Obama Reportedly Considering Intervention Into Syrian Civil War

PresObamaDuring President Obama’s first term, I represented members of Congress in challenging Obama’s unilateral intervention into the Libyan civil war without authorization of Congress. Our case was dismissed on standing grounds and, once again, an undeclared act of war went by without any opportunity of judicial review. Now, Obama is reportedly debating whether to intervene in yet another civil war — undeterred by the now superfluous constitutional limits on his war-making authority. Israel has also publicly stated that it is considering a preemptive strike on Syria and reserves the right to make such an attack if it feels threatened by events in that civil war. [Update: I discussed this issue as part of my column on the imperial presidency this morning on C-Span]

President Barack Obama said he has been struggling with the decision whether to enter into another war as the 22-month civil war in Syria drags on. Here is what he considers to be the operative question:
“In a situation like Syria, I have to ask: can we make a difference in that situation?”

That is a bit different from the question that the Framers wanted him to ask: “Do I have authority from Congress to engage in a war?” That question is now just a quaint concern for a president who has acquired unprecedented unchecked powers. Once again, the Democrats are silent because it is Obama not Bush who is speaking of war. It is the type of hypocrisy that is not just laughable. It is lethal.

You will notice however that, during all of this public discussion of whether Obama will intervene in yet another war, there is not a peep of protest from Congress that it is supposed to have the final say on whether we go to war. Democrats again, even on war powers, are conspicuously silent — preferring to support Obama as a person than the Constitution on principle.

Of course, now that war is a unilateral power, we will not have an opportunity to debate our participation in yet another war. There will be no debate over the continued loss of American lives in foreign wars like Iraq and Afghanistan. There will be no debate over our continued spending billions on wars that we desperately need to support basic social programs at home. This is precisely why the Framers wanted to force public votes. While polls show the American people have long opposed our continued expenditure of lives and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama and Congress have continued our involvement. Indeed, our slow withdrawal is due not to our leaders seeking to draw down but increasingly hostile relationships with our “allies” who want us out of their respective countries. The disconnect with the American public is alarming. We have taken a balanced and well-reasoned system and turned it on its head. The result is precisely what the Framers anticipated: continued foreign wars carried out on a unilateral basis.

Source: Yahoo

184 thoughts on “Obama Reportedly Considering Intervention Into Syrian Civil War

  1. Obummer is a warmonger. He is no different than Idi Amin, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, Robert Mugabe, Mobutu Sese Seko, and Mengistu Haile Mariam. Barry Soetoro is a slave master like his predecessors. Over and out.

  2. Great job on this one! What is Obama thinking: “I need to find a way to put the military men and women to work, since I am taking them out of Iraq and Afgan?” Or “since the Syran economy is going to hurt our economy if this war drags on, we need to intervene?” Maybe, Obama is thinking: “it is either open the US border to Syrian refugees or go in lose about 2000 US troops to put an end to this. Which one is cheaper in the long run….hmmmm”

    Now, if it is to save lives, and to prevent the slaughtering of women and children, then I would have to take a different tone on his indecisiveness about intervening (and if this is the case, then we need to send about 100k troops into parts of Africa, not to mention the streets of LA, Chicago, STL, NY, etc).

    However, can we the people have a say in this? We can have a say in building professional ball parks, but not in deciding if our children or loved ones go out to die?

  3. While I understand your concerns here in terms of raw Presidential power, I actually have been surprised that he has not acted already …. (I am a retired vet of 24 years). We “probably” have SOF Forces already on the ground doing some advising … You won’t initially here of this if, in fact, it is happening. You will here about it post-facto probably esp. if he goes down …..

    What OB could do very easily and without much risk to US Forces would be to basically take out the Syrian Air Force (AF). This could be done basically in one day and then we sit back and see what happens. Their Air Force is no match for ours — period. Satellites would tell us where the Syrian AF is at any time. We could do a night strike and basically completely wipe-out or severely damage the AF and take away Assad’s ace in the hole at the moment. It is his AF that is giving him the balance of power necessary to stay in power — at least temporarily. Take out the AF and it would be like tying one of Assad’s hands behind his back….. Besides a night strike when the planes are on the ground would most likely mean minimal casualties on all sides yet deal a significant blow to Assad’s killing machine.

  4. No. Wisdom is better than weapons of war. Don’t people know scripture? Don’t people know anything about Christ? warring is deadly to the soul of the person that engages in war. People need to be taught this. Obama waring is glorifying the weapons he wants to take away from people diving into war..

  5. No. Wisdom is better than weapons of war. Don’t people know scripture? Don’t people know anything about Christ? Warring is deadly to the soul of the person that engages in war. People need to be taught this. Obama warring is glorifying the weapons he wants to take away from people by diving into war..

  6. I sense the world is wondering why the powers to be have let Assad kill 60K people without doing a thing about it. Russia / Putin have voiced opposition if I am not mistaken but doubt he truly is going to intervene given the level of genocide.

  7. It is a civil war, supported by the French version of NATO (the Levant vis a vis the Treaty of Versailles), it is not genocide. Syria is trying to maintain its secular sovereignty (the oldest Christian community in the world) while being squeezed by Wahhabis and Jews. Ashes to ashes. Over and out.

  8. To kill is to kill is to kill is to kill. It is all the same. Religions do not teach that Gods glory judges. Because we have not taught this this is what we see. To attack justifies all that attack whoever.

  9. Dear rich,

    You are correct it is a civil war — here, though, is a definition of genocide — Genocide is “the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group” — so Assad is killing a national group vis-a-vis Jews, Catholics etc. It is still genocide of Syrian people. I agree also he may be trying to maintain secular sovereignty but he’s killing 60K plus people to do it and the world is getting a bit tired of it.. Again, I say take out the AF — you eliminate his most potent threat yet it can be done with minimal casualties per se. My guess — something is going to happen … either Assad falls by the sheer weight of opposing forces or someone (most likely us … ) helps him make a decision. Outright removal of Assad by US or NATO type forces though I doubt is in the cards.

  10. Thanks for the informative reply. . .The Obummer is doing everything possible to eliminate secular regimes in the Muslim World. Hillary and her Muslim Brotherhood girlfriend (married to the compromised Congressman Anthony Wiener) have worked overtime to ensure that the Muslim Brotherhood is established in the Levant. Over and out.

  11. Religious people taught the world to war. Religious people wanted Jesus dead. That was religious people at war against Jesus.. America needs to teach the world that what religious people did was wrong by not killing anyone calling it good. Do that be a Christian.

  12. ArtieWhiteFox,

    “Religions do not teach that Gods glory judges.”

    You sure about that?

    “To kill is to kill is to kill is to kill.”

    So I take it your a vegetarian, like me.

  13. I am sure that religions do not teach that God judges. Had they persecution against zoosexuals, gay, and furries and their nude, and sexual art would not be known. Jails, and military would not be known. Youtube would not do battle with furry art that shows what nature already shows us. Had religions teach that Gods light just standing their judges the word terrorist would not be known. Stone throwing at people would not be known. People would obey the simple truth of love whoever as yourself judging themselves, but it is the inversion of that. Wonder why?

    Not entirely. The friend I am with is a vegan. He is one for different reason than you are being a vegetarian. I am talking about not killing people that Jesus laid his life down to save. Jesus is our example. He plainly showed us how to save our soul, but century after century people have not seen it having a beam in their eye.

  14. There is no clear and present danger in Syria that would necessitate the president from acting without the consent of congress. If he wanted to ask congress to act in this war then he should head over to the hill and ask for it. I fully support the ability of the president to act if there was say a missle strike against the US or an invasion was at hand and congress was not in session. But plenty of time here with Syria.

    The reason he doesn’t want to go to congress, aside from his arrogance, is because congress likely would tell him “NO!”. and he doesn’t want that.

    As for the Syrian Government, I think it should be removed from power. Any gov’t that sends warships to shell its own towns of people who are just protesting is no longer legitimate. I think the world should stand up to tyrrants like Assad, and force them out of power. But the US has unfortunately been for the most part one of the few willing to take on the role, although France surprisingly has been stepping up lately.

    I do think that it is getting a little tiring for us to be expected to be the ones to take charge of things if needed when neighboring countries can do it. But then again if they are not willing, and the US is no longer interested who is going to stand up and prevent the Rwanda or Darfur genocides? It surely isn’t going to be the UN.

  15. To those who brought religion into this discussion, the middle east has always been in conflict? Some historians believe that the ‘Crusades’ never ended, and that our government is supporting one side against the other?

    Dateline or 60 minutes (and there is a research document as well, as soon as I can find it) reporters uncovered a horrendous finding: the US government sells weapons to every country on this planet (or those that have the means to pay for them), including middle eastern countries. During the Iraq and Afgan wars, after US soldiers captured or killed the ‘taliban’ or muslim extremists (or whomever the ‘enemy’ was indentified as), most of the confiscated weapons were made in the USA and Russia. We are making the weapons, selling them to the middle east, and then, they use them on our own troops.

