09.04.2013 09:15 AM

Ten reasons why we must intervene in Syria

I plan to write more about this in my Sunday column. But, as the debate heats up in Congress today, here are a few reasons why I feel we are compelled to take action, in no particular order. Comments welcome.

  1. Morality: More than 1,400 were killed by Assad’s Sarin gas, many of them children. We cannot allow that to happen again. This is a profound humanitarian crisis. We have a collective moral and legal responsibility to prevent further use of chemical weapons.
  2. Red Line: Obama said a year ago that the use of chemical weapons was a red line – he cannot back away from that now. U.S. credibility – particularly in Israel and with pro-U.S. Arab states – is at stake. (And, as Obama noted this morning, it’s the world’s red line.)
  3. Terrorism’s arsenal: If Assad is permitted to use such weapons with impunity, there is every reason to expect his allies – Iran, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda – will seek to do likewise. Assad will reward them with chemical weapons for their support in the nearly three-year war.
  4. Proliferation: Chemical weapons, as I wrote in my first book, are cheap and easy to produce. They radically change the way in which war is waged. Their increased use will make the Middle East (and therefore the world) a much more dangerous place.
  5. Stronger Assad: If his targeting of civilians with chemical agents remains unpunished, his stature is increased, and the rebels’ predicament gets increasingly dire. Iran, Hezbollah and others benefit.
  6. Allies onside: Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey – all of them are advising to strike now, and ensure that Assad is driven out. They are in the region; their perspective is highly relevant. We must listen to them.
  7. No more waiting: Those who said waiting would work were wrong. The situation has gotten dramatically worse – a massive refugee crisis, and more than 100,000 dead. Action is needed, now.
  8. Others are watching: North Korea et al. are watching closely. A failure to act will only encourage them.
  9. Consensus: While Bush Sr. didn’t wait for Congress with Kuwait – and while Clinton and Chretien didn’t wait for the U.N. in Kosovo – Obama has sought bi-partisan congressional support. He is getting it. Most Western governments are onside. That matters.
  10. Public onside: An NBC poll found that a clear majority favour action if (a) Congress approves and (b) U.S. allies are with Obama and (c) the engagement is limited. Conditions (a) and (b) will be met; condition (c) is what Obama has promised.


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    Hugh Bawtree says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now and I enjoy your unique take on the news. But I disagree with your arguments on the Syria situation.

    What if Assad didn’t release the Sarin gas? There is no good evidence that he did it. And there are some good arguments that the local rebels actually released the gas. See William Polk’s description of the evidence here: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/your-labor-day-syria-reader-part-2-william-polk/279255/, specifically point #3.

    There are many reasons why we should or shouldn’t go to war but the basic fact of who released the gas is vital to understand. Without that understanding none of the other arguments matter!


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    !o! says:

    Assuming that all is as it seems to be given Washington’s releases re: the chemical attacks, there is still a glaring problem.

    #10) Condition C is the problem.

    You aren’t going to oust Assad with ‘limited engagement’. There is no way in hell a ‘limited engagement’ will do anything other than kill a few more people and worsen the conflict.

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      Fred Barton says:

      Who said the goal is to “oust Assad” with a limited strike? The goal is to hold him accountable for sarin attacks (and any likeminded states inclined to benefit from his example.) The whole point of its being limited is to restrict it to a limited goal with a limited resource utilized in a limited way for a limited goal. Your statement that a limited missile strike “will only kill a few people and worsen the conflict” is not borne out by other examples, such as both Reagan’s and Obama’s strikes in Libya. I suggest re-reading the various statements made regarding the purpose and intended effect of the strikes, rather than making up stuff about what might happen, probably won’t happen, could happen, based on hands-over-the-ears-la-la-la-peace-peace-peace attitude. Syria has created an enormous humanitarian crisis for 2 years, involving millions of people and 100,000 dead, and the US has been more than circumspect in getting involved.

