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Monday, June 10, 2013

Casual talk of arming Syrian rebel groups ignores the dark history of mayhem that has followed precisely on that tactic in the past.


JAMES CARROLL
No military intervention in Syria

By James Carroll |  GLOBE COLUMNIST     JUNE 10, 2013

IN A bold bid to force President Obama’s hand on Syria, Senator John McCain made a surprise trip to Syria early this month. He met with rebel leaders, assessed the situation as grim, and returned home with a reinvigorated call for military intervention by the United States — at least to the extent of creating a no-fly zone and safe zones for rebels and refugees. French and British leaders, meanwhile, seemed in sync with McCain, announcing intentions to begin supplying arms to some rebel groups. Calls for US intervention are gaining urgency, precisely because the tyrant Bashar Assad’s prospects have brightened recently.
The Syrian government was bolstered with support from Hezbollah fighters in from Lebanon and from crack units in from Iran. Then came news of significant increases in Russian military aid, especially antiaircraft missiles and warplanes. Secretary of State John Kerry sought to initiate peace talks between rebels and the Syrian government, but those hopes have fizzled. “Bashar Assad now has the upper hand, and it’s tragic,” McCain said, “while we sit by and watch.”
So the discussion winds back to what, actually, Obama can do. “Assad must go,” was his mantra until not so long ago. McCain does not want to let Obama forget that. He wants Obama to make it happen.
The hawkish McCain is taken to be a tough-minded realist. Those who oppose him, and his knee-jerk interventionism, are taken to lack the spine for hard action. But what is tough-minded about the refusal to learn from experience? McCain and others advocate exactly the policies that have led to a series of American catastrophes from Baghdad to Benghazi, without offering any suggestion as to why this intervention would be different. In fact, McCain is not motivated by a positive assessment that any conceivable military action taken by Washington could advance order, much less democracy. On the contrary, he swats aside informed warnings, including from the Pentagon, that US military involvement could make a terrible situation even worse. Horrible as Syria is, the present conflict pales beside the prospect of an entire Middle East inflamed in a Sunni-Shiite war, with even Israel and Palestine reduced to sideshow.

No, interventionist impulses like McCain’s derive not from cogent strategic analysis but from a truly weak-minded failure to grasp that, in the 21st century, barbarities like Assad’s cannot be whisked away by an immaculate American air power — or even, as we learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, by full-bore American invasion and occupation. Arming select rebel groups is lovely in the abstract, but what if the group emerging as the central force in the anti-Assad opposition — Jabhat-al-Nusra — is tied to a sworn American enemy, Al Qaeda in Iraq? Casual talk of arming rebel groups ignores the dark history of mayhem — beginning with Al Qaeda itself — that has followed precisely on that tactic in the past.
McCain’s failure of realism is still more evident in his readiness to ignore what may already have happened on the ground. Syria’s doom as a fragmented former state may already be sealed, as three distinct political entities take shape: Assad’s fellow Alawites, a Shiite sect, in one enclave; a Kurdish domain; and jihadists dominated by forces friendly to Al Qaeda. There is simply no longer any question of restoring the political, economic, or social integrity of what was known as Syria. McCain does not explain how his intervention, whatever its scope, would redraw that geography. All it would do, in fact, is offer Americans some relief from the frustration of “just sitting by and watching.” That relief would be short-lived.
The effects of American power under 21st-century constraints are clearest, ironically, when that power fails. If the United States were to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war, the vast and divergent collection of parties, including US allies, would all be drawn into a swirl around the self-declared indispensable nation. The level of killing would massively escalate. Enemies would find common ground in demonizing Americans. Allies would shirk responsibility, leaving the superpower to take the weight.
But there’s the problem. In today’s thicket of real-world moral breakdown, no power is super. And by presuming to declare itself the solution, Washington puts itself, in that instant, at the heart of the problem.
The United States should continue providing humanitarian relief to Syrian civilians, and should do all it can diplomatically to broker Assad’s exit. But militarily, America must stand aside.
James Carroll writes regularly for the Globe.

47 comments:

  1. Syria President Bashar Assad has issued a strong warning to Israel, threatening a fierce response should Israel strike targets in his country again, Lebanese paper Al Akhbar reported on Monday.

    Assad reportedly said that Israel had made a serious error in judgment in attacking Syrian targets, adding that Israeli attacks will elicit a strategic, rather than local, response.

    The Syrian president told a group of visiting Jordanians that the resistance will not launch primitive rockets aimlessly from time to time, but a well-planned and continuous resistance.

    His mention of randomly fired rockets could be a slap at Hamas, which often relies on this tactic when firing rockets from Gaza. Instead, he compared this resistance to the kind waged by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, according to the report.

