The Off-Key Stylings of Obama's Syria War Chorus

"This time it's different," say liberal hawks itching to lob missiles (and, eventually, you've gotta assume, troops) at Syria.

Yeah, not so much. But don't let that stop you, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times:

I strongly opposed the Iraq war and the Afghan “surge.” But in conjunction with diplomacy, military force can save lives....

Are we making too much of chemical weapons? Probably less than 1 percent of those killed in Syria have died of nerve gas attacks. In Syria, a principal weapon of mass destruction has been the AK—47.

Yet there is value in bolstering international norms against egregious behavior like genocide or the use of chemical weapons.

Kristof grants that Obama's invocations of "red lines" and general inaction has failed, so it's time for "a tougher approach" and the president "can’t just whimper and back down." Good luck with all that.

And with the approach to missile attacks bandied about by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who told the LA Times:

Obama needs "to find the right target set that will be punitive and that will have a strong deterrent impact on Assad's potential future use of chemical weapons," said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. "But at the same time it should not go so far beyond the instrumentalities of chemical weapons use that it appears we're trying to topple the regime."

Yeah, really good luck with that.

But then, maybe we don't have to do anything with regard to the "red line" of chemical weapons being used in Syria. As George Will points out in a must-read column, the State Department claims that the U.S. retaliated when the Assad regime supposedly used chemical weapons "a few months ago." But the State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, just doesn't want to say what we did:

We did take action. We did – we’re not going to outline the inventory of what we did. That remains the same as it was a couple of months ago. But the President acted. We crossed a redline. It did change the calculus, and we took action, and we have the opportunity, or the option, to do more if he chooses to do more.

As Will notes in his piece,

The administration now would do well to do something that the head of it has an irresistible urge not to do: Stop talking.

If a fourth military intervention is coming, it will not be to decisively alter events, which we cannot do, in a nation vital to U.S. interests, which Syria is not. Rather, its purpose will be to rescue Obama from his words.

It goes without saying: Good luck with that.

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  • Duke||

    SheriffaliBeverly Hills
    The case for Bombing The Syrian Government!

    The Proof of evidence that warrants bombing Syria are the thousand plus dead women, men and children from chemical warfare that is indisputable. For those who have always wanted to belittle Obama and the Democrats that are most of the time “spineless,” if we, who always claim to be the Leader of the World and are always perpetuating Human-Rights, Democracy and Freedom for all just sit by and do nothing, then, the worst is yet to come.

    And it wouldn’t only be in and from Syria, but Iran, North Korea and the disenchanted and envious South American Countries that are buttressed in their hate for the United States, by our nemesis, CHINA and Russia! Both China and Russia are no friends of America, they are ruthless to their own people and the only agenda on their minds “is the overloaded avarice for power to usurp the United States.” God help us all if they ever achieve their goals...

  • Duke||

    ...As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently stated; “injustice anywhere could become injustice everywhere!” The Talking-Heads in the media and the always whining disrepute should just shut up and allow the President and his Military Advisors to handle this matter. Since becoming President, Obama has always shown himself to be the reluctant warrior and seeks no fanfare of warmongering.

    It is insane to compare President George W. Bush with President Obama! Bush threw us in unforgiving waters and Obama threw us the lifeline and rescued us!
    Aug. 29, 2013 at 12:07 p.m."

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Sheriffali

    Sheriff Ali?

    Sounds legit.

  • ||

    Sheriff Ali doesn't like it, bombing the Casbah.

  • Doctor Whom||

    It is insane to compare President George W. Bush with President Obama. Bush's supporters used one version of content-free political rhetoric, and Obama's supporters use another.

  • Sevo||

    And Bush went so far as to ask congress.

  • Zeb||

    Probably only because he knew what the answer would be.

  • DRM||

    Maybe. But Bush's actual bowing to Constitutional niceties in getting Congress to approve the use of force in both a general war on terror and a war on Iraq was a nice change of pace.

  • Duke||

    Folks, this is what we are up against.

  • ||

    We crossed a redline.

    Holy tedious fuck, is this becoming an actual term? Not only does this administration foist its violence and control on everything, they have to foist moronic new terms on us too?

  • ||

    Is this a new term? or is it just the one-word-ness of it that makes it new?

  • CE||

    I thought redlining was a way to cut out unnecessary spending, like with the line item veto. Now it means the same thing as drawing a line in the sand? And how do you draw a red line in sand anyway?

  • UnCivilServant||

    You take a bucket of blood and a trowel, drag a channel in the sand with the trowel and pour in the blood.

  • ||

    I've heard it used with cars to mean don't go over a certain RPM, but I doubt that Barry is a car buff.

  • ||

    The most idiotic thing is that Obama said "a red line" and now blithering idiot supporters of his have morphed it into "redline". Can they get stupider?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Could he have been talking about the Metro? If the Syrians were to gas the Metro's Red Line, he'd have to take action?

