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Source: (consider it) Thread: Earwig O'Agen - Syria
Enoch
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The official line yesterday seemed to be 'we're 80% sure Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons'. He may well be, but in criminal terms, that wouldn't justify a conviction. Nor does a criminal sentence normally involve dropping rockets on those who have the misfortune to live in the same road as the accused.

Originally posted by chris stiles
quote:
It's a *civil war*, do you think it's possible for someone 2000 feet up to differentiate between a group of rebels and a group of government soldiers? Additionally, they are fighting battles inside built up areas.
Of course you can tell them apart. They'll be wearing different cap badges.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
And one wonders why you would telegraph military action to the Syrian regieme so far in advance anyway.

Because they were hoping the threat would be enough.
But enough to do what ?

They appeared to be saying help us prove you did this, and then we will bomb you so you don't do it again ? Rather than, say, handover your chemical weapons or we will bomb your main military bases ?

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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PaulTH*
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I believe that the UK parliament was right to reject military intervention in Syria. I'm glad that Cameron chose to call a vote, as he had legal power, by Royal Perogative, to intervene without parliament's consent, which won't now happen. Assad is another in a long line of Middle Eastern despots who has abandoned any sense of human values. But we've been down this road before, and need to learn from our recent history. Ships in the Mediterranean could launch attects which would severly damage Assad's infrastucture. But in addition to potentially killing many innocent people, he and his henchmen will have their bunkers and hideouts, and will survive.

The only way to take him out would be to commit ground forces, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, who won't be welomed as liberators, but seen as foreign invaders imposing their own vision. There are many conflicting intesests in Syria, as in other ME countries, Shias, Sunnis, Druze, Al Qaida, Hezbollah etc. It's very dangerous to arm and encourage such people, who don't in any way share our western concept of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. it would be another imbroglio lasting a decade or more which could escalate into a very serious international conflict involving Iran, Israel and perhaps Russia.

So what would be the outcome if intervention got rid of Assad? Would Syria or the region be any more stable? I doubt it. We only need to look at the events in Samarra, Iraq yesterday to realise that the country is no better off than it was before we got involved. When government aircraft are dropping napalm type substances on schools, it's tempting to say that we should go in and put a stop to this terror. But until these Islamic countries learn for themselves that democracy, respect for individual rights, freedom of religious belief and shher human values are the way to create a just society, there's little that outsiders can do to help their oppressed people. It took us a thousand years to learn that, and I hope they learn it quicker.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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Truman White
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I notice the DUP (Ulster Unionists) opposed military action - they could have tipped the vote t'other way. The reason? The opposition are no better than Assad.

They partly came to that conclusion after discussions with Christian groups in Syria who are getting a hard time from some rebel groups.

Two Orthodox bishops still unaccounted for?

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Hawk

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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
Ships in the Mediterranean could launch attects which would severly damage Assad's infrastucture.

And the problem is that it isn't Assad's infrastructure. It's Syria's.

quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
I agree that they are blunt instruments - sadly politicians seem to see them as a low risk, surgical method of dealing with the problem

I wonder where this perception has come from. Pre-WWII military planners thought that airstrikes could defeat a country by themselves. They were seen as war-winning weapons. And despite all the evidence to the contrary this myth has prevailed for almost a century of air-war. The myth that a suitably surgical strike can end the enemies ability to make war, or take out an enemy all together, seems to be too alluring a fantasy to give up. Yet historicaly we have seen time and again that bombing from the air never weakens an enemy's resolve, it only strengthens it. It can never eradicate an enemy's facilities, only temporarily and partially upset it. The great Dam-Busters myth for instance obscures the fact that despite the massive cost of the bombing project, the actual effect on Germany's war-production was all-but negligable.

Yet we ignore the massive body of evidence against air-strikes being effective in favour of the fantasy. And we reinterpret selected events to support the fantasy. I suspect the Hiroshima bomb went a long way to bolster the fantasy that a single strike could end a war. Yet of course it ignores the real facts, that Japan was already beaten militarily before the bomb was dropped.

And Libya is now a modern support for the use of air-strikes to effect real change. It ignores the fact that the airstrikes had little effect at ending the war until the sudden and surprising assault on the capital by the rebels. It was only good luck and significant ground-assault that won the war, with the air-support only providing limited cover for highly-coordinated ground operations.

Airstrikes are imprecise, and ineffective on their own. Yet the military and politicians love them. It's extraordinary how this largely useless, ineffective, and imprecise weapon is the go-to first option for so many. Why?