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    Mulletaur says:

    What are the strategic goals here ? What should the military targets be to achieve these goals ? What happens if it doesn’t work and Assad uses poison gas again on his own people ? What if this military action tips the balance in favour of Al Qaida insurgents who then take control of the remaining stocks of chemical weapons ?

    Also, you refer to “we”. Canada cannot be included in this, because we don’t have the military assets to contribute to what seems to be contemplated. Also, it’s not our credibility as the world’s policeman that’s on the line here. Just sayin’.

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      davidray says:

      But Mulletaur.. we are complicit in this war by our support of all the proxy players whether Russian or Chinese or whomever when we sit down to watch the corporate Olympics or continue to buy Chinese made crap at Walmart. Until and when we stop nothing will ever change. I’m still trying to follow the money and can’t quite figure that out yet but I’m listening.

      how I feel in lyrics I wrote earlier today

      the world blew up today
      the second time this week
      God threw up and angels wept
      at the slaughter on his streets

      bad news bad news bad news

      the anti-christ has landed
      moved in down the hall
      you can see him everywhere
      in churches banks and malls

      bad news bad news bad news

      first he bombed Manhattan
      on that fateful day
      now he wears Armani
      might buy out Chevrolet

      bad news bad news bad news

      don’t shoot the messenger
      doin his job that’s all
      ever since he stood up
      and heard that clarion call

      bad news bad news bad news

      As for me I’m oughta here
      seen enough of the fear and hate
      Im gonna wait for the Prince of Peace
      down by the palace gates

      good news good news good news

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    GPAlta says:

    Is sarin so different from white phosphorus?

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      pc says:

      Yes. There is a huge difference between WP and nerve gas. I make no excuse whatsoever for the use of WP as a weapon. Nerve agents, however, are magnitudes more lethal.

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      james Smith says:

      While phosphorus, napalm and cluster bombs are weapons of mass destruction, they are not banned by an international convention.

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      Domenico says:

      Point of clarification: A weapon that contains white phosphorus but is not also an incendiary device is not banned by convention.

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    Greg from Calgary says:

    Sure, but does this mean the USA will apologize for giving supplies to it’s then ally Iraq to make chemical weapons that Iraq used on Iran and, providing information of troop concentrations of Iranian troops where the weapons could be used?

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      BillB says:

      … and 18 years later the Bush regime decided that Saddam was a monster for gassing 5000 Kurds in Iraq and used this as one of the reasons to attack Iraq. At least Obama is faster off the mark to respond to gassings in Syria.

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        Greg from Calgary says:

        But the USA provided the means. They cannot condemn Sadam when they provided the weapons to do it. If the USA wonders why the middle east hates them they need to look further back then last weeks news.

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    frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    So does helping remove the despicable Assad regime mean that eventually Syria will be run by a group of Islamic Fundamentalists?…Better the devil, etc.


    I suppose by removing Assad it’s one way the US can smack down Iran without attacking it directly.

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    pc says:

    Well said.

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    robin says:

    How many Aboriginal people die in despair and poverty each year in Canada considering that the suicide rate among Aboriginal youth is three or four times the national average for mainstream Canadians; maybe we need to focus on our own morality before another country invades us to implement “regime change” to end the waiting.

    The public seems to be on side however there appears to be a lack of political will domestically and foreign atrocities provide a nice diversion from domestic issues.

    The Harper Government saved $5 billion over five years by cancelling the Kelowna Accord; are they going to spend it in Syria now?

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      kelly says:

      We said,my friend.

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    Other Hockey Dad says:

    Or you could just give us your real reason – Because Israel wants it.

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      Tired of it All says:

      Naw, bro. The Israel-tail-wagging the US-dog stuff is off base. See below. This play is about normalizing Turkey (and expecting Israel to do what they do). Isreal has the most at stake if the resistance is successful and then they cannot dig out the Islamist elements that are key to the whole operation. At least with a regular Syrian Army, the Israelis (and the Syrians) know they would be minced meat yet again in a confrontation. There was predictability in the Assad regime. Asymmetrical attacks from wtihin Syria would be much harder to counter for the IDF. An attack on the Assad regime is giving the Israelis serious heartburn because there are a lot of possible future outcomes.

