Once Upon A Time There Was An Imperial President. . . Pelosi Explains To Five-Year-Old Why We Are Again At War

220px-nancy_pelosiWe have been following the abandonment of virtually core liberal values by Rep. Nancy Pelosi in her adherence to the cult of personality surrounding Barack Obama. From her attack on privacy to her new enthusiasm for war, Pelosi is the truest believer of the true believers surrounding Obama in the Democratic Party. Now she has been sharing a charming little story of how “Mimi” explained to their grandson how we are now at war. It turns out it is all about the children . . . not about the chemical weapons or reports that Obama is playing to turn the tide of the losing war for the rebels. Sort of like Save The Children . . . but with cruise missiles.

Here is Pelosi’s story on how you convince a five year old that war is a good thing:

REP. NANCY PELOSI: I’ll tell you this story and then I really do have to go. My five-year-old grandson, as I was leaving San Francisco yesterday, he said to me, Mimi, my name, Mimi, war with Syria, are you yes war with Syria, no, war with Syria. And he’s five years old. We’re not talking about war; we’re talking about action. Yes war with Syria, no with war in Syria. I said, ‘Well, what do you think?’ He said, ‘I think no war.’ I said, ‘Well, I generally agree with that but you know, they have killed hundreds of children, they’ve killed hundreds of children there. ‘ And he said, five years old, ‘Were these children in the United States?’ And I said, ‘No, but they’re children wherever they are.’

So I don’t know what news he’s listening to or — but even a five year old child has to — you know, with the wisdom of our interest has affected our interests or it affects our interests because, again, it was outside of the circle of civilized behavior. It was humanity drew a line decades ago that i think if we ignore, we do so to the peril of many other people who can suffer.

I love how she qualifies her remarks to the five year old that “we’re talking about action.” It is a point that would only be recognized by constitutional experts — and Pelosi grandchildren — as an excuse to relieve the President of securing an actual declaration from Congress. Pelosi wants to preserve the Imperial Presidency around Obama (and future presidents) by reminding her grandson that attacking another sovereign nation is no longer viewed as an act of war but just something relabeled as an “action” to maximize the unilateral authority of the President.

Of course, in her wartime story for toddlers, Pelosi does not mention the recent disclosure that it was the United States that gave Saddam Hussein intelligence used his widespread chemical attacks and then lied about knowledge and evidence of the attacks. She does not mention how the Syrian rebels include Al Qaeda allies and extremists who do such things as eat the hearts of the fallen and abuse their corpses in violation of international law. She does not mention how she has supported the continuation of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where hundreds of thousands, including thousands of children, have died. She does not mention the thousands of children who have lost their mothers or fathers in the service in Iraq where we started a war based on a false allegation of WMDs and then continued to wage the war even after acknowledging that our original claims were false.

Yet, the most interesting aspect of Pelosi’s story is that this is precisely the level of discussion seen on Capitol Hill — just slightly above that of a five year old children . . . except of course that five year olds do not play poker during the briefings.

Nevertheless, I still prefer bedtime stories like “Princess Bride” but in Pelosi’s version President Humperdinck gets his war with Guilder, which is then obliterated in a rain of tomahawk missiles.

Source: RCP

80 thoughts on “Once Upon A Time There Was An Imperial President. . . Pelosi Explains To Five-Year-Old Why We Are Again At War

  1. Once again, folks cannot make see any difference between a war and a limited military action, despite the fact that the US has conducted many military actions without the sanction of Congress and/or declaration of war. Some of these actions have become wars, and other have not. As I pointed out before, Pres.Madison who was a prime writer of the Constitution used military force without a declaration of war and in the Spanish Florida incursion by Jackson had no Congressional approval, and the opponents could not even get a declaration against Jackson after the fact. Then you forget that the US and the UK committed acts of war against the Spanish, Portugese, Dutch, and Arabs when they unilaterally declared the slave trade to be illegal. I hope that to be consistent Prof Turley will agree that those actions were also illegal and a violation of the Constitution.

    I see that some on this blog think that US troops are and were in Libya and we were in a war with Libya too. Is that true? For those who want UN sanction, I hope that those who do were at least in favor of the First Gulf War and our attacks in Afghanistan since both those were authorized by the UN. If not, then you are simply brainwashed political hacks who are making a bogus argument.

  2. Obama Proposing a Bigger Intervention in Syria to Order to Win Over Republicans

    President suggests strikes could lead to longer-term mission after political negotiations in Washington.

    September 3, 2013

    by Dan Roberts, Spencer Ackerman, September 3, 2013

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/09/03/pelosi_uses_conversation_with_5-year-old_grandson_to_push_for_attack_on_syria.html

    Excerpt:

    Barack Obama portrayed his plans for US military action in Syria as part of a broader strategy to topple Bashar al-Assad, as tougher White House rhetoric began to win over sceptical Republicans in Congress on Tuesday.

    While stressing that Washington’s primary goal remained “limited and proportional” attacks, to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities and deter their future use, the president hinted at a broader long-term mission that may ultimately bring about a change of regime.

    “It also fits into a broader strategy that can bring about over time the kind of strengthening of the opposition and the diplomatic, economic and political pressure required – so that ultimately we have a transition that can bring peace and stability, not only to Syria but to the region,” he told senior members of Congress at a White House meeting on Tuesday.

    Obama has long spoken of the US desire to see Assad step down, but this is the first time he has linked that policy objective to his threatened military strikes against Syria. It follows pressure on Monday, from senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, to make such a goal more explicit. continues…

  3. Mimi tells her grandson that the remedy to children being slaughtered is to slaughter more of them. Lots of little Syrian children will never hear Mimi’s beautiful story for them. They will be dead, unable to hear her marvelous explanation of how little their lives mean to her.

    Actually I’m going to in part agree with what Obama said this morning. It’s a great idea, he just needs to expand it to himself. “The international community’s credibility is on the line,” “We have to act because if we don’t we are effectively saying ‘someone who is not shamed can continue to act with impunity’.”

    Obama said the world cannot be silent in the face of Syria’s “barbarism”. He said failing to respond to chemicals the attacks would increase the risk of further assaults.” (Guardian)

    That’s been my feeling for a long while. First, a peaceful response is needed to the use of chemical and other weapons such as those favored by Obama, drones and cluster bombs. Because the international community fails to shame Obama and to hold him account for his own acts of barbarism he will continue to commit atrocities against civilians. Failure to take legal action against Obama will increase the risk of further attacks by the US around what this administration thinks is battlefield earth.

    There is no credibility to the international community which consistently fails to take lawful, peaceful measure in response to war crimes. There is no credibility when the international community fails to treat war crimes seriously because it is the US engaging in them.

    This world needs to return to the rule of law. We need to have faith in the ability to work together for a peaceful co-existence. We cannot attack those whom the US doesn’t like and ignore what the US and its allies are doing when they commit atrocities. It will never work. That is the “law” of might makes right. Instead, we need real justice.