  16. Well, at least the public won’t have to worry about compromising their standard of living by buying war bonds to support Obama’s personal attack force. Our grandchildren can just add this one to the tab.

    Hey – maybe we can get the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood successors in Syria to contribute to the cost of their “liberation” after they finish with the Christian purges in 2015?

  17. Obama may be a war monger, but he’s a war monger with a Nobel Peace Prize. Who else who wages war can say that? Oh yeah, Henry Kissinger, that old war criminal.

    My hope for ‘change’ ended when Obama didn’t have the sense to turn down the Prize so someone who actually deserved it could receive it.

    He looked awfully prideful when he got it. I couldn’t figure out why. Isn’t this the same of being proud of getting an ‘A’ on a test you cheated on?

  18. Well pilgrim, watta ya gonna do when:

    “The United States spends more on defense than all the other nations of the world combined. Between 1998 and 2011, military spending doubled, reaching more than seven hundred billion dollars a year—more, in adjusted dollars, than at any time since the Allies were fighting the Axis.”

    (New Yorker). If we allocate all that money for war, then we gotta have wars.

  19. Do they have oil or transmission lines…. Is being there essential to world peace…. If the second and not the first why not….. If the first was he adopted by the bushes?

  20. Since hostilities began in 2011, 60,000 civilians have been killed in Syria’s civil war many of them at the hands of Syria’s dictatorial leader, Bashar al-Assad. Approximately one million Syrians have been displaced and children are prevented from attending school or even having the basic necessities of life such as food and clean water. Human rights groups have reported numerous atrocities at the hands of Syria government troops like rape, murder, and the torture of children even including one as yet unsubstantiated report of the utilization of poison gas on its own people.

    In the midst of this misery, I hear a reflexive hue and cry from some here that since the US is merely considering military intervention to capsize a tyrant and restore some semblance of civilized society it must be in the service of the evil known as US imperialism or “warmongering.” I suppose these are the same folks who opposed the US intervention in Bosnia to stem the genocide there, too.

    The conveniently ignored fact here is that military intervention to prevent widespread human rights abuse — even genocide — is authorized by the UN Charter and international law. We can debate the method used by the President to employ military force but can we really debate the fact that to do nothing in the face of evil when we have the ability to do so makes us complicit in the evil?

    I am always amazed at the tolerance many have for other people’s suffering.

  21. How one does something is sometimes as important as doing something, Mark. The ends do not always or even usually justify the means. As for ignoring the UN Charter and international law, the Bush and Obama administrations have done precisely that when it comes to torture so I think invoking them now as a rational to let the President use his unconstitutionally unilateral expansive war powers helps give America an ethical high ground for dealing with dictators when we won’t even deal with our domestic war criminals. I’m not saying Assad doesn’t need to go. I’m saying there is a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things and if recent history of Presidential actions teach us anything, it should be that choosing the wrong way has repercussions that are undesirable and, in some cases, simply unacceptable.

  22. Mark,

    As you can see… I said so long as its not for profit but actual peace…. Why not… I agree that human suffering is a rational reason to go…. I also think we have unfinished business with taking care of American folks that have been defrauded by the American Banksters….

  23. gene H:

    Had Jefferson waited for Congress to act on his proposals to deal with the Barbary pirates we would still be paying tribute to Tripoli. The simple fact is that Congress always sends mixed messages in times of war except in the most egregious cases due to political considerations. See the War on Terror. The President has every right to act in furtherance of national interests if the circumstances so arise and destabilization of the Middle East by either exodus of civilian populations to neighboring countries or employment of weapons of mass destruction certainly calls for prompt action. I have no issue with the President asking Congress to act, but like Jefferson I would act first and seek approval later if the nation’s interests so demanded.

  24. Human suffering is a not reason to enter a war in a country where we have no idea what we are supporting. We have supported our enemies enemy in the past thinking that they were our friends or better than our enemy and have been badly and violently surprised. The countries in this region have an obligation to do something. We do not belong in Syria. If you need an example look no further than Egypt billions for the new dictator Morsi while our own people go without food, health care and roads and bridges. Look no further than Saudi Arabia. We saved them from Sadam and they persecute non Muslims and treat women like….. No more support or protection for theocracies..

    I feel for the people of Syria but the US cannot and should not see itself and the worlds policeman or the worlds savior.

  25. Mark,

    Jefferson didn’t live in a time where Libya had nuclear capable allies and don’t even get me started on the ridiculousness that is the War on a Noun and the Constitutional and civil/human rights abuses that bullshit is used to excuse on behalf of the previous and the sitting President. A Presidency with no checks on Executive Power is effectively a serial dictatorship. Mixed message or not, if we are to believe in the efficacy of a representative form of government, we must take the mixed messages with the clear and act based upon majority consensus, not Imperial whim as a substitute especially when the matter at hand is as serious as going to war on yet another front. Jefferson is also a exception due to his innate intelligence and prudence being sufficient for such a decision albeit questionable from process standpoint. Obama is no Jefferson. “The evils which of necessity encompass the life of man are sufficiently numerous. Why should we add to them by voluntarily distressing and destroying one another? Peace, brothers, is better than war. In a long and bloody war, we lose many friends, and gain nothing. Let us then live in peace and friendship together, doing to each other all the good we can.” – Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson knew war to be a last resort. Current events and recent history show that the Executive thinks war to be a first tier option if not the preferred solution. And that’s the problem with serial dictators – each is subject to their own strength in or lack of wisdom, intelligence and ethics and it is the citizens who very often pay the price for their failings.

  26. Was trying to figure out the recent switch of Colleen Powell to Obama’s camp. This explains it. Obama will not by pass congress this time but will put Colleen out there to show the world Assad has weapons of mass destruction. MORE WAR FOR OIL. Syrians have a ton of it.

  27. I’m just hoping these clowns have learned how to protect our state dept personnel. First, “GET THEM THE HELL OUT. Then, KEEP THEM OUT UNTIL YOU HAVE PROPER SECURITY IN PLACE. Finally, HAVE SOME PRETEXT IN PLACE IN CASE THE SHIT HITS THE FAN..AND MAKE IT BETTER THAN THE STUPID MOHAMMED MOVIE ONE. Let’s see if Kerry can perform better than Hillary in this regard.

  28. Mespo:

    The Assad family should have been destroyed long ago. I went to school with a Syrian, Sam. What a great guy he was too. I dont know if all Syrians are like Sam, probably not, but they certainly deserve better than to live in tyranny. But then I have gone to school with Egyptians and one of my father’s best friends was an Egyptian and they were/are good people too.

    But now we have a new tyranny in Egypt most likely worse than the old tyranny and probably more blood thirsty. The same will probably be said of Syria in a couple of years if we remove Assad. We only exchange one tyrant for another who, in all probability, will be worse.

    I for one am tired, we have seen 12 years of war, thousands of our sons and daughters have died, tens of thousands have grievous wounds for what? So some 9th century barbarians can continue to be barbarians? I hate George Bush and Dick Cheney and John Bolton and the likes of Bill Krystal, they have destroyed our country with endless war and fascism.

    They were too stupid to understand the threat or too in bed with the threat to actually do what was needed to defeat the evil. The threat was never Al Qaeda or Sadam or the Taliban; the threat is Saudi Arabian Wahhabism and Iran. The threat is still alive and kicking and pretty soon it will be in control of an atomic weapon. Bush and now Obama have done nothing to make us more secure and now on top of that we are a budding police state.

  29. In fairness, the source document linked by Prof. Turley does not note whether Obama is planning on making any decisions to deploy troops without getting Congressional approval first. He still has the opportunity to get Congressional approval, but we all know how easy it is to get Congress to agree with President Obama.
    Obama was responding to criticisms that he hasn’t done enough in Syria and other hot spots so we should be glad that he hasn’t sent troops into all of these places already. Is there oil in Syria?

  30. From a recent Washington Post article by Bob Woodward:



    When I interviewed President Obama in the summer of 2010 for my book “Obama’s Wars,” his deeply rooted aversion to war was evident. As I reported in the book, I handed Obama a copy of a quotation from Rick Atkinson’s World War II history, “The Day of Battle,” and asked him to read it. Obama stood and read:

    “And then there was the saddest lesson, to be learned again and again . . . that war is corrupting, that it corrodes the soul and tarnishes the spirit, that even the excellent and the superior can be defiled, and that no heart would remain unstained.”

    “I sympathize with this view,” Obama told me. “See my Nobel Prize acceptance speech.”

