Is Western Intervention in Syria Imminent Now?



onward to damascus

The Russians appear to think so, calling Western war planning "illegal." Interventionists have been looking for a reason to meddle in Syria since hostilities in that country first began in 2011, and even much earlier. The latest allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria may well serve as a sufficient pretext to escalate intervention. The West is, of course, as Russia and Iran are, already intervening in Syria, and neither are the allegations of chemical use new.

Last time around, the regime and the rebels blamed each other for the atrocities (this time around too), and the US said it was convinced it was the government that had used them. This time, after some initial reluctance and subsequent prodding by Russia, the Syrian government allowed UN inspectors into the country to investigate the allegations. (Last time UN inspectors only made it to Turkey). Inspectors arrived only this morning but US officials say they are already convinced the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against civilians. Not only is such a condition sometimes not even enough to stop the US from supporting a murderous regime, but in perspective such a condition should not affect the calculus of intervention. The alleged actions, even if true, have not changed the nature of the conflict. A bloody civil war has engulfed Syria for more than two years.

Even the US acknowledges this; the Obama Administration insists any forthcoming US military intervention will be about responding to, and preventing future, chemical weapons use, and not about picking sides in the civil war. That's not possible to do while also ascribing the use of chemicals to only one party in the conflict. Nevertheless, it does not appear President Obama is eager to escalate US involvement in the conflict. The White House acknowledges the rebels are largely untrustworthy as partners, even as the US provides some of them material support, and Obama has moved the red line further back before.

John Kerry's bluster aside ("As a father, I can't get the image out of my head of a man who held up his dead child, wailing while chaos swirled around him," he said, without a hint of irony for the dead children in other Muslim countries America is sometimes blamed for; a different totality of circumstances, surely), military intervention in Syria does not appear to be a sure thing yet. Previous US interventions (like that in Libya, Iraq, or even Afghanistan) came with some kind of approval from the UN Security Council. Without the support of Russia, it's impossible in this case.

Some commentators point to the Kosovo example, where NATO authorization was enough for Western countries to strike at Serbia. Despite the potential threat to NATO member Turkey the conflict in Syria might present, NATO leadership "completely" ruled out intervention in Syria nearly two years ago. When terrorist attacks hit a town near the Turkish-Syrian in May were attributed to Syrian rebels, the Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan said it would not drag his country into a "quagmire". NATO appeared close to intervening last December, when it armed Turkey with Patriot missiles and the USS Eisenhower was reported to have been deployed to the Mediterranean, but war didn't materialize. The usual suspects continue to press for war, insisting a "limited" operation could accomplish some "limited" but worthwhile "humanitarian" goals, yet US and Western involvement in the Syrian conflict has remained relatively limited, even as several Western powers look for more ways to help the rebels.

In that respect, perhaps the most troubling news comes from Speaker John Boehner's spokesperson, who says the speaker has insisted on "meaningful consultation" with Congress before the US commits to military action. In Libya, President Obama looked not to Congress for any kind of authorization, but the UN, NATO, and even the Arab League. Congress must demand that the president not act without its authorization, as prescribed by the Constitution, or it risks seeing its war making powers completely co-opted, and America pulled into another military intervention by eager Europeans.

I'll be discussing the issue of intervention in Syria on Russia Today's "Cross Talk" tomorrow at 10am Eastern.

NEXT: If NSA Workers Feel Unloved, Why Don't They Quit?

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  1. Sometimes man, you jsut have tor oll with the punches. Wow.

  2. In that respect, perhaps the most troubling news comes from Speaker John Boehner’s spokesperson, who says the Speaker has insisted on “meaningful consultation” with Congress before the US commits to military action.

    That’s only because the current President is Team Blue, not Team Red.

    1. This is indeed troubling. That Congress has to be consulted before declaring war, that’s unthinkable, the King has spoken! Red Lines have been crossed!

      What?? There is zero public support for this folly? Well, the King has spoken! Silence peasants!

      1. Have the peasants finally learned their lesson about military adventurism or do they just need a little more time before they are ready to waste a bunch of blood and treasure in some backwards hellhole again?

    2. “meaningful consultation” ???

      Why doesn’t he just come out and kiss BO’s ring while he’s at it? Boehner is such a spineless piece of shit.

  3. Nevertheless, it does not appear President Obama is eager to escalate US involvement in the conflict.

    Are you fucking kidding me? Did I enter Daily Kos’ URL by accident?

