Syria and WMDs

Greg wrote:
jibboom wrote:
Greg wrote:

Putin says that Russia is providing weapons to Syria.

I just don't understand why any moral regime would back Syria. I guess this thought is evidence that I have been brainwashed.

I'm curious... Can you give me an example of a "moral regime".

Good point.

My cold war training tells me that US is moral and Russia is evil.

The US supported Iraq's use chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War that killed between 50,000 and 100,000 people.

Actually, we did much more than that. We (and other Western countries) sold the Iraqis all the technology and raw materials to make chemical weapons (we also gave Saddam some nice samples of anthrax and the bubonic plague to help him kick off Iraq's biological weapons program).

Most importantly, we gave the Iraqis satellite imagery and other intelligence that told them where Iranian troops were building up knowing full well that they would be attacked with chemical weapons. All we cared about was preventing Iran from winning the war and we were completely OK with Iraq's use of chemcial weapons (and us aiming those weapons) to make that happen.

OG_slinger wrote:
Greg wrote:
jibboom wrote:
Greg wrote:

Putin says that Russia is providing weapons to Syria.

I just don't understand why any moral regime would back Syria. I guess this thought is evidence that I have been brainwashed.

I'm curious... Can you give me an example of a "moral regime".

Good point.

My cold war training tells me that US is moral and Russia is evil.

The US supported Iraq's use chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War that killed between 50,000 and 100,000 people.

Actually, we did much more than that. We (and other Western countries) sold the Iraqis all the technology and raw materials to make chemical weapons (we also gave Saddam some nice samples of anthrax and the bubonic plague to help him kick off Iraq's biological weapons program).

Most importantly, we gave the Iraqis satellite imagery and other intelligence that told them where Iranian troops were building up knowing full well that they would be attacked with chemical weapons. All we cared about was preventing Iran from winning the war and we were completely OK with Iraq's use of chemcial weapons (and us aiming those weapons) to make that happen.

That was prior to 9/11 though. And thus, before we really cared about chem/bio weapons.

Paleocon wrote:

That was prior to 9/11 though. And thus, before we really cared about chem/bio weapons.

I don't think that's nearly as big an issue as they pretend; it's a convenient cover story to justify doing what they already want to do. It wouldn't be enough to get the US to act if there wasn't some other reason to be involved.

Meanwhile, President Obama is telling Congress they should ignore the American public and vote for the war.

Gotta agree Malor. I don't really think "we the people" have a voice anymore. I hope people pay attention to this one, especially when elections come up for congress and senate.

What the hell kind of comparison is Obama making with WW2 to what's happening in Syria? Syria isn't invading another country and no one has attacked us. They're not practicing or threatening genocide, it's a civil war.

At the very least, I hope to hell the US waits till the UN comes back with their test results. That's supposed to be the 15th at the earliest.

One additional comment and I'm done.

The whole argument that the US needs to act in order to dissuade others from using chemical weapons, potentially against us, is bullsh*t.

The people that would commit such an action don't care about international laws or moral codes. They believe in their own moral code that rationalizes the use of these weapons as striking against a group they don't agree with.

Just because people agree that something shouldnt be done, such as flying planes into buildings full of innocent people, doesn't mean people need to follow that social contract.

That's it, I'm done. Commence beer drinking.

JC wrote:

The people that would commit such an action don't care about international laws or moral codes.

Also! If the United States makes air strikes without the approval of the UN or basically any members of the international community (I guess Israel's okay with it, shocker), we are the ones who are flouting "international laws and moral codes." Acting to uphold an international standard against chemical weapons use only makes sense if the international community actually wants us to act. We don't get to unilaterally decide to do this and pretend to hold the moral high ground.

The number of big countries in support is very small, and the number against is very large.

jonstock wrote:

Also! If the United States makes air strikes without the approval of the UN or basically any members of the international community (I guess Israel's okay with it, shocker),

There is a debate in Israel over weather it's a good idea or not for the USA to do something about Syria but the current situation in Syria is generally good for Israel's current state of security. The focus of Iran, and Hezzbollah in Syria basically means we are having relatively quiet borders. The Hezbollah might not have stopped their military operations against us but their active fighting in Syria means they are losing combatants and they are also losing popular support in Lebanon. If the Lebanese fight each other they won't want Israel to get involved.

