLING TEH CHRISTIANS!!!11!!!!

Of course the Christians in Syria tend to be aligned with the Assad government, who are the ones we would be attacking. It’s hard for teabaggers to understand complexity like that because to them all Muslims are indistinguishable scary brown people.

9 sliv_the_eli  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 10:13:29am

Reading the comments here, I wonder how many of the posters in this thread actually read the letter, which is reproduced in its entirety at the end of the Mother Jones piece. Frankly, there is nothing in the letter urging that the U.S. send in troops or otherwise commit to land combat.

The text of the letter merely urges our President, who has previously gone on record as stating that the significant use of chemical weapons would be a red line warranting a serious response, to back up those words. Now, one might argue whether President Obama putting his credibility with foreign powers on the line by declaring such a red line was wise in the first place. (Personally, I agree with the substantive position, but would have preferred more nuanced public pronouncements that leave the President more room to maneuver). What to do now that the red line appears to have been crossed is a different matter.

On that score, the letter urges the President to act decisively against a legitimate target, namely the military units that would have been involved in the use of chemical weapons and to do so with sufficient power to act as a deterrent to any in the Syrian governing regime who might wish to use them again.

Beyond that, the letter urges the President to provide assistance to adequately vetted moderate elements in the rebellion:

[T]he United States … accelerate efforts to vet, train, and arm moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition, with the goal of empowering them to prevail against both the Assad regime and the growing presence of Al Qaeda-affiliated and other extremist rebel factions in the country. (Emphasis added)

Is there really any dispute that, if we are to assist anyone in the fight over who will control Syria in the future, we should be assisting legitimate moderates? Bear in mind that President Obama is on record as supporting a change of regime in Syria, so a letter urging him to support the true moderates so that Assad is not replaced by an even more radical regime is hardly an exclusively “necon” argument. To any who think we should not assist any true moderates that exist, who do you propose we support instead? Hizb’allah? The al-Nusra Front? Should we simply sit back and allow those groups to take power because they are better organized and better armed than the moderates?

Now, it is certainly possible that there are no “true moderates” in this war. I don’t buy that argument, which, IMO, is akin to the bigoted argument that Arabs and/or Muslims are not capable of anything but violent radicalism. Somewhere in Syria there are moderates. If experience is any guide, they are outnumbered, out-organized and outgunned on the field of battle by the radicals. It is, however, in our national interest to find them, identify them and assist them so that when the guns at last fall silent, they, rather than the radicals, lead their country, and the region, to a brighter future.

10 sliv_the_eli  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 10:58:48am

By way of follow up to my previous post, here is an article by David Ignatius that appears in today’s Daily Star (Lebanon). Ignatius is many things, but a necon is not one of them.

What does the world look like when people begin to doubt the credibility of American power? Unfortunately, we’re finding that out in Syria and other nations where leaders have concluded they can defy a war-weary America without paying a price.

Using military power to maintain a nation’s credibility may sound like an antiquated idea, but it’s all too relevant in the real world we inhabit. It has become obvious in recent weeks that President Barack Obama, whose restrained and realistic foreign policy I generally admire, needs to demonstrate there are consequences for crossing an American “red line.” Otherwise, the coherence of the global system begins to dissolve.

Read more: dailystar.com.lb
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: dailystar.com.lb)

11 Skip Intro  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 11:05:21am

re: #9 sliv_the_eli

T]he United States … accelerate efforts to vet, train, and arm moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition, with the goal of empowering them to prevail against both the Assad regime and the growing presence of Al Qaeda-affiliated and other extremist rebel factions in the country. (Emphasis added)

I assume you weren’t around during the start of the Viet Nam war, where at the beginning all we were going to do was send in “advisers” who would assist and train the South Vietnamese, while having no combat role whatsoever.

As you may know, it didn’t work out that way.

12 Romantic Heretic  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 11:14:04am

re: #6 rosiee

[citation needed]

Apparently you only come by here when you feel the need to weed out the anti-Semites amongst the lizards.

13 sliv_the_eli  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 11:14:58am

re: #11 Skip Intro

I assume you weren’t around during the start of the Viet Nam war, where at the beginning all we were going to do was send in “advisers” who would assist and train the South Vietnamese, while having no combat role whatsoever.

