Watering Hole: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 – Don’t Do It

Last week, I felt conflicted as to how the US should respond to the gassing of citizens in Syria by the Assad government.  I have since reached an opinion regarding the use of targeted missile strikes by the United States.  Mr. President, don’t do it.

Assad has already killed many Syrians using conventional weapons and air strikes won’t prevent him from killing more Syrians in the future.  Children are always collateral damage in a war regardless of the weapons of choice.

The use of chemical and biological weapons were outlawed after World War I at the Geneva Convention.  The Chemical Weapons Convention, which further bans chemical weapons and requires the destruction of these weapons, clearly specifies:

  • Prohibition,
  • Declaration Requirements,
  • Destruction Requirements,
  • On-site Activity,
  • Trade,
  • And Penalties for non-compliance.

You can read more at the Arms Control website.

Since it is clear that using chemical or biological weapons is greatly frowned upon, I am left wondering, “Where is the outrage by the rest of the world’s nations?”  Why isn’t Assad being charged as a war criminal by the Hague?  European nations are timid in their response.  Could this silence be because of the war crimes committed by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld when no nation spoke up?  Is Putin siding with Assad because he would do the same to Russians that oppose him?  Just asking.

I question why Assad used chemical weapons.  He knows that President Obama claimed their use was the red line and yet Assad used them.  Does he want the US to get involved?  Were these chemical weapons the lure on the line?  There are still too many questions that have not been answered.

Americans are tired of war.  If our government is struggling to handle the current case load of our veterans, it certainly can’t afford to add to that work load.  We are struggling to recover from a huge deficit by using “sequestration”.  Many home bound citizens are missing meals because of cuts to Meals on Wheels and children that could greatly benefit from early education are being denied admission to Head Start.  This is just some of the impact of the budgetary cuts made by Congress but yet, we are suppose to believe that the US can afford to pay for missiles.  A single Tomahawk cruise missile costs approximately $1.5 million and Hellfire rockets cost about $115,000.00 each.  These prices do not include the cost of transportation or the tools need to launch the weapons.

I am hopeful that the House will say “no” to President Obama’s request for military strikes in Syria.

In the meantime, you might want to dust off your yellow ribbons.

This diary at Daily Kos presents an interesting perspective.

This is the Open Thread.  Speak Up!

NB:  This post was created on Saturday, Sept. 7 and does not reflect any updates that may have occurred since then.

96 thoughts on “Watering Hole: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 – Don’t Do It

  1. Speaking of updates:

    Syria Accepts Russian Chemical Weapons Plan

    Russia said earlier it is working on an “effective, concrete” plan for putting Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, while France says it plans to float a UN Security Council resolution aimed at forcing Damascus to make its weapons programme public and then dismantle it.

    The diplomatic push over Syria’s chemicals weapons gathered momentum on Tuesday, a day after the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested the measure for averting US plans for a military strike against Syria.

    France on Tuesday said it would start the process for a new UN Security Council resolution, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which is militarily enforceable.

    It appears that China is on board for this, it’s Russia’s plan, and France is proposing it, so it would require a US or UK veto to scuttle the resolution, so this looks pretty certain to pass. Now, Congress must hold off their vote, to allow this time to work. Obama’s speechwriters are working late rewriting what he is going to say tonight.

    Some folks think this was cooked up between Obama and Putin at the G20 over the weekend, Thom Hartmann for one. Events sure moved fast yesterday for that to be unlikely.

  2. The grand irony of the US “red line” on Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons is embedded in the question: how many times and in how many places around the globe has the US used chemical weapons since the post WWI ban? My first job out of college was in a CHEMICAL WEAPONS R&D lab for chrissake, one where we worked on everything from simple mucous irritants to psychedelics to the concept of causing 2000 Vietcong hiding in a cave or tunnel to all have to shit at the same moment. Among other nasties, including even Agent Orange. And that was just for openers and didn’t count bio-weapons research. Anyone remember all the dead sheep near Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah in the mid-60’s?

    For America to call others who use chemical weapons criminals is like the pot calling all kettles black.

    • Yup, why is the chem weapon redline, more important than the just killing people the usual way red line? Its not like there’s a moral position – I posted the Guardo commenting on Falluja and MK77 yesterday – even Jon Stewart got into that last week.

