UPDATE: Watch President Obama speak to the nation as well as more detailed remarks from Ambassadors Power and Rice on Syria
(69% of Americans view speech positively: http://www.mediaite.com/online/poll-69-of-americans-viewed-obamas-syria-speech-positively-61-favor-his-approach)
The bottom line is the military threat as well as mounting evidence from Human Rights Watch and others seems to have worked (good article by Nicholas Kristof about it) as Russia and Syria are now offering a deal to sign the UN treaty on chemical weapons and give them up even though they didn’t admit having them days ago: http://nbcnews.to/13GPD6Q
Granted, the tactic of a public ultimatum calling for Assad to give up his WMDs should have been part of Obama’s pitch the same way Bill Clinton and of course George Bush called for Iraq to give up their WMDs with the verification of UN inspectors but apparently it had been discussed previously. Ironically, maybe it wasn’t tried because it sounded too much like the Iraq scenario.
But to review the debate so far…the “experts” on both sides have truly trivialized the debate on Syria argument with posts like about how Obama said he was against “dumb wars” , so here’s a quick reminder of what a “Red Line” looks like….because its definitely not some arbitrary thing Obama dreamed up:
Only Nasser in Egypt and Hussein in Iraq crossed it since WWII and both were dangerous aggressors who invaded our allies like the Axis Powers did.
The fact is the U.S. is the only country on Earth truly willing and able to ensure #neveragain. It is the price of leadership….if we don’t want to lead then we can sit back and let countries like Russia help spread genocide and anti-gay sentiment around the world instead.
To clarify, the President is NOT proposing that we intervene in a very complicated civil war…even if our missions might overlap. That’s because this kind of destruction is not the result of weapons of WAR…it is a result of weapons of GENOCIDE.
Hence, everyone can be “anti-war” but are they also “anti-genocide?” And if so, does that mean doing nothing about an active campaign of murder or can it also mean a “pro-peacemaking” position to stop it by any means necessary after all other alternatives have been exausted.
So, with relatively low cost to U.S. blood and treasure via air strikes that are separate from the civil war, we can probably deter further acts of genocide already banned by international law….regardless of what the UN votes on in 2013.
It might take more than a few days to stop it, but to say that this deterrent won’t affect anything or save lives is ignoring how it ended the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo (total of 0 allied casualties)…remember that bullies don’t handle getting punched back very well.
This is the exact OPPOSITE of the Iraq War. Instead of using a fake reason to wage a real war, this is a real reason to wage a military action to deter weapons of genocide.
If every military action was a WAR then Israel would be at “war” with Syria based on their own strike recently….but Syria and Russia didn’t lift a finger in response because they know it isn’t worth it.
Unfortunately, our politics are not grown up enough to realize the world is not black-and-white so we compare everything to other things we heard of without discussing the details of a policy instead.
For example, it is easy to criticize the fact that the Obama administration rejected supplying the opposition with gas masks because they thought they might actually somehow be used by either side against the other, but apparently sarin gas only needs to touch the human body to kill so they wouldn’t have helped anyway.
But regardless, Syrian Dictator Bashar Assad killed 1,400+ civilians (including 400+ children) on 8/21/13 via a sarin gas-launched missle attack…that is about 3000% more deadly than the typical daily civilian casualty rate and an unacceptable genocidal tactic.
Yes, 100,000 people have already died during the Syrian civil war since March 2011, but if you consider that approximately 36,000 were civilians that breaks down to about 40+ per day for even the most recent violent months of the war. So, if the chemical attacks continue, Assad could double the total of civilian casualties in less than a month.
I agree with John Kerry’s powerful case (Video & Transcript) and the President’s statement (Video & Transcript) for taking action on Syria now regardless of the split in a mostly uninformed public on what the war is all about. Here’s a primer and some additional bullet points so you have some background.
The good news is Obama is asking for congressional authorization for a limited military response to degrade Assad’s ability to massacre his people. Yet that’s also the bad news as many politicians, like the experts, are playing armchair general during a complicated military effort or are parroting their ideological bases right now who have collectively decided against intervention “Because Bush” or “Because Obama.”