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        Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Tired of it All,

        Agreed. This is hardly Israel’s month what with the double whammy: Bibi is getting precisely nowhere in spite of his protracted efforts to goad Obama into an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

        Even his impressive allies in Congress cannot turn the tide as smiles break out all around across Iran…

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    Tired of it All says:

    An additional consideration is Turkey’s interest. Erdogan is intent on seeing a broder Sunni based coalition in the area to counter both the Iranians and Hezbollah. An implication is whether they control or mitigate Sunni extremism that is a critical component of the resistance. While there is no doubt that Obama has done it right – a fact based pursuit of justice with a political coalition, there are risks to an intervention that will only be evident after a longer event-arc has played out. To wit, not doing something now, after the Red Line and all that would be damagine to US influence in the region (to the extent they have any at all); doing something may be abetting an enemy with which NATO has been at war since ’01.

    Very sticky.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I see trouble ahead. To begin, any Obama promise (or anyone else’s) simply isn’t worth diddly. War takes on an unpredictable life of its own. Secondly, the widely divided Arab League favours a United Nations political response and yet balks at a military endorsement.

    If boots on the ground become vital — and they are neither American nor Arab League, military stalemate will be the end result. Obama’s biggest obstacle: Sunni vs. Shia.

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    Phil says:

    “We certainly don’t have a dog in the fight,” Cruz said, calling it a civil war in Syria. “We should be focused on defending the United States of America. That’s why young men and women sign up to join the military, not to, as you know, serve as Al Qaeda’s air force.”


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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Cruz considers himself only American. I’m grateful for that.

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        Domenico says:

        Quoting Ted Cruz? Really?

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    Greg from Calgary says:

    A couple of points Warren. Al-Qaeda is not an ally of Syria. Al-Qaeda is fighting against the Assad regime. This lumping together all organizations the west is against is exactly the stupid reasoning Bush used when he said Sadam supported Al-Quaeda and was behind 9/11.

    Second Saudi Arabia is onside. Who cares? This is a country that at best treats women as second class citizens. Homosexuality is punishable by death. 345 people were publically beheaded between 2007 and 2010. Not a country anyone should listen to.

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    Paul says:

    Geez – he’s gassing people – you got to go – looking down the road , yes it may create added issues but world cant stand by and let this go … if others get weapons and use them then they need to be punished as well…

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    Al in Cranbrook says:

    There’s a chapter in the latest edition of “Gideon’s Spies” that tells how, several years ago, the Mosad tracked a ship out of N. Korea, loaded with nuclear technology/equipment. Shortly after leaving port, it swapped flags to another nationality to disguise itself. They followed it into a Syrian port. Agents watched the ship being unloaded. Just before dark a convoy of trucks showed up, and also loaded up. They then tracked these trucks to an “agricultural research” compound north of Damascus. Long story short, shortly thereafter a flight of Israeli F15s swept in and leveled the entire facility. Not a word was said by the Assad government, but a week later they acknowledged its destruction. Within days they began rebuilding the place. (No, this isn’t a Clancyesque fiction.)

    Point being: This is the nature of the beasts we’re dealing with.

    While I can certainly understand the weariness of western nations/peoples in dealing with this endless crap, history demonstrates time and again ad infinitum that unless we deal with it, even proactively, it inevitably comes back to haunt us…and result in all hell breaking loose, costing only God knows how many lives.

    It is the very nature of wannabe tyrannies/depots/zealots/fanatics to loathe weakness and see it only as opportunity and invitation to further boldness.

    What bothers me the most, however, is the inclination of so many nations/governments to stand back let the US do all the heavy lifting, repeatedly. That’s just simply wrong.

