Rumors of War


If the Guardian is to be believed—caveat lector!—Bush has blocked Rumsfeld's push to expand the war to Syria. We'll see.


NEXT: Debating Statues

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. >kinda like when george costanza decided to do
    >everything opposite 😀

    IMO “The Opposite” was the best Seinfeld episode, much better than the emmy winning “Contest”.

  2. Yeah, ” “, it’s like I was telling my buddy O.J. Simpson the other day out on the links.

    “Dude,” I said. “You were right. You solved the problem without having to go through all that messy divorce court stuff. Yeah, the post-murder chaos with Ito and those jokers was rough for a while, and Johnny Cochran didn’t come cheap, but you ended up the kids and the house.

    “I feel sorry for those dumb bastards who go through all the hoops just because they think capping one’s old lady is ‘wrong’ or ’cause they’re scared of going to prison. You da man, ‘J!”

  3. Syria does not look like its going to attack the U.S. any time soon. Try as they might, tortured arguments by Perle, Wolfowitz, Woolsey and all the other neo-cons for yet another preemtive war will be a tough sell to Bush, who might see that in trying to make the world safe for Ariel Sharon’s regime he could well be endangering his own. With regard to the the first post; we could
    foster peace by pressuring Sharon to end the occupation of the “brown Peoples” land. Call your
    congress person and senators tell them. Also; Want to stop a Syrian war? Use some logic with them: IF war on Syria THEN no votes. Thats the kind of thing they listen to.

  4. Why can’t we just call the neo-conservatives what they are? Hawks. That way you could throw liberal (Thomas Friedman) and leftist (Christopher Hitchens) hawks (who seem to have a very similar agenda as that of the so-called Neo-Conservatives) into the mix as well.

  5. neo-con = jew

  6. Syria would be a tough sell to Bush? It’s more likely not attacking Syria will be the hard sell. Consider:

    ? Despite what the Guardian says about “two perilous nation-building projects” holding him back, the easiest way to deflect criticism would be to start another war.

    ? A war would also be the easiest way to deflect criticism arising from domestic economic woes.

    ? According to the LA Times, 42% of Americans would not be opposed to attacking Syria; 50% are not opposed to hitting Iran to prevent nuclear weapons development.

    And if Bush truly believes he’s on a mission from God, as we’re told ad nauseum, why would he stop with Iraq?

  7. Anon. repeats the recent canard that “neocon” is a code word for “Jew.” Here’s a quick reality check:

    Noam Chomsky = Jewish, not a neocon
    Michael Novak = neocon, not a Jew

    Does anyone actually believe the “neocon = Jew” equation, or are the people who toss it around making a completely cynical attempt to smear their political enemies as anti-Semites?

  8. This neocon thing is getting on my nerves. As a liberal, I hereby apologize for any time I may have been too quick to attribute conservative positions to racism. Now I understand why the college Republicans were so cranky.

  9. neocon = zionist mayhaps? i dunno. oh and paleocon = WASP 😀 cheers!

  10. “Why can’t we just call the neo-conservatives what they are? Hawks. That way you could throw liberal (Thomas Friedman) and leftist (Christopher Hitchens) hawks … into the mix as well.”

    Sure; most of the neocons are a subset of Hawks. However, unlike the neo-cons, Friedman and
    Hitchens are not enjoying major influnence with Bush and are not hyper-supportive of Sharon and his agenda.

    “… It’s more likely not attacking Syria will be the hard sell…”

    “… the easiest way to deflect criticism would be to start another war.”

    I can just hear Wolfowitz whispering that in Bush’s ear but there are limits to the rally around the president effect and after the dubious
    justifications given for Iraq the even more dubious ones that would be required for an attack on Syria would surely have a political credibility cost.

    “A war would also be the easiest way to deflect criticism arising from domestic economic woes. ”

    On the contrary. With the war being used as a pretext to scale back the tax cuts the case will be manifest that the war is exacerbating our domestic economic woes. As far as polls go ( a libertarian oriented antiwar web site) is today carrying a story with results of a national poll( either “Time” or N.Y.Times I think)
    that shows puplic opinion in a less then enthusiastic mood for “Preemtive” war.

