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In The World: Syria

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Well, what do you guys think? Should we, meaning Europe and the US (cause lord knows Asia and Africa can't be bothered), act in the same manner as we did with Libya. Or is the Syrian situation too different to warrant our involvement.

 

Not having the benefit of hindsight, I had believed we should stay out of Libya when we, again meaning Europeans and the US, began the air bombing campaign. And I still believe we had no business being there, even though it seems like, in hindsight, Obama made the right call.

 

So what to do with Syria now.

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I don't think there is an organized opposition force yet, or a front.  It would seem to me unlikely that American air power could be used effectively in this situation.

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Syria, unlike Iran, is not on the brink of nuclear capability, nor is it any conventional threat to Israel, Iraq, or any NATO country.  There will be time enough to deal with Syria later.  If we're to commit more conventional forces anywhere in the immediate future, it should probably be to deal with the Iranian theocracy.  If not that, then we need to give the forces a chance to rest, our war materiel time for maintenance and repair, and (hopefully, though this is probably a vain hope) our budget a chance to recover a little as well.

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^ Agree, Gramarye--the "World's Police Force" needs to put it in park!  The rest of the world is watching and they're getting mighty tired of witnessing this roving horde of heavily-armed and deadly "do-gooders" everywhere they look...

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^ Agree, Gramarye--the "World's Police Force" needs to put it in park!  The rest of the world is watching and they're getting mighty tired of witnessing this roving horde of heavily-armed and deadly "do-gooders" everywhere they look...

 

Unless of course the problem is in their backyard or their interests are threatened.  Then they go looking and calling vfor said horde.

 

Sort of like the real police....

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The driving force for intervention in Libya was Europe's reliance on Libya's oil supply.  We were, as the war hawks would normally say, "standing with our friends and allies."  Plus, as we have seen lately, the state of European economic affairs has a direct effect on our economy.

 

Personally, I'm very flip-floppy on the Libya intervention.  I liked the strategy (no ground troop).  I liked the approach (the international coalition as opposed to us clearly out in front).  And there certainly was a justification (the impending slaughter of Libyan citizens), even if it was not the driving force for intervention.  But I have strong isolationist tendencies so the intervention, no matter the justification, runs contrary to those feelings.

 

We simply can't intervene in every facet of this Arab Spring.

 

I am not worried about Iran either.  If our "friends and allies" who are more directly threatened want to do something about Iran, I suppose I don't have a problem offering assistance, particularly through air strikes and drones.  But I am not in favor of committing any ground forces outside of an occassional special forces operation where the reward is worth the risk

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Turkey strikes targets in Syria in retaliation for shelling deaths

From Ivan Watson, CNN

updated 4:03 PM EDT, Wed October 3, 2012

 

(CNN) -- Turkey fired on targets in Syria in response to the shelling of a Turkish border town in which five civilians were killed Wednesday, a statement from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said.

The town of Akcakale "was hit by artillery fire belonging to the Syrian regime forces," the statement said, in the first clear assertion of blame for the shelling.

"Our armed forces on the border responded immediately to this atrocious attack within the rules of engagement, and points in Syria determined by radar were hit with artillery fire," it said. "Turkey, within the confines of the rules of engagement and international law, will never leave these types of provocations aimed at our national security unanswered."

 

...

 

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/03/world/europe/turkey-syria-tension/index.html

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Well, this isn't very good.

 

Syria Rebukes Turkey as Artillery Fight Continues

By  RICK GLADSTONE Published: October 8, 2012   

 

Syria escalated tensions with Turkey on Monday, accusing its neighbor and former friend of imperialist delusions reminiscent of Ottoman dynastic rule, as Syrian Army gunners exchanged artillery blasts with their Turkish counterparts across the border for the sixth consecutive day.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/world/middleeast/syria-turkey.html?_r=0

 

As far as us not interfering: I did. And hopefully it helped.