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“We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

See my blog for 'interesting' thoughts

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:


Airstrikes are imprecise, and ineffective on their own. Yet the military and politicians love them. It's extraordinary how this largely useless, ineffective, and imprecise weapon is the go-to first option for so many. Why?

Hawk, I agree with almost everything you wrote (with the possible exception of Hiroshima - I think you can argue about how far Japan was already militarily beaten, and the fact that they were showing every sign of irrationally choosing to fight on despite the utter futility of the cause). I said earlier on, if you fancy some thought provoking late night reading look into Operation Downfall....

Anyway, that's by the by, I just wanted to pick up on a slight nuance in the sentence quoted I don't think the military do "love" them, although the politicians do.

In my own experience air strikes are actually quite handy when they're the only thing standing between you and the enemy rolling you up, but that's not quite what you meant is it I don't think? Armies and Navies in the west certainly will laugh you out of town if you start proposing air strikes as the answer by themselves. They see them as a useful tool, which they are, but only when used in conjunction with other things. Sort of like a masonry drill is quite useful but if you haven't got any rawl plugs the picture hook isn't going to stay in the wall, and might take a lot of the plaster with it on the way out....

The last vestiges of military enthusiasm for "the bomber will always get through" are, as you might expect, independent air forces. Why? Because they give them something to do which supports an argument for continuing independence. Strategic Air Power is a concept that really ought to be dead and buried outside the US (and there only because they can still maintain fleets of B52s worthy of the concept).

Without it, you start to get closer to thoughts about why you actually need an air force - not its capabilities, but as an organisation - rather than giving all the toys to the armies and navies. Hence, hotter heads in the RAF and USAF will tell you about precision strikes, etc, and give impressionable politicians the idea that they are a nice neat solution. Consequently I'm not sure your point about the military loving them holds beyond outbreaks of inter service rivalry.

The politicians, on the other hand, are a different kettle of fish. They see them as quick, relatively inexpensive, and above all, quite unlikely to result in lots of dead servicemen coming home in bags. They also look like sexy toys which make them feel powerful. Again, I'd draw a distinction here with the military, who, by and large, understand the realities of combat all too well and tend to treat such things with wary respect as tools.

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And is it true? For if it is....

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PaulBC
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I think the actions of UK MP's was the right
one. Canada has also said we won't participate .And I think the USA's Congress may have less of a stomach for a 3rd war in the mid east in 22 years .Also a lot of rhetoric sounds like the run up to the Iraq operation in 2003. Further if you hit stored
chemical agents you lose them on the people in the area. This time action should be taken only as a last resort.

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"He has told you O mortal,what is good;and what does the Lord require of youbut to do justice and to love kindness ,and to walk humbly with your God."Micah 6:8

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luvanddaisies

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Amnesty had an article yesterday about their position, which is basically
quote:
Amnesty neither condemn nor condone such armed international intervention. And -disappointed though some of you may be by this - we don’t take a stand on the moral basis for such an action.
We do not get involved in geopolitical posturing. What we do is focus on protecting civilian lives.

And we remind those entering into conflict that they are subject to the laws of war - we work to ensure that all parties respect international humanitarian law and human rights.

I find myself identifying most with this position - I mean, I look at the stuff on the news and think "something must be done" and "they can't get away with using chemical weapons", but at the same time, I'm not sure that military intervention is a good idea. Would it bring other nations (like Russia or Iran) into it? Is it actually possible only to arm "nice" rebels? How targeted could missile or drone strikes be? - civilians would still be in the firing line... lots of questions that don't seem to answer themselves very satisfactorially.
So I'm in a position summed up best as "just don't know".

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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." (Mark Twain)

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Enoch
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Now Parliament has voted, am I the only person who finds the argument deeply unpersuasive that MPs declining to grab fighting dogs by the ears must be a bad thing because it's missing the opportunity to show that one's country is ever eager to prance on the world stage. Is that ever ethical justification for anything? Do any of us regard that as an acceptable reason for going to war?

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SeraphimSarov
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Now Parliament has voted, am I the only person who finds the argument deeply unpersuasive that MPs declining to grab fighting dogs by the ears must be a bad thing because it's missing the opportunity to show that one's country is ever eager to prance on the world stage. Is that ever ethical justification for anything? Do any of us regard that as an acceptable reason for going to war?

I heard a Times journalist use this exact argument as a way to launch an attack on Ed Milliband (who has in most estimates, come out rather well in this ). "He has never told us what Britain would DO if he was Prime Minister (if a foreign scrap was needed).
I was about to scream very loudly "thé effing Tory Press!!!"