  4. Anon Posted,

    I wrote/called about that this A.M. One Senator’s staff said calls were coming in against the war far more than for it. The other would not answer that question. Thanks for the video above.

  5. What I am writing to Congress: I was disturbed to hear on the news today that the Army is hoping to take a role in advising the Syrian rebels.

    I served in Vietnam in an infantry company. Our involvement there started with advisers and military aid. We all know what happened after that. The US was drawn into a major conflict that cost thousands of American lives.

    Syria does not pose a threat to the US, nor did Vietnam. I urge you to vote against any military action in Syria. What starts with cruise missiles and advisers can easily lead to the commitment of our regular forces and a disastrous regional conflict.

  6. Jill I am glad to see that you agreed with the UN and the US in the first Gulf War and the US military actions in Afghanistan which was also authorized by the UN. So the fact is that those actions were and are legal under international law. If you do not, then you are guilty of what you accuse Obama of doing which is to ignore international law when it suits you and your views. The League of Nations by its inaction started WWII when it ignored its responsibility to take military action against Italy for invading Ethiopia. Hitler took the hint and months later retook the Rhineland, and went from there.

    Obama does have legal cover for his request since it is illegal under international law to use chemical weapons. He thus DOES have the moral and legal justification for using military force in response. If you insist that the UN must authorize that, that would be wrong since those treaties predate the existence of the UN.

    I have observed that you think Obama should go before the ICC in The Hague as though that is a country free of taint. I have to remind you that it is rank hypocrisy to have that court there since the Netherlands is home to the largest group of unprosecuted war criminals in Europe. They supplied the largest number of foreign nationals to the Nazi SS in WWII. They also in the main forgot and forgave their own Nazis and collaborators since they came in handy for use in Indonesia where they applied their talents learned from the Nazis in trying to take back ownership of that country from its people I am also unaware of any single Dutchman who was ever prosecuted for the massive war crimes that were committed by their citizens. At least the US did not try and claim outright ownership of Vietnam, and we simply followed the Dutch lead in how to act in such a war.

    Then you seem to think that the war crime of torturing a small number of individuals is equal to murdering thousands of people with poison gas. I and most people do not. I guess too that you agree with the Nazis that Nurenburg trials were simply victors justice and that because they had Soviets on that court, and that the US and UK had done some questionable things in WWII, that we had no right to try those war criminals.

  7. Gene H. 1, September 4, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Ever see the movie Scanners?

    Every time Pelosi opens her mouth I think of that movie.
    =========================
    Never had heard of it but looked into it:

    Scanners are people with the ability to read (“scan”) other people’s thoughts (telepathy), and the power to move physical things with their minds (telekinesis). ConSec, a purveyor of weaponry and security systems, searches out and captures scanners, ostensibly to protect the public from them, but actually to use them for its own nefarious purposes.

    (Wikipedia, “Scanners”). It also reminds me of the military NSA scanning us … which Pelosi also favors.

    Power corrupts.

  8. I really think our “leaders” are disturbed. They live in a bubble where each person affirms the other in beliefs that don’t make sense and actually, are quite destructive.

    Our press does not ask them hard questions. They are never forced to go into the actual consequences or real meaning of what they are saying. The result of this is people with truly warped ideas meeting no challenge to their ideas/actions.

    There is a cult surrounding Obama in Democratic circles. This has been a disaster because ordinary people are not coming forward to speak truth to power. We are about to start a war which will be so destructive it is nearly unspeakable. Yet our “leaders” are spoken to with reverence.

    People are acting as if what they are saying is normal, rational and sensible. Yet these emperors and empresses are naked before us. We must stop agreeing to pretend they are moral, caring, wise or rational people. Their actions and their words show they are none of those things.

    We must stop agreeing to the “reality” they have put before us. It is our duty as citizens of the US and to people of other nations.

  9. Sorry Frank but Obama using air power did not lead to our troops being in Libya and our fighting a war there. Then you think that because Bush and Cheney lied, that therefore Obama is lying too. If you support international law, then you would have to support the First Gulf war, even though Iraq posed no existential threat to the US. Afghanistan is also authorized by the UN too.

    Vietnam is not the same as Syria either. I would hope that you would have supported Vietnam invading Cambodia, since they did a fine job in restoring a normal life to that country and stopped mass murder, even though the US and UN denounce their unilateral military action.

  10. I see that Jill is fact free and adverse to answering hard questions herself. Since when did the US air attacks in Libya result in a wider war and US troops on the ground in combat? You have to answer that question. Then since you are in favor of international law and the UN, you must have supported the First Gulf War and US involvement in Afghanistan since that is ALSO authorized by the UN. Somehow I doubt that since you have no knowledge of history and think that peaceful means could have been used to stop Hitler and Tojo. That is the height of delusion and ignores the fact that WWII started because of the inaction of the League of Nations to take forceful action to stop the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. Hitler took note and a few months later retook the Rhineland and nothing happened. The rest is history as they say.

  11. I do hope Pelosi’s constituents are happy with their free speech, anti war Congressperson. As you rightly pointed out, her support of Obama’s right to attack anybody, kill anybody, listen to anybody anywhere also applies to the next president.

    What a short sighted idiot.

  12. Randyjet, in my opinion, dropping bombs and firing missiles into a foreign country is an act of war, no matter the reason. If Canada, Mexico or any other country on this earth flew missiles or dropped bombs on the U.S. I would call that an act of war.

    According to the Constitution of the United States, an act of war requires Congressional action.

    Since the author of this blog is a constitutional expert I will defer to him or one of the other esteemed readers of this blog if perhaps I have missed an exception somewhere in our Constitution on this matter.

  13. America is dead. Shame on any democrat who continues to avow that their party is the lesser of two evils in an attempt to sway people into not voting for independents.

  14. ap,

    If one reads all the articles of which the link you provided in your post at 11:24am is just one example … one could speculate that the US/Israeli/Jordanian/Other Unnamed Regimes backed CIA plan has failed thus necessitating the need for overt military action in order to rid the area of Assad’s presence and thus finish the sweep that began when Bush invaded Iraq.

    Did I say finish? Foolish me … one must not forget Iran.

  15. Once upon a time there was a small pack of lunatic sociopath Wallst bank/insurance billionaire types that bankrupted many nations in Europe & the USA.

    As the walls of fraudulent notional value OTC paper derivatives of approx 1.5 Quadrillion $$$ were collapsing upon them, they became very scared & confused.

    So they came up with a lame plan to have their sock puppets Rodeo Clown Prez Obonzo, Crazy Aunt Nancy & Maddog McCain arm the Saudi Govt’s Al CIAduh terrorist with Chemical Weapons & attack their own guys, for at least the 2nd time this year, in Syria & blame it on the other guy in a False Flag attack.

    And then like in the movie Idioicracy the Sociopath mafia Wallst Banker scum had their sock puppets go onto their owned MSM & sell their scam to start a Nuclear World War 3 to their supporters in terms they thought a 5 year old could understand.

