US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

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US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby toucana on April 6th, 2017, 10:01 pm 

CNN and BBC are reporting that US forces have launched up to 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a government air base in Syria.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04/06/politics/donald-trump-syria-military/index.html

The airbase is said to have been one used by Syrian government planes that dropped Sarin nerve gas bombs on civilians in rebel held areas earlier this week.

A US defense official said the strike was targeted on runway, aircraft and fuel points. The missiles were launched from warships in the Eastern Mediterranean.

According to Reuters, President Trump has issued a statement from his home in Mar-a-Lago in Florida saying "Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on airfield in Syria from which the chemical attack was launched".

http://live.reuters.com/Event/Syria_conflict?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby someguy1 on April 6th, 2017, 11:06 pm 

Presidents love to bomb. It serves two objectives.

1) It makes the prez look tough. He's "doing something" and "showing the bad guys who's boss."

2) He's avoiding asking the American people to sign the check for yet another futile ground war.

What's not to like?

There's only one problem. It doesn't work. Hitler bombed London every night for months and finally gave up and wandered off to attack Russia. Bombing alone can not achieve political objectives.

Trump bombed Assad's airfield? That will weaken Assad and strengthen the Islamic fundamentalist rebels he's fighting.

Does Trump know he's on the side of ISIS this week?
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 6th, 2017, 11:27 pm 

It's good to know firstly that Trump is willing to be consistent on something (having spent years criticising Obama for not taking action against Assad's use of chemical weapons) and secondly that (unlike someguy1) he does not make the best the enemy of the good by pretending that America is too weak to have two enemies. I am concerned about the haste of this strike, and possible intelligence issues: is it well-established that the chlorine strikes were carried out by Syrian forces? We should not forget Clinton's behaviour in the Sudan.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby someguy1 on April 6th, 2017, 11:53 pm 

Lomax » April 6th, 2017, 9:27 pm wrote:It's good to know firstly that Trump is willing to be consistent on something (having spent years criticising Obama for not taking action against Assad's use of chemical weapons) and secondly that (unlike someguy1) he does not make the best the enemy of the good by pretending that America is too weak to have two enemies. I am concerned about the haste of this strike, and possible intelligence issues: is it well-established that the chlorine strikes were carried out by Syrian forces? We should not forget Clinton's behaviour in the Sudan.


The great is the enemy of the good does not mean the same thing as being on two sides of the same war. Last year a report came out that the CIA and the Pentagon were on different sides of some regional conflict. Pointing out the insanity of that foreign policy is NOT an instance of the great is the enemy of the good.

But even if I stipulate that it's good-but-not-great to join ISIS in a glorious military campaign (you're ok with that?) there are still a lot of Russians in Syria. What happens when we accidentally kill some?
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 7th, 2017, 12:24 am 

There are, by my count, at least seven sides in this war. There's the Syrian government and its army. There's ISIS and its Islamist affiliates. There's the Kurds and their US-funded mercenaries, taking the opportunity to fight for independence. There are the coalitions of democratic Syrian rebels. There are the Russians, now intermingled with the Syrians. And there are the Turks, having invaded ostensibly to aid the Syrians against ISIS, but in fact blockading the Syrian army's advance from Aleppo to Raqqa, and pursuing Kurdish front lines. In short, to take part in this war at all is to have more than one enemy; to have two enemies is not to be on the opposite side from yourself. We don't know that this action means a softening of the pursuit of ISIS; and to be the enemy of ISIS does not entail handing the Assad regime a carte blanche to commit war crimes.

And the CIA always supports the propping up of dictators, which usually it put there in the first place. Always has and always will.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby someguy1 on April 7th, 2017, 12:41 am 

Lomax » April 6th, 2017, 10:24 pm wrote:There are, by my count, at least seven sides in this war. There's the Syrian government and its army. There's ISIS and its Islamist affiliates. There's the Kurds and their US-funded mercenaries, taking the opportunity to fight for independence. There are the coalitions of democratic Syrian rebels. There are the Russians, now intermingled with the Syrians. And there are the Turks, having invaded ostensibly to aid the Syrians against ISIS, but in fact blockading the Syrian army's advance from Aleppo to Raqqa, and pursuing Kurdish front lines. In short, to take part in this war at all is to have more than one enemy; to have two enemies is not to be on the opposite side from yourself. We don't know that this action means a softening of the pursuit of ISIS; and to be the enemy of ISIS does not entail handing the Assad regime a carte blanche to commit war crimes.