  3. After waiting and waiting for days and days, and carefully gauging the political landscape, and on the cusp of what appears to be a brokered solution to avoiding US military strikes against Syria, Sen. McTurtle, seeing what his colleagues would commit to first, made a move straight out of Profiles in Courage by announcing today he’s against military action.

    That’s some leadership there, Yurtle.

  4. For all those RWNJs who think that Putin’s offer to take Syria’s CW makes Obama look weak, answer me this: Would Putin have made the offer to take away Assad’s CW if Obama hadn’t threatened to bomb Syria? Does that make Putin look any stronger? Why didn’t Putin offer to take Syria’s CW before Obama threatened to start bombing?

  5. The latest clusterfuck:

    MOSCOW, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Russia told France on Tuesday that a proposal to adopt a U.N. Security Council resolution holding the Syrian government responsible for the possible use of chemical weapons was unacceptable.

    • Assad has said repeatedly he didn’t use the chemical weapons. That he has tentatively agreed to turn his supply over tends to support his stance. This isn’t the time to be pointing the finger of blame.

  6. I may be in a minority here but I have found the political aspects of the whole Syrian issue both fascinating and entertaining. I admit I was rather outraged when the President came out with his Bushy stance at first. The whole line in the sand yada yada was offensive but what has followed is amazing. By taking a public stance that would give the Right an absolute woody and then capitulating and handing it off to Congress is pretty brilliant. The result has been an absolute maelstrom on the Right of positions (that seldom mention anything about the morality of putting down the use of chemical weapons) followed by a rising upsurge of public opinion against the any action.

    The best part is that while the US media is flailing and floundering, trying to decide how to crucify the President no matter what he decides, the diplomatic process is chugging ahead and we still haven’t bombed Damascus. And international support for rationally dealing with Assad is consolidating. I think the President has been buying time and letting the Republicans make fools of themselves.

    • And there’s the bonus of what I at least see as a return to constitutional principles, asking Congress to authorize the attack.

    • Couldn’t agree more. The WH cleverness is, really, in discerning the means to make the media AND the Republicans look as freakin’ stupid as they genuinely have become. Next up, can we dare hope that there are enough civilian intelligences out there to put two plus two together and come up with something real, something other than the ‘five’ that both the GOP and the media will spout? I won’t hold my breath, but I might laugh a little as I wait.

    • It’s hard to have faith but we should have learned by now that we have to wait and see what President Obama actually does before deciding how to react. He’s far from perfect but he plays “the long game”. Plus it’s been so long since the good ol’ U.S.A. has actually practiced statesmanship, to the detriment of all, that it’s easy forget Obama is not a wannabe Rambo.

  7. That would mean Obama has achieved his goal. The White House’s aim here wasn’t to topple Assad, no matter how much that infuriates McGrumpyass.

    • At this point, I’m not surprised. I am still waiting for anyone with any credibility to explain either the strategic or tactical reason Assad may have had for a one-out use of chemical weapons. Other than he is some sort of ego maniac with homicidal tendencies.

      • Well, he seems to have managed to get the US off his ass, maybe for a good long time. That works to both his favor and to ours, though perhaps not to the citizens that will still die in the Syrian Civil War, ongoing.

        A good solution may well be to hire an assassin to take out Assad; tricky, but a better option than engaging in another ten year stupid war.

        I know, I’m an immoral unchristian SOB because I prefer that evil people die by whatever means. But the basic question doth forever remain: Of what use, overall and in both the short and long run, is the human (mostly male) tendency to act like he’s THE pasture bull, in charge of screwing everything that either disagrees . . . or walks around, for that matter??

        Humans have a genetic flaw, and it’s proven to be extremely difficult to get rid of (even though Hitler, Stalin, and Reagan are now all deceased). Solutiion?

        Probably global warming and the eventual consequence of human extinction.

        I know, I’m evil. Ok. So? 😀

        • For me, the jury is still out on Assad. Anyone who is leery of US hegemony has at least some sense. And anyone in the ME who is being attacked by what are most likely Saudi trained fundies has something of a right to fight back.

      • The simple fact is that almost no one believed that Saddam was bluffing about his WMD arsenal before we went to war. It seemed impossibly naive to believe that. But it was true.

        • A very simple fact considering we had helped him target people in their use. Assad has admitted to having chemical weapons and denied their use by his government. This meme of equating Assad with Saddam is political horseshit, Assad has never been our bought and paid for toady.

