www.byzcath.org
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!
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.
Brilliant plan, what could possibly go wrong?
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Brilliant plan, what could possibly go wrong?


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

The Red Line should have been the kidnapping of the Orthodox Bishops.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For those who want some information on Syria's chemical weapons and use against the rebels in Syria, please see this Fact Sheet.
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.
Before you answer that, remond everyone who blew up a bomb in Boston: Syrian nationalists or Islamic jihadists?
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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.

ناسف لعرض الصورة ولاكن يجب ان يعرف العالم ماذا يحدث بحق المسيحيين في الدول العربية .........

هذا هو ما يحدث لإخواتنا المسيحيين في سوريا: (
اغتصاب من قبل أكثر من 20 رجلا قبل قتلها ...هل سوف يستيقظ العالم ضد هذه الوحشية ؟؟هل وسائل الاعلام سوف تتحدث عن هذه القصص؟؟
Sorry for the picture display, but the world must know what happens against Christians in the Arabic States ... ... ...

This is what happens to our sisters in Syria: Christians (
Raped by more than 20 men before her murder.You will wake up the world against such brutality?Does the media will talk about these stories? (Translated by Bing)

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! VERY GRAPHIC AND UPSETTING PHOTO!

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/395585_367742850011500_548817673_n.jpg

And to think that President Obama and YOUR TAX DOLLARS!!!!!! are supporting the perpetrators of this foul deed. And this scenario is repeated daily against Syrian Christians.

Freedom fighters my @*&! I say use all the sarin gas you want against the ^&%(&$!
Someone needs to add a "LIKE" button to this Forum, thank you to whoever shares this truth.
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So, helping the Al-Qaeda backed rebels will prevent them, Al-Qaeda, from getting their hands on it?


It's really our fault that al Qeada and the Syrians have a foothold in Syria today. There was a window of opportunity when we could have steered things our way, but we dilly-dallied ("leading from the rear", like the Duke of Plaza Toro), and geopolitics hates a vacuum. If we refused to take the opportunity, our enemies did not.

But the issue of Assad's chemical weapons is not connected with support for the rebels. We can ignore the rebels now, if we want. We cannot ignore his chemical stockpile, and it must now be destroyed or captured, along with Assad's means of delivering it. Once that is done, we can ignore Syria, if we are so stupid as to do so.

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Did we not also learn form Vietnam that getting involved in civil wars is a bad idea.


Vietnam was many things. Civil war it was not. Besides, a limited operation to destroy a limited selection of military assets is not "getting involved". It's called a "punitive expedition".
Your casus belli fools no one. If some Ugandan warlord was accused of this you would be spending your time on posts I enjoy reading about the Christian East. The veneer of morality here is quite transparent.

The idea that we could somehow go in and remove every trace of an alleged chemical stockpile from a country without taking sides in its civil war is beneathe your and our intellect. At what point, hypothetically, would you declare Mission Accomplished and come home?
Originally Posted by bergschlawiner
Someone needs to add a "LIKE" button to this Forum, thank you to whoever shares this truth.


Uhh, I think I saw a Like button on the bottom of this thread. I'm definitely clicking on it.
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If some Ugandan warlord was accused of this you would be spending your time on posts I enjoy reading about the Christian East. The veneer of morality here is quite transparent.

Not at all: the use of chemical weapons crosses a line, and we must intervene wherever it occurs. And, if you read my professional writings, you would see that I am not the kind of person who ignores genocide and crimes against humanity just because the victims are black. I was very much in favor of our intervention in Somalia (however botched it was by the Clinton Administration), as well as Bosnia and Kosovo. I also endorsed intervention in Rwanda (where the weapon of mass destruction was the machete) and in Darfur. We signed a convention against genocide, and we should live up to our responsibilities under it. Similarly, we signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, and we should enforce it.

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The idea that we could somehow go in and remove every trace of an alleged chemical stockpile from a country without taking sides in its civil war is beneathe your and our intellect.


Mybe not "every trace"--after all, Saddam was not able to remove "every trace" of his chemical stockpile from Iraq--but certainly enough that (a) it no longer poses a threat, either regionally or globally; and (b) the object lesson is driven home to all who would use chemical weapons: do this, and you will suffer great pain.

Also, for what it's worth, we have contingency plans and forces precisely for this type of mission, whether the WMDs involved are chemical, biological or nuclear. We have had them for quite some time. We rehearse these missions regularly, and their odds of success are pretty good. They don't involve boots on the ground, at least not for more than a few days.