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    smelter rat says:

    Regardless of what happens next, it ain’t gonna end well for anyone. Hopefully Obama gives back his Nobel, or better yet, the committee asks for its return.

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      Bugzy says:

      Quote” Children meed to be taught how to think, not what to think”

      It seems some of you posters need to take agood hard look at yourselves and see yourselves living this way.

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    Rene says:

    I can find the same war advocacy, courtesy of Wall Street Journal war strategists, in the blogs of Harper supporters such as “The way the Ball bounces” who likewise advocate :

    “We have a strategic interest in punishing people who use chemical weapons. We have a strategic interest in maintaining the credibility of an American president’s word. We have a strategic interest in making sure that the Syrian civil war does not become a regional civil war. And above all, we have a strategic interest in putting Hezbollah and its masters in Tehran on the back foot….”

    It is useful to note that the Liberal and Conservative Parties, through their more vocal war advocates, draw their inspiration for imperialist war advocacy from similar sources and share similar concerns, maintaining the credibility of an American president, the goals and strategic interests of their allies Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and thrown in for good measure “humanitarian concern” over the fate of the Syrian people, who would be the target and suffer the cost of such war offensive.

    The comments sections in media discussions in the US, France, Canada reveal a different picture, a war weary public distrustful of continuous media war propaganda and apprehensive with respect to further imperialist war adventures….

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      Al in Cranbrook says:

      Imperialism? Let’s clarify what that means, historically.

      Late 19th, early 20th centuries, Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Spain, etc., practiced “imperialism” worldwide. Claim the land, impose rule, reap resources.

      Japan pre-WW2 was imperialist. F’rinstance, 20,000,000 dead Chinese worth of it. Then Pearl Harbor, etc…

      Nazi Germany was imperialist. WW2, 12,000,000 dead Russians, 6,000,000 Jews, and so on.

      Stalinist USSR was imperialist. See “Iron Curtain”, Soviet Bloc nations.

      Equating this with America is, frankly, ignorant, if not just stupid.

      Have to add, you’d probably feel a tad differently were those your kids lying dead in rows. Fortunately, you were lucky enough to be born in an area of the world where that prospect is pretty remote. Perhaps you might contemplate just how lucky you are, and the fact that we happen to live next to those “imperialist” Americans is in large part the main reason you’re feeling so lucky.

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        dave says:

        USA is the most successful military power on te planet these past 240 years. A guy would be hard pressed to find 2 years back to back when USA military was not attacking somebody or other. Thier military has enabled them to expand from 13 states on the Atlantic littoral fo North America, to owning a continent and more. Its war planes and war ships are in charge over most othe planet. their over 1000 military bases outside the USA (over half with golf courses) are in 3/4 or more of the planet’s nations. They defend America’s interests…which are primarily USA based corporations and their rights to the world’s resources. Their $52 billion a year budget for their various secret police and intelligence gathering operations cover most aspects of our lives.

        But, I guess they don’t fit your definition of ’empire.’

        You’re right about getting upset about death dealt out to kids. USA (and Canadian) leaders are saying that killing kids like that is a bad thing…although, I notice they have put away Brad/Chels Manning for revealing that a US unit in Iraq murdered a family, kids and all, including a toddler, and then called in an air strike to cover what they had done.
        But as the column above says, we have to get after the latest Hitlerish guy, or Emmanuel Goldstein, or whoever, to send a message that we won’t tolerate bad things.
        We are not a part of an ‘evil empire.’

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          Al in Cranbrook says:

          What’s in the US’s interest, as well as ours, is some sort of peaceful co-existence. The US was extremely isolationist prior to, and well into, WW2. Their reward was Pearl Harbor, and damn near the fall of Britain to Nazi Germany. Just try to imagine digging out of that unholy mess had Britain surrendered. And what would the world look like today?

          Pick Canada up and park it next to the likes of N. Korea, the USSR, Maoist China or Iran, and then reconsider what our freedoms would like, and what our priorities might be.