    1. This must be the Cosmotarian article of the day. Krayewski wants to be invited to the “cool” beltway cocktail parties.

      1. Guys, chill!

        What Krayewski meant was that Obama is hesitant at the thought of spilling the blood of his fellow Muslims.


        1. I really don’t get Krayewski. One week he’s acting out anti-authority daddy issues over every story about a police confrontation he can find, and the next he acts like he’s trying to beat Chris Christie in an Obama’s-dick-eating-contest.

    2. As no fan of the Obama administration, I do wonder how you conclude that he is eager to escalate US involvement in Syria.

      The war has raged on bloodily for a while now and yet Obama has kept us relatively out of this mess. McCain and the usual suspects have been screeching for involvement and yet he has not race ahead.

      There is little to credit our President Franksenstein on, but I will give him one on this thus far.

      1. Well, except for that dead Ambassador and CIA contract employees.

        1. I don’t give a shit about protecting “CIA contract employees”. I believe that they are called “mercenaries” in the original French. Frankly, anyone who brings up Benghazi as an issue is a pretty lousy libertarian.

          1. why? We had an ambassador sent for some reason to a dangerous place. Did no one think some cover might be nice? Then, every after-action report shows people on the ground asking for help and DC refusing to provide it. Sorry for not being the type libertarian who shrugs at the notion of Americans being sent to do the govt’s bidding and then being hung out to dry.

      2. “The war has raged on bloodily for a while now and yet Obama has kept us relatively out of this mess.”

        The thought of Obama gamely fighting against powerful pressure from a couple of kooks is laughable. Rather, Obama has not quite figured out a way to get political credit for blundering into this mess, but he’s working on it. The blundering, I mean.

      3. The war has raged on bloodily for a while now and yet Obama has kept us relatively out of this mess.


        We were out of this mess all along. Old coot dead-enders like McCain and Graham and the various neocon pundits have no power to get us into it.

        All BO had to do to “keep us out of this mess” was keep his mouth shut and stick to golfing and speechifying like he usually does. Instead he’s demanding inspections and drawing bright red lines and shit.

  4. Emperor / Ayatollah Obozo no longer needs Congress at all; Congress is just like window dressing. Can we abolish the meaningless Congress and save some money fer Allah’s sake!?!?!?

    1. It sounds better when Grand Muff Talcin says it.

  5. I almost want Obama to do it.

    So I can laugh, and laugh, and laugh, at all the anti-war folks who voted for him.

    1. Obama didn’t run as an anti-war candidate. He was just opposed to stupid wars (see Iraq).

      1. Indeed, you are correct sir! And this would not be a stupid war, it will be a good, just, noble war, of the kind that only Democrats can support (because Republicans are mean!).

      2. Wait…so you don’t think stepping into the Syrian quagmire counts as a “stupid war”?

        1. Shreik does’t think. Period.

      3. Well, I think he was very happy for people to see him as an anti-war candidate and did little to disabuse that notion.

        1. Obama did an exceptional job at being and empty vessel for the voters to fill up with their hopes and dreams.

      4. Because putting Syria in the hands of Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood is smart how exactly?

  6. The hallmark of decadence is not an inability to act in one’s moral self-interest, but rather an ability to act in one’s moral self-interest but an unwillingness to do so.

    The American people hated Obamacare, they hated the Libya interventions, but given the chance to get BO out of the White House they failed to act. Why the fuck would he care what Americans think now?

    1. A little bit of war would be just the thing to distract the public’s attention around about October 1st.

    2. It is hard to blame the American people when one thinks about the option that was offered. Romney was a terrible, terrible candidate. I would not count Obama beating him as a mandate of any kind.

      1. They could have voted for Gary Johnson.


    3. Replacing Obama with Johnson = in my self-interest

      Replacing Obama with Romney =/= in my self-interest

  7. “As a father, I can’t get the image out of my head of a man who held up his dead child, wailing while chaos swirled around him,” he said, without a hint of irony for the dead children in other Muslim countries America is sometimes blamed for

    Pay no attention to the Syrian kids who will die when the Cruise missiles fly.

    1. He shouldn’t and no one else should. The only determining factor should be ‘is it in America’s interest?’ The answer to which is an obvious NO.

      1. I never quite understood American foreign policy. It’s like we have all the costs, and pains of running a large empire without any of the benefits.

        We spend billions garrisoning troops not in colonial possessions around the world, but instead protecting our wealthiest allies against nations that don’t even exist anymore.