Really, I should think anyone with a small child would recognize the paradigm. This is the rule. Break the rule, and I will punish you. If you say that, and the child breaks the rule, and you do not punish him, he loses respect for the rule, and for you.
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?
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Vietnam was many things. Civil war it was not.


A country divided between two different ideologues fighting each other does not qualify as a civil war?

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Besides, a limited operation to destroy a limited selection of military assets is not "getting involved". It's called a "punitive expedition".


With no exit strategy and of course no blowback, right Stuart? I mean invading Syria and killing Syrians (and let's be real, innocent Syrians will get killed by our intervention) won't create a whole new group of angry people who hate the US, will it?

So, where exactly in the constitution of the United States does it say we can violate other nations sovereignty, without a deceleration of war, for a "punitive action?"
Originally Posted by StuartK
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.

Maybe the US should stop making foolish pronouncements on things it doesn't know, let alone it has no intent to follow up on.
Originally Posted by StuartK
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?

Weren't you the one who was talking about how many can get killed with sarin gas?

The US couldn't even keep tabs on Chechens on its own terrorist watch list, about whom the Russians warned it.
Originally Posted by Nelson Chase
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Vietnam was many things. Civil war it was not.


A country divided between two different ideologues fighting each other does not qualify as a civil war?


Unless I am misunderstanding Stuart, I believe he is refering to the fact that the majority of Vietnamese supported Ho Chi Minh and without outside intervention there would have been no waror a very short one.
Originally Posted by StuartK
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If some Ugandan warlord was accused of this you would be spending your time on posts I enjoy reading about the Christian East. The veneer of morality here is quite transparent.

Not at all: the use of chemical weapons crosses a line, and we must intervene wherever it occurs. And, if you read my professional writings, you would see that I am not the kind of person who ignores genocide and crimes against humanity just because the victims are black. I was very much in favor of our intervention in Somalia (however botched it was by the Clinton Administration), as well as Bosnia and Kosovo.

Yeah, that has worked so well. laugh

Originally Posted by StuartK
I also endorsed intervention in Rwanda (where the weapon of mass destruction was the machete) and in Darfur. We signed a convention against genocide, and we should live up to our responsibilities under it. Similarly, we signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, and we should enforce it.

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The idea that we could somehow go in and remove every trace of an alleged chemical stockpile from a country without taking sides in its civil war is beneathe your and our intellect.


Mybe not "every trace"--after all, Saddam was not able to remove "every trace" of his chemical stockpile from Iraq--but certainly enough that (a) it no longer poses a threat, either regionally or globally; and (b) the object lesson is driven home to all who would use chemical weapons: do this, and you will suffer great pain.

Also, for what it's worth, we have contingency plans and forces precisely for this type of mission, whether the WMDs involved are chemical, biological or nuclear. We have had them for quite some time. We rehearse these missions regularly, and their odds of success are pretty good. They don't involve boots on the ground, at least not for more than a few days.

Really, I should think anyone with a small child would recognize the paradigm. This is the rule. Break the rule, and I will punish you. If you say that, and the child breaks the rule, and you do not punish him, he loses respect for the rule, and for you.

and what do you do when the "child" is all growed up, and knows you cannot enforce your rules in his house?
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Unless I am misunderstanding Stuart, I believe he is refering to the fact that the majority of Vietnamese supported Ho Chi Minh and without outside intervention there would have been no waror a very short one.


Close. Actually. the Vietnam War was largely an offensive war by the North against the South. The Viet Cong never had majority support in the South, which is why they ruled largely by terror. Without the support of North Vietnam (and by extension, North Vietnam's support by the Soviet Union and China), the VC would have collapsed by 1966 at latest. As it was, by 1965, most of the fighting was being done by North Vietnamese regulars. What was left of the Viet Cong was annihilated by the U.S. and ARVN during the Tet Offensive, and thereafter, it was a straight up fight by the U.S. and ARVN against the North Vietnamese Army. It's ironic (but not at all unexpected) that, after the final victory of North Vietnam in 1975, almost all of the surviving Viet Cong cadres found themselves in reeducation camps alongside the ARVN officers who had been their adversaries. Puts one in mind of how Stalin solved the "Polish Problem".
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and what do you do when the "child" is all growed up, and knows you cannot enforce your rules in his house?

By that time, one hopes the child has internalized the rules and obeys them because he knows they make good sense. You know, the way in which we beat good sense into the Germans and the Japanese.
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Weren't you the one who was talking about how many can get killed with sarin gas?