Of course, any Republican who voted for the Iraq War who doesn’t support this resolution is a total hypocrite, especially because these are the same geniuses who claimed Clinton’s strikes on Kosovo and Afghanistan to punish Bin Laden for the embassy bombings before 9/11 were part of some “Wag The Dog” diversion from the Lewinsky scandal.
But progressives who supported intervention in Darfur and even Rwanda should be thinking twice too. Aside from the usual suspects regurgitating their typical “anti-war” talking points, even the more sober critiques of The Daily Show have become surprisingly flippant with segments that even compare American involvement in the Middle East to British imperialism despite the fact that I see faint economic advantage in getting involved.
And hence, Democratic elected officials or former elected officials who understand our responsibility in the world are lining up behind the President in the House (Nancy Pelosi), Senate (Elizabeth Warren), Policy (Tom Perriello), Grassroots (Howard Dean) and future Presidential candidate (Hillary Clinton) communities.
Meanwhile, there are already reportedly two million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey and other countries, with five million displaced people within the country’s borders….so the emerging threat of a massive WMD campaign would force millions more to try to escape the blanket use of terror anywhere and everywhere in their country. The costs of an increased refugee migration will fall upon the shoulders of the U.S. and its allies who already are supplying billions in aid.
Even if Assad takes further action against civilians, further U.S. involvement will have to be re-authorized but the world community will become more and more united so the “slippery slope” will be mitigated…but is Assad really so dumb that he would risk his regime further after possibly losing his much of air force and command & control abilities?
WHY IT MATTERS:
This course is a minimal approach that keeps in mind that due to the divided nature of the international community, partly because of Russia’s funding of Assad and typically anti-humanitarian vote on the UN Security Council, as well as the reflexive rejection of a anti-WMD campaign by the UK Parliament, the “coalition of the willing” might only include France and few other nations.
But frankly, the lack of sufficient American intervention earlier might have led to the situation we’re in now….an Appeasement 2.0 strategy where we allowed an aggressor to use WMDs on a small scale several times and finally have no choice but to act under less favorable conditions.
If a two-bit dictator can use these weapons now and not be punished then the biggest problem is not even what he did but what does he and other world leaders could do next as a result.
The U.S. announced in June that it would arm the rebels as a result of the less clear reports of WMDs being used but that support never really came and it definitely wasn’t a big fat Stop sign regardless so now Assad is ramping it up beyond debatable levels. So, maybe it’s 14,000 dead next time or maybe neighboring allies like Turkey, Jordan or Israel become affected.
Meanwhile, other rogue states like Iran will be emboldened to kill opponents and go nuclear while nuclear states like North Korea will be further strengthened by their cloak of WMD protection.
Some are reminding us that we didn’t do anything to Iraq after they killed tens of thousands with chemical weapons on the Kurds and Iran in the 80s…well, look how that turned out! We later fought two wars because of Saddam Hussein after he emerged as a wider threat to the region.
So, we might resent serving as the “World Police” is the price we pay if we want to live in a secure world, because when we don’t intervene (Pearl Harbor, 9/11) these things have a habit of approaching our shores eventually.
This was the work of the Greatest Generation that we must continue.
A world at the mercy of these kinds of tyrants is a world of further danger and poverty that affects us all.
FWDPROGRESS ARGUMENT SUMMARY:
“Support for a resolution to respond military to the use of WMDs in Syria”
-> “Heart” Talking Points (how the policy reflects our liberal democratic values)
* Why the “Red Line”: Using chemical weapons and genocide acts are banned under international law as a result of the devastating effects of such warfare during World War I and World War II
* The result of such an attack is an exponential increase in civilian casualties that increased the rate of civilian deaths by about 3000% because of ONE attack and are well beyond the parameters of acceptable war violence that could grow if unchecked
* Limited military action has no relation to a pre-emptive war or strike, or even a direct engagement in the civil war conflict, because it is a focused act of self-defense against the genocidal acts against the civilian population of Syria
-> “Head” Talking Points (how the policy reflects our national and socio-economic interests)
* Due to the lack of international will or capability, the U.S. is the only nation on Earth that can stem the crisis, which already surpassed the use of conventional weapons several times prior to this incident due to the lack of a global response
* As in the cases of Bosnia and Kosovo where there were 0 allied casualties, U.S. military intervention can utilize cruise missles and stealth or unmanned aircraft to damage Assad’s war-making capability at little risk to American soldiers or civilian lives in comparison to allowing the attacks to continue.