    In regard to Russia, Assad explained that they did not try at any point of the conflict to dictate any position on the country.

    Assad told Al-Manar TV at the end of May a similar plan, stating that “there is pressure by the people to open a new front on the Golan.”

    “Even among the Arab world there is a clear readiness to join the fight against Israel,” he added in his interview with the Hezbollah TV station.

    Assad stated that Hezbollah is involved in fighting the Israeli enemy and its agents in Syria and Lebanon. He attributed the failure of the Syrian opposition to its dependence on outside funding and said that it failed to create a real rift in the country.

    Assad also said that he sees the balance of power in Syria shifting to the government’s side. And this despite the fact that the “terrorists” – how Assad refers to the rebels – are smuggling fighters and weapons through all of the borders.

    In relation to Israel, he said, “If we want to respond to Israel, the response must be strategic.”

    Netanyahu: Israel on guard against 'raging' Mideast

    On Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel was dealing with “a new Middle East.”

    “We are seeing a new Middle East that is raging and volatile,” the premier said. “We are seeing this on all of the fronts, particularly in the north with Syria.”

    “We are dealing with these developments with determination,” Netanyahu said of the ongoing situation in Syria. “This requires us to protect the security of our citizens.”

    JPost.com staff contributed to this report.

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  3. Watch the video first before your cut and paste your usual diatribe based on bullshit.

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    2. I did, your video is anti-Semitic

      erases 3000 years of Jewish living in Damascus.

      simply erases them....

      Just what a good nazi supporting syrian people wished for.

      Delete
  4. Great video.

    Erased Jewish settlement of 3000 years.

    Made the Jews a ghost.

    Just your style

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  5. This post is not about Israel. It is about Syria and how it affects the US now. The video deals with the Israeli humiliation of the Arabs in the 1967 Israeli sneak attack on its Arab neighbors and the years of revenge that followed after that. All of this is relevant to the current situation.

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  6. I am not interested in your paranoia. Surely there are other sites that could deal with that.

    ReplyDelete
  7. your video was anti-semetic.

    erased the history of Jews in Syria for 3000 years, 2400 years before the arabs came out of arabia.

    even the so called greek orthodox priest mentions the "peoples" of syria and erases the Jews.

    It is all about the Jews.

    You cant pick 1967 as your start time.


    Too bad the Arab lost a war they started.

    As to call 1967 a "sneak attack"?

    Give it a rest.

    So according to you Nasser's threatening genocide, throwing the UN troops out of the sinai, moving his troops to the border and public arab nations rallying for war, closing the strait of tiran all are reasons for Israel to protect it's self?

    One standard for Israel and the Jews.

    No standards for anyone else.

    Your sense of history lacks.

    You are correct, this site does suck.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Syria was lobbing artillery shells into Israel from the Golan before the '67 War, as well.

    I am out of here today though by necessity not choice.

    bob

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  9. Well, I hope they All get what's coming to them - as long as My kids don't have to pay for it.

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    1. perfectly said by the obama supporter.

      "what in it for me?"

      Delete
    2. No. One, unlike yourself, who has actually been to war for his country,

      and doesn't want his childrens' lives, and treasure wasted on the likes of the trash inhabiting the middleeast, and levant.

      Delete
    3. Your kids are paying for it.

      And will pay for it.

      Propping up Arab tyrants has a price.

      Delete
    4. Who said anything about "propping up" anybody?

      I said, I want NO PART of any of it. Period.

      Delete
    5. Rufus IIMon Jun 10, 12:21:00 PM EDT
      No. One, unlike yourself, who has actually been to war for his country,



      Wearing your service on your sleeve?
      Did you have a choice?

      My family has served, died and paid the price JUST like you claim to have done.

      But wait, you claim I am not a citizen.

      Delete
    6. Yep. When you come upon two or more snakes fighting, the best course of action is to let them fight it out.

      Delete
    7. I was replying to Rufus in that last comment.

      Delete
  10. An excellent video, Deuce. Good find. I learned a little history, today.

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  11. I thought so as well. It puts things in perspective instead of the daily propaganda that comes out from all the usual suspects.

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  12. I think Deuce is gradually losing the argument.

    People are seeing that it is actually Deuce who is the usual suspect putting out daily propaganda.

    Another thing I have noticed is that almost all here are singing at least one common tune: Islam sucks.

    bob

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    1. All one need do, to counter daily propaganda, is, if the propagandist has used a negative, take it out, and assert the opposite, and if the propagandist has not used a negative, put one in, etc.

      Thus no real argumentation is required, the attack has been blocked, the status quo maintained, and one can go back to watching Fox.

      bob

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    2. .

