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Old 06-17-2016, 12:57 PM
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State Department officials call for US military action against Assad


CNN reports that State Department officials are calling for U.S. military action against Assad regime

Quote:
More than 50 State Department officials signed an internal memo protesting U.S. policy in Syria, calling for targeted U.S. military strikes against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and urging regime change as the only way to defeat ISIS.
Should Obama follow this advice or reject it?

Personally I think the advice is foolhardy and dangerous, risking confrontation with the Russians, who would certainly nt sit idly by while their ally was attacked. And to what end? The regime represents a substantial number of Syrians who aren't just going to disappear when Assad falls.

Have these people learned nothing from the disaster that was Iraq post-Saddam?
  #2  
Old 06-17-2016, 12:58 PM
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The headline should read "State Department Officials call for nulcear war. Cause thats what they are going to get if this happens.
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Old 06-17-2016, 01:33 PM
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The headline should read "State Department Officials call for nulcear war. Cause thats what they are going to get if this happens.
Really? How does that work? An Apache helicopter destroys one of Assad's tanks, and Putin launches hundreds of missiles at Washington, DC?
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Old 06-17-2016, 01:53 PM
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Really? How does that work? An Apache helicopter destroys one of Assad's tanks, and Putin launches hundreds of missiles at Washington, DC?
An Apache Sqd destroys a column of Syrian Arab Army, killing amongst others Russian Special Forces. Putin orders the VVS to provide cover for Russians and they shoot down American planes, which results in the US attacking Russian Airbases in Syria, the Russians retaliate by sinking a CV in the Med, the Amewricans launch strikes against the Russian Naval Base........... and so on until it ends with Minuteman on a 30 kin flight to Russia.
  #5  
Old 06-17-2016, 01:57 PM
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Did Tom Clancy write that for you?

Nobody's destroying the world over Syria. It's not that important to either side.

ETA: The Russians could sink 8 carriers and it doesn't mean there would be nuclear war. I mean, get real.

Last edited by Ravenman; 06-17-2016 at 01:58 PM.
  #6  
Old 06-17-2016, 02:33 PM
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So the Russians kill tens of thousands of American sailors, and we shrug it off?
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:48 PM
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So the Russians kill tens of thousands of American sailors, and we shrug it off?
If they fight conventionally, we fight conventionally.
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:55 PM
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We've done more than enough military adventuring in that part of the world. I would bring our troops home and stay the hell out of it. People have been killing each other over there for thousands of years, and will likely still be at it at the heat death of the universe.
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:57 PM
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You must have heard that on Fox news because I know it to be a heinous lie. Why just the other day I see Obama on the tube telling me the Syrian situation was settled down and we were winning.
  #10  
Old 06-17-2016, 03:00 PM
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Alas, the right time to take down Assad was back when he originally crossed the chemical-weapons "redline." Before Russia was on the field.
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:07 PM
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Obama has been rejecting that advice for years now ... I don't see him changing his mind until November ...
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:12 PM
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Haven't we all seen a movie with this exact same plot before?
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Old 06-17-2016, 04:05 PM
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We've done more than enough military adventuring in that part of the world. I would bring our troops home and stay the hell out of it. People have been killing each other over there for thousands of years, and will likely still be at it at the heat death of the universe.
I would imagine that leaving isn't quite as easy as it looks. There are consequences for leaving. I don't know if we have a choice though.
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Old 06-17-2016, 04:07 PM
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It seems that whenever we take out some dictator who kills and tortures have the people, some religious weirdos take over and kill and torture everyone.
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Old 06-17-2016, 04:59 PM
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You'd think we'd learn taking out the strong man and plunging the country into civil war doesn't work very well. Syria is already in civil war with who knows how many inside and outside factions in play. How is getting rid of Assad supposed to help?

We should probably help Assad reestablish control, stop the mass exodus of refugees and go back to nagging about democratic reforms.
  #16  
Old 06-17-2016, 05:43 PM
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Yes, it's a really great idea to kill dozens or hundreds of Russians in attacking Assad. Brilliant. Can't wait to see how that plays out.
  #17  
Old 06-17-2016, 05:56 PM
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Because we didn't learn our lesson in Iraq? ISIS will effectively become the government of Syria without Assad.
  #18  
Old 06-17-2016, 06:18 PM
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With some emphaiss added
Quote:
The 51 officials who signed the memo are mostly from the rank and file of the department, many of them career officers in the foreign service who have been involved in Syria policy over the past several years either in Washington or overseas.
There are no high-level names but they reflect a widespread view in the State Department that tougher military action in Syria is needed to force Assad to negotiate a diplomatic solution. Secretary of State John Kerry himself has advocated a more muscular U.S. military posture in Syria to force Assad to negotiate a political settlement.
Okay so there's 51 as opposed to 13,000 Foreign Service employees and 11,000 Civil Service employees (according to wiki). The best CNN can do is try to equate the fringe views of a tiny minority of junior folks that want to go full on regime change to department leadership that is leaning towards an unspecified more aggressive stance without going that far. That overall stance isn't new. This memo really isn't meaningful news either. The memo does offer a chance to use some hyperbole and implication to drive traffic.