    Because the Sociopaths knew from Hilter’s/Stalin’s use of Sodium Fluoride in the water & from the studies of the toxic vaccines that they believed the US’s general population was now so dumbed down they had to speak to them as if they were 5 year olds.

    Yet no one in the land, not even the military, were buying into the mafia sociopaths scams expect for the bought n paid Astroturf trolls online.

    **Please watch this video carefully. It is accurate with one exception. That exception is the size of the notional value of OTC derivates outstanding. The size quoted therein is but 1/2 of the real size of approx. 1.5 Quadrillion.**

    http://safeshare.tv/w/jkbxcFMkyu

  16. Ten Reasons Why America Does Not Need to Go to War Over Syria

    By John W. Whitehead

    September 04, 2013

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.—Dwight D. Eisenhower

    For once, I would love to hear a government official reject a call to war because it is immoral; because we have greater needs here at home that require our attention and our funds; because we’re already $1 trillion poorer due to these endless, mindless wars; because America should not be policing the world; because we refuse to enrich the military industrial complex while impoverishing our nation; because endless wars will never result in peace; because we have meddled enough in foreign policy in the Middle East and cannot risk any further blowback; because we’re sick and tired of fomenting civil wars in far-flung places; because we’re not going to assist rebel fighters in overthrowing a foreign government, only to later unseat those same forces when they can’t be controlled; because using the overused fear tactic about “weapons of mass destruction” doesn’t carry much weight anymore; because the only “compelling national security interest” right now is taking back control of our run-away government; because in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre, “When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die”; because while there may be causes worth dying for, there are none worth killing for; because Gandhi was right when he asked “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”; because all war is a crime; and because there are never any winners in war, only losers.

    Eighth, Bob Dylan was right—we are masters of war. Fifty years after 21-year-old Bob Dylan penned his diatribe against war profiteering, “Masters of War,” it continues to ring true in a world armed to the teeth with U.S. government-financed weapons. The United States is the leading international supplier of armaments, some of which inevitably end up in our enemies’ hands, as well as those of terrorists. As William D. Hartung, director of the Arms Trade Resource Center, pointed out in his report, “Welfare for Weapons Dealers: The Hidden Costs of the Arms Trade,” “Domestic economic considerations have emerged as a predominant factor in arms transfer decision making.” In other words, how much money private U.S. companies can make is often the determination in deciding which international agents the U.S. government approves to buy our weapons.

    Ninth, our claim to the moral high ground in this Syria discussion is nothing short of hypocritical given our historic use of weapons widely condemned by the global community. As journalist Andrea Germanos reports:

    From cluster bombs to depleted uranium to napalm, recent history of U.S. warfare shows a trail of weapons leaving long-lasting civilian harm… According to the Cluster Munition Coalition, from the 1960s to 2006, the U.S. dropped cluster bombs on Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Napalm was not only widely used by the U.S. during the years of the Vietnam War but also in 2003 during the invasion of Iraq, though it only admitted to having used it in Iraq after irrefutable evidence was out.

    The U.S. also used white phosphorus on Iraq and Afghanistan. White phosphorus was used in 2004 during the assault on Fallujah, and the New York Times reported its use as recently as in 2011 in Afghanistan.

    And finally, as Albert Einstein recognized, “Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.” This is not about what Obama wants, or what Congress agrees to—the decision to go to war ultimately rests with the American people. We need to say no to war.

  17. Please repost my link to anyone you care about, you/they may not get another chance to act!!!

    I/the video couldn’t explain the Rotten situation we are in any better!

  18. I’ll raise you two cruisers, a pair of tomahawks and some martyrs to your ……. wait…. are jokers wild….

  19. AY,

    And DU, Depleted Uranium, isn’t a banned munition, a war crime, crime against humanity, it’s a Forever Love powder to both our troops their families,, our enemies & all the grand kids.

  20. Here’s where a cult brings you to. Other people have to die for the sake of the leader’s need to save face: “The District of Columbia’s non-voting delegate to Congress says that because of her uncertainty about striking Syria, the only reason she would see herself voting to authorize military action would be out of “loyalty” to a fellow Democrat in President Obama.

    Speaking with Bill Press this morning, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) explained her belief that a response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons is necessary; however, she is unsure whether that needs to be done militarily. “I can’t believe that the only way to address it is a slight bombing which will somehow punish somebody or deter somebody,” she said.

    Asked whether the president would be justified in taking action even after Congress potentially votes down his proposals, Norton said: “No, oh boy, no. I think it’ll be like the red line trap. He said if the red line you cross it. I think once you say, ‘I’m going to Congress,’ you can’t say, ‘Okay, I’m going to do it anyway.’”

    As D.C.’s delegate to Congress, Holmes is unable to actually cast a vote in the debate, but she told Press: “If [Obama] gets saved at all, I think it’ll be because, it’ll be because of loyalty of Democrats. They just don’t want to see him shamed and humiliated on the national stage.”

    She elaborated: “At the moment, that’s the only reason I would vote for it if I could vote on it.”

    If this was Bush, people would be standing in front of him holding up shoes.

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/dem-congresswoman-only-reason-id-vote-to-strike-syria-would-be-loyalty-to-obama/

  21. from Jim White’s link above: “Okay, now this gets interesting. Obama claimed only the first group of 50 were entering, while Le Figaro claimed there were two groups, with the first one being 300 and the second one not specified by size. Further, note the dates and location: they entered on August 17 and 19 and they passed through Ghouta. The large number of deaths from a suspected chemical warfare agent occurred on August 21 in Ghouta. In fact, the second paragraph of the Jerusalem Post article notes:

    Le Figaro reported that this is the reason behind the Assad regime’s alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus on Wednesday morning, as UN inspectors were allowed into the country to investigate allegations of WMD use.

    Were these first groups of CIA-trained death squad members the target of the attack? Or could it be even worse than that? Vladimir Putin had some very interesting things to say in a wide-ranging interview today, but this bit stands out in relation to the death squad story:

    “If it is determined that these rebels used weapons of mass destruction, what will the United States do with the rebels?” Mr. Putin asked. “What will the sponsors of the rebels do? Stop the supply of arms? Will they start fighting against the rebels?”

    Whether they were the targets of an attack by Assad’s forces or whether they were the agents carrying out a false flag attack, US-trained death squads could well be at the center of the disputed use of chemical weapons. That would seem to be both a strong incentive and a huge tell for Obama to change both the date and the size of the entry of the first of these agents trained by the US. After all, even while reporting Obama’s leak to McCain and Graham on Monday, the New York Times noted that the training program is covert.

    Except that it’s not just the US training them. Going back to the Jerusalem Post article:

    The rebels were trained for several months in a training camp on the Jordanian-Syrian border by CIA operatives, as well as Jordanian and Israeli commandos, the paper said.

