Several Cogent Points


– The president should not be allowed to take the US to war on his own authority when there is not an ongoing national emergency. The WH is saying that the War Powers Act allows POTUS to do so within the reporting requirements of the act. There should be a court challenge to this assertion of presidential power. Who would have “standing” to bring such a suit?

– The Congress should be encouraged to question even more deeply the supposed “evidence” produced by perjurers like Clapper and humanitarian war hawks like Kerry and Rice. 

– Israel is evidently the source of ambiguous SIGINT regarding Syrian military activities. The administration must make this SIGINT public if it is to claim that it is true.  We should want to examine it before we accept it.  Presumably it is unencrypted voice and not very sensitive.

– There is reporting indicating that residents of the area struck on the 21st believe that Saudi supported rebels were involved in what may have been a “provocation” that got out of control. The name of Bandar bin Sultan comes to mind.

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24 Responses to Several Cogent Points

  1. jonst says:

    Regards the “standing”. I would say Congress is the best answer. And it should not be mistaken for a ‘good’ answer. This has been tried before and has failed each time. However, the political winds, as opposed to the legal winds, might be better suited to the task. And political winds can impact legal winds. See Richard Nixon.
    If citizens (unless that title has been permanently changed to ‘consumers’) try it it will get bogged down in litigation for the next 3 years. Congress however–in theory– may be able to seek an injunction. But it is a long shot.
    I suppose they could try impeachment…but that would become a pier six brawl in which the underlying trigger for the fight would long be forgotten. Now, if one high ranking military officer resigned on the grounds he or she would not execute an illegal order…..who knows what could come of it in the public arena.
    It’s clear one would need a group of clear headed, courageous, and original thinkers to pull off something to legally stop any military action. So…that leaves most of DC out of it.

  2. Fred says:

    So the Obama adminstration has definitive proof that a unit of the Syrian Army used chemical weapons on the 21st.
    What unit of the Syrian Army is that? What is the name of the commanding officer? Who was the officer in charge at the time? Who was the senior NCO?
    If the Syrian government, when presented with the ‘proof’, takes legal action against any or all of these individuals for their direct conduct or deriliction of duty in preventing this conduct that will be acceptable? If the answer is no then what can we expect the next time a criminal like SGT Bales commits a crime? Does that mean President Obama and his political advisors believe the entire US Army should be held accountable for the criminial conduct of individuals within its ranks? Perhaps President Obama believes that some people really do deserve separate but equal treatment.
    Then again lets not forget that the source of this intelligence is Israel – the same nation that helped unleaseh the Suxtnet virus on Iran. Do they have the capability of unleashing a fake order to a Syrian Army unit to fire its weapons at a designated target?… Nah, that would be way too difficult to believe.

  3. jdgalvez says:

    Mostly in agreement with you on this. Perhaps on the requirement to go to Congress as well–maybe this should have come up more recently than 1942 (was that not the last time Congress declared war?). But how are the presumed missile strikes different from the recent action in Libya? Should the same action have been taken then?

  4. Matthew says:

    Col: Until the the Saudi Royals (the “head of the snake”) are overthrown, the Middle East will continue to flounder.

  5. Fred,
    Very cogent points. It may also be worth bringing into the picture the fact that claims have been made about both Israeli and U.S. SIGINT, which appear to be in tension, if not indeed in conflict. On 27 August, the Times of Israel reported:
    ‘According to the Focus report Saturday, a squad specializing in wire-tapping within the IDF’s prestigious 8200 intelligence unit intercepted a conversation between high-ranking regime officials regarding the use of chemical agents at the time of the attack. The report, which cited an ex-Mossad official who insisted on remaining anonymous, said the intercepted conversation proved that Assad’s regime was responsible for the use of nonconventional weapons.’
    (See )
    According to the report by Noah Schachtman on the site of Foreign Policy magazine on the same day:
    ‘Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services, The Cable has learned. And that is the major reason why American officials now say they’re certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime — and why the U.S. military is likely to attack that regime in a matter of days.
    ‘But the intercept raises questions about culpability for the chemical, even as it answers others: Was the attack on Aug. 21 the work of a Syrian officer overstepping his bounds? Or was the strike explicitly directed by senior members of the Assad regime? “It’s unclear where control lies,” one U.S. intelligence official told The Cable. “Is there just some sort of general blessing to use these things? Or are there explicit orders for each attack?”’
    ( )
    So it is suggested that we have two conversations, with the claims made about the one supposed to have been recorded by U.S. intelligence contradicting head-on the claims made by the one supposed to have been recorded by the Israelis.
    Is there any compelling reason why transcripts and audio of both conversations cannot be published, presuming that they exist?

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think you have a good point on the this chain of command/chain of responsibility.
    One could, for example, advocate the overthrow of the Government of the United States based on a consistent pattern of lynching of Black men all over US for over 80 years.
    Likewise, one could have demanded, under some sort of “Responsibility to Protect” or “Humanitarian Law” the indictment and trial of members of the British Government – all the way to the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury – for a consistent pattern of famine in the territories under their rule – Ireland and India.
    (Once the English left India, famines stopped.)
    Of course, this is all farce; Saddam Hussein and his government were protected by US and UK in a blatant case of gassing of Iranians and Kurds.

