Syria Attack

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Syria Attack

Postby KeithE » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:44 pm

At first glance this appears to be proportional and wise. And I hope that not hitting the runways at the Tomahawked air base was deliberate so that humanitarian aid can be flown in. That would show class on the part of Trump and the US.

I note that it was apparently unilateral (w/o consultation with other countries) and w/o Congressional authorization. And I hope and pray, reprisals do not start snowballing. This is complicated. My gut says Assad may have started WWIII.
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Re: Syria Attack

Postby Haruo » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:51 pm

I sincerely hope not.

I'm hearing the runways were spared because they're so easy to repair.
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Re: Syria Attack

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:44 am

My concern and prayer in and for this is that there will not be too many unintended consequences. It seems our Mideast policy, regardless of who is in the WH, always seems caught up in unintended consequences.
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Re: Syria Attack

Postby Sandy » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:28 am

This kind of attack is more for the benefit of our collective conscience as a nation, and for those who have the decision-making authority, including the President. Perhaps there's a little bit of political pressure there, too. Does it leave an impression, send a message, or make a difference to Assad? Probably not.

I wouldn't dismiss the political motivation. With Republicans on congressional intelligence committees openly discussing how bad things are looking for the buffoon administration in the investigation into Russian hacking, a nice, nighttime tomahawk attack, with missile trails heading into the sky over the eastern Mediterranean does have a distracting effect. I remember when the Republicans howled and hollered about Clinton doing exactly the same thing to targets in Afghanistan during the Lewinski investigation, even labelling them "Monica Missiles." And it's just a bit inconsistent to weep over the dead children and suffering Syrians in the videos but be doing everything in your power to prevent them from seeking safety and refuge in your own country.

President Obama was perhaps the first President in US history to exhibit any kind of understanding or grasp of the fact that US involvement in the Middle East always produces unintended, unanticipated consequences that don't turn out as intended. And even he didn't always act as if he completely understood. Bush's own advisors, and the senior officials from his Dad's administration warned him about going into Iraq, essentially without justification on a false pretext, and taking out Saddam Hussein. The direct, end result of the creation of that vacuum of power was the rise of ISIS. The complications in Syria are magnified by the long term presence and interference of Russia. Taking out Assad would create a whole host of unpredictable consequences, and it would confirm the impression that the US is an aggressor bent on regime change to control the world. That isn't who we are, or at least, not who we say we are. And it's pretty frightening that while this is happening, we are stuck with a completely incompetent, inept, stupid, and insane President with an advisory staff of nuts, kooks and crooks.
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Re: Syria Attack

Postby KeithE » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:03 pm

Sandy wrote:
President Obama was perhaps the first President in US history to exhibit any kind of understanding or grasp of the fact that US involvement in the Middle East always produces unintended, unanticipated consequences that don't turn out as intended. And even he didn't always act as if he completely understood.


I do not believe Obama fully comprehended the consequences of his bombing's collateral damage. Or if he did, he certainly worked to minimize the public’s knowledge of these damages to innocent people. Less US troops lost for sure, but read America dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016. What a bloody end to Obama's reign.

President Obama did reduce the number of US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, but he dramatically expanded the air wars and the use of special operations forces around the globe. In 2016, US special operators could be found in 70% of the world’s nations, 138 countries – a staggering jump of 130% since the days of the Bush administration.


Looking back at President Obama’s legacy, the Council on Foreign Relation’s Micah Zenko added up the defense department’s data on airstrikes and made a startling revelation: in 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs. This means that every day last year, the US military blasted combatants or civilians overseas with 72 bombs; that’s three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.


While most of these air attacks were in Syria and Iraq, US bombs also rained down on people in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. That’s seven majority-Muslim countries
.

To say Obama had some great understanding over other presidents about Middle East military actions is simply wrong. We are or were involved in 7 wars the area, under his tenure. To say Obama was weak-kneed and never attacked Syria is pure poppycock. He did not explicitly respond to the red line drawn-that is true, but he took many anti-Assad military actions before and after that ill-advised “red line” stance. We just do not hear about it in the mainstream media. Again try Democracy Now or Real News Network.

President Obama has claimed that his overseas military adventures are legal under the 2001 and 2003 authorizations for the use of military force passed by Congress to go after al-Qaida. But today’s wars have little or nothing to do with those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.


