How soon we forget!

Well, we attacked Syria last night, and The Donald is crowing about our military “victory”. Note the last sentence, recalling another conflict of yore. And somehow I don’t think our mission is accomplished.

107 Comments

  1. Jim batterson
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Well. Depends on the mission. If the mission is to simply destroy, distract, and delude…then it was pretty well accomplished.

  2. yazikus
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I was sickened seeing photos of the blasts over Damascus. It never fails to horrify me how people, simply by virtue of the location of their birth, are seen as disposable during military conflicts.

    • Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      From Troy on to today, people are targets.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      For the US citizenry, this is naught but a reality show on cable tv. I wonder how sanguine we’d be if we had some of our own skin in the game in terms of potential military retaliation against the US homeland.

    • slandermonkey
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      so what should have been done about Assad’s murderous gas attacks that break all the rules of war?

      Yes it is odd that it “okay” to bomb your opponents but not gas them, but if a leader is willing to gas its own citizens, imagine what it will do next if not slapped down.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        There is sufficient doubt about the facts of that issue to wait for a proper investigation.

        The fact is, that it makes no sense for Assad to do that and lots of sense for others.

        The government lies, it has been lying and bombing (and napalming) civilians since Korea.

        • yazikus
          Posted April 14, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

          I got into it last night with someone about the surety of the claim it was Assad. We ended up doing quite a bit of reading, and I came to see that it wasn’t 100% clear that Assad was doing the gassing, as I had thought it was. Even if he did, bombing his citizens to punish him for gassing citizens makes no sense.

          • Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

            OK, if Assad didn’t do the gassing, who did? There’s nobody else in the areas, except perhaps the Russians, with the capability.

            I’m certain that Assad did do the gassing, but I’m also certain that his citizens, some of whom are now dead because of our actions had nothing to do with the decision.

            • yazikus
              Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

              I think Assad did it. That said, there are alternatives, including Russia, ex-regime Syrian opposition forces or perhaps something else. So after that discussion, my certainty was lessened, but not by much. I figure the dude with the CW factory, employees and ingredients (that was fully in function about six years ago) is the likeliest culprit. The person I was speaking with has a hunch Saudis were involved. I don’t know, but it always seems like a good idea to find out who profits from this sort of destruction, chaos and instability.

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:22 am | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly. In fact, I find it hard to believe that we (as a species) still fight wars at all, knowing what we do about the carnage. I wonder how much of the support comes from those who believe in an afterlife, so that they can regard death as “not really that bad.”

  3. DrBrydon
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I shook my head when I saw that comment earlier. I guess it’s a good thing that more than year in we can still be surprised at how grossly unfit he is for office.

  4. glen1davidson
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m certainly glad the problems there are all over now!

    Glen Davidson

  5. Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Then there was Trump’s tweet from a few years back where he reminded then-President Obama that he needed to get Congress’s permission to launch a mission in Syria. This guy has no honor at all.

    • Christopher
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      And don’t forget tRump’s admonishment to Obama that a president shouldnt tell the enemy what he is going to do. “Why do we keep broadcasting when we are going to attack Syria. Why can’t we be quiet and if we attack at all, catch them by surprise?” (8/28/13) or “…No, dopey, I would not go into Syria, but if I did it would be by surprise and not blurted all over the media like fools.” (8/29/13)
      Apparently telling them via Twitter doesn’t count. There many more on Think Progress’s “12 Trump tweets about Syria that are very awkward right now”.

  6. Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    It is not just The Donald who has shamelessly undermined democracy – so too has our PM Theresa May, so unwilling to risk a Commons defeat on this issue that although the House was due to attend on Monday, and she could have called for an emergency recall, she deliberately did not do so. That she did this in order to please a President who makes Dubya look practically Solomonic makes it all the more annoying.,

    • Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      And look how well brown-nosing Dubya over Iraq enhanced Blair’s reputation.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        I couldn’t agree more strongly with both of you.

        cr

  7. BobTerrace
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    He’s correct, mission accomplished.

    His mission: making himself and the US look completely foolish.

    This will deter the Syrian army from using chemical weapons for about a week, meanwhile they will continue to kill civilians by other means.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Mission: Distract from Trump’s legal quagmire.

      • slandermonkey
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        So the world should stand by and do nothing when the very few norms and rules governing war are broken?

        • ladyatheist
          Posted April 14, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          This is the 9th time that chemical weapons have been used in the past year.

