1. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    The Syrian Affair

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Dagolas, Sep 2, 2013.

    I have created this topic to discuss about the whole Syrian affair, which I am sure you are all aware of. For those who happen to not be, basically the General Asshat (or whatever his un-pronouncable name is) used deadly chemicals on innocent civilians, and so the United Nations decided to vote if they should intervene (military-wise) in Syria. Everyone said yes, but China and Russia put their foot down.

    Being two of the strongest countries in the world (in nuclear force and otherwise), Obama couldn't really say "F- you, we're still doing it".

    How do you think this will end? A nuclear third world war, or something else?
     
  2. IronPalm
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    IronPalm Banned

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    Actually, it's not even completely clear whether Assad (very "un-pronouncable", I understand) used the chemical weapons, or the Muslim Brotherhood he was fighting against.

    It makes every little sense for Assad to use chemical weapons; he was winning the civil war, after all. I believe it's very much an open question of who used what. Oh, and those it was allegedly used against were hardly "innocent civilians".

    Who cares about the UN?

    Britain has (wisely) declined to attack Syria. NATO isn't supporting the US, either. What possible reason is there to attack Syria?

    He was doing precisely that, and still might, if Congress approves the strike.

    As a friend of mine joked on Facebook, Obama is well on his way to a second Nobel Peace Prize!

    If GW Bush's attacks on Iraq (done with full Congressional support AND NATO support AND at least a semblance of a reason) made him a cowboy, what does this make Obama? A bloodthirsty madman?
     
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  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not comfortable with any of this. On one hand, there is no actual proof that Assad used chemical weapons, and the attempts by US government to fake it have been ludicrous at best, so it's apparent that they need another war for economic purposes and I am sick of it already. On the other hand, the bloodshed in Syria has been overwhelmingly sad, and different international interest groups are arming different sides. NATO is arming rebel cannibals and fundamentalists, Russia and their cronies are arming ego-tripping psycho who will rather see his country consumed by war then give up power. However, would you give power to cannibal fundamentalists, Al-Kaida style? He is probably seeing himself as safeguarding the country from Egypt scenario.
    If I was Israel, I'd be acutely uncomfortable with my increasingly nutty and violent neighbours, so I understand them too.

    I think NATO meddling into other people's business thousands of miles away, and against UN Security Council, needs to stop. It's a war crime and for a good reason. No nation is more valuable or deserving of survival than anyone else. Everyone has the right to life, and self-determination, and aggressive domination of others is not the answer.

    Also, I think we need to distance ourselves from the Muslim world. What's going on there is so far removed, in so many ways, from the values and freedoms we (Europe, US etc) fought so long to achieve but we can't force anyone to respect it, so we need to protect it. I do empathise with Israel, but I don't think anything is worth another global or heaven's forbid, nuclear war. The only way forward is to keep helping to keep Israel safe, and work on defence and diplomatic solutions, but stop trying to pre-empt stuff (and stop selling weapons!) because blunders committed along the way will only deepen the conflict and up the anty, something we definitely don't need in our lives.
     
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  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    All I can really say about it is this: Thank GOD Parliament decided not to go through with big Dave's insane plan. Especially considering evidence has came to light recently that he sold Syria chemical weapons. It's amazing how hypocritical these people can be.

    I'm sick of seeing British boys die half a world away. Some of them are my friends.
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think this is another case of 'trial by media.' None of us have the facts. We've been lied to before, by our governments, and by the people 'in charge.' Nothing is ever as simple as it's painted for our consumption in the media.

    If Assad actually did this, the question is why? If somebody else did it to implicate Assad, then why? (And who?) Who wants the USA to enter this conflict? Somebody does. And why?

    And of course ...what would be achieved by intervention? Bombing? More random death? Hardly a solution.

    President Obama is making me nervous just now, but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. He has said things to keep the right wing happy, but has decided to 'wait' for a Congressional debate on the matter. A debate that won't even begin until 9 September. Keeping in mind that he could have waded into the conflict without asking for anybody else's approval, I think he's playing for time. I hope the next few days reveals more of the truth of what actually happened, and also gives Congress a bit more time to think about what they're doing.

    Even if they do vote for military action, it's still up to President Obama to initiate it. So let's hope that reason prevails, as it did in the UK.
     
