We Should Fight In Syria! There! I said it!

syria.630We have to stop Assad from using chemical weapons on his own people!

As I state that I feel like I’m being attacked by the Right who want to crucify Obama with the same arguments sane people used against Bush and his disaster known as the Iraq War. I’m under attack from the Left who want no war at any cost, and I’m even under attack from my co-blogger here at STL, Paul Phillips.

Now I don’t care about any lack of evidence that isn’t 100% collected or any unfinished investigations. I don’t care about power vacuums and the who’s and what’s about Al-Quaida amongst the Syrian rebel forces.

What I am confident about, judging by all the evidence I’ve seen, is that most likely Assad is behind these attacks despite what the pundits on the isolationist sides say.

And I can’t stand seeing anymore vids on T.V. and the internet of babies being carried into hospitals limp and lifeless, or choking on the affects of the chemical attack. I can’t stand seeing anymore vids of long rows of shrouded corpses with no blood traceable through those white shrouds.

Now I know there will be civilian deaths associated with our strikes against Assad. And I know he may increase his use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people in an attempt to curb the American attacks. But something has to be done.

As you can tell by reading into this post this far that I am very emotional about this issue and, in all honesty, I may not be the best person to be in the White House making these decisions. But I can’t stand seeing anymore babies, choking to death, at the hands of the murderer Assad.

Maybe it’s revolutionary Guevar-ist in me, and contrary to many Leftists, there is a place for violence in the maybe not-so-sure realm of politics. Let the Syrians choose who they want to fill that power vacuum. Is that our decision or theirs? And I don’t know what the best strategy would be to attack Assad with would be. That’s the Pentagon’s job, not mine despite the fact that I think I know everything. I’m rarely handing it off to the boys and girls in uniform.

We have do something and I can’t believe so many are against this righteous action.


Why Doesn’t the U.S. Wait for U.N. Test Results in Syria Before Striking?

As the apparent fervor to blow stuff up in the U.S. government can no longer be stymied, I can’t help but wonder: why the rush?

Obviously, the argument “because people are dying” is ridiculous in the case of Syria since 100k people have died and no military action has been taken yet.  And we also know the previous chemical attacks have very possibly and likely come from the rebel forces themselves and not the Assad regime.

It seems waiting a few more days until the results of the U.N. inspectors can be confirmed would be rather wise in this situation.  We are hearing from the likes of John Kerry and Chuck Hagel the U.S. has intelligence confirming it was the Assad regime that used chemical weapons last week but none is being produced at the moment.  And since they haven’t claimed it to be a “slam-dunk” yet, we should probably make sure we aren’t fooled again.

Even VP Biden has stated the Syrian government is the only force in the war capable of using chemical weapons, which is a rather bizarre statement considering we know the U.S. government has been paying contractors to train rebels to handle chemical weapons for quite a while.  And the rebels have captured a chemical plant, as reported by Der Spiegel:

Assad supporters also pointed out that the extremist Al-Nusra Front, which his aligned with al-Qaida, had gained control of the region east of Damascus and captured a chlorine gas plant there.

But experts doubt the rebels could have weaponized the chemicals found there. As poison gas specialist Stephen Johnson points out, enormous amounts of chemical agents are needed to kill hundreds of people, a feat impossible for the insurgents to pull off.

“Impossible” assuming they are untrained, which we know isn’t entirely true.

Then, there is the possibility some chemical weapons have made their way from Libya to Syria and, depending how much of a conspiracy theorist you may be, this may have been a residual factor in the whole Benghazi situation.  We know chemical weapons, including sarin gas, survived the fall of Qaddafi and we’re pretty sure the CIA was selling weapons to Syrian rebels in Libya.  Speculate for yourself.

Waiting a few more days for the results seems like the better option since they will seemingly be rather definitive, as reported in Foreign Policy:

While Sellstrom cannot explicitly say whether the Assad regime or the rebels conducted the attack, he can release information that would strongly implicate one party or the other — allowing U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to make the actual accusation.

The Syrian regime has been developing chemical weapons for decades; it has been Damascus’s strategy for offsetting the threat posed by the Israeli nuclear program. As a result, Duelfer said, the regime has acquired some extremely sophisticated systems for maintaining its stockpiles — adding chemical stabilizers to its toxic agents, for example, and creating binary munitions that mix the precursors to create a toxic agent after the rocket or mortar has been fired. “[I]f they find little bits of rockets or artillery shells with that degree of sophistication, it will point toward the Syrian military,” Duelfer said.

Meanwhile, if the toxic agent used in Damascus is found not to have included chemical stabilizers and the delivery method is more rudimentary, that may tilt the argument toward the side of Russia and the Assad regime.

Rushing to fire on Syria without knowing for sure who used chemical weapons last week creates a very important question that we should an answer for before launching the first missile: what will the Syrian population (and surrounding Middle-Eastern populations) think of the U.S. if it is discovered the sarin originated from a rebel group?  Are we prepared to deal with that possibility?

This isn’t to say the international community should ignore the situation and nothing should be done.  But we should certainly question whether we are making the right decision considering all the muddiness of the past and if this is the best decision in the long term.

Speech By Chomsky

noam_chomsky2-620x412Here is a transcript of a recent speech delivered by Noam Chomsky in Bonn, Germany, at DW Global Media Forum, Bonn, Germany.

He covers many topics, as usual, but most orbit around the difference between real democracy and RECD: Really existing capitalist democracy. A must read.

Read Here.

Climate change: Scientists now 95 percent certain we are mostly to blame – CSMonitor.com

Climate change: Scientists now 95 percent certain we are mostly to blame – CSMonitor.com.

A few key points from the piece:

Certainty over the human role has increase from “very likely” to “extremely likely,” a verbal shift representing 90 percent certainly in 2007 to 95 percent for this round of reports.

