Eating Hawk

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Just last week I publicly predicted that there would likely be no U.S. war on Syria in 2005. Then yesterday UPI reports (via Washington Times)

Bush administration hard-liners have been considering launching selected military strikes at insurgent training camps in Syria and border-crossing points used by Islamist guerrillas to enter Iraq in an effort to bolster security for the upcoming elections, according to former and current administration officials.

Chatter doesn't always lead to action, and excursion raids need not turn into a full-scale invasion, occupation, or overthrow of the existing government in Syria. But my confidence in no-new-war-in-2005 is weakening.

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  1. Then again, Rummy denied that this was the case yesterday. Make of that what you will.

  2. They’re going to invade Syria to look for the WMD (see thread above).

  3. I don’t claim to be on top of everything, but this is the first time I can remember seeing the term “insurgent training camps” in print. I did a Google news search on the term in quotes, and this seems to be a new one.

    If the Administration has evidence that the Syrian government is playing host to “insurgent training camps”, they should share that evidence with the American public immediately.

    “…A former senior U.S. intelligence official told United Press International, “I don’t usually find myself in sympathy with the Bush neo-cons, but I think there is enough fire under this smoke to justify such action.”

    That isn’t enough. Show us the evidence. After being treated to the Bush Administration’s photographs of the non-existent, mobile WMD labs, I’m not sure I’ll buy anything they’re selling–but go ahead and show us the evidence anyway.

    …If they have enough evidence to strike inside Syria’s borders, then they must have something to show us.

    Am I the only one who thinks this is starting to look more and more like Vietnam every day? There’s no clear way out–we are in a quagmire, aren’t we?

    “Bashar is trapped,” this U.S. government official said. “He’s the prisoner of Zenda.”

    Isn’t this Syria business reminiscent of our incursion into Cambodia?

  4. “…If they have enough evidence to strike inside Syria’s borders, then they must have something to show us.”

    belief in the original iraq operation or in empire is enough justification.

    in a gary gunnels move (might he use other handles that have a JB in them?), enjoy:

    Come Join Us (Bad Religion, ca 1995 (The Gray Race))

    so you say you gotta know why the world goes ’round
    and you can’t find the truth in the things you’ve found
    and you’re scared shitless ‘cuz evil abounds
    come and join us
    well I heard you were looking for a place to fit in
    full of adherent people with the same objective
    a family to cling to and call brethren
    come and join us
    all we want to do is change your mind
    all you need to do is close your eyes
    so come and join us
    come and join us
    come and join us
    don’t you see the trouble that most people are in
    and that they just want you for their own advantage
    but I swear to you we’re different from all of them
    come and join us
    I can tell you are lookin’ for a way to live
    where truth is determined by consensus
    full of codified arbitrary directives
    come and join us
    all we want to have is your small mind
    turn it into one of our own kind
    you can go through life adrift and alone
    desperate, desolate, on your own
    but we’re lookin’ for a few more stalwart clones
    so come and join us
    come and join us
    come and join us
    we’ve got spite and dedication as a vehement brew
    the world hates us, well we hate them too
    but you’re exempted of course if you
    come and join us
    independent, self-contented, revolutionary
    intellectual, brave, strong and scholarly
    if you’re not one of them, you’re us already so
    come and join us

  5. “Bashar is trapped,” this U.S. government official said. “He’s the prisoner of Zenda.”

    Isn’t this Syria business reminiscent of our incursion into Cambodia?

    Sounds more like Super Mario Brothers to me.

    Oh no! Princess Toadstool is in another castle.

  6. When David Brooks runs a column saying a Syrian invasion would be a good idea then we’ll know were in for it.

  7. The Brooks factor is important, tho I’m more attached, as I wrote in my original piece, to the Time/Newsweek cover with a shady close up picture of Assad’s face as a true sign that the warplanes are essentially already in the air

  8. [neocon] Ken, if you don’t support secret wars in third-party nations, then you hate America. It’s just that simple. [/neocon]

  9. Now we know that the war planners may have learned their lessons from Vietnam…The Syrian border appears to be functioning like the Ho Chi Minh trail.

    Donald Rumsfeld at his worst is better than Robert McNamara.

  10. this is the first time I can remember seeing the term “insurgent training camps” in print. I did a Google news search on the term in quotes, and this seems to be a new one.

    why am i overcome with the feeling that “insurgent training camps” will be to 2005 what “weapons of mass destruction” was to 2003?

  11. Pressure for some form of military action is also coming from interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, these sources said.

    LMAO! what a fucking joke! like he even has a tongue that the white house doesn’t give him.

  12. Followed, in 2006, by “insurgent training related activities.”

  13. WND must be Bush’s news source on the web:
    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39182

  14. “Now we know that the war planners may have learned their lessons from Vietnam…”

    …But, apparently, nothing whatsoever from Cambodia.

    Imagine if we end up having to root for some fundamentalist led force to topple some even more horrible regime in Syria–isn’t that what happened in Cambodia? We had to sit on the sidelines and hope that a force led by the North Vietnamese would clean up after us!