  8. Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Like a secret tryst, we run to the appointment with fantasies in our heads, fumble for a moment, have a flash of pleasure, then pause and realize that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, but then report it to our 9th grade compatriots that it was the best. The. Best.

    • yazikus
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
      Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
      Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
      And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
      Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
      But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
      Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
      Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

      Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
      Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
      But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
      And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
      Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
      As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

      In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
      He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

      If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
      Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
      And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
      His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
      If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
      Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
      Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
      Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
      My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
      To children ardent for some desperate glory,
      The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
      Pro patria mori.

      -Wilfred Owen, WWI
      Too bad we haven’t seemed to learn anything from him.

      • Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        To bad you can’t fly something like that over a football stadium.

        • Simon Hayward
          Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          too many syllables

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        “Dulce et decorum est” is searing — and apropos.

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:32 am | Permalink

        “The old lie,” indeed. Thanks for posting this–sadly, it’s now more apropos than ever.

  9. John J. Fitzgerald
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    How many civilians got killed or wounded in this “perfectly executed strike”? Trump is a dangerous man and should be removed from office as soon as possible.

    John J. Fitzgerald

    • chris moffatt
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Say what? Finally for the second time since his inauguration Trump succeeds in being “presidential” and you complain?

      Don’t worry As soon as the “rebels” can organize another gas atrocity they will do so knowing that the US, UK and france will have no choice but to up the ante and Trump can be “presidential” all over again.

      • John J. Fitzgerald
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        So your idea of “presidential” incorporates concepts of militarism, dictatorship,and rejection of alternative non-lethal strategies. I thought we were a constitutional democracy, or, if you prefer, a republic. We are moving toward tyranny with a madman at the helm.

        John J. Fitzgerald

        • Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

          I have nothing positive to say about the effectiveness of a short-duration series of symbolic military strikes, but I do not see a single non-lethal option here that is even remotely tenable. Not against a monster who gases his own people and targets hospitals, etc.

          • chris moffatt
            Posted April 14, 2018 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            as always, despite the Red Queen, it needs to be evidence, sentence, execution. We’re still waiting, as in so many other cases recently, for the evidence.

          • Diane G.
            Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:34 am | Permalink

            If only we could target the monster.

        • chris moffatt
          Posted April 14, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          I guess irony is dead. At least for progressives. Review the MSM reaction to Trump’s last missile attack on Syria.

    • slandermonkey
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      I’d be surprise if zero civilians were killed, but all news reports I’ve read indicate that none were killed.

      On the other hand Assad directly targets civilians. He murders them by the hundreds every day.

      So what should be done when evil leaders flaunt the very few rules we do have governing war? Send out a sternly worded tweet? Wring our hands?

      If every tyrant was slapped down by the civilized world as soon as they committed an atrocity they might think twice about it. But those people are far away and often don’t look like us so we stand by and do nothing.

      • ladyatheist
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Shooting them is okay. Burning them with incendiary bombs is okay. Chemical weapons are not okay.

        Makes sense to me!

        • eric
          Posted April 14, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          Would you prefer the international community NOT have a CWC? How about we NOT have a BWC because hey, shooting them is still okay? You’re making perfect the enemy of good, in an incredibly horrible case. Yes, frankly, I would much much rather have enemy nations use bullets on us than sarin or smallpox. How about you? A bullet goes where you shoot it. A cloud of gas or virus does not. What’s more, many CWs were designed to cause long-term suffering and debilitation rather than a quick kill. They’re banned because they’re essentially field torture devices whereas a gun is a field killing device…and we think that even as we kill each other in war, it’s still not okay to torture (or at leas most of us do…various US administrations seem to think otherwise).

          IF the attack targeted the CW production centers and depots as advertised, I’m generally okay with it; this is IMO very much a military target, just as much as a military airstrip would be. After all, it’s not like a sarin production plant has a conventional use. But a single news report or tweet from Trump isn’t going to necessarily convince me that it was a militarily successful mission. And even if it was, Trump’s crowing about it is very unseemly and yet again shows is unpresidential nature. A President may sometimes be forced to order the deaths of enemy combatants, even when civilian casualties can’t be 100% prevented. Every realist should understand that that’s part of the job. But no President worth the title should revel in doing it.

          • ladyatheist
            Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

            I’d like to see Assad be punished for attacking civilians with conventional weapons, too.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        and your evidence for this is…..?

