"They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.
They are repelled by the hypocrisy of a media blitz that warns against the return of Hitlerism but privately acknowledges that the motive for risking American lives is our “responsibility to protect” the world’s innocents. Prospective U.S. action in Syria is not about threats to American security. The U.S. military’s civilian masters privately are proud that they are motivated by guilt over slaughters in Rwanda, Sudan and Kosovo and not by any systemic threat to our country.
They are outraged by the fact that what may happen is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about “red lines.” These acts would be for retribution and to restore the reputation of a president. Our serving professionals make the point that killing more Syrians won’t deter Iranian resolve to confront us. The Iranians have already gotten the message. " Robert Scales
I seem to recall that Scales was a cheer leader for the Iraq invasion and an adviser to DoD in that case. If I am wrong, tell me so. Nevertheless, I think that in this instance he has been to the mountain and returned with the golden tablets. His point about CJCS' body language with regard to Kerry is absolutely correct. pl
Ha'aretz reports here that the targeting list is being expanded to include all syrian military heavy weapons. This makes it clear that the statements by the WH to the effect that the strikes would be about deterrng the use of CW is nonsense. The objective is weakening of government forces to enable a rebel victory in th ewar. pl
a letter from the Speaker of the Syrian parliament to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives. pl
I strongly committed to American support of South Vietnam’s independence against the North Vietnamese invasion because I believed that we then must have supported NATIONAL independence against COMMUNIST INTERNATIONALISM. Admittedly it had complicated a lot by the 1960s but until 1989, International Comunism was a reality that only got worse as it moved from one “revolutionary” target to another in the 3rd World.
By contrast, Global Islam is hot air. All it can engender is individuals to kill themselves while killing others as “shahids.” So, the best our intervention can accomplish is what we left behind in Iraq and will leave as we abandon Afghanistan. Both the Arab Spring and Arab Winter are Islamic seasons over which we can have no influence. The worst perpetrator of Mideast seasonal storms is Saudi Arabia. I do not see how we can service its interests any further, not it serve hours. Israel and Saudi Arabia must be denied the opportunity to use American blood and treasure to achieve Middle East dominance through horrific violence perpetrated by us in the name of “necocon” ex-commie propaganda. They served the CIA, the military industrial complex that Ike warned us about, and the war mongers in Israel that want us to shed our blood so they can dominate the region.
It is in that context that we must look at the current Syrian crisis. Above all, we must recognize the incompetence of our intel services. It is frightening that every personal detail of every American citizen’s privacy is acquired and stored, not by our Gov, but by what used to be a public relations firm, with high school drop outs at the keyboards who can seize upon any of that data for whatever purpose suits their fancy. With the PR Gen. Peteaus types in command and the kind of Vanilla Gorilla that Obama placed at the head of the CIA (not to speak of the head of the NSC, whose only claim to expertise was to have hung around a lot of C-Span videoed Wash DC foreign affairs conferences) we must recognize our limitations. Obama, it seems to me, has two choices: either to go down in history as a Black Bush or, like Stalin, to recognize his limitations and stand aside as world affairs unfold. For now, the Clinton/GW Bush ignoramus pomposity that came with the USSR’s demise has only robbed us of our “peace dividend” from having been the last one left standing. As a result, we are still staggering and seem more punch than ever. America suffered multiple TBI concussions and needs to recover before it becomes totally brain-dead. Syria is a mess a sick giant cannot afford to mess with. With balance and vision—not to speak of cognition—so impaired, it is time to call in sick on this occasion. Even giants get paid sick days to recover. We need them now desperately. All other details are irrelevant. But one thing must be kept clear. We are at this point severely COGNITIVELY IMPAIRED at the top. Obama can’t afford to be either a Black Clinton, foolishly and blindly invading the Balkans, nor a Black Bush, once again jumping into the Middle East opportunistically trying to get back the “Jewish vote.” Most Jews are America first and as such want their America in no way involved in Syria, despite the appalling practice of some rabbis to violate the sanctity of Rosh Hashanah Services telling the faithful to push for US bombing of Syria “because it is good for Israel.” This can only add fuel to the fire of anti-Semitism started by the strange story of Israeli Mossadists standing on a truck across the Hudson, cheering while the World Trade Center collapsed to the neocon insistence on ever more American boots in the Middle East, EXPLICITLY because that’s “good for Israel.” I know that Zionists deem all Jews that would not make the Aliyah to Israel permanently as “parasites” on the goyim, but that’s no excuse to fan the fires of American anti-Semitism, be it Arab or Israeli. All that we got from our military involvement in the Middle East since 9/11 is finger pointing between American groups is humiliation and mutual. IT IS TIME TO CALL IN SICK ON THIS ONE because we are and therefore can do no good!
This thing about Rwanda that keeps coming up; was US intervention even possible? I mean you probably had to send several tens of thousands of soldiers to occupy that country half way across the world.
Am I wrong?
