There’s a lot of talk about intervening in Syria. I have no idea what’s going to happen in Syria, or even what ought to happen in Syria, but my sense of the situation is that there’s no “good” side. And we know that whatever President Obama does or does not do will be loudly denounced as being the wrong thing.
Among those solemnly telling us that we have a duty to intervene in Syria is Jeffrey Goldberg, for pity’s sake. In a sane world, Goldberg would be forever enjoined from writing about war, or foreign policy, or anything more serious than restaurant reviews.
Speaking of Iraq, don’t miss CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran, which really shouldn’t be news to any of you regulars.
I’m with you, maha.
I really don’t see how our involvement will make things better. More likely, the result will be still MORE reason for the people in the Middle East to hate us.
And which, exactly, is the “good” side?
Do we want to risk arming more potential terrorists?
What concerns me, is that Samantha Power is one of President Obama’s most trusted friends and assistants, and she’s been writing for a long time about how critical it is that we stop potential genocides/mass killings.
I’m not sure how what’s happening in Syria can be called a genocide. From what I’ve read about it, it looks more like a Civil War to me – but the killings have been pretty massive, so there’s that.
But still, there are also blood-thirsty Democrats, as well as ever-blood-thirsty Conservatives, and they may be willing to pressure the President into doing something – anything!
The only thing that makes any sense to me, if we’re to do anything at all, is to do what Bill Clinton did, and the original non-stupid-and-insane “Papa Doc” Bush did, and that’s to build a UN coalition effort to stop the violence.
But I wonder how much of an appetite there would be in the UN, for a UN-led intervention in Syria?
I would like to know why the US ambassador to the UN is sending out fucking tweets? Shouldn’t any communication she has at an official level be vetted by the State department?
Do we want to risk arming more potential terrorists?
Of course not that is why we should either stay out of it completely or Arm both sides and hopefully they will wipe each other out. I know that is harsh but I’ve had enough of these fundamentalist whacko’s. And besides with the war in Afghanistan winding down how are all those mansions in DC gonna get paid for?
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I remember when St.Ronnie was getting skewered and knocked off his game and the saying from the rightie world was, “Let Reagan be Reagan”. Well why don’t we ‘Let Barack be Barack’. Criticism of the president on foreign policy should be tempered, and rare. The stakes are just way to high, especially when the rest of the world needs to see a clear message coming from our gov’t. I don’t feel the same way concerning domestic or economic policy, but foreign policy criticism should be muted. And yes, I felt the same way during the Bush fiasco of a presidency. I was very uncomfortable with the Keith Obberman ‘Special Commentary’. But I still believe we were lied into Iraq and that Dick and Shrub should be brought up on war crimes. But I do believe the prez needs to have some space to do his thing.
Syria is such a friggin’ mess, and the administration’s handling of it just gets messier. Now we’re in this position of ‘having’ to do ‘something’ because we said gas attacks were not allowed, but they went ahead and used gas.
As just about we all knew they would, because they have it, and they are despotic, and desperate, and smart enough to know we can’t stop them. Oy.
What do we do? McCain won’t be happy until we nuke the site from orbit. There are no effective responses I can see. In an imaginary world, we’d have a team of ninja assassins who could slip into Assad’s palace and murder everyone using the very same gas, slipping away undetectably, and Obama could give a big press conference saying how ironic that they had met the same fate as their victims, and maybe it was a sign that both sides should stand down, and no, of course we didn’t do it (wink, wink.)
But we don’t live in my imagination, so I’m sure whatever happens will awful.
Here we go again…
Of course, we are sure which side used the gas…
Other than missile strikes, which are merely stupid, I don’t see an action that is not suicidal to our cause.
We needed to stop intervening before Viet Nam. Since we didn’t, we needed to stop intervening after Viet Nam. Besides, most middle east people hate us; so, let them solve their own problems.