  6. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm definitely no expert and unable to take sides, but this is what I've gathered so far of the situation and how I understand it.

    -one big problem is that if Assad did use sarin, what'd stop him from using it again? Will we risk it? Will Israel risk it?
    -GWB went to Iraq because the US had other interests there than to "protect the free world." It was a strategic move. Why are we going to Syria?
    -Obama's undecidedness is under scrutiny, at least over here, rather than his cowboyishness. People wonder, why doesn't the US do anything, like they did with Iraq? (Because Syria isn't that important). He postpones the decision so that the US Armed Forces have more time to prepare for a possible military intervention. You can't just slingshot the troops at the drop of a hat.
    -even if the US refrains from intervening, which it most likely would if the Congress decides againt it, Israel and Turkey are still there, the former of which has already taken action twice, I think. Turkey is a NATO member, and what was the point of NATO and being the member of NATO again, hm? So if there's enough threat on Turkey... NATO might take action.
    -Now, if the US does get involved, it's likely the UK and France will follow...

    This is a scary situation, and I can't believe we're at it again, just when we've barely gotten over Iraq. It feels like everywhere you look, you have what if's and maybe's, loose ends, uncertainties, and scary scenarios. What is it with these dictators anyway? Can't you people run your effing country peacefully?
     
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  7. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    I don't understand why Russia and China are protecting Syria.
     
  8. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    I think its more of a calculation of their own chances of surviving against chemical warfare and possible nuclear war than protecting anyone, I think they're only trying to protect themselves and trying to stay out of it.
     
  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Financial reasons mostly. I know Russia has an arms contract with Syria worth billions of dollars.

    Quite honestly, the US should avoid getting involved. First, it means fighting another war. Second, it means supporting rebel groups that have ties to terrorist organizations. Third, since Syria has some powerful allies, this whole thing could escalate into something much worse.
     
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  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not going to end well, and it's going to go on for a long time -- this mess has been going on for most of the last century. The biggest reason is to retaliate for the use of chemical weapons, banned in 1925 after WWI. However, I've always been skeptical that immoral dictators hell-bent on war will feel compelled to be bound by any "rules" of war.

    There's a great explanation of the issues here:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/29/9-questions-about-syria-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask/?tid=pm_pop
     
  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    My worst fear is that it does end up becoming much worse. I remember what it was like when I was in first school in the mid 1990s and they showed those child-friendly videos explaining Mutually Assured Destruction. The Cold War had been over for about 4 years at this point, but still, it put the fear in me. One video was about a turtle running from something that made trees look damaged and black, and that video has always in the back of my mind.

    Sounds utterly stupid, I know, but I can't help it. These things have an effect.
     
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  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I hear you. Given all the weapons we have today, a full scale war would be devastating.
     
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  13. smerdyakov
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    smerdyakov Senior Member

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    The civil war in Syria has been going on the past couple of years and over 100,000 people are dead. 2,000,000 people just like you and me have had to flee their country and are living in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

    Some of the rebel groups are a lot worse than Assads forces, ritually decapitating and cannabalising people...it's such a messy conflict. Compared to other Muslim regimes, Assad's is moderate so it's not the same situation as Iraq as people are making out. Putin needs to use it's links with Assad more but i think diplomacy has failed there at this stage...

    The whole Arab spring thing is the cause of this bloodshed...the idea that the West in all its sanctimony can just export democracy to these countries like they export oil is arrogant and ridiculous...these countries are divided up for a reason, because you have different sects who can't co exist peacefully together for the past few thousand years. You can't just lump them all together under the name of democracy. It's a sad and unfortunate reality.
     
  14. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    It's an untenable position for any country to be in. How can we be so cold to the brutal killings of our own species? What, in 2013 we still cling to the belief that what happens in the Middle East 'isn't our problem'? The truth is that we are more connected to the entire world population than we have ever been and we need to start thinking more like a world population. We know that thousands of Syrians are dying in this conflict,innocent women and children who's only crime was being born in a country run by twisted evil men. But no, we can shrug our shoulders and say, 'It's not our problem.'

    I'm not saying I have a solution, but the amount of callousness being shown is remarkable.
     