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    What’s next, a short flight to an aircraft carrier anchored off Catalina, dressed up in a jet-jockey costume?

    Trump’s foreign policy is incoherent. One day, he’s withdrawing all US troops; the next, he’s ordering missile strikes. This attack is inimical to what Trump claimed to stand for during his campaign (and in his inaugural address) — America first, an end to multilateral engagements, non-interference in the internal politics of other nation-states. Hell, he’s given aid & comfort to human-rights abuses elsewhere around the globe (in Turkey, Russia, and the Philippines, among other places.) Difference is, I guess, those abuses didn’t come with videos of chemically asphyxiated little babies.

    What, now, is the US strategy in Syria?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      “What, now, is the US strategy in Syria?”

      Strategy? That will depend entirely on (1) the next video that surfaces and (2) Drumpf’s need for a distraction from his problems at home.

      cr

  11. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Primarily just a waste of time. Wag the dog.

    Now lets get back to the important job of proofing out the Cohen trip to Prague and the Russians he hooked up with. This will be that collusion thing.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      With the Scooter Libby pardon, Trump just hung a gold-leaf sign over the North Portico saying “Pardons for perjurers and obstructers-of-justice granted here.”

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Yes, that was very nice of him. Just telling the boys, lying and obstruction of justice and leaking will get you a free ticket to pardon place. However, I don’t think his pardon of say, Cohen, would do much good considering much of his problem will be with the state of New York. Also, Flinn has already flipped so he probably won’t get one.
        I want to see this Cohen trip to Prague all worked out because that will be the killer.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted April 14, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          Worst thing Trump could do now would be to pardon Cohen (or Manafort). They’d lose their 5th Amendment self-incrimination privilege, meaning Mueller could immediately put ’em in front of a federal grand jury. If they refused to testify, they’d be held in contempt; if they lied, they’d be prosecuted for perjury. The only play for Trump is to wait it out to pardon them until just before they have to go away to do time. That means they have to perform in protecting Trump now, then trust him to come through for them on the back end with pardons. They both oughta know Trump well enough to understand that’s like frontin’ money to a carny.

          No way can Trump pardon his way outta this mess — and I doubt he can “you’re fired” his way out either. His only hope (which could, unfortunately, prove true) is that there aren’t enough honest, patriotic Republicans in congress to run his ass outta office.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted April 14, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            Believe you are right on all counts. Suspect the ultimate finding will be overwhelming enough to melt those patriots in congress. If Cohen should happen to flip, the game is over and Trump is toast.

          • Diane G.
            Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:42 am | Permalink

            Worst thing Trump could do now would be to pardon Cohen (or Manafort). They’d lose their 5th Amendment self-incrimination privilege, meaning Mueller could immediately put ’em in front of a federal grand jury. If they refused to testify, they’d be held in contempt; if they lied, they’d be prosecuted for perjury.

            So then, what does a pardon mean?

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

              My guess is that perjury carries much less time in the can than the life sentence Manafort may be looking at now. The pardon is something that does not work well until after the trial or conviction?

      • Mark R.
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Trump can’t pardon Cohen since he faces state charges, not federal…is that right?

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

          Yes, he cannot pardon him from the state charges but also what Ken says, once you are pardoned you cannot take the 5th, so he certainly does not want to pardon them prematurely. Accepting a pardon is like saying – I’m guilty.

          • Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

            I think there may also be federal charges such as lying to the FBI and campaign finance violations. Trump can pardon these.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted April 14, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

          Trump can’t pardon Cohen (or anyone else) for state crimes, only federal, but it’s a federal investigation by the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of NY that Cohen is currently under (although he may have also violated NY state statutes).

          A president also cannot pardon anyone for future</i> crimes.