  • ||

    ProL, you're on to something, but it needs more ORANGE LINE MAFIA and COSMOTARIAN. Because red line doesn't sound stupid enough.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You're right--why be constrained by things Obama said in the past? He sure isn't.

    I was also thinking that he actually wouldn't need congressional authorization to respond to a gassing of DC by Syria.

  • Doctor Whom||

    If the Syrians engaged in mass destruction against Metro's Red Line, how could anyone tell?

  • Pro Libertate||

    The Metro used to be a decent enough train, massively subsidized to be so. Better than the L, at least in the 90s.

  • CampingInYourPark||

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wait, maybe he meant breadline.

  • Aresen||

    "redlining" used to mean one of two things:

    1) You were running a piece of equipment so hard or in an environment so risky that the needles on whatever gauges you had were approaching the red line that meant danger or a breakdown.
    2) You were a financial institution and had drawn a red line on a map indicating neighborhoods where you wouldn't lend money. (Now illegal.)

    Neither of them meant "arbitrarily deciding you were going to blow something up."

  • Pro Libertate||

    Obama has altered the meaning of the term. Pray he doesn't alter it any further.

  • William of Purple||

    literally.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    but I doubt that Barry is a car buff.

    Why? He was a Black teenager during the Golden Age of the Low Rider; I'd be surprised if the Presidential Limo wasn't rollin' on Dubs.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yes, redlining is going 30 mph in 1st gear. What this has to do with missiles is a mystery to me.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Or banks denying mortgages to minority neighborhoods.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Right, redlining. That's what I was trying to remember.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Borderline,
    Feels like I'm going to lose my mind
    You just keep on pushing my love over the borderline.

    I think that's what Obama meant.

  • Lord Humungus||

    *lights torch*
    *gathers lynch mob*
    *hunts Pro Libertate to the ends of the Earth*

  • Pro Libertate||

    Look, it's not me, it's him.

  • Libertymike||

    Try to understand.....

  • BakedPenguin||

    I just keep on launching my drones over the borderline
    Borderline, feels like I'm going to lose my mind
    I just keep on launching my drones over the borderline

  • CampingInYourPark||

    We crossed a redline.

    Holy tedious fuck, is this becoming an actual term?

    Dude, this is a whole lot less tedious than the weaponsofmassdestruction meme.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wait, what?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Letmebeclear. Using Weaponsofmassdestruction crosses the redline.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it. Wrong when Bush does it, right when Obama does it.

  • Libertymike||

    How about when shriek does it?

  • Jordan||

    You're stealing Shreeeek's thunder.

  • Duke||

    Are you trying to summon The Buttplug?

  • some guy||

    The term "WMD" is soooo Bush. They needed a new phrase and "red line" was as good as any. The truly hilarious thing would be if we bombed Syria and then, 5 years from now found out that it was the rebels who did it all along.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    The truly hilarious thing would be if we bombed Syria and then, 5 years from now found out that it was the rebels who did it all along.

    You mean like ironic hilarious and not haha hilarious, right?

  • Raston Bot||

    I'd laugh.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    It's a redline overload!

    Right into the Danger Zone!

  • Rasilio||

    I thought that was a highway?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Dangerzone is just past redline

  • Drake||

    Maybe they want to give Syria a "code red" so the need a red-line.

    (I was in the Marines and never heard that stupid term until "A Few Good Men")

  • CE||

    The American people don't want another war. What happened to the "democracy" you value, Mr. President?

  • Pro Libertate||

    He embodies its will, solely and exclusively.

  • ||

    What part of "one man, one vote" do you people not understand? Do you want Obama to vote twice?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The American people don't want another war.

    Depends on the type "war".

    The surgically precise war against Bin Laden was hugely popular.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    The surgically precise war against Bin Laden was hugely popular.

    And clearly, that means that random missile shots into Syria will be popular as well.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    In other words, the America people don't want another war, unless it's something that's totally not a war.

    Similarly, I don't want a punch in the neck, unless it's the kind that's really an ice cream sandwich.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Was helping out the anti-Qadaffi movement in Libya a "war"?

    What if that blueprint is followed?

  • Aresen||

    Was helping out the anti-Qadaffi movement in Libya a "war"?

    Yes.

    If bombing Libya for our ends was not an act of war, then neither was the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    OK, a simple cost/benefit analysis shows that war to be extremely worthwhile.

    This tactic of equating everything to the unpopular Iraq War is not working for you guys.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The Iraq War was a declared war. There's some quibbles about the AUMF, but there was clear congressional authorization.

    I don't give a flying fuck about how much you love Obama, but this is unconstitutional, hard stop.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It might very well be unconstitutional - time will tell. I will grant you that.

    Iran/Contra was. I can name many things that were.

  • Aresen||

    And in what universe is the idea of attacking Syria a 'popular' war?

