Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
disco

Syria 2013

Recommended Posts

At first, Republicans were claiming that President Obama needed to talk to Congress, because only Congress has the power to declare war. This is constitutionally accurate. It is not a view they shared in 2001 (Afghanistan) or 2003 (Iraq), but it is an understandable viewpoint.

 

Then President Obama declares that he wants to go to war, but cedes the power to do so to Congress. Republicans then blame him for vacillating on Syria, being too slow to act, and causing the needless suffering of Syrians. One Foxnews.com op-ed (written, amusingly, by the guy who wears bow ties and sells Konica Minolta printers in television commericals, Peter Morici) claimed that President Obama's turn to Congress would cause a month to two month needless disruption in global economic markets. As a side note, Donald Rumsfeld claimed that President Obama is the weakest President in Rumsfeld's lifetime, a claim which seems incongruous with the "Imperial Presidency" standard claim. After all, how can a super-weak President be acting as a King? But I digress.

 

And now, I log in to Foxnews.com and they write this superb op-ed, which is classic Fox maneuver: ask a question, thereby establishing it as fact. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/09/03/will-syria-negotiations-become-candy-store-favors/

 

"Will Syria negotiations become candy store for favors?" is the name of the op-ed.

 

So just to clarify, President Obama didn't have the power to go into Syria, until he said that Congress did, at which point Obama became needlessly indecisive and weak. But now that he has decided to go to Congress, which is what Republicans demanded for a week plus, it turns out that it is really just a ploy to hand out favors to people to vote for him.

 

If he had attacked Syria without Congress, Republicans would have claimed "imperial presidency" and grandstanded on that for a month. But now that he wants Congress, its because he is indecisive and corrupt. Which they will grandstand on for a month, while shedding tears at pictures of American flags billowing in the wind as an eagle soars overhead.

 

This is an example of what I was ranting about when I said that Republicans are against Obama no matter what he does. I'm not defending Obama here - I'm only pointing out that, no matter which course he chose, Republicans, for simple political reasons, would have found something wrong with it - as they did, at every turn. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unrelated but amusing. From the foxnews cultural outrage machine, the producers of the recurring "ex-marine forbidden from flying the American flag at home" and "crazed liberals declare war on Christmas:"

 

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/09/03/todd-american-dispatch-christian-bakery-closes-after-lgbt-threats-protests/?intcmp=HPBucket

 

"A family-owned Christian bakery, under investigation for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, has been forced to close its doors after a vicious boycott by militant homosexual activists."

 

Who else wants to see what a "vicious boycott by militant homosexual activists" looks like? I'd bet its hilarious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I came here to see if there might be an even-handed discussion about this topic. I stopped reading as soon as you started blaming Republicans for literally everything that is going wrong in this situation... right around the first sentence.

 

Seriously, with all of the nuances, problems, and potential consequences related to this specific situation, the thing that comes to mind for you to post here is about how the GOP is attempting to stymie the POTUS... you know, like every opposition party has done with every POTUS in practically all of US history?

 

Fuuuuck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually my hope was that upon realizing he boxed himself in with some mischosen anti-WMD rhetoric on Syria, Obama chose the 'make congress vote on it' as a way to get out of starting an ill-chosen war.

 

Congress can decline the war (which is a bad idea to begin with, so good for the country if they do), while making him look bad/weak as their bonus for doing so.

 

Unfortunately I figure too much of Congress is owned by Haliburton and the like, so they'll probably approve it anyways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was expecting an interesting thread about how we're on the verge of WW3, but all I get instead is a rant about how politicians are full of shit and how Fox News is a heap of worthless junk. Give me those 2 minutes of my life back so I can use them to learn anything. Literally anything. Here's an example : the largest centipede in the world, the Amazonian Giant Centipede, can eat lizards, birds, mice and even fucking bats, catching them in midflight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thoughts on moving in?

 

I don't want another war, but damn, sarin?  Hope that is false.