Israel Is also helping wounded rebels to basically promote the relationship with the future government of Syria. Israel only respond to direct provocations and it hit Syrian military positions in the past when they fired at Israel. Israel also has somewhat more freedom to destroy Syrian targets that bother it because of the chaos in the country.

Many people may think it's a good idea to stop the war because of the death toll but it all depends what's done. I think most agree that if the chemical weapons are not neutralized it would be a very bad idea to have a military operation in Syria. Israel doesn't want to be gassed and Israel doesn't want to respond to a WMD attack.

Israel doesn't want to get involved in Syria unless it's something that threaten it directly. I bet that the Israeli government made it clear to Obama that if he doesn't destroy the chemical weapons resources Israel will do it as an act of self defense. I bet the stall might be related to the fact Israel , Jordan and Turkey need to prepare for the chemical weapon threat. I've heard there is another Iron dome system that got active. The missile defense system Israel has can only give the military time to act . Any large scale attack against Israel will certainly start a full scale war against the attackers. The IDF is known to be able to conquer large pieces of land in a short amount of time. It's also known to hurt the enemy. Both the Syrian government and the rebels don't want Israel to get involved .

And the knots the statists are tying themselves into to support the war continue to grow:

The Article wrote:

That’s why the coming collision of libertarian fantasies with reality will be instructive. Can a congressman vote to defund the government and approve a military action in the same month? Or vote to authorize cruise missile attacks while insisting the government default on its debts? All these issues will soon come before Congress in rapid succession.

What planet is this dude living on? It's the handful of libertarian-leaning Republicans and civil libertarian Democrats who are leading the charge to stop the war against their own Party leadership. Libertarians both oppose the war and oppose fiscal profligacy. It's like such a position is something that he just can't understand.

Or is deliberately misunderstanding.

German newspaper reports that intercepts indicate that Syrian troops repeatedly requested authorization to use chemical weapons, and were denied. So loyal Assad forces may have used chemical weapons on their own initiative without permission. Which brings up the question: if Assad's control of his own army is as tenuous as this report indicates, is attacking his command infrastructure going to reduce chemical attacks, or increase them as his troops are cut off and forced to act on their own initiative?

Aetius wrote:

German newspaper reports that intercepts indicate that Syrian troops repeatedly requested authorization to use chemical weapons, and were denied. So loyal Assad forces may have used chemical weapons on their own initiative without permission. Which brings up the question: if Assad's control of his own army is as tenuous as this report indicates, is attacking his command infrastructure going to reduce chemical attacks, or increase them as his troops are cut off and forced to act on their own initiative?

Also makes Assad's threats of retaliation seem somewhat hollow. If his troops are doing whatever the hell they want with a disregard to his authority, why would the follow his orders later. Then again, it could have a galvanizing effect reestablishing his control as well. I dunno, I really don't like chemical weapons being used by anyone, and would support very surgical strikes to any storehouses of them anywhere just to get rid of them all... but that's about it... and this situation just continues to be more and more muddied by everything coming out that I'm really at the point where I don't understand what's going on, but I think we'd be better off staying out of it for now.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

At most, US is entertaining an idea of a strike against command structures and various symbolic targets.

The administration has gone on record saying that the attacks will be calibrated so as to not tip the war in favor of the rebels. My question is how can you attack Syria's command and control network and not do exactly that? I mean blowing up command and control nodes was our opening move in the invasion of Iraq and we did so for the specific reason that it tremendously degraded the performance of the Iraqi military.

OG_slinger wrote:
Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

At most, US is entertaining an idea of a strike against command structures and various symbolic targets.

The administration has gone on record saying that the attacks will be calibrated so as to not tip the war in favor of the rebels. My question is how can you attack Syria's command and control network and not do exactly that? I mean blowing up command and control nodes was our opening move in the invasion of Iraq and we did so for the specific reason that it tremendously degraded the performance of the Iraqi military.

