Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: This time it's Syria

224 Responses

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  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    How did the US know Iraq had chemical weapons? They kept the receipts.

    Indeed, and you could've filled a library with the vocal denials from the US political mainstream about this around 2003.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Swain, in reply to Russell Brown,

    On a lighter note, you can test yourself against the rest of the internet in this find Damascus on a map game.

    Oops, sorry Lebanon.

    Japan • Since Apr 2013 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Military, Industrial, Complex....

    Indeed

    Do as I say
    rhymes
    with d' USA
    not as they do
    crimes
    as they please

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment

    Sourced from What Really Happened site...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    Here's a thing:

    http://themonkeycage.org/2013/08/27/do-military-interventions-reduce-killings-of-civilians-in-civil-wars/

    A brief post about a study looking at the effects of intervening in a civil war on casualty rates. There's a link the full study there, but limited interventions on the side of rebels tend to increase casualty rates by about 40% for the rebels, as the govt military is degraded, loses c&c discipline and becomes more desperate. Recommends that if you are going to do it, you need to establish safe zones etc.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    And this :http://t.co/6j6gKrMFwM from the European Council on Foreign Relations outlines the paramters of what the debate should be to my mind, and is almost exactly the sort of thing we didn't see before Iraq.

    I think the real lessons of Iraq were about how the decision was made. If politicians lie their way into a war, if they aren't up front about what the risks and expected costs and likely length of the war are, then their people won't support it. And the war will be fought based on what the people will accept rather than on what is needed to achieve the war aims. Which means you will lose. So getting the consent for the war that will be actually fought is crucial.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready, in reply to bob daktari,

    They don't necessarily disagree. It just presents another option for the industrial military complex to use/sell their stuff.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Chris: my point is that fear of nuclear escalation stopped the US or USSR taking any action that would put their troops into direct conflict on a any scale. Deniable gangs of mercenaries, blockades, but nothing that might wind up with a division of American troops shooting at a division of Russian ones.

    As documented in this recently released history, Eisenhower wouldn't even allow U2 overflights of the USSR without the aircraft being unmarked, unarmed and flown by a nominal civilian.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    wouldn’t even allow U2 overflights of the USSR without the aircraft being unmarked, unarmed and flown by a nominal civilian.

    Yes, I consider Bono a weapon of mass destruction, frankly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    ...wouldn’t even allow U2 overflights of the USSR without the aircraft being unmarked, unarmed and flown by a nominal civilian.

    Yes, I consider Bono a weapon of mass destruction, frankly.

    Anything to get the Edge...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Raj against the machine

    noice

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    cognitive dissonance...
    American use of 'chem de guerre', lest we forget...

    ...and I really don't see how Kerry leaps from identifying that Sarin was used, to claiming that agents of the Syrian Government filled and fired the rocket (or whatever dipersal system was used), with no further proof of that offered - he looks awful desperate and lame...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    with no further proof of that offered

    To be fair they have said they saw rockets launched from govt positions that landed where the gas was released. Not proof no. But at this point only lawyers are arguing.

    The reason everyone wants proof good enough to satisfy a lawyer is that everyone is certain that any intervention is going to go pear shaped really fast. When it goes bad it will help if the proof was absolute and also if the decision could be seen to have been a consensus, something that won't be reached without lawyer-worthy proof.

    My guess is they have such proof but are reluctant to release it because it would give away just how much spying they are doing in the region.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Attachment

    Al Jazeera interview, 11/9/2011

    I’ll see your white powder and raise you one Gulf of Tonkin

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    To be fair they have said they saw rockets launched from govt positions that landed where the gas was released. Not proof no. But at this point only lawyers are arguing.

    I'm in no doubt that the Syrian government has been using chemical weapons in populated areas -- there are multiple eyewitness reports, some of them from people who paid with their lives.

    It's possible that some rebel forces are using such weapons, but the evidence for that seems sketchy.

    That doesn't necessarily mean any kind of military intervention is a good idea, but it seems clear that this isn't Iraq in 2003. There were no unconventional weapons anywhere there and hadn't been for years. In Syria, there are, and they're being used.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Those who live by the Saud...

    I’m in no doubt that the Syrian government
    has been using chemical weapons…

    I see nothing that gives me that kind of confidence.
    I’m with Chris Trotter and the Wall Street Journal on this one…
    That region is a puppeteer’s paradise.
    Time will out, perhaps….

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That doesn’t necessarily mean any kind of military intervention is a good idea

    Yeah that's the problem for everyone I think, even the normally gung-ho US are moving slowly. There are a lot of players in the region that would love to manipulate intervention in Syria. There really are not clear simple targets. And nobody knows what the ideal outcome looks like let alone how to achieve it.

    Add that to the (unlikely in my opinion) possibility that Ian raises that everything we think we know is wrong about the use of chemical weapons, it really makes intervention (dropping bombs on people) a terrible option.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Given that much of this is driven by supposed Mossad intel, make of this what you will:

    Israel has granted a U.S. company the first licence to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Golan Heights, John Reed of the Financial Times reports.
    A local subsidiary of the New York-listed company Genie Energy — which is advised by former vice president Dick Cheney and whose shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch — will now have exclusive rights to a 153-square mile radius in the southern part of the Golan Heights.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    it really makes intervention (dropping bombs on people) a terrible option.

    Yes, even a more targeted and purely military attack, like destroying Syria's air-force, doesn't have a clear purpose or end-game.

    It's a terrible situation there. Despite my brain telling me that intervention is only likely to escalate the conflict, upon seeing the victims of the chemical weapons, I found tears on my cheeks, a purely visceral response that had completely bypassed rational thought. I tell myself that any death by violence is equally bad, that being hacked to death with a machete or blown up by a cluster bomb is not less disgusting than being gassed, and yet somehow, it really does feel worse. Perhaps it's that we use gas to kill vermin, that it's a tool for extermination, rather than fighting. It is not very effective against troops. Or more likely, it was the way that it was disproportionately affecting children, whose death throes we were actually witnessing. It's very difficult to use reason in the situation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s very difficult to use reason in the situation.

    ...and that is the palette, the powers-that-be (and want-to-be) use to paint the picture and evoke the required responses - turmoil never dries, it just get worked over and pushed around.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes, even a more targeted and purely military attack, like destroying Syria’s air-force, doesn’t have a clear purpose or end-game.

    Even that's hard. A mixture of force dispersion and rotating aircraft into the air means that this is unlikely to happen. And the very, very, last thing Obama needs are dogfights over Damascus with the possibility of a US Navy FA-18 going down. Assad has some 400 Migs and Sukhois with the most recent being easily a match for anything the US could throw at them.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I see nothing that gives me that kind of confidence.

    I thought the Le Monde reporting, based on two months spent on the ground alongside rebels, was pretty compelling.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

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