        Then we spend billions blowing up 10th century shitholes like Afghanistan, and then spend more billions rebuilding the country, while at the same time being so sickeningly open-minded about their backwards culture that we don’t even bat an eye when Christians are arrested for blasphemy by a government that can’t even exist without U.S. support, because God forbid we admit that maybe modern Western civilization might just be a tiny bit superior to civilizations that arrest people for being the wrong religion.

        1. Which is why we hate Russia

        2. We spend billions garrisoning troops not in colonial possessions around the world, but instead protecting our wealthiest allies against nations that don’t even exist anymore.

          That’s not even taking into account the fact that those same wealthy allies get angry if we use the military we paid for in the way we choose, and yet we are suddenly everyone’s best friend should the French deem it necessary for someone’s camel to be hit in the face with a cruise missile.

        3. If I can find a way to make this fit on a bumper sticker I am printing one up. Well said.

        4. Nicely put Bard. Our ability to assert moral relativism to utterly barbaric actions is a national insanity.

  8. It is all in the framing!

    This headline appeared on the Washington Post’s website:

    ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ stays on top at box office with $17 million over the weekend

    While the Newsmax headline running in the ad to my right says:

    ‘Butler’ Ticket Sales Plummet by 30 Percent

    1. Your NewSMax headlines also say “Matt Damon: Snowden Did ‘Great Thing’

      That’s right commentariat, many of us AGREE WITH MATT DAMON about something.

      I expect to hear of a bizarre rash of libertarian suicides by week’s end.

  9. Kiss the Peace Prize, Bitches!

    1. You jest, but if we intervene and bomb the Assad regime into submission, then I really do think they’ll give Obama another Peace Prize.

      1. Obama (allegedly) bribed the Muslim Brotherhood for Aqua Buddha knows what reason, wants to arm the “Syrian rebels” (some of whom are known kidnappers and murderers), and now he wants up the ante and flatten a few parts of Syria.

  10. Actually, to be fair, I do believe the article is correct. This is shaping up to be more of a Bosnia scenario than an Iraq one. I bet you we let this thing drag on for 3-4 more years before we decide to bomb Syria’s air force into submission and impose a no fly zone.
    If we want to be REALLY true to form, we should impose an arms embargo, and have some UN inspectors wandering around uselessly.

  11. This is obviously a FALSE FLAG! Assad is winning, why would he bring this heat down on himself? The Illuminati have even been foreshadowing it on “The Newsroom”.

  12. OT: The war on the patriarchy continues.

    Single men are disgusting.

    1. You’re just shilling for big clorox!

    2. I don’t wash mine until I start itching.

      And I’m married.

      1. I don’t wash mine at all. I just come home from work every now and then and the mattress is bare.

        1. Must be nice. Wife and I sleep in the same king size bed, but two different mattresses. She insists on sleeping on the thousand dollar, POS, sleep number air mattress. I will not! Subsequently, we each have our own sheets, so I wash my side.

          It’s hard being married to an independent libertarian woman!

          1. She won’t do what I tell her.

            1. Maybe you should male gaze her into submission.

              1. That would only earn me a beating.

              1. I have a girlfriend in Canada…

                1. Sure you do.

    3. Funny, I’m washing mine right now. Do it about once a month.

    4. I’ve lived single a few times. First was in college, where I kept my bed “made” permanently and slept in a sleeping bag on top of it. I probably washed those sheets once a semester. Next was when I was stationed apart from my wife and I shared a “furnished” house with three single guys, and the furniture was whatever we could dig out of the attic. I wound up with a mattress I put on the floor and new sheets I washed every now and then.

      So yeah, single men are pretty gross is all I’m getting at.

      1. did you clean the sleeping bag?

        1. I don’t recall. I suppose I must have now and then, or at least when I returned home for summer break.

    5. Its the civilizing influence of women that keeps pretty much *all* men from living in their filth.

      I got a friend who recently divorced his wife and moved out here (for a job).

      20+ years they were married and almost immediately he stopped putting dirty clothes in the hamper, etc.

      20+ years and he never developed the habit.

  13. If you lost a goat, the Alberta RCMP are looking for you.

    1. I know.

      1. +1 scruffy-looking nerfherder

  14. Hey, look what I found on a Breaking Bad discussion forum:

    It’s more that racists flock to libertarian views, since libertarianism (for racists) is a platform to allows racists to be racist and discriminate without repercussions. A good number of anti-government libertarians aren’t anti-government per say, but basically hate the government for not having the same racist, right wing views that they hold.