Easy, we stop giving the rebels weapons for a couple of weeks.

Nevin73 wrote:

Easy, we stop giving the rebels weapons for a couple of weeks.

Sadly, it seems we're ratcheting up the delivery of weapons to the rebels.

Apparently, it was taking too long for the CIA to vet each of the 1,000+ rebel groups operating in Syria to weed out the extremists before we handed them weapons, so the powers that be are considering taking the CIA out of the loop and have the DoD arm and train the rebels directly.

OG_slinger wrote:
Nevin73 wrote:

Easy, we stop giving the rebels weapons for a couple of weeks.

Sadly, it seems we're ratcheting up the delivery of weapons to the rebels.

Apparently, it was taking too long for the CIA to vet each of the 1,000+ rebel groups operating in Syria to weed out the extremists before we handed them weapons, so the powers that be are considering taking the CIA out of the loop and have the DoD arm and train the rebels directly.

Well, of course. When we fight them in 10 years or so, we want to make it a fight worth showing up for. This kind of stuff gets me pissed. You'd think we could just leave other people well enough alone.

OG_slinger wrote:
Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

At most, US is entertaining an idea of a strike against command structures and various symbolic targets.

The administration has gone on record saying that the attacks will be calibrated so as to not tip the war in favor of the rebels. My question is how can you attack Syria's command and control network and not do exactly that? I mean blowing up command and control nodes was our opening move in the invasion of Iraq and we did so for the specific reason that it tremendously degraded the performance of the Iraqi military.

Well, if no one is listening to command for things like, should we use chemical weapons, maybe it won't have an effect because on one's paying attention to the chain of command anyway :lol:... but if that's the case, in all seriousness, why bother?

It's times like this that remind me of the Buckley book, Florence of Arabia... our policy for the Middle East increasingly seems to be "Making mountains out of molehills." Or, in this case, making an Everest out of a Lupghar Sar.

"A very sugrical strike on a storehouse" would result in a hazmat situation that will be an effective equivalent of a, well, chemical attack on the immediate area. This type of action is not on the table. At most, US is entertaining an idea of a strike against command structures and various symbolic targets.

edit: typo

Considering that Assad was probably telling his Generals "don't use gas it will involve the West" if we do get involved it very well may improve his position among his Generals.

Let's take this in a different direction... At this point, is there any way that the administration can walk back their actions and NOT attack Syria?

Russia's suggestion of putting the CWs under international control is interesting, but flawed. The assumption is that Syria would provide all of the things and be honest and forthright with it. Somehow I doubt that it would happen.

It seems like the administration has painted themselves into a corner.

If the US votes against attacking Syria, and the administration actually respects that decision... Obama is seen as weak on both sides of the political coin (Republican's claim it as a victory, Democrats claim Obama is weak)

If the vote is against attacking Syria and the administration does it anyway... Obama is portrayed as not respecting the constitution etc. I bet there will be all kinds of calls for impeachment from the far right.

I don't see anyway for the administration and the US to save face with the situation they've created. The administration is going to get creamed on this no matter what.

JC wrote:

Let's take this in a different direction... At this point, is there any way that the administration can walk back their actions and NOT attack Syria?

Russia's suggestion of putting the CWs under international control is interesting, but flawed. The assumption is that Syria would provide all of the things and be honest and forthright with it. Somehow I doubt that it would happen.

It seems like the administration has painted themselves into a corner.

If the US votes against attacking Syria, and the administration actually respects that decision... Obama is seen as weak on both sides of the political coin (Republican's claim it as a victory, Democrats claim Obama is weak)

If the vote is against attacking Syria and the administration does it anyway... Obama is portrayed as not respecting the constitution etc. I bet there will be all kinds of calls for impeachment from the far right.

I don't see anyway for the administration and the US to save face with the situation they've created. The administration is going to get creamed on this no matter what.

They have listened to the American Public, seen that this is not what you want, and are respecting that decision by continuing to work diplomatically to resolve this situation as best we can.