I hit return too quickly, and there is no correction button as of now. But, the point I was going to make was, "Yes, there are things happening in Syria today that pose a direct threat to the continental United States. Distance is no longer a barrier. From Damascus I can get a flight to Brussels, and from Brussels to almost anyplace in the world. A liter or so of binary Sarin can easily be smuggled into the United States, aerosolized, and converted into a terror weapon without very much trouble.

I'm surprised no home-grown terrorists have tried this, as anyone with a BS in organic chemistry can make the stuff, and packaging it in a perfume sprayer or flit gun is as easy as pie. But then, I'm surprised we got by so long without suffering the kind of backback bombing we saw in Boston. Imagine that, ramped up about two orders of magnitude, and that's the threat I see.

Time to get really, really serious about dealing with the problem of Islamic terrorism. Part of that problem is the underlying political structure of the Islamic world.
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Maybe the US should stop making foolish pronouncements on things it doesn't know, let alone it has no intent to follow up on.


Or maybe the U.S. should follow through consistently, so that, after a few salient examples, it doesn't have to demonstrate the seriousness of its intent?
Originally Posted by StuartK
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Maybe the US should stop making foolish pronouncements on things it doesn't know, let alone it has no intent to follow up on.


Or maybe the U.S. should follow through consistently, so that, after a few salient examples, it doesn't have to demonstrate the seriousness of its intent?

Better check if the Bank of China will extend your credit.
Originally Posted by StuartK
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If some Ugandan warlord was accused of this you would be spending your time on posts I enjoy reading about the Christian East. The veneer of morality here is quite transparent.

Not at all: the use of chemical weapons crosses a line, and we must intervene wherever it occurs. And, if you read my professional writings, you would see that I am not the kind of person who ignores genocide and crimes against humanity just because the victims are black. I was very much in favor of our intervention in Somalia (however botched it was by the Clinton Administration), as well as Bosnia and Kosovo. I also endorsed intervention in Rwanda (where the weapon of mass destruction was the machete) and in Darfur. We signed a convention against genocide, and we should live up to our responsibilities under it. Similarly, we signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, and we should enforce it.


I only know your point of view by what you post on this forum, and haven't seen you speaking much about the atrocities happening anywhere else in the world. They are focused selectively on a specific political agenda.

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The idea that we could somehow go in and remove every trace of an alleged chemical stockpile from a country without taking sides in its civil war is beneathe your and our intellect.


Mybe not "every trace"--after all, Saddam was not able to remove "every trace" of his chemical stockpile from Iraq--but certainly enough that (a) it no longer poses a threat, either regionally or globally; and (b) the object lesson is driven home to all who would use chemical weapons: do this, and you will suffer great pain.

Also, for what it's worth, we have contingency plans and forces precisely for this type of mission, whether the WMDs involved are chemical, biological or nuclear. We have had them for quite some time. We rehearse these missions regularly, and their odds of success are pretty good. They don't involve boots on the ground, at least not for more than a few days.


Few things. You just regurgitated the rationale for invading Iraq (minus the bogus "Al Qaeda" connection which is impossible to do this time, unfortunately for you and McCain). The problem with that is that it is based upon the premise that 1) there are chemical weapons and 2) It's in our interest to do anything about it.

You haven't demonstrated either of those two points to anyone's satisfaction, you have only repeated them ad nauseum in an attempt to center the discussion around them as truths. Linking to "fact sheets" from FPI and Bill Kristol's cabal - the people who brought you Saddam's WMD stockpile - hardly counts as a credible source, and is actually funny if you stop for a moment and really think about it. Just because you chose to live in an echo chamber doesn't mean that everybody else is inside with you.

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Really, I should think anyone with a small child would recognize the paradigm. This is the rule. Break the rule, and I will punish you. If you say that, and the child breaks the rule, and you do not punish him, he loses respect for the rule, and for you.


Again, with the morality. Nobody in the Middle East takes "the rules" you are preaching about here seriously, because it's so obviously selectively enforced that it's silly. Your arguments are intended to sway domestic opinion, nothing else. We can accuse Iraq and Syria of having chemical weapons and launch invasions based on those accusations as we see fit, but stand by while Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, et al brutalize their own populations without blinking an eye.

We can preach about the evils of chemical weapons while blanketing countries with Agent Orange and poisoning untold civilians with depleted uranium. We watch approvingly while Iraq uses these very weapons against Iran in their terrible war and, far from making big claims of "crossing a line" we know that Rumsfeld actually helped Iraq obtain these weapons in the '80s - the very ones that suddenly became anathema when it suited our political purposes.