    Oh my. That’s quite the international faculty for this training program. What new wonders await us as more graduates of the program pour into Syria?”
    – See more at: http://www.emptywheel.net/#sthash.YCkidqly.dpuf

  22. Jill,
    They are called “Loyalists”. Party above all principle.
    Party “Loyalists” toe the party line, never to buck the system. For if they buck the system, they’re no longer considered worthy of toeing the line and are eventually run out of Office (see Russ Feingold or Dennis Kuchinich). Nancy never liked Dennis… He was her menace! So she took accountability off the table (toeing the line) because, after all, impeachment bucks the system of “Yes wo/men.

  23. I was listening to a lot of Fox news when Pelosi took over the House in 2006 (I have a radio alarm and Fox news did a good job getting me out of bed).

    Even though one of the first things Nancy Pelosi did was take impeaching Bush “off the table” Fox news kept prattling on about the “Ayatollah Pelosi” and all the other libruls hating on America.

    Now the Democrats have been proven to be complicit in normalizing Bush-era abuses, and amending FISA to authorize the exact abuses that led to the original passage of FISA.

    The Democrats are not an opposition party.

    From surveillance, to war, to torture, to protecting bankers, both parties are moving further and further afield from what the population wants. They are not representatives, they are rulers.

  24. I just cannot believe that a 5 year old would be asking Grandma if she is for or against striking Syria. I smell a rat.
    If anyone strikes Assad, it should be an international force and it should be for the purpose of toppling his regime. That being said, who takes over for Assad when and if he is overthrown??

  25. Max-1,

    I think it goes beyond even “loyalists” when you are ready to have people killed so your leader saves face. I think this freaks me out more even than Pelosi. Pelosi is a long time advocate and protector of torture and war crimes. Holmes is saying she doesn’t see the need to go to war but would vote for killing others so Obama won’t look bad. That’s even more depraved than Nancy, to me.

    Actually, I think when all of these people are speaking, people should be holding up a shoe.

  26. Indigo Jones,
    They are, flat out, Fascists.
    Corporate cronies only concerned with power. Just look at accountability for the housing market crash that lead to the economic crumble which lead to increased unemployment and homelessness. Look at their portfolio and lobbyist connections. That revolving door they locked, they opened it back up. They agreed to punish one another if they dare cross THAT red line, until they did cross it, then it’s, “ok we’ll forget this rule.”

  27. We’re not talking about war; we’re talking about action.

    Perhaps the good folks residing in California’s 12th congressional district can start talking about action that will prevent Nancy Pelosi, war mongering fraction of a human bring, from running for re-election.

  28. I think I am reasonably convinced that Assad used CW against his population – though this is not, to me, a slam dunk.

    I would argue that reasonable belief of use of CW by Assad is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to justify an attack.

    There are still some important questions.

    Can a limited strike make the situation in Syria better or is there substantial risk that limited bombing will likely make the situation more dangerous. Is it possible that Assad would be weakened to the point that radial militias would gain the upper hand or gain control of the CW munitions that concern us?

    Does international law require that the US obtain authorization from the UN before any strike takes place? Or does violation by one party allow any other party to attack? Does approval by the US congress have any bearing at all on the international question?

    Will anyone outside the US and its allies buy into the idea that the strike is a principled stand against CW and not just an Imperial power using the pretext of CW to settle accounts with a regional rival? After all, the US has a history of casting a blind eye toward the use of CW and providing material support in the form of intelligence information to its proxy, Iraq, against it’s rival and adversary, Iran. Does an attack by the US really support the norm of no CW if everyone perceives that the US picks and chooses according to its national interest?

    Does anyone believe that bombing will really inhibit Assad’s use of CW. Sure, we can increase the cost of using the weapons. The claim is that increasing the cost of using CW will inhibit Assad’s use of them, where cost includes not just money but material and intangibles such as international standing. But the idea that cost will influence behavior is based on models of incremental or graduated response and a rational adversary.

    There are two kinds of problems with models based on graduated response.

    There first has to do with the rational mind of the adversary. There seem to be some real differences between the west and the middle east regarding what constitutes reasonable or rational behavior. Examples of those differences include the military use of suicide and the social value of revenge. Even the west has examples where socially approved behavior does not necessarily correspond with a model of rational behavior. An example of that is suggested by the aphorism ‘better to die on ones feet than to live on ones knees’. There is at least the possibility that attacks on Syria will make Assad even more determined to control his population and refuse to adhere to demands by the US.

    The second type of problem with graduated response model is that the models do not always work well when the choices are existential. Viet Nam, I would argue, is an example in which the US was able to greatly increase the cost to the north with little or no change in overall behavior regarding intervention in the south. Does anyone believe that if Assad is facing the existential threat of being overrun now that he will decline to us CW because he fears a strike that will cost him half his air force later?

    Intervention by the US might have positive effects for international standards and for US interests. But, to me, at least, that is not clear. There are serous questions that must be answered prior to any attack by the US.

  29. I think I hear the stirring refrains of that old Neocon mantra beginning to swell in the hearts of American chicken-hawk generals like our friend randy-rooster:

    “Anyone can go to Damascus — I mean, Baghdad — but real men go to Tehran.”

    Just as in fighting the Soviet and Chinese communists in Vietnam — by killing and maiming millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians — the American way of war requires fighting smaller proxies instead of the “real” target whose size and ability to fight back make fighting them more than a little bit problematical.

    I read every day of new atrocities occurring in Baghdad, a former functioning country which has now — thanks to the U.S. military — become not just ungovernable, but practically uninhabitable. As Naom Chomsky has written, with understated truthfulness:

    “The catastrophe in Iraq is so extreme it can barely be reported.”

    So the randy roosters now want to see the U.S. military lay (even more) waste to Syria, creating an international catastrophe on top of a purely domestic one — only this time from a safe distance. You see, to the randy roosters, war doesn’t mean “war” when only Americans get to kill without taking casualties. But “casualties” come in many forms, and the clever inventors of the cheap little I.E.D. have a great deal to say about the mighty U.S. juggernaut now limping home from Iraq and Afghanistan to lick its wounds.

    And by the way: rhetorical metaphors like “boots on the ground” mean nothing to U..S. sailors who don’t wish to find themselves lying dead at the bottom of the sea. As well, i wouldn’t want to find myself at that behemoth U.S. “embassy” in Baghdad when the U.S. cruise missiles begin to fly at Iraq’s friend Syria. The possibility of another “Benghazi” multiplied a hundred times over comes to mind. Then, too, I sure hope those 9,000 Saudi princes have their flight suits ready when the incoming missiles start lighting their palaces and oil fields on fire. That ought to do wonders for the price of gas at the pump — all over the world. Yes, casualties and hostages come in many kinds, just not the ones contemplated by the randy roosters who think war sounds like great fun for those like themselves who don’t have to put their own asses on the line.

  30. BFM, Here is some info on the intelligence. What do you make of this?

    Secretary of State John Kerry assured the public that the Obama administration’s summary of the intelligence on which it is basing the case for military action to punish the Assad regime for an alleged use of chemical weapons was put together with an acute awareness of the fiasco of the 2002 Iraq WMD intelligence estimate.