And the CIA always supports the propping up of dictators, which usually it put there in the first place. Always has and always will.


I can see that you know more about the details of the conflict than I do. You think bombing's a good idea? How many bombs can we drop to make the world the way we want it to be? Anyway Bill Clinton and Janet Reno gassed more people to death at Waco than Assad allegedly killed the other day. If Russia had bombed ATF headquarters after Waco would that be ok? Has Congress given Trump a war authorization? (Rhetorical question, no they haven't). Does Trump need one? Constitutionally, yes. Am I the only person who's sick and tired of the US bombing anyone we don't like whenever we feel like it? Is this policy working for us? Has our ceaseless bombing and invading and torturing and spreading around corruption money made the Middle East better? Or worse?

Just questions from a taxpayer. We could fix some infrastructure for the cost of those missiles. Do you think we spent our money wisely today?
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 7th, 2017, 12:54 am 

someguy1 » April 7th, 2017, 5:41 am wrote:You think bombing's a good idea? How many bombs can we drop to make the world the way we want it to be?

I certainly take your earlier point that bombing alone won't and can't decide the war. Many people would cite Hiroshima and Nagasaki as an example of bombs alone achieving a war aim, but they'd be wrong in point of historical fact. Still, what happened earlier was not a carpet bombing of all Syria but a specific strike on a military target in order to reduce its ability to deliver chemical weapons to civilians. Assuming Trump's intelligence is correct, that is to say.

I confess to not knowing enough about Waco. I keep meaning to read Jon Ronson's book.

someguy1 » April 7th, 2017, 5:41 am wrote:Has Congress given Trump a war authorization? (Rhetorical question, no they haven't). Does Trump need one? Constitutionally, yes.

That's why I mentioned Clinton in the Sudan - this kind of rushed and unconsulted bombing can go very wrong. The destruction of the Khartoum pharmacy, which Clinton claims to have thought was a weapons facility and/or Qaeda headquarters, may have cost 10,000 lives in disease and malnutrition.

someguy1 » April 7th, 2017, 5:41 am wrote:Is this policy working for us? Has our ceaseless bombing and invading and torturing and spreading around corruption money made the Middle East better? Or worse?

I would say that in the Realpolitik years (of Nixon, Carter, Kissinger, Reagan, Bush I) it very certainly made things worse. The US policy was straightforwardly one of divide-and-rule. Specifically, four or five times, we helped the Kurds and then armed their enemies, or promised to help them and then didn't, or otherwise betrayed them. They are the largest stateless minority in the world and the oldest unaddressed cause of the Left in international politics, and their emancipation is irreconcilable with either an ISIS or an Assad victory.

The Left used to have a clever slogan, by the way: fascism means war. At some point it seems to have changed its mind.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby BadgerJelly on April 7th, 2017, 1:21 am 

I just stick to the rule of thumb being that you cannot trust any government, and the more power said government has the less you can trust them.

The faster other nations rise to power around the world alongside the US, the better life will be more common folk. Stability is not necessarily a 'good' thing. What I mean is if we're unable to do 'bad' then the 'good' is meaningless.

For me this is about the broader ethical issue of imposing your will on others and dressing it up as 'good'. The argument for making a little 'profit' (doesn't have to be monetary profit) here and there whilst dropping bombs as being 'okay' is not one I agree with.

I have very limited knowledge about the situation in Syria. I know it is complex though. My issue is with the balance of global power being polarized economically, in communications and in military force.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 7th, 2017, 1:25 am 

BadgerJelly » April 7th, 2017, 6:21 am wrote:I just stick to the rule of thumb being that you cannot trust any government, and the more power said government has the less you can trust them.