    And how is this unlike Iraq?
    - Alleged Al-Queda involvement? Check
    - Alleged WMD use? Check
    - Government committing genocide? Check
    - Murderous tyrant in power? Check

    I should also mention that the Iraq War had more popular support on March 20, 2003 than the idea of intervention in Syria does today. (I know. I was one of the few opponents. It was damned lonely until Hillary and Kerry and the other liberal hawks turned against it.)

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    If we throw a Tomahawk into Syria and that is it - it won't be unpopular at all.

  • wwhorton||

    OK, a simple cost/benefit analysis shows that war to be extremely worthwhile.

    In what sense have we benefited from our involvement in Libya? I know we're down one ambassador, but I'm not seeing the upshot.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Qadaffi was behind the Pan Am bombing.

  • Aresen||

    You are invoking something 20 years old?

    Shit. Going that route, Argentina was justified invading the Falklands and Canada should declare war on the US over the assassination of Darcy McGee.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Qadaffi was behind the Pan Am bombing.

    And that was costing us exactly what in 2011?

  • DRM||

    Yeah, in Libya we got to show the world that cooperating with the United States in giving up terrorism and WMDs would just get you and your family killed, and we got a US ambassador killed for our trouble. TOTAL VICTORY!

  • Marc F Cheney||

    You wrote "The surgically precise war against Bin Laden was hugely popular."

    That's incoherent.

  • Lord Humungus||

    and by surgically precise, we mean a cutting with an axe by drunk doctor doped up on morphine. Because what's a few bystanders for the guardians of democracy?

  • Agammamon||

    Uhm, which 'surgically precise war against Bin Laden' was hugely popular?

    The one in Afghanistan? Nope.
    The one in Iraq? Nope
    The one where we throw missiles at quasi-random knots of people all over the middle east long after Bin Laden is dead? Nope.

  • Raston Bot||

    I think it was the targeting of first-responders that was insanely* popular.

    *only insane people loved it

  • WTF||

    I think it was the one where Obama rapelled into Bin Laden's compound and single-handedly cut Bin Laden's throat.

  • Aresen||

    I thought he tore Bin Laden's throat open with his teeth then ripped Bin Laden's liver out with his bare hands and held it up in front of his face as he lost consciousness.

  • thom||

    What happened to the "democracy" you value, Mr. President?

    Obama defines "democracy" as giving shit to friends and supporters and trying to make them feel good.

  • CE||

    Nuking 100,000 civilians: necessary to end the war.
    Lining up 100,000 civilians and machine gunning them: an atrocity and war crime.

    Shooting 100,000 people with machine guns: hey, it's a civil war, let them sort it out.
    Gassing 1,000 people with a WW1 era weapon, and possibly being framed by the rebels or outside forces: You've crossed a red line!

  • UnCivilServant||

    Hollow point bullet - war crime
    Grenade Machine Gun - A-okay.

  • ||

    Napalm, it's what's for dinner.

  • WTF||

    Smells like victory.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    MS. PSAKI: Well, the redline has been clear. I know there’s been some confusion about this

    Let, me be clear, and I know this will confuse you but FYTW

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We need a chart of colors for lines to put things in perspective. Maybe red isn't that bad.

  • ||

    OH GOD! WHY HAVE YOU CROSSED THE CHARTREUSE LINE.

    Forgive us FSM for we have sinned MIGHTILY in they noodly eyes.

    *weeps uncontrollably*

  • BakedPenguin||

    We're not using this anymore?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Oh, that's the redline he meant. When we attack, we'll cross the redline on the alert status to seeing an actual terrorist attack here.

  • ||

    Because we sat were at orange for 7 years and everyone stopped giving a shit.

  • Ted S.||

    No; they've switched to this.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Is it too early to start drinking?

  • ||

    No, but I don't recommend it.

    Get stoned instead.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    This recurring process is like being in a high school parking lot after The Big Game, watching two girls goading their boyfriends into a fistfight to protect their "honor".

  • Killazontherun||

    That's one thing I love about women. I was good buddies with a boxer who played a circuit of clubs. I thought it weird it was called amateur boxing given they had a decent purse at these events, 500 to 1500 bucks is what I remember. He always insisted on giving me an extra ticket, with a plea, 'bring your girl! Bring your girl! She will fuck you without mercy. You wont be able to calm that pussy down after she's sees a good fight.'

    According to him, that's the real reason boxers lay off of sex for a few days before an event.

  • Killazontherun||

    Bush lied,
    People died!
    Obama's wise,
    Saves lives!

  • Libertymike||

    Polk prevaricated,

    Taylor instigated,

    Grant medicated,

    Truman incinerated,

    Carter equivocated,

    Obama liberated.

  • Libertymike||

    Couldn't think of anything quick with which to include Lincoln.

  • Raston Bot||

    You're joking, right?

    emancipated

  • Killazontherun||

    I tried, but got nuthin' either.

  • Killazontherun||

    Lincoln communicated!