          Instead, we live next to America. This reality spawned the ever so casual attitude so prevalent in this country with regard to our own security and liberty. Taken so much for granted it even begat the likes of the “Laurier Doctrine”, the essence of which is that we’ll let the US cover our sorry asses, while we indulge ourselves with more frivolous pursuits that we otherwise probably couldn’t afford given the need to actually pay the cost of our own defense forces to an extent that mattered.

          No, we don’t live in a perfect world, and there no perfect solutions. In fact, a great deal of what the US contends with to this day has its roots in European imperialism dating back a hundred years and more.

          The sad fact is that the average Joe on the street has no real concept of the world around them, nor knowledge of the history of how it got that way…especially in this country, where it too often borders on the Disneyesque!!!

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            davidray says:

            Al, don’t be silly. We built the Avro Arrow in the fifities; the most advanced bomber aircraft in the world. If the US weren’t to the south of us we’d have been a nuclear power in less time than it takes for Stephen Harper to tell a lie with a plane capable of delivering a bomb anywhere on the planet. No-one would have messed with us. Did I mention we built it in the fifties before another Conservative asshole burned the program to the ground along with 10.000 jobs. I know because my father was one of them.

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            BillB says:

            @davidray…. the Avro Arrow was just a wet dream, a political mistake that was quickly rectified by Dief and for good reasons. The Americans would never arm themselves with such an aircraft made outside the USA and not have control over work contracts. They just told Dief they wouldn’t buy the Arrow and neither would anybody else. Canada’s losses were cut short and the Arrow was scrapped. Get over your love affair with an ‘airplane’ and just accept the grim reality that the Arrow was a bust from the getgo.

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            Patrice Boivin says:

            re. the US not willing to buy the Avro… why are we buying things from the US then? Strange argument to use.

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      davidray says:

      Who the hell appointed us “punishers.” The hypocrisy is staggering. There’s a war criminal living in Dallas Texas who is afraid to leave the US because he knows he’ll be arrested. Also, is starting another war the only idea they can come up with. Tell Al-Assad in no uncertain terms you’re coming to the main airport to airlift those that are trapped and remove them to safer ground. The US pulled off the Berlin airilft for heaven’s sake. They are really good at logistics. Tell Assad if one shot is fired then those 5 drones he hears circling his castle will unleash hell. Taking out Assad while offering humanitarian aid is a no-brainer though your mileage may differ.

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    Paul says:

    Great post Al….and earlier post where USA is relied upon to do much of the heavy lifting….I get it from some , the US over steps its bounds sometimes , has a huge list of domestic problems from economy , to guns that it needs to deal with ….but I’m glad they are our neighbors and our friends …the middle east in an ongoing mess but the world cant allow the use of chemical weapons to go unpunished…

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      davidray says:

      It never ceases to amaze me that the further away the “problem” is the more we think we can solve it by punishing other countries with our technology. Ok, for once I’ll agree but only if everyone of you in the pro-punishing camp and Obama and Harper and Bush and Cheney before them will go in immediately afterwards and physically pick up the viscera, severed limbs and the bits and pieces of dead children and bag and tag them. In the meantime there is someone who is no more than a mile away from you who will sleep on a subway grate tonight or worse get shot by some amped up cop for having a meltdown on a streetcar. But hell who cares about problems we can actually solve if there’s no photo op.
      Whom the Gods would destroy they first oversell.

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    Sean says:

    It’s easy to look the other way and generate a million reasons why we shouldn’t engage. In so doing we can find solace in the extreme liberal views of Noam Chomsky who’s followers have a genuine case of Stockholm Syndrome. We can pretend that we’re a peaceful people and that the peace we enjoy is gratis of being a carefree loving group, and that our example to the world is infectious. But history contradicts this.

