It Never Ceases To Amaze Me How Deeply People Can Bury Their Head In The Sand: Syria's REAL Chemical Threat!! [215*4]
SYRIA IS NOT ANOTHER IRAQ !!!
PRIOR TO MARCH 2003, WELL BEFORE I STARTED WRITING HUBS, a friend and I were trading e-mails over whether the U.S. should get involved in invading Iraq, as the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld triumvirate wanted to do. He was absolutely for it and bought the reasons for going in hook-line-and-sinker, while I opposed it, even though my HQ was in the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 flew into it on Sept 11, 2001, and my office was 1/4 of a mile away; I lost a friend who was on board that flight. These became very heated and passionate e-mails, I might add.
I will never know if President Bush had an agenda he was fulfilling or was just a fool, it has to be one of those two things, because my defense for not attacking Iraq was two-fold, 1) one was military strategy and the other 2) rationale. Because of what I worked on for OSD and the Air Force, I knew at the time that the U.S. military could not carry out its National Military Strategy of fighting two regional wars and defending in a third; we simply didn't have the forces. So what did President Bush and company do, pull a General Custer and split our forces (remember, we were heavily engaged in Afghanistan fighting against the actual people responsible for killing my friend.) Going into Iraq before settling up in Afghanistan was simply a dumb military move.
Even worse, President Bush took his eye off the real ball, Afghanistan, the Taliban, and al Qaeda; in other words, he didn't shore up America's flank before pushing into Iraq, in fact he abandoned them, never finishing what he had started. As a result, he came pretty close to losing two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan; in the latter case that would have ended up handing Afghanistan back over to bin Laden's gang. Fortunately, new leadership came on board in America in the form of President Obama who understood the importance of finishing up the job we started there; even if the American people didn't.
But worse, we did not have a National Security interest in invading Iraq either! Forget the fact for the moment that EVERY ONE of the reasons Bush and friends used, except one, for invading Iraq proved to be false. The only reason President Bush was left with, which he gallantly tried to rest his laurels on was Saddam was a really, really bad guy and the world was better off without him, which is, without a doubt, true! But every one of his sky-is-falling scenarios proved untrue.
Now, even that could be forgiven, based on Hussein's history, if it weren't for the fact that there was enough credible evidence to put the intelligence the White House was receiving in doubt. It was these stories, which were in the newspapers and on TV in 2002, which I used to try to pummel my friend into doubting his beliefs; all I was met with was charges of being unAmerican; me, who will have served his country for 35 years by the time I retired, lol. And those few who had balls, if they were male, and gonads, if they were female, enough in Congress faced the same unAmerican, 1950's-style rhetoric if they should speak up against Bush.
What I am saying is, there was enough evidence that the intel Bush received might be faulty enough that it couldn't be used to base a judgement on for going to war and wasting American lives. ON TOP OF THAT - Saddam Hussein was like a man in a straight-jacket! He had UN-Forces running around his country like nobodies business. In addition, he had this huge build-up of American troops facing him. Even if he did possess the WMD he was accused of, or wanted to start massacring his people again, if would be extremely difficult for him to do so without actually causing an invasion. Instead, he complied and we invaded anyway.
There is simply no rational reason America had for being the aggressor in Iraq the second time around; I believed it then, and I believe it just as much now.
Having said that, you might ask, "why don't you feel the same way about Syria?" (because obviously I don't, or I wouldn't be writing this hub, after all). And my answer is "because Syria have only two things in common, a border, and a majority of their peoples belief in Mohammed. After that, they are worlds apart and doing nothing in Syria is playing with fire while at the same time trying to suffocate ourselves by burying our heads in the sand.
WHY IS SYRIA NOT IRAQ?
ONE OF THE COMMON DIVERSIONS OPPONENTS to reacting to Assad's use of chemical warfare is that we "don't have absolute proof" he is the guilty party just like we didn't in Iraq. Well that is a smoke screen friends; we didn't need absolute proof to invade in Iraq either, but what we did need was a preponderance of logical evidence that isn''t refuted by other logical evidence. In both Syria and Iraq, there was and is quite a bit of evidence implicating each countries leaders. In Syria's case, there is zero evidence that refutes it; nothing, nada.
What do we know from unclassified sources about Assad's chemical capabilities?
- In 2012, Syria admitted to having stockpiles of chemical weapons; there is no evidence the opposition has any, especially in quantities large enough to do the damage which occurred Aug 21; Iraq said it had destroyed its chemical weapons when told to do so, which turned out to be true.
- Syria has the projectiles needed to carry chemical weapons; the opposition does not.