If we are truly the "parents" of your analogy Child Protective Services would have locked us up long ago.

It's so much easier to respect your opinion when you are upfront about your agenda rather than trotting out these easily-debunked moralizations.
Originally Posted by StuartK
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and what do you do when the "child" is all growed up, and knows you cannot enforce your rules in his house?

By that time, one hopes the child has internalized the rules and obeys them because he knows they make good sense. You know, the way in which we beat good sense into the Germans and the Japanese.

It seems Germany is about to foreclose on the EU, and I hear that the Museum at Hiroshima documents all the US aggression-although you can't get Japan to admit it did anything wrong in WWII.

Is this what they teach in CIA school? No wonder the US only has its size going for it.
Originally Posted by StuartK
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Unless I am misunderstanding Stuart, I believe he is refering to the fact that the majority of Vietnamese supported Ho Chi Minh and without outside intervention there would have been no waror a very short one.


Close. Actually. the Vietnam War was largely an offensive war by the North against the South. The Viet Cong never had majority support in the South, which is why they ruled largely by terror. Without the support of North Vietnam (and by extension, North Vietnam's support by the Soviet Union and China), the VC would have collapsed by 1966 at latest. As it was, by 1965, most of the fighting was being done by North Vietnamese regulars. What was left of the Viet Cong was annihilated by the U.S. and ARVN during the Tet Offensive, and thereafter, it was a straight up fight by the U.S. and ARVN against the North Vietnamese Army. It's ironic (but not at all unexpected) that, after the final victory of North Vietnam in 1975, almost all of the surviving Viet Cong cadres found themselves in reeducation camps alongside the ARVN officers who had been their adversaries. Puts one in mind of how Stalin solved the "Polish Problem".

Like how you imagine the US solved the "German Problem" and "Japanese Problem"?

Even the former Emperor of Vietnam sided with Ho Chi Minh.
Originally Posted by jjp
Originally Posted by StuartK
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If some Ugandan warlord was accused of this you would be spending your time on posts I enjoy reading about the Christian East. The veneer of morality here is quite transparent.

Not at all: the use of chemical weapons crosses a line, and we must intervene wherever it occurs. And, if you read my professional writings, you would see that I am not the kind of person who ignores genocide and crimes against humanity just because the victims are black. I was very much in favor of our intervention in Somalia (however botched it was by the Clinton Administration), as well as Bosnia and Kosovo. I also endorsed intervention in Rwanda (where the weapon of mass destruction was the machete) and in Darfur. We signed a convention against genocide, and we should live up to our responsibilities under it. Similarly, we signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, and we should enforce it.


I only know your point of view by what you post on this forum, and haven't seen you speaking much about the atrocities happening anywhere else in the world. They are focused selectively on a specific political agenda.

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The idea that we could somehow go in and remove every trace of an alleged chemical stockpile from a country without taking sides in its civil war is beneathe your and our intellect.


Mybe not "every trace"--after all, Saddam was not able to remove "every trace" of his chemical stockpile from Iraq--but certainly enough that (a) it no longer poses a threat, either regionally or globally; and (b) the object lesson is driven home to all who would use chemical weapons: do this, and you will suffer great pain.

Also, for what it's worth, we have contingency plans and forces precisely for this type of mission, whether the WMDs involved are chemical, biological or nuclear. We have had them for quite some time. We rehearse these missions regularly, and their odds of success are pretty good. They don't involve boots on the ground, at least not for more than a few days.


Few things. You just regurgitated the rationale for invading Iraq (minus the bogus "Al Qaeda" connection which is impossible to do this time, unfortunately for you and McCain). The problem with that is that it is based upon the premise that 1) there are chemical weapons and 2) It's in our interest to do anything about it.

You haven't demonstrated either of those two points to anyone's satisfaction, you have only repeated them ad nauseum in an attempt to center the discussion around them as truths. Linking to "fact sheets" from FPI and Bill Kristol's cabal - the people who brought you Saddam's WMD stockpile - hardly counts as a credible source, and is actually funny if you stop for a moment and really think about it. Just because you chose to live in an echo chamber doesn't mean that everybody else is inside with you.

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Really, I should think anyone with a small child would recognize the paradigm. This is the rule. Break the rule, and I will punish you. If you say that, and the child breaks the rule, and you do not punish him, he loses respect for the rule, and for you.