Exactly. The US government announced that it trusted Assad to behave enough to work together, and before the evening was out, he took that as permission to drop chemical weapons on a civilian populace. An abuse of power if ever there was one. And I didn't catch anybody on this forum complaining about it, either.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby BadgerJelly on April 7th, 2017, 3:07 am 

Lomax » April 7th, 2017, 1:25 pm wrote:
BadgerJelly » April 7th, 2017, 6:21 am wrote:I just stick to the rule of thumb being that you cannot trust any government, and the more power said government has the less you can trust them.

Exactly. The US government announced that it trusted Assad to behave enough to work together, and before the evening was out, he took that as permission to drop chemical weapons on a civilian populace. An abuse of power if ever there was one. And I didn't catch anybody on this forum complaining about it, either.


Honestly, I am not convinced it happened. I have already seen BBC footage edited to say "chemical weapons" when chemical weapons were not used, and actors employed to pretend they were injured.

We've always lived under filtered news. The sad thing is today people are caught lying and acting and we're left to make up our own minds what to believe.

The US is an aggressor and has been for a damn long time. There is a history of acting in self interest and falsifying claims by every 'military operation' (aka killing, and scaremongering).

Let us not pretend our governments are doing what they do in the interest of humanity. What did the UK government do to help innocent people in Rwanda other than jump ship when the shit hit the fan.

Maybe Assad used chemical weapons, maybe not. Doesn't much matter to me who did what. What bothers me is opportunism in the face of murder.

I guess all we can hope for is to believe the 'good guys' have the upper hand and to continue to try and sift through the media hype and nonsense and push for facts. As long as we question the 'truth' and value other living beings we'll hopefully come through.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby toucana on April 7th, 2017, 5:28 am 

Syria_factions copy.jpg

Here is a useful map from the Aljazeera website that illustrates the factional complexity of the Syrian war.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/us-missiles-syria-170407013424492.html

The same page has other useful maps showing the location of the Shayrat military airfield that was attacked last night, and the residential area of of Khan Sheikoun south of idlib where 86 people, 27 of them children, were killed in a Sarin nerve gas attack on Tuesday.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 7th, 2017, 10:03 am 

BadgerJelly » April 7th, 2017, 8:07 am wrote:Honestly, I am not convinced it happened. I have already seen BBC footage edited to say "chemical weapons" when chemical weapons were not used, and actors employed to pretend they were injured.

I think I can illustrate the Chomskian mindset this way: if the UK had today been accused of using Chlorine gas on Syrian soldiers, would you deny that it had happened? You don't have to answer me, but please ask yourself.

The evidence that it happened is strong enough, and doesn't originate with the BBC. Who did it, as far as I know, is not conclusively established and that is the problem. But maybe Trump has good intelligence that I don't. One can only hope.

BadgerJelly » April 7th, 2017, 8:07 am wrote:Let us not pretend our governments are doing what they do in the interest of humanity. What did the UK government do to help innocent people in Rwanda other than jump ship when the shit hit the fan.

Quite so. Now imagine opposing Abraham Lincoln on the grounds that America never worried about slavery before. Sounds absurd, doesn't it?

BadgerJelly » April 7th, 2017, 8:07 am wrote:Maybe Assad used chemical weapons, maybe not. Doesn't much matter to me who did what. What bothers me is opportunism in the face of murder.

I suppose that's our basic difference then. Sarin gas is an order of magnitude more powerful than cyanide, and it starts by making it difficult to breathe; tightening up the chest and throat. It clings to your clothes so the doctor is at risk too. You begin vomiting, and then you lose control of your other bodily functions, including continence. Then muscular control goes, and you spasm. 86 civilians died this way on Tuesday. I am less teary about the fact that Assad has lost a couple of bombers because it makes Trump look tough.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Braininvat on April 7th, 2017, 10:27 am 