    This would be like invading Pakistan. Imagine Musharraf’s problems if we invaded Pakistan!

    McNamara was a genius compared to Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld had all of McNamara’s mistakes to guide him, but he walked us right into the same traps anyway.

    …the very picture of incompetence.

    P.S. Forded-tongue seems to presume that Rumsfeld wants to invade Syria. Even if he doesn’t, Rumsfeld is still incompetent.

  15. “Forded-tongue” is supposed to be “Forked-tongue”, but you all probably knew that already.

  16. I say we should invade Lebanon next. Finish what Reagan started. Plus we can steal the plans to Ghadafi’s electric car.

  17. “insurgent training camps in Syria and border-crossing points used by Islamist guerrillas”

    Apparently, there are Syrian pockets of resistance.

  18. Syrian pockets of resistance! Yes, delicious stuffed with roast lamb and smothered with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and yogurt sauce! I hope they bring some back for me.

  19. I say we should invade Lebanon next. Finish what Reagan started. Plus we can steal the plans to Ghadafi’s electric car.

    Am I missing a joke here, or do you think Ghadafi is the ruler of Lebanon? Is this what drf meant about the experts crawling out of the woodwork once we invade that country?

  20. Actually, Ken, I thought you did mean Forded-tongue since many of these geniuses came out of the Ford administration.

  21. Call me snake, I have an off-topic question, related to your nom d’ether: What went wrong with John Carpenter’s career? Assault On Precinct 13, The Thing, Elvis, Halloween, Starman, Big Trouble In Little China-he blazed a trail of masterpieces through the seventies and eighties. (FWIW, I think you’ve taken your nickname from the least considerable of the Russell/Carpenter ventures.) Then, starting with 1987’s Prince of Darkness he just completely loses it; he’s been dropping nothing but bombs ever since. Everybody asks how William Friedkin lost his edge, but he always sucked; Carpenter on the other hand was a stone genius. How could have fallen so low? It doesn’t look like substance abuse, because he’s still working. Is he another one of these great paranoid artists who was marooned by the end of the Cold War sensibility? Any theories?

  22. For get the WMDs, now we have the ITCs!

  23. Can we just fast-forward this discussion?

    Whether we were wrong about Syria having ITC’s is no longer the issue. The only thing that matters is, now that we’re there and things aren’t going quite as planned, what’s the best option currently available?

  24. Ken Shultz, On the contrary, McNamara did have a “Ford”-ed Tongue…from running FoMoCo while “The Deuce” (Henry Ford II) was getting his shit together. And there’s nothing you can tell me about Rummy that will equal RM’s complete sealing off of Johnson from the Joint Chiefs for 4 years.

    Cavanaugh, You forgot to mention “They Live” and the near Hope/Crosby onscreen buddy chemistry of Keith David and Roddy Piper.

    The shot at “Escape” was totally unwarranted and you really should reconsider: Isaac Hayes? Ernest Borgnine? Donald Pleasance as the President? Do I even need to add Lee Van Cleef as the Warden?? Ghosts of Mars was not bad, Ice Cube had that Kurt Russell calmness that held the movie together. I don’t need to mention that I could watch a movie with Natasha Henstridge reading the dictionary.

    As for your overarching question, Carpenter lost his timing: Vampires had several good elements that never came together: Woods, The Evil Catholic Church, perhaps the film was torpedoed by the curse of the Baldwin Brothers.

    I read a while ago that James Cameron selected Alien over The Thing as his 1986 remake….Thank God.

  25. The shot at “Escape” was totally unwarranted and you really should reconsider: Isaac Hayes? Ernest Borgnine? Donald Pleasance as the President? Do I even need to add Lee Van Cleef as the Warden??

    All of which makes it that much more tragic. Great concept-maybe the greatest concept ever. Great movie to reference. Great movie to joke about. Great movie to marvel at the cast. Mediocre movie to sit through.

  26. “And there’s nothing you can tell me about Rummy that will equal RM’s complete sealing off of Johnson from the Joint Chiefs for 4 years.”

    Having watched McNamara, Rummy knew where all the land mines were–and he stepped on every one of them!

    I’ll have to do some research on his sealing off of Johnson, but, preliminarily, Johnson being sealed off from the Joint Chiefs doesn’t strike me as such a bad thing.

    …From the Great Society to Vietnam, Johnson was the worst President since World War II.

    …Yes, including Nixon.

    “I have an off-topic question, related to your nom d’ether: What went wrong with John Carpenter’s career?

    “Big Trouble in Little China” was a big budget flop–it bombed at the box office. I suspect Carpenter lost his nerve–fear of failure.

    The films he did after that had small budgets, small budget limitations and aimed low in terms of box office.

    P.S. Snake’s right about “The Thing”–great film.

  27. The set-up for this thread was begging for it, so I’ll supply it:

    No New Wars for the son is what No New Taxes was for the father: Just too damn tempting, even for a voodoo economics christer.

  28. Ruthless-

    Ooooo, that’s good. Me, I’m just picturing the world as a giant Whack-a-Mole game, with little cylindrical terrorists popping out all over.