      You offer nothing but praddle.

      Of course, most here think Islam sucks. Its tenets go against much of liberal western thinking with regards social issues that most of us have been raised on and have bought into. So what? Our personal feelings toward Islam have nothing, or at least should have nothing, to do with a logical appraisal and discussion, even argumentation, about the speciifc issues that are raised here.

      I don't disagree with this, however,

      All one need do, to counter daily propaganda, is, if the propagandist has used a negative, take it out, and assert the opposite, and if the propagandist has not used a negative, put one in, etc.

      Thus no real argumentation is required, the attack has been blocked, the status quo maintained, and one can go back to watching Fox.


      It's a common MO for some here.

      .



      Delete
  13. Looks like Snowden, heh,heh, get it, Snowed/in, might get put on ice in Iceland.

    bob

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  14. During the last five years, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about one in 20 million; being struck by lightning, 1 in 5,500,000; drowning in a bathtub, 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire, 1 in 99,000; of dying in a car accident, 1 in 19,000. Hardly justification to engage in war after war in Arabia.

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    1. I am not arguing that, exception perhaps being Iran's nuclear program, which transcends statistics, at least to me. I am arguing Israel isn't the bad guy, they- the Jews there - are trying to defend themselves after being mistreated by practically the entire world.

      I am arguing Islam sucks, not Israel's culture, which seems much much preferable to my Idahoan libertarian country conservative eyes.

      Let the Syrians all kill themselves, we all seem to agree on that.

      I'm more concerned with who receives proper HT's around here than Syria.

      :)

      bob

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    2. Even American Thinker has picked up on my meme -

      June 10, 2013
      Edward Snowden: Hero? Or Traitor?
      Rick Moran

      Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/06/edward_snowden_hero_or_traitor.html#ixzz2Vqb3uoK8


      But no HT for bob.

      bob

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    3. .

      Demanding 'trinkets for the native'?

      How puerile and narcissistic can one guy be?

      You want a H/T on mentioning Snowden? Sure, no problem. Need one on asking a question (I still don't get the point of that one). Here, take two. Need a preemptive one just in case? Take three. That and $7.50 will get you a latte at Starbucks.

      Every time I see someone here 'demanding' a hat tip, I have to laugh.

      But no HT for bob.

      Oooh, poor baby.

      :)

      You are hilarious.

      .

      Delete
    4. hohohohoho

      Finally shamed you out of your pride and silence.

      Sitting there coveting a HT you never earned.

      There's a place for the likes of you -

      >>>>Iceland has never extradited a U.S citizen back to the US. They are basically anti-authoritarian. If Quirk gets there, they will probably take him in and he would rarely have to pay for his own drinks.<<<<

      hahahahahhaha!

      Iceland - Perfect!!

      bob

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  15. Iceland has never extradited a U.S citizen back to the US. They are basically anti-authoritarian. If Snowden gets there, they will probably take him in and he would rarely have to pay for his own drinks.

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    1. You hear that, Quirk?

      bob

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  16. How he gets there is another problem.

    ReplyDelete
  17. His best shot would be to take a Chinese flight to Moscow, a Russian plane or train to St. Petersburg and pick up Icelandic air to Keflavik.

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  18. An ex-CIA employee who leaked details of US top-secret secret phone and internet surveillance has disappeared from his hotel in Hong Kong.

    Edward Snowden, 29, checked out from his hotel on Monday. His whereabouts are unknown, but he is believed to be still in Hong Kong.

    Earlier, he said he had an "obligation to help free people from oppression".

    It emerged last week that US agencies were gathering millions of phone records and monitoring internet data.

    A spokesman for the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the case had been referred to the Department of Justice as a criminal matter.

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  19. No one is committing -

    Hero
    Traitor

    I say Hero..

    bob

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  20. Here is where my adopted niece is working for eight months -

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Planck_Institute_for_Brain_Research

    bob

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    1. .

      Did she use you as subject for her thesis?

      .

      Delete
    2. hardeharhar

      How did I know you were going to say something like that?

      She's ten times the man you are.

      Fuck off.

      Delete
    3. That was perhaps too sharp. After all it was a jab at me, not her.

      She is a wonderful person that has been through a lot.

      bob

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    4. She said the equipment was marvelous, the people very nice.

      She is using brain scans, etc. to track the results of blindness and brain structure.

      bob

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    5. I think we need a thread on Culture, Imperialism, and Women's Rights.

      I have something to say.

      It is because of British Imperialism in India that this woman had any chance at all.

      bob

      Delete
  21. Needed for deterrence?

