Isn't the US the world's biggest super power (aside from China)... we pretty much are responsible for what happens in the world

I completely disagree with this kind of sentiment. Just because you are big doesn't give you the right to push and bend other countries to your will. That's what bullies do, because they are big.

I can't help but be on the fence about Syria. On one hand, no other country should be involved in what appeared to be a civil war. That kind of shit needs to be figured out between to the government and the people fighting the government.

On the other hand, using chemical agents to win the war does not make for a "fair" battelfield (if there exists such a notion).

What ever happened to the notion of peacekeeping (like Canada's role in the 90s with Bosnia)? Wouldn't it be better to send in [quote]peace-keepers[/quote] that don't have a side and enforce peace on both sides? Just a thought!

Just because you are big doesn't give you the right to push and bend other countries to your wil

Actually, it does. If it weren't for the USA and its allies the world would be in complete communist control today, or even worse under islomic control. The very worst kinds of governments are those based on some religion -- any religion will do. The USA in the 1700/1800s wasn't exactly kind to everyone, I'm thinking of the Christian witch hunts and destruction of native Americans.

There are three kinds of bullies in the world today. The good bullies are USA and its allies. Then there are the bad bullies, like China and Russia. Then the worst kind of bullies, Iran, Syria, etc which are all religious-based governments. And I won't forget all the African dictators either who also have killed thousands of their own people but we don't hear a lot about them today.

The keyword here is "allies". The US wants to go it alone. None of its allies seem to be interested in a military action in Syria. If the US does take military action then it will be the US that has crossed the red line. They will have invaded a country that has not attacked them. That is a violation of international law just like it was when they invaded Iraq.

Agree -- Obama is treading on very thin ice. If he invades Syria he might be the one who gets outsted. That's why he would need the full support of Congress, and I doubt he will get it. American's are sick of constant wars over the past 10-15 years. We don't need to get involved in another no-win situation.

Personally I'm scared of the consequences, as a Brit living in Cyprus, not 5 miles from the British base where UK, US and French forces are based. Already this week we have had an incursion by Syrian russian made bombers, which were thankfully scared off before they reached our airspace by UK F16's. I think something needs to be done about Assad, he's a tyrant who thinks nothing of killing to increase and hold on to his power, but pre-emptive military action is not the way I would choose. If those two bombers had held thier course, and refused to respond to radio calls, they would have been shot down, as per the UK pilots training and international rules dictate, but then what of the consequences for the local people, about 700,000 folk of all nations live within spitting distance of the airbase. Scary! Yes.

Can you emagine a world without the great pyramids? What a pitty for humanity if those 2,000 year-old objects were destroyed in a war.

won't happen in a war, though they might get damaged.
But the "friendly" muslim brotherhood (aka al qaeda, aka the taliban) were planning to blow them up as signs of heretical religions before their guy morsi was thrown out by the army (once the army remembered its duty is to the constitution, and the guys in power were violating that constitution) similarly to them blowing up those statues in Afghanistan.

Not saying they'd have succeeded, would take a larger amount of high explosives than is likely available in Egypt, but they'd have been able to blast some serious holes in the pyramids.

Arrest Asad and his high command for war crimes, and put them on trial.

what war crimes?
1) there's no evidence chemical weapons were used in combat, let alone by government forces, let alone under orders from the president.
2) there's actually strong indication that the victims are the victims of the rebels (al qaeda that is...)
3) even if the Syrian government were responsible, Syria is no signatory of any treaty barring the use of chemical weapons, therefore can't be held responsible for violating such a treaty.
4) it's an internal affair in an independent nation. Why are we so upset about this when there's a rumour that someone used weapons against civilians that quickly killed a few hundred but when there was a massacre in Rwanda where millions were slaughtered with machettes and other crude weapons the world stood idly by and let it happen.

Already this week we have had an incursion by Syrian russian made bombers, which were thankfully scared off before they reached our airspace by UK F16's.

that's interesting, the UK has no F-16s :)

that's interesting, the UK has no F-16s :)

And how do you know that?