 

https://donate.unrefugees.org/site/c.lfIQKSOwFqG/b.8015219/k.3AD/Help_Syrian_Refugees_Survive_Donate_Now/apps/ka/sd/donorcustom.asp?kntaw36705=D301D9249C5C4E3AB708ED110F7E324F

 

 

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this is why the un is useless. they should have gone into syria long ago. isnt that why it exists? for situations like this or to prevent them? they still can of course, but they dont. instead the other countries just wring their hands and wait for old uncle sam's gazillion tax dollars worth of world police to do it. i know, i know, russia and china block everything...ugh what a mess.

 

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Shelling Turkey was an abysmally stupid move if Syria really is concerned about possible Western intervention.  While the attack was very minor, it was nevertheless an armed attack on a NATO country, which is about as ironclad a justification as one needs under international law to justify intervention by any or all NATO allies.

 

Of course, ultimately, any intervention decision will ultimately be political, not legal, but nevertheless, I have no idea how Syria could possibly believe that the rewards of shelling Turkish land could outweigh the risks.

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Does the Syrian government or high command have the same level of control over what individual field units do as what we would expect in a modern, Western army?  Seems like a common thing in less developed nations to have rogue units of the military or government acting on their own initiative to their own ends.  Also, these are mortars, not guided missiles.  They're so inaccurate that I'm surprised they are considered militarily useful at all.  Since some of the fighting is happening right on the border, it isn't inconceivable that the shelling could have been simply accidental, at least at first.

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this is why the un is useless. they should have gone into syria long ago. isnt that why it exists? for situations like this or to prevent them? they still can of course, but they dont. instead the other countries just wring their hands and wait for old uncle sam's gazillion tax dollars worth of world police to do it. i know, i know, russia and china block everything...ugh what a mess.

 

This was Paul Ryan's point last night.  He readily stipulated that a Romney Administration would have the same basic views, but would not allow itself to be hamstrung by the UN. 

 

The UN is a lot like a police commision where organized crime has a seat at the table.  This is why P. J. O'Rourke was so spot on when he claimed that "people like to say that the United States isn't the world's policeman, but when Saddam invaded Kuwait no one called Sweden.

 

That said, I'm not really happy with Romney's call to arm the Syrian opposition unless they recognize Israel's right to exist and purge the Al Qaeda elements.

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I'm surprised this hasn't been updated in a while, especially since there's likely to be a punitive strike on Syria for the military's use of chemical weapons on civilians. Will Russia defend its ally?

 

26 August 2013 Last updated at 17:57 ET

Syria chemical attack undeniable, says John Kerry

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned what he said was the "undeniable" use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.

 

He described recent attacks in the Damascus area as a "moral obscenity".

 

The US and its allies are considering a response including possible military strikes on Syria, although Russia - Syria's ally - has warned against this.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23844643


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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N Korea is not going to war with us.... and if it did, we could fend it off with our left toe

 

I just hope that, for once, we force the UN's hand.  Even if the UN doesn't do anything here and the situation in Syria just plays out to a tragic end, it would possibly lead to some much needed reform at the UN.

 

Regardless, its a foreign policy nightmare, with groups like hezbollah backing the regime and al-queda infiltrating the rebels

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We should not be involved on any level. Let NATO or the UN or the Arab Union deal with this disaster without any US contribution. The world, particularly that part of the world, has been beating us up for too long despite our best intentions.

 

If Kerry and McCain want to get involved, then let them hire their own goons and take up arms themselves. The US has done more than its share since WWII, AND IT'S ALL BEEN FOR NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

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We should not be involved on any level. Let NATO or the UN or the Arab Union deal with this disaster without any US contribution. The world, particularly that part of the world, has been beating us up for too long despite our best intentions.

 

If Kerry and McCain want to get involved, then let them hire their own goons and take up arms themselves. The US has done more than its share since WWII, AND IT'S ALL BEEN FOR NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I agree there's a lot of good intentions over the years. But with regard to the Middle East, particularly in Iran the U.S. has to accept some blame for the unrest.