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Anglo Catholic Relict
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Now Parliament has voted, am I the only person who finds the argument deeply unpersuasive that MPs declining to grab fighting dogs by the ears must be a bad thing because it's missing the opportunity to show that one's country is ever eager to prance on the world stage. Is that ever ethical justification for anything? Do any of us regard that as an acceptable reason for going to war?

Germany has declined to get involved. So has Canada. So have many other countries.

It seems as if the US is sulking with Cameron, but they may find their own position not quite as easy to maintain as they think; US public opinion may find it as difficult as the rest of us to know exactly what the right thing to do may be.

I do not think we have lost any credibility with anyone; I think we may even have gained ground in terms of diplomacy, and I still think that diplomacy is the only way to resolve anything in Syria, or anywhere else.

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Martin60
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At least Cameron has been a parliamentarian. Obama has 9% of the people on his side.

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Love wins

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Alt Wally

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quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
I'm afraid that the reason we're looking at a strike against Syria is that, as we're winding down our engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, the military industrial complex sees its profits shrinking. It's necessary, therefore, to have another war,to keep the money rolling in. Syria will do.

I don't think that's true. But I'm afraid that it might be.

I don't think it is quite as nefarious and shadowy as that. Obama drew his sandlot line, and Assad crossed it. So it's a credibility thing now. We have to do something, or we'll lose face. The administration, as articulated by the bellicose Kerry, is also having us believe that Iran will be emboldened if we don't act. War Powers Resolution be damned; it's time for some narrow, limited actions through Presidential fiat.

I'm sure the administration itself believes all of that is the proper course. Just as they seem to believe in the Arab Spring and continuing to meddle in the affairs of countries who pose no security threat to us. So let's topple secular tyrants and see what comes next.

Detroit is bankrupt, so let us bomb Damascus.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:
Yet historicaly we have seen time and again that bombing from the air never weakens an enemy's resolve, it only strengthens it.

The argument for airstrikes is an argument for punishing crime. It says "Assad gassed a bunch of his people, so we're going to bomb some more of them to punish him, because we said we would if he did, and we're the world's Police and Court rolled up in to one."

Now, one hopes that any airstrikes would be a little better at destroying things that Assad cares about (like weapons and military infrastructure) but it's inevitably going to destroy a load of things that Assad doesn't care about, but we say that we do (like Syrians).

Which rather means that you need more of a case than "Assad needs a spanking" to launch an attack. You need an actual case that your airstrikes will cause a net long-term improvement in the situation in Syria, and the case for that is far from convincing.

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Tukai
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[Overused]

I agree with LC.

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A government that panders to the worst instincts of its people degrades the whole country for years to come.

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Ricardus
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Interesting that France seems to be taking over Britain's role as America's military helper, first in Libya and now in Syria.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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pererin
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Interesting that France seems to be taking over Britain's role as America's military helper, first in Libya and now in Syria.

Indeed. But their national anthem did use to say (when Napoleon III was emperor):

Partant pour la Syrie,
Le jeune et beau Dunois,
Venait prier Marie
De bénir ses exploits

I don't think the BVM's going to help them out of this one though...

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"They go to and fro in the evening, they grin like a dog, and run about through the city." (Psalm 59.6)

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Curiosity killed ...

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The UK parliamentary vote was discussed during Any Questions? last night. Dame Shirley Williams said that over last week there were a series of meetings between Ed Milliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, trying to thrash out a motion that they could all agree on, and the original wording of that motion always included consideration of the United Nations decisions. Ed Milliband then went on Twitter on Wednesday night (28 August) to say that Labour would be tabling their own amendment to the motion he'd been a party to, and took that into the debate on Thursday.

Personally, I think David Cameron forced that debate and vote through too early, but Ed Milliband doesn't come out of this well either.

Two other conflicts were raised in justification of intervention in Syria as part of the Any Questions? debate:
amongst others, but there was pretty universal accord that these interventions were successful. And the panel pointed out that it was the international agreement on these interventions made the difference. The first of those, the Libyan intervention, did include targeted bombing.

The questions remain, use of chemical weapons is against international law, but what interventions can other countries make that will improve the situation?

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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Enoch
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One lesson that does emerge from this, and many other crises, is that if you are an ordinary person quietly minding your own business, you are better off if a revolution either succeeds immediately or is put down immediately, and it often doesn't that much matter which. It's when this doesn't happen, as in Spain in 1936, this country in 1642, the US in 1861 or Syria now, that things turn really nasty for the rest of us.