Pushed to release information about civilian deaths in drone strikes, in July 2016 the US government made the absurd claim it had killed, at most, 116 civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya between 2009 and 2015. Journalists and human rights advocates said the numbers were ridiculously low and unverifiable, given that no names, dates, locations or others details were released. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has tracked drone strikes for years, said the true figure was six times higher.


Given that drones account for only a small portion of the munitions dropped in the past eight years, the numbers of civilians killed by Obama’s bombs could be in the thousands. But we can’t know for sure as the administration, and the mainstream media, has been virtually silent about the civilian toll of the administration’s failed interventions.


Now under Trump, the media has not been silent but it has been quiet about the reported but unconfirmed 300 killed in March in Mosul. Assad cited this as justifications for continued attacks on the Syrian rebels.

------------------------
If you want some sane thoughts about the wisdom of Middle East military action, I suggest you read US Military Should Get Out of the Middle East by Jeffrey Sachs.

It’s time to end US military engagements in the Middle East. Drones, special operations, CIA arms supplies, military advisers, aerial bombings — the whole nine yards. Over and done with. That might seem impossible in the face of ISIS, terrorism, Iranian ballistic missiles, and other US security interests, but a military withdrawal from the Middle East is by far the safest path for the United States and the region. That approach has instructive historical precedents.

America has been no different from other imperial powers in finding itself ensnared repeatedly in costly, bloody, and eventually futile overseas wars. From the Roman empire till today, the issue is not whether an imperial army can defeat a local one. It usually can, just as the United States did quickly in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The issue is whether it gains anything by doing so. Following such a “victory,” the imperial power faces unending heavy costs in terms of policing, political instability, guerilla war, and terrorist blowback.


Countering atrocities such as the chemical attack is understandable, but the end game will be very difficult. I like the five tweets Trump gave about staying out of Syria during his campaign. I take him at his (on this one) that the babies killed by the Assad’s chemical attack changed his mind and "crossed many lines" for him. But a side reason for his decision is probably more deflections from his Russian collusion issue (especially since this is an anti-Russian action as well as anti-Assad).

If we really care for the people of Syria, we should help remove those who desire removal to our country or help others countries (Jordan, Europe) who are providing for refugees in their country. The truth of motivations come apparent by the action(s) taken. We will see.
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Re: Syria Attack

Postby Sandy » Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:25 am

KeithE wrote:Countering atrocities such as the chemical attack is understandable, but the end game will be very difficult. I like the five tweets Trump gave about staying out of Syria. I take him at his (on this one) that the babies killed by the Assad’s chemical attack "crossed many lines" for him. But a side reason for his decision is probably more deflections from his Russian collision issue especially this is an anti-Russian action as well as anti-Assad).

If we really care for the people of Syria, we should help remove those who desire removal to our country or help others (Jordan, Europe) who are providing for refugees in their country..


History repeats itself. Syria and Iraq, among other countries in the region, were the creation of British line-drawing when they acquired control of the middle east following WW1. It was done to their advantage, for their economic, political and military benefit. They ignored US pressure at the time to give people "Self determination." There was some brief hope, after WW2, that the US, who succeeded the British as the primary political influence in the Middle East, but that image no longer exists.

In the long run, looking back, every attempt by a Western Democracy to affect 'regime change" and bring "democracy" to the region has failed, because the boundary lines still reflect western interests, and not self-determination of the population of the region. Continued interference, getting more deeply involved than we already are, without that being the primary aim, will have the same results. It would be delicate, since the Russians asserted their presence in the region in Syria, to go in and change the current Syrian regime. Bush went in to Iraq, took out Saddam, installed a "democratically elected" government that was immediately seen as a US puppet, and can't leave the "green zone" in the capital city for its own safety. The result is a political and security vacuum in most of the rest of the country which allowed ISIS to come in, and hold territory from which to operate. The Syrian revolution let them conquer more land the other way. We could go in and take out Assad, and ISIS militarily, but any government that we had anything to do with would be trapped inside a US-secured quarter of Damascus, and another insurgency would rise up and keep the rest of the country in conflict.

We need to get out.

