Clinton: No Troops Can Be Sent To Syria Without Assad’s Consent

Many people have complained about a new policy of “American Exceptionalism” in our wars and foreign policy. It appears however that we may have to call it a policy of “American Incoherence” after reading the latest remarks of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — policies that are understandable only to our leaders. Clinton (who supported the armed intervention in Libya because of the threat of citizen deaths) has announced that no troops can be sent to Syria without the consent of the regime. I happen to oppose military intervention in Syria, but we continue to convey to the world that the only guiding principle in our foreign policy is opportunism.

In the lawsuit by the members of Congress challenging the Libyan war (where I served as lead counsel), the Administration insisted that it did not need any consent of either Congress or the Libyan government to start bombing military and infrastructure sites.

Of course, these are “peacekeeping forces,” but the contrast to Syria is striking. In the lawsuit, Syria had already killed more civilians than Libya, but the Administration claimed that it had unilateral authority to enter Libya. Clinton insists that she is trying to “convince the Assad regime that they are leading Syria into the outcome that we all deplore. We do not want to see a civil war in Syria.” Presumably that does not include drone attacks where the consent is neither required nor often expected.

In the meantime, Libyan forces are now being accused of many of the same atrocities committed by the prior regime.

What is even more worrisome is the steady number of leaks and comments about an expected war with Iran — a war that we could easily be pulled into with a preemptive strike by Israel. That would move Syria further back in the line for U.S. intervention.

Source: Foreign Policy

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    “Israeli Strike On Iran ‘Not Prudent,’ Gen. Martin Dempsey Says”

    by Joshua Hersh

    Posted: 2/18/12 | Updated: 2/19/12


    Dempsey also threw cold water on some of the more aggressive plans to intervene militarily in the crisis in Syria, where opposition forces have been carrying out an increasingly bloody revolt against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

    “Syria is a very different challenge” from Libya, where American-led NATO forces recently helped end the reign of dictator Muammar Gadhafi, Dempsey added. “It’s a different challenge, as you described it, geographically. It’s a different challenge in terms of the capability the Syrian military. They are very capable.”

    Dempsey also called plans to simply arm the opposition “premature.”

    “I would challenge anyone to clearly identify for me the opposition movement in Syria at this point,” Dempsey said, adding that the crisis had grown increasingly complicated over the months. (end of excerpt)

  2. well Michael you are accurate in saying that the wiki article does say that Syria
    is having oil troubles…my point was that they do have some oil and there is a strong chance that new wells could be found with the right technology…saying they have no oil is erroneous.

  3. One of the things I’ve done to hopefully reinforce my credibility here is to admit when I’ve been wrong. When I stated:

    “We removed Libya’s crazy dictator, but we can’t remove Assad without his permission. Despite Syrian pipelines they ain’t got no oil. The common thread, as with Iraq, is we find urgent need to remove despotic dictators as long as oil is involved.”

    I think I was wrong in stating the Syrian issue is they have no oil, so we’re unwilling to topple the regime. This is a link below to an article that gives lie to my statement and causes me to extend apologies to Commoner:

  4. Mike A.,
    You are spot on about Krauthammer. He is a war mongerer of the highest degree. At least when it comes to the Middle East.

  5. Harold Koh laid out the underlying doctrine of US imperialism. He said Obama can kill anyone, anywhere, anytime on his own say so but that certain places in the world might not tolerate that, so he wouldn’t do it there. As an example, he said Obama wouldn’t send a drone to kill someone in Germany because Germany would raise questions about what had happened.

    So lessons to learn. 1. Assad has been a friend to the US govt. He knows where many of the bodies of the people we had rendered there for torture and murder are. Until this evidence is locked down, Assad, like Gaddafi before him, will be O.K. Once the evidence is locked down Assad will be taken down by the US govt., just like Gaddafi. This is exactly how totalitarian systems work. You are in the “in group” until you no longer serve your purpose. Then you are expendable. That is what the lack of rule of law looks like in foreign policy. At home it looks like the newly announced “mortgage settlement” where the people again will bail out the bankers and get really screwed over. (Please see nakedcapitalism for that info.)

    2. Why not make the US intolerant of murder, torture, regime change, civilian killing drone use? Why are so many good Democrats giving their blessing to such horrific acts when done by Obama? (See the poll at Glenn Greenwald for that information.) Will there ever be a time when good people stand up with other people and say, this is wrong, you may not pursue these horrors in my name? Until agreeing Democrats and Republicans reject these actions, they are greenlighting them. Tyranny and cruelty don’t have self-braking attached. They must be stopped by