This is a ‘Damned-if-you-do, Damned-if-you-don’t’ situations. There are a bunch of non-radical Muslim families, villages& towns getting crushed in a civil war. A lot of the slaughter is from heavy arms & gas which points at the government fighting the rebels. Unfortunately, some of the rebels are pretty radical and how the spoils of war would be divided among the rebels is out of our control – even if we support them (or support the faction we approve). Which means replacing the existing tyranny might easily usher in a WORSE tyranny. Meanwhile innocents are slaughtered or driven into exile, which is unacceptable. It’s difficult for me, as a compassionate person to advocate inaction, but as a student of history, I’m aware that some of the worst bloodbaths in human history have been the result of a successful revolution.
Buckyblue may be onto something with her suggestion – “Let Obama be Obama” – stand back and respectfully allow him a free hand to exert US influence to end the humanitarian crisis and try to get the Arab states to use their regional influence to carve out a non-radical successor to the existing government. My suggestion is, of course, impossible. Republicans are going to try to discredit Obama no matter what he does do, or doesn’t do. So our president is not free to use influence to mitigate a disaster unless the US involvement is guaranteed to creates a utopia beyond criticism. Thus, a humanitarian crisis will only get worse.
No sane man would want the job of President. Fortunately, the founding fathers die not make sanity a requirement of the office.
Obama should bomb( long range) the hell out all the Syrian military installations and Air Defense sites. Similar to the prep work that Saddam got prior to his invasion. Then declare Assad a terrorist so that he knows he can be taken out at any time or any place. Lob a couple of cruise missiles at his houses or wherever might make an appearance.. Just so he has to sneak around his own country to insure his survival.
It’s a win-win.. Obama doesn’t have to swallow an idle threat, the military gets the opportunity to show it’s stuff, the military contractors get to sell a couple of billion dollars in ordinance, and the American economy gets a couple of billion dollars pumped into it. There’s more… The war hawks and keyboard commandos get a wonderful windfall of blogging material.
The purpose wouldn’t be to achieve any goal other than to save Obama and Kerry from looking impotent because they’ve already run their mouths. But whatever they do it’s got to have teeth. At least enough to make Assad or those around him to think twice about the use of chemical weapons. Count the costs.
Buckyblue may be onto something with her suggestion
Doug, Buckyblue is a guy, he’s a teacher.
Swami, the big issue I see with your plan is that it seems to ignore the Russians. I think they’ll have an issue with us bombing the hell out of the Syrian military. Though I guess they might choose to view it as an opportunity to sell replacement parts.
The situation would be a lot simpler if the Russians and Chinese were even willing to allow a vote in the Security Council. It remains to be seen what they do if and when we fire the cruise missiles.
And once we’ve fired the missiles, are we in Syria for the long haul? What do we do in response to the next horrific incident, when the rebels take advantage of a disabled military to do something heinous?
Why do we have to borrow money from China to give to American defense contractors to build bombs and missiles to annihilate Syria? Can’t we just let China do it? I say this endless cycle of conflict in the Arab world has to end. Right now would be a good time to let it end for us.
This may sound crazy, but we should take the approach of “protecting the civilian population,” rather than just punishing the Syrian government for using chemical weapons. Both sides in this war are unsavory. Although there are elements of the “rebels” that include Syrian citizens who raised up in earners as part of the so called “Arab Spring,” there is a significant al Qaeda component.
Thus bombing Syrian government installations helps the rebels, and ultimately helps Islamist extremes gain a foothold if not control of Syria. We’re on track to repeat what we did in Afghanistan in the late 70s/early 80s, that contributed to the Islamist extremist being our bitter enemies today.
The crazy part is, rather than just bomb the Syrian government, we tell all combatants to pull back from population centers and stand down. And if we must bomb, then blow the hell out of both sides. Conditions for the Syrian government would include Assad stepping down and submitting to UN sanctions, including criminal charges, and the rebels purging themselves of the jihadis.