- Syria has the artillery needed to deliver the chemical weapons in the area from where they had to be fired from; the opposition does not.
ANOTHER DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASSAD AND SADDAM is Saddam wasn't currently in the process of slaughtering his populous; Assad is.
BEFORE BUSH INVADED IRAQ, SADDAM WASN'T pushing the limits of worldwide condemnation for inhumane activities, he couldn't with all those U.N. inspectors running around his country and American forces ready to jump in; clearly, Assad can push all he wants and expand those limits whenever he chooses, and the world, if we are to rely on England's career-ending vote of no confidence for their Prime Minister on Aug 29, 2013 when he asked for authority to help America, will step aside and let him gas away - I wonder when Assad will start using dirty bombs? Germany, by the way, followed suit the next day although France, Australia, and Turkey decided to side with President Obama.
SADDAM WASN'T ACTIVELY SPONSORING WORLDWIDE TERRORISM, even though Bush, et all, wanted you to believe that was the case; on the other hand, Assad is an active puppet of the terrorist state of Iran and is the backer of the terrorist group Hezbollah (who is now bailing out the Assad regime who is losing more and more of its soldiers over to the opposition).
WHY IS CHEMICAL WARFARE SO FEARED?
"IT JUST KILLS PEOPLE LIKE BULLETS DO, doesn't it?" Some people use this logic in defense of doing nothing. Let's start with a little poll to see where you stand on this question.
Please select which option below you most agree with in terms of their use in warfare.
I hope enough people vote in this poll to make it meaningful.
THE WEAPONS USED IN WW I were terrible beyond belief! The machine gun was perfected, the tank was invented, and aerial bombing began to be used on a large scale for the first time. But the world moved on, taking it all in; it was war after all. people shoot each other don't they?
Then the world changed - the Germans used Chemical Warfare as a lethal weapon first before January 2, 1915, in direct violation of the Hague Convention of 1899 which banned asphyxiating weapons. Only about 100,000 soldiers died as a result of chemical attacks in WW I while another 1.2 million or more were injured, it nevertheless scared the world to death and in 1925, chemical warfare (but not the stockpiling) was banned again with the Geneva Protocol; sadly and embarrassingly, it took the United States 45 years to finally sign this document in 1970.
This ban more or less held until Saddam Hussein used it against Iran. In that eight-year war 20,000 Iranian soldiers died and 80,000 were injured. Now Bashar Hafez al-Assad has taken up the mantel of chemical terrorist, except his targets are women and children, not armed soldier as happened in WW I and the Iran-Iraq War.
There has to be a reason chemical weapons are so feared by many. I think it is the indiscriminate nature of their effect. A bullet is aimed at someone, sort of. So are artillery and some bombing, although Assad has turned those tools of war into tools of terror as well. You can drop a bomb on a neighborhood, it blows up, tearing exposed men, women, and children apart, killing them, destroying houses, but then it is over.
You drop several nerve agent artillery shells into the same neighborhoods and nothing much happens ... for a little bit. Then men, women, children, in their homes or outside, it doesn't matter, start twisting and turning in pain, gasping for air, skin beginning to burn and bubble, slowing dying. And it keeps going on if it is a persistent nerve agent; prolonged terror. You can go back into a bombed neighborhood, you can't if it has been attacked with chemical weapons.
The same is true for nuclear-type weapons, either dirty-bombs or ones that have a very big bang; they are indiscriminate, long-lasting (decades), and meant to terrorize. If one has no problems differentiating between chemical weapons and traditional battle field weapons, meaning "all they do is kill people". If that is true, obviously the same logic will hold for them regarding nuclear weapons as well; after all, nukes "just kill people" to, so if Assad wants to use them, why should the U.S. get in a tizzy over it? We have no National Security interest in Syria anyway; it is beyond our borders, isn't it?
Well, as Vice President Biden might say, "Malarky!". That kind of illogic I have heard from some in Congress, pundits, and bloggers, just doesn't float my boat, and I hope it doesn't float yours either.
AMAZON ON THE CHEMICAL WARFARE
CHEMICAL WARFARE USE IN SYRIA
THERE ARE MANY "DOUBTING THOMAS' " whose defense for doing nothing is the idiotic question, "What chemical warfare? What proof is there that it is happening; look how Bush pulled the wool over our eyes a decade ago." (poor Bush, can't win for losing). To these people, I always ask the question (or at least want to), "Is the Sun going to come up tomorrow?"; and if they say "Yes", which they probably will, I will respond with "Prove it!, If you can do that, then I will listen to your inane doubts about whether Assad is killing his people with chemical weapons."
