The debate on Syria

Discussion in 'Political Discussions' started by Kizmet, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    So there's going to be a debate on what to do about the gas attack inside Syria. In general I think that's a good thing. I'm wondering if you think this issue will be debated/decided as an isolated issue or whether it will be folded in to other issues that are currently on the congressional plate. For example, is Obama allowing a debate on Syria as a bargaining chip to get the Tea Party to back off Obamacare? I don't follow politics as closely as some of our other members. What do you think is going to happen?
  2. jam937

    jam937 New Member

    I think congress will deny the President's request, but President Obama will go forward anyway. I think he's already put himself too far out there now.

    We need to look at the recent history of the Iraq war. Colin Powell went before congress and the UN showing pictures of mobile chemical weapons labs and telling everyone about all this evidence the US had that was concrete evidence. President Bush and his administration touting all the WMD's that Iraq had. Then it all (or mostly) turned out to be incorrect. I don't know if I'd go as far to say blatant lie, but definitely an incredibly bad guess, jumping the gun, energy/oil fears, greedy defense companies, etc.

    I don't want the US to be the world's police force as that's partly why many in the world hate us. Not to mention the cost of a world wide police force. Again, look at the huge cost of the Iraq war and what did we get out of it? Nothing but a lot of dead Americans. Let's sit the next few international crisis's out and let the rest of the world deal with them.

    I really don't see this as having anything to do with the Tea Party or Obamacare. Although it will definitely take eyes off of Obamacare for a while.
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I hope he waits for Congress and then does what they want. I don't care if the best strategy is to attack; we should stay out if the people's representatives don't support it.
  4. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    I hope he waits for Congressional action, but I doubt he will. I've held my opinion on this for a while but now I think I can offer a semi-intelligent one and somewhat of an emotional one as well (those are always the best).

    First my position...I do not think we should attack Syria.

    Second, my "assumed" truths regarding the situation (since none of us can really know anything other than what we are told).
    First, we are fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, we were fighting them in Iraq, now we are arming them and supporting them in Syria including some of the same bunch that were fighting us in Iraq. Now we want to "act as their air force"? That makes my head hurt.

    Second, according to non-US sources and allies (Russia namely) the rebels themselves have been using gas. I have no doubt Assad probably has too, I think they're both monsters.

    Third, I watched a video where a bunch of these "enlightened" rebels stand around, laugh and cheer, and video tape a group of men cut off a Catholic priest's head in public, for being Christian. Now we are supposed to feel sorry for these animals when they themselves are killed in an atrocious manner? Sorry, I'll pass.

    Fourth, we seem to assume that every middle eastern nation that rebels against their dictator desires freedom, not another dictator. We have an almost 0% batting average on that assumption gaining any traction in reality, so why do we keep killing and dying in the name of “freedom” for a people who can’t wait to not actually be free (as we define it). Let them clean up their own back yard and master their own destiny.

    Fifth, does anyone else find it highly ironic that the most anti-war doves during the War in Iraq and Afghanistan are all of a sudden super hawkish when the situation is almost identical to the pretext of invading Iraq with 2 exceptions? First when we went to Iraq, the Hussein regime had already attempted an assassination within the US (George Sr) and second, Iraq had already threatened US interests abroad, namely in Saudi Arabia through invasion (they are an ally and we have a base there). I guess you could toss out a third in that Hussein also directly threatened the United States, but I think Assad has done so recently as well.
    My verdict, we stay out of it. We have no dog in the fight and running to war because some jihadist's kid is gassed (while extremely sad), is not provocation enough in my opinion.
  5. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator

    As we come up on the 12th anniversary of 9/11, this makes my head hurt as well.

    As a nation, we should never be doing anything that remotely aligns us with al-Qaeda or its affiliates.
  6. RichC.

    RichC. Member

    I'll give an arguement for attacking Syria: Using chemical weapons is one step below using nukes as I see it and something of that magnitude should be dealt with.

    I'll say that at first my reaction was to attack and level several places. Now, I think it's none of our business afterall it is a Syrian CIVIL WAR, not Syria vs Israel or some other ally. I really find myself not trusting our government anymore on anything they tell us and I work for the government. The UK voting not to attack should send up signals that maybe the evidence isn't as strong or as compelling as our leaders would like us to believe.
  7. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2013
  8. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    I think one Congressman put it best when he asked 3 questions:

    1.) Do we have a plan? We don't

    2.) Do we have a goal (end state in mind)? We don't

    3.) Will this make life better for the average person in Syria? Who knows...probably not

    A "punitive" strike that doesn't actually kill the person(s) responsible for using the gas? Absolutely pointless. Killing a bunch of grunts but leaving the regime in charge just makes them a more effective enemy in the future. It's a nonsense "solution".
  9. RichC.