 

No. We aren't the world police. The UN peacekeeping forces are supposed to be. There are so many resources being directed towards the military actions and not into our own country. You want a warzone, deal with Detroit first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'd have to agree that the USOFA should back off as a solo unit.  I do think that more should be done, but I don't like that it takes a mention of CHEMICAL warfare before steps are taken.

 

No all this being said, I personally stay out of peoples shit.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get the chemical argument. There is a strong norm against the use of chemical weapons, and it is in our direct national security interest to defend that norm. Even during WWII, despite all those horrors, chemicals were not deployed on the battlefield despite their widespread availability. It's just something that became established that you don't do. Kind of like shooting at the Red Cross. So in that sense, I can see why we would want to punish people for using these forbidden weapons. We don't want them being used against us in the future. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So in that sense, I can see why we would want to punish people for using these forbidden weapons. We don't want them being used against us in the future. 

 

As opposed to all the other weapons you want used against you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes. International norms exist which regulate all kinds of behavior, and that is a good thing. By "norm" I mean a mostly-shared standard of behavior. I know this sounds like loosey-goosey utopia bullshit, but allow me to provide examples.

 

Nuclear weapons. Last used in 1945, could have been used countless times since (Korea is a particularly good example since China had no retaliatory capacity, and there was a very strong voice during Vietnam calling for tactical nukes to be used then too). But they haven't been - in fact, there are treaties reducing the number of nukes and preventing nuclear testing which was once widespread. What's the result of these treaties, and this norm? There are now two (arguably three) countries in the world for which nuclear capability is worrisome. Consider how many other countries would have pursued nuclear technology had it not been for the stigma of doing so. Of the world's 230+ countries, something like 15 have nuclear capability. Without a norm [propped up by treaties] against the pursuit of nuclear weapons technology, I have no doubt that more countries would have pursued and obtained nukes. In 1948, every country with the ability to do so pursued nukes. By 2013, only 15 had done so, and almost all the others had abandoned their pursuit.

 

Humane treatment of prisoners. This was born out of WWI, but in combination with the Red Cross and various international treaties (most notably the Geneva Conventions) there is a very strong norm against the execution or torture of soldiers captured. This, despite the fact that capturing nations are likely to want to torture their prisoners out of information-gathering or revenge. The strength of this norm is seen in the massive protests against Guantanamo Bay in the US to the point that Obama ran in part on abolishing that base, because it had become such a symbol of prisoner abuse. And the US wasn't even executing or truly "torturing" troops in the WWII sense. This is why Abu Ghraib was a scandal. 100 years ago, torturing troops was nothing unusual which would have even been reported on.

 

Genocide. 100 years ago, this was the norm. By 1995, non-intervention in Rwanda led to international outcry and it is continuously brought up as an example of international failure. Now, the mere use of the word "genocide" requires (or at least strongly compels) military intervention by anyone with the capacity to do so. One of the most idiotic FNC people, Todd Starnes, is fond of using the phrase "genocidal maniac" to describe Assad. This charge is of course inaccurate - he is hardly wiping out people by the millions based on race - but using the word "genocide" justifies action against whomever is doing it. 100 years ago, nobody would have cared about genocide. If it had been reported at all, it would have been met with mild disagreement. Today, proof of genocide is cause for legal action [Turkey], national repentance [Germany], and used as justification for war.

 

And so yes, turning to chemical weapons, a similar norm exists. Yes, there are other ways to kill people. But it's a lot easier to kill people with poison gas than it is to kill them with bullets. Just like it's easier to kill people with nukes than bullets. Chemical weapons are forbidden in the social norms of warfare (stop laughing, and see above - unwritten [and in this case, written] norms against warfare exist). The only times I can recall them being used in my memory are WWI and the Iran-Iraq war - and the use of chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein in that war was often cited as a justifying reason for the US invasion. If someone uses those weapons, they legitimize the use of those weapons, and we run the risk of other people looking at the Assad example and saying "you know what, I can use Sarin and nobody will do anything." And then we run the risk of Sarin use being widespread - when, before Syria last month, it hadn't been used by a state military in 30 years.