    Nevertheless, the unclassified summary of the intelligence assessment made public August 30, 2013, utilizes misleading language evocative of the infamous Iraq estimate’s deceptive phrasing. The summary cites signals, geospatial and human source intelligence that purportedly show that the Syrian government prepared, carried out and “confirmed” a chemical weapons attack on August 21. And it claims visual evidence “consistent with” a nerve gas attack.

    But a careful examination of those claims reveals a series of convolutedly worded characterizations of the intelligence that don’t really mean what they appear to say at first glance.

    The document displays multiple indications that the integrity of the assessment process was seriously compromised by using language that distorted the intelligence in ways that would justify an attack on Syria.

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/18559-how-intelligence-was-twisted-to-support-an-attack-on-syria

  31. Just waiting for Obama to bring in the horse as a Senator:

    “Two amendments presented by John McCain to the Syrian war resolution have just passed the committee by voice vote, Dan Roberts reports.

    The senators voted to accept these two amendments into the proposed draft legislation, but they have not voted on the resolution overall yet, Dan says.

    The changes would seem to expand – perhaps significantly – the scope of the prospective American military campaign. In particular the second amendment flatly states “It is the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria.”

    That doesn’t sound like “limited,” “tailored” strikes.” (Guardian)

  32. randy rooster,

    You might want to check up on your English prefixes. The prefix “inter-” means “between,” so that “international” means “between nations.” The situation in Syria — a civil war — concerns the Syrian people and does not involve war between different nations. So in the present case — which does not involve nineteenth century pirates at sea — the international community has no legal or moral authority to intervene.

    I realize that you subscribe to the tortured invocation of prior crime as precedent school of chronic official lawlessness as the basis for even more lawlessness. However, I do not think that violating International as well as international law does anything but earn contempt for any “law” that condones its own violation. That said, I also do not think that acting stupidly and needlessly, just to save the face of a politician who stuffed both of his own feet in his own mouth, makes a convincing argument for killing foreigners who don’t care about the reckless politician’s mouth, feet, or face. One could, of course, offer the counter argument that one has the legal right to blow one’s own feet off, so that therefore one should do that whenever the thought suggests itself. Still, nothing excuses unforced stupidity — especially reckless stupidity — in national leaders. Nonetheless, America’s self-styled “leaders” now demand the right to act both illegally AND stupidly. They say they can if they want to. Because they want to. They really, really want to. And so they say they will. And they call that an “argument.”

    The United States lost all kinds of face in Southeast Asia forty years ago, just as it has lost enormous amounts of face in the Middle East over the past decade. But the loss of face — i.e., credibility — did not come from stopping these stupid and disastrous bungles, but from starting and continuing them. Once the United States returned to its senses and stopped acting so bloody stupid, U.S. credibility made a healthy comeback. So if President Obama and the U.S. Congress want to save American face, they can act responsibly, call off their own snarling dogs of war, and return to their proper business of getting a modern economy and health care system up and running — for Americans — again.

    Oh, yes. And you might have heard something about a really scary thing called a budget deficit which says that America has absolutely no money available to squander on more pointless needless military adventurism. Nothing more pathetic than a deadbeat nation that cannot pay its bills begging the Chinese for more loans so that it can blow up some more foreign peasants so the randy roosters can feel “all-tuff-and-stuff” on their way to Tehran (vicariously) with the “real men” leading the way.

    Now, back to James Madison and the Barbary Pirates with you — whatever in the hell you think that has to do with the two-year-old civil war in Syria today ….

  33. randy rooster,

    I must beg your forgiveness for misconstruing your “argument.” I didn’t realize until just now that you want the United Nations to authorize Vietnam to “go it alone” in straightening out Syria’s civil war. I mean, Vietnam has proven it can do that sort of thing in Cambodia — an especially impressive feat since Vietnam first had to boot France and the United States out of Vietnam before starting to fix all the wreckage in Vietnam and Cambodia that France and the United States caused. On the other hand, the United States has proven monumentally incompetent at military intervention in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and so forth. So who in their right mind would want the blundering U.S. military involved in “helping.” The U.S. military doesn’t do that. It only adds to the hurt.

    Personally, I do not think that Vietnam has any more right to intervene in another nation’s civil war than America does, but since your “argument” seems to rest on nations assaulting other nations if they think they can get away with it — i.e., “might makes right” — then perhaps you should contact your Congressman and Senators and suggest The Vietnam Option. Saudi Arabia can fund the operation and the Apartheid Zionist Entity can provide the “intelligence.” Nothing much for America to do but vote “yes” in the Security Council. Time to let someone else “lead from in front.”

    Thanks for the epiphany.

  34. Jill,

    Did you see Marcy Wheeler’s deconstruction of the Senate hearing at her emptywheel blog “Lessons from Today’s Senate Hearing on Syria”?

    I’ll just list her “lessons”:

    Lesson #1: We’re going to war so we don’t lose some friends

    Lesson #2: The friends we do have don’t want anyone to know they are our friends

    Lesson #3: Bombing another country unilaterally is not war in the “classic sense”

    Lesson #4: The Administration promises no boots on the ground except insofar as it anticipates boots on the ground

    Lesson #5: Whatever comes out of this resolution is separate from effort to oust Assad

    Lesson # 6: A map showing alleged attacks is physical evidence

    Lesson #7: The Administration claims it has evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” against Assad

    Bonus observation:

    “[No one], of course, explained why we weren’t referring (or trying to — it would take a Security Council referral) Assad’s crimes to the International Criminal Court.”

    “But as they did with Anwar al-Awlaki, they believe that declaring something “beyond a reasonable doubt” (though honestly, they never voiced their case against Awlaki that strongly) is sufficient and they don’t need to wait for UN inspectors or real juries.”

    Justice takes too much time so we can just dispense with it. The convenience of the King now governs everything. Long live the former democratic republic.

  35. Anonymously Posted,

    I’ll see your oxymoron and raise you some verse on the subject:

    Boobie Humanitarian Intervention
    (from Fernando Po, U.S.A., America’s post-linguistic retreat to Plato’s Cave)

    In Boobie Red-state USA
    The patriots don’t roam.
    They egg on someone else to fight
    While they stay safe at home
    Attending tail-gate parties at
    The local Astrodome

    “My country right or wrong!” they chant
    Within an eyelash blink.
    “My mother drunk or sober,” say
    The ones who’ve stopped to think.
    “We don’t give Mom the car keys when
    She’s had too much to drink!”

    Yet power acts just like a drug
    Like whiskey at its worst
    Anesthetizing brain cells while
    Exacerbating thirst
    Till little drunken boys and girls
    Resort to warfare first

    When adolescents cannot get
    Whatever they want now
    They pout and stomp and throw a fit
    And wrinkle up the brow
    Which signals to their parents that
    They want it anyhow

    Like Secretary Albright fumed
    When Clinton told her “No,
    We cannot level Belgrade just
    To show your machismo.”
    “Why even have an Air Force, then?”
    The madam wished to know.