    There, found one.

  • Duke||

    It’s 8:34 pm in Syria right now if that’s what you meant.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    This recurring process is like being in a high school parking lot after The Big Game, watching two girls...

    Was promising up to that point

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Kristof grants that Obama's invocations of "red lines" and general inaction has failed."

    I'm tired of seeing Barack Obama's incompetence constantly reimagined as bold tactics by his fans and failures by his critics.

    Even if I were a fan of Barack Obama, painting himself into a corner on chemical weapons like that was stupid. No matter what you think about what we should do in Syria, Obama painting himself into a corner with his "red lines" was a stupid thing to do, and it underscores once again that our president is woefully incompetent.

    ...nevermind that he has no idea what's in the best interests of the United States--Obama doesn't even know what's in his own best interests!

  • kinnath||

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/mon.....unity.html

    Fuckbeard, types more crap.

    We Need Government Handouts, Not Equality of Opportunity

    You think about the good old days of the pioneers when you could pull up your bootstraps and go work a farm out west (if you were white, that is). Well, that was a government program! You didn't confiscate that land from its native inhabitants. Somebody else made that happen.

  • ||

    Holy fucking Christ, kinnath, not you too? You do realize that there is nothing more gauche and annoying than posting SadBeard at this point, right?

  • kinnath||

    yup

  • ||

    gauche and annoying

    Posting SadBeard is a nouveau riche pastime?

  • ||

    No, nouveau riche pastimes are jejune, jesse. Why don't you get back to me after some etiquette lessons? Maybe FoE can help you out.

  • ||

    You think jejune is a better descriptor of nouveau riche affected ostentation than gauche?

  • ||

    Gauche is when you use the wrong fork, jesse--which I saw you do, by the way--whereas jejune is just unsophisticated.

    It doesn't surprise me that you don't know the difference. Where were you raised, in a barn?

  • ||

    use the wrong fork, jesse--which I saw you do, by the way

    Why I never... My country estate had several barns. All of them made from endangered hard woods imported from unpronounceable locations. I grew up in the manor which was expansive, underutilized and was just on the edge of falling into disrepair as is appropriate for old money.

    We shall have to send out orphans for pistols at dawn.

  • ||

    (slaps jesse in face with glove)

    It shall be épées, jesse, since I am a trained fencer*. Now tell me what was gauche and jejune about what I just said.

    * (I actually am)

  • ||

    You escalated rather quickly with the glove slap rather than throwing it to the ground and unless you've been training your orphans how to play with your sword,* your training is useless in an orphan-mediated duel.

    *which I don't doubt you have

  • ||

    Oh jesse, you have failed my test. In a dueling challenge, the challenger cannot decide the type of weapon; only the challenged may choose. So it was not for me, after slapping you (and therefore actually initiating the challenge), to choose the weapons. That was your choice. That is what was gauche and jejune about it.

    I will have to send you to FoE for more lessons. This is unacceptable. And while you're at it, work on your swordplay. You know the kind I mean.

  • ||

    *Hangs head and walks away with the searing shame of knowing that Epi has bested me*

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Louis Wu, I found your challenge verbose. When challenging a Kzin, a simple scream of rage will suffice. You scream and you leap."

  • Pro Libertate||

    What a fucking moron.

  • Ken Shultz||

    So, whose land does Yglesias want us to steal this time?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You think about the good old days of the pioneers when you could pull up your bootstraps and go work a farm out west (if you were white, that is).

    Nat Love, not to mention the historic 15% of cowboys who were of African heritage and the other 15% who were of Latino and Native American heritage, doesn't look too kindly on this bullshit.

  • John||

    It is unbelievable how fucking stupid liberals and liberal journalists in particular are. Entire towns in Texas were made up of freed blacks who were given land after emancipation. They totally compartmentalize what little they know. For sad beard, 40 acres in a mule applies to discussions about the evil white men. It can never be recalled when talking about the American West.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Entire towns in Texas were made up of freed blacks who were given land after emancipation.

    Emancipation caused by who? huh huh? Gov't!

    /progtard

  • Irish||

    I like that Yglesias is advocating in favor of the government confiscation of Native American land.

  • Jordan||

    Wow, they aren't even pretending not to support theft now.

  • Agammamon||

    Hey, we're all in this together and those native americans just needed to pay their fair share!

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Party like it's Detroit!

  • John||

    Of course the US government bought a lot of that land from the Indians. It wasn't all taken by force. In fact most of it wasn't and the Indians thought they were getting a good deal by selling it.

    But we shouldn't bother sad beard with facts.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Oh, and, incidentally, one of the things that fueled the American Revolution was that the British wouldn't let colonists settle on land west of the Appalachians and going up into the Ohio Valley. They had been competing with the French for the good will of the aboriginals, there.

    Typically, the pioneers flooded in before the government ever got there. The government was basically always trying to keep up with the pioneers--afraid they might start thinking they didn't need the government at all.