    In Rwanda Canadian peacekeepers were not authorized to do much more then wear blue helmets, and sit around a campfire singing Kumbaya while a vicious genocide occurred. In 1995 some 30,000 Bosnian Muslims had gathered in early July at the UN military base in Potocari. But Mladic and his soldiers entered the protected area and demanded the UN Dutch commander Col. Ton Karremans hand over Bosnian men to his charge. And he did just that. What followed was disgustingly vile and shocking.

    We Canadians decided that these events should never be allowed to ever happen again, and liberals such as Alan Rock and Lloyd Axworhty gave the UN a jock strap of sorts called R2P -responsibility to protect. But what’s challenging is finding the stones to fill it.

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    Campbell says:

    Just wanted to say that there is some very thought provoking debate in this comment stream! Thanks everyone for giving me some things to consider, and to Warren for the initial post and providing the forum!

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      davidray says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more Campbell. There is more impassioned opinion here than you will find in any mainstream media which would never allow same past their moderators. Mustn’t scare the horses after all 🙂

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    dave says:

    This column could find a home in the Jerusalem Post.

    Evidence that a chem attack happened is videos. Few days ago US Secty of State saidthey have intel of sarin from blood and hair samples.

    Evidence that regime did it is the claim that the regime has chem weapons capability, the rebels do not. Yesterday the Geman itel, and today the French intel claim they have intercepts that say regime did it. (This is an echo of German intel coming up with info supporting the rationale for invading Iraq just before USA attacked in 2003)

    Evidence that the rebs did it: In previous chem attack allegations, investigations that began to point to the rebs weree shut down at the behest of USA.
    USA said chem attack would bring in USA(the world), regime is making headway, rebs need more help than they are already getting, UNO inspectors land in Damascus, so rebs gain by chem attack in Damascus.
    Eye witness reports in the attack areas saying rebs did it.

    Several months ago I came across this version of what happened almost 2 years ago:
    Regime is brutal in dealing with protestors and protestors fight back, so escalation threatens civil war. 2 resolutions with cease fire and negotiation plan before the UNO Security Council, both worded the same, except USA(west) res says Assad must step down, which Russian/China res does not say. Teh resolutions pending, Lavrov goes to Syria to talk with Assad. USA(west) puts its res before the SC prior to Lavrov Assad meeting. Russia and China veto the USA res.
    So our leaders in the west (like Baird) was indignantly that Russia and China are blocking end to hostilities and are against a peaceful outcome. Our leaders were outstanding in their playing of innocent outrage, as was our media.

    We can probably discuss this without mentioning that multi billion euro Turkmenistan to Tripoli pipeline project, sort of the way we avoided talking about TAPI when we attacked and occupied Afghanistan. Methinks this attack on Syria by USA and whoever else wants in is going to happen no matter what the UNO chem inspectors find.
    I caught the USA senators today and yesterday on my tv. Never so so many broad shouldered defenders of freedom using so much euphemism and pedantry to ask for guarantees that they can punch somebody in the ear and not get punched back. They all, apparently, assume the claim that the regime did it…because we say so.

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      davidray says:

      This is the feather on the scale. Somebody, quite a few actually, want to bleed out the Americans in one more ill-advised war. Care to guess who? follow the money.

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      BillB says:

      Prior to the invasion of Iraq, then Secretary of State Colin Powell displayed ‘proof’ of Saddam’s WMD to the media and nations. Why won’t SoS John Kerry reveal his ‘proof’ that Assad forces used Sarin gas on their own people; instead he only shows his proof in closed sessions to American politicians?

      The Russians have stated that the US must obtain UN approval before attacking otherwise it would be tantamount to “aggression”!

      It’s also believed that the Saudis and Americans had secret bases in Jordan to supply the Syrian opposition. It is entirely feasible that the Americans obtain the Sarin gas from the Israelis and allowed the opposition Syrian extremist to use it in a Damascus suburb to precipitate the crisis. This is the rumour being circulated in the Middle East.

      Without open and transparent proof by SoS Kerry conspiracy theories will abound. Show us the ‘beef’, the proof!