    RichC. Member

    Just look at Iraq and Afghanistan as examples of not having a plan or end state in mind. I spent the better part of two years in Iraq working closely with the Iraqis and it it took every bit of that time to make small differences. The problem with us Americans is that we want to make other countries like America instead of trying to make them better Iraqis for example. Not everyone shared my point of view. In the Middle East corruption as we see it is a way of doing business and a means for survival. Without a cultural understanding we just go in there f**k it all up, see the first few years of the Iraq war if you think otherwise. The insurgency started because we didn't have a plan and didn't understand the culture. The same goes back to when we supported the Afgans against the Soviet Army in the 80's, we supplied weapons and training and eventually the Russians bailed out. We failed to help rebuild Afghanistan and that gave rise to a ticked off Osama Bin Laden. Any of this sound familiar to Syria? It should, we have backed the rebels so far in this civil war but if we don't help them rebuild then this will be Afghanistan of the 80's all over again.
  10. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Well, one thing's for sure: Obama can blame Bush for Iraq and Afghanistan, but if he invades Syria he cannot blame Bush for that.
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I am guessing that there will be no invasion. There will be some air strikes that will accomplish almost nothing followed by a lot of bluster from both sides. I don't follow it as closely as some others but I'm a little surprised that Syria's neighbors are making more noise. After all, they are at more risk than most.
  12. JWC

    JWC New Member

    The Socialist Eugene Debs said he was for socialism because he was for humanity.

    What is the humanitarian response to the slaughter on innocent men, women, and children?
  13. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    That is a serious problem that his administration is likely working overtime to resolve. I hear they are working on an updated newspeak dictionary where the words "mistake" and "failure" will be replaced with "wuzbush" and "cuzbush" respectively.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2013
  14. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    I was working at the United Nations the other day* and the delegates were asking themselves the same question. The only real insight anyone could come to was an agreement that in colloquial speech translates to "Yep... this is REALLY, REALLY bad."

    *It feels awesome to casually drop that in a conversation!
  15. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    It's an important question to ask, but war is not the answer to this particular issue.

    Al-Assad is brutal, to be sure, but he is predictably brutal. The rebels are just as brutal, and who knows what they will do?

    I don't want to choose sides between the two, but even if I were forced, I would choose Al-Assad. When the Islamist extremists take over, we run the risk of wholesale slaughter of religious minorities (such as the Christian population in Syria). If we weaken the Assad regime without toppling it (which is what an air campaign would do), we just create more chaos. Why does anyone think that creating more instability in a civil war will be a good thing? If anything, it will just make Assad more brutal with conventional weapons.
  16. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    I think this is about ego, saving face, and trying to preserve Obama's legacy. He gaffed, he drew a line where he had no business doing so. He doesn't have Congress behind him on this and he doesn't seem to have the will of the American people behind him on this. Nothing good can come of war with Syria, ESPECIALLY if Syria decides to retaliate against Israel due to our use of force...then things get sticky.
  17. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    And it also provides an oh-so-convenient distraction from the upcoming Obamacare issues.
  18. major56

    major56 Active Member

    To my knowledge, there is no material evidence presented thus far that the Syrian government even pulled the trigger on this chemical weapon attack. Also, I do not consider Congress will muster a majority vote in the House to authorize a military strike in Syria. Nonetheless, I expect that Obama will order the strike as he actually, IMO, does not vaguely consider the U.S. Congress or even the public’s sentiments relevant. We could be going to war over this man’s ego alone. And superficially engaging Congress is purely a charade by the Administration e.g., political cover. Obama’s meddling nearly at random, propping up Islamic fascists, for example, the Muslim Brotherhood and, in the end … giving support to Al Qaeda. Amateur hour once again …

    At best … attacking Syria, no matter the imposed limitation produces a futile outcome and a further Pandora’s Box.
  19. ebbwvale

    ebbwvale Member

    Don't know much about internal US politics, but I think the US must be under a lot of pressure from Jordan and Turkey on this issue. The strike with chemical weapons was actually quite small, if lethal. In my opinion, it was to test the reaction or to create a reaction. Militarily, it was of little use, therefore it has to be political.

    The major question is who fired it? If it was the government of Syria then you can expect a greater use of these weapons if there is no effective reaction. This would also mean that the government is losing to the rebels. Nobody uses these things if they are winning. If it is the Syrian Government, then you just about bet on it that Iran has had a say in this for their own political advantage as well.

    If it is the rebels then it is a no brainer, don't react against the Syrian Government and they are losing because they are trying to bring the west into the war on their side. You don't do that when you hate what the west stands for unless you are losing.

    There are, from memory, 450,000 refugees in neighboring countries from this war. If Sarin is used again then you can just about quadruple this number. The pressure on these neighboring countries to react will be immense. It is either that or be overwhelmed in resourcing refugees. The war will spread.

    Russia has considerable persuasive power with Syria. If Russia backs away, then the Syrian government will suffer enormously. I find it incredible that with this relationship and Russian intelligence resources they did not know that the weapon was going to be used. If they did not, then Putin should sack his commanders on the ground. Russia could pick up the weapons and secure them tomorrow, if they were indeed from the Syrian Government.
    To summarize:
    1. The weapon was used for political purposes to either spread the involvement in the war or to test the world's reaction to their use. The latter suggests a greater use in the future;
    2. Russia can close this down and could have prevented it. There has not been an attack since, maybe it has closed it down. Pressure should be put on Russia to "pony up" on what it knew about this attack and how it has reacted to it;
    3. The US is now alone on this issue with the exception of some countries such as mine, which is not of much real help in this region;
    4. I do not see a winning situation for the US in a "direct attack". This may be something that should be dealt with indirectly and clandestinely;
    5. Neighboring countries that have to deal with the refugee issue should be supported in the interim to prevent the spread of the conflict which may be the objective of one or both of the parties.
  20. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I wonder whether you're overestimating the influence Russian policy makers still have in Syria.

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