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Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" #393637 04/25/13 01:06 PM
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JBenedict Offline OP
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The New York Times reports (as do other sources) that the U.S. government now believes (though not with absolute certainty) that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in the current conflict, at least in isolated instances. This was stated by the White House in identical letters to Sen. John McCain and Sen. Carl Levin, which can be read here.

This approaches President Obama's previous "red line" warning as described by the Washington Post
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President Obama said Monday that any attempt by Syria to move or use its chemical weapons would change his administration’s “calculus” in the region, evoking the possibility of more direct U.S. intervention in the conflict.
The NY Times notes that today the White House has "said it needed conclusive proof before President Obama would take action."

Lord have mercy!

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: JBenedict] #393638 04/25/13 03:11 PM
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If Sarin has been used, it constitutes a crime against humanity. A taboo has been broken, and cannot be allowed to go unpunished. Here, the U.S. must lead the international community, and demand that Syria surrender its entire stockpile of chemical weapons. If it refuses to do so, that stockpile and the means to deliver it should be destroyed.

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: JBenedict] #393639 04/25/13 03:52 PM
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jjp Offline
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Brilliant plan, what could possibly go wrong?

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: jjp] #393640 04/25/13 04:05 PM
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byzanTN Offline
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Brilliant plan, what could possibly go wrong?


I think I have heard this one before - too many times.

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: JBenedict] #393642 04/25/13 06:41 PM
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The Red Line should have been the kidnapping of the Orthodox Bishops.

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: StuartK] #393643 04/25/13 07:57 PM
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IAlmisry Offline
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Originally Posted by StuartK
If Sarin has been used, it constitutes a crime against humanity. A taboo has been broken, and cannot be allowed to go unpunished. Here, the U.S. must lead the international community, and demand that Syria surrender its entire stockpile of chemical weapons. If it refuses to do so, that stockpile and the means to deliver it should be destroyed.

And when Asad says "come and get it"?

As said above, what could possibly go wrong?

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: IAlmisry] #393644 04/25/13 08:25 PM
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Fr. Deacon Lance Offline
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Originally Posted by IAlmisry
Originally Posted by StuartK
If Sarin has been used, it constitutes a crime against humanity. A taboo has been broken, and cannot be allowed to go unpunished. Here, the U.S. must lead the international community, and demand that Syria surrender its entire stockpile of chemical weapons. If it refuses to do so, that stockpile and the means to deliver it should be destroyed.

And when Asad says "come and get it"?

As said above, what could possibly go wrong?


Much more will go wrong for Asad than for us. If he used Sarin he will probably end up at the end of a noose like Saddam.


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: Fr. Deacon Lance] #393645 04/25/13 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
Originally Posted by IAlmisry
Originally Posted by StuartK
If Sarin has been used, it constitutes a crime against humanity. A taboo has been broken, and cannot be allowed to go unpunished. Here, the U.S. must lead the international community, and demand that Syria surrender its entire stockpile of chemical weapons. If it refuses to do so, that stockpile and the means to deliver it should be destroyed.

And when Asad says "come and get it"?

As said above, what could possibly go wrong?


Much more will go wrong for Asad than for us. If he used Sarin he will probably end up at the end of a noose like Saddam.

He is already at the end of a noose, as his own people, i.e. the Alawites (not the Syrians). He already knows he has nothing to loose, nor do they. The Christians have lots to loose-and are already loosing it.

Whoever doesn't think Asad doesn't know these facts already is deluding himself.

If you thought Afghanistan was a problem, wait until the rebel republic of Syria.

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: JBenedict] #393655 04/26/13 03:21 PM
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Dictators usually do things when they think they can get away with them. Using chemical weapons, especially a nerve agent like Sarin, violates the laws of war and international treaties; it is an abomination, a taboo. Those who use them are outside the pale--the United States and all civilized nations have said so. But if, when confronted with clear evidence that Assad has broken the taboo, we do nothing, then in effect, he does get away with it; other dictators will recognize our words are empty threats, and will be encouraged to push the envelope (as I have said elsewhere, there's nothing you need to know about international relations that you couldn't learn on the playground before fourth grade). If we don't swat Assad over the use of chemical weapons, what effect will that have when the Iranians get nuclear weapons? Failure to deal with unpleasant things promptly means having to deal with much more unpleasant things down the road.