Again, with the morality. Nobody in the Middle East takes "the rules" you are preaching about here seriously, because it's so obviously selectively enforced that it's silly. Your arguments are intended to sway domestic opinion, nothing else. We can accuse Iraq and Syria of having chemical weapons and launch invasions based on those accusations as we see fit, but stand by while Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, et al brutalize their own populations without blinking an eye.

We can preach about the evils of chemical weapons while blanketing countries with Agent Orange and poisoning untold civilians with depleted uranium. We watch approvingly while Iraq uses these very weapons against Iran in their terrible war and, far from making big claims of "crossing a line" we know that Rumsfeld actually helped Iraq obtain these weapons in the '80s - the very ones that suddenly became anathema when it suited our political purposes.

If we are truly the "parents" of your analogy Child Protective Services would have locked us up long ago.

It's so much easier to respect your opinion when you are upfront about your agenda rather than trotting out these easily-debunked moralizations.

Are you saying Stuart is a neo-con?

What happens to the 10 pct Christian population, and everyone else who isn't a Sunni after the liberation ?
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Are you saying Stuart is a neo-con?


Nothing "neo" about it. This has been my consistent view of the world since the 1970s, firmly grounded in the lessons of history. After the Holocaust, the world supposedly said, "Never again!", but I guess what it really meant was "Never again, unless it's not convenient".

You might want to consider that, but for Great Power (mainly French, British and Russian) intervention in the Middle East in the 19th and early 20th century, you probably wouldn't be here to argue about great power intervention. In fact, there probably wouldn't be any Middle Eastern Christians at all.
Originally Posted by StuartK
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Are you saying Stuart is a neo-con?


Nothing "neo" about it. This has been my consistent view of the world since the 1970s, firmly grounded in the lessons of history. After the Holocaust, the world supposedly said, "Never again!", but I guess what it really meant was "Never again, unless it's not convenient".

You might want to consider that, but for Great Power (mainly French, British and Russian) intervention in the Middle East in the 19th and early 20th century, you probably wouldn't be here to argue about great power intervention. In fact, there probably wouldn't be any Middle Eastern Christians at all.

Funny, the Christians were still the majority in much of the Middle East, until the Crusaders showed up.

And that sacking in 1204 really helped keep the Ottomans at bay. Good job.
Originally Posted by Lawrence

What happens to the 10 pct Christian population, and everyone else who isn't a Sunni after the liberation ?

Not even the Sunnis will be safe. Only Wahhabis, Salafis and Jihadists.
Issa, your head is stuck in 1204. Get over it.
Originally Posted by StuartK
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Are you saying Stuart is a neo-con?


Nothing "neo" about it. This has been my consistent view of the world since the 1970s, firmly grounded in the lessons of history. After the Holocaust, the world supposedly said, "Never again!", but I guess what it really meant was "Never again, unless it's not convenient".

You might want to consider that, but for Great Power (mainly French, British and Russian) intervention in the Middle East in the 19th and early 20th century, you probably wouldn't be here to argue about great power intervention. In fact, there probably wouldn't be any Middle Eastern Christians at all.


And look at all the good it did them.

The '70s pegs you right into the neoconservative sweet spot, at least according to Irving Kristol. But what does he know about it?

It's a dirty word these days for a reason.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Issa, your head is stuck in 1204. Get over it.

Facts and Truth are not things to get over.

Unfortunately you Western Savior complex falls under neither. They were there to help themselves (as in 1204) to whatever the locals, Muslim or Christian, had, not to help the local Christians. Many a colonial administrator, approached by a local Christian to complain of Muslim harrassment, were told to convert to Islam-that way the Muslims wouldn't bother them.

If we weren't a Fifth Column of WOGS, they had no use for us. The Russians-and the Germans-forming an exception.
Here's more information on the rebels that Stuart seems to think we should support. From an article by Fr. Peter Prebel of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Quote
On July 15, 2012, the International Committee of the Red Cross declared the Syrian Civil War a "non-international armed conflict" -- the legal definition of a civil war. I find it interesting that it has been declared non-international, because the government of the United States has been supporting the rebels with almost $3 million in direct aid and equipment. The United States is involved in this civil war and has turned a blind eye to the murder of Christians and other religious minorities.

Since the war began in March of 2011, more than 70,000 people have died. A February estimate places the internally displaced at 3.6 million, and an additional 1.3 million have been forced to flee Syria for neighboring countries as refugees, all the while the government of the United States continues to support the very people responsible for the killing.