    >>10 June 2013 - 23H01


    Iran eyes 30 nuclear bombs a year: Israel minister


    Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz is pictured on December 6, 2012. Iran is working round the clock to enlarge its nuclear infrastructure with the eventual aim of developing an industry capable of building up to 30 bombs a year, an Israeli minister charged on Monday.
    Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz is pictured on December 6, 2012. Iran is working round the clock to enlarge its nuclear infrastructure with the eventual aim of developing an industry capable of building up to 30 bombs a year, an Israeli minister charged on Monday.



    AFP - Iran is working round the clock to enlarge its nuclear infrastructure with the eventual aim of developing an industry capable of building up to 30 bombs a year, an Israeli minister charged on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Tehran was "very close" to crossing the red line laid out by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year.

    But he said it was biding its time and building uranium-enrichment facilities before making the final push for weapons-grade material.

    "The Iranians are getting very close now to the red line... They have close to 200 kilos -- 190 kilos (418 pounds) -- of 20 percent enriched uranium," Steinitz said.

    "Once they have 250 kilos, this is enough to make the final rush to 90 percent," the level of enrichment required for a nuclear warhead, he said in a presentation to the Foreign Press Association.

    "It is a matter of weeks or maybe two months to jump from 20 percent to 90 percent with so many centrifuges," he said.

    "What they are doing now -- instead of crossing the red line, they are widening and enlarging their capacity by putting in more centrifuges, faster centrifuges."

    Iran's aim, he charged, was to build a nuclear arsenal, not just a single bomb.

    "Many people are saying it's a question of the Iranian bomb - whether they will have it or not. No. We are speaking about an Iranian arsenal."

    Tehran's big fear was that a Western military strike could wipe out their nuclear facilities "within a few hours," he said.

    "The Iranians feel very vulnerable, especially from American air operations. This is their main concern -- that if the West, if NATO, if America decide to attack them, a few hours of accurate air raids might destroy their nuclear facilities."

    Israel and many Western governments suspect Iran is using its civilian nuclear programme as cover for developing a weapons capability, a charge denied by Tehran.

    But the Jewish state, the Middle East's sole, if undeclared, nuclear power, has refused to rule out a pre-emptive military strike to prevent it.

    Steinitz also ruled out any change in policy that might result from the Iranian presidential elections which are to take place on Friday, saying the result was already known.

    "Nothing is going to change. There will be, unfortunately, no significant changes because of these so-called elections because (supreme leader Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei has already won," he said.

    "He is the leader and he makes the decisions and he already made his decision to spend many billions of dollars on building this nuclear industry with only one aim," he charged.

    "The decision was already made to get nuclear weapons -- you don't spent so much money and you don't suffer $70 billion of losses (due to international sanctions) in one year only to show that you can spin some centrifuges," he concluded.<<<


    bob

    ReplyDelete
  22. Homeland Security gets something right?

    >>>>Early this year, the Holocaust museum and an agent from Homeland Security Investigation tried to locate the missing diary pages. They tracked the diary to Richardson, who was living near Buffalo.<<<<


    Exclusive: U.S. finds long-lost diary of top Nazi leader, Hitler aide

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/09/us-nazi-diary-idUSBRE9580HL20130609?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=992637


    Touches just a little bit on the historical background of the 'Jewish European Invasion and Colonization of Palestine', as some nitwits here have called it.

    bob

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  23. We are all al-Qaeda now -



    >>>The surveillance scandal is a direct result of our national denial about jihad



    This surveillance scandal arises out of our national bipartisan unwillingness to face the reality of Islamic jihad. Because we all agree that Islam is a religion of peace, we can't possibly address where the threat is really coming from, and monitor mosques or subject Muslims with Islamic supremacist ties to greater surveillance. Instead, we have to pretend that anyone and everyone is a potential terrorist, and surveil everyone. Our freedoms and privacy are now at risk because of our refusal to admit the truth about Islam.

    People who leak classified information need to be punished, but Snowden is more of a whistleblower, akin to a Soviet dissident working against an all-encompassing government. It is good that it came out that they're watching our every move, reading all our emails, etc. It needed to come out because it needs to stop if we are going to have any chance of surviving as a free people and not becoming a totalitarian state in which every slave of the authoritarian rulers is under constant surveillance.<<<


    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/06/the-surveillance-scandal-is-a-direct-result-of-our-national-denial-about-jihad.html


    Yup, we are PCing ourselves plumb to death. I've been bitching about this for years. We want to go out and identify the enemy, and watch the enemy, and pre-empt the enemy, and we end up watching every grandmother in America. Plus all the grandkids too.

    Don't we have any adults out there that can run things?

    bob

    ReplyDelete