 

This is just one, albeit extreme example.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d'%C3%A9tat

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We should not be involved on any level. Let NATO or the UN or the Arab Union deal with this disaster without any US contribution. The world, particularly that part of the world, has been beating us up for too long despite our best intentions.

 

 

How do you have NATO deal with this while leaving the US out? That's like asking the Warsaw Pact to act on something without the Soviet Union's involvement.

 

I do think NATO will be the one to attack Syria's chemical weapons delivery systems with the support of the Arab League. My only question is how will Russia react to all of this?


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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We should not be involved on any level. Let NATO or the UN or the Arab Union deal with this disaster without any US contribution. The world, particularly that part of the world, has been beating us up for too long despite our best intentions.

 

 

How do you have NATO deal with this while leaving the US out? That's like asking the Warsaw Pact to act on something without the Soviet Union's involvement.

 

I do think NATO will be the one to attack Syria's chemical weapons delivery systems with the support of the Arab League. My only question is how will Russia react to all of this?

 

I'm more concerned with how we keep Saddam's stray WMD out of the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.

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One of the best sites I've found for following the actual hard-power side of things is StrategyPage; their most recent Syria feed is here: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/syria/articles/20130826.aspx.  They occasionally follow the political side of things, too, but generally only as far as necessary to talk about the Realpolitik side of things.

 

Bottom line: Russia almost certainly isn't going to get directly involved.  Not with boots on the ground, anyway.

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We should not be involved on any level. Let NATO or the UN or the Arab Union deal with this disaster without any US contribution. The world, particularly that part of the world, has been beating us up for too long despite our best intentions.

 

How do you have NATO deal with this while leaving the US out? That's like asking the Warsaw Pact to act on something without the Soviet Union's involvement.

 

I do think NATO will be the one to attack Syria's chemical weapons delivery systems with the support of the Arab League. My only question is how will Russia react to all of this?

 

I think he meant that he did not want the US to take any unilateral action at our sole expense.

 

As for Russia, they want to appear tough and for it to appear that we backed down due to their "warnings."  Many 'Americans' want it to play out that way too so they can finally take a position on what the "right move" was here.

 

 

I'm more concerned with how we keep Saddam's stray WMD out of the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.

 

I don't think that the MB or Al Qaeda have found the magic bean yet that would lead them to the cloud upon which Saddam hid it.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/26/new-poll-syria-intervention-even-less-popular-than-congress/

"A new Reuters/Ipsos poll has finally found something that Americans like even less than Congress: the possibility of U.S. military intervention in Syria. Only 9 percent of respondents said that the Obama administration should intervene militarily in Syria."

 

"The Reuters/Ipsos poll was taken Aug.19-23, the very same week that horrific reports emerged strongly suggesting that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people, potentially killing hundreds or even thousands of civilians. [...] But this is the lowest support for intervention since the poll began tracking opinion on the issue. The survey also found that 60 percent oppose intervention outright, with the rest, perhaps sagely, saying that they don’t know."

 

"Strangely, 25 percent said that they support intervention if Assad uses chemical weapons."

 

--

 

Haven't we been down this road before?

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If you want something done, volunteer, pick up a weapon and fight. I've got 7.5 years of Infantry service. Don't order other what to do.

 

Not that I disagree with the general spirit of your comment..... but aren't all of our soldiers volunteers?  And isn't that (following orders of others) exactly what soldiers are signing up for when one volunteers themself for military service?  Follow orders without questioning the orders is what they must do.  When I was a kid, I met a marine while we were in Camp Lejeune who broke his arm because the drill instructor didn't notice the marine was 20 feet up a wall on the obstable course when he ordered the unit to 'hit the ground.'  Maybe I'm just misinterpreting what you were trying to say... 