Another factor that should be kept in mind is the caution climate scientists typically have when reporting their findings.  It should always be noted and those of us who aren’t climate scientists should realize the findings they do release are more scrutinized than we probably think:

For instance, when the first working group’s volume was released in 2007, researchers criticized it for failing to include in its sea-level projections the contributions from melting ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland. The working group didn’t include those because they weren’t well understood. Yet research published after the deadline for that report indicated that the melting appeared to be increasing.

And one last point of interest relating to the sun and ongoing research:

Solar physicists have been looking at trends in sun-spot behavior and characteristics over the past decade and have raised the possibility that when the current sun-spot cycle peaks in the next few months, the sun could enter an unusually long period where it generates few, if any sunspots.

Some climate scientists have looked at the potential impact of such an event and concluded that it likely would delay additional global warming – but only until the sun returned to more-normal swings in sun-spot activity.


Why is Syria Using Chemical Weapons?

22syria-cnd-articleInlineAccording to the latest reports, like this one in the NYT, al-Assad’s regime conducted an attack yesterday in Syria using a nerve-agent against the rebel forces there. Now these reports could be untrue for al-Assad and his staunch ally
Russia, claim that these are false reports transmitted by the rebels in an effort to provoke the U.S. and other Western powers to aid them in their fight against the loyalists and Hezbollah. But according to what I’ve seen today, unlike other times the rebellion has claimed to have video of victims of nerve gas, these look very convincing.

Now, if the al-Assad loyalists and Hezbollah are really using WMD’s against the rebels now, I have one question: Why?

The ruling regime is winning the war. They have Russia backing them almost 100%. Why would they risk the advantageous position they currently hold when using chemical weapons may provoke the U.S. and the U.N. into taking action against them? Why would they cross Pres. Obama’s metaphorical “red line” that he has drawn regarding the use of chemical weapons?

I know that crazy things happen in war. And maybe the use of a chemical weapon was not ordered from high-above but by a low-level officer and that is why al-Assad and Russia are denying ithese reports so vehemently. Maybe some even lower-level troops put together what was reported by the NYT, a make-shift missile which was launched in this attack because they just got tired of seeing their buddies killed and opted for revenge instead of a more rational approach to war.

But maybe the regime is that irrational for killing your own citizens is always an irrational act.

Two Challenges for Al-Jazeera America

Screen-Shot-2013-08-20-at-4.03.54-PMA short, yet good, post on The Post’s “World Views” blog by Mike Fischer proposing what he thinks will be the two major challenges for Al-Jazeera America as it debuts (earlier today at 3:00pm) on what was Current TV.

Read Here.

Banks Failing Fed “Stress Tests”

dbpix-fed-stress-tests-tmagArticleThough not all big banks tested received failing grades during the Federal Reserve’s “stress tests”, the result looks like the banks could be taking these new regulations more seriously after the beginning of the “Great Recession” in 2008.

Read Here.

Interesting Comments From Top Adviser to Iranian Leader

The top adviser to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dished out a few comments worth noting in an interview with the AP recently.  After reaffirming the Ayatollah, and not new the new president, always has the last word on what happens with the country’s nuclear ambitions, he stated:

Velayati said Iran will not again suspend enrichment because Tehran had a bitter experience when it did so in 2003 as a confidence-building measure.

“We stopped any kind of enrichment for two years. What was the result? Nothing. Every day they used to put an extra claim on their former claims. Why must we repeat this experience?”

He could really take this a step further and point out sanctions have increased on Iran despite an admission of no evidence they are pursuing nuclear weapons by the West.

But we must address his point and ask: what does the West truly want if stopping the enrichment for two years did not appease their needs in a way that would end the situation?

And some may point to Iran’s backing of regimes not friendly to the West, such as Syria, as a reason for stronger sanctions.  Their backing of Assad is mentioned in the piece:

Velayati also said Iran will continue to support Bashar Assad’s government in Syria, which is fighting rebels backed by Western and some Arab states.

“We strongly believe that the government of Syria will remain in power,” he said. “The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran won’t hesitate to help the Syrian people and the Syrian government to defend their rights and their territory and their territorial integrity.”

But there is an elephant in the room at the moment when it comes to the United States throwing stones about this: the U.S. continuing to fund the Egyptian military and the reluctance to call what is going on in Egypt a coup.

As long as the U.S. is willing to give aid to regimes in the world such as this, we really can’t expect Iran to back off giving aid to its allies.  It’s a hollow argument and it should be thrown right back in the face of any Western negotiator trying to pressure the Iranian regime on this issue.

Israel to pay students to defend it online

Israel to pay students to defend it online.

When you are a government and you need to propagandize what you do, its probably because what you are doing isn’t good enough to sell itself by its own merit.

A rather laughable aspect of Israeli society now:

When Israel’s army launched an offensive on Gaza militants late last year, the Israeli government set up a “media bunker” with hundreds of young volunteers posting updates reflecting Israel’s point of view. Many Israelis believe the international news media are anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. (Emphasis added)

Let me help explain that.  When you are a larger, more powerful, and better armed people oppressing another group for decades that just wants to govern themselves, you are going to eventually look like a larger, more powerful, and better armed people oppressing another group.  As that happens, the press around the world will only be on your side for so long.  This should come as no surprise.

Unless, of course, your own media does things like propagandizing your actions so they look good when they’re really not.

Egypt Now Fertile Ground For Extremists?

egypthirshbannerA good article by Michael Hirsch in The Atlantic proposing that Egypt may become the new, fertile recruiting ground for Islamic extremists and how the lack of a clear American foreign policy stance on recent events is just increasing the odds of this happening.

Read Here.