You see, the trick with my question of course, is it is impossible to prove the Sun will come up tomorrow, it is only an extremely high probability that it will, but, not a 100% certainty. Think about it, in about, no one knows when for sure, in about 5 billion years from now, the Sun will go supernova and consume the Earth ... no more sunrises. As each day passes, the probability of that happening notches a bit higher. So, saying Assad is gassing his own people is a judgement call, just as saying the Sun will come up tomorrow is.
To date, Assad has launched chemical attacks on the Opposition and the families of the Opposition in XXX locations around Syria.
East Ghouta, Damascus - 8/21/13
3/13/13 - SCUD Missile
3/13/13 - Chemical Attack
4/13/13 - Soil samples smuggled out proved to be contaminated with chemical agents
5/29/13 - French reporters from Le Monde newspaper personally witnessed the Syrian Army using chemical weapons.
8/21/13 - Assad kills 1,429 civilians, of which 429 were children with his latest expansion of the use of chemical warfare.
ASSAD AND HIS RUSSIAN AND IRANIAN PUPPET MASTERS are pulling the world's chain. Russia knows they have the U.N. tied up in knots and can stop any action there and they won't get caught sleeping at the switch like before. Syria is in their and Iran's national security interest as well as Syria is their only easy access to a Mediterranean and as a foil against Turkey and Israel.
They also know that in America, the Republican's only goal is to unseat Obama and will attempt to stop his actions at every possible turn, including reacting to Syria's flouting of International Law and threatening America's own national security interests. Further, Putin and Assad understand very well the blunder that was Iraq and how beaten down and dispirited American's are from a mishandled War on Terrorism from 2003 - 2010. These men know they can push the envelop and make it OK for anybody to use chemical weapons for any reason if they can get away with it here. And save for Obama, France, Australia, Turkey and a few other Arab countries, it seems like well meaning, but sandy-eyed people in Germany, England, and America will be Russia, Iran, and Syria's allies, helping them make chemical warfare the new normal.
Enjoy the new world, y'all; I am 66 and will be dead soon enough.
OK, SO WHAT DO YOUR REALLY THINK?
SHOULD PRESIDENT OBAMA
- 100% Go ahead with his cruise missile strikes now that he has let Congress and the American People know?
- 0% Wait until Congress gets back in order have them filibuster it into oblivion
- 0% Give up now and forget the idea, for Congress will surely do nothing in any case
- 0% Not go ahead because you don't believe it is the right thing to do
- 0% You simply aren't sure.
This poll is now closed to voting.
SEPTEMBER 2, 2013: The House Majority and Minority leadership come out in support of giving Obama approval for his limited Syrian strike option as did the Senate Majority leadership. All of these legislatures have been privy to the intelligence briefings laying out the Administrations case for the need to act. While the Democratic leadership is whipping its members to fall in line, the Republican leadership is not doing the same.
SEPTEMBER 4, 2013: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passes the Syrian Strike Measure. The vote was 10 - 7 to approve the resolution with 7 Democrats, Menendez (NJ), Boxer (CA), Cardin (MD), Shaheen (NH), Coons (DE), Durbin (IL), and Kaine (VA); and 3 Republicans, McCain (AZ), Corker (TN), and Flake (AZ) voted for the resolution. On the other hand, 5 Republicans, Paul (KY), Risch (ID), Marco (FL), Johnson (WI), Barrasso (WY), and 2 Democrats, Murphy (CT) and Udall (NM). One Democrat Markey (MA) voted Present (?).
It is interesting to note that the vote is not large enough to break an expected Republican filibuster next week; an 11 - 6 - 1 vote would be needed to indicate the pro-resolution forces might prevail.
SEPTEMBER 5, 2013: In watching and listening to the debate take shape, it is interesting to watch each side talk past each other.
-- One the side, you have those who favor a narrowly focused, long-range response with the goal of deterring Assad from using chemical weapons in his war against his people and with no desire to get involved in the civil war itself. This group sees a distinct line of escalation and threat to American and world national security when one moves from bullets and bombs to chemical weapons and nukes.
-- On the other are those who ignore the WMD aspect of the issue, for they appear to believe there is no difference between bullets, chemical weapons or nukes and simply focus on U.S. involvement in a civil war and see any narrowly focused, long-range strike as simply a prelude to "boots on the ground"; in other words, one will lead to the other and in any case, limited strikes might fail and there is a chance Assad or the Hezbollah might attack America in response
Those who favor a strike have a longer-term point of view in that they see a world very much less safe if it becomes commonplace for those who feel like it to use chemical or nuclear weapons against their own people or neighbors. They feel it will become commonplace because those that have the capability to stop it before it starts don't have the will to do so. It is their (and my) belief that letting Assad gas his own people now puts us in a position where we are impotent if he decides to start gassing the Christians in Lebanon later; that he will be encouraged to do so because he knows the US and the UK think it is acceptable behavior, so long as it isn't on their respective soils.