    I had listened to the speech when he gave it, Dec. 10, 2009, and later read it, but I dug it out again. And there it was:

    “The instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. And yet this truth must coexist with another — that no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy. The soldier’s courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause, to comrades in arms. But war itself is never glorious” — Churchill had called it that — “and we must never trumpet it as such. So part of our challenge is reconciling these two seemingly irreconcilable truths — that war is sometimes necessary and war at some level is an expression of human folly.”

    That is probably the best definition of the Obama doctrine on war.

    (End of excerpt)

  31. In a pair of interviews, Obama responded to critics who say the United States has not been involved enough in Syria, where thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced according to U.N. officials. Transcripts of both interviews were released on Sunday.

    The United States has called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, and has recognized an opposition coalition – but has stopped short of authorizing U.S. arming of rebels to overthrow Assad.

    “In a situation like Syria, I have to ask: can we make a difference in that situation?” Obama said in an interview with The New Republic published on the magazine’s website.

    Obama said he has to weigh the benefit of a military intervention with the ability of the Pentagon to support troops still in Afghanistan, where the United States is withdrawing combat forces after a dozen years of war.

    “Could it trigger even worse violence or the use of chemical weapons? What offers the best prospect of a stable post-Assad regime?

    “And how do I weigh tens of thousands who’ve been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?” he said.

    Obama’s comments come as world leaders gathered in Davos, Switzerland, said they wished the United States were more engaged in geopolitical issues such as the conflicts in Syria and Mali, where France is attacking al Qaeda-affiliated militants.

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Saturday that the United States will fly tankers to refuel French jet fighters, expanding U.S. involvement, which had been limited to sharing intelligence and providing airlift support.

    In an interview with CBS television program “60 Minutes,” Obama bristled when asked to respond to criticism that the United States has been reluctant to engage in foreign policy issues like the Syrian crisis.

    Obama said his administration put U.S. warplanes into the international effort to oust Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, and led a push to force Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from office.

    But in Syria, his administration wants to make sure U.S. action would not backfire, he said.

    “We do nobody a service when we leap before we look, where we … take on things without having thought through all the consequences of it,” Obama told CBS.

    “We are not going to be able to control every aspect of every transition and transformation” in conflicts around the world, he said. “Sometimes they’re going to go sideways.”

    (Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

  32. “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel must prepare for the threat of a chemical attack from Syria as the army deployed its new Iron Dome anti- missile system near the border with its northern neighbor.

    Netanyahu told members of the Cabinet during the weekly meeting in Jerusalem today that Israel faces dangers from throughout the Middle East. Top security officials held a special meeting last week to discuss what may happen to Syrian stocks of chemical weapons amid the civil unrest there, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told Army Radio.

    “We must look around us, at what is happening in Iran and its proxies and at what is happening in other areas, with the deadly weapons in Syria, which is increasingly coming apart,” Netanyahu told his Cabinet, according to an e-mailed statement.

    Syrian rebels, mostly Sunni Muslims, have been fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011 in a conflict that the United Nations says has left at least 60,000 people dead. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

    The Iron Dome system, which was used to shoot down hundreds of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip during Israel’s November conflict with Hamas and other militant groups, is being deployed at an unspecified site in the north, according to an Israeli army spokeswoman. She spoke anonymously in accordance with military regulations and said setting up the anti-missile battery was part of routine operations.

    Israeli forces must be particularly alert during the period following last week’s election in which Netanyahu is trying to form a new coalition government and enemies are looking for signs of weakness, the prime minister said. Netanyahu’s Likud- Beitenu alliance lost 11 parliamentary seats in the vote and the prime minister said he needs a broad and stable coalition to deal with security threats from the region. ” Bloomberg news

  33. rafflaw 1, January 28, 2013 at 10:19 am

    In fairness, the source document linked by Prof. Turley does not note whether Obama is planning on making any decisions to deploy troops without getting Congressional approval first. He still has the opportunity to get Congressional approval, but we all know how easy it is to get Congress to agree with President Obama.
    Obama was responding to criticisms that he hasn’t done enough in Syria and other hot spots so we should be glad that he hasn’t sent troops into all of these places already. Is there oil in Syria?
    Good eye rafflaw!

  34. I am utterly amazed at the hypocrisy in defending Obama. I love it when people that apparently did not support him come to his defense and denounce anyone for disagreeing with them. They must really hate to look in the mirror. They must be the most disagreeable people to be around.


  35. You know Guardian, there are lost souls traversing this earth. You should know that….. Not everyone that hears the truth, is wired to accept the truth…. Good luck…

  36. The lost soul is Satan. Those that accept him have death in them willingly giving it. The body always before death has the chance to seek God resisting him to become like a humble child.

  37. What happened to the title “President” before the last name of the sitting President when discussed in a news article? I know that the East Coast highfluetten societal families miss having a Roosevelt or a Kennedy or a Bush in the White House. Scions of great family names. Yale historians can go on and on about those families and live off of the foundations named after JFK or RFK. So, its natural to denigrate some man of the people who gets elected out of Illinois and who is a minority race. Obama this and Obama that. Teacher, teacher, I declare…. aint nobody gonna call you Professor, no one will call the preacher Reverend, no one will call the guy with the ear device Doctor, and even the Indian Chief will be relegated to JoeBob.

  38. gbk
    1, January 28, 2013 at 6:39 am
    “The drums are also beating loudly in Israel:”

    Judith Miller, is that you?


    Exactly!! By this time and given the experience of the last decade, we should all be able to read the signs.

  39. Justice Holmes:

    Whether we like it or not the free world considers us the policeman of the world, and maybe that’s the role of every superpower in history. If there is no force behind international law it’s just a lot of pretty, precatory words. The simple fact is that all law is premised on force. Why else would Lady Justice hold both scales and sword? And force, when wielded for the right aims, is not an inherently bad thing. It’s the only buffer between savagery and civilization.

    “Reason and teaching by no means prevailing everyone’s case; instead,
    there is need that the hearer’s soul, like earth about to nourish
    the seed, be worked over in its habits beforehand so as to enjoy
    and hate in a noble way. . . . Passion, as a general rule, does not
    seem to yield to reason but to force”

    ~Aristotle (NE 10.9.1179b23–25)

    If the inventors of democracy knew that, why shouldn’t we? And if we know that how can we stand by when passion leads to genocide that we can easily prevent with little relative risk to ourselves?

  40. mespo,

    As right as Aristotle was, to do something just because you can is not a good reason. As for “passion lead[ing] to genocide that we can easily prevent with little relative risk to ourselves”? That might be good reasoning when looking at a theater like Africa where we regularly turn our back on genocidal behaviors, but not in the instance of Syria. It’s a theater that practically guarantees expansion and instability in the ME. I submit that the relative risks are not little as a matter of our international standing (which is already severely compromised), the chances of drawing both Israel and Iran into a Syrian operation (thus multiplying fronts) and the perpetual drag that military spending is imposing upon an economy that direly needs more domestic focus and less military spending. We need more of the bottomless expense pit of war like we need an extra hole in our collective heads.

    No jokes about trepanation, you. ;) Unless they are really good ones. :mrgreen:

  41. We provide the weapons if you have the dough, we do not care what is done with them.

    Ka-ching! All the way to the bank.

    Why dont we sell modern clean energy systems instead?

  42. So, glancing through the comments, noone, except Mespo (surprise ;-)), is willing to give our Nobel Peace Prize commander-in-chief the benefit of the doubt. I wonder why? Maybe because his warmongering should may just have run out his string of pulling- the-wool to satisfy the MIC.

    Just a curious aside: who would Obama decide to ‘support’. Generally the US supports dictators, so that would figure. And much of the so called Syrian opposition is supposedly affiliated with Al quaeda, that the US govt has painted that moniker with a very negative and broad brush. So what’s a war mongering president to do? May it doesn’t matter, so much as just getting into the fray and let God sort ’em out. O just needs to pull the trigger; the MIC will work out the messy details.

  43. Guardian of Truth 1, January 28, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I am utterly amazed at the hypocrisy in defending Obama.
    Dood, you must not be a criminal defense lawyer.

    That means you probably do not know about second breakfy or troofyness either.


  44. When all this started, I pointed out that the terrorists were basically foreigners, strongly al-Quaeda types from vaious countries. Now that seems obvious. Why does he feel the need for another war? Don’t we have enough? how much of our money does he want to spend? Doesn’t Congress have to authority to stop funding for such idiocy? Well, ok, even if they did, they are too stupid to do it.

  45. I just wrote my congressman to urge him to publicly ask for a vote in Congress for an Act of War before we act on war. If a court turns down a request to act on this based on standing, we are screwed.

  46. Anon 851.

    An interesting take. Since it is so obvious does he under his new imperial powers have to wait for UN sanction? So why does he not do it?

    Many reasons, political and economic, can be suspected. What is your take?