However heavy handed the Assad regime was before this civil war started, there's no reason to believe that life for anyone is anything other than much worse, anywhere in Syria, now, than it was before the crisis began, or that it will be when one side or the other finally wins, whichever side.

There's also every depressing reason to suspect that whichever side eventually wins, it will be the thuggiest on each side who will be free to wreak vengeance on all those fellow Syrians they don't like.

So it was in Spain, and (though I am sure quetzalcoatl will disagree with me) so it would have been if the Republicans had won.

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Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Which rather means that you need more of a case than "Assad needs a spanking" to launch an attack. You need an actual case that your airstrikes will cause a net long-term improvement in the situation in Syria, and the case for that is far from convincing.

Or you actually target Assad, which was the point of my question earlier in the thread. Is the case for intervention changed if one narrows the focus, does that change the calculations if one is not talking about bombing ?

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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malik3000
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Both the reasoning, and the proposed plan of action to deal with the Syrian situation that are being put forth by the Obama administration are delusional.

When one regards the US's record in international affairs, it is amazing, yet not surprising, that the US clings on to the delusion that anyone else would consider that the US has any sort of moral authority internationally, let alone acting as the world's policeman and judge.

And as regards the US's plan of action: well, i am certainly no expert on military strategy, but i don't think you need to be an expert to see how ridiculous the "plan" is. The announced plan is to do some selective air strikes over a few days, not targeting civilian areas, and not targeting sites with chemical weapons stores, but only the "military infrastructure". Of course, this has already given Assad the time to move things out of the way.

As far as sparing civilians, the US's record in that regard has been shown to be poor. And furthermore there are reports that Assad is dispersing political prisoners to areas likely to be bombed.

And to top it off:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
At least Cameron has been a parliamentarian. Obama has 9% of the people on his side.

It makes one wonder why bother go through the charade of voting in the US -- other than to stand up against the forces that are bringing back Jim Crow.

And as regards the following:
quote:
Originally posted by Alt Wally:
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
I'm afraid that the reason we're looking at a strike against Syria is that, as we're winding down our engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, the military industrial complex sees its profits shrinking. It's necessary, therefore, to have another war,to keep the money rolling in. Syria will do.

I don't think that's true. But I'm afraid that it might be.

I don't think it is quite as nefarious and shadowy as that. Obama drew his sandlot line, and Assad crossed it. So it's a credibility thing now. We have to do something, or we'll lose face. The administration, as articulated by the bellicose Kerry, is also having us believe that Iran will be emboldened if we don't act. War Powers Resolution be damned; it's time for some narrow, limited actions through Presidential fiat.

I'm sure the administration itself believes all of that is the proper course.

Re Josephine -- I am not sure of the actual path of thinking that has led the Obama administration to this point, but Obama has blatantly shown himself to be big business' kept whore, all his pretty words aside. So whatever plan is decided upon, Obama is certainly not going to do anything his corporate masters oppose.

If the US had a parliamentary form of government, Obama would be a good choice for a mostly figurehead president. Perhaps naively, I still think (or want to think) that there still is a basic core of decency under all his pandering to his corporate johns. That way he could give nice speeches, and leave the actual governing to a prime minister who could take on the hard job of countering the military-industrial complex, which is the main danger facing the US, (not foreign terrorism)

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God = love.
Otherwise, things are not just black or white.

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L'organist
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The fact that the US is going to give the UN its dossier on the chemical attacks showing they came from the regime is surely an indicator that this time there is good and reliable evidence. It is a shame this information was not available before the Commons' vote on Thursday but, now that it is in the public domain, it surely means that a new vote needs to be taken.

If history has taught us anything it is that a state declaring neutrality may give its politicians and public a warm glow of moral purity but it has the consequence of giving support to the aggressors. And while Miliband et al are hugging themselves at having got one over on Messrs Cameron and Clegg, they should reflect on how their actions have been reported in Syria and Russia. Russia Today reports that Ed Miliband is leading "principled" opposition to US "warmongering" and cite the vote as an endorsement of the Russian line: that is, continuing to arm Assad and his military, refusing to consider sanctions on arms and weaponry, and implying that the UN have no right to investigate reported chemical attacks, nor to seek special powers to aid the victims of such attacks.

Neutrality may sound good but the reality is different: the neutrality boasted about in London is seen in Syria as support (by the regime) and as approval for war crimes by the opposition.