    No doubt the pioneers often came into conflict with Native Americans, but it wasn't the pioneers, generally, that came in and codified ownership of the land--stripping it away from the aboriginals. It was the government that did that; it was generally the government that came in with an army and subjugated them, took their land, and chased them onto reservations, too.

  • John||

    And more than a few Indians gave up the tribal life and integrated into the white community. The reason why there are very few reservations on the East Coast isn't because the whites killed all of the Indians. It is because a lot of those tribes just integrated into white society and vanished.

  • Zeb||

    Or got marched off to Oklahoma.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The Louisiana Purchase was not a government program?

    (did not read article)

  • Jordan||

    did not read article

    Did not read comments either, obviously.

  • Killazontherun||

    The east was mostly settled peacefully, no matter how much the governments of that time tried to goad the Red Man into war. You would have a decent sized book on your hands if you collected all of the post I have made this argument with links provided over the years. Trade and farming collected into towns along the riverbanks were started by the indigenous before European settlers moved in to them. Not kicking the natives out, but joining and growing those societies. War would be the footnote of this history if the accounts were properly balanced. This is obvious if you think of Mexico where the conquistadors would have campaigns of war for several years, than the wars would lose steam and not flare again for decades. What the hell happened in the mean time? Economies based on cooperation formed between Spaniard and the indigenous because loot and plunder can not be sustained without the wealth created in the interim.

  • John||

    Again. No one ever mentions that millions of Indians intermarried with whites and basically took up the white lifestyle melting into white society. They make it look like every Indian was murdered or put on a crowded cattle car to a reservation. But history is always more interesting and varied than the lies liberals tell themselves.

  • ||

    No, there was conflict, but the numbers were so small that it just didn't mean much. I've personally read direct accounts of attempted Indian raids on settler forts and the like, and we're talking numbers like 25 men total with one killed and three injured. I think that we as modern people fail to understand the scale back then. What would become, say, New Haven, was settled with like 50 or 100 people, possibly less. And the Indian tribes there were also far smaller than we would think.

  • John||

    The Indians on the east coast were much more hurt by the epidemics. The epidemics hit even before the British showed up. The land was largely depopulated by the beginning of the 17th Century. The Indian population had dropped by over 90% between the time the Spanish showed up in Florida and when the British showed up at Jamestown.

  • kinnath||

    http://www.cracked.com/article.....erica.html

    There's a pretty important detail our movies and textbooks left out of the handoff from Native Americans to white European settlers: It begins in the immediate aftermath of a full-blown apocalypse. In the decades between Columbus' discovery of America and the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock, the most devastating plague in human history raced up the East Coast of America. Just two years before the pilgrims started the tape recorder on New England's written history, the plague wiped out about 96 percent of the Indians in Massachusetts.

    The place was basically empty when the Europeans arrived.

  • John||

    They didn't find a virgin land. They found a widowed land. But don't bother progtards like Sad Beard with facts. It would just get in the way of them feeling good about themselves.

  • kinnath||

    In the years before the plague turned America into The Stand, a sailor named Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed up the East Coast and described it as "densely populated" and so "smoky with Indian bonfires" that you could smell them burning hundreds of miles out at sea. Using your history books to understand what America was like in the 100 years after Columbus landed there is like trying to understand what modern day Manhattan is like based on the post-apocalyptic scenes from I Am Legend.

  • ||

    While I'm going to take a Cracked article with a grain of salt, that would explain the paucity of population that I've seen in my various readings of written historical events in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts in the early colonial period.

    It would also mean that it is doubtful that colonization would have succeeded (barring extremely friendly natives) if the population hadn't been devastated. It's a shame the natives had no written language; we'd know so much more.

  • kinnath||

    It was a fascinating article (even if it was cracked). They pointed out that settlers said they could drive wagons through the forests with ease because they were clear of brush.

    Cracked also points out that the Vikings tried to settle North America and got their butts kicked by the natives.

  • ||

    The "wiping out of 96 percent of the population of Massachusetts" stuff really annoys me, though, and makes me doubt anything else they have to say. Even the bubonic plague only killed off a third or so of the population. Humans have diversity. For something to kill off 96 percent, it would have to be astoundingly lethal, and we just have never seen such numbers where our records are reliable.

    So, I already assume this article is wrong, at least significant assumptions within it. It's a shame the article's writers didn't have the same skepticism.

  • kinnath||

    Not quite as dramatic as Cracked:

    http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/artic.....rticle.htm

    The limited information available notes the following clinical manifestations of the illness: headache and fever with visible signs of epistaxis and jaundice. Mode of transmission was not known. Weather and seasonality are unknown, although tree ring data suggest greater than average rainfall in eastern Massachusetts during 1615–1625 (12). The duration of the epidemic (or epidemics) reportedly ranged from 3 to 6 years. Estimated death rates (which lack reliable numerator and denominator data) range from one third of the local population to as high as 90% (1,13). The Patuxet (Plimouth) Native American village was severely depopulated (14).