1) there's no evidence chemical weapons were used in combat, let alone by government forces, let alone under orders from the president.
2) there's actually strong indication that the victims are the victims of the rebels (al qaeda that is...)

I should have made it clear initially that my statement was under the assumption of "if we get definitive evidence that Assad did it". As I stated in later post:

"As far I know, there hasn't been any proof at all. The media doesn't really seem to care either way. From what I have gathered, it seems the only definitive fact is that a lot of people died suddenly. Cause unknown. The rest is speculation."

3) even if the Syrian government were responsible, Syria is no signatory of any treaty barring the use of chemical weapons, therefore can't be held responsible for violating such a treaty.

Yes they are. They signed the Geneva Protocol on December 17th, 1968, prohibiting the use of "Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare".

4) it's an internal affair in an independent nation. Why are we so upset about this when there's a rumour that someone used weapons against civilians that quickly killed a few hundred but when there was a massacre in Rwanda where millions were slaughtered with machettes and other crude weapons the world stood idly by and let it happen.

Technically, violating an international law is an affair of international law, ergo, my initial proposal to just arrest the guy (assuming sufficient evidence is put forth). But beyond that, I don't think it is the US's business, and reality is, as you said, that there are atrocities happening everywhere, and we can't police it all. And in any case, you don't solve a country's problems by bombing them. That said, if there is a way for the powerful countries involved to either apply international law or resolve the matter diplomatically (as the Russians and Syrians are currently proposing), then these avenues should definitely be explored.

But the "friendly" muslim brotherhood (aka al qaeda, aka the taliban)

Just a little tip for the future jwenting. If you want to sound like a serious and informed person, you should refrain from conflating the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, and the Taliban. These organisations certainly have common ideologies and overlapping members, but they are hardly different names for the same group (which is what "aka" means). Here is a very interesting read that can give you a brief history of Islamism. In short, the Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest organization (nearly a century old), and in many ways, are the guardians and promoters of the infamous "Islamist Ideology" (or what I often call the "Islamic Utopia" ideology) (i.e., if all muslims observe strict and classical Islamic laws and practices, then all will be perfect). The Muslim Brotherhood has mostly stayed a non-radical political and ideological force that draws a significant support / following in all Muslim communities / countries, especially among the pious, conservative and/or nationalist people. This also means that virtually all other organizations of islamist inclination are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood; at least, by sharing the same ideology; often drawing members from the MB; and even, being a branch of the MB (under its leadership). Al Qaeda shares the same ideology as the MB. And Bin Laden, as many of the subsequent al Qaeda members, was initially schooled in the traditions of the MB and its promotion of the Islamist ideology, and then radicalized his actions to become al Qaeda. But there are no strong ties between the MB and al Qaeda leadership. As an analogy, think of the Oklahoma City bombers and the Republican party, the ideology (extreme conservatism) is shared between them, and most OK bombers were certainly republicans to begin with and later radicalized to the point of carrying out a terrorist attack, but nobody would conflate the two groups to be the same. As for the Talibans, it is true that many of the mujahideens (of which Bin Laden was a prominent figure) ended up making up a good deal of the Talibans, but many of them also split into a new organization called "al Qaeda" which moved to the Sudan to try and have a more international reach in their holy war. Again, the Taliban and al Qaeda have historical and ideological ties, but there is little evidence of a leadership tie or even strong cooperation because the two organizations have very different objectives (Taliban wants to control Afghanistan, and al Qaeda wants to cripple the Western world and establish an "Islamic utopia" / "final caliphate") and they operate very differently (Talibans are regional warlords, and al Qaeda is an international network of terrorists).

When you conflate those three organizations as being one and the same, you come off as buying into the nonesense spewed by those idiotic pundits on TV that can't their ass from their elbow. That doesn't play in your favor, just saying...

And for the record, I profoundly despise each of these organizations, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, which, even though they are less radical in general, they are the most dangerous.

commented: How do you write so much!! +0

The President just made a TV speech in which he said he is not going to take any military action at this time. Russia is apparently willing to do some negotiating with Syria.

