The debate on Syria

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

  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I think there is a danger in doing nothing but I'm very concerned that a limited airstrike type of response will not actually accomplish anything. Assad will just pick himself up, dust himself off and say, "That's it? That's all you've got?" And then he'll just go about his business. I don't know that anyone wants us to get involved in yet another protracted military thing (it seems like you're not supposed to call them wars even though that's what they are). It seems like we've been at war my entire life and I've seen a lot of people killed and it's not clear to me that we actually accomplished much. At the same time, don't you think to yourself, "What's next? A suitcase nuke?" And then what do we do. Ask the UN to write a sternly worded letter? The first thing I'm looking for is to see the surrounding nations stand up and act like this is important to them. They are the most at risk if Assad gets out of control. Then I'm looking for some reallyreally smart people to figure out what's really going to happen if we do X or Y or Z. I'm not interested in some moronic Dick Cheney formulation like "The Iraqis will welcome us with cheering and open arms" type analysis. None of us knows what's really going on here. We just know what is allowed to appear on the evening news. Hopefully there's more to it than that. To me it seems that it's a big risk either way you turn. All I know is that I don't want more Americans to die because of the behavior of yet another middle east dictator. I want the local surrounding countries to take the lead (I think they have armies too) and I want a team approach where the USA accepts a supporting position. The problem is that these days it seems that I rarely get what I want.
  2. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    On the other hand, the US-led NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia in 1999 are widely regarded as one of the most successful military interventions since WWII. The bombing campaign lasted less than 3 months, resulted in very few US/NATO casualties, and put an end to 10 years of war in Yugoslavia. It wouldn't surprise me if this is the "blueprint" for the proposed operation in Syria.

    The Dept. of Defense "after-action" report summarized the results of the 1999 results like this:

    The Yugoslavia operation proved that air strikes, if properly executed, can be militarily effective. However, that doesn't mean that they are politically popular. For example, the airstrikes occurred during the Clinton administration, and a large majority of U.S. House Republicans voted against two non-binding resolutions expressing approval for the American involvement.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2013
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    You may know more about these things than me but based on what I've heard, the Russian contingent in the UN Security Council is unlikely to vote for any sanction at all. They will veto anything that is proposed. They are entirely on the side of Assad and will block any action. In this situation please do not look to the UN to do anything except wring their hands and bluster (if they even bother to do that).
  4. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    That's quite true. However, for practical purposes the UN didn't have much to do with the Yugoslavian airstrikes either. NATO isn't an agency of the UN, and is not subject to Russian veto.
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    OK, so where are they in this then? Why aren't we hearing from NATO? Another huge international organization sitting on their hands, doing nothing.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2013
  6. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    NATO is a military alliance of 28 North American and European nations, which in practice is dominated and led by the US.
    The US can act with or without NATO. However, NATO can't act without the US.

    The most affected NATO member is Turkey, which has a border with Syria. Turkey, as a member of NATO, has been requesting (and receiving) Patriot missiles and other NATO to help defend that border.

    There is no doubt that NATO would react if the war spilled into Turkey, a NATO country. The question is whether to intervene regardless. But NATO can't do that unless the US is on board.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2013
  7. ebbwvale

    ebbwvale Member

    I take the point that we do not know how much influence the Russians have. I suspect, however, that they have considerable influence. If they step away from Syria and allow the security Council to act, then Syria has a problem. They have a sizable naval base in Syria and we know how efficient that their security/intelligence is from the Cold War. We also know that Putin was the head of that security service. I would be surprised if any member of the Syrian Government can flush the toilet without the Russians knowing. Putin is about protecting Russian influence in the area and he is a very skilled in the area of intelligence and clandestine operations. Who can forget the attempt at assassinating the President of the Ukraine by radioactive poisoning?

    I believe, maybe wrongly, that the Sarin attack was for political purposes, not military. It is also indicative of a losing side. Why risk outside intervention by using banned weapons if you are winning? If you are losing, then the risk is more acceptable. There is also the prospect of that broadening the war will change the purpose of it. At present, it is a localized struggle, however, if you broaden it then it becomes a contest of competing interests and the local struggle for the government of Syria becomes lost. If it becomes a contest between Russia and the US, then Syria itself becomes incidental and a sideshow. We are then back to the cold war. This may work in favor of the Syrian Government who is then part of a noble struggle against the US instead of just a murderer of its own citizens.

    If Europe won't act, then you cannot expect NATO to act. Europe is back to the 1930's appeasement model of international affairs. The major question for me is how do we keep this a local event and stop it spreading? The next question is how do you stop the proliferation of the use of banned weapons by the Syrians or anyone? If Russia is protecting the use of banned weapons, then Russia is the issue. China can also join this club. If Russia steps away, China may follow. Russia may be the key and perhaps should be the focus.

    The US, in my opinion, should not be expected to risk the lives of its young people and the well-being of their families, if the rest of the world will not commit. You have done enough. I do not think that this can be solved by direct military means. Target those supporting Syria instead with whatever is available without military action. Punish the support of countries and Dictators who use banned weapons. Russia, Iran and China are apparently alright with the use of banned weapons and stand outside international law while arguing that the US may be in breach of it. Classic "doublespeak" reminiscent of Goebbels and the later Cold War.