So hideously complex. So we opt for an emotional response that seems to clarify things. Most foreign policy is rooted in emotional responses. We hominids haven't come very far. The emotional response used to increase our survival chances, promoting a very tight focus on immediate danger - "here comes a bear, I have to climb this tree right now, never mind whatever else I was doing..." - but now it's all about sowing fear in a population to manipulate them. Rational democratic government would have a national conversation, the topic would be: there's a terrible dictator in Syria and he's using chemical weapons and what's the best way to deal with this. Then, the nation, through Congress, would talk with the POTUS and the military and the intelligence community and develop a coherent longterm strategy. Emotion would still be at the heart of it, but it would be emotion allied with reason. The hawks could be correct, that "we" did send a clear message to Assad, and there could be some good result from it, but....where was the conversation? If our foreign policy is to be a just retribution for slaughter of the innocent (and a true deterrent), how do we pick and choose the innocents - there are dozens of global hot spots where innocents are being slaughtered. Do we select on the basis of an emotional response to some videos we happen to see? Do we let the POTUS pick, and have Congress sit by and watch? However appropriate his actions, that is still autocracy, not democracy. Maybe that's what people really want, when the world, especially that part of the world, is such a confusing place, and there is an impatience for some kind of action.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Braininvat on April 7th, 2017, 10:35 am 

Trump's consistent position on Syria:

In more than a dozen messages on Twitter in 2013 and 2014, Mr. Trump repeated his advice, emphatically stating that “Syria is NOT our problem,” appealing directly to Mr. Obama to “not attack Syria” as “there is no upside and tremendous downside” and telling him to “stay out of Syria.”

Mr. Trump had a noninterventionist stance during the 2016 election.

Mr. Trump shrugged at calls to use force against Mr. Assad’s government and endorsed Russia’s support of the Syrian leader.

“You have Russia that’s now there. Russia’s on the side of Assad, and Russia wants to get rid of ISIS as much as we do, if not more, because they don’t want them coming into Russia,” Mr. Trump said in a September 2015 interview with CNN. “Let Syria and ISIS fight. Why do we care?”

In a May 2016 interview on MSNBC, Mr. Trump said the United States had “bigger problems than Assad.” He added, “I would have stayed out of Syria and wouldn’t have fought so much for Assad, against Assad.”

So emphatic was Mr. Trump’s stance on Syria that he disavowed the stance of his own running mate. After the October 2016 vice-presidential debate, when Mike Pence, then governor of Indiana, backed strikes against Mr. Assad, Mr. Trump stated, “I disagree.”

In the general election, Mr. Trump repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton and Mr. Obama for pushing for “immediate regime change in Syria.” Yet as even Mr. Trump noted in his statement on Tuesday, Mr. Obama did little to remove Mr. Assad.

Mr. Trump also disparaged Mrs. Clinton’s campaign stances on Syria — she had denounced Russia’s intervention in the war and called for a no-fly zone — and Mr. Trump said numerous times that her policies would “lead to World War III.”

After his election, Mr. Trump questioned the incentive for ‘attacking.’

“I think going in was a terrible, terrible mistake. Syria, we have to solve that problem because we are going to just keep fighting, fighting forever. I have a different view on Syria than everybody else,” he said during an interview with The New York Times.

Referring to Senator Lindsey Graham’s call to support rebels in Syria fighting Mr. Assad, Mr. Trump said: “Give me a break. I had to listen to Lindsey Graham talk about, you know, attacking Syria and attacking, you know, and it’s like you’re now attacking Russia, you’re attacking Iran, you’re attacking. And what are we getting? We’re getting — and what are we getting?”
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 7th, 2017, 10:38 am 

Braininvat » April 7th, 2017, 3:27 pm wrote:Rational democratic government would have a national conversation, the topic would be: there's a terrible dictator in Syria and he's using chemical weapons and what's the best way to deal with this. Then, the nation, through Congress, would talk with the POTUS and the military and the intelligence community and develop a coherent longterm strategy.

That's the problem, isn't it? It's not just Trump who's irrational. It's Congress, the intelligence community, journalists, and the general public. The first two will oppose any kind of remedy and the last two will complain no matter what happens. The hope of this being talked through rationally is a pipe dream. Slowly and legally would not have been too much to ask, though.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby someguy1 on April 7th, 2017, 12:06 pm 

Lomax » April 6th, 2017, 10:54 pm wrote:I confess to not knowing enough about Waco. I keep meaning to read Jon Ronson's book.