Slow news day CNN?!? Needed to get clicks up?
  #19  
Old 06-17-2016, 06:25 PM
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I would imagine that leaving isn't quite as easy as it looks. There are consequences for leaving. I don't know if we have a choice though.
I'm far from convinced that the consequences from leaving would be worse than the consequences for staying.
  #20  
Old 06-17-2016, 08:59 PM
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. . . We should probably help Assad reestablish control, stop the mass exodus of refugees and go back to nagging about democratic reforms.
The utter hell of it is...yeah, that would make more sense than destabilizing him further (which benefits ISIS more than anyone else!)

It could be part of a deal: if he stops killing civilians, we'll stop blowing up his equipment. He might even go for it!
  #21  
Old 06-17-2016, 09:10 PM
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But he's already wrecked his country. The non-ISIL people that have been at war with him for years now, had their families gassed and barrel bombed, houses destroyed, forced to flee, and so on aren't just going to lay down their arms and agree to live under Assad just because the US is freaked out over ISIL. For one thing, they know that Assad's secret police would just round them all up and either imprison or execute them for being terrorists, even if their only motivation was to carry the Arab Spring to Damascus.

The State Department people are completely right in one respect: there's no future for Syira that involves Assad staying and any kind of end to the civil war. The problem is that they have the wrong suggestion on how to hasten his departure.
  #22  
Old 06-17-2016, 09:16 PM
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The State Department people are completely right in one respect: there's no future for Syira
This part is right, at least.

Syria is already fucked. It is inconceivable that it will ever be a productive state again, in any shape, form or fashion. The only real question is not how to manage the disaster.

I say they line up defenses on every border and just kill everyone trying to leave. Start torpedoing the refugee boats. Problem solved. The little shitheads can rot in their fucked up non-country for all I care. Fixing it is not now and never was our problem.
  #23  
Old 06-17-2016, 09:37 PM
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You'd think we'd learn taking out the strong man and plunging the country into civil war doesn't work very well.
The Shah of Iran was an asshole, but he was our asshole.

We need to work on that sort of thing. Limit the number of citizens you can torture and murder. The best of a bad deal.
  #24  
Old 06-17-2016, 09:43 PM
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I'm far from convinced that the consequences from leaving would be worse than the consequences for staying.
I'm not either, but I could possibly see how the State Department might have a different view. Part of their "diplomacy" is predicated on the projection of American power. If the US abandons Syria and the entire Middle East without any favorable results, it diminishes America's ability to project power. People will see the hollowness of American power. If Assad survives this, which he probably will, then the axis of Syria, Iran, and Russia emerge stronger, and the US becomes weaker, both in the Gulf and in Europe. And in East Asia as well. In reality, an America that has to rely more on negotiating for what it wants and building stronger political coalitions is not a bad turn of events, but for careerists in the State Department who are used to doing it their way, it's probably hard to fathom that world. It's probably even a little scary.

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  #25  
Old 06-17-2016, 10:08 PM
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If Asad is taken out, some meaner, nastier folks will run the place.
  #26  
Old 06-17-2016, 10:12 PM
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. . . I say they line up defenses on every border and just kill everyone trying to leave. Start torpedoing the refugee boats. Problem solved. The little shitheads can rot in their fucked up non-country for all I care. Fixing it is not now and never was our problem.
Jeez, if you're gonna be extreme, be productively extreme: give every refugee a submachine gun and two grenades, and send them back in. Airdrop crates of guns and grenades. Weaponize those refugees! Why waste them by killing them, when you can get them to kill each other.

People are never practical about these things...
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Old 06-17-2016, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
CNN reports that State Department officials are calling for U.S. military action against Assad regime



Should Obama follow this advice or reject it?

Personally I think the advice is foolhardy and dangerous, risking confrontation with the Russians, who would certainly nt sit idly by while their ally was attacked. And to what end? The regime represents a substantial number of Syrians who aren't just going to disappear when Assad falls.

Have these people learned nothing from the disaster that was Iraq post-Saddam?
You expect Russia to go to war with the US over Syria?? And use nuclear weapons??? Seriously?
  #28  
Old 06-17-2016, 10:24 PM
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Should Obama follow this advice or reject it?
Reject it.

Quote:
Have these people learned nothing from the disaster that was Iraq post-Saddam?
Apples to orangutans comparison.
  #29  
Old 06-17-2016, 10:28 PM
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That's actually quite a rebuke. It doesn't make it less so to calculate some % of the whole staff of the State Dept. In theory there's no career retaliation for using this mechanism of dissent, but let's be real. It takes strong conviction to risk using it in reality, and it's not a handful of people.