  47. Why should Congress oppose a new war.? Call it a police action. Say whatever skit is necessary to drum up public hysteria.

    Congress is the victim of the war production factories located by MIC strategically for just that purpose. If he brings home his bit out of the pork barrel then he is safe for now.

    What would Bolton do? Shoot them all—especially the UN.

    That solid “against war” fraction is so easy to change. Propaganda!

  48. Bill Maher has a little ditty on the home of the brave thingy:

    So, lemme ask you: If a guy on your block was so frightened of mostly non-existent prowlers that he spent all of his resources on alarm systems and guns and cameras — so much so that he didn’t even have enough money left to maintain his home or send his kids to college — would you call him “brave”?

    (From Bill Maher’s “New Rules” on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher last Friday).

  49. Guardian of Truth 1, January 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm


    No I am into the ministry. Thank you, occasionally we will have to defend.
    I take it that you understand what I meant.

    Everyone has the right to a defense in criminal matters when they are charged with a crime.

    A lot of Obama’s matters are criminal.

    Our political system has devolved into our elections of the less criminal vs the more criminal, so some of them really, really need our defense.

    Just sayin’ preacher, just sayin.

  50. Dredd:

    “Bill Maher has a little ditty on the home of the brave thingy:”


    I like Bill’s take on things political, but I like the Romans take better, especially with respect to their particular expertise, national security:

    Si vis pacem, para bellum. (“Let him who desires peace prepare for war” )

  51. idealist707 1, January 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Why should Congress oppose a new war.? Call it a police action. Say whatever skit is necessary to drum up public hysteria.

    Congress is the victim of the war production factories located by MIC strategically for just that purpose. If he brings home his bit out of the pork barrel then he is safe for now.

    What would Bolton do? Shoot them all—especially the UN.

    That solid “against war” fraction is so easy to change. Propaganda!
    Yep, chump change has been around a long time, i.e., you give me a dollar and I will give you chump change.

    They have hounded us incessantly while they fake a try to brush the teeth, wipe the arse, and wash the brains of the hoi polloi bro:

    The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims, while incidentally capturing their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples, while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.

    (Myth Addiction Is Establishment’s LSD). Some of those among us feel that life is but a joke:

  52. mespo727272 1, January 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm


    “Bill Maher has a little ditty on the home of the brave thingy:”


    I like Bill’s take on things political, but I like the Romans take better, especially with respect to their particular expertise, national security:

    Si vis pacem, para bellum. (“Let him who desires peace prepare for war” )
    Yep, it is clear how that worked out for the Romans, but it remains to be seen how it will work out for the Billster.

  53. mespo:

    “but I like the Romans take better, especially with respect to their particular expertise, national security:”

    correct me if I am wrong but didnt Rome succumb to invasion by various barbarian hordes after many long years of international military adventures and out of control spending?

  54. shano 1, January 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    We provide the weapons if you have the dough, we do not care what is done with them.

    Ka-ching! All the way to the bank.

    Why dont we sell modern clean energy systems instead?

  55. Bron:

    “correct me if I am wrong but didnt Rome succumb to invasion by various barbarian hordes after many long years of international military adventures and out of control spending?”


    That was after about a thousand years of Pax Romana and the decision by the Roman nobles to eschew martial vigor among its citizens in favor of paid mercenaries.

  56. “I’d take the Roman track record of a 1000 years and relative peace”

    Mr Google, and Mr. AncientHistory tell me it was more like 207 years. Since events are clearly accelerating in this modern age, I’d venture that the US has blown it’s wad when it comes to jack boot democracy.

    Unless of course we can embed a micro chip in all living beings, the computer control of which will take the place of the nuclear football. Or if you’re convinced. like Orwell said that war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.like our ruling class keeps telling us.

  57. Dear Dredd,

    Sales of Military weapons vs. clean energy systems — it all comes down to the bottom line …. And weapons are a helluva lot more profitable and those pushing weapons sales BOEING, NORTHROP GRUMMAN, McDonnell Douglas et al are a helluva lot more powerful (esp. their lobbyists) than those pushing clean energy systems — oh yes lest we forget about EXXON et al who would join the big weapons producers in trying to suppress any sales of clean energy …. Rather than get away from BIG OIL …!!!

  58. DonS:

    Most folks date the Age of Rome from about 523 BCE to 1453 CE from Republic through Empire. If you include its prodigy the Holy Roman Empire you could go to 1806 CE but who’s counting.

    Pax Romana is thought to have lasted about 200 years based on Gibbons’ timekeeping, but the stabilizing effects of Rome existed both before and after his subjective dating — even according to Gibbon. Gibbon dates the waning of Pax Romana from the time of Commodus (the son of Marcus Aurelius) in 180 BCE , but that is somewhat arbitrary and suspect given what we know about Rome’s dominance in the western empire for three more centuries.

    Bottom line: the longstanding stability of Rome exerted more influence for more time than any western empire before or since.

  59. mespo:

    since you have actually read Gibbons, I defer to superior knowledge.

    how about all that talk about getting rid of football speaking of martial pursuits?

  60. …there are no easy answers. -Barack Obama

    Stopping Syria


    01/28/2013 20:50

    Thankfully, there is a broad consensus that resorting to chemical weapons is a red line that must not be crossed, and that the Syrian regime must be stopped before it does. Less clear are the means that need to be taken to achieve that end.



    Thankfully, there is a broad consensus that resorting to chemical weapons is a red line that must not be crossed, and that the Syrian regime must be stopped before it does. Less clear are the means that need to be taken to achieve that end.

    Some have pointed to US President Barack Obama’s appointment of John Kerry as secretary of state, Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense and John Brennan as CIA director as proof that the US administration is unlikely to intervene aggressively in Syria.


    In an interview with The New Republic published Sunday, Obama articulated his ambivalence about intervention in Syria.

    “In a situation like Syria, I have to ask, can we make a difference in that situation?” Obama said. “Would a military intervention have an impact? “How would it affect our ability to support troops who are still in Afghanistan? What would be the aftermath of our involvement on the ground? Could it trigger even worse violence or the use of chemical weapons? What offers the best prospect of a stable post-Assad regime?” These are the sorts of questions leaders should ask themselves – and there are no easy answers. Syria’s proximity to Israel makes these questions all the more pressing.

  61. mespo,

    I’m curious as to why you think marking the decline of Pax Romana with the reign of Commodus is any more arbitrary than marking it to a later reign. I think it’s a reasonably objective point since after Marcus Aurelius it was all pretty much down hill to one degree or another even if you consider Constantine and Justinian (and Charlemagne if you consider the Holy Roman Empire as a contiguous body in relation to Rome and Byzantium, I know some historians don’t) as bright spots.

  62. The job of any good analyst is to read all the material available, listen to all the statements made watching for body language and tone, consider past actions and then, after careful thought, compile it all into a succinct presentation, free of minutia, for those whose job it is to plot courses of action.

    I’m going to pretend to be a good analyst.

    Being fully aware that the overriding goal is regime change in Iran and understanding that Syria is the only ME ally Iran still counts on, the CIA once again failed in its mission to successfully bring an end to Assad’s career (BTW, has anyone noticed that the only time they have been truly successful at regime change was in Nov. of 1963 … but I digress), thus necessitating overt military action by the U. S. to clean up the Intelligence communities failed mission putting everything back on track so that a clean move may then be made against Iran. As Jefferson protected our shipping and trade concerns from the Barbary Pirates (often called the Ottoman corsairs) of yesteryear, we can do no less for our oil and gas concerns today. Thank you and God Bless the U.S.A.!

  63. Oh yes … and I would also recommend that our military consider establishing a new drone base in Niger as Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups seem to be bent on trouble in Africa.

    Just saying ….

  64. Washington Journal for Monday, January 28


    Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Law School Law Professor

    Topic: Guest will discuss his views on President Obama’s use of executive power, arguing that the President’s unilateral actions have shown a pattern that undermines the constitutional system of checks and balances. Instances include privacy protections and surveillance; due process; the use of drones; government secrecy; assurances to CIA officials that they would not be prosecuted for torture; recess appointments, among others.

  65. ap,

    You are most welcome and thanks for the original link. Glad to lend a hand. If we’re going to do anything about the danger that is an Imperial Presidency, it’s going to take a team effort. ;) And I must say, I am especially liking what I am hearing JT say, not because it is a desirable situation in which we find ourselves, but because it is truth to power.

    I encourage everyone reading this blog to check out this C-SPAN interview.

  66. Gene,

    I know how to pick my leaders and Mike A. is a good one to follow. Of course he does lack that most glorious green tinge.