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: JBenedict] #393657 04/26/13 03:58 PM
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All these things sound like problems for Israel. Since I'm American, I tend to focus on things that more directly affect the United States.

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: JBenedict] #393686 04/26/13 09:59 PM
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A kilogram of Sarin can kill thousands of people. It's a pretty hideous death, too--Sarin is a chloroestherase inhibitor--it effectively short circuits the connections between neurons, disrupting the nervous system and preventing both voluntary and autonomic muscle activity--you know, like breathing. Victims lose control of their limbs and sphincters, begin to twitch uncontrollably, froth at the mouth, and die in minutes of asphyxiation. A gas mask alone can't protect you, because Sarin is percutaneous--it can be absorbed through skin contact. So, you have to be in an hermetically sealed room or wearing a full biological protective suit to avoid exposure.

The sheer horror of such weapons is why they were banned, and why there is a taboo against their use--anywhere, at any time, by anybody. Sarin is cheap and easy to make. The Japanese terrorist cult Aum Shin Rikyu, made its own when it attempted to attack the Tokyo subway system in 1995. Only the failure of their delivery system prevented thousands of casualties; as it was, thirteen people died, and several thousand injured, more than a hundred seriously (i.e., they were permanently disabled as a result of exposure).

So, Syria's use of Sarin is a much broader problem than Israel's. First, whenever a country gets away with an overt violation of international law, other nations are encouraged to follow suit. Second, Syria's possession of these weapons (itself a violation of international law) opens the possibility that other parties may gain control of its stockpiles. Third, successful use of Sarin demonstrates its effectiveness, which makes it attractive to terrorist organizations and those who would support them. I remind you again that there were hundreds of Sarin-filled munitions found in Iraq in 2003-2005, and that dozens of U.S. service personnel were injured when some of these were used in IEDs. It is still believed (correctly, I think) that a large part of Saddam Hussein's stockpile ended up in Syria, and remains there.

Should even a few kilograms of Sarin fall into the hands of al Qaeda, or if some of Assad's chemical munitions experts offer their services there, it would not take much for them to create chemical bombs that, set off in a crowded business district, could kill thousands of people. Worse, the combination of Sarin and a commercial crop duster has the potential to kill tens of thousands. So, yeah, it's our problem, too. The stuff is easy to ship, easy to make, highly effective.

When we say that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, we must be prepared to put force behind our words, otherwise our threats will go unheeded, and our enemies will believe we are impotent. I'd rather deal with Assad's chemical arsenal now, in Syria, than deal with it later--here.

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: JBenedict] #393687 04/26/13 10:01 PM
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For those who want some information on Syria's chemical weapons and use against the rebels in Syria, please see this Fact Sheet.

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: JBenedict] #393696 04/26/13 11:48 PM
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I was going to make a joke about how we finally found Saddam's "WMD stockpile" but you beat me to it.

Do you seriously believe there is some kind of threat to the United States mainland in Syria, which is in the midst of a civil war? Do you really believe Assad is the one who would enact terrorism on the US rather than the Islamic jihadists he is fighting? I know the answer but it's fun watching you try to fit the square into the circle for everyone and pretend it fits.

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: JBenedict] #393697 04/26/13 11:53 PM
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Before you answer that, remond everyone who blew up a bomb in Boston: Syrian nationalists or Islamic jihadists?

Re: Syrian Conflict Approaches Obama's "Red Line" [Re: StuartK] #393698 04/27/13 12:05 AM
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Should even a few kilograms of Sarin fall into the hands of al Qaeda, or if some of Assad's chemical munitions experts offer their services there, it would not take much for them to create chemical bombs that, set off in a crowded business district, could kill thousands of people. Worse, the combination of Sarin and a commercial crop duster has the potential to kill tens of thousands. So, yeah, it's our problem, too. The stuff is easy to ship, easy to make, highly effective.


So, helping the Al-Qaeda backed rebels will prevent them, Al-Qaeda, from getting their hands on it? The rebels are Islamist, backed by other Islamist, who are killing Christians and hate America for our intervention in their homelands. It is a no win situation. Lets not send our military off to fight another endless conflict in area that will never have a western style democracy. Aren't the blunders of Iraq and the endless occupation of Afghanistan teaching us anything?

Don't get me wrong, I think it is horrible that there is a possibility of chemical weapons being used but another international adventure is not what our bankrupt country needs at the moment. Did we not also learn form Vietnam that getting involved in civil wars is a bad idea.


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