  8. A perfect illustration of politics can descending into gutter ‘entertainment’ and how arguments can be replaced by pure emotionalism, symbolism and slick non-linear editing. There is also irony in a former half-term governor’s call for “honesty” – when her own record of constant lies, delusions and fantasies is so obviously clear.

    Then there’s the call to violence. The woman who put cross-hairs on Gabby Giffords is still saying things like “It’s time to bomb Obamacare.” (She takes after ‘bomb-bomb-bomb McCain). It’s never time to “bomb” anything outside a declaration of war. To urge such a thing in domestic political disputes is the mark of a crazy person. Like we didn’t know that.

  9. The whacky Texas State Board of Idiots is at it again. Their whole platform is unmitigated crap but anyone who says “there are no transitional fossils” should be shot in the ass, or the lips, with a staple gun. Creationists argue that “we don’t really know anything” but we know lots of things. One thing we know with absolute certainty is that anyone who says “we don’t really know anything” doesn’t really know anything and shouldn’t have anything to do with education.


    • The ironic part is the people who say they really don’t know anything are the ones who think they should be teaching what they don’t know.

    • I’ve asked one simple question thousands of times: can anyone show me ONE SINGLE SHRED OF EVIDENCE, VERIFIABLE, THAT SOME SORT OF GOD TRULY DOES EXIST???

      Nothing yet, but if and when a shred should pop up, I’ll pass it on. But don’t anyone hold your breath in anticipation. Just sayin’ .. . .

      • I am a believer. There is no verifiable evidence. That’s sort of the whole difference between science, which requires verifiable proof, and faith, which does not. I cringe when folk ask “Do you believe in evolution?”. It’s a scientific theory based on verifiable evidence, not a belief system. I don’t want anyone’s beliefs, even mine, in a freaking science textbook. If the creationists want space in science class, teach scientific method and let the believing students make their case in that format.

        • What you said: I have no argument, none.

          WHY can’t it be the norm to discuss, not argue, about such things? What difference does it make in the final equation if one accepts science, or prefers a belief in some other explanatory means?

          What purpose is to be served, a millennium hence, by the imposition upon the masses of something other than reality, of instead a Point of View?

          Why is it that so many of those who choose to believe in an all-powerful and omnipresent God are so willing to disavow the science which defines the consequences of human existence?

          My lifelong attitude remains: believe what you wish, but please . . . allow me that same privilege. And may we each and all feel forever free to toss out ideas, to discuss, etc. And in the process, maybe WE might wind up allowing the eternal REALITY the space it needs to accommodate itself??

          • Indeed! When we puzzle our way to some scientific truth I think the eternal reality is pleased with his clever children.

            • As Emily Dickinson put it,

              The Truth, is Bald, and Cold —
              But that will hold —
              If any are not sure —
              We show them — prayer —
              But we, who know,
              Stop hoping, now —

              and —

              There’s Triumph of the finer Mind
              When Truth – affronted long –
              Advance unmoved – to Her Supreme –
              Her God – Her only Throng –

              Like that.

  10. Yo! Xianista Creationists, explain THIS
    A rare find: Skull of a juvenile ape 6 million years old unearthed.
    How, pray tell can an ancient ape skull be that old, when the earth is only 6,000 years old?

      • Brings up a pair of questions I’ve long asked, Q’s which thus far remain unanswered (with any authority): (1) how might one really tell whether it was God or Satan that set something up, and (2) what the hell difference does it really make if the perpetrator is . . . well, called either god or the debbil?

  11. Republicans Threaten To Push Nation Into Default Unless Obama Agrees To Delay Obamacare For One Year

    Ok, I’ve had it. Go ahead, GOP. Destroy the country. Swat the fly. Kill it.

    And enjoy, thereafter, all your offshored piles of dollars, now worth NOTHING. Well, other than the means of transport to earthly hell. Y’know. Worthlessness.

    Nice word, ‘worthlessness’ — defines the GOP, actually.

    I am SO GLAD that my days here in this mess are numbered! Thank [all gods, time, science, whatever] for old age!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And for bicycles, of course 😯

  12. Jebus Chris Matthews is an idiot. His rants tonight, pre the Prez’s talk, were disgusting, simplistic, and…oh christo you know it already.

  13. Looked up at the TV and it said Anthony Weiner has conceded the mayoral primary.
    Well, I reckon so! He’s only got 5% of the vote!

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