  29. If our government doesn’t attack Syria, it won’t be because Bill Kristol and the neocon gang haven’t tried really hard to make it happen. They’re a little hobbled now though compared to their successful propaganda campaign for the war on Iraq. This propaganda campaign was carried out both inside the government, by the Pentagon lie factory called the “Office of Special Plans” (OSP), created by Wolfowitz’s command and presided over by Douglas Feith. It was this lie factory that was used to rationalize the invasion of Iraq. Needing to come up with the required “proof” of nonexistent Iraqi WMD and “links” to Osama bin Laden, the neocons bypassed the U.S. intelligence community and built up their own parallel agency to churn out the “right” answers.

    They’re hobbled now because the lies for the Iraq war have been exposed, but anything else that the neocons also deem as being good for the Israeli state will, no doubt, inspire them to fabricate various rational.

    It might well be Rumsfeld’s reticence to attack Syria that has led to the neocons turning on him
    .

  30. “Ooooo, that’s good. Me, I’m just picturing the world as a giant Whack-a-Mole game, with little cylindrical terrorists popping out all over.”

    Terrorists don’t “snap, crackle and pop.”
    They ooze, like brimstone.

    And this ain’t no game.
    Snap out of it, smart-mouth hussy.

  31. Hey W,

    I hope I don’t accidentally agree with you on any issue–go crawl back under a bridge.

  32. “…now that we’re there and things aren’t going quite as planned, what’s the best option currently available?”

    Ok, I’ve been saying this about Iraq, in good part to keep my sanity (and because somehow, we gotta get out of there). But if we turn around and hit Syria (or are you sure Iran isn’t the next fish that needs frying) I swear I’m gonna loose it….I mean I never thought I’d be a war protester, but if we screw up again I’m getting me a VW bus and painting peace signs all over it.

  33. “But if we turn around and hit Syria (or are you sure Iran isn’t the next fish that needs frying) I swear I’m gonna loose it…”

    The Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes–tell a friend. It’s the most pragmatic thing you can do.

    P.S. If we attacked Iran, many among the Shia would withdraw whatever passive support America is enjoying; indeed, many among the Shia would probably join the insurgency along with their leaders. Because of that, Iran may be among the least threatened countries in the Muslim world.

  34. “Big Trouble in Little China” was a big budget flop–it bombed at the box office. I suspect Carpenter lost his nerve–fear of failure.

    Oh, I remember very well sitting in a 1/4-full theater with a bunch of slackjaws who didn’t realize that they were seeing the future, that someday every movie would have martial artists running up walls. I know you’re not supposed to believe in market failures around here, but considering the market couldn’t find a spot for BTILC-and at a time when the Soviets were still on their feet-it’s amazing it wasn’t capitalism that collapsed in the Cold War.

  35. “Big Trouble in Little China” is frickin’ sweeet.
    And can we please attack Syria?
    Please, please, please?
    It wouldn’t even have to be a full-scale invasion:
    just a few raids and bombing runs would be enough to piss off all the right people.
    That would be wicked sweeet….
    🙂

  36. I say Lebanon, you say Libya.

    Now go eat your falafel.

  37. I know you’re not supposed to believe in market failures around here, but considering the market couldn’t find a spot for BTILC?and at a time when the Soviets were still on their feet?it’s amazing it wasn’t capitalism that collapsed in the Cold War.

    lol — mr cavanaugh, i have new respect to add to old for your openmindedness. 🙂

  38. …From the Great Society to Vietnam, Johnson was the worst President since World War II.

    Ken, I think LBJ comes close to a dead heat with Truman for that title.

  39. What: Nixon gets a pass for grandiosity, Ford for fecklessness, and Carter for charm? Or was it Jimmy’s good intentions that make him superior to LBJ and Truman?
    Not to mention the fact that JFK only saved his reputation by getting himself shot before he could screw things up any worse….
    And what about Bush the First? ‘Not gonna finish off that evil tyrant, sorry, it really WAS just all about “blood for oil.”‘
    ‘Freedom-loving people of Kuwait?” Hah! Yeah, I’m sure they’d ‘love’ to have some ‘freedom!’ Too bad they’re stuck with a corrupt, monarchical, semi-theocratic oligarchy! Not our problem, now that we have the good old oil flowin’ again!’
    ‘Oh, and that corny “Read my lips, no new taxes” routine? Suckers! AAH-HA-HA-HAA!’

  40. McClain

    Hmm, the contest for worst ever prez has a crowded field indeed. 🙂

  41. McClain

    So what about Reagan and Clinton?

    For lefties Ronnie was worst ever til Shrub dethroned him and Slick Willie fills the bill for righties.

  42. Well, this slid off the front page, so it looks like a dead thread.
    But to answer your question, Mr. Bartram, I’d say: Yeah, there are a lot of great contenders for “worst president since FDR,” and it’s hard to pick just one…
    but, gun to my head, I’d go with Nixon just because he actually resigned in disgrace.
    Still, tough call….
    Interestingly enough, good old “Ike” seems to have the “best since FDR” category sewn up.

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