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Even 80-90% would be devastating. European plagues did far less than that, but left the countrysides empty for decades.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    That was great. And it fits with other things that have puzzled me, like how the Spanish conquistadors who explored North America found it heavily populated, and generally got their asses kicked whenever the natives weren't friendly.

  • Calidissident||

    The Native Americans had no immunity to the new diseases. The population decline in places like Mexico and Peru, which were explored and colonized relatively early and had advanced civilizations immediately prior to colonization, as well as the Caribbean islands (which were the first placesin the New World to be colonized) is pretty well documented, and it was devastating. Other causes, like war and colonial brutality played a part, but the vast majority who died from disease. The historical record isn't as good in what became the US, because it was not settled or explored as much until a later, and there weren't any empires comparable to the Aztecs or Incas.

  • John||

    Read the book 1491. It gives a great description of America before Columbus. The Indian tribes were totally different and more numerous than what you see in the history books. The mound builders in the Southeast were a huge civilization that totally fell apart because of the disease outbreaks.

  • Guy LaGuy||

    So why haven't you colonizers packed your backs and returned from whence you came?

  • Nazdrakke||

    North Carolina? Eh, too hot, too muggy.

  • Killazontherun||

    My uncle (mother's brother -- here's a profile, http://www.ncbowhunter.com/hf_ben_southard.html of the Great White Hunter, not even an exaggeration) wrote about the riverbank settlements for Boy's Life in the 70s. When he canoed through the areas, he would collect oral histories. That's where he got the notion our official histories are very much distorted.

  • Killazontherun||

    So why haven't you colonizers packed your backs and returned from whence you came?

    http://i.crackedcdn.com/phpima.....50.jpg?v=1

  • Killazontherun||

    There was conflict but the time scale of conflict versus that of cooperation is vastly outweighed in cooperation's favor. A raft full of produce moving up the Allegheny River between two settlements doesn't make the history books. A dozen people getting slaughtered does so conflict gets over emphasized, and eventually exploited for political gamesmanship.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    So Yglesias is a fan of the Indian Removal Act. Who knew?

  • John||

    Absent self defense, it is illegal to go to war without UNSC authorization. Interestingly Bush had such authorization for Iraq in the form of the original Gulf War I resolutions that authorized the US to use any force it saw necessary if Saddam violated the ceasefire agreement, which he did when he kicked out the UN inspectors. Bush went back to the UN for appearances. He wasn't legally required to do so. Those original UNSCRs were still valid.

    There is no "they used gas therefore we can go to war" clause in the UN Charter. If Obama intervenes without UNSC authorization, this will be an illegal war. It won't even have the fig leaf of it being in Europe and well NATO is different that Clinton tried to use in Kosovo, another illegal war.

    Now watch as the same people who spent the 00s assuming that Iraq was an illegal war and thus immoral as well tell us how this illegal war is different.

    And of course regardless of its legality in international law, Bush got Congress to approve Iraq. So it was absolutely legal under domestic law. This war will illegal under both domestic and international law.

    Sort of makes you think everything the Dems and the Left said during the Bush Administration was a lie, doesn't it?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Absent self defense, it is illegal to go to war without UNSC authorization.

    Libya was quite a while ago, dude. The letter signed by 116 congressmen even mentions it. This shit matters not one bit.

  • John||

    I thought Libya did get a UNSCR. They just didn't go to Congress. That one was illegal under domestic law.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Yes, you are correct. It was just illegal in one aspect.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I have a hard time imagining Congress refusing to give him what he wants.

    Thinking back, except when Congress refused to fund the Vietnam War toward the end there, has Congress ever actually refused the president an authorization?

    I think Obama would get it; I think he's worried about what supporting him might do to Democrats who supported him in the upcoming midterms. It's harder to garner enthusiasm from your liberal base* right after you authorized the president to go on a military adventure.

    *Everywhere except San Francisco, Massachusetts, and New York City, anyway.

  • John||

    The fact that he is worried about what making Dems vote to support him would do to their political futures makes me wonder if getting it through congress is such a sure thing.

    But you are right. Right now Obama, since he can't run again, is the stunt Dem. He does whatever the fuck he wants and other Dems assure the country they really don't like that very much.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, I think the Dems have to support the President, and the Republicans aren't about to vote against the troops in red states.

    He'd get it!

    He just doesn't want Democrats in swing states to have to go on the record in voting for an unpopular war. I think that's what it's all about.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "There is no "they used gas therefore we can go to war" clause in the UN Charter."

    Yeah, let's hope Obama doesn't give a red line to Congo or any other country that would love to be invaded by the United States right about now...

    Go out there and use chemical weapons, Congo! And maybe Barack Obama will commit the people of the United States to rebuilding your country.