It doesn't really give direct ammo to rightist populist critics of Obama on Syria though, for example Trump. Among his various contradictory statements the general theme I get is that we'd lean more toward Assad, and definitely be less confrontational w/ Putin.

I think the protest would most practically be interpreted as an opinion on what we *should have* done. It's debatable whether we should have, back in the 'red line' days. But attacking Assad once we've allowed a power vacuum to form into which Russia put its forces directly, would seem obviously unfavorable in risk/reward.

Anyway there's no way anything will happen between now and next president.

Last edited by Corry El; 06-17-2016 at 10:29 PM.
  #30  
Old 06-18-2016, 03:53 AM
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You expect Russia to go to war with the US over Syria?? And use nuclear weapons??? Seriously?
Care to point out just where in my post I said anything about a nuclear holocaust?
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Old 06-18-2016, 05:02 AM
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The regime represents a substantial number of Syrians who aren't just going to disappear when Assad falls.
Oh they'll disappear alright.
  #32  
Old 06-18-2016, 05:17 AM
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Obama has been rejecting that advice for years now ... I don't see him changing his mind until November ...
Yeah. If we were going to do this, we should have done it years ago, before the Russians showed up and Daesh got really dug in. Going in now just leads to a direct conflict with Russia over a country we don't actually care about (provided they leave Isreal alone.)
  #33  
Old 06-18-2016, 07:52 AM
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Did anyone else click on the OP's link, look at the picture and think it was an advert for The Walking Dead?

There are enough militarily strong countries in the region who are much, much more threatened by Da-esh than we are. If they are not willing to take on the job, I sure as hell don't want to do their dirty work for them. And once you get past the region, you have Europe, which is also much more threatened by Da-esh than we are.

No, I think we should sit this one out. But thanks for the invite!

And Obama isn't going to start a war just before the election. And he's not going to start one after the election. He already told us, explicitly, that getting rid of Da-esh was going to be left for some future president. He has no taste for war, but he's not politically strong enough to just stay the fuck out. Hence the one foot in position we're in now.

Last edited by John Mace; 06-18-2016 at 07:55 AM.
  #34  
Old 06-18-2016, 08:58 AM
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And Obama isn't going to start a war just before the election. And he's not going to start one after the election. He already told us, explicitly, that getting rid of Da-esh was going to be left for some future president. He has no taste for war, but he's not politically strong enough to just stay the fuck out. Hence the one foot in position we're in now.
Assad's use of unconventional weapons probably complicated matters. If there was ever a humanitarian case to be made for military intervention, that was it. Obama looks indifferent for not intervening at all. At the same time, it has probably always been in our interests to keep out of Syria and Assad in power, if for no other reason than to give Iraq a chance to find its footing and to limit the spread of instability in neighboring countries. So now Obama looks stupid for getting involved. A classic case of being damned if he doesn't, damned if he does.
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Old 06-18-2016, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
CNN reports that State Department officials are calling for U.S. military action against Assad regime



Should Obama follow this advice or reject it?

Personally I think the advice is foolhardy and dangerous, risking confrontation with the Russians, who would certainly nt sit idly by while their ally was attacked. And to what end? The regime represents a substantial number of Syrians who aren't just going to disappear when Assad falls.

Have these people learned nothing from the disaster that was Iraq post-Saddam?
You left out Libya and Gaddafi.

It's not in our interest to remove Assad.
  #36  
Old 06-18-2016, 09:55 AM
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Assad's use of unconventional weapons probably complicated matters. If there was ever a humanitarian case to be made for military intervention, that was it. Obama looks indifferent for not intervening at all. At the same time, it has probably always been in our interests to keep out of Syria and Assad in power, if for no other reason than to give Iraq a chance to find its footing and to limit the spread of instability in neighboring countries. So now Obama looks stupid for getting involved. A classic case of being damned if he doesn't, damned if he does.
Well, leaving all that aside (and not saying it's unimportant, but just leaving it aside for a minute), why is it our business to go around trying to fix shit in the world? Why do Americans have this sense that if there is some problem somewhere in the world, we're either the cause or the solution or both?
  #37  
Old 06-18-2016, 11:00 AM
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[off-topic] A single sentence from that article appears to contain three proofreading errors, including one that reverses a meaning.
Quote:
The internal memo was sent throughout the "dissent channel," a mechanism for State Department officials to offer alternative views on foreign policy without freedom from retaliation or retaliation. [my emphasis]
  #38  
Old 06-18-2016, 11:01 AM
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Care to point out just where in my post I said anything about a nuclear holocaust?
Sorry...for some reason I quoted your post when that was meant as a response to AK84's 1st post in the thread. No idea how that happened.
  #39  
Old 06-18-2016, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Chihuahua View Post
This part is right, at least.