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  15. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The thing is that countries only get involved because they have something to gain and not because of humanitarian reasons. In this case, I sympathize with the innocent people affected, but the problem is that both the Syrian government and the rebels are less than ideal political leaders. Another thing to keep in mind is that there are innocent people on both sides. If the rebels win, there's always the possibility that they'll go after Assad's supporters and that they'll be even worse than the Assad regime. Anyone getting involved in this conflict is essentially choosing the lesser of two evils.

    Also, based on history, US intervention isn't going to turn out so well. And quite frankly, the US just can't afford to get involved from a financial point of view.
     
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  16. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Right. It is terrible that people are killed. But we can't send in our military (and we don't) every single time it happens. Plus, we can't afford to do it - our military resources are stretched too thin as it is. I always find it interesting, though, that whenever the idea of more money for our infrastructure, our schools, feeding the poor, providing healthcare, etc. comes up, we don't have the money to do it. But whenever the question is whether we can go fight a war, somehow the money issue never comes up.
     
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  17. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Well, the money has already been spent. We don't need money to build missiles or aircraft carriers because they are already there. If we're going to do some half-assed, tomahawk-chucking, warm and fuzzy campaign, then really the costs are minimal.
     
  18. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, to clarify, you're advocating a "half-assed, tomahawk-chucking, warm and fuzzy campaign?"

    I have mixed feelings about such a campaign. But it can too easily evolve into a full military commitment, which is something we really can't afford.
     
  19. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    From what I've heard, Obama has already completely removed the possibilities of boots on the ground so that only leaves things such as air-support, missile strikes and munition aid to the rebels.

    I'm not advocating anything, I'm merely pointing out what has been stated by the government.
     
  20. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    It seems to me Obama wants Syria as his new airbase against Iran on the orders of Israel. It all makes perfect sense. The US is completely paranoid that Iran may build what America already has to balance the playing field - nukes! Take a look at a map of the middle east - see where the US has military bases, are they all there to protect Tel Aviv or are they there to build a whole new American economy? It's not just the oil they want, I think they want to eradicate Islamism and create the NWO (and that's not conspiracy theory stuff). How many huge US corporations are lining up to supply the US military with everything from uniforms to weapons to food for hundreds of thousands of US soldiers preparing for another war? How many US utility companies already have bids in to rebuild these countries? How many more US jobs will these war-torn countries create, if the Romney's don't export the jobs first? How much of Assad's gold do the US want? Ask yourself or even google - what happened Saddam Hussein's gold?

    Assad was beating back the rebels - why would he explode chemicals there? It's not in his interest. The Chinese and Russians are supporting Assad probably because they are selling him weapons and also to piss of America's bully boys. The UK parliament had the sense to tell Cameron to keep dreaming, the French are on an ego trip trying to make up for going missing in WWII and beyond that there is no appetite for invading Syria.

    I've only been in America 10 days and while I am loving this experience and meeting some really cool people I can't believe the level of paranoia that Iran will strike the West Coast almost any minute. I have met 2 families who are already preparing by stocking months worth of dried food, thousands of rounds of ammo, tons of fishing gear, clothes for all occasions and I haven't met one person who thinks Obama is doing good. Two reservists next door are crapping it and they both think the USshould arm both sides od the Syrian conflict in the hope they blow each to pieces. Crazy shit here in America.
     
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  21. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    While none of us have the facts, I would trust people on a writing forum to have enough imagination to go beyond the "Assad did it / Assad didn't do it" black or white picture.

    Syria is a country where:
    - a civil war has been raging for years now and things are in disorder and disarray and
    - chemical weapons are in abundance.

    Both rebel factions and government troops probably have access to chemical weapons, since they both control large sections of the country and presumably both control ammunition dumps that store chemical weapons. I don't believe either side officially wants to use them, but in the chaos that is bound to exist, it is easy for accidents to happen. And this kind of terrible military accident does happen. There were instances of chemical weapons use in WW2 due to accidents, I don't even want to speculate on the order reigning in Syrian ammunition depots or the intellect, dilligence and education of the people serving them. The Syrian government is clearly not yet low on ammunition, but their stocks must have been depleted somewhat. It is fully feasible in my mind that in such a chaotic situation somebody delivered the wrong shells and nobody noticed.