I assume AQ is in Syria to get a hold of some of those chemical weapons in the ensuing chaos. Look at all the good stuff they fetched in Libya and used in Mali to the surprise of the French military.

So yes, eliminating the chemical weapons should be our main goal!

As stated by representative Alan Grayson,

Well, The Daily Caller reported in great detail that the report that the administration relied upon, in which the administration said that the Assad government must have been involved in this attack and ordered this attack because afterward one of the Assad generals commented on it, well, according to The Daily Caller, the comment was "We didn’t do this," or words to that effect. And the administration has—if that’s the case, if that was the comment, the administration has completely mischaracterized it.

And, in fact, as far as I can tell, not a single member of Congress has actually seen the underlying document. What’s been provided to us so far is a four-page unclassified document and, if we bother to go down to the bowels of the congressional facility here, a 12-page classified document. But that classified document cites 300 underlying intelligence reports, none of which have been released to any member of Congress, despite the fact that we all have classified clearance. And I indicated that if there is some possibility that the administration is misleading the public regarding any of those 300 documents, then that has to be dispelled. We can’t go to war by mistake again.

It seems to me that if Obama is keeping documents from members of the government who are

  1. fully entitled to have them
  2. being asked to authorize military action

then he has something to hide. The only reason action is not being taken at this time is that Kerry painted the administration into a corner (admittedly, it's easy to be a pundit after the fact). Notice how the Fox News pundits are claiming that "Obama just led us into a humilating defeat".

Notice how the Fox News pundits are claiming that "Obama just led us into a humilating defeat".

Huh? defeat from what war? I didn't know any was at war yet or that anyone won that war. In his speech last night Obama indicated Russia is going take some sort of diplomatic steps to alleviate the tension.

It was a win as far as I am concerned but Fox News has to make everything that Obama does look like a failure. Obama was posturing for war and the move by Syria/Russia pulled the rug out from under him so naturally Fox News has to spin that as a humiliating defeat. Remember, these are the same people who criticized Obama for wanting BP to pay for the damages caused in the Gulf because of the the oil rig spill.

@Jim, Fox News is just full of racist republicans, so of course they bash down on him.

commented: Well, duh! +0

The USA is hardly a bastion of freedom and secularism. FOX 'News' is constantly promoting laws based on biblical values. Only 40% would vote for an otherwise most qualified Presidential candidate if they were an atheist. And 1% of the population is in prision - the highest of any country in the world (including China, Syria, and Iran).

PS How many of these 'rutheless dictators' were been proped up by the USA a couple decades ago?

Well, the US supported Batista, Hussein, The Shah of Iran, Marcos, Bin Laden, the Contras to name just a few.

Syria has a great need for humanitarian help - US and it's Allies can assist there, (and is) in Jordan.

The civil war in Syria will have to be sorted out by the Syrians (plus any other fighters from Islamic countries that will participate). It will be a huge war, because the Rebels underestimated the strength of Assad's regime, after he started getting help from both Iran, and from Hezbollah, too. Not to mention the assistance from Russia.

Some have mentioned that we owe it to Syria to help the Rebels. No, we don't. A good portion of the rebel militias fighting in Syria, have ties to Al Qaeda. Indeed, some are from the same groups that killed our Ambassador in Libya.

Neither Assad, nor the Rebels, have EVER been friends to the US. Indeed, the Rebels "Free" alliance had a burning Washington Congressional Building photoshopped pic, proudly displayed in the background on their web site.
Assad, of course, has attacked our ally Israel, numerous times over the years. You don't have to be political savant to figure out that we're not anybody's buddy in Syria.

Frankly, if chemical weapons are the problem (and they appear to be), removing them from Assad's AND from the Rebels control, sounds like a great idea - even if it takes a lot more time and effort.

Obama's proposal to fire missiles and such, shows he had bad advice from his cabinet, and advisers. You can't do something like that (especially after you SAY you're going to do it, ahead of time), and still be effective, without killing dozens of civilians. Assad will make sure of that, and be sure to show the world how the US killed all these innocents. (Whether they were or not, they will be "innocents" by the time the TV camera crews arrive).