One need only consult the low hanging fruit of the tree of knowledge. From Wikipedia:

Eventually, the FBI launched an assault and initiated a tear gas attack in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out of the ranch. During the attack, a fire engulfed Mount Carmel Center. In total, 76 people died ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waco_siege

Also if you ever get the chance, download or rent the movie Waco:Rules of Engagement. Most of the Branch Davidians were African-American. Many of the dead were children.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120472/reference

Should Russia have bombed Washington for this crime?
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 7th, 2017, 12:25 pm 

someguy1 » April 7th, 2017, 5:06 pm wrote:
Lomax » April 6th, 2017, 10:54 pm wrote:I confess to not knowing enough about Waco. I keep meaning to read Jon Ronson's book.



One need only consult the low hanging fruit of the tree of knowledge. From Wikipedia:

Eventually, the FBI launched an assault and initiated a tear gas attack in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out of the ranch. During the attack, a fire engulfed Mount Carmel Center. In total, 76 people died ...

My understanding is that the controversy is over who started the fire. Jon Ronson thinks the "conspiracy theorists" have a strong argument. But I am not well-enough informed to judge, and won't be by the end of today. And no, I don't think Russia should commit suicide in that way.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby someguy1 on April 7th, 2017, 12:29 pm 

Lomax » April 7th, 2017, 10:25 am wrote:My understanding is that the controversy is over who started the fire.


Gas was used. Did you know that the use of tear gas in warfare is banned? Only cops can use it on their own citizens. Strange, no?
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 7th, 2017, 12:40 pm 

someguy1 » April 7th, 2017, 5:29 pm wrote:
Lomax » April 7th, 2017, 10:25 am wrote:My understanding is that the controversy is over who started the fire.


Gas was used. Did you know that the use of tear gas in warfare is banned? Only cops can use it on their own citizens. Strange, no?

I don't dispute that (or condone it). I'm saying that the fire is believed to have been the cause of most or all of the deaths, right? Like I said I know little about it. Updike parodied it well in In The Beauty of the Lilies. It would need a separate thread, anyway.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby someguy1 on April 7th, 2017, 12:58 pm 

Lomax » April 7th, 2017, 10:40 am wrote:I'm saying that the fire is believed to have been the cause of most or all of the deaths, right?


Believed by whom? By those who believe the government's story? Assad denies gassing anyone. Why don't you believe his story? Do you see that you have bias here?

And the Russians are now angry. What legal right does the US have to bomb a sovereign country that didn't attack us and that poses no threat to us? What is the legal or moral justification for what the US did yesterday?
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 7th, 2017, 1:17 pm 

someguy1 » April 7th, 2017, 5:58 pm wrote:
Lomax » April 7th, 2017, 10:40 am wrote:I'm saying that the fire is believed to have been the cause of most or all of the deaths, right?


Believed by whom? By those who believe the government's story? Assad denies gassing anyone. Why don't you believe his story? Do you see that you have bias here?

I thought I made it perfectly clear that I don't take a position on the Waco point. I am not going to say it again.

As you already conceded, I know a little more about the Syrian situation. Doctors Without Borders have confirmed that the Sarin was mingled with Chlorine, which we know from leaked Syria-Russia diplomacy documents was in use by Assad. The erstwhile director of the CBRN confirms that Syria failed to surrender the entirety of the sarin supply it had already admitted to having. The UN - in favour of which government I am far from biased - confirmed that Assad has been using sarin and chlorine weaponry. Assad's own statement of denial - claiming that the airstrike in fact hit a rebel weapons factory, and that this is what caused the sarin dispersion - does not account for the radius of the distribution of those inflicted. My sources here are doctors, journalists (including by no means blindly patriotic ones, such as Robert Fisk), and the UN.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 7th, 2017, 1:20 pm 

By the way, surely you can do better than Waco. Operation LAC is a much closer parallel.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby someguy1 on April 7th, 2017, 2:14 pm 

Lomax » April 7th, 2017, 11:20 am wrote:By the way, surely you can do better than Waco. Operation LAC is a much closer parallel.


Ok, let's get back to basics. Can you explain to me, a taxpaying US citizen who believes in the Constitution, what is the legal and moral basis for a unilateral attack on a country that doesn't threaten us, whose leader we officially declared our support for a week ago, and based on "evidence" that has not been forthcoming, over an incident strongly denied by Assad?