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This guys writing style reminds me of Chuck Klosterman. I attended a Syria conference at CSU in the Spring. All the experts basically agreed there was really no solution on the horizon. Very sad and sobering experience.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/29/9-questions-about-syria-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask/

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The argument for limited strikes as a notice to others who might consider using chemical weapons in the future is an interesting one, and good as far as it goes insofar as it takes away the argument that limited cruise missile strikes aren't actually likely to change the behavior of the Assad regime at this point; he's fighting for his life on the ground.  However, that argument begs the question of how much the threat of an automatic cruise missile reaction shot from the U.S. is going to really change the calculus of others in the future, either.  I get that we don't want the bar to using chemical weapons to be lowered in the future, and that even a mild punishment for doing so might be better than no punishment (because it might simply keep the bar where it is rather than lowering it, even if the maintenance of the status quo isn't actually a visible result or a serious feather in anyone's cap).  But that doesn't mean that striking at the Assad regime now would even accomplish that much.

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Pocho.com ‏@PochoDotCom 3m

Breaking ñews: Obama cancels #Syria attack, will bomb Twerky instead  http://pocho.com/obama-to-bomb-twerky/ … via @PochoDotCom #mileycyrus #twerking


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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So he is going for the 'lacking in leadership' and 'indecisive' criticisms from across the aisle.  Interesting.  If I was a betting man, I would've put money on the "exceeding executive authority" avenue.  At least the Ted Cruz's of Congress now having a starting point to work from.  It must've been terribly frustrating not knowing what position to take.

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So he is going for the 'lacking in leadership' and 'indecisive' criticisms from across the aisle.  Interesting.  If I was a betting man, I would've put money on the "exceeding executive authority" avenue.  At least the Ted Cruz's of Congress now having a starting point to work from.  It must've been terribly frustrating not knowing what position to take.

 

Obama's used to that, so it probably doesn't frustrate him as much any more.

 

This whole morass is beginning to remind me of Nicaragua in 1979.  Bad versus a coalition ranging from a little better to much worse, with the latter likely to take over any revolutionary government....and allied with our geopolitical rivals du jour.

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Basically (brutally), the best outcome for us (and, realistically, for the world) in this civil war is if all of the combatant factions just kill each other off.

 

They're doing a rather admirable job of it.

 

The only minor problem is a few million innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, of which many thousands are already dead (though admittedly, many of the dead were armed and many more than that were active supporters of one faction or the other, whether due to ideological or ethnic loyalty to one side or hatred of the other).

 

 

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So he is going for the 'lacking in leadership' and 'indecisive' criticisms from across the aisle.  Interesting.  If I was a betting man, I would've put money on the "exceeding executive authority" avenue.  At least the Ted Cruz's of Congress now having a starting point to work from.  It must've been terribly frustrating not knowing what position to take.

 

it's pretty clear what needs to be done.  Obama said himself that using chemical weapons on his own people would be a "red line" and it was 2 years ago that he said Assad needed to go.  He's punted by going to Congress for permission/guidance on what to do.  Yeah, I'd agree that's "indecisive" and "lacking in leadership".

 

It'll take another 2 weeks before a plan is put forth.  The chemical weapons will be moved to secure locations for future use, more civilian lives will be lost, and Russia/Iran will supply Assad with more weapons to fire back/defend himself by then

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^The real problem is that we didn't address the Syria problem years ago, when it was obvious things were getting completely out of control (what was Hillary doing all that time?). Isn't the most recent atrocity the third "red line" that was crossed? I understand Obama is in a sticky situation, as any president would be under these circumstances, but it sends a signal of indecisiveness to the rest of the world to reverse course the way he did. Ideally it's a good idea to have Congressional approval, but the barbaric mindset of Assad (as well as other Middle East despots) doesn't understand this, and doesn't care. They're just having a good laugh that America is displaying weakness (along with Britain).

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"The commander in chief is in a box. His desperation to avoid military entanglement in Syria last year—in the run-up to the presidential election—inspired Mr. Obama to fumble out his "red line" warning to Bashar Assad on chemical-weapons use. The statement was a green light to the dictator to commit every atrocity up to that line and—when he received no pushback—to cross it.