Those who oppose a strike are, by default, short-term thinkers for they appear not to believe there are any long-term consequences from letting Assad gas or nuke (assuming he acquired some tactical nukes) his own people. In fact the reverse is true, you hear the same concerns voiced by Chamberlain prior to Hitler launching his strike into Poland, starting WW II that if we do something, we might upset Assad and he will hurt us. This faction also seems to accept the idea that there is no national security interest in a stable Middle East and that whatever happens over there has any significance to American interests. The rhetoric reminds me of the Fortress America-speak prior to WW I and WW II that I read about in the history books.
Now, I understand the tone of several of those sentences are, to those who hold those views, somewhat sarcastic; my apologies. But those views are as nonsensical to me as I am sure mine are to you. We each view the world from two different paradigms and as humans do, they apply that paradigm to all situations; whether it makes sense to or not. As the saying goes, "if it is good for the goose, it is good for the gander." Well, any thoughtful person knows, that is poppycock. That each situation has to be looked at individually.
Obviously, you look to history to draw lessons, but you need to be smart enough to know that, like snowflakes, no two world events are the same and each needs a unique solution. That is why I was for wars in Vietnam, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq 1, Afghanistan, and this strike, but opposed to Panama, Grenada, Somalia (at least the way we did it, covert ops might have been more effective), and Iraq 2.
We didn't have to lose the war in Vietnam, but our own arrogance and an inflexible Army leadership wouldn't let us win it. We didn't have to do so poorly in Iraq 2 (once we made the mistake of invading that country) if we had simply learned the lessons of Vietnam and Britain's experience in Iraq several decades earlier. But, once again, American hubris almost cost us the war, and another round of great humiliation, if it weren't for President Bush finally getting off his high-horse and letting new thinking, which Obama later made permanent, have its way in the Pentagon.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2013: WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES! An apparent rhetorical comment by Secretary of State Kerry yesterday to the possibility of a diplomatic solution to the chemical weapons crises. Kerry said that Assad had one week one week to hand over his entire stock of chemical weapons to international control to avoid a military attack, although he, Kerry, said Assad obviously wouldn't comply.
Later that day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Monday backed Kerry's demand of Assad. Shortly thereafter, it was reported that Syria "welcomed" the Russian proposal. Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid then postponed the vote on authorizing a military strike on Syria with the purpose of deterring his use of chemical weapons.
Today, Syria agreed to the deal ... we hope. Only time, hopefully very little time, will tell.
What occurs to me is the possibility this whole scenario was staged; not that I care, mind you. But, if you recall, Presidents Obama and Putin had that strange 30-minute sit-down talk at the G-30 Summit several days before and the topic they said was Syria. ... just saying.
In any case, I think Congress should go ahead with the authorization, but now with the caveat that it is only usable in the event Assad does not comply with the deal.
SEPTEMBER 16. 2013: THE U.N/ INSPECTOR'S REPORT IS IN! No surprise, the rebel families in the Damascus suburbs were killed by Sarin gas. While the mandate of the U.N. inspectors was not to point fingers at who is responsible, it is easy to guess since the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reported:
"The team found "clear and convincing evidence" that the nerve agent sarin was delivered by surface-to-surface rockets "on a relatively large scale" on August 21.
Let me ask you, when was the last time you read reports of the rebels using surface-to-surface rockets to deliver anything, let alone nerve gas, against the Syrian forces? Surface-to-air missiles, I think I have heard of, but not surface-to-surface. Who, in the Syrian civil war. are the only ones who possess both large stock piles of the precursors to sarin gas, the means and methods of mixing them together just prior to use to make sarin gas, and the large stockpiles of surface-to-surface missiles to deliver the sarin gas to its victims? There is only one Assad and his military organization.
Ban also concluded by saying:
"It is the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them in Halabja in 1988, and the worst use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century, The international community has a responsibility to ensure that chemical weapons never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare."
At least President Obama is wise enough to understand this message.
EARLY OCTOBER 2013: PRESIDENT OBAMA'S DIPLOMATIC MANEUVERS seemed to have worked. After bringing Russia to the bargaining table, a deal was worked out for Syria to turn over all of their chemical munitions to the U.N. for destruction; that destruction began this week.
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