On Monday, two Orthodox bishops of the diocese of the city, Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of the diocese of Aleppo and Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Boulos Yaziji, were kidnapped. The irony of their kidnapping is that they were returning from a meeting to attempt the release of two priests Fr. Michel Kayyal (Armenian Catholic) and Fr. Maher Mahfouz (Greek Orthodox), kidnapped in February and still remaining in the hands of the kidnappers. They were on a mission of peace, to bring aid and comfort, and they were taken hostage as part of the systematic extermination of the Christian population in Syria.

Recently the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released a Special Report on the deteriorating situation in Syria. "Protecting and Promoting Religious Freedom in Syria" lists several occurrences of systematic extermination of the native Christian population. As an example, the city of Homs, which had an estimated Christian population of 160,000, has been reduced to just one thousand at last count. Greek Orthodox Priest Father Fadi Jamil Haddad was found killed outside of Damascus in September of 2012. He had been trying to secure the release of a parishioner that had been kidnapped. These are just a few examples of what is being carried out daily in Syria and supported by the government of the United States.

What has been called the "Arab Spring" in Syria has become the Christian Nightmare and it is high time that the United States government realize the part it has played and continues to play in this ethnic cleansing, genocide, holocaust whatever word you choose to describe what is being perpetrated on the religious minorities in Syria as well as Egypt.


A blind eye to the murder of Christians, strong words. Say what you will about Assad, and I agree he is a brutal dictator, but these rebels are going to drive out or kill all Christians in Syria (including Stuarts churches Patriarch, who I believe is against intervention from the west in support of the rebels).
Stuart will tell you he doesn't want to support terrorists, but that there's a "moral obligation" to enforce the "red line" with vague allusions to the Holocaust with dubious ties to actual, demonstrated threats to the US homeland, etc etc. None of which flies with any type of objective scrutiny, but it plays well on the 10:00 news.

We're a more thoughtful bunch than the lowest common denominator, so we have to ask ourselves: if none of what he says makes any sense on the face of it, has he suddenly lost his marbles or is there an actual agenda?

To answer that question, consider our latest excursions to "spread democracy" and tamp down "weapons of mass destruction." They certainly didn't do the United States much good, though he'll try to create enough smoke to make you think it has. The trillions of dollars spent, lives lost and bodies maimed speak for themselves.

If not the United States, then... cui bono?
Quote
almost $3 million in direct aid


Most of which has been humanitarian, and by the scale of the conflict, probably covered expenses for about a day and a half.

Quote
What has been called the "Arab Spring" in Syria has become the Christian Nightmare and it is high time that the United States government realize the part it has played and continues to play in this ethnic cleansing, genocide, holocaust whatever word you choose to describe what is being perpetrated on the religious minorities in Syria as well as Egypt.


And in return, do what, precisely? You seem to be saying that repression in Arab society is OK, as long as Christians are only repressed as much or less than Muslims (I'd say Muslims or Jews, but there are no Jews left in Arab states--funny thing that, no?). What happened in Egypt happened largely because we kept a hands-off attitude there. The same thing is true in Syria. Allow a vacuum to emerge, and the forces of chaos will fill it. As for Iraq, funny thing--the official statistics compiled by Ron Roberson for the USCCB show Catholic Christian communities rebounding there. Maybe people are going back home because--thanks to the U.S. intervention--Iraq is becoming a better place to live (certainly, it's a lot less violent there than in Chicago).
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
almost $3 million in direct aid


Most of which has been humanitarian, and by the scale of the conflict, probably covered expenses for about a day and a half.

Quote
What has been called the "Arab Spring" in Syria has become the Christian Nightmare and it is high time that the United States government realize the part it has played and continues to play in this ethnic cleansing, genocide, holocaust whatever word you choose to describe what is being perpetrated on the religious minorities in Syria as well as Egypt.


And in return, do what, precisely? You seem to be saying that repression in Arab society is OK, as long as Christians are only repressed as much or less than Muslims (I'd say Muslims or Jews, but there are no Jews left in Arab states--funny thing that, no?). What happened in Egypt happened largely because we kept a hands-off attitude there. The same thing is true in Syria. Allow a vacuum to emerge, and the forces of chaos will fill it. As for Iraq, funny thing--the official statistics compiled by Ron Roberson for the USCCB show Catholic Christian communities rebounding there. Maybe people are going back home because--thanks to the U.S. intervention--Iraq is becoming a better place to live (certainly, it's a lot less violent there than in Chicago).

Is that saying anything?