  67. The mission, in so far as possible of course, is to install a regime friendly to the interests of the United States and Israel. That’s a tall order and that is why it’s taking time. As to humanitarian objectives, piffaw and piffle. It’s no more relevant to Obama’s objectives than the constitution – except for speeches. And as to the constitution, Obama’s only concern is to render it irrelevant to his authority to do what he wants when he wants (actualy it’s more to what the owner’s want when they want it, but I doubt he finds that reality as pleasant to muse on when he’s on the can tearing those absorbent pages off his copy of the document).

    Messpo always brings up the interesting objection, or the point everyone has missed, but not this time, or at least not so much. Obama has had plenty of time to make a request of congress if he was in the least bit interested in obeying his sworn oath, and even if time was the pressing concern, the situation in Syria, even though horrific from a humanitarian point of view, in no way constitutes an existential threat to the United States – the usual criteria as in the Civil War for temporarily suspending the rules. Finally, as stated elsewhere, there is no guarantee that sending our military in is in any way going to result in less bloodshed or better conditions for the little guy long term. Then, if Obama’s request to congress was denied or even put on the back burner, he would be in much stronger position to find ways to ignore them and send troops or resources anyway. But there is considerable doubt he would need to inspite of various opinions expressed here. The one thing besides screwing the little guy out of his and her earned security and medical care, or rewarding banks for tossing children out of their homes, that Obama can pretty much count on from the legislative branch is an almost total willingness to go to war, any war, even war on pure abstractions, and at the drop of a hat.

    If the president can ignore the Constitution when Messpo agrees, isn’t there a danger he can also ignore it when Messpo disagrees? And that is the danger professor Turley is talking about.

    The whole point, BTW, besides US and Israel’s so called strategic interests, is to avoid the Constitution and to add one more incident of precedence to Obama’s imperial and perpetual authority.

  68. I like Mespo’s comment at 8:39 a.m. above. And I agree with it. I would like to see a UN that was effective in stopping genocidists like Assad. To me, France is taking on some new robes. I wish them well in Mali and perhaps elsewhere.

  69. Blouise,

    Despite his most regrettable lack of green tint, I find Mike A. to be a gentleman and a scholar well worth following. He’s good people. And when he’s channelling his inner-Nathaniel Hawthorne, he’s good peoples.

  70. Gene H:

    “I’m curious as to why you think marking the decline of Pax Romana with the reign of Commodus is any more arbitrary than marking it to a later reign..”


    I can’t really see a particular point of decline just because Commodus wasn’t even a shadow of his father. The empire maintained itself for another three centuries and the relative peace prevailed until about the time of Alexander Severus in 235 CE when things began to sink.

  71. #Israel sending military intel chief to US. Israel off’ls won’t confirm subject. But reason to think related to #Syria/averting CW transfer ” Lauren Rosen tweet… If chemical weapons are being made operational there will be very little opposition to an intervention and almost certainly no opposition on the part of congress.

  72. SWM, few of us would take ANYTHING that is said on this subject by the Israelis, or the Obama administration at face value. If the evildoers who make these decisions in DC or Tel Aviv have decided it’s a good time to drop a few bombs in Syria, and who knows what else, it’s only a matter of this kabuki, or that kabuki, for the record. As JT said on The Washington Journal, Congress need not be involved — not that a majority would oppose anything that Israel has endorsed anyway.

  73. Did anyone consider who are the contending forces and what their motivations are—in Syria?

    From the little that I know, Iran has been using Syria since ca 1980 as a channel to support the anti-government fraction via Bekkah valley.
    Today, Iran having via its Shia dominance in Iraq and gained conrol there over oil, is regarding Syria as the next step in its striving to reach the Med and to counter Sunni/Saudi//Kuwaiti influence. Saudi is intent on conquering the world through madrasahs, mosques, and spreading their truth to all unconverted lands. Syria is no small bone of conténtion as it is a direct faceoff between Sunni and Shia influences.

    Who is determining USA foreign policy? Maybe Shia vs Sunni battles for dominance. The Alewite (secular) leader Assad came as a compromise, but now he must choose sides, and his people are besides being displaced are divided again, a la Lebanon, once the Paris of the Orient in 1967, with peace reigning.

    We can perhaps say, given our past record, that we don’t look for allies, but weak states who can’t refuse the deal we offer.

    Our purpose? Energy security, and profits. Meanwhile a battle is shaping up over Africa. From the Horn to Ethiopia it is known that we are there with bombers as well as drones over Somalia.

    We are aiding Ethiopia and currying favor there through the Peace Corps program, and the plans to dam the Blue Nïle for power and agricultural watering—-opposed naturally by Egypt, etc. What is Egypt without the Nile? Ruins with Pyramids.

    As for the rest, no comment. It has been covered.

  74. Syria probably does have chemical weapons. So what? It’s still just this excuse or that excuse.

    Like my dear sister-in-law said in justification of why it was right to destroy Saddam and Iraq: “but he murdered his own people” like, you know, evil is onlythat evil that we label as others doing.

    Again, like JT said on the Washington Journal interview, in talking with a British official about drone ethics and possession, whatcha gonna do, Great Britain, when China uses a drone to vaporize someone on a Thames River bridge.

    We (and by default Israel) only get to act all aggrieved because we’ve got the biggest dick, to put it crudely, but honestly. Very little, if anything, to do with morality, or even strategic common sense.

  75. Like tricky Dick said about the president — if he did it it’s legal. Fast forward to Obama: if he does it it must be right. Legal too.

  76. ooooh, so scarey. Israel does not want.

    Let’s be rational. Same calculus about the great Iran threat.

    One little ampule of Syrian chem weapon let loose on Israel, and you can pick up Damascus in a wheelbarrow.

    This excuse or that excuse.

  77. Swarthmore mom-

    You seem to have recently developed an enthusiasm for military intervention by the United States in the Middle East. I have to wonder why this was not evident all through 2012 when you were touting the re-election of President Obama on a daily basis here. (Lesser of Two Evils, etc.)

    I assumed your motives were the result of Obama Worship brought on by a harmless schoolgirl crush. Now I’m not so sure.

    “Say it ain’t so, Joe – Say it ain’t so!”

  78. Henman, Not at all. Chemical weapons have not been used in the middle east since Sadam Hussein used them on the Kurds. I think the unleashing of chemical weapons is a very scary thing. If it does not concern you so be it.

  79. hey, we are gonna be all out of wars in 2014 so it’s either this or invade Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia is cold and filled with canadians. ever try to shoot a canadian? like trying to shoot a puppy. big brown eyes, droopy ears and furry bellies.

    isn’t granada still down there somewhere?

  80. Excuse me Pete9999 and HenMan. I spend Summers in NS! And beside, they’re very nice peaceable folks. Leave them aloooone.

  81. It’s not aboot “nice peaceable folks”. It’s not aboot “big brown eyes”. It’s aboot Weapons of Mass Destruction. And cars with square tires. And Scott- he’s a dick.

  82. Some of the fishermen around us use harpoons, some electric, to catch tuna. But technically I don’t think those are considered WMD. I’ll have to check with the Israeli consulate though. Or maybe my Congressman would know; he’s all about weapons

    . Oh well, I tried.

  83. OS

    forty years ago nixon declared a “war on drugs”. today aprox. fifty percent of the prison pop. are there for drug related crimes.

    wonder what the prison pop. will look like in 2040

  84. Satan is the creator of jails. Medicine is a drug that is made to sound good to us. Good chiropractic practitioners on upcspine and upper cervical health centers is down played made to sound bad to people by the medical industry never no not ever teaching people about it never helping people to see the bad kind that uses cavitation. The medical industry is lying to people.

  85. Pete,
    As long as there is a prison-industrial complex, there is no motive whatsoever to reform drug laws or truly decrease crime. I have seen how the prison system is abused by the private sector. It should be illegal for a private company to perform the duties of the state. What is next; private prison owners operating death rows and the execution chamber?

    And don’t even get me started on the US using mercenary armies such as Blackwater or Xe, or whatever they are calling themselves this month.

  86. God’s Will: Academi and Mercs at State

    by Peter Van Buren

    June 14, 2012


    “I wrote recently about the return of Blackwater to the State Department, with the mercenary guns-for-hire company changing its name once again (now called Academi in a homage to bad spelling) and buying an existing contract to put it back into the State Department’s world.

    It gets creepier, as government seems to get these days.

    Slam Dunk on Inman

    Academi now boasts two celebrities on its Board of Directors, former attorney general John Ashcroft and retired admiral Bobby Inman. Ashcroft of course is Mr. Homeland Security, the guy who set in motion the smorgasbord of unconstitutional wiretapping, spying and detentions without trial that followed 9/11. He is also the guy who was so offended by the marble statues at the Department of Justice that he had them draped to hide classical nude details.