  12. Christopher
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    May I ask, in all honesty, what, exactly should the response to get another chemical attack on civilians should have been? Back in the Obama presidency, when the first chemical attack happened, conservatives (excepting McCain) refused to back any actions whatsoever, probably on political grounds, meaning anything Obama is for, they were against.. The liberals also rejected action, seeing it as another Iraq-style rabbit hole, and a generally less hawkish ideology. We’ve had many chemical weapons attacks since, with many civilians killed and wounded. We’ve had Russia aiding Assad, Turkey attacking our allies, the Kurds, and the liberal response seems to be “We shouldn’t get involved, civilians will get killed”. But not getting involved IS getting them killed, too. And again I see the reaction based more on political ideology than actual concern over the lives of civilians. I’m not saying I know what the best response is, I lean heavily towards pacifism myself, but there is more than a whiff of hypocrisy by both parties, and meanwhile, Putin, Erdogan, and Assad keep piling up the bodies of the innocent. I don’t hear anyone willing to ask the hard questions, what can we do and what should we do about these three violent leaders, that doesn’t come from a position of partisan politics.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      What should the US response be? Since chemical weapons have been banned for almost 100 years, personally taking out Assad is what the response should be. How that is accomplished is not up to me, but the strongest military in the history of the world should be able to handle it.

      After that is accomplished, the next leader of a country to consider using chemical weapons will think about it differently.

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:45 am | Permalink

        + 1

    • Posted April 14, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      I agree with all this.

      Seems like the only rational strategy in Syria at this point is to let Assad finish mopping up the rebels but insist that he not perform any atrocities while doing so. It is way too late to assist the rebels and/or depose Assad. The US and its allies might even be able to reach an agreement with Russia and Iran on this.

      • Craw
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Insist? How, in a tweet? Christopher is asking, if you just reflexively condemn military action, what do propose to do. “Insist” is cant for “do nothing” unless it’s backed up by military force.
        Like Christopher I don’t know what happened, or what the options were, but neither does anyone here. So I think the kind of strident denunciation I see here is premature, and as Christopher suggests, partisan.

        • Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          I agreed with Christopher’s analysis of the history so I am not sure what “strident denunciation” you are talking about. Denunciation of Christopher’s point or of Trump’s actions?

          As to what I meant by “insist”, I meant in an agreement, backed up by force if it was violated.

          Trump’s administration has not told of us of their plan and, if I had to guess, they haven’t one. Trump is only doing this as a distraction from his other troubles or he wants to play the strongman, probably both.

          • slandermonkey
            Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            I too agree. War is terrible, but there are rules, and if nothing is done then even more lives will be lost in the long run.

            Trump is the worst President the USA has ever had, in my opinion, but the only response that leaders like Assad understand is force. Just because Trump ordered it one should not have a knee jerk reaction against it.

            Pacifism is just sophisticated cowardice. A pacifist without courageous friends doesn’t live long in this flawed world.

            • Christopher
              Posted April 14, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

              yeah, well my mother admitted that as a child she thought I wasn’t strong enough for this world, and she was probably right. As I said, I lean towards pacifism, I never wish to use force to get my way or to impose my will, and very much feel that if I have to use force to get my point across or get my way, them my arguments were lacking and the fault was mine. I feel that resorting to violence is very much a failure of sorts and I’m often ashamed of the past instances when I’ve lost my temper, even without the physical violence. However, leaning towards pacifism doesn’t mean I won’t do my best to f**k someone up if they try to do the same to me, it just means I won’t resort to a “preemtive strike”. Never confuse pacifism with weakness and never confuse violence with strength.

              Otherwise, yeah, I agree.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted April 14, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

                “Never confuse pacifism with weakness and never confuse violence with strength.”

                Unfortunately, the typical Trump supporter (and hence Trump himself, obviously) does exactly that.

                (I would substitute ‘restraint’ for ‘pacifism’ but what the heck…)

                cr

              • Diane G.
                Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:49 am | Permalink

                Well said, I agree with you, Christopher. Violence can never ensure that the just cause wins.

              • slandermonkey
                Posted April 15, 2018 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

                If you do respond in kind to violence when appropriate then you are not a pacifist. A pacifist is never violent. Claiming to be a pacifistic is a VERY strong claim.

                I agree with you that initiating violence is generally wrong, and should in most circumstances only be used for self-defense.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        But what if it isn’t Assad – as it wasn’t at Ghouta in 2013, as it wasn’t at Khan Shaykoun? Where’s the evidence now of a chemical attack on civilians in Ghouta? And don’t quote the White Helmets, the MI6-sponsored PR wing of Al Qaeda? And before you have attacks of the vapours and slam me from pillar to post do some real reasearch on this and try to find out what idf anything really happened and by whom.