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    Philippe says:

    The sheer stupidity of spending tens of millions on lobbing missiles halfway across the world while we close schools at home, have kids going to school hungry, run incredibly large deficits (hello, we’re broke)…

    Apart from the fact we can’t *afford* to police the world, we have serious social issues here that need attention. #stupid #weneverlearn

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    Jon Powers says:

    Yes, lets help our rebel buddies! Like the Moderate Syrian rebels who chopped some dudes heads off! (I’d post a link to the vid, but it’s a tad bit graphic.) Or our other rebel friends who fired gas canisters at a hospital in Damascus! They need our support!

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    BillB says:

    Hello, Warren…. can you tell us why Assad would launch a Sarin gas attack against a secured Damascus suburb? What was the strategy, the objective, the rationale? To draw a response from the USA? Why?

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      Warren says:

      Sunni population

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        BillB says:

        Okay, but why only this isolated location? Were the extremist rebels embedding themselves within the Sunni population and the only way to root them out was gassing?

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    BillB says:

    I don’t support gas warfare nor the brutal Assad regime, but what do you do if you are in Assad’s position when the enemy is embedding itself amongst the civilian population and waging a successful guerrilla war against his regime? Instead of razing the city of Damascus with artillery and burying the civilians in the rubble he surgically uses Sarin gas to demonstrate to the rebel army that he will use every weapon at his means to avoid defeat.

    The Syrian army will not engage in house-to-house street warfare while the rebels pour in suicide jihadists to deplete the army and eventually defeat the government. They will continue to use gas to eradicate the rebels even if it means sacrificing several thousands of unfortunate civilians caught in the conflict zones.

    Unfortunately, it’s kill or be killed in this brutal civil war where the rebels are recruiting fighters from other muslim countries apparently with the support of the Saudis and Americans and based in Jordan. Civilians just become collateral victims.

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      bluegreenblogger says:

      What are you on about? The enemy of the syrian regime is not embedded in the civilian population, it IS the population. And it is insane to call sarin use ‘surgical’. By it’s very nature it is an area weapon, that goes where the wind blows it. Most emphatically NOT suited for use in Urban areas where it has been deployed to date.

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    Andrew Wassermann says:

    Very glad to see a high level of discussion here. My three cents:

    Until the amoral Chinese Communist Party – hitherto supporter of Pol Pot, Robert Mugabe, North Korea – stop trading with and supporting the Assad regime, and are almost certain to block any U.N. intervention (League of Nations redux), American efforts will be hindered, perhaps even suicidal for nothing. Indeed, the dark logic of the Maoists is drag the free world into every quagmire it can in a grotesque, global war of attrition. Therefore, why not call for a worldwide boycott on Chinese trade goods if you wish to strike at “root causes”? Stuanch the flow of support to the Assad regime.

    Why isn’t this being heard? The Corporations have addicted North Americans to the vast Cargo Cult of Chinese made Walmart/Dollarstore plasticware via the most sophisticated system of propaganda in the history of the world. Most of the Captains of Industry have no inclination to dissrupt the web of trade between China and North America. Worse, the Harper regime has signed secret Mugabe-style mining deals with Beijing. They have no inclination to risk these cash cows after a long orgy of fiscal mismanagement e.g. senate expense scandal – these $18 dollar orange juices are drinking the blood of Syrian children. Vampire nation.

    The Brits decided the growing and a much-more-powerful-than-in-America Islamist lobby that demands the West/Israel entirely out of the affairs of Arabs needed to be pandered to. George Galloway for PM, blessed Sharia for the masses! This is incidentally the direction the NDP/Liberal Party is taking in Canada – you know, “The Great Game,” and “Reviving Islamic Spirit” etc. Charity begins at home dear friend. The trend is to throw Israel under the bus – one of the more ironic outcomes of the multicultural revolution.