  11. I seem to remember that in 1990-91 many people agreed that Saddam was a bad man who should be removed from power. I also seem to remember that some pundits at the time were calling for coalition forces to go ahead and drive to Baghdad to forcibly remove Saddam from power. Maybe they were right. However, because of the wording of the 1991 U.N. resolution, the coalition forces stopped after removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait It was hoped that Iraqis would rise up and topple Saddam, but that didn’t happen. Now, in 2003, we’re paying the price for not dealing with Saddam back then. Would it have been less costly to have removed Saddam from power in 1991? I don’t know. I have a hunch that it would have been, considering all the trouble Saddam’s been over the past twelve years. Now in 2003, we’re driving to Baghdad from Kuwait and removing him from power just like we could have done twelve years ago.

    In the last few days, I’ve heard some pundits talking about how evil Syria is. About how it’s also ruled by the Ba’ath party. About how it is a repressive regime. About how it’s also developing weapons of mass destruction. About how it has also invaded a neighboring country. I have also heard some pundits saying that freeing Iraq is an example to other repressive regimes in the area and a free and democratic Iraq will be a model for the rest of the Arab world. Will Syria learn from the Iraq example? I don’t know. I’m not encouraged.

    One could argue that ignoring the U.N. and forcibly removing Saddam from power in 1991 would have been the right thing to do. Since January of this year, that’s exactly what we’ve had to do. Ignore the U.N and do the right thing; invade Iraq to free it and protect our country. Are we doing the right thing by stopping with Iraq? I hope that in twelve years U.S forces aren’t back in the Middle East. I hope we don’t have to invade Syria in 2015 to free the Syrian people when we could have done it now and saved ourselves a lot of time, trouble, money, and most importantly, lives.

    I’m not an advocate of war. But I do believe it’s always better to deal with problems sooner, rather than later.

  12. Rick,

    Sure, opponents are using the war as a pretext to scale back the tax cut. The Bushies are doing the exact opposite. Hell, Ari Fleisher even said the cuts are needed to create jobs for veterans!

  13. The worst thing about a war with Syria is that it really will look like a war against Islam. Three Islamic countries in the space of three years would be too much…

  14. Damn straight. Let’s go after Sweeden.

  15. Hey, Sven! It worked for Clinton!

  16. If the Iraq war works at all, Syria will simply cave in to Bush’s demands, much as North Korea has. If it does not, the argument for invading Syria is weakened, not strengthened.

  17. Clinton invaded Sweden?

  18. dear “among the Joes”:

    1. the majority of neocons are jewish

    2. they are vilified in the media as a secret cabel with evil intentions

    3. hmm, “evil neocon-jews secretly running the world” – who here is repeating an old canard, an a terrible one at that? the whole “neocon” smear from the extreem right and extreem left stinks to high hell of old fashioned anti-semitism.

    this is america, you have freedom to debate their policies — but don’t put people into labels, that is just wrong.

  19. Why should libertarians sign off on the hysteria of the cultural left? All the requests and concerns raised by the administration are reasonable, all the responsible parties (including all of the neo-cons who “have the ear” of the president) have said they don’t believe it is a good idea to attack Syria…you have no reason to doubt them, unless you subscribe to leftish caricatures about how America’s political culture works.
    Meantime, why not exploit the opportunity destiny has handed us here? Who wouldn’t want Syria to liberalize, get out of the terror business, get out of the WMD industry, deny sanctuary to the Saddamites and not meddle in Iraqi reconstruction? I can understand not wanting to go to war for these goals, but they are intrinsically worthwhile.
    And we have options short of invasion…raids by land, sea and air, and by special ops. Also the Euros and a UN trying to regain credibility might help…sanctions with a real bite.
    It is just plain good policy to at least test the possibilities– only ANSWER and the Guardian don’t want to see Bush succeed in anything.
    This isn’t just our creation. A lot of people in the Mid East hit the same crack-pipe as Saddam. Assad isn’t acting very sensibly, and if he tries hard enough, he could almost force us to go to war…maybe he doesn’t really like his job?

  20. “All these are better ways to “deal” then the Hell and suffering of war.”

    does this include sitting on the sidelines while brown syrians are warred upon by their own tyranncial government? i see, only lily white paleos in US have rights, not brown syrians.