    Yeeee-HAAAAAW!

  • Agammamon||

    "Absent self defense, it is illegal to go to war without UNSC authorization"

    Uh, illegal according to who? The UNSC? I imagine that Syria also thinks a war between us would be illegal.

    Nations are effectively in a state of anarchy in regards to their relations with each other - we don't answer to the UNSC and according to *our* constitution, a war is illegal only if congress doesn't give its approval.

  • Zeb||

    If we have agreed to a treaty that says that UNSC authorization is necessary to get involved in an optional war, then that is the law in the US.

  • Agammamon||

    When did we sign *that* treaty?

  • Zeb||

    I don't know whether we did or not. Hence the "if" at the beginning of the sentence.

  • DRM||

    It's in the UN Charter, which is a treaty. Which we signed June 26, 1945, ratified on August 8, 1945, and which entered into force October 24, 1945.

    Self-defense includes a "collective" provision, but only deals with state entities. If Syria gasses Syrians, then under the Charter (which the US is bound to according to the Constitution), the US needs UNSC approval to intervene.

    Kosovo was a doubly-illegal war (no authorization from Congress for war or the UNSC for internal intervention), Afghanistan was definitely legal (both Congressional and UNSC authorization), Iraq was arguably legal (explicit Congressional authorization, and old UNSC authorizations that didn't have an explicit expiration date), and Libya was again doubly-illegal.

  • DRM||

    Er, Libya was singly illegal (no Congressional authorization), and Syria would be doubly-illegal.

  • wwhorton||

    It violates "international law" which is, in theory, the purview of the UN. Of course, international law is sort of a misnomer, because there's no sovereign authority above the nation-state, so there's no real enforcement capability. Essentially, and this is where I commence talking out of my ass, I think the goal of the UNSC in regard to international law is to generate a sort of artificial casus belli when needed. By saying that aggression is "illegal", the UNSC is telling the world that if anyone wants to attack a nation that breaks international law, no other SC nations will intervene to defend.

  • Agammamon||

    International law is *not* the purview of the UN - its only one of several way to solve disputes between nations and codify what is acceptable inter-national behavior. And even then, because (as you point out the UN has no real enforcement capability) making something illegal has no punch.

    International law is simply a codification of acceptable behavior and the sum of explicit agreements between nations.

    Amazingly, amongst nations that are supporters of strong central states, this extremely libertarian structure crops up.

  • Aresen||

    Alt text for the second pic:

    Really! His warboner is THIS BIG!

  • PapayaSF||

    Commence OPERATION SAVE FACE!

  • John||

    Well, we have to do something. And when Assad is still in power after we waste a few billion dollars and lives bombing, he will be deterred how?

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    He will be very sad that he didn't own stock in Raytheon.

  • PapayaSF||

    Collected from Twitchy:

    Operation Shock and Uhh
    Operation Redistribution of Bombs
    Operation We Have To Bomb It To Find Out What's In It
    Operation Black Hawk Clown
    Operation That Was Then This Is Now
    Operation Enduring Confusion
    Operation SQUIRREL!
    Operation If Iraq Had a Son, It'd Look Like Syria
    Operation What Difference Does It Make?

  • Tim||

    "It ain't the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I'm smart! Not like everybody says... like dumb... I'm smart and I want respect! "

  • Paul.||

    I'm not even sure it's the progressives' support of military action that bugs me. But more the rank, bald-faced hypocrisy they're willing to engage in to do it.

    Careful, measured arguments about being a good world citizen, the noble use of diplomacy with big sticks. The careful speculation about strategy in having the most successful deterrent for the Assad regime to use weapons of mass destruction in the future.

    It's the same argument everyone uses...

  • John||

    The US has never fought a more Wilsonian war than Iraq. That war was all about the authority of the international community and making sure that countries knew that they could not disobey the UN without consequences and to try and create a stable democracy in the middle of the Arab world. That is all Wilsonian. And it is exactly the things that liberals wax philosophical about and dream of using US military power to accomplish.

    Rank hypocrisy is too weak of a work. Craven power mad assholes works better.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Right you are.

    Making the Middle East safe for democracy was a fool's errand, and Bush was up for the task. Obama is superbly qualified to take up that torch, and continue the legacy of Wilson and Bush.

  • William of Purple||

  • Paul.||

    Get your talking points in order so no one can counter with "Booooooosh!"

  • Zeb||

    Well, that was a lot less stupid than I expected.

  • Andrew S.||

    From a comment to that Kristof article:

    I am glad that those making these decisions are wiser and have more details than I. I am also thankful that President Obama is a very thoughtful man and is not racing forward with missiles, something the last guy would have already done.

    People really believe that stuff, huh?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Whatever he does is right, see.

    By the way, war or no war, I'm not forgetting the scandals. So don't bother.

  • ||

    They believe the TEAM narrative. Always. Because they are moronic sheep.