As you may know, it didn’t work out that way.

Your assumption that I wasn’t around at the beginning of the Vietnam was is correct, although I am fully familiar with the facts you recount and therefore share the concerns over unintended consequences. Bear in mind, however, the letter that gave rise to this thread does not urge inserting military advisers in country, only vetting, training and arming moderates. There are separate reports that we have already been involved in providing training in Jordan to select rebel forces who are then infiltrated to Syria. I read the letter to the President as urging more of the latter approach, not that he send in “military advisers” a la Vietnam. I wholly support the former. The latter, for many of the reasons discussed in the excellent articles that Charles posted last night, would, IMO, be folly.

14 rosiee  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 11:22:53am

re: #12 Romantic Heretic

Or kneejerks, either-or. Can you prove anything you said about neo-conservatives, people you oogabooga at.

15 subterraneanhomesickalien  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 11:28:11am

re: #1 Romantic Heretic

It’s rarely their kids who are doing the dying though.

And miss their Freshman orientation at Harvard?

What are you thinking!!!!!!/////

16 Randall Gross  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 3:02:34pm

I suspect that it’s the regime pointed parts that concern people. That goes well beyond a punitive strike.

Moreover, the United States and other willing nations should consider direct military strikes against the pillars of the Assad regime.

17 sliv_the_eli  Thu, Aug 29, 2013 8:40:55pm

re: #16 Randall Gross

I suspect that it’s the regime pointed parts that concern people. That goes well beyond a punitive strike.

But that statement cannot be properly understood unless it is read in context. The paragraph in which it appears reads, in its entirety, as follows:

Moreover, the United States and other willing nations should consider direct military strikes against the pillars of the Assad regime. The objectives should be not only to ensure that Assad’s chemical weapons no longer threaten America, our allies in the region or the Syrian people, but also to deter or destroy the Assad regime’s airpower and other conventional military means of committing atrocities against civilian non-combatants. At the same time, the United States should accelerate efforts to vet, train, and arm moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition, with the goal of empowering them to prevail against both the Assad regime and the growing presence of Al Qaeda-affiliated and other extremist rebel factions in the country.

(Emphasis added).
Moreover, in the preceding paragraph, which is the only one that comments on the type of military assets that should be used, the authors limit their recommendation to the use of “standoff” weapons.

Read in context, the language you quote in your post does not propose a commitment to ground forces in Syria. Rather, it proposes a logical standard for the President to use in selecting the nature and extent of the targets to attack. Rather than a meaningless pinprick that will serve no purpose other than making us feel better for having “done something”, they urge the President to strike a sufficient number of sufficiently significant targets to both act as a real deterrent against future use(s) of chemical weapons and degrade the dictator’s ability to terrorize civilians.

As I noted in Post #10, above, the “necons” are not the only ones making a similar point. Here is what David Ignatius wrote in a similar vein today:

The main rationale for military action by America and its allies should be restoring deterrence against the use of chemical weapons. The strike … should be potent enough to degrade Assad’s command-and-control structure so he can’t conduct similar actions in the future. Officials hope that the strike will make a diplomatic settlement more possible; they don’t want a decapitation of the regime that would leave no counter-party for negotiation.

(Emphasis added).

Many very capable and knowledgeable people, such as those whose views writers such as Mr. Ignatius represent and those who authored some of the pieces to which Charles linked last night are saying essentially the same thing as the authors of the letter. In fact, it occurs to me as I am writing this that the letter might actually be an attempt by its authors to signal to the President that at least some on the right are prepared to back him on this issue.

Anyway, those are my two cents as we approach midnight on the east coast. Hope I have given some food for thought; or at least enough for a late night snack. TTFN.

18 Flavia  Sun, Sep 1, 2013 6:40:36pm

re: #12 Romantic Heretic

Apparently you only come by here when you feel the need to weed out the anti-Semites amongst the lizards.

So you’re saying that you’re an antisemite? Of course “Mother Jones” is antisemitic (or, at least, this article is. Same thing). Perhaps that’s what drew rosiee’s attention? The article focuses almost solely on Jews before the whole letter - with mostly non-Jews signing it - was put in.


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