  21. Is Anon. as stupid as he sounds, or does he think *we’re* so stupid that we’ll buy what he’s selling?

    Anyone who argues that “neocon” is an anti-Semitic code word has forfeited any claim to be taken seriously. I can see why this one prefers to be anonymous…

  22. Anon. states

    “1.the majority of neocons are jewish”

    “2. they are vilified in the media as a secret cabel with evil intentions”

    What media is Anon. tuned into??

    “this is america, you have freedom to debate their policies — but don’t put people into labels, that is just wrong.”

    Check google and you will find that the term neocon and its variants come up approx.65,000 times. Its common parlance.

  23. Nothing wronng with labelling people, so long as the labels bear a fairly close semblance to the reality that the labels are attempting to illustrate. Hell, one of the basic functions of the brain is to categorize various objects, ideas, etc. Imagine the nightmare world where we were unable to do this.

  24. No, it would be Hindu nirvana! ONENESS WITH EVERYTHING 😀

  25. yeah, no doubt the citizens of the syrian dicatorship would rise up against the american oppressors anyway, just like what happened in iraq. don’t forget the millions of civilian casualites, thousands of US service people killed, carpet bombing, our weapons failing, backlash against the US, chemcial weapons attacks and all the rest of the things that happened in our last invasion. and besides, we have no proof that syrians support terrorism or have WMDs. and it is wrong to invade poor countries, since brown people will never be able to have democracy.

  26. Bush prefers the slow way, watch ’em squirm for a while!

    And with attitudes around like those just posted anonymously, who can doubt that Syria *is* next?

    One fear he or she didn’t ridicule though: the notion that we’re just going to keep going till the entire middle east is ours…..

  27. aren’t you violating your own principle of vociferous negation that you stated in the previous post? if it’s the guardian arguing against the administration liberating iraq, then it must be true! kinda like when george costanza decided to do everything opposite 😀

  28. Hi y’all,

    I think once and for all a point has to be made: the reason for the War in Irak was NOT to free its people. Remember all those arguments: WMD, links with Al-Qaeda. Now the talk has changed, since no WMD have been found (I see on CNN reports that ONE warhead that MIGHT have contained chems has been found – come on, where are those millions of tons?) Now the talk is: we waged war to liberate the people. That is a straight-faced lie. The US govt decided to wage war because it believe the US will profit from that. Not because it believed the Iraqi people would benefit from that.

    So: with Iraq, the US followed its own agenda. Oil, Stability (read: for Israel) in the Middle-East, Show these ‘Rogue Nations’ who’s the boss, Mission from God, I don’t know why (I’d say a mix of all that)

    IMO, with Syria, the US is once again following it’s own interests, not those of the people.

    Now I DO believe that the Iraqis ar better off now. But let’s stop pretending that the US govt. cares.
    Or, other solution: the administration has decided to rid the world of Evil. Iraq was just a start. Now is Syria, then who knows. Whoever cannot fight back is a good target (and all the better if there’s some oil to grab, to compensate the cost).
    It’s OK if the international community disagrees, it did before the war on Irak, and it doesn’t matter because the US are too powerful to be stopped. What WILL stop the US govt. is the US people and their votes. Nothing else.


  29. Your posts are getting to friggin long, Rick! Just a brief synopsis would be fine. How about a little soap box discretion, hmm?

  30. 1.) The CIA created the “whoppers”?now you believe them on the goggles. Why? It is about all kinds of weapons, but more-the Fedayeen?who account for most of our battle-field casualties, and not suppressed yet.

    2.) Non-proliferation is a real national interest. And yes it matters who is proliferating: France, Israel or India or N Korea, Syria and Pakistan.

    3.) Show me the plan to roll into Damascus. Sure we would like them to change, and we game war-fighting Red China, but?

    4.) Excepting some high-tech stuff, Israel likely doesn’t need any aid from us?tellingly, only the “hawks” in Israel seem willing to explore this.
    (And let’s cut aid to the PA!)

    5.) Giving the Soviets aid in WWII didn’t make us complicit in Stalinism.
    One reason NOT to twist Israel’s arm is NOT to give credence to the theories of terrorists. (“Americans pull the strings on the Jews”)

    6.) Islamism is an amorphous political movement?and the boogie-man Assad uses to excuse his police state. In office they might grow up, or else discredit themselves and deliver their people to the Free World (e.g. Iran and “us”).