        • Posted April 14, 2018 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

          Of course, it is certainly possible that the chemical attacks were faked. On the other hand, conspiracies of this scale are notoriously hard to pull off. I don’t have the resources to do my own investigation. I will leave it to the reputable news agencies (ie, not Fox) to uncover the truth. It is also worth noting that sources are saying that internet activity by Russian trolls has spiked since the chemical attack. It is hard to tell which side is the one peddling misinformation.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      How short the memory of anything can be. We all point back to the terrible Obama, just look what he did…nothing. He, by the way, did what a president is suppose to do. He went to the congress and asked for permission. You know, kind of what that thing called a constitution would call for. But he did not get it.

      Here is a hard question – what do you want us to do in Syria and whatever it is, give us the long range plan, how to get there and then what? In fact, tell us what we are doing in Afghanistan or in Iraq. Maybe nothing but what we have been doing for the last 16 years or so. Trump has been pretending to be president now for over a year. What the hell is his foreign policy?

      • Christopher
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        I agree. Obama gets the blame for following the rules that We the People have mostly agreed upon. And of course, the abuse of power, intelligence, and military force perpetrated by the Bush administration in the lead-up to the Iraq War (and the subsequent abandonment of the goals in Afghanistan) led directly to our disgust at possible action in Syria. History came back to bite us in the arse. Those of us here knew it at the time; we were squandering our moral capital and surrendering the moral high ground.

        This is exactly the sort of situation that I think the U.N.(and the League of Nations before it) was supposed to have been created to deal with, rather than leaving this weighty issues up to one or a few leaders. However, as the U.N. has the Achilles heal of veto power (why?!), it has been (pardon the mixed metaphor) effectively hamstrung.

        Don’t know where that leaves us. Arguing about “legality” when we have no effective international law or law enforcement? Stuck with a president whose foreign policy is that he hates foreigners? Twitter diplomacy?

        What is clear is that so long as tRump, Putin, Erdogan, Assad, any of the House of Saud, any Ayatollah, and any of the Kim family are in power, large parts of the world are at risk, and without agreement between democratic nations, there will be no way of protecting any form of long lasting peace. And we so long as we can’t agree on how to protect ourselves against such madmen, via the U.N. or some similar as yet undreamt of world power, we will be at their mercy. Perhaps this is the human condition, perhaps there is no answer, no end to the moral arc, no secure enlightenment, only endless cycles of mostly hairless apes taking breaks between bashing each other over the head. and then there’s the heat-death of the universe and it won’t matter anyway. I need a drink. “cheers”.

        • Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          Or you can take the Pinkerian long view. Everything is still getting better but it might take a while.

          • Neil Wolfe
            Posted April 14, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

            Unfortunately, the world seems to be dominated by Karl Pilkingtons rather than Stephen Pinkers at the moment but there’s still hope for some improvement before the sun explodes.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          Maybe one big thing we fail to see in much of this is the religious war. We went to Iraq for all the wrong reasons and no plan. It then became a pure religious war. The Syrian war has been a religion event since day one. We should not be involved in any religious wars. And more important, we should never go to war without a specific reason, a long term plan of what we expect to accomplish and the backing of the people. When was the last time that congress declared war. WWII maybe.
          And if you say, they declared war on terrorism, that is a joke. The Vietnam war taught us everything we needed to know about how to not go to war and we learned nothing.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted April 14, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            “and we learned nothing.”

            And in the process, caused a weaker ‘enemy’ infinitely more suffering than you (the US) caused yourselves.

            If, during that war, Washington and New York had been bombed, the countryside devastated with Agent Orange, guerilla fighting all over the country – do you suppose the US would have learned a little more?

            It seems to me a presumption of the US population that any war is going to happen in Someone Else’s Country. As witness the shock when Kim Jong Il looked to be getting a weapon that might hit the United States. Perfectly okay for the US to have hundreds of weapons that could obliterate Korea or anyone else, under the control of the nutty Orange One.

            Oh, and they see all issues in black and white, like a superhero movie. Bad, bad Saddam. Bad, bad Assad. Hit them and everything will be fixed. “It’s complicated” is not an acceptable answer.

            But of course the situation in Syria is horribly complicated. Kurds. ISIS. Rebels. Assad. Israel, Turkey, and Iraq (all probably pulling strings behind the scenes).
            I don’t know what component of the rebels might be ISIS-related in this area. But if they are – ISIS or Assad, which is preferable? Choose!