    So Bill relented, finally;
    He wished so much to please
    And sent a flight of bombers
    To enforce his stern decrees.
    He got the address wrong, of course,
    And blew up some Chinese

    Yet Boobie Bubba couldn’t get
    The Chinese point of view
    They had so many people and
    He’d only killed a few
    (So why, since he felt so much pain,
    Could he not cause some, too?)

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2006

  36. Nancy Pelosi needs to sing the five year old kid the song:

    [music]
    For its one, two, three, what are we fighting for?
    Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn.
    Next stop is Viet Nam!

    And, its five, six, seven, open up the Pearly Gates!
    There aint no time to wonder why,
    WHOPPEE, we’re all gonna die.

    -Country Joe and The Fish.

  37. You all do realize the first woman Speaker of the House is dumber than a box of rocks, don’t you? So, any conversation w/ a 5 year old is her on equal footing. Actually, the kid might be slightly ahead verbally.

  38. “Limited military action.” Bay of Pigs. Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. (The list spans the entire history of man on earth).

    I’ll stipulate to the U.S. steamrolling of Grenada. Those Cuban construction workers really didn’t stand much of a chance. And I think the U.S. Navy has successfully fought off some pirates at sea from time to time in recent years.

    Otherwise: End of ridiculous pseudo-argument by incantation of oxymoron

    And, of course, behind the scenes at the White House (unknown to me in the first semester of my senior year of high school):

    “[President Lyndon] Johnson subscribed to the adage that “wars are too serious to be entrusted to generals.” He knew, as he once put it, that armed forces “need battles and bombs and bullets in order to be heroic,” and that they would drag him into a military conflict if they could. But he also knew that Pentagon lobbyists, among the best in the business, could persuade conservatives in Congress to sabotage his social legislation unless he satisfied their demands. As he girded himself for the 1964 presidential campaign, he was especially sensitive to the jingoists who might brand him “soft on communism” were he to back away from the challenge in Vietnam. So, politician that he was, he assuaged the brass and the braid with promises he may never have intended to keep. At a White House reception on Christmas Eve 1963, for example, he told the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “Just let me get elected, and you can have your war.”

    — Stanley Karnow, Vietnam, a History: the First Complete Account of Vietnam at War (New York: Viking Press, 1983; Penguin Books, 1984)

    I don’t want to hear what Obama and Kerry say in public. I want to hear what they say to each other behind our backs. I have a pretty good idea of what they want to do in Syria — i.e., wage a proxy war against Iran, Russia, and China — but I feel absolutely certain that what they say in public has little, if anything, to do with their real goals and motives. Lying bastards.

  39. Frank,

    Good for you, brother.

    By the time Nixon sent me to Vietnam in the summer of 1970, everyone with a brain had already given up on the originally “limited” war (begun with “advisers” a decade earlier). So the military rounded up all of us that they didn’t have a better use for — I had just graduated from the U.S. Navy’s nuclear power program — and gave us a year’s training in Vietnamese (Southern Dialect) before shipping us out to “train” the Vietnamese to fight our proxy war against Russia and China in their country, something the Vietnamese had absolutely no interest in doing. The French had another name for our “Vietnamization” policy. They called it “Yellowing the Corpses.”

    Needless to say, the training business did not go well. and I came home a year-and-a-half later convinced that the United States military could never train a foreigner to fight America’s proxy wars in the foreigner’s country so that Americans didn’t have to die doing that. Later in life, I read where an Israeli defense minister — Ehud Barak, I think — had said of America’s training of Iraqis: “The only thing the Americans can train the Iraqis to do is how to kill Americans.” I think that brutal observation has proven even more terribly true about the American military’s training of Afghans to fight a few hundred Al Qaeda mercenaries who have long since left Afghanistan for Libya and Syria where the U.S. now supports, funds, arms and trains them.

    From everything I’ve seen and experienced over the last forty years, the cycle of American military blundering abroad starts with “advisers,” then shifts to combat units when the “advising” doesn’t work, then shifts to “training” to cover the retreat ten years later. A little safe bombing from a distance occasionally seems to reinvigorate the “humanitarian” killers and war-profiteers back home, but then the Army and Marines start feeling left out and demand to get back in where “this time for sure” they’ll get it right. Which they don’t.

    I’d say that President Assad of Syria probably has heard no better news than that the U.S. Army plans to train the Al Qaeda terrorists that America’s own A.U.M.F. declares enemies of America. I mean, when the entire U.S. government openly commits treason against itself, things have deteriorated far beyond cruel irony into ugly farce. “We’ll show you, Osama bin Laden. We’ll invade Iraq and Afghanistan instead of Saudi Arabia where you come from.”

    Unfortunately, Frank, so few Americans have any experience with our disastrous military meddling abroad that they cannot in any way evaluate properly the insane actions and statements of their own government. Keep trying though. I will, too. Not so many of us left now. But we “must not go gentle into that good night.” We must “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

  40. Michael,

    Thank you, I had not read Wheeler’s perfectly reasonable construction of what those two are actually saying.

    I too would like to see what Kerry and Obama say privately. I am hoping someone will leak that because it needs to be in the public domain.

  41. 5-year-old-grandson: “Grandma, what did you do in the wars that you started?”

    Grandma Pelosi: “I watched as others died in them, silly. Then I counted up the Raytheon and Haliburton stock dividends. Where do you suppose Santa Claus got the money for all those presents you get every birthday and Christmas?”

  42. Tom Englehardt has an interesting piece (Alone and Delusional on Planet Earth — And Then There Was One — Delusional Thinking in the Age of the Single Superpower).

    It is about a macro-history of the U.S. after becoming the only superpower with no superpower enemy to face.

    Then going delusional with a fantasy of ruling the new world with an exceptional, pure, democratic heaven on Earth type thingy.

    In this context of power corrupts, a deluded mind is a mind that has been corrupted into delusion.

    It scares me in the sense that I believe “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    You see where I am going with this: if that formula is true, then a superpower seeks absolute power as it corrupts itself into absolute delusion.

    Here are the final words in his post:

    Such a world should be fantastical enough for the wildest sort of dystopian fiction, for perhaps a novel titled 2014 [a la “1984”].

    What, after all, are we to make of a planet with a single superpower that lacks genuine enemies of any significance and that, to all appearances, has nonetheless been fighting a permanent global war with… well, itself — and appears to be losing?

  43. Here is a good article sent to me today posted on policymic by Evan Mascagni, my son:

    Producer, Toxic Profits (www.toxicprofitsfilm.com). Partner, Zero Bound (www.zerobound.com). Attorney, California Anti-SLAPP Project (www.casp.net). Legislative Assistant, Public Participation Project (www.anti-SLAPP.org).