The problem in Egypt was that the US was so hands on so Mubarak could keep a grip. His fall was coming long before the US decided to recognize that fact, and it had to "lead from behind" instead of getting ahead of that fact.

I'll been to Auschwitz, but not in the Arab World--funny thing that, no?

They have lots of Jews in Palestine. It a source of problems.

The Catholic Christians rebounding from Saddam, or the US?
Vietnam was many things. Civil war it was not. Besides, a limited operation to destroy a limited selection of military assets is not "getting involved". It's called a "punitive expedition".
[/quote]

And how I love the "punitive expeditions." They always seem to originate with a civilian and end at the FEBA.
FEBA? How quaint. The very idea of FEBA kinda sorta disappeared in 1993.
That might be true for a desk jockey. But for us, it always started at the muzzle and ended at whatever was the backstop for the bullet.

I see you are beating the war drums again Stuart. Looking to send another generation to their deaths? I can get you a lucrative contracting job so you can join in.
FEBA assumes that there's a front line. Today, there is no front line, no flanks, no rear.
Quote
Today, there is no front line, no flanks, no rear.


How convient for people who seem to advocate war and intervention in every single international conflict. It seems that there are some in America who go looking for "monsters to destroy" at every turn.

Oh, how if only we listened to President Adams:

Quote
America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.


And now insert generic response "the world has changed" and "you isolationist need to get your heads out of the sand."
Si vis pacem preparat bellum.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Si vis pacem preparat bellum.

Saying it in Latin make it truer?
solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant
Quote
Si vis pacem preparat bellum.


Like I said insert generic response.
And now some commentary from Patrick Buchanan, a noted traditional Conservative:

Quote
“The worst mistake of my presidency,” said Ronald Reagan of his decision to put Marines into the middle of Lebanon’s civil war, where 241 died in a suicide bombing of their barracks.

And if Barack Obama plunges into Syria’s civil war, it could consume his presidency, even as Iraq consumed the presidency of George W. Bush.

Why would Obama even consider this?

Because he blundered badly. Foolishly, he put his credibility on the line by warning that any Syrian use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and be a “game changer” with “enormous consequences.”

Not only was this ultimatum unwise, Obama had no authority to issue it. If Syria does not threaten or attack us, Obama would need congressional authorization before he could constitutionally engage in acts of war against Syria. When did he ever receive such authorization?

Moreover, there is no proof Syrian President Bashar Assad ever ordered the use of chemical weapons.

U.S. intelligence agencies maintain that small amounts of the deadly toxin sarin gas were likely used. But if it did happen, we do not know who ordered it.

Syrians officials deny that they ever used chemicals. And before we dismiss Damascus’ denials, recall that an innocent man in Tupelo, Miss., was lately charged with mailing deadly ricin to Sen. Roger Wicker and President Obama. This weekend, we learned he may have been framed.

It is well within the capacity of Assad’s enemies to use or fake the use of poison gas to suck us into fighting their war.

Even if elements of Assad’s army did use sarin, we ought not plunge in. And, fortunately, that seems to be Obama’s thinking.

Why stay out? Because it is not our war. There is no vital U.S. interest in who rules Syria. Hafez Assad and Bashar have ruled Syria for 40 years. How has that ever threatened us?

Moreover, U.S. intervention would signal to Assad that the end is near, making his use of every weapon in his arsenal, including chemical weapons, more — not less — likely.

U.S. intervention would also make us de facto allies of Assad’s principal enemies, the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaida. As The New York Times reported Sunday, “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.”

Do we really wish to expend American blood and treasure to bring about a victory of Islamists and jihadists in Syria?

If Assad’s chemical weapons threaten any nation, it is Israel. But Israel knows where they are stored and has an air force superior to our own in the Med. Israeli troops on the Golan are as close to Damascus as Dulles Airport is to Washington, D.C. Yet Israel has not attacked Syria’s chemical weapons.

Why not? Israel is well aware that Syria’s air defense system is, as The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, “one of the most advanced and concentrated barriers on the planet.”

And if Israel does not feel sufficiently threatened by Syria’s chemical weapons to go after them, why should we, 4,000 miles away?

Then there is Turkey, with three times Syria’s population, NATO’s second-largest army and a 600-mile border. Why is ridding the Middle East of Assad our assignment and not Ankara’s?

Surely the heirs of the Ottomans have a larger stake here.

And if we get into this war, how do we get out?