            (Randall, absolutely none of this is aimed at you 🙂

            cr

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted April 14, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

              Understand, but your example and question – what if parts of the U.S. were bombed, hit with the pesticides, would we have learned anything. That is not my point about the war and learning at all. The learning is what you must know and do before ever making the decision to go to war. Vietnam is a case of knowing nothing, the why, the mission, the real strategy, nothing. All we are told is we had to stop communism and that thing they called the domino effect. All BS. All made up. Vietnam was closer to a civil war than anything else. We had no clue. Were we there to take land? To drive the enemy from territory? What was the plan and what were we to achieve? Nobody knew. When would we win, what would we win. They never had any answers to those simple questions. If you cannot tell the people why you are there and what you hope to achieve, you are lost. You cannot win. Some of the military people even today, will tell you, oh we could have won but the the politicians would not let us. That is absolute crap. We had over 500,000 people in Vietnam and accomplished nothing but we did not know what the hell we were doing there. There was nothing to win. Just killing people is no strategy.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:39 am | Permalink

                Okay, I absolutely agree with all that. I didn’t really get that from your previous comment since your mention of the Vietnam war was so brief. I do get your point now.

                cr

    • Filippo
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Sub

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:58 am | Permalink

      So much wisdom in this comment thread. From nearly all contributors. Would that WEIT commenters ran the government!

  13. Posted April 14, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Show business, nothing more. But the morons supporting Trump will compare him to Harry Truman.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Well, HST did have an unpopular policy regarding the Korean peninsula and historically low approval ratings, convincing him not to seek his own second term, so there’s that. 🙂

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        It is also funny how far up the presidential ranking Truman has come since those days. However, before going farther – to mention Truman and Trump at the same time is a bit sick.

        People now, after much further consideration have concluded that yes, maybe the Korean war was a win. It is certain that without Truman there would be no South Korea. The length of that conflict was more the result of MacArthur’s action than anything Truman did. The morons as he says may compare Trump to Truman but I say he couldn’t hold a candle to Truman. To think otherwise is ridiculous.

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:59 am | Permalink

        Oh, please, oh, please!

    • ladyatheist
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      But not to Barack Obama, who did the same thing and DJT tweeted that it was illegal to do it.

  14. Roger
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    This is scary because Trump is the kind of guy who could kill millions and it wouldn’t bother him at all. Toddler with huge power.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      As long as he could claim it as a “win.”

  15. nicky
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    ‘Mission Accomplished”, we’ve heard that before indeed, in 2003 (iirc). What was exactly accomplished?
    Note, I’m not even really convinced that that gas attack on Douma was by the Assad regime.
    What has Assad got to gain there? He basically is winning the civil war, at a tremendous cost, btw., (how many Alawite males aged between 18 and 28 are left?). Why would he risk turning some ‘luke-warm’ opponents into ‘hot’ ones? Makes no sense.
    On the other hand I see the ‘rebels’ having good reason to carry out such an attack and blaming it on Assad. They are losing the war, and would desperately use any straw that could weaken Assad.
    For all clarity, I do not say it was not Assad, and I do not say it was the ‘rebels’, just that I would not put it beyond any of the parties involved, and that I’m not fully convinced it was the Assad regime.

    • W.Benson
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      I have consulted several accounts of chlorine poisoning and they seem unanimous that a main symptom is coughing (I thought it would be eye irritation). With sarin, in addition to its extreme toxicity, a notable symptom is foaming at the mouth. Significantly I think, no one shown in the hospital scene was coughing or foaming. Obviously, if there were such things, the rebels would have made sure they appeared in their video.

      RT has put up a video of a guy who claims to be a medical intern at the hospital and was present and filmed when the incident happened. He attributed the influx of patients to a fire in an apartment building that resulted in many cases of smoke inhalation. Someone, he said, cried out “poisonous gas” and then there was a rush to wash everyone down while others were filming.

      A segment showing children being rescued from buildings by White Helmet members was apparently spliced onto the emergency room video. Rescuers are shown running through the smoke and gas? without protective gear saving people. How? God knows? At least it was daytime, which itself is curious, because CNN journalist Frederik Pleitgen (youtube video), who is stationed in Damascus, reported the following morning on CNN’s NewsDay show that the gas, according to rebels, came from a helicopter attack that occurred about “8:30 last night.” As I said, the rebel video showed White Helmets rescuing kids in daylight, but sundown in Damascus, and I checked it, was at 7 pm on April 7.