    I find it difficult to accept that this is merely an event intended for local war objectives. As a friend of the US, please take care with what you decide to do.
  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    It doesn't matter what most Americans want, in fact it already seems like public opinion here is generally against intervention. But U.S. policy makers are only weakly influenced by public opinion, so if they're set on killing Syrians, then unfortunately that's what's going to happen.
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    You say this as if you believe that those reading your message actually have any influence. Naïve.
  10. ebbwvale

    ebbwvale Member

    Then I guess the first order of business is to get your democracy back. Here, some people are saying that public opinion has too much power. Social media is very powerful here.
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    You are naïve. Facebook your president then.
  12. Gbssurvivor1

    Gbssurvivor1 Member


    You are spot on my friend. Spot on!!!
  13. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    IMHO, we should probably stay out of it although having the threat of a military strike might be enough to get Assad to give up his chemical weapons and that would be a great thing. Afterall he might launch them against his neighbors or give them to terrorists next. So the ideal in my view would be for the congress to support the strike and it never happens because Assad gives them up. If he refuses to give them up then some missles launched at military targets to try to damage his ability to carry out further chemical attacks could be considered. But, never any boots on the ground.
  14. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    So you're trying to tell me that the people of Australia are ready to attack this issue? The government of Australia has mobilized itself in order to address this issue? Get your own democracy back. What is Australia doing about this? Answer: Less than nothing.
  15. NorCal

    NorCal Active Member

    I'm a firm believer that politics and prostitution share basically the same level of professional integrity; so I take what I hear from them with a grain of salt.

    That being said, I would not want the U.S. to strike Syrian targets. The U.N. should get involved and we (the U.S.) need to stop trying to play the role of the worlds police force. People in the middle east kill each other all the time. They do not put the same value on life that we do. So we can't hold them to the same standards. They've been killing each other for years, now all of a sudden we are concerned because they used chemical weapons instead of their usual methods of using bombs and bullets. . . . it was okay then but now we're upset. . .


    Granted I'm an Iraq veteran so I understand I'm a bit cynical, but come on now . . .
  16. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I'm just a kid who watches the news. I understand that the information that reaches me has gone through filters. Maybe lots of filters. I don't pretend that I know the reality of these situations. Do you think that you (not you NorCal, but just anyone) know all the details? This is my position: We elect people to make these decisions. If you elect a rep based on an issue like reproductive rights, how confident are you that that rep will represent you accurately when it comes to the question of going to war with Syria? Or, just the opposite? This democracy thing is strange.
  17. RichC.

    RichC. Member

    I too am an Iraq vet and I respectfully disagree with your take that they do not value life the same as we do. Americans kill fellow Americans all the time. Mass shooting rampages seemingly happen every week, I know they don't but it feels that way. Suicide bombs accomplish the same thing as these shooting sprees. Americans kill for some of the reasons too which are very similar to the Middle East such as, race, sexual orientation and religion.

    Just to reiterate, I do not support bombing Syria just to teach them a lesson or weaken their infrastucture.
  18. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Thank you. I did see video of the gassing, I saw all of those little bodies of children lined up on the floor, mouths open, heads turned to the side...lifeless. I have a 2 year old son and a 3 year old daughter, and my father instinct kicked into gear to the point that I felt a lump in my throat and my eyes burning holding back tears. I could envision my own children lying there on the floor. It hurts to see that, it hurts in such a deep place in my spirit to see that, the part of who I am that makes me a human being and a man. It makes me want justice, it makes me want retribution, it makes me want revenge.

    But I have to remind myself, that by taking military action we are not likely to improve anything. It will be different kids being killed, including some of our own. I think of myself being the father of a Marine, or soldier, or sailor, being asked to go fight in Syria. Would I be willing to risk my child's life to save their children? If my son grows up to be anything like me, he'd go and fight with no hesitation. But the logical side of our humanity needs to win out. As hard as it is to set those base emotions aside, there is no logic in war with Syria. It will not better them, it will not better us. It will cost us though, and the price is too high.

    Sorry if I seem too deep and introspective, I saw the videos and pics last night. It's still a little raw. I recommend you do not watch them, you will lose sleep.
  19. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I love the people who insisted we needed to invade Iraq who are now saying we should not attack Syria. The main "issue" was WMDs. In only one of those situations were WMDs actually present--not to mention actually used. (Hint: it wasn't Iraq.)

    I'm not saying we should attack Syria. But the reasons for going into Iraq were way weaker, but we did it. I'd like to see the likes of Bremer and Rumsfeld acknowledge their mistake before they chastise the current President for considering an attack.
  20. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Don't look now, but time has past since then. Many people who were guns-ho (sic) about Iraq have changed their minds and regret that they supported millitary action there. The term "war-weary" comes to mind. Sure, there will always be hypocrites. There will also be people who learn lessons and change minds.

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