  31. ” The administration feels Syria has provided Saddam’s regime with weapons?it seems idle to doubt it-is Syria denying it? Are you?”

    “Idle”?? Considering the fabrications the administration concocted for the Iraq war and given that the CIA said there was no evidence for the night-vision goggles claim and how the Pentagon backed off then its only prudent to be skeptical.

    “The administration would prefer Syria did not maintain and develop WMD of their own?you would rather they did?”

    Like most things with the government (fortunately) what they prefer and what its their buisness doing something about are different things. I would prefer none of the countries in the region had serious weapons aimed at each other, like the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. When nations see each other as trading partners fighting over land and other contentions become less important. Thats what should be stressed to Syria and Israel. As
    Ludwig von Mises said “when goods don’t cross borders, troops soon do. Note the sanctons that preceded the Iraq war. How do you define WMD? There might be a MAD dynamic between the two countries so some level of parity might be good.

    “Bush, Fleischer, Powell, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz and Kristol (with others) are now on record?but you go with the Guardian and their “Pentagon source” if that suits you.”

    The Hawks in and out of the Pentagon were all for it and only very recently backed off. Bush made no pronouncements about it early on. That is the record.

    “BTW what did Syria give Saddam for the oil? Cash he hardly needed? Scotch and videos for Uday??you work it out.)”

    Give me a break. His country needed cash. What am I trying to Explain? The administration gave evidence of the record of the cash tranactions between the two. You were really stretching on that one.

    We should cut off tax dollars to Israel because it
    enables them to misbehave. Hurts their economy.
    Is not fair. They have the funds themselves and if they had to spend their own they would do it more wisley.

    “No one should dictate are alliances to us, and we do not assume responsibility for the culpability of our friends…”

    We should when we pay for it. Which is why we shouldn’t pay for it

    “Me? I take Israel on her worst day, over any day from any Arab autocracy.”

    I think there’s a lot to like about Israeli civil (non-governmental) society. Particularly, its more secular components. But there are also a lot of serious problems there and a lot things that go on that Americans shouldn’t be paying them billions of dollars every year. Check out “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The weight of 3000 years” by Israel Shahak. He’s a non-leftist (i.e. more rational) human rights activist. The premise of the book is that while fundamentalist Islam and even fundamentalist Christianity are rounding condemned, fundamentalist Judaism goes unremarked. The book is a real eye-opener. For a good Arab country, check out United Arab Emeriates – especially Dubai. It’s like a Arab Hong Kong that’s very free (economically and socially) and of course as follows, prosperous.

    “As to the last point, I’ll take my chances with liberalization.”

    As I pointed out …just no guerentee thats what will result.

    “Let the big bad Islamists get their innings, if they can”

    OK that’s not nice. I’m not calling you anti-muslim or a bigot, but on a libertarian-oriented blog where the primacy of the individual is of high value, any kind of negative pigeon-holing isn’t welcome. I don’t have any respect for Arial Sharon and his gang, but I would take exception if someone referred to them as “big bad jews.”

    “…the mullahs are about to hand us Iran– something the Shah was never about to do.”

    I don’t want Iran, and neither should you.

  32. “Your posts are getting to friggin long, Rick!”

    Right you are. I’ll adjust. Sorry. (What if I went on and on about why I tend to make long posts, the steps I’ll take to be less verbose,the philosophy of long vs. short posts …. ?) 🙂

    1. It wasn’t the CIA it was the Pentagon concocting the whoppers.

    3.There would be a plan if the neo-cons had their way.

    4.Israel should use their own funds to pay for their high-tech stuff. Netanyahu made the case that US government aid hurts Israel but so did others of various stripes. Cutting off government aid to the PA along with Israel works for me.

    5. Maybe not. But other government aid certainly made our government complicit in Stalinism.

    6. The theory is Israel pulling US strings. Either way its hardly a reason not to do the right thing.

  33. So…
    1.) they are returning officials who were never there,

    2.) apologising for shipments they never made,

    3.) lightening an occupation that was supposed to be an “invitation”,

    4.) restraining terrorists they can’t control,

    5.) abandoning jihadists they didn’t send,

    6.) and negotiating weapons they don’t have.

    Regime change takes a host of forms, I guess.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.