      There are other problems with the official story. A third spliced segment showed rows of dead people, said to have been killed by gas that infiltrated into the basements of several buildings. The symptoms were of sarin poisoning; in some versions of the video the faces and foam have been blurred out.

      The rebels claim that several dozen persons died from the gas attack. Douma since last Monday is open — the surviving rebels were given safe passage and shipped out on buses — and people circulate freely and are filming things, but despite the fact that most everyone has a cell phone with a video function, I am unaware of any new videos showing or identifying persons who died in the attack, showing wakes or funerals, showing police repression of protests, wakes or funerals, or grieving relatives denouncing Assad. There was absolutely no aftermath, and this makes the whole narrative unbelievable. As with Sherlock Holmes, it is the dog that didn’t bark, or at least hasn’t yet.

      What does the guy say at 18 seconds in?
      https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=jNIp1lZwJts

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:05 am | Permalink

        What do you think he’s saying?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      As I recall, the Khan Shaykhun gas attack in Syria last year (which Assad also denied ordering) was traced back directly to Assad’s Shayrat Airbase (which was subsequently the target of a US Tomahawk missile attack).

      If Assad is honestly protesting his innocence about Douma, he’s got himself to blame for no one believing him (given his long history of ordering such attacks and equally long history of perfidy in denying it).

      • nicky
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        Yes, Ken. I tend to think too it was Assad. Apparently he wanted to force the ‘rebels’ to release prisoners. After the attack there were indeed some 200 prisoners released. To the anger of the Alawite population, who were led to believe there were more than 7000.(I guess most of those 7000 are dead).
        Again, I tend to think it was Assad, but I’m far from fully convinced.

      • W.Benson
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        No, Ken, you recall the allegation that the Khan Shaykhun attack was conducted by a Syrian aircraft. Moscow claims the White Helmets and rebels did it. Is there publicly available evidence to justify Washington’s claim, other than reports of Syrian aircraft over KS that morning and the accusation that Assad is a killer and everyone knows he did it?

        I made a little study of the available information concerning the KS incident. The Syrians knew where the rebels were positioned. On the afternoon of April 4, 2017, a few hours after the gas attack, Syrian warplanes bombed the rebel supply depot in the center of KS, hitting also what seemed to be an unmarked medical facility carved into a hillside nearby. We know this is true because the rebels complained bitterly, and the western press obligingly published their photographs of the damaged hospital, although no journalists went there, fearing for their lives. Later the UN refused to send specialists to collect data concerning the gas incident for the same reason — too dangerous.

        So, when the sarin device was set off before dawn — according to doctors interviewed, victims began to arrive for treatment about sunrise — Syrian military knew where the military targets were but inexplicably chose, if we believe the State Department narrative, to bomb a civilian neighborhood lacking any military target. The sarin device fell onto the middle, literally 3-6 feet from the mid-divider, of the main asphalt thoroughfare cutting KS. I looked at Google Earth: the town is about 2 km across and the main road, from photographs take by rebels, is maybe 15 m across, including shoulders. The probability that a single unguided device (and only one was reported by the rebels) dropped from an aircraft should by mere chance strike the road is something close to 2%, and on the asphalt < 1%.

        The probability of landing on asphalt in a residential area would be considerably greater if the perpetrators were rebels, with 1) the means of delivery a pickup truck, with 2) the rebels not wanting injure their rebel comrades but willing to kill innocents for the jihadist "greater good", and 3) needing a quick getaway route so as to not fall victim to their own venom, so as to 4) create a "red-line incident" (which happened) that the US could use to justify saving their terrorist asses.

        It is true that evidence exists for at least some Russian, uh, Soviet, involvement. The crater from the explosion contained, at least after rebels arrived and began taking photographs, the filler cap of Soviet-era chemical bomb that miraculously, I say, lodged in the bottom of the crater. However, there are two comments. 1) When Syria's chemical stockpiles were destroyed by the US and UN inspectors, it is probable that unloaded bomb shells and metal parts, were thrown out. The bomb filler cap could have come from anywhere. 2) In the 1990s Japanese terrorists attacked the Tokyo subway with home-made sarin made in an improvised chemistry lab. Sarin is not hard to make and many rebels certainly have the chemistry and engineering know-how to make it. Also, many prohibited arms (e.g., sarin) are trafficked, and illicit sources probably exist for just about everything. I do not discount US involvment. After all, the US was the first, and continues to be the only country to drop thermonuclear devices with the intention, though unstated, of killing 10's of thousands of civilians.