For the war is metastasizing. Hezbollah is sending in fighters to help the Alawite Shia. Other Lebanese are assisting the Sunni rebels. The war could spread into Iraq, where the latest clashes between Sunni and Shia are pulling the country apart. Young Muslims are coming in from Europe.

Iran and Russia are aiding Damascus. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are aiding the Islamists. The United States, Jordan and Turkey are aiding the secularists. Syria could come apart, and a sectarian and ethnic war of all against all erupt across the region.

Do we really want the U.S. military in the middle of this?

Because his “red line” appears to have been crossed, Obama is being told he must attack Syria to maintain his credibility with Iran and North Korea.

Nonsense. To attack Syria would compound Obama’s folly in drawing the red line. Better to have egg on Obama’s face than for America to be dragged into another unnecessary war.

Obama would not be alone in having his bluff called. George Bush proclaimed that no “axis of evil” nation would be allowed to acquire the “world’s worst weapons.” North Korea now has those weapons.

Congressional war hawks, led by Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are cawing for air strikes and no-fly zones, which would mean dead and captured Americans and many more dead Syrians.

Time for Congress to either authorize Obama to lead us into a new Middle East war, or direct him, in the absence of an attack upon us, to keep America out of what is Syria’s civil war.

Before we slide into another war, let the country be consulted first.


Where's Congress's "Red Line'?
One of the lessons we learned in our attack upon Saddam Hussein was that we killed the only one who could protect Christians. His protection wasn't perfect but it was protection. The Syrian government has had to absorb Christians fleeing the now "liberated" Iraq because Christians are now defenseless in Iraq. It is true that Christians cannot work in Syria but at least they weren't under attack until we decided to support Al Quada and whoever else the Rebels comprise against the government. Now Christians are defenseless in Syria. One wonders if Obama knew this would happen.
So, let me get this straight, Carson: as long as a dictator protects Christians, he can butcher whomever else he wishes?

Cool.
Originally Posted by StuartK
So, let me get this straight, Carson: as long as a dictator protects Christians, he can butcher whomever else he wishes?

Cool.

Didn't work for Milasovich.

And here we see on full display, how the US armed the "Freedom Fighters" who blew up the Twin Towers...
Nice try, Issa, but that canard has long since been relegated to those who line their klobuks with tin foil.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Nice try, Issa, but that canard has long since been relegated to those who line their klobuks with tin foil.

stay uninformed.

When I was working in DC, I happened upon a couple of Afghan cab drivers, who openly talked about, among other things, their raising money to buy arms to send home. This was in 1983. As my friend (an elected official since then, and more up in the congressional staff before then) continually reminds him, I told him at the time "In twenty years, we'll be fighting them."
So, do you then also say that the U.S. supported the IRA for almost a century, because Irish-Americans sent money to them in Ireland?
Originally Posted by StuartK
So, let me get this straight, Carson: as long as a dictator protects Christians, he can butcher whomever else he wishes?

Cool.


I forget which thread it was where you called for the US to remove the butchers in Bahrain.

Oh, you didn't?

It's your rationale that determines which regimes are in need of removal that is being questioned (with no coherent response), not Nelson's.
Originally Posted by StuartK
So, do you then also say that the U.S. supported the IRA for almost a century, because Irish-Americans sent money to them in Ireland?

Christ is risen!

Some of those Americans were in Congress. Rep. Peter King (the same one who flamed hysteria over the Dubai port deal, one of the most brainlessly conservative knee jerk moves in recent history) a prime example.

of course, with the Taliban, it went even further than that: after all, that's how al-Qa'idah got its name.
Originally Posted by jjp
Originally Posted by StuartK
So, let me get this straight, Carson: as long as a dictator protects Christians, he can butcher whomever else he wishes?

Cool.


I forget which thread it was where you called for the US to remove the butchers in Bahrain.

Oh, you didn't?

It's your rationale that determines which regimes are in need of removal that is being questioned (with no coherent response), not Nelson's.

Christ if risen!

Actually it is coherent: follow the US foreign policy du jour.

Of course, THAT's incoherent.
Wait...the Islamist backed rebels may have been the ones who used chemical weapons. So the "freedom fighters," whom the hawks want us to put in power since they are the arm chair experts, are using sarin gas. Well, I'm not surprised since they are terrorists who kill innocent Christians (and other innocent Muslims).

U.N has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas


Quote
(Reuters) - U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria's civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday.


Insert generic, pro-war, comment in 3..2..1
Unless Richard Perle says it, Stuart doesn't believe it.

It makes the Chechnya/Russia problem an uncomfortable one these days, but that's a different thread.
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