Just explain this in simple words so I can understand it. You might note that many principled conservatives and liberals in the mainstream are making exactly the same points.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 7th, 2017, 2:24 pm 

someguy1 » April 7th, 2017, 7:14 pm wrote:based on "evidence" that has not been forthcoming, over an incident strongly denied by Assad?

Before I deal with the rest: is the fact that his own story doesn't add up, combined with the fact that the weapons used were the exact mixture of weapons he - and nobody else, because ISIS hasn't been deploying chlorine in combination with its sarin - has been using for the last three years, not evidence?

And I did point out in my first post, and twice since, a concern that Trump's intelligence might have been faulty, so obviously my argument rests on the caveat that it was not.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby someguy1 on April 7th, 2017, 2:53 pm 

Lomax » April 7th, 2017, 12:24 pm wrote:Before I deal with the rest ...


Ok my mistake. I'll make it simpler. What's the legal and moral justification for the president ordering the bombing another country without Congressional authorization of any kind, let alone a declaration of war?
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Eclogite on April 7th, 2017, 5:08 pm 

someguy1 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:06 pm wrote:Should Russia have bombed Washington for this crime?
Crime and incompetence are not equivalent terms.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby someguy1 on April 7th, 2017, 5:36 pm 

Eclogite » April 7th, 2017, 3:08 pm wrote:
someguy1 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:06 pm wrote:Should Russia have bombed Washington for this crime?
Crime and incompetence are not equivalent terms.


Very interesting point, since one explanation that's been offered for the Syrian gassing is that Assad hit a rebel arms depot which contained the gas. In other words, incompetence.

If you are saying that when the US gasses civilians to death it's an accident, and when someone else does it's a crime (determined after only 24 hours and very little actual evidence), can you see that perhaps there is some bias in your view? That perhaps if you came down from Mars, you might not see the US as so benign?

After all, the US did just commit an international war crime by bombing a country that did not threaten or attack us. So who committed the crime here in your opinion?
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Braininvat on April 7th, 2017, 8:04 pm 

I'm confused here. For one thing, the evidence is overwhelming that Assad deliberately used chemical weapons on his own people. That's a war crime, a violation of international law. It's not even in the same universe as the FBI f--kup at Waco, TX, nor is tear gas morally equivalent to nerve gas. And the Waco people were not "gassed to death," but rather died of smoke inhalation from a fire their lunatic leaders may have started. The attempt to draw a parallel with Assad is weak and should be discontinued.

I'm not aware of any binding legal impediment to a member of the United Nations intervening to stop such criminality, given that the U.S. is not declaring war but rather executing a single surgical strike to achieve the humanitarian goal of deterring further use of chemical weapons. Yes, it violates the strict letter of the UN law, which would require a majority vote from Security Council members, but it follows the Kosovo Precedent which has been seen as a workaround when there is a dire humanitarian crisis. Our Congress seems fully prepared to back up the attack, both opposition party leaders, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi gave it their blessing, so it would seem only a matter of signing the papers to get Congress to back continued action along these lines.

I might point out that every other modern president has ordered air strikes against other nations, without Congressional approval, and this role is seen as part of the job description of Commander-in-Chief. I haven't heard a peep out of you on all the air strikes and drone strikes that Obama ordered. The C-in-C is empowered to take such actions that fall short of a declaration of a state of war. If you don't like it, contact your Congressional coalition and ask them to change the law and the assigned duties of C-in-C. I might join with you, if you do.

I could agree that sometimes a POTUS does overreach and cross the line in such interventions. But destroying an airbase that is the site of a monstrous criminal enterprise of using these vile chemical weapons is not perhaps the best example to engender support for the limiting of executive powers (or bowing down the Security Council, whose members include Russian and China....). If Obama had done this, would you have protested as loudly as you have today? Perhaps you should consider a possible role that partisan bias plays in how you view executive orders.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby someguy1 on April 7th, 2017, 8:28 pm 

Braininvat » April 7th, 2017, 6:04 pm wrote: If Obama had done this, would you have protested as loudly as you have today? Perhaps you should consider a possible role that partisan bias plays in how you view executive orders.