    "Look for 122mm they said. Funny saying that when the depot's almost empty. Hey look, these here rockets are 122mm, just what they asked for. Dunno what's this yellow band for. Hey, they got a skull and crossbones on the case, they must be teh goodz!"

    Now of course I'm not trying to excuse anybody, I'm merely saying what I think is what most likely occurred. Ultimately, the side that fired them is responsible, and if Syrian government troops fired them, then Assad is responsible. But I don't really believe he ordered a strike with a persistent nerve agent on his own capital city, makes little sense, as others have said.
     
  22. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Unlike when Bush and company sought evidence on Iraq's WMDs to justify a war he wanted, Obama had no reason to bomb Syria. We still aren't sure in this country if the rebels in Syria are better than Assad. But there's been political pressure on Obama to do something, especially from the Hawks in this country. While Obama hesitated to move he made that "red line" comment. Now he's stuck.

    But unless John McCain or some secret military industrial complex cabal manufactured the evidence, (which is too far fetched), I don't think there is reason to doubt Assad's military, if not Assad himself, did indeed use Sarin gas on a large neighborhood. The intelligence the US has doesn't have any hallmarks of the rebels using the gas on their own side to get the US to act. I wouldn't put that past the rebels but I think the US was careful enough about where the gas attack was launched from to be convinced the gas came from Assad's military.

    Whether Assad approved it personally or simply doesn't have a tight hand on the reins of his military is somewhat of a moot point. Assad had a chance to say it wasn't authorized and he doesn't approve, but if I recall the official position was more that they would do what was needed to put the rebellion down (or win the civil war if that wording is more apt). The Syrian Ambassador has been claiming the rebels used the gas on themselves in US news interviews in the last couple days but his claims are being challenged when he's been interviewed.

    I don't think it's as clear why gassing hundreds of kids is any worse than bombing hundreds of kids, but I can understand that some people think it is. Nonetheless, on that front I have mixed feelings.

    It's frustrating being in this country to have our President constantly charged with not acting, only to be attacked if he does act. The political climate here really sucks the way this President, just like Clinton, is constantly berated by the Republican Party as a political tactic. It's one thing to not agree with a political position or action, but it's quite another to have a slash and burn policy against the other party, make them look bad at any cost, spew the propaganda at every chance.

    Obama is damned if he acts and damned if he doesn't.
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I suspect the US has satellite imagery of the missiles that carried the gas to the neighborhood. The news the administration has allowed out said all the launch sites were from Assad controlled areas and the targets all rebel controlled areas. Nothing about identifying the cartridges as being Assad's has been cited as the source of the evidence.

    But I am curious if the news in Germany is reporting something else about the evidence that the US claims they have regarding the source of the gas.
     
  24. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Hooray, you made it and you're back online. :D
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I have mixed feelings as well, but not about this action leading to troops being sent in. This country has no appetite for more troops on more ground.

    I'm annoyed at the news media which seems more interested in selling the news commodity than in good reporting. I'm pretty sure we've used cruise missiles and Stealth bombers more than a few times that were not followed by soldiers. Of course, the whole Mideast region is quite volatile right now so I don't know about the region and the long run. I just don't think sending in troops now is very likely no matter how many times some newscaster asks a talking head the question.

    Is this anything whatsoever like Iraq and Afghanistan? Is Obama anything like Bush? Does Obama have Hawks in his administration like Cheney and Rumsfeld, who BTW, are making the talking heads rounds now along with McCain and Bill Kristol telling everyone Obama should go all out and start another war. It's disgusting anyone thinks these supposed experts have opinions that deserve airing in the mainstream news media. But sure enough, if you want to go on the news and make a big scandal of the President screwing up, CNN wants you.

    Obama moves ships to the area, John Kerry speaks: it's a big scandal. The drooling newscasters are devastated no tomahawks are flying, therefore it must be, Obama is weak. There has to be scandal in that half act. The public sucks it up.

    Obama seeks input from Congress, especially after the British Parliament affected that's country's decision. More big scandal, let's interview John McCain over and over saying how weak Obama is. Well yeah, McCain thinks this country's military might is boundless and 5 tours of duty in Afghanistan is just peachy, after all, those soldiers volunteered to serve.

    Sorry, I'm ranting.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013

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