Syria is already fucked. It is inconceivable that it will ever be a productive state again, in any shape, form or fashion. The only real question is not how to manage the disaster.

I say they line up defenses on every border and just kill everyone trying to leave. Start torpedoing the refugee boats. Problem solved. The little shitheads can rot in their fucked up non-country for all I care. Fixing it is not now and never was our problem.
This sort of wishing death on large numbers of innocent people is clearly trolling.

This is a Warning that such behavior is not acceptable.

[ /Moderating ]
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Old 06-18-2016, 02:54 PM
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There is no easy answer to Syria.. Killing Assad will do absolutely nothing to stop the slaughter, after all the Alawites see this war as a war for their very own survival (meaning, a must win)

What needs to happen is for the US and Russia (with Iran on the bleachers) to sit down and find another person to replace him that is tolerable. This person: 1) must not be Assad, 2) must guarantee no ethnic cleansing

The refugee crisis is probably something Assad & his thugs don't mind that much, since its basically getting rid of a whole lot of possible sunnis/others that could potentially rebel again..
  #41  
Old 06-19-2016, 02:01 AM
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You'd think we'd learn taking out the strong man and plunging the country into civil war doesn't work very well. Syria is already in civil war with who knows how many inside and outside factions in play. How is getting rid of Assad supposed to help?

We should probably help Assad reestablish control, stop the mass exodus of refugees and go back to nagging about democratic reforms.
Assad ~started~ this war as a rejection of democratic reforms. Neither peace nor democracy can possibly come to the former Syria with him in the picture.

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If Asad is taken out, some meaner, nastier folks will run the place.
There are no such people.

Last edited by Peremensoe; 06-19-2016 at 02:04 AM.
  #42  
Old 06-19-2016, 05:03 AM
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Why do Americans have this sense that if there is some problem somewhere in the world, we're either the cause or the solution or both?
We're a global power. We act globally. Our choosing to act or not to act has global consequences. We influence things all around the globe, even without trying. Even without wanting. It comes with being a global superpower. We're not just a superpower when it's convenient.
  #43  
Old 06-19-2016, 06:48 AM
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There are no such people.
Mr. al-Baghdadi would like a word.
  #44  
Old 06-19-2016, 07:28 AM
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We're a global power. We act globally. Our choosing to act or not to act has global consequences. We influence things all around the globe, even without trying. Even without wanting. It comes with being a global superpower. We're not just a superpower when it's convenient.
I reject that notion. That just gives every other country in the world the excuse to have us do their dirty work. No thanks. The president is not required to say things like "Assad must go" or create some red line that gets crossed with impunity. We can be large and powerful without sticking our noses into everyone else's business. And in fact, I'd prefer we were NOT so large and powerful, militarily.

Last edited by John Mace; 06-19-2016 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 06-19-2016, 08:24 AM
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While I'm inclined to think the State Dept employees are right about Assad, I don't like the idea of State urging warfare. Not their area of expertise, not their job. If the generals want to give The President that kind of advice, that's fine. We are actually at war in Syria, and they have the expertise to tell the President how best to win that war.
  #46  
Old 06-19-2016, 08:28 AM
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Let's keep in mind that these are lower level folks, Not Kerry and his staff. How many other officials at State are there, operating at the same level, who did NOT sign onto this advice?
  #47  
Old 06-19-2016, 09:18 AM
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Mr. al-Baghdadi would like a word.
He should give Assad a lot of credit as a recruiter for him. But even with the help of those the regime drove into his arms, Daesh has not managed to kill nearly as many as Assad has.
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Old 06-19-2016, 10:36 AM
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Assad ~started~ this war as a rejection of democratic reforms. Neither peace nor democracy can possibly come to the former Syria with him in the picture.
I seem to recall he was toying with new elections and open to the possibility of a reform here or there. Then students decided to start an Arab Spring and the US was all over that. Cracking down on your student protesters gets you yelled at, it's not starting a war. Are we at war with the Saudis? They're no better. Russia wants to keep Assad in power and then have elections. Sounds like a better plan than ours. Syria, as we can all see now, if full of extremists. No wonder Assad was such a hard ass. He had to be.
  #49  
Old 06-19-2016, 10:56 AM
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lev -- your memory that the US instigated the civil war isn't only wrong, it's bizarrely off base. Assad began shooting protesters basically one day one, and the protesters turned quickly into armed groups.
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Old 06-19-2016, 11:06 AM
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lev -- your memory that the US instigated the civil war isn't only wrong, it's bizarrely off base. Assad began shooting protesters basically one day one, and the protesters turned quickly into armed groups.
I didn't say we started the civil war. We did support the Arab Spring.
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