        If Assad didn't do it, there is neither untruthfulness or deceit in his denying it.

      • Posted April 16, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        + 1

    • Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      He is not risking anything, because he has gassed and slaughtered his people for years and his luke-warm opponents haven’t turned into hot ones – actually, quite the opposite.

  16. BJ
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I. Can’t. Believe. He. Used. Those. Words.

    OK, I can. He clearly has no idea what they evoke. I’m sure he doesn’t even know about the event to which they refer.

    • Craw
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      I think you are wrong. Trump is a master troll. A grandmaster troll. His provocations are not accidents. He probably wanted to provoke intemperate initial reactions, and I think in that at least he succeeded.

  17. Posted April 14, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Lies upon lies upon lies out of our government.

    “That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.

    And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.

    We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    – Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Government of George W. Bush.

  18. Filippo
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I contemplate how the U.S. would have responded had rebels in Saudi Arabia risen up as part of the Arab Spring. There are surely not a few citizens who wish that the kingdom (regime) were a democratic republic.

    • Posted April 16, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      When Obama visited Saudi Arabia to attend the King’s funeral, I hoped that he could at least do something for Raif Badawi.

  19. Neil Wolfe
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Is a child asphyixiated by chemical weapons more dead than a child asphyixiated in a bombed out building? We seem to be ok with the slaughter of Innocents if it’s done a certain way. The decision to intervene now, after so many years of bloodshed, seems completely arbitrary.

    • slandermonkey
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      It does seem odd, I must agree. But there is in fact rules against gassing people. There are good reasons for the ban, and if the so called civilized world will not enforce even this rule then the tyrants of the world will be emboldened to break even more rules and cause even more death.

      Trump is a thin skinned narcissist, but he was correct to order this strike.

      • Neil Wolfe
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        This can’t possibly be the first rule broken in this conflict.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Oh, I agree that the “civilized world” (as you call it) should enforce basic norms against tyrants. But for Donald Trump to be the enforcer is the height of hypocrisy, since he’s held himself out as a nationalist who believes in every country’s absolute right to pursue its own self-interests as it alone sees fit within its own borders.

        Then again, “hypocrisy” may not be a word readily applicable to Trump, since he lacks sufficiently stable principles and ideology to engage in self-contradiction. With Trump, everything is just branding — and if a chosen brand isn’t winning, he simply switches to another.

      • Posted April 16, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        + 1

  20. John Walsh
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Assuming this is one of Trump’s own real tweets (which I think is likely), he’s probably unaware of the whole Mission Accomplished! debacle/meme re: GWBush. To him Bush is insignificant. The missile strike was undoubtedly a change-the-narrative decision for Trump. He couldn’t care less about what the Assad regime does or the fate of any victims, and I have little doubt he received the OK from Putin before the missiles flew.

    My question is when does his illness (I’m convinced very real clinical narcissistic sociopathy + intellectual laziness) take him over the edge. I think push back from China on the trade war stuff, after probably universal, in-private freaking out by his financial advisors and political strategists, left him feeling frustrated and forestalled. Even he can understand that tanking the export markets for rural producers who supported him is a bad idea. And renewed interest in the TPP is obviously meant for the notice of China (which plays chess while he is limited to checkers). I can only think he’s painting himself into a smaller and smaller corner on all fronts.

    He’s got ~6 months till an election in which his party can very easily lose at least one house of Congress. And that would be it for him….he cannot work across the aisle… his realty has no aisles, just him on top of the world.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 14, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      I suspect what is pushing him over the edge is Michael Cohen and how much Mueller will discover from this. This is where I think the rubber meets the cement in this whole thing. Uncovering the evidence might drive him insane. With Trump it is all about me. He does not give two shits about Syria or China or any of that stuff.

      • John Walsh
        Posted April 14, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        Agreed.

      • Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Even Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty (not yet released) is making him unhinged. Tomorrow he’ll go even more nuts since COmey’s interview is tonight at 10pm EDT.

  21. Roger
    Posted April 14, 2018 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    He has the potential to be a huge war criminal. This is a guy who threatened to jail his political opponent. (And his followers loved it.)

  22. Posted April 16, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    [sigh]

    “The strong do as they can, and the weak suffer as they must.”

    • Posted April 16, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      “The strong” here are apparently Assad and the Russians.


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