* Even with a sustained campaign, air strikes will require a relatively low economic cost compared to the current investments of billions of dollars in arms and non-lethal aid that have already been expensed and will most likely break the Assad regime’s commitment to further war crimes in favor of self-preservation
* Growing violence destabilizes the region and could affect Israel, Turkey Jordan or other allies that the U.S. is pledged to defend
* Rejecting the role of “World Police” and ignoring war crime violations could inspire Assad or other rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea to further pursue the acquisition and use of WMDs that could create a worldwide crisis, and like with Pearl Harbor or 9/11, some day could return to our shores
|WNDC meet-up location for March|
|SATURDAY, JANUARY 26, 2013, 10:00am-10:30 am SW corner of 3rd & Maryland Aves, SW Just beyond Independence Ave walking from Federal Center SW metro stop. Across from
National Museum of The American Indian and facing March gathering area.
Look for First gate to outside garden of US Botanical Gardens. Look for white balloon in
front of gate.
Those wishing to meet up with WNDC at the Washington Monument around 11:45 a.m. for
speeches should look for 2 white balloons.
|WHEN: SATURDAY, JANUARY 26, 2013, 10:00 A.M.
WHAT: Unaffiliated with any organization, the March is the brainchild of Washington Arena StageArtistic Director Molly Smith, American Indian activist Suzanne Blue Star Boy and other local volunteer activists.
One Million Moms for Gun Control, formed immediately after Newtown, signed on recently to co-sponsor
the event. News of the March has spread through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/
Twitter (@GunCtrlMarch) and other social media.
Third Street, NW, across from the National Museum of the American Indian. At 11 a.m., they will walk in
silence along Constitution Avenue to the Washington Monument carrying hundreds of white signs, each bearing the name of a gun-violence victim.
Joined by Newtown families, the District of Columbia’s Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton,
Mayor Vincent Gray, and Councilmembers David Grosso, Kenyan McDuffie and Tommy Wells
will lead the March carrying a banner that reads “When we stand together, we stand a chance.”
Speakers will include
U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.);
Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children’s Defense Fund;
Senior Pastor Dean Snyder of Foundry United Methodist Church, Washington, D.C.;
Virginia Tech massacre survivor Colin Goddard;
Shannon Watts, founder of One Million Moms for Gun Control;
and Hollywood actress Kathleen Turner, who has starred in movies such as Romancing the Stone (1984) and Body Heat (1981).
The program features speeches, as well as musical performances by Broadway and Washington actors.
HOW DO I GET THERE? The closest Metro station to the Washington Monument is Smithsonian,
served by blue and orange lines (exits at D and 12th St, NW and Independence & 12th St, NW).
The closest Metro stations to the Capitol Building are Union Station (red line, 40 Massachusetts Ave NE)
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO HELP? DONATE! It costs money for production, advertising, portapotties,
and signing, for example. Donate what you can here. http://www.guncontrolmarch.
** Shattering the Silence and Spreading the Light – A Vigil & March for Jyothi Pandey ***
3pm-6pm Saturday, January 26
Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(marching to Gandhi Statue on Massachusetts Avenue)
Jyoti Singh Pandey, a 23 year old female student was brutally gang raped in
Jyoti means “light” in Hindi. Her death sheds a light on abuse, harassment, sexual assault
and systemic injustices that lead to silence and inaction. There are countless women and girls that grow up ignored, neglected, abused, and must struggle everyday to survive as they face gender discrimination in every aspect
of their society.
Let us shatter the silence and let her be the light for all women. We can work together to make changes
in how we view one other, and how we value every member in our society so that this does not, cannot,
Let us come together in solidarity and draw strength from our community to raise our voices for a
(feel free to call/txt/email to meet up with other Network For Progress members)