One man's neutrality is another's pragmatism is another's cynical endorsement of the status quo: best summarised by the sanbiki no saru (three mystical apes) known in the west as see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

As for Labour (and some LibDem) politicians' posturing and crowing that "fat Dave" has had his come-uppance - words fail: how anyone can think this is the right moment or right issue for political point-scoring and nose-thumbing is beyond me.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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the giant cheeseburger
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
The fact that the US is going to give the UN its dossier on the chemical attacks showing they came from the regime is surely an indicator that this time there is good and reliable evidence.

Just like last it was time round. Do you really want Obama to be sharing a cell with Bush?

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If I give a homeopathy advocate a really huge punch in the face, can the injury be cured by giving them another really small punch in the face?

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:

As for Labour (and some LibDem) politicians' posturing and crowing that "fat Dave" has had his come-uppance - words fail: how anyone can think this is the right moment or right issue for political point-scoring and nose-thumbing is beyond me.

No more than 'fat daves' posturing about military action while members of his cabinet make it harder to Syrian asylum seekers is a different form of political point scoring.

It's interesting how hawks are usually in favour of humanitarian action just as long as it involves force.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
Or you actually target Assad, which was the point of my question earlier in the thread. Is the case for intervention changed if one narrows the focus, does that change the calculations if one is not talking about bombing ?

So if it's all right to take out Assad personally,

1. Do you really believe that he alone is responsible for everything, and that he wouldn't be replaced by someone else? and

2. Does that mean it's equally OK for Syrian security forces to take out the Queen or President Obama?

If not why not? Because they're ours rather than theirs? Or is there some other more profound difference that makes some assassinations OK?


Originally posted by malik3000
quote:
Obama has blatantly shown himself to be big business' kept whore
Wow. Even I, who am not his subject would regard that as a bit strong to use of one's elected head of state.

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Originally posted by malik3000
quote:
Obama has blatantly shown himself to be big business' kept whore
Wow. Even I, who am not his subject would regard that as a bit strong to use of one's elected head of state.
He's a president, not a king; he doesn't have any subjects. And the US doesn't have lèse-majesté laws.

(I think malik3000's statement is overblown hyperbole, but it's target doesn't put it beyond the accepted bounds of behavior in the US.)

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the giant cheeseburger
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Originally posted by malik3000
quote:
Obama has blatantly shown himself to be big business' kept whore
Wow. Even I, who am not his subject would regard that as a bit strong to use of one's elected head of state.
As somebody who has spent many hundreds of hours helping the fight against the trafficking of sex slaves, I find it disgusting to make light of that for the sake of making a political point.

As for the head of state being the subject of offensive comments like that, I guess the USA had that coming when the founders chose not to separate the roles of head of state and head of government. To have any special dignity the head of state shouldn't be mired in the political process.

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Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
So if it's all right to take out Assad personally,

I was raising it as a discussion point, not necessarily as a suggestion - i.e. is the reason for not intervening solely because we think our targetting is not precise enough (which may be a solvable problem) or are there more fundamental issues.
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
1. Do you really believe that he alone is responsible for everything, and that he wouldn't be replaced by someone else?

No I don't think he is solely responsible, nor that he wouldn't be replaced, but I think leaders are often willing to order terrible things because they feel effectively untouchable. As we all know, it is usually the innocent who suffer. Deterrence generally only works, if someone thinks they will get caught - regardless of severity of punishment.

If Assad was killed as a direct response to a war crime, there may at least be a higher likelihood that whomever replaces him will think twice before resorting to this particular form of warfare again.

I would put forward for discussion, do you think such an action would have this effect ?
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
2. Does that mean it's equally OK for Syrian security forces to take out the Queen or President Obama?

In principle, *if* we say that the international community has the right to intervene if large scale war crimes are ordered by a political leader or a commander in chief, and their own administration does not impeach them - then yes.

However, I don't think anyone person has alleged that the either US or UK governments have launched deliberate large scale indiscriminate attacks on civilians. More of your everyday level of government nastiness. I suppose the question is what is you threshold ?

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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malik3000
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quote:
Originally posted by the giant cheeseburger:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Originally posted by malik3000
quote:
Obama has blatantly shown himself to be big business' kept whore
Wow. Even I, who am not his subject would regard that as a bit strong to use of one's elected head of state.
As somebody who has spent many hundreds of hours helping the fight against the trafficking of sex slaves, I find it disgusting to make light of that for the sake of making a political point.
Giant cheeseburger, I was by no means making light of the trafficking of sex slaves. (And as a tangent -- and with all due respect and recognition of the awful reality you are devoting your time and energies to combatting, sexual slavery does not per se equal prostitution: there are those few -- a small minority i am very sure -- who engage in prostitution of their own free will.) In any event, sexual slavery, including the majority of prostitution, is far from a light thing, but disgustingly wrong, as you rightly observe.