Nevin73 wrote:

Well, of course. When we fight them in 10 years or so, we want to make it a fight worth showing up for. This kind of stuff gets me pissed. You'd think we could just leave other people well enough alone.

Same. I was listening to McCain blather on about how the rebels needed heavy weapons, as in anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, and thinking "you f'ing idiot, Benghazi was such a tragedy because we had large numbers of CIA personnel there trying to track down and secure all the MANPADs the various rebel groups liberated from Libyan army bases."

Yonder wrote:

Considering that Assad was probably telling his Generals "don't use gas it will involve the West" if we do get involved it very well may improve his position among his Generals.

His generals have already picked which horse they're backing. The conflict has gone on too long and been too bloody for any of them to think they can switch sides. If they want to continue breathing, the only choice they have is to defeat the rebels.

OG_slinger wrote:

Benghazi was such a tragedy because we had large numbers of CIA personnel there trying to track down and secure all the MANPADs the various rebel groups liberated from Libyan army bases Obama.

Ftf Fox News.

Looks like Viktor Lavrov might have the face saving solution if everyone can be trusted to go along with it.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/09/politi...

I am afraid that we already saw the pages of the playbook that will be opened next. On the eve of American invasion in 2003, Saddam asked, begged us to come and inspect whatever we liked. Of course, he was a scumbag whom we couldn't trust, and the invasion commenced anyway.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

I am afraid that we already saw the pages of the playbook that will be opened next. On the eve of American invasion in 2003, Saddam asked, begged us to come and inspect whatever we liked. Of course, he was a scumbag whom we couldn't trust, and the invasion commenced anyway.

The circumstances are somewhat similar, but not exact. Saddam had kicked out the UN inspectors, which allowed the US to claim that that was because he had WMD programs that he was trying to hide. The reality was that he just didn't want Iran and others knowing those programs had been shut down for years.

Assad let the UN inspectors in. They've collected their samples and are running the tests. We'll know within a few weeks if chemical weapons were used, but that will still leave the question "who used them" unanswered. The administration claims it was Assad, but, largely thanks to Iraq, few are lining up to back the country that cried wolf.

I think the US would be best served by taking this "surrender your chems" suggestion and running with it. Let the chems be taken under control by the international community and take a very big step back. If chem weapon usage appears again, that will give more of a nudge to nations that may not be on board right now. Even then I think military action is worthless in this instance. It's a civil war. Any outside action by anyone will upset the balance.

Obama and the administration should jump all over this as it's a way out and it provides a way for the US to be seen as compromising and working diplomatically. Push it hard, shift the vote of congress to be one of, if chem weapons are used AFTER this then there is some sort of military action. This prevents the vote from being seen as a flat out defeat. It also gives the UN time to report their findings, something that I think is critical with this.

Let's see if cooler heads prevail... I'm not optimistic.

2016: John Kerry provided the idea that stopped an escalating conflict in Syria. Vote for John Kerry!

The current situation where the US is in the process of applying war paints is still good. Both sides have to be pressured to a cease fire. I think partitioning the country would be best (I'm not neutral Israel will gain a lot by that).

The US should use it's "get out of jail free card " (permission to attack Syria from Congress ) to pressure China and Russia to agree to set an ultimatum for both side to stop the hostilities.

I'm not sure why when Israel respond to provocations with a major military operation the UN goes out of its way to stop it quickly despite the fact the IDF keeps civilian casualties to a minimum and war crimes are very rare in the IDF. The revolutions and civil wars in Arab and African countries are usually characterized by mass murder, mass rape ,human shields and what not.

I read on the news that the Russian were angry about Israel conducting a missile test in the Mediterranean claiming it's dangerous . What's dangerous is letting the Syrian civil war continue. Both side clearly don't have value to human life and I've heard somewhere that 1/6 of the country are refugees. This is already a humanitarian disaster and it must be stopped better late than never.

There is a short sighted sentiment in Israel that claims that while our enemies are fighting we are safer. I find this view a little naive because of the unpredictable nature of the conflict. The US threat of war can help diplomatic efforts but if the US attacks Syria it better make sure the civil war ends when it does.