    From a State Department-Blackwater love fest perspective, Inman is a slam-dunk. Inside Foggy Bottom, Inman is permanently associated with the up-armoring of embassies abroad through the 1985 “Inman Report,” a call to arms that resulted in the moated, blast-proof, unapproachable fortress embassies America promotes its image through today. The Report was also the catalyst for the establishment of the part of the State Department which titularly oversees the deployment of mercenaries, everyone’s favorite Bureau of Diplomatic Security, DS. Inman’s word is gospel to DS, so his appearance on the Academi Board is no accident.

    Small World

    Keeping the circle of life theme going, Academi’s CEO Ted Wright used to be president of mega-contractor KBR, the firm Dick Cheney worked for and the firm that made billions running the backstage logistics portion of the Iraq and Afghan crusades. One of Academi’s VPs worked for Queen Noor of Jordan, and has ties to the Bush dynasty. It is indeed a small world.

    More creepiness?

    Academi, on its “pro shop” web site, sells God’s Will T-shirts, pictured above. Just the thing for the budding merc crusader to wear while gunning down Muslims for profit. Jeez, and people wonder why we’re not winning.

    A Devil’s Bargain

    In the days since 9/11, State has undergone a fundamental shift, one that has required the organization to make a Devils’ Bargain with mercenaries like Academi. Prior to 9/11, State’s policy was generally to evacuate embassies in countries at war, reinserting diplomats when things quieted down to the point that diplomacy was again possible. This strategy worked well for some 220 years of American history.

    After 9/11, State felt compelled to out-macho the military, to prove its manliness in the testosterone-fueled Bush (and now Obama) years. This meant opening and/or keeping open embassies in the midst of shooting wars, originally just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now spread alongside America’s increasingly one-tune foreign policy of belligerence to places like South Sudan, Yemen and elsewhere in drone land. The US military, already stretched thin by endless war, has neither the forces nor the interest in guarding State’s pasty pseudo warriors, and so the Department of State is forced to turn to private armies, like Academi, mercenaries, to enable its macho posture abroad.

    I saw groups like Blackwater in action in Iraq, often alongside our own military. The mercs were what our military would be like without the NCO corps to enforce discipline, a frat house with guns, lots of guns. While State makes wordplay out of claiming to supervise its mercs, overpaid, ‘roided ‘dudes with guns named Smitty, J-Dub, Spider and the like take little notice when requested to follow the laws of war in protecting diplomats so far out of their environments. It is a situation that isn’t just likely to go wrong, it is one that practically demands to devolve into crisis.

    The solution is straightforward. State should understand and admit that it is neither equipped, trained nor needed for combat situations. State should take a step back from adventures that assure its role as negotiators, diplomats, public diplomacists and the like will be misunderstood at best, and refocus its resources away from spending billions on private armies. Until then, State is forced into bed with creepy organizations like Academi, and will suffer for it.”


  87. OS, my brother is married to a woman whos father & his family was placed in the internment camps. They lost a nice house and a great business in San Francisco. Came out of the camp penniless.

    He did receive some sort of reparations from the government in the 1980’s. Obviously not enough. His parents were long dead by the time this happened.

  88. Well now … Nova Scotia did eventually side with Britain during the Revolutionary War and number of Nova Scotian privateers were outfitted to attack American shipping. And after the war, British troops did help evacuate approximately 30,000 American Tories to Nova Scotia where they received land grants from the Crown as compensation for their losses.

    Soooo … come 2014 … maybe …

  89. If you are awake at midnight plus 14 you can see the CSPAN interview with Jonathan turley right now. Go there or be square. This is good.

  90. JT: I am watching the CSPAN show with the rest of the dogpac. Very good. It would be good for the blog to explore this American Exceptionalism– particularly our grand role in the Nuremburg trials along with the Soviets, Brits and French where we established international law. Law that if applied to American conduct now would put our soldiers, judges, presidents, and leglislatures in the Dock.

  91. O.S.-

    Excellent clip. I like one thing President Obama is doing. He is destroying, day by day, the shabby “lesser of two evils” excuse to vote for one or the other of the two dying establishment political parties. In 2016 we may well be subjected to a contest between Clinton II (Hillary) vs. Bush III (Jeb or one of George H.W.’s grandchildren). There were better choices in 2012 and there will be better choices in 2016. If we ever want our civil liberties restored, we have to have the courage to walk away from the festering corpses of the Republican and Democratic parties. It won’t be fast and it won’t be easy- the game is rigged and the pigs at the trough won’t move over without a squeal.

    It won’t be my generation that does the heavy work- we are too comfortable in our retirement. But all bets are off for any Dem. or Rep. in Congress or the White House who tries to cut Social Security or Medicare. We aren’t too old to haul our wrinkled asses to Washington, D.C. in large numbers to express our opinions!

    The change will come when the 20, 30, 40, and 50 year olds realize that their lives are going to be much worse and much less free than their parents’ and grandparents’ lives. Then, if they still have American blood in their veins, they will collectively say, “Hell, No!”

  92. A major theme or topic which we must address is this Exceptionalism which many Americans firmly believe in. The notion that we know better, that we should police the world, that we are better than the rest of the world, is a terrible situation. It is a fact that there are hundreds of geographic areas of the world which aspire to being nation states with all the attributes of the rule of law. There are many defeective geographical areas. I say geographical areas or territories because many such places do not qualify as civiilzed nation states operating under a rule of law together with the ability to effectuate a rule of law.

    I refer to Pirate Territories in my comments. I am sure that many of you role your eyes and mutter that some dog is talking nonsense. I ask you to take a hard look at Yemen. Here is a place where a small sailboat or a large ocean going cargo ship is in peril of being boarded and killed or kidnapped and property stolen or ransomed. Ships are pirated and taken to ports and then ransomed off from dry land. Idiots from insurance companies and cargo firms pay ransoms. The Yemen example is the most extreme.

    But go to Libya. It might have been more intact and less unruly under a dictator. Arab spring comes and gets rid of the dictator. But when a mob attacks our Embassy and there is no civil authority or Libyan troops to protect a foreign embassy then one must accept that Libya is closer to Yemen than it is to Greece. In Algeria, the terrorists were not just political terrorists. They wanted to ransom off those captives. Some countries and members of the press were critical when Algeria went in and refused to talk to the schmucks and finally wiped them out. Is it better to pay ransom? Is it sensible to talk with these pirates or terrorists?

    Couple this with the fact that the United Nations is rather impotent. Many of the member states are as lame as Yemen or Mali. The UN cannot get together an international force to clean pirates off the oceans or off the streets of ports in Yemen. The French have taken up some slack here and invaded Mali. Are they being Exceptionalist? I think not.

    The world needs a large international military force to wipe out pirates whether they are on land or sea and to go after terrorists whether they call themselves al qaeda or the pirates of Timbuktu. We dont have such a force now. It is not going to emerge from the UN. NATO is lame. The USA should not be the worlds’ police.

    The next quasi pirate territory which is on the screen is Iran. They are building an atomic weapon. Many of you folks probably think that this will just come to pass and no one needs to stop them. This is shades of Joseph Kennedy when he was Ambassador to Great Britain and held Chamberland’s umbrella. Today’s Hitler is multi faceted and is multi tasking.

    If you start at Corfu and go East on the globe you will walk your fingers across many territories that are pirate and terrorist. If any of you have travelled through some of those territories you will agree with me that they are not up to speed when it comes to policing their own people or keeping their borders secure from the terrorists next door. You can smirk when I rail about the pirate territories. I am only joking when I refer to Indiana as a pirate territory. When Iran gets the nuclear bomb it might follow that one bomb will get loose to some al qaeda tribe and some city will get wiped off the face of the Earth. Iran will say it was not me and North Korea will say the same. Pakistan will be suspect and maybe China and maybe India. This reality is coming to a theatre near you.

    My hope is that America gets off of its Exceptional high horse with the drone thing but at the same time some of the nation states of the world will step up to the plate and take on the terrorists and pirates. An international armed force should be going after the pirates in Algeria, Mali, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other territories on both land and sea. These religious tentheads are dangerous and it is just plain dumb to think of some place like Libya to be even safe enought to have an Embassy, much less be able to protect an Embassy there.

    Nuff said.

  93. SwM.

    Good that you offer links. But my point was poorly expressed. You can’t drum up much fear here at home over Syria’s possession of gas there (compared with the possible nukes that Saddam had or would have, which was sold to us..

    Was that better? Hope so.

  94. henman:

    what we need to do is collectively say no to pork, no to national health care, no to social security, no to politicians who want to spend and tax.

  95. “collectively say no ” . . . and let them eat, er, whatever they can scrounge from the dumpster? Or nothing. One man’s pork is another’s infrastructure repair.


    re JT video:

    FWIW, after viewing the JT CSPAN video last night, which was very impressive, I have a humble suggestion. It could be useful to develop very clear layman’s language to clarify the difference between ‘civil rights’ and ‘civil liberties’. Since this distinction is crucial in a number of ways, It needs to be crystal clear and accessible. Developing the language around the distinction could actually be an exercise to organize the underlying concepts.