    The 3 Most Hypocritical Things About the U.S. Going to War With Syria
    © AP

    Whether or not you support the U.S. decision to go to war with Syria, there is no denying the blatant hypocrisy in the justification that the U.S. should intervene because of Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
    Here are three of biggest hypocrisies:

    1. The U.S. supported one of the worst chemical warfare attacks in history.
    In a bombshell, though under-reported, story from last week, Foreign Policy revealed CIA files that prove the United States helped Saddam Hussein as he was launching some of the worst chemical attacks in human history against Iran in 1988. The files show that the U.S. knew about — and did nothing to stop — a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has experienced to date. The U.S. continued to provide Iraq with military and intelligence aid, despite knowing that Hussein was using the same chemical weapon — sarin gas — that Assad is allegedly using today.

    2. The U.S. used chemical weapons during the 2003 Iraq war.
    During the Gulf War, the U.S. classified white phosphorus as a “chemical” weapon when Saddam Hussein was using it against the Kurds. Yet, fast-forward to the 2003 Iraq War and the U.S. identified white phosphorus as a “conventional” weapon to justify their use of it in Fallujah. The use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium during the Iraq War has led to a rise in birth defects and cancer rates in the country, even ten years after the start of the war.

    3. The U.S. allowed companies to manufacture and export components used to make the same chemical weapon that Assad allegedly used in Syria.
    I have previously written about the horrendous U.S. policy that allows companies to continue to manufacture and export chemicals after they have been banned for domestic use. So it comes as no surprise that in 1992 when a cargo jet bound for Israel from the U.S. crashed in the Netherlands, a component of the nerve gas sarin was found aboard the plane. More recently, Britain allowed a company to export nerve gas chemicals to Syria, 10 months after the Syrian uprising began. British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that he understands and supports Barack Obama’s position on Syria. So even though Britain sold nerve gas chemicals to Syria, Cameron is apparently shocked that Assad may have actually used them.
    If the U.S. wants to continue the state of perpetual war that the military industrial complex depends on, just admit it. Let’s stop pretending that we’re going to war with Syria because Assad allegedly used chemical weapons.

  44. Sorry Nick the term chickenhawk can only apply to men. Women were never subject to the draft. Even if she could have joined the military she was not eligible for joining combat units.

    The term chickenhawks is reserved for those who did everything in their power to get out of serving in the active duty military to avoid going to war.

  45. I like the letter to Congressman by Frank way up above and the comments by Frank and Michael Murray. If we could not learn from our national disaster in Vietnam then we can not learn. Nancy Pelosi is an old nitwit.

  46. frankmas, the point raised in the article are simply wrong. One, Obama is not responsible for Reagan and Bush’s failures. You seem to think that since Bush lied about WMDs that Obama is lying now about the poison gas attacks. Of course, you have to disregard all kinds of facts, which I know does not bother you one bit. The intel Bush used was demonstrably false at the time and the UN weapons inspectors said that there were NO WMDs. I hope that you agree that sarin gas was used since it is NOT US but UN inspectors who have no ties to Obama.

    Then this writer forgets that the so called chemical weapons the US used are NOT banned or illegal at all. Too bad you don’t tell the truth either.

    Since you do NOT say what specific chemicals were exported to Syria, I can only believe that those chemicals are of many uses, and NOT only for producing sarin gas. Benzene is a component of damn near everything from aspirin to heroin to clothes. So one could say that allowing benzene to be shipped is supplying poison gas chemicals to Syria and while slightly true, would not be accurate. It is the same kind of sophistry and bad propaganda I have seen here recently.

  47. Itchindog, I see that the only thing you learned from Vietnam is that the US and its military is BAD, other guys GOOD, or if not exactly good, then poor “victims”. I think that not only ignores the lessons of Vietnam, but requires no thought or looking at each situation on its own. That was one of the lessons of Vietnam, that the US looked at Vietnam through the prism of WWII and Munich. The US failed to look at the FACTS and the history. I see that you make the same mistake and have no learned anything, but a lockstep cultist pacifism.

    I think most rational people can look at Obama and his Libya actions and can see that air strikes do NOT equal war and ground troops, even though ALL the GOP and their pacifist nut allies said it DID mean war for the US. I am still waiting for you to admit you were wrong and apologize for telling lies. You also use a rather dumb comparison by saying that since Bush lied, Obama is lying. Unless you can show me something called proof, it is YOU who is the liar. Your logic if that is what one can call it, is not valid.

    I am rather amused at this coalition in the House which will more than likely vote against Obama. The Tea party nuts of extreme rightwingers, in alliance with the leftwing nuts. At least I can see their affinity for each other on this since neither of them rely on rational thought, it is just party politics for the right wing to defeat Obama on anything at any cost, and the radical pacifists who hate the US military joining together to hate Obama. It is like the KPD in Germany joining with the Nazis to get rid of the Social Democrats in the elections. The pacifists will be eaten alive by their allies once this one is over, and you folks will be lucky to stay out of jail if they come to power.

  48. Mr. Erb,
    Since you’re obviously the only person allowed to see a preview of the U.N. inspectors’ report on Syria, would you mind publishing it for the rest of us?

    If the U.N. inspectors do report that the Assad regime used nerve gas, we’ll expect you, as leading Chickenhawk, to immediately fly to Syria, to kick some Alawite butt.

    We’ll be all right. We can easily find a replacement perpetual war cheerleader. There are lots of you.

  49. sorry but you are wrong once again on all counts. From all reports that I have read there is not much question about the FACT of the attack. The UN has said that they will not say WHO did it. Now most folks would say and given US intel, and the fact that thousands were killed, it is a good bet Assad was responsible. Now if it had been a few score victims, I think you could say the rebels might also be responsible. I put the odds for the latest being Assad, at about 90%, and for a lot less, the odds would go down to about 50/50 as who would have done it. The rebels would not have access to enough gas to do that amount of damage or the resources. If they got hold of some sarin, they might have been able and have an incentive to use it on their so called allies in the fight against Assad.

    For me personally I am a Vietnam era veteran, so your libel shows you to be ignorant and a liar to boot. It says all that needs to be said about YOU and your lack of intelligence, facts, and total irrationality.

  50. So, you’re writing from Syria? No?
    If you want butt kicked, go kick it yourself.

    Vietnam “era” veteran? Or Vietnam veteran?
    If Vietnam veteran, why are you agitating to get into another stupid exercise in destruction?
    I don’t actually care what you did 40 years ago. What are you doing now?
    Chickenhawking?

    Where’s the U.N. Inspectors’ report that I asked for?
    If you don’t have it, you got nothin’.

    I’m honored that you accuse me of lying, irrationality, and lack of intelligence. That’s a fact.
    I judge myself by my enemies. I must be doin’ something right.
    Thought I’d provide a fact, since you complained that I had none.

  51. 85% likely within 2 weeks some Phkin Idiot somewhere in the world, “You Know that Ph’in Idiot also Don’t You!!!!!, pushes the button & Nuke F’ing war is on because every other idiot has to hit the button, send his birds flying & destroys all humans on the planet.