You are correct. It would have been a major and prolonged operation. The whole R2P doctrine would condemn the US to a constant and neverending series of such operations. pl
I think a good vote counting reference for the vote in the House of Representatives on the proposed joint resolution to attack Syria is here, by Jane Hamsher–
Jane is a real liberal who went to film school and actually survived the Hollywood snake pit and was involved in the production of some movies; the most known and successful one was the icky “Natural Born Killers”, which was directed by Oliver Stone, and Quentin Tarantino had a hand in the script. She wrote a book about that experience, including discussing a lawsuit filed against her by an earlier director of the movie; her wit angered the lawyer for the other party that sued her, and so that lawyer sued her for defamation, but she won. She had called the lawyer a “Kmart Johnnie Cochran”, among other things, as noted in the court of appeals opinion about the case, in the fourth paragraph under Factual and Procedural History–
Further demonstrating her fearlessness, she went to Connecticut and expended much energy helping Ned Lamont defeat Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary in the 2006 U.S. Senate race. But Lieberman then used Connecticut’s voting law that allowed an “independent” to run in the general election, and he ran as a so-called independent and unfortunately won his seat again. She also did a lot to publicize the Valerie Plame matter and did much to focus attention on the trial over the outing of Plame as an undercover CIA operative by the Bush jr. administration.
Regardless of what one might think about Jane Hamsher’s opinions, I have always viewed her as astute and a worker. So I think her whip count on the upcoming House vote, if there is one, is worth watching.
The reference to Kosovo as an example to follow by the interventionist fanatics bugs the heck out of me. In that little adventure, we came pretty darn close to starting WW3 over a shitty piece of useless real estate that is of no interest to us. Do we really want to risk World War 3 for the sake of a bunch of religious fanatics who, in the long run, want to kill us?
This is a shameful period in US history.
Re: the letter from the Syrian parliamentarian
I heard some pundit reading s portion of it on the air yesterday, and his voice dripped with contempt and sarcasm at the letter’s lack of perfect English.
Wasn’t Susan Rice working for the African Dept at Foggy Bottom at that time?
Back when all that was happening, I still got CBC
news on cable. I remember seeing detailed post-mortems of Rwanda with General Romeo Delaire explaining how timely aid which he asked for could have derailed the Interahamwe govermnemt plan and aborted/prevented the Interahamwe Holocaust of the Tutsis. He said a concerned insider gave him detailed plans of incitement plans, scheduled rolling machetethons, detailed location of weopons caches, etc. General Delaire felt sure that the nick-of-time introduction of high-quality UN soldiers could have seized all the weapons caches and killed/arrested all the key Interahamwe goverment officials and movement leaders before they could set the genocide plans going. The UN refused his urgent request because the big powers preferred pre-emptive non-involvement. I dimly remember Mitterand of France being quoted as saying that this particular genocide would be no problem at all if it happened. My memory may be wrong, but I dimly remember it.
You are correct wrt tonton Mitterand
« Dans ces pays-là, un génocide, ce n’est pas trop important »,
I should have included that Jane is against a military attack on Syria and is working to try to stop it.
I’ve been watching Dempsey through the hearings, I think he and Hagel gave small nods in agreement when Kerry mentioned that there has been on-going correspondence with assurances asked and given between the US, Assad, and his allies for the duration of the Syrian civil war on CW.
I know we don’t believe he has evidence, but I’m going to write from the perspective that they are utterly convinced they do have it for a moment.
My last hope is it has been determined behind closed doors that the posturing has sufficiently deterred Assad from doing it again, and the Russians have agreed to make that so, and Dempsey and Hagel are “in on it”. This might explain the reticence to release their “evidence”, as that would back Assad into a corner and they wish to leave him the face-saving way out of declaring victory. Not unlike Khruschev taking the heat in the Cuban Missile Crisis when he agreed to conceal deal to remove missiles from Turkey.
Either way congress votes on this some good has been done, as they got involved. They had to think about this stuff themselves and not just listen to their leaders, like Menendez, McCain, and Graham. It appears Freedom Works and AIPAC are going to go “all out” against each other on this issue. Good.
Our current condition of Congress delegating all authority to the Executive while striving to convince the people that everything the President says is a lie is an absurd one.
I do recall that Canadian General’s interview.
How many troops would have been needed, do you estimate?
As for Mitterand; the French Government was an instigator of the genocide there and the paratroopers later protected the murderers as they fled.
You watch the Sunday talking heads and its going to be all vote count and politics all the time, not a peep of um what is our sovereign national interest, will this be militarily or politically effective in theater, etc, etc, bit of R2P & Rwandan guilt tossed in, not a peep of what it’ll look like in 2014 etc.
He said that a few hundred to capture the Interahamwe-backers in the Rwanda government and the high-level Interahamwe-leaders and militia coordinators and the government’s Interahamwe radio station would have been enough to preVENT the genocide. Those few hundred (plus the UN troops already there) could then have used the detailed maps to find and seize all the Interahamwe weapons caches.
Of course once all the Interahamwe members in the field began receiving their staged and paced rolling orders to get the weapons and begin their Interahamwe Holocaust of the Tutsis then it would indeed have required tens of thousands of fully armed and supported troops to try re-capturing all the weapons and killing all the killers-in-the-field as well as all their leaders and co-ordinators.
Probably not. There are aspects of it that in hindsight can lead one to believe it might have been easily prevented though.
The people were dependent on one, state controlled, radio station for most of their information, and were led to believe they were about to be attacked. Some feel such things can be easily reversed. I think Twain had it right: It’s twice as difficult to convince people they have been fooled than it is to fool them.
Btw, There is a good but largely unheralded movie that is based on the actions of the fearless Fra Vjeko (played by John Hurt) “Beyond The Gates”, aka “Shooting Dogs”.