 

Now trapped by his own declaration, Mr. Obama is reverting to the same strategy he has used in countless domestic brawls—that is, to lay responsibility for any action, or failure of action, on Congress. The decision was made easier by the fact that Congress itself was demanding a say.

 

That proved too tempting for a president whose crude calculus is that Congress can now rescue him however it votes. Should Congress oppose authorizing action against Syria, he can lay America's failure to honor his promises on the legislative branch. Obama aides insist that even if Congress votes no, the president may still act—though they would say that. The idea that Mr. Obama, having lacked the will to act on his own, would proceed in the face of congressional opposition is near-fantasy.

 

Mr. Obama must figure that if he gets authorization, he nets two political wins. He provides himself cover for taking action, while simultaneously presenting Congress's vote as affirmation of his flawed plan to lob a few missiles and call it a day. When that pinprick bombing has no discernible effect on Assad's murderous campaign, Mr. Obama will note that this was Congress's will."

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324432404579049170642934080.html?mod=hp_opinion

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I've seen this meme on many articles recently: That a measured/modest response that does not "change the course of the war" or some similar phrase is worse than nothing.

 

Is it?  To "change the course of the war" via military force against Assad would mean to give a significant boost to rebel forces that appear (at least to casual online reading) ideologically indistinguishable from the Taliban.  That might have been an acceptable price to pay when the larger threat was the Soviet Union.  That is not the case today.

 

While I still think that we are better leaving well enough alone here, I respect the point of view that we have an interest in punishing the use of chemical weapons (as an example to others, since I concede that nothing is going to deter Assad from doing anything at this point), while having no particular interest in assisting a victory for either side in the actual civil war on the ground.  It's not immediately apparent to me that the "go big or go home" message is correct.  I'm perfectly OK with "go small or not at all," with my personal preference being for "not at all," though obviously Obama feels differently and even some of the Republican leadership (who often seem to obstruct anything coming from the White House for no other reason than its point of origin) have signaled that they will vote in favor.

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it's pretty clear what needs to be done.  Obama said himself that using chemical weapons on his own people would be a "red line" and it was 2 years ago that he said Assad needed to go.  He's punted by going to Congress for permission/guidance on what to do.  Yeah, I'd agree that's "indecisive" and "lacking in leadership".

 

So then you are of the opinion, in this situation, that the President may act independently, absent any allied forces resolution (UN, NATO, etc), without the need for Congress to authorize the use of military force.  I personally don't think there is a clear cut answer, but it is interesting to see how people's opinions vary on the issue.

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it's pretty clear what needs to be done.  Obama said himself that using chemical weapons on his own people would be a "red line" and it was 2 years ago that he said Assad needed to go.  He's punted by going to Congress for permission/guidance on what to do.  Yeah, I'd agree that's "indecisive" and "lacking in leadership".

 

So then you are of the opinion, in this situation, that the President may act independently, absent any allied forces resolution (UN, NATO, etc), without the need for Congress to authorize the use of military force.  I personally don't think there is a clear cut answer, but it is interesting to see how people's opinions vary on the issue.

 

Precedent has been established for this 40 yrs in the making now, including Bill Clinton taking action in Kosovo without Congress authorization.  Not sure if UN/NATO was on board.  Regardless, Assad has used chemical weapons on his own people and we haven't even helped arm the victims, at least no according to mainstream media.  I think the need for action is more justified now than in most cases before.  Honestly I can't understand what other leaders are thinking by sitting back and waiting before pledging support to a coalition.  From what I've read, it's not about oil, as Syria is not a major exporter.

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I'm not so sure that "precedent" defines the reach of the war powers resolution (the constitutionality of which is questionable in itself).  You could certainly argue that Reagan violated it (Nicogauga) and Clinton violated it (Kosovo)...... although the latter situation was a NATO-led military action, was initially authorized through a funding bill approved by Congress, and Congress also voted down a resolution to withdraw the troops.

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