So yes, there is a norm, and yes, it is strong, and yes, I get the argument for defending it. We don't want people using poison gas, and if there is no punishment for those that do, then others will see no deterrent to using it themselves. Yes, Assad can kill people with bullets. But it is better that he only uses bullets because fewer people will die. This is the equivalent of the "if you ban guns, then murderers will use knives!" bullshit argument. One is far deadlier than the other, and one allows for more killing in the same space of time than the other. It is in our best interest to prohibit the use of poison gas. Which is why it has been banned, widespread, for over 90 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to know that you have someone's word that the Syrian government did it. That's surely good enough to justify a direct violation of an international law the USA actually signed up to, unlike the one about war crimes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No. We aren't the world police. The UN peacekeeping forces are supposed to be. There are so many resources being directed towards the military actions and not into our own country. You want a warzone, deal with Detroit first.

As much as I agree with this statement we have been made into the world police. If we do nothing we are assholes and piss people off if we do something about this we are assholes and piss people off. I just hope I don't have to get deployed into this dirty bomb shithole.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as I agree with this statement we have been made into the world police. If we do nothing we are assholes and piss people off if we do something about this we are assholes and piss people off. I just hope I don't have to get deployed into this dirty bomb shithole.

 

Keep telling yourself that. Nobody forced the US to go to Afghanistan or Irak, just like nobody is forcing the US to go to Syria. Of course if you don't do anything the rebels will be unhappy and will call you mean names and shit. But if that's what a country bases its foreign relations upon, well........

 

Assad can use chem weapons all he wants, the fact is that won't bring him any closer to even think of using them on US soil or US property, so that excuse is just bullshit.. He may be a fucking retard, he's not nearly idiotic enough to strike directly at the US.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep telling yourself that. Nobody forced the US to go to Afghanistan or *Iraq, just like nobody is forcing the US to go to Syria. Of course if you don't do anything the rebels will be unhappy and will call you mean names and shit. But if that's what a country bases their foreign relations upon, well........

 

Assad can use chem weapons all he wants, the fact is that won't bring him any closer to even think of using them on US soil or US property, so that excuse is just bullshit.. He may be a fucking retard, he's not nearly idiotic enough to strike directly at the US.

Not saying that its being forced on us at all. We just bring so much attention to stuff like this that it seems to be expected of us to do something about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as I agree with this statement we have been made into the world police. If we do nothing we are assholes and piss people off if we do something about this we are assholes and piss people off. I just hope I don't have to get deployed into this dirty bomb shithole.

This is such a nebulous topic and I hate it.  Trends or not, you have to look at these events as individual events at individual points in time.  The "world police" narrative totally narrows the scope of discussion and understanding of what is happening in Syria.  First of all, it presupposed that the rest of the world is evil and needs saving from *someone* in the first place

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not like we don't have the capacity. We just don't want to, at least now. 10 years ago, we were more in favor.

 

This is probably going to end up being a couple of cruise missiles lobbed over a couple of days and us going home. Probably the best we can do, given the complications of hte situation and the limitations politically on our maximum strike scope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's probably an interesting narrative in here about voluntary membership in world organizations, like...

 

Perhaps if we are going to act as founding members of the UN, NATO, and any other cooperative organization, then we could at least abide by their rules. We do more to foster our reputation as paternalistic jackasses when we go outside of the cooperative, deliberative processes that we subscribe to in order to pursue our own ends. So why not act through the UN...even if we don't get our way?

 

After all, this can hardly be argued as an issue of national defense. So any intervention is based on moral or regional stability grounds. Seeing as this war is civil and pretty isolated to the Syria, regional stability is pretty weak as a provocateur as well. So  to put is bluntly, what are we to gain from intervention here? We aren't going to invade, and short of that, it seems the Syrian government is going to continue fighting for its own livelihood. A few cruise missiles may have mattered before we got to this point, but now the Rubicon has been crossed. 

 

Honestly the entire question of military action seems like political posturing by both sides.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×