    Graeme Greene, friend to Kim Philby – post Soviet defection! Kim Philby directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousand of people and helped support a system that liquidated tens of millions of innocents. Greene chose the wrong side. In that dark legacy, KGB Putin continues to back the Assad regime as he is frozen in the Cold War mentality of my enemy’s enemy is my friend – any and all attacks on Israel is an attack on America, e.g. the PLO. Graeme Green – Kim Philby – the KGB – the KGB – Fidel Castro – “our dear leader”? Can you answer this riddle? Please send message to Comrade Putin’s ear.

    Yes, Bush and Blair; yet, for all the holier-than-thou notions of Canadians, the real reason they stayed out of that war was to try preserve existing corporate deals with the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein – another sociopath who enjoyed gassing children.

    A wise soul at least inwardly – as Voltaire said, it is dangerous to be right when the State is wrong – denounces the amoral Maoist dragon, the Russian National Socialists, the fanatical Arabs, fanatical Zionists (this is after all, a tribal/civil war between Ishmael and Isaac to the war of all against all). Denounces the grotesque and venal compromises of Democrat and Republican, Conservative and Labour, Liberal. The blood of innocents is upon our hands. We will burn.

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    BH says:

    Warren you’re way behind the curve on this one. I check your blog now and again to feel the pulse of certain demographics. Have a read on this broad strokes piece it’s a “bit” hyperbolic, but the message comes through – there’s another side to this.


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    EB says:

    “We must intervene”. I have been thinking about this a lot, and I guess my comment is “To what end?” Exactly what is the end game here?

    It is an evil regime, and what they are doing is inexcusable? But, however you ‘punish’ them, what is the result going to be? I am not sure there is an outcome that is going to be any better if we interfere.

    There are times I would like to build a wall around the middle-east that prevents all information from leaking out. Every 5 years or so someone checks to see if anyone is left, or if they have all killed themselves. I know we can’t just bury our heads in the sand, but damn, no knowing what is going on, would be so much easier.

    It is damn troubling.

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      EB says:

      Should be a period after inexcusable, not a question mark…

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        davidray says:

        Thank you EB. I loved Elements of Style by the way.

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    dave says:

    Hope this works…here is the Syrian ambassador to the UN comingout of a recent meeting:


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    Jon Powers says:

    Regarding your point numbers 1 and 3 and the use of chemical weapons: does this mean that you supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq? Afterall, the leader of that country gassed his own people as well.

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    bluegreenblogger says:

    Most of your 10 points are well made. But this decision is truly momentous. There is as long a list of compelling reasons NOT to intervene.

    Politically, the whole world remembers Colin Powells travelling road show peddling lies to justify the Iraq war. Wait until the UN presents a report confirming the Syrian regimes complicity, and the use of sarin, and World opinion will shift against Assad. In the absence of an iron clad and trusted third party conclusion on sarin use and syrian complicity, a great many people will not believe the American, French, British or Israeli intelligence reports.

    I do not know just how useful it will be to launch limited strikes against the regime. Macchiavelli offers some sound advice on doing people an injury. If you must, then make sure it is an injury that weakens them fatally, that they cannot recover from, ’cause they will be gunning for you. The US has no reliable proxy on the ground to arm to the teeth, so any number of air attacks will fail to shift the balance due to lack of follow up. The Iranian Republican Guard, Hizbullah, Allawite militias, and the Syrian Army are not going away. They will need to be defeated piecemeal, which I am sorry to say is not going to happen unles NATO steps in for a protracted ground war. If Turkey were to commit to a ground war, I would say it is game over for Assad, but how realistic is that?

    In short, it is still premature. Maybe next week the world will be ready to accept that Assad is definitely to blame for a Sarin attack. That question needs to be answered definitively first.

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    Wanda says:

    Obama is the man and he will do what’s right for US interests in the ME. Harper and Baird are 100% behind (far behind) Obama but I wonder if it’s only to get brownie points for the Keystone XL pipeline. Harper hopes to get Obama’s approval for the pipeline in exchange for Canada’s unequivocal support on Syria. Smart move.

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