I certainly did at the time. I opposed the "red line" war and I was glad Obama backed down.

I'm disappointed at the bloodthirsty-ness of so many today. It's not worth arguing, you can find people on every side of the issue.

I was against Bush's wars and I was against Obama's wars and I'm against Trump's wars. I opposed the invasion of Afghanistan in 2002 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. I have a better track record on predictions of disasters than the foreign policy establishment and all the bloody keyboard heros in the world today.

But tell me this. Why would Assad do it? Just last weak Tillerson said it's no longer US policy to get rid of Assad.

Is Assad the stupidest guy on earth? Or do you just believe all the bullshit you read in the paper? You know the "red line" incident was debunked, right? Assad didn't do it. Are you aware of that?

ps -- I want to note that I make the same argument even if I stipulate that Assad personally gassed every baby to death. In other words my opposition to the bombing does not depend on whether Assad actually did it or not. So let's say he did it. We made a "pinprick" bombing, the kind the world laughed at when Kerry suggested it. Assad looks stronger, he stood up to the US. The Russians are mighty pissed. The war on terror is undermined, since love him or hate his guts, Assad is fighting ISIS as we are.

What is the endgame? If we go back to business as usual, the US once again is a paper tiger that can blow things up but that can not actually assert its political will. So do you think we should invade? Make Syria the next in a long line of fiascos like Afghanistan and Iraq?

Are photos of gassed babies horrifying? Of course. But even if Assad is guilty as hell, what is the end result of this bombing? In what ways does it advance the interests of the American people, the peace process in the Middle East, or anything else?

I mentioned Waco because it's an example of when the US gassed some of its own citizens. And the moment I say that it's all, "Oh they set the fire," and "Oh it was nice-smelling teargas not that nasty gas Assad uses." Rationalizations for mass murder. That's what I see from way too many people today. People who are not thinking this through. People who don't remember that LBJ lied us into war over the Gulf of Tonkin incidence. Or that Bush lied us into war over the yellowcake uranium, a lie supported wholeheartedly by the New York Times.

Otherwise sensible people simply forget all that and go, "Oh a picture of a dead baby, put brain on hold and go bomb somebody."

Try to think, not just bomb people. If you're American this was done in your name with your tax dollars. Potholes in the street? Well at least you shot off sixty million dollars in munitions today in a futile attempt to act tough without accomplishing anything at all.
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Re: US Launches Air Strikes On Syria

Postby Lomax on April 7th, 2017, 9:47 pm 

Bravo BiV.

Various points to address. I wil confess upfront that I have probably, without realising it, cut Trump some slack because I didn't expect him to do anything remotely justifiable (like uphold the CWC) and because I expected him simply to toady to Putin. Then again, given that Putin adheres to Vladislav Surkov's "non-linear warfare" strategy, we don't really know what Putin thinks about this, and his mate Trump probably does.

As for the legal case, my understanding is that the Chemical Weapons Convention not just sanctions but mandates action from any and all signatories, unilaterally if necessary. But I am not an international lawyer, and wouldn't have time to be here if I were. Trump has been using the Executive Order from the time he took office, and so did the previous forty presidents, and people only protest when it's used for an action they don't like. So in reality this argument will rest on its moral points, and stand or fall regardless of its legality.

Killing 86 of your own citizens by means of nerve gas is not the same as setting tear gas on them. That point is simple. I can't make anybody care about Arabs if they don't want to, but obviously the moral defense for destroying chemical weapons facilities (and the means of their delivery to civilians) does not rely on bloodthirstiness. Badgerjelly already gave us an example of inaction leading to bloodshed, and those who propose inaction have to take responsibility for that bloodshed, if those who propose action must do likewise. To carp on about the tax cost of preventing chemical attacks is not morally serious.

It is not for me to assume Assad's motives and tactics in deploying sarin gas, but there are perfectly feasible ones. One ought to be careful about arguing from ignorance.

And I fully share the pain of those who have to argue with people who are underinformed and intellectually bankrupt. Believe me, that malady reaches across the political spectrum.
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