    Mean while Cannabis remains completely illegal in Oklahoma so I’ll have another beer Thanks a U ignorant Sheeeets!, It’s been a great F’ing War B..itches!

    ( Maybe I should move right now? :)

    Just in case it’s been good gettin to know y’all.

    Geezes, where’s the Ph’in road back to Mayberry?

    35:45

  52. Once Upon a Time at the Kindergarten Marketing Meeting

    5-year-old-grandson: “Grandma Pelosi, why do you say ‘action’ when other people say ‘war’?”

    Grandma Pelosi: “Well, as a very bad man, Dr Frank Luntz, teaches us: ‘It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.'”

    5-year-old-grandson: “But Grandma Pelosi, don’t people say and hear the same thing?”

    Grandma Pelosi: “Not at all, little one. As a very nice English gentleman, George Orwell, once said: ‘[Certain words] are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different.”

    5-year-old-grandson: “What does ‘consciously dishonest’ mean, Grandma Pelosi?”

    Grandma Pelosi: “It means ‘lying,’ my innocent little darling.”

    5-year-old-grandson: “So when you say ‘action’ you mean one thing yourself but you want other people to think you mean something different? You lie to other people?”

    Grandma Pelosi: “How do you think I got to be Speaker of the House so I could take impeachment off the table so that President Bush and his criminal administration could escape accountability for lying our country into two cruel and unnecessary wars — I mean — ‘actions’?”

    5-year-old-grandson: “So you lie to protect liars like Presidents Bush and Obama, Grandma Pelosi?”.

    Grandma Pelosi: “Yes, my future little imperial militarist. That’s my job. But you’ll understand better when you get older and go into business and politics for yourself.

  53. @Jill

    Thanks for the link to the TruthOut article.

    In my opinion this is good stuff. It points out and pulls together facts and patterns that we can know independently.

    The well publicized ‘panicked phone call’ ought to interest any one trying to access this situation. We know that the Assad regime invited the UN inspectors in. Others have wondered why the regime would launch a chemical attack practically on the day the inspectors arrived in country.

    The ‘panicked phone call’ is presented by the US as evidence that Assad launched the attack. We know the Assad administration invited the UN inspectors in to the country. If the Assad administration also launched the attack why would representatives of the administration be panicked and trying to verify details of the attack? Doesn’t logic suggest that they would be panicked only if they did not order the attack and were trying to figure out whether rogue military units violated orders of if militias were trying to frame the regime?

    In any case the T/O article questions whether there ever was a panicked telephone call in the first place and provides information that I had not read elsewhere.

    The danger from residual levels of nerve agents remaining after an attack is well known. Any schoolboy fascinated with military weapons knows that decontamination of survivors of CW attack is necessary before medical support can proceed.

    Some news reports have suggested vague explanations why first responders were not stricken when helping victims. My recollection is that one talking head on CNN offered that the victims were hosed down with water prior to receiving medial assistance.

    The T/O article mentions reports that 6 doctors died treating victims. According to the US story the several attacks on 082113 dispersed enough chemical product to poison approximately 3500 survivors and kill an additional 1400 victims. Is the story of 6 dead doctors and washing with water consistent with the casualty figures alleged by US? I don’t know. But someone more familiar with chemical warfare probably does.

    And there is the question of casualty estimates. The US alleges approximately 1400 fatalities including approximately 400 children. Other reputable sources suggest the attacks killed approximately 300 to 400. The discrepancy is huge. I am pretty sure the WAPO reported this wide variance in the casualty estimates several days ago. The LA Times has a similar article of 090413 “US figure for casualties in Syria attack much higher than others “.

    I don’t think the difference between 1400 and 400 would necessarily influence by view of Assad or how he treats the citizens of Syria. But that difference might affect my view of the credibility of the group that claimed 1400.

    All a person like me can do is sift through the reports and try to note the conflicts, contradictions and the tells.

    I consider it telling that the administration claims that credibility requires a limited, warning ‘shot over the bow’ of the Assad regime but the first legislation presented by the administration for approval for congress is unlimited in duration or location. That ought to tell us all something about the direction and intent of the administration.

    In fairness to the congress, I ought to point out that the senate committee recently limited the duration to (my recollection) 60 days with a possible 30 day extension after consultation with congress.

  54. “The purpose of this book is to tell you what I tell governors, senators,and members of Congress; what I tell the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable; and what I present to CEOs and entrepreneurs every day across the country: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear.” …

    “This book is not merely for politicians or business leaders; it’s for everyone who has an interest in or makes a living using and listening to the language of America. It is for anyone who wants to harness the power of words to improve his or her own life, and to ensure that the true meaning of these words is heard as they intended them to be” [emphasis added].

    – Dr. Frank Luntz, Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear

    Only a doubleplusgood doublethinker — i.e., cynical word magician for hire — could have written the last part of that last sentence without suffering a brain embolism from self-induced cognitive dissonance. I feel unclean each time I handle this foul little volume and I keep it in the farthest-right corner of the lowest shelf of my library so as not to soil the rest of my books. But one does have to know the enemy of one’s language, if not of thought itself, should one ever hope to know why Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Speaker John Boehner, and President Obama continuously babble meaningless Orwellian phrases like “kinetic action” when they really mean “unprovoked war of aggression.”

    I disagree with Professor Turley that our government Beltway minions think like 5-year-olds. They just assume that we, the people, do. And if the American people allow the U.S. Congress to rubber stamp President Obama’s intended war crime against Syria, then the cynical marketers of messianic militarism will have assumed correctly.

  55. The American government has already established its credibility with the rest of the world. The world knows the United States will predictably do the stupidest and most destructive thing possible in any given circumstance. The world hasn’t the slightest doubt about that. We’ve got credibility all right, just not the kind supposed by the amoral cretins who run our government.

    And always remember, fellow Crimestoppers: “if we lose Vietnam, the dominoes will fall on us and America will die!” Repeat as necessary for four straight decades, or until the American people shout; “ENOUGH, DAMN IT!”

  56. — The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) September 4, 2013:

    Donald Rumsfeld: “If I were Commander-in-Chief, I’d invade Syria, chase Assad into a cave, then let him escape. Then give Halliburton $85B”

  57. From the NYT 080413 “Split Senate Panel Approves Giving Obama Limited Authority on Syria” we learn that:

    Mr. Kerry revealed a fine comedic sense that had previously escaped even his most appreciative fans when he offered a new argument for attacking Syria and claimed that “extremist groups fighting against the Syrian government would become stronger if the United States did not carry out a military strike [against the regime]. ”

    Many observers agree that the brilliance of this performance demands that Mr. Kerry be given his own show and that he spent far to many years buried in the chorus of the senate where his innovative stand-up style was stifled by the stuffy conventions of the genre. Even the show case of the state department, his current venue, does not properly display the sheer inventive genus of this great performer.

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