It would be great to have an ally in Syria, (because it diminishes the effectiveness of Iran helping Hezbollah, etc.), but it's not even an option at this time.

commented: Agreed! +0

that's interesting, the UK has no F-16s :)

ok, so I made a typo, UK Typhoons, Turkish F-16's

Syria was a French colony for 20 years and the occupation was brutal. Strange that these are the only folks who want to join us in bombing the place.

Syria was a French colony for 20 years and the occupation was brutal. Strange that these are the only folks who want to join us in bombing the place.

Lets not be surprised.... they WERE a french colony so of course the french want to join us.

I'd like to see the radio stations in the US, especially in Washington, play this song 24x7

Reverend: You would start a revolt with that song -- it's Country song and a lot of people hate country. I could only listen to the first 10 seconds.

Bobby Darin? Country? Mr. Splish Splash? I hardly think so. And if you only listened to the first few seconds you should still have heard

Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you've never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don't want a war

That does seem to echo the wishes of most Americans.

Obviously the wishes of most Americans don't mean squat. Besides, the way most Americans were duped into going into Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction or Aiding Osama, a lot of them seem to believe everything they see on CNN,MSNBC, and other leading media/news outlets give them.

Sorry but I'm in a cynical mood right now and American politics are nothing but

Look at my right hand whilst my left hand does dirty deeds

Argh!

You mean Weapons of Mass Disinformation.

LoL RJ, a spelling error on my part!

actually, WMDs and components were found in Iraq but nowhere near the quantities or battle readiness levels previously suspected.
Classic intelligence failure, nothing nefarious about it.

As to Syria, guess where Saddam shipped a lot of his stuff when things started heating up in 2002?

And there's no indication who used that Sarin there, only that it was used. With a strong suspicion that it was in fact the AQ linked "rebels" that are the culprit.

Classic intelligence failure, nothing nefarious about it.

Classic intelligence failure that started a full blown war. Inexcusable.

As to Syria, guess where Saddam shipped a lot of his stuff when things started heating up in 2002?

Are you just saying that because that's what you think?

Also, why would the rebels used chemicals on the people they've been trying to protect? I don't believe it was to make the Syrian gov't look bad because they've been doing a good job of that on their own.

Classic intelligence failure

I guess that's a mild way to put it. Even if you presume there was no nefarious aspect to it, it is still grossly incompetent. Intelligence has two aspects: the information gathered and the level of confidence about it. Getting the information wrong is not a failure by itself, but if you estimate that you have a high level of confidence about that information, and the information turns out to be wrong, then you are grossly incompetent, and this is a monumental failure. The fact that the "intelligence" about WMDs in Irak was presented as being of high enough confidence to warrant a preemptive war points to either a monumentally incompetent staff throughout the intelligence-gathering agencies, or a nefarious few individuals who misrepresented the facts to promote their agenda. With all the evidence, I have trouble dismissing the latter hypothesis.

As to Syria, guess where Saddam shipped a lot of his stuff when things started heating up in 2002?

I highly doubt that. First, most evidence points to Saddam not really having any significant amount of WMDs since the end of the first Gulf war. Second, if you think that Syria and Irak are two countries that were likely to cooperate with each other around 2002, then you are grossly misinformed about the politics of the middle-east.

Stuugie:

Also, why would the rebels used chemicals on the people they've been trying to protect? I don't believe it was to make the Syrian gov't look bad because they've been doing a good job of that on their own.

because they knew it would trigger a reaction from America and the UN. whether or not they are trying to protect the people, the very first thing they are trying is to win the war. and, let's face it: they weren't winning.

at this point, we can ask: why would Assad use such weapons?
To win a war he was already winning? To make the UN and Americans interfere against him, possibly changing the odds? Everybody in the world knew that if chemical weapons were used, America would be the first to react military, and they had already publicly said they would target Assad's troops as 'the enemy'. So, the rebels did what they had to do to gain the sympathy and the support of the west. how is that expression about making an omelet and breaking eggs? might be a bit tasteless in this conversation, but that might very well explain the what, who and how.