  • John||

    The funniest thing about that is that Bush spent well over a year talking and dithering about going into Iraq. He didn't fire a shot in Afghanistan until nearly a month after 911. Whatever Bush's sins, firing missiles and attacking countries with a hair trigger was not one of them. Meanwhile, there is this other President who is now on the verge of bombing a second country without even debating it in Congress.

    If they didn't have projection, they wouldn't have anything.

  • Paul.||

    Yeah, no shit. The decision to go into Iraq didn't happen over night. It was just wrong.

  • Zeb||

    Well, the decision may or may not have happened overnight. The public disclosure that that was definitely the plan took some time, though.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Andrew S.

    "I am glad that those making these decisions are wiser[...]"


    It sounds to me more like sarcasm... At least, I am hoping the guy was being sarcastic.

  • Andrew S.||

    Given the full comment, it looks like a legitimate comment, no sarcasm. This was also one of the comments the NYT staff chose to pick out and feature.

    Bob LaughlinDenverNYT Pick..There is a little discrimination when bullets and bombs are flying, some people do get lucky and avoid being killed. There is no such discrimination or luck when it is chemical weapons, they are insidious and get everywhere and everyone.

    Saying that we must recognize that revolutions and civil wars are very messy and a lot of people die. In our own hundreds of thousands of us were killed by us.

    Let us also remember that President Washington sent troops to quell the Whiskey Rebellion and that many Americans were killed by American troops.

    I am glad that those making these decisions are wiser and have more details than I. I am also thankful that President Obama is a very thoughtful man and is not racing forward with missiles, something the last guy would have already done.
  • John||

    So a civil war in Syria is just like if the rednecks out in Pennsyltucky decided to have a tax rebellion. Progs are always ignorant in creative ways. They know a few facts but then use them in completely bizarre contexts.

  • Paul.||

    At least, I am hoping the guy was being sarcastic.

    Unfortunately, probably not.

    I've ran into too many instances where progressives get wistful-eyed and talk about the innate wisdom of their leaders.

    They really are obsessed and star-struck by power.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Unfortunately, in a world the imitates The Onion, it no longer reasonable to assume that a psuedonymous comment is sarcastic no matter how ridiculous it is.

  • OldMexican||

    Yet there is value in bolstering international norms against egregious behavior like genocide or the use of chemical weapons.


    Value for whom? Even if the U.S. government acted only and esxclusively against "egregious behavior like genocide" or the use of chemical weapons, what do you think people of other countries would feel about a government of another country that makes such displays of unchecked power? Trust, or apprehension? Relief, or fear?

  • John||

    To the extent there is, the international community has to be behind it. That means China and Russia and the rest of the UNSC have to agree. If you had that and it were a no kidding joint effort, it would set a good precedent. But they don't have that. So it will end up just looking like the US picking on someone and further alienate the Chinese and the Russians.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Are you implying that they might see something hypocritical about a country with 5000+ nuclear warheads threatening to bomb countries which try to develop 1? Heretic!

  • ChrisO||

    Reading WashPost comments sections is always depressing, but this one is beyond the pale. Those derps will really support anything a Democrat does, won't they? If Obama proposed *using* chemical weapons in Syria, the WashPost morons would be all in favor.

  • John||

    We are basically at his mercy. There is nothing he could do that his brain dead supporters and the major media won't support.

  • Paul.||

    Terminology and style guide:

    When Bush does something you don't like, use words such as "Angry, Outraged, Criminal, Hateful (get hate in there)".

    When Obama does something you don't like and there's no way to argue it into a positive, use "disappointed".

  • Guy LaGuy||

    It boggles my mind the trillions the U.S. burns for its wars while its country is dying from the inside.

  • Raston Bot||

    Certainly he deserves another Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Guy LaGuy||

    FISK:


    Before the stupidest Western war in the history of the modern world begins – I am, of course, referring to the attack on Syria that we all now have to swallow – it might be as well to say that the Cruise missiles which we confidently expect to sweep onto one of mankind’s oldest cities have absolutely nothing to do with Syria.
  • Paul.||

    Trust the wisdom of your leaders.

    Like Raimondo does.

  • RightNut||

    "This time it's different," say liberal hawks itching to lob missiles (and, eventually, you've gotta assume troops) at Syria.

    Yup completely different, this president is a Democrat!

  • Zeb||

    I think that the dumbest thing about all of this is that there is no purpose to the proposed action in Syria except "because we said we would". They are saying that they do not intend to enter the war and defeat Assad. So what the fuck is the point? Are we supposed to be like a referee in other people's wars now? Someone committed a foul, so a few missiles and drone strikes are the penalty? What?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Three drones for you, one drone for them!

  • ChrisO||

    "Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Collateral Damage, but we had to Send A Message."

  • Paul.||

    Red lines were drawn, and crossed.

  • Skip||

    The only way to stop these liberal hawks is to prove that Halliburton is somehow making money from this war.

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