  96. bron ,What you stated is exactly the reason the libertarians and the left will never get together to form a third party. It is also the reason why the candidacy of Ron Paul attracted only a minute number of progressives.

  97. DonS:

    I dont think building a bridge that is necessary is pork. However building a bridge which serves 50 people and costs 250 million is pork.

    Finding food in this country is not a problem, the statistics on obesity pretty much says it all.

  98. Smom:

    Who says libertarians would want the left as members of their party? The evangelical Christians and the left are the 2 groups which have the most in common from a philosophical point of view, the taliban doesnt necessarily have to be religious. many on the left are secular taliban and would be a perfect fit with the evangelical Christians.

    I for one hope they never figure that out, it would be an unholy alliance.

  99. HenMan,

    In politics it’s destroy the opposition at all costs. If they don’t agree with you, they are wrong and evil. I’ve worked for the majority leader and know how this game works. It’s sad that some cant see the future harm being done by what’s being done at this very instance…… But, hey…. Some just like to be on the winning side…. Regardless of outcome….

  100. Don S, It is certainly overused and proved to be totally ineffective as a tool to convince people to vote for a third party.

  101. “The evangelical Christians and the left are the 2 groups which have the most in common from a philosophical point of view”???

    You used the wrong mushrooms in your omelet this morning, Bron. Those two groups have little in common starting at the word “evangelical”. Most progressives are secularists when it comes to government and are pro-civil rights for all including both women and homosexuals as well as people of all religious creeds all of which flies directly in the face of many if not most evangelical dogmas.

  102. Jonathan Turley on the civil liberties vs. civil rights:

    Obama and Civil Liberties: Talk of the Nation

    Published 1, October 10, 2011


    On another note, I was asked by the editors to clarify the difference between civil liberties and civil rights. Here is the posting:

    In Thursday’s Op-Ed pages, Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University, wrote that President Obama may prove the most disastrous president in our history in terms of civil liberties. (Ironically, his article ran the same day Obama ordered the killing of Anwar Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric linked to Al Qaeda, thus further proving Turley’s point.) While the response on our discussion board overwhelmingly agreed with Turley’s Op-Ed, there were a few readers who didn’t understand the difference between civil liberties and civil rights. See below for Turley’s reply.

    –Alexandra Le Tellier

    My column was on civil liberties, which are those basic rights and freedoms guaranteed under our Bill of Rights and the Constitution. While they do not change in the sense that they are fundamental rights, they have been “recognized” in a belated or evolving fashion by the courts. Civil liberties include those core rights we associate with freedom, such as free speech, privacy, due process. Civil rights generally refer to laws that protect us from unequal treatment or harassment based on such characteristics as race, gender, age, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation and nationality.

    Notably, Obama has been criticized on both fronts. While he recently moved against “don’t ask, don’t tell,” his administration has been in court making the same arguments as the George W. Bush administration in denying that discrimination based on sexual orientation should be treated the same as discrimination based on race, religion or gender. He remains undecided on same-sex marriage. These are viewed as civil rights matters.

    The subject of my column is properly called civil liberties. At issue, for example, is the right of the president to unilaterally declare that citizens should be killed on sight because his administration deems them part of a terrorist organization.

    I hope that helps a little.

    –Jonathan Turley

    (Who could explain the difference better than our host himself.)

  103. AY, thanks for the column on civil liberties vs civil rights. I’m sure JT is well aware of the potency of all this (and certainly doesn’t need my help). Still, with his more general contact with the public at large, it provides a powerful gateway to keep explaining and refining the distinction for Joe public. IMO. Psychologically, repeating basic principles is one way we humans seem to learn.

  104. Psychologically, repeating basic principles is one way we humans seem to learn. -DonS


    Agreed. And it’s good to make the “distinctions” clear, as you say. (AP here… sometimes confused with AY. “AP” was a poor choice on my part.)

  105. If one is a lawyer practicing “employment law” one will discern the commingling of civil liberties and civil rights. If my client gets fired for being black and too high up the seniorty pole then it would fit into JT’s niche as a civil right– discrimination based on race. But if my client gets fired for advocating the right to assemble, to speak to the fellow inmates at the workplace, to wear a sign on the tee shirt at the work site that says Pay The Lobbyist, or Praise The Lord, then one is delving into the civil liberties niche–the right to speak, assemble, pray, organize politically, organize a labor movement, petition one’s government for redress of grievances.

    In America, if one seeks to enforce any or all of the above, one might have to invoke portions of the United States Code enumerated as “civil rights” acts, particularly Title 42 of United States Code, Section 1983. When a “state actor” such as a cop, deprives me of a civil right, I can put the matter before a court.

    There is no wall between civil liberties and civil rights, and often the twain shall meet. Mark Twain would agree with me because he was from Missouri and knows about such things.

  106. “GUANTANAMO NAVY BASE, Cuba — Someone else besides the judge and security officer sitting inside the maximum-security court here can impose censorship on what the public can see and hear at the Sept. 11 trial, it was disclosed Monday.

    The role of an outside censor became clear when the audio turned to white noise during a discussion of a motion about the CIA’s black sites.
    Confusion ensued. A military escort advised reporters that the episode was a glitch, a technical error. A few minutes later, the public was once again allowed to listen into the proceedings and Army Col. James Pohl, the judge, made clear that neither he nor his security officer was responsible for the censorship episode.

    “If some external body is turning the commission off based on their own views of what things ought to be, with no reasonable explanation,” the judge announced, “then we are going to have a little meeting about who turns that light on or off.”

    His comments appeared to be aimed at the Pentagon prosecution team. Attorney Joanna Baltes, representing the Justice Department on secrecy matters in the case, advised the judge that she could explain what other forces have a hand in censoring the court proceedings. But not in open session.
    The alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his four accused conspirators were sitting in court, listening to everything that was being said — from the part that the public was forbidden to hear to the judge’s demand for an explanation. Three of the defendants adorned their traditional white tunics with camouflage, an attire option they won from the judge to appear at trial as self-styled soldiers.

    The strange censorship episode occurred as attorney David Nevin, defending Mohammed, was advising the judge that defense lawyers had wanted to argue a motion in court to preserve whatever remained of the CIA’s secret overseas prison network. Prosecutors had filed a classified response to the request, and the judge asked the two sides if they would let their motions speak for themselves. Nevin was explaining why not.
    Defense lawyers argue the alleged 9/11 conspirators were tortured in the so-called “black sites,” and that the U.S. government has lost its moral authority to seek their execution. The CIA set up the sites during the Bush administration, reportedly in Poland, Romania, Thailand and elsewhere. President Barack Obama ordered them closed.

    The lawyers want the judge to order the government to preserve what’s left of them, six years after Mohammed and his co-defendants were moved to Guantanamo for trial. This is a familiar role for Pohl, who was the judge in the 2004 trials of U.S. soldiers for detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and declared the prison in Iraq a crime scene, forbidding its demolition.
    Unclear so far in these hearings is whether the judge knows where the black-site prisons were and whether any of them remain. Although he has a special security clearance to hear the 9/11 case, the CIA has not yet released classified information to the court because the defense and prosecution are still haggling over a protective order.

    But to court observer Phyllis Rodriguez, the judge appeared “furious” and “livid” when he realized that that outsiders had their finger on the censorship switch of his courtroom.
    “It’s a “whoa moment’ for the court,” said Human Rights Watch observer Laura Pitter. “Even the judge doesn’t know that someone else has control over the censorship button?”

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/guantanamo-censorship-of-cia-black-site-testimony-carol-rosenberg-miami-herald-2013-1#ixzz2JNwaGr5m

  107. Gene H:

    no mushrooms this morning.

    What I am saying is that there are many on the left, such as Mayor Bloomberg, who would deny us the right to drink a big gulp or own a firearm or smoke a cigarette. So I call them the secular taliban [as opposed to the religious version].

    While you and I dont agree on economics, I dont think we are very far off on civil liberties/rights/individual liberties.

    I personally make no distinction between opposition to owning a firearm and opposition to abortion. Or between forcing someone to have an ultra-sound and forcing them to buy health insurance.

    the religious taliban in this country believe in personal sacrifice as much as the secular taliban does. If the 2 ever form a coalition our freedoms will be gone, not that we have many left.

  108. Bron,

    Based on his track record, I’m not sure you can fairly describe Bloomberg as being on the left. An authoritarian, sure, but he’s hardly for liberty and functional government unless that function is in the service of his 2% cronies. Also, I disagree with this statement: “the religious taliban in this country believe in personal sacrifice as much as the secular taliban does. If the 2 ever form a coalition our freedoms will be gone, not that we have many left.”