There were plenty of pictures of Syrian children being carried dead and mutilated out of the ruins of their homes, one particularly distressing photo of a three year old boy who drowned with his mother and brother trying to escape, the child in Aleppo with blood running down his face, sitting in the ambulance, long before the pictures of this most recent gassing took place. Trump held a hard, unsympathetic, unmoveable line, criticized Clinton for proposing to bring 65,000 Syrian refugees to the US, while the Europeans and Jordanians are taking hundreds of thousands. To coin a term used by countries taking Jewish refugees during WW2, "the lifeboat is full." Relieving the pressure on Jordan alone would do far more than this mosquito bite of an attack on an air base.
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Re: Syria Attack

Postby Jim » Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:41 am

Notwithstanding the humanitarian aspect, the bombing of Syria was a mistake, an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation, an act of war. It is not to be compared to U.S. bombing of ISIS forces in Syria, since ISIS is virtually recognized as a state, though not officially, and does represent a well-declared threat by al Baghdadi to the Great Satan. The correct comparison is the unprovoked attack by the U.S. on Libya in 2011, a flagrant violation of both the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Act. Congress was never consulted as required by the Constitution and there was no emergency. The most immediate result of the Syria-bombing is a renewed effort currently by Syria/Russia to bomb even more innocent Syrians in their habitats, if any. Trump has insisted that the U.S. is not the world-policeman and should stay out of civil wars anywhere. He actually replaced Assad/Putin as the determiner of which Syrians should live or die, since no missile or bomb is guaranteed not to hit civilians. In fact, civilian deaths are a given when these long-range weapons are used. The lowest estimate of civilian deaths in Libya is 30,000, blood on U.S. hands for no reason at all. Russia is guaranteeing no regime-change in Syria and Trump would be a fool to dispute that. Obama (red-line foolishness) handed the Syrian matter over to Putin on the simple and quite unbelievable promise that Assad would surrender his WMD, as Qaddafi actually did, making George Bush the new caretaker of them after he saw what happened in Iraq. Beginning WWIII is too horrible to consider but the atmosphere is loaded with tension among nations equipped to wipe out millions in a day.
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Re: Syria Attack

Postby KeithE » Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:48 am

Sandy wrote:
KeithE wrote:Countering atrocities such as the chemical attack is understandable, but the end game will be very difficult. I like the five tweets Trump gave about staying out of Syria. I take him at his (on this one) that the babies killed by the Assad’s chemical attack "crossed many lines" for him. But a side reason for his decision is probably more deflections from his Russian collision issue especially this is an anti-Russian action as well as anti-Assad).

If we really care for the people of Syria, we should help remove those who desire removal to our country or help others (Jordan, Europe) who are providing for refugees in their country..


History repeats itself. Syria and Iraq, among other countries in the region, were the creation of British line-drawing when they acquired control of the middle east following WW1. It was done to their advantage, for their economic, political and military benefit. They ignored US pressure at the time to give people "Self determination." There was some brief hope, after WW2, that the US, who succeeded the British as the primary political influence in the Middle East, but that image no longer exists.

In the long run, looking back, every attempt by a Western Democracy to affect 'regime change" and bring "democracy" to the region has failed, because the boundary lines still reflect western interests, and not self-determination of the population of the region. Continued interference, getting more deeply involved than we already are, without that being the primary aim, will have the same results. It would be delicate, since the Russians asserted their presence in the region in Syria, to go in and change the current Syrian regime. Bush went in to Iraq, took out Saddam, installed a "democratically elected" government that was immediately seen as a US puppet, and can't leave the "green zone" in the capital city for its own safety. The result is a political and security vacuum in most of the rest of the country which allowed ISIS to come in, and hold territory from which to operate. The Syrian revolution let them conquer more land the other way. We could go in and take out Assad, and ISIS militarily, but any government that we had anything to do with would be trapped inside a US-secured quarter of Damascus, and another insurgency would rise up and keep the rest of the country in conflict.

We need to get out.

There were plenty of pictures of Syrian children being carried dead and mutilated out of the ruins of their homes, one particularly distressing photo of a three year old boy who drowned with his mother and brother trying to escape, the child in Aleppo with blood running down his face, sitting in the ambulance, long before the pictures of this most recent gassing took place. Trump held a hard, unsympathetic, unmoveable line, criticized Clinton for proposing to bring 65,000 Syrian refugees to the US, while the Europeans and Jordanians are taking hundreds of thousands. To coin a term used by countries taking Jewish refugees during WW2, "the lifeboat is full." Relieving the pressure on Jordan alone would do far more than this mosquito bite of an attack on an air base.