  7. Charles I says:

    And after cutting off, what, 20,000 royal heads, who stands in actual institutional control?

  8. cloned_poster says:

    David Cameron accused Ed Miliband of siding with Russia and letting down the United States over Syria in an acrimonious phone call made between the leaders a day before the Commons votes against intervention in Syria, according to Labour sources.
    Plot thickens.

  9. no one says:

    Rand Paul was interviewed last night on FOX and he appears to be stepping up to the plate. He even made some references to impeachment and Biden, as head of the Senate, having to impeach himself.
    Americans don’t want a military nterventon in Syria. This is the GOP’s big opportunity. They can kill this and they get probably get Obama Care and a few other stones in their shoes eliminated as well as collateral bonus. The smart move, politically, is to challenge Obama’s authority and shoot him down. It will happen because it is in the GOP’s best interest.

  10. ZG says:

    I realize this is stating the obvious, but the exact wording of the transcript of the alleged ‘panicked phone calls’ matters. How would we expect Syrian military and government officials to respond to a rebel false flag chemical attack? Would they not be making ‘panicked phone calls’ trying to ascertain what was going on, fearful that they would get blamed?
    After watching Obama and his senior intelligence officials lie point blank to Congress and the American people, I have zero inclination to give them the benefit of the doubt. They are lying until proven otherwise. Also, any security official who takes ‘intelligence’ from the Israelis at face value, especially in a case like this where their interests are so incredibly transparent and diverge so radically from our own, is at best criminally incompetent and should have their employment terminated.

  11. Matthew says:

    Charles: Anyone would be an improvement.

  12. elkern says:

    TWIL wrote the WH & our Senators today, then called the WH. Actually got through to a person (a very nice volunteer), who said that they were swamped with calls on Syria (and that there had been a fire drill this morning?!)

  13. WP says:

    This is NOT evidence, this is just assertions. Where are the recordings?

  14. Fred says:

    you’ve just pointed out the problems with the “Responsibility to Protect” theory. Government of, by and for the People of the United States is just that; it does not provide an obligation to the US government to protect and serve everyone on the planet.

  15. elkern says:

    ME will countinue to flounder after House of Saud goes up in flames, but that’s no reason to avoid lighting the match. Well, unless you like (relatively) cheap gasoline. Chaos in SA could double the price in the short run (that’s a wild guess, not an estimate).
    What can we do to expose the covert alliance between SA & Israel which drives US policy in ME? Nobody likes SA…

  16. Fred says:

    David I think there is another even more important issue to this entire enterprise, at least for Americans. That is the question of when can the President of the United States order the US military to attack a sovereign state that has not attacked the United States without the direct consent of Congress. The President is claiming he can do this at will and that the other equal branches of government under our Constitution are powerless to stop him. Coupled with the ‘R2P’ doctrine of his liberal backers (and others) this is a carte blanche for any President now and in the future to do the same thing. Perhaps we should just change the title of office to Princeps and give up all the other gifts God gave us. It is damned disgraceful to see the cowardice of 535 elected officials in Washington as the bloviate about the need for killing people in Syria who did not attack our nation (regardless of what they did within their own) all while abandoning their own sworn obligations to our Constitution.

  17. jonst says:

    I think the evidence is thin regarding the US and CW attacks in Iraq under Hussein’s regime. I am not dismissing it totally. I am saying I think it thin. At best.

  18. Fred says:

    What is your take on the Queen’s thoughts on this particular war? I believe that the Government is in her name even if her power is symbolic more than political. Any chance she would comment on the pending action by the Prime Minister or has UK military action been mooted by the recent vote in Parliament? If I’m off base please let me know. My knowledge of the details of UK government is only slightly above the laymen’s.

  19. Al Arabist says:

    It depends how much money he was paid. Lots of money is circulating. Doubtful but possible.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    US and UK protected Iraq at UNSC; I believe that much is “thick”.
    But it matters not; the damage is done; US President expressing his red-line about Chemical Weapons is laughable.
    I recall a similar question from Ted Koppel – addressed to a US Official – when Iraq’s Army gassed the Kurds whereby the US Official was trying to protect Iraq – I suppose that was his marching orders.
    It would have been comic had the subject not been so grave.

  21. Fred,
    I think we are pretty clearly out of this now.
    As to the Queen, this is precisely the kind of issue on which she would not make her views known. The monarchy has survived into the twenty-first century because she does not have to identify with one side or another on issues which deeply divide the nation, and goes to great trouble to avoid doing so.
    What she would think on the merits of this issue I could not guess – and she, unlike her subjects, would have seen crucial intelligence reports. I do think however that she might well take overwhelming public opposition as a strong reason for caution.

  22. David H! She is married to a highly decorated NAVAL OFFICER whose decorations were well earned in combat not at a desk.

  23. Fred says:

    David, thank you very much for your reply. I believe the Queen is far more savvy a leader than many giver her credit for. Congratulations to your Parliament, at least some of them have courage. It is sadly lacking in ours.

  24. C Berg says:

    Not so. The GOP’s top interest is satisfying AIPAC. That is the true guarantor of each’s own office in Congress. AIPAC will win and give us a Yom Kippur War.

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