    The religious right in this country believe in personal sacrifice as long as someone else is doing it and doing it the way they think “Jesus wants it”. They too are authoritarians but with a theocratic bent which is part of the reason they align right instead of left. There is no way the DNC could have courted the right wing religious fringe lunatics without a polar shift far more drastic than they have done in becoming a party of what used to be called Centrist Republicans. The secularists on the other hand, left and right because they come in both flavors, simply want religion kept out of governance which is as it should be by the terms of the 1st Amendment which makes them protective of both the Establishment and the Free Exercise Clauses.

    I think you’re building a boogey man by again misunderstanding the left and by thinking the left have any real representation in government today. They don’t. Sure, there are a couple of actual liberal left voices out there like Sanders and Grayson, but there aren’t in actual liberals in the DNC or in Washington as a whole to actually move policy or shape laws. The current political battleground is defined by the extreme right and the centrist right, but left isn’t on the field except in the citizenry which as you can see is being roundly ignored by government in favor of padding their own pockets and destroying civil liberties for all but “the chosen”. If it wasn’t and the left had a say in government? Both Bush and Obama would be in jail right now.

  109. The answer has to be no. Have them stop without killing, yes. When Jesus stopped stones from being thrown he harmed no one. In fact he wrote in the sand. Have a person do what Jesus would not do is sinning in action because Jesus is perfect.

  110. “Senator Ted Cruz (R) is the new guy from Texas. The other day he slagged the nominations of John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, saying they are “less than ardent fans of the U.S. military.” Kerry is a decorated war hero whose combat medals include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. Hagel is a decorated war hero whose combat medals include the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, two Purple Hearts, Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. Cruz, meanwhile, has never worn a uniform, except maybe on Halloween.” Maddow blog This new republican senator from Texas is touting himself as presidential material. Maybe he can run against Hillary.

  111. “Horrifying news from the Syrian city of Aleppo:

    An activist group with opposition contacts in Syria said on Tuesday that the muddied bodies of scores of people, most of them men in their 20s and 30s, had been found in a suburb of the northern city of Aleppo. Video posted by opponents of President Bashar al-Assad seemed to show that many had been shot in the back of the head while their hands were bound.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist organization based in Britain with a network of contacts in Syria, said at least 50 bodies had been located, some scattered along the banks of a small river in the Bustan al-Kaser neighborhood, which is mostly under rebel control. Later reports put the tally at 80.

    “This is another new massacre that has been committed in Syria, adding to the constant massacres that have been occurring, while the world watches silently and the international and Arab community are being hypocrites,” the Syrian Observatory said in statement.” Daily Beast

  112. Obama’s non-closing of GITMO, kind NYT headlines, and US government irony

    The excuse used to justify Obama’s failure to close GITMO is incomplete and misleading. Plus: multiple other items

    by Glenn Greenwald
    Tuesday 29 January 2013 08.52 ES


    (From one of the comments:

    “We won’t close Gitmo.
    We’ll close the office assigned to closing Gitmo.

  113. Scrolling down, hours late, to kibbitz.

    So you supported McGovern. Accdg to HST’s book, he could not decide which shoe to put on first, each morning. And when he had, he had mixed up left and right. Great ideologue, poor President. Being an honest liberal wasn’t enough against the Nixon machine,

    TPTB would have eliminated in some way, he was not MIC prone.

  114. DonS et al,


    I don’t care if you all want to discuss how many angels, etc.

    But if you want to make a point, then choose the word the public knows and accepts, and keep to it only. He may talk as a prof. to profs, but to the people with the language they know.

    Of course, it is his privilege to pitch to any group that he wishes to. But mine to criticize when I see his point met by blank stares.

    Civil rights or civil liberties, they are taking them away from us.

    How about a nationwide strike by all lawyers until Obama rescinds his misdeeds? If Greece can so why can not we?

    I got this from somewhere, guess it was my time as a marketing man.

  115. OT OT OT OT Domestic Exercise of Civil Rights

    If you want a national briefing with deep going links, then try this one.
    The Brennan Center for Justice. Am on their email list.


    It even gives a state level view on the zaniest (?) actions.

    This time they are devoting this issue to voting rights and improving the voting process by federal law. Bills now in House and Senate.
    Scott Walker is gonna reinstate the cuts in pre election voting. Stats show it was the poor and many of them (ca 200K) that did not make it compared to earlier elections.

  116. Speaking of constitutional lawyers, here’s a link:

    Frequently told lies (FTLs)

    by Glenn Greenwald


    Anyone who develops any sort of platform in US political debates becomes a target of hostility and attack. That’s just the nature of politics everywhere. Those attacks often are advanced with falsehoods, fabrications and lies about the person. In general, the point of these falsehoods is to attack and discredit the messenger in lieu of engaging the substance of the critiques.

    There are a series of common lies frequently told about me which I’m addressing here. During the Bush years, when I was criticizing George Bush and the GOP in my daily writing and books, there was a set of lies about me personally that came from the hardest-core Bush followers that I finally addressed. The new set comes largely from the hardest-core Obama followers.

    The following lies are addressed here:

    1. I work/worked for the Cato Institute
    2. I’m a right-wing libertarian
    3. I supported the Iraq War and/or George Bush
    4. I moved to Brazil to protest US laws on gay marriage
    5. Because I live in Brazil, I have no “skin in the game” for US politics
    6. I was sanctioned or otherwise punished for ethical violations in my law practice


  117. Are Europeans gullible, or are we victims of propaganda???

    Here is an interesting video on the OT (?) subject.

    Fake Skeptics & The “Conspiracy Theorist” Slur
    By StormCloudsGathering on Jan 23, 2013 06:40 pm

    Hope people return to read this.

    If not, another day on a more appropriate thread.

  118. Probably the best bet in the middle east and in those pirate territories is on a secular dictator. Anwar Sadat was a good one. The Arab Spring has its consequences. Remember that movie about Germany with the song called “Springtime For Hitler in Germany”, tag line is “Autumn for Poland and France..” ? The colonial period was probably in large part to blame for the failure of these territories to adopt democracy or even civilized organization. But on the other hand, I would rather that France and Spain ruled than these tenthead tyrrants.

  119. Yeah, the opthamologist wont look so bad when the next group has their ten year run in Syria. Why cant Turkey retake its old Empire. We had a dog named Ottoman once.

  120. mespo,

    “I can’t really see a particular point of decline just because Commodus wasn’t even a shadow of his father. The empire maintained itself for another three centuries and the relative peace prevailed until about the time of Alexander Severus in 235 CE when things began to sink.”

    Not an unreasonable assessment.

  121. Glad you all fixed that problem for Obammy.

    Otherwise, he is now making speeches to HS kids, trying to get traction for his lofty promises, latest the ones made in his inaug. Now it is immigration reform, speech which guarantees getting votes even (or contrary ones) in Nevada, NM and “Arizona the red forever,” Carmona is thinking or running against Jan Brewer, the finger girl.

    Read carefully and thorough debate and evaluation here. There might be an improvement on the Patriot Act included somewhere in his immigration reform..

    He should be impeached. But would Joe be so much better?

  122. “On Monday of last week, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) announced that if President Barack Obama attempted to enact new gun violence prevention measures through executive order, he would have no choice but to file articles of impeachment. By Tuesday, he was comparing Obama to Saddam Hussein for using children as props at a speech introducing a gun control package. By Wednesday, he had stepped back from the precipice, asserting that “impeachment is not something to be taken lightly.” After all, where did anyone get that idea?” Mother Jones

  123. Whistleblower John Kiriakou: For Embracing Torture, John Brennan a “Terrible Choice to Lead the CIA”


    “Days after he was sentenced to 30 months in prison, John Kiriakou — the first CIA official to be jailed for any reason relating to the torture program — denounces President Obama’s appointment of John Brennan to head the CIA. “I’ve known John Brennan since 1990,” Kiriakou says. “I worked directly for John Brennan twice. I think that he is a terrible choice to lead the CIA. I think that it’s time for the CIA to move beyond the ugliness of the post-September 11th regime. We need someone who is going to respect the Constitution and not be bogged down by a legacy of torture.””

  124. […] During President Obama’s first term, I represented members of Congress in challenging Obama’s unilateral intervention into the Libyan civil war without authorization of Congress. Our case was dismissed on standing grounds and, once again, an undeclared act of war went by without any opportunity of judicial review. Now, Obama is reportedly debating whether to intervene in yet another civil war — undeterred by the now superfluous constitutional limits on his war-making authority. Israel has also publicly stated that it is considering a preemptive strike on Syria and reserves the right to make such an attack if it feels threatened by events in that civil war. [Update: I discussed this issue as part of my column on the imperial presidency this morning on C-Span]  Read The Full Story […]

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