Good historical discussion, Sandy.

I’d say getting out militarily is the best course for now. But ignoring the carnage is not right either, imo. Helping through the UN to bring relief to the area and assisting refugees should be our new foci. Relief alone could bring a soothing atmosphere to the whole war-torn region. If that does not work, accept refugees and/or help those countries that will.
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Re: Syria Attack

Postby KeithE » Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:50 am

Jim wrote:Notwithstanding the humanitarian aspect, the bombing of Syria was a mistake, an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation, an act of war. It is not to be compared to U.S. bombing of ISIS forces in Syria, since ISIS is virtually recognized as a state, though not officially, and does represent a well-declared threat by al Baghdadi to the Great Satan. The correct comparison is the unprovoked attack by the U.S. on Libya in 2011, a flagrant violation of both the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Act. Congress was never consulted as required by the Constitution and there was no emergency. The most immediate result of the Syria-bombing is a renewed effort currently by Syria/Russia to bomb even more innocent Syrians in their habitats, if any. Trump has insisted that the U.S. is not the world-policeman and should stay out of civil wars anywhere. He actually replaced Assad/Putin as the determiner of which Syrians should live or die, since no missile or bomb is guaranteed not to hit civilians. In fact, civilian deaths are a given when these long-range weapons are used. The lowest estimate of civilian deaths in Libya is 30,000, blood on U.S. hands for no reason at all. Russia is guaranteeing no regime-change in Syria and Trump would be a fool to dispute that. Obama (red-line foolishness) handed the Syrian matter over to Putin on the simple and quite unbelievable promise that Assad would surrender his WMD, as Qaddafi actually did, making George Bush the new caretaker of them after he saw what happened in Iraq. Beginning WWIII is too horrible to consider but the atmosphere is loaded with tension among nations equipped to wipe out millions in a day.


Largely agree with you Jim.
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Re: Syria Attack

Postby Sandy » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:36 pm

It doesn't seem that the attack did much, other than blow some holes in the desert, and spend $25 million in tax dollars. This was an intentional diversion of news coverage. Trump has taken a hard, inhumane, and completely uninformed, line against any kind of intervention in Syria, including inventing straw man arguments during the campaign. How does one video change his entire position and policy? There are hundreds of others, worse than this one, that didn't move him. If he really was interested, and moved, then why not appropriate some relief for those already pushed out, and open the door to those who have already been vetted, and waiting, to get into the US?
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Re: Syria Attack

Postby Sandy » Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:56 pm

https://www.theatlantic.com/internation ... en/385410/

A little history. A lot would be different if the King-Crane commission had worked, instead of Britain and France getting control for the sake of their declining empires.
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Re: Syria Attack

Postby KeithE » Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:02 pm

Sandy wrote:It doesn't seem that the attack did much, other than blow some holes in the desert, and spend $25 million in tax dollars. This was an intentional diversion of news coverage. Trump has taken a hard, inhumane, and completely uninformed, line against any kind of intervention in Syria, including inventing straw man arguments during the campaign. How does one video change his entire position and policy? There are hundreds of others, worse than this one, that didn't move him. If he really was interested, and moved, then why not appropriate some relief for those already pushed out, and open the door to those who have already been vetted, and waiting, to get into the US?

Correcto-mentry, Sandy!

That base is back in business and in fact has been used to conduct further Syrian or Russian air strikes to same city that received the chemical weapon attack last Tuesday. Read Site of chemical attack hit again.

There seems to some doubt now that that Tuesday strike was a chemical strike or a convention strike that hit chemical stockpiles exposing some sarin gas. Read Gabbarb: “Yes, I’m skeptical".

Both Syrian and Russian forces have denied responsibility, with Russian forces claiming a conventional airstrike hit a cache of chemical weapons owned by rebels in Syria. International experts have dismissed this as an "infantile argument."


Meanwhile Trump is reacting to criticism from the alt-right who strongly want American-First (or American-Only) policies by claiming his counterattack was critical to US safety (non-sense on its face). Read Some of Trump’s biggest supporters are furious about his strikes in Syria (heard Trump response on TV but cannot yet find the quote defending against this alt-right criticism).

I think Sandy is right about this base strike was primarily another deflection activity.
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