US may be alone in attack on Syria

President using the “red line” thing:

Not a chance. Denmark loves a good war. The Danish (left-wing) government has been all but begging for the USA to make an official request for Danish participation. Today I heard an exasperated (socialist/marxist) Foreign Minister at least ten times say that we’re ready, but need an official request from the Americans. Goddamn it, we’re all dressed up. Give us someplace to invade, or at least bomb.

Well said MH. I hope Obama listens to you.

Well, there’s France and England and Russia . . . that would be traditional for you guys! :slight_smile:

But you have to use oar-driven dragon-prowed longboats, or it’s just not playing the game!

Well, I’ll have to rescind the bit of credit I was giving Obama. I’ve heard it oft-repeated that it was only administration underlings that had actually uttered the red line rhetoric, if Obama is using it too then he deserves unmitigated blame for how unwise it was. That isn’t a major change in how I view the situation, since even when I thought it was just administration underlings I saw the policy as emanating from the Oval Office in any case, so it wasn’t that material as to whether Obama had actually said it. I mostly wanted to avoid people arguing with me about what Obama did or didn’t say, but since there is actually a quote of him so clearly using the red line terminology that really settles that issue.

I’d rather the Nobel Peace Prize go to a peacemaker (which Obama has done by killing Bin Laden, decimating Al-Qaeda, and intervening in Libya) than a prattling fool who preaches peace but does nothing to bring it about.

What a silly response!

Yes, I am excited. We (the British public) have learned the lesson of Iraq and Afghanistan- military involvement rarely gives the outcome desired.

Yesterday lunchtime we were off to war with Syria- the Government proposal for debate today was for a carte blanche fo action. Over a ten hour period the Government was forced to rein back their ambitions and accept a delay as the LibDems, Labour and a third of their MPs made it clear that they did not have a majority. Not to mention the opinion polls!

Democracy in action. Sometimes there is wisdom in the crowd.

But after the Iraq and Afghan fiascos, Cameron was forced to agree that future military action would always occur only with the consent of Parliament. That consent has gone AWOL.

More like showing the fickleness and ignorance of most voters. For starters, air strikes in Syria are not remotely comparable to the ground wars waged in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In cases that are actually similar to Syria: Kosovo, Bosnia, Libya, the success rate is quite positive.

  1. We no longer respond to hysterical finger-pointing by States that have proven themselves willing to lie to our faces.

  2. We do not want to be stampeded into something without full discussion and without full possession of independently established and verified facts.

  3. We want it demonstrated what compelling national interest is at stake.

  4. We want to know what is the good this will achieve and what slippery slope we are stepping on to.

And a personal but widely shared 5. We don’t care. Put a dome over the Middle East for 5 years then shoot the one guy still standing, bloodied rock in hand. We’re sick of the whole thing. They’re going to try and kill each other over differing versions of Sky Fairies the first moment their local dicatator’s grip loosens anyway. Let them. There’s nothing we can do but make it worse.

It all depends on what is meant by ‘successful’. I note that Bosnia, Libya and Kosovo are now totally problem free after our intervention.

I wonder why we let millions die in Rwanda and get offended by a couple of hundred deaths in Syria.

Quite. Not sure we can stand any more ‘successes’ like Libya.

There’s more to foreign policy that blowing the cork off the bottle with a few cruise missiles and letting the genies fight it out.

This is a very apposite analysis. Assad and the Road to Al Qaeda

I understand the urge to ‘do something’ about chemical warfare if proven. I’m struggling to see what good is going to come out of it. The overthrow of Assad will just usher in the second phase of the civil war and hand the jihadists the keys to components of Assad’s armouries including WMD’s.

And I’m really not going to be taking the word of any western intelligence service on what happened. The Trust Boat sailed long ago on that sort of thing and nothing that has been done since has done anything to bring it sailing back into port. All the NSA/Prism stuff just erodes my trust further and now I just assume that by default I’m being lied to for ulterior motives until I see convincing, independent evidence to the contrary.

Syria isn’t Yugoslavia. No good would come from US involvement. Even the most surgical bombing to punish Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons would not shorten the conflict in any way nor aid any particular side. But I suppose “aid” is not the aim if “punish” is the goal.

Perhaps I’m a little behind the latest news cycle but what evidence is there that the chemical attack was ordered by Assad? I don’t doubt that chemical weapons were discharged, I’m just not convinced they were discharged by Assad. I can see two other possibilities. One is that a commander in the Syrian army acted independantly. The other is that the Syrian army lost control of some of these weapons and they were discharged by one of the rebel armies. Assad’s gov’t isn’t likely to admit either one of these scenarios because it would be an obvious signal that he’s loosing control (of these weapons) and thereby practically forcing intervention by US et al. His best option is to deny the use of chemical weapons regardless of what scenario took place.

I disagree. If a commander used them on his own initiative, Assad’s best bet would be to have him publicly executed, both to stop the rot and to send the right message to the global community. If the rebels managed to gain control of one of his launchers, that is trivially easy to spin: self-admitted allies of Al Qaeda are trying to obtain Weapons of Mass Destruction, so they can use them against civilian targets. That immediately makes Assad’s enemies America’s enemies.

Punishment *is *the goal. Or rather, deterrence.

There’s no way that American airstrikes will bring Assad down or save a single Syrian life. They may, however, make some other leader in some other country think twice about using chemical weapons in some point in the future, and that’s good enough for me.

What is silly is titling your thread “US may be alone in attack on Syria” rather than “Britain may opt out of attack on Syria”.

The latter would indicate your prime interest is in keeping your country out of the conflict; the former confirms your continuing obsessive focus on whatever you think will be damaging to U.S. interests (as seen in myriad previous threads you’ve started on perceived perfidies of the United States).

Personally, I doubt any short-term Clinton-style attacks on Syrian military infrastructure (especially since they’ve been telegraphed in the media) will have
much positive effect. I think it’s a good thing Obama has been cautious about getting embroiled in yet another Middle East conflict.

Assad’s enemies (Al Nusra/AQ) are already America’s enemies. No-one is confusing them with US allies, nor will their gaining control of CW’s suddenly make Assad America’s friend.

Things can’t be easy for Assad right now. He is winning by some accounts but he’s not making it look easy. The sure way things could get worse for him right now is if America intervenes in any way. He can’t afford to show anything but strength and control of the situation, including his complete control (and yes, even limited use) of chemical weapons.

Hussain used chemical weapons on the Kurds and the US invaded Iraq under the pretense of WMD’s (yeah, I know…). Assad has WMD’s and he appears to be “some other leader in some other country” who is not thinking twice about using chemical weapons.

The U.S. invaded Iraq 15 years after the last time it had used chemical weapons, *and *after it no longer had any chemical weapons left. I’m not surprised it wasn’t very successful as deterrence.