    The libertarian view was brought up earlier with Gale, who made vague comments about how he justified producing meth for Gus under the libertarian view that drug laws infringe on individual rights being violated by government meddling. This is a common view many casual fair-weather libertarians (like Ron Paul supporters) have, in that they vote/identify as libertarians due to people like Paul giving lip service towards the idea that, if given power, they would abolish all laws making drugs illegal.

    The libertarian/objectivist bent to Breaking Bad is an interesting angle. From Walt’s entire motivation making him kind of like an Ayn Rand hero figure, to Hank representing the sort of Steve Ditko objectivist type hero from his later works, to the Randian way it skates around the issue of the damage Walt does with his drug (the same way Rand skates around John Galt being a genocidal mass murderer who wipes out all modern civilization) .

    1. Get used to it and be ready to defend against it.

      First they ignore you…

      1. I’ve been used to it since I first became a libertarian.

        But it just seemed so out of left-field on a forum about Breaking Bad. It was like an inverse Goodwin since the topic game up when in last night’s episode two Neo-Nazi gangsters complained about smoking bans in a diner.

    2. I’ve got a long list of things that annoy me, but people who try to use foreign language phrases to make themselves sound all smart and lend gravitas to their argumentation, then can’t be bothered to look up how to spell the words they’re trying to use, probably is at or near the top of it. “Per say”? Really? Drives me nuts. That and people who try to make things plural using commas.

    3. How can you be ‘genocidal’ if you don’t actually kill anyone, you just allow society to collapse under the weight of it’s own dysfunction?

  15. This song reminds me of reindeer.

    1. Grandma got run over by a Caribou…

  16. Welp, back in the day, I thought that “no-fly-zones” were a pretty cheap, safe, and generally beneficial alternate to getting into yet another war. After seeing what happened in Iraq after stopping this policy, I’m all for another no-fly-zone. God, I remember people saying “hey the NFZ costs $1B a year; let’s save money and invade.” The same ended up being true for the short war in Libya.
    Please, please, let’s stick to yet-another-low-intensity-air-war-in-Asia. (Bombing the Bejeesus out of Cambodia, OTOH, was another kettle of fish.)

    1. Clarification: this does not mean I favor attacks against purely personnel targets like profligate drone attacks in Central Asia. But I don’t see much moral issue in blowing up hard targets (govt tanks, planes, etc) when they are being used against other sovereign citizens in the area.

    2. PPS: it’s not clear that the purpose of mustard gas attacks was to kill enemy soldiers. The old adage “Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics” applies here.
      1. Serious injuries take a lot more logistical support than deaths.
      2. Keeping troops prepared for CW attacks is a serious logistical issue. And wearing CW equipment really cuts down on military efficiency.
      3. As Napoleon said, morale to material is 3 to 1. Intermittent gas attacks were largely morale in trench warfare. They were likely cheap at the price.

  17. PPPS: You are forgetting how incredibly inefficient warfare really is. Thankfully!!! Let’s consider your average rifleman. In warfare, a 50% fatality rate is considered catastrophically, impossibly high. So let’s assume the average rifleman kills 0.2 men.
    Additionally, it’s considered efficient if the “point of the spear” has a logistical tail of 5:1.
    So … given that :
    * the annual human food consumption per year is ~1500lbs.
    * the average military deployment is ~1 year.
    * the average kill rate per soldier is 0.2*0.2 = 0.04,

    the expected “efficiency” (horrible word!) in kills per pound is 1500/0.04 ~~ 1 death per 20 tons.

    By this (really, seriously foul!) metric, gas warfare is spectacularly efficient. IT REALLY IS A WEAPON OF MASS DISTRUCTION, much, much more efficient than dropping conventional bombs, etc.

    1. And by thankfully, I mean: thankfully warfare is incredibly inefficient: assuming that the metric in war is to kill people. If war were “efficient” by this metric, everyone would already be dead.

  18. Jack Jammy Jo Jo said heck yeah man, Wow.

  19. It’s all been downhill since the San Remo conference.

  20. George Washington had the best solution, Mind your own damn business chem weapons or not our president, most of our congressmen and our senators are oath-breaking traitors and until we cleanse the system and put them all on trial and in jail where they belong we have no business in any other country than our own. we don’t even have business with the UN as compliance with it is pissing on the constitution I got shot and some of my brothers died defending. Take a page from the Muslims and go burn a UN flag today it feels great.

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