I maintain that when the US's elected political leadership have sold out the big business it likewise is no light thing. I emphatically was not making a quip made to score a mere political point. Very much the opposite. Rather, what I was speaking of, in my considered opinion, also is profoundly wrong.

Many human lives have been scarred (and sometimes lost) due to the horrors of sexual slavery. Likewise many millions of human lives have suffered and sometimes have been lost due to the predations of big business (as a whole -- yes, there are a handful of ethically decent corporate leaders). In general, for big business as a whole, the rest of humankind are simply resources to be exploited, or potential consumers of whatever they are marketing.

Speaking just of the US -- since I was speaking specifically of the US government in my previous post -- how many millions have been pushed into poverty due to profit-making downsizing and other corporate machinations? How many, as a result, have died due to lack of decent universal health care, or sometimes have felt pushed into suicide. For that matter, how many of the young women who have fallen into the snare of sexual slavery, got into that situation due to the desperation of poverty? How many corporations have, for profit motives, hidden information about dangers of their products, knowing full well that many people would die as a result? The tobacco industry is just one notable example for whom this has been documented. Why are the corporate officers who perpetrate such premeditated criminal acts never charged with murder and depraved indifference?

The elected leadership in the US is supposedly charged with serving the interests of the people they supposedly represent. By and large, they have, by their legislative and administrative actions, done the exact opposite. And it is corporate lobbyists' money that fuels most of this process. The recent political and governmental history of the US in this regard is most dismal. And so, again with all due respect, I do not think it is too light a thing to equate this with a type of prostitution. Perhaps not a sexual selling of oneself, but the government officials who do this are selling a great piece of their souls.

People are suffering and dying. And certainly not just within the US. People around the world are obviously very much suffering as well. I don't think I am at all engaging in hyperbole when I say this. It is the tragic and grim reality. God help us.
quote:
Originally posted by the giant cheeseburger:
As for the head of state being the subject of offensive comments like that, I guess the USA had that coming when the founders chose not to separate the roles of head of state and head of government. To have any special dignity the head of state shouldn't be mired in the political process.

You hit the nail on the head here, as did Dave W.

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God = love.
Otherwise, things are not just black or white.

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malik3000
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BTW, what does the title of this thread mean? I.e., what (or who) is "Earwig O"Agen"?

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God = love.
Otherwise, things are not just black or white.

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QLib

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British football fans chant: Here we go, here we go, here we go (pronounced " 'ere we go"), usually when feeling fairly ebullient. However, generally in Britspeak, "Here we go again" tends to imply repetition of an unwelcome pattern. From this we get the joke, What did the earwig say when it fell off the table/ tree/ wall? Earwig-o again.

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Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

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malik3000
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Thanks QLib [Smile]

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God = love.
Otherwise, things are not just black or white.

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Hawk

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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
If Assad was killed as a direct response to a war crime, there may at least be a higher likelihood that whomever replaces him will think twice before resorting to this particular form of warfare again.

I would put forward for discussion, do you think such an action would have this effect ?

What do you think the effect would have been if the Chinese had launched a missile at 10 Downing St to execute our PM after evidence appeared of the torture of prisoners by British soldiers in Iraq?

Do you think we would have meekly accepted their judgement as legitimate punishment and reformed our military discipline?

We are arrogant fools if we think of ourselves as judge, jury and executioner of the world. We simply don't have the moral, or legal authority to cast judgement or punish other states, or heads of state. If we attempt it we will not be seen as dispensers of justice, but arrogant belligerent bullies. And criminals to boot.

What people appear to be conveniently forgetting in all this jingoism is that as much as Assad offends our sensibilities, he has been convicted by no court, there is no evidence, or legal judgement against him. Assuming someone is guilty of war crimes before anyone's even had a chance to gather evidence is the flimsiest of pretexts for going to war. So flimsy it is unbelievable that anyone even gives it the time of day, let alone that it had to come to a vote. But such things are unsurprising when our foreign policy is driven blindly by the daily popular headlines rather than by true statesmanship.

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“We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

See my blog for 'interesting' thoughts

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:

If history has taught us anything it is that a state declaring neutrality may give its politicians and public a warm glow of moral purity but it has the consequence of giving support to the aggressors.

I didn't think the matter of neutrality was under debate . Isn't the problem the very fact that a rebel victory could have worse implications than assad holding on to power ?

In the history of warfare very few countries or power structures have ever enjoyed 'moral purity' . Take the Boer War for example . Our chaps couldn't win it in the S. African Veldt, so instead we heaped death and misery on rounded-up civilians to achieve the desired result.
The Syrian regime appears to be doing a similar thing in a desperate attempt to restore order to it's country . Not pleasant . Is there ever such a thing a pleasant war ?

We all wish it wasn't so , but as has been said up-thread solutions in the form of limited, or even full-on intervention ,(re Iraq) can easily back-fire.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:
What do you think the effect would have been if the Chinese had launched a missile at 10 Downing St to execute our PM after evidence appeared of the torture of prisoners by British soldiers in Iraq?

I think that if the government had responded to the TUC anti-cuts march by getting the army to machine gun the crowd and kill a couple of thousand people - and then the justice system and the political system declined to do anything about it. If mossad then kidnapped the prime minister and dumped him in the Hague to face trial, or the Americans launched a special forces raid on London and killed him a la Osama Bin Laden. I'd probably be quite relieved.

If on the other hand they carpet bombed London, or launched a cruise missile strike on Warwick (because there might be soldiers in the general vicinity and devil take the civilian casualties) not so much.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:
What do you think the effect would have been if the Chinese had launched a missile at 10 Downing St to execute our PM after evidence appeared of the torture of prisoners by British soldiers in Iraq?

I think that if the government had responded to the TUC anti-cuts march by getting the army to machine gun the crowd and kill a couple of thousand people - and then the justice system and the political system declined to do anything about it. If mossad then kidnapped the prime minister and dumped him in the Hague to face trial, or the Americans launched a special forces raid on London and killed him a la Osama Bin Laden. I'd probably be quite relieved.
....

Doublethink, I really don't agree. I think most people would feel outraged by the foreign interference, even if they hated the person being assassinated in this way. It's a form of inter-governmental rape. Political murder - if it were to be regarded as acceptable at all - is a job for one's own combat dissidents, not for foreign commandos.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Doublethink.
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I think that if the arab spring shows us anything, it shows us that that is a romantic myth. A modern mechanised army will mince civillian paramilitaries on the battlefield, the only reason the arab civil wars last so long is because the army split - resulting in vicious civil wars. Those that ended fast, ended because the government either declined to unleash the army on the people or the army assisted to depose the government.

Where neither happens you'll get a Tianeman like incident where thousands die and fuck all changes at the time.

[ 31. August 2013, 19:37: Message edited by: Doublethink ]

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Enoch
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Doublethink, forgive my asking, but which bit is the romantic myth? And which bit of your succinct analysis, with which I basically agree, is a new lesson from the Arab Spring? Hasn't such always been so?

The thing that has always puzzled me about Tiananmen Square has been why so many pundits were surprised when it happened. What do you expect if you rebel against the Chinese government?

I can only think of two situations when an unequally armed paramilitary force can hold its own against a properly trained army. One is where the trained army is restrained from pursuing it with full vigour by notions of how a civilised state is supposed to behave, as in Northern Ireland. The other is where it is backed by a culture acclimatised to warfare, and has de facto control of an inhospitable wilderness to fight in, as both the Russians and ourselves have found in Afghanistan - in our case several times over the last 150 odd years.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Sleepwalker
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
Right outcome I think, and probably ending Cameron's chances of remaining Conservative leader in the long run..

I doubt that. I think Cameron was genuinely horrified at the idea that a ruler had gassed their own people and then decided to honestly put the question of the response to Parliament, which is what a good Parliamentarian does, having conferred with leaders of the other major parties. He did it at the right time, in the right manner and without reference to imaginary WMDs or having first sent out the troops. And he is going to honour Parliament's decision.

I'd say Cameron comes out of this pretty well actually. Milliband, however, looks like someone who tried to make political capital out of it having first advised Cameron that he would direct a yes vote and then doing the opposite. Not one to be trusted.

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L'organist
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Sleepwalker
[Overused] [Overused] [Overused]

And before I get snide remarks about being a tory - I'm not, but I have met Mr Cameron (more than once and not at anything to do with politics) and can tell you he is a good and decent man.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Sleepwalker
[Overused] [Overused] [Overused]

And before I get snide remarks about being a tory - I'm not, but I have met Mr Cameron (more than once and not at anything to do with politics) and can tell you he is a good and decent man.

That's nice to know. Do you think you could get him to come down to the food bank and tell us all, and the clients there, why the policies of the government of this good and decent man left them literally with nothing to eat, in the UK, in the 21st century?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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PaulBC
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I just watched Mr.Obama state that he wanted Congressional autherization for action against Syria to punish them for the gas attacks of last week. Of course what happens if he doesn't get it ? My guess is he would use executive authority, in UK Royal perogative to do it.
I wonder what use it will be if Assad isn't removed. And that is unlikely unless you have a rerun of Iraq. But the US has stated a "no boots on the ground " policy . There is very little appitite for another war in the mid east in USA . Even less here in Canada and we couldn't do much anyway, never thought I would be thankful for having a small military.
What about the UN ? The only arm of that organization that could call for action, the Security Council is frozen by vetos by Russia and the PRC against any action. So looks like the UN is as toothless as the old Leaque of Nations was before WW II.

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"He has told you O mortal,what is good;and what does the Lord require of youbut to do justice and to love kindness ,and to walk humbly with your God."Micah 6:8

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:

That's nice to know. Do you think you could get him to come down to the food bank and tell us all, and the clients there, why the policies of the government of this good and decent man left them literally with nothing to eat, in the UK, in the 21st century?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks.

I'm not a Tory either, but how sure are any of us that anybody else could have managed any better? They could have been even worse.

As PMs go, so far he has been neither the best nor the worst in my lifetime.

[ 31. August 2013, 22:03: Message edited by: Enoch ]

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Martin60
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That we do the right thing for the wrong reason, for cowardice, denial, selfishness, impotence, doubt, confusion, faithlessness doesn't make doing the wrong thing with courage, integrity, co-operation, sacrifice, compassion right.

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Love wins

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L'organist
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KLB

It is not now, nor has it ever been, the policy of either the TWO parties which make up the present government to deliberately bring about situations where people are deprived of food and shelter.

Yes, I know there are people in the UK who are finding themselves in dire straits - and in many cases it is through the complexity of an ever-tighter regulated social welfare system that this happens. But that cannot be laid at the door of any one man or even any one party.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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Bullshit. If it wasn't obvious that cutting benefits, bringing in brutal sanctions which means folk having benefits suspended for months for the flimsiest of reasons, and cutting housing benefit for the crime of having been put into a house with an extra room by the local authority because there were and still are no smaller properties available was going to have this effect (which all us stupid lefties predicted) then they are incredibly stupid. This I don't believe. I believe they did it on purpose because they despise people less successful than they are. And this is based on knowing many of them at school. Hateful bastards.

I don't know if were I in charge it'd be any better. But I at least wouldn't be explicitly kicking people when they're down.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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On reflection, perhaps I'm being unfair. Perhaps Call-me-Dave really does think that if you cut someone's benefits it's just a case of them eating spag bol instead of fillet mignon two nights a week, but I don't know, the experiences I've had of Tories don't fill me with confidence that they don't do this sort of thing with at best callous indifference to the hardships they force on people.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulBC:
I just watched Mr.Obama state that he wanted Congressional autherization for action against Syria to punish them for the gas attacks of last week. Of course what happens if he doesn't get it ? My guess is he would use executive authority, in UK Royal perogative to do it.

He might, but I doubt it. He would look very bad going forward with a military strike after seeking and not getting Congressional approval. Making the point in his speech that members of Congress are the people's representatives lets him say, if there is a vote and the vote goes against him, that he is bowing to the will of the people.

I think Obama has realized that his "red line" statement was a bad idea that's boxed him in, especially now that the UK is not going to participate in any action in Syria, and this is his way out. Various American presidents have used military strikes without seeking Congressional approval, including this president (in Libya), so the sudden realization that he's president of "the world's oldest constitutional democracy" rings a bit hollow.

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PaulBC
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# 13712

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RuthW
I think you are right. If Mr.Obama goes
on with attack if Congress says no authorization he would be very silly . As would Mr.Cameron if after saying he would not
seek Royal Perogative in answer to a question after the vote last Thursday from the opposition leader. Yes they broadcast the results on CNN . The US Congress is a lot more sedate. I like our way better.

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"He has told you O mortal,what is good;and what does the Lord require of youbut to do justice and to love kindness ,and to walk humbly with your God."Micah 6:8

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Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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I think it is interesting that BBC analysts are reading this as effectively a change in our unwritten constitution happening fast enough for us to see.

Effectively, that from now on, optional wars will require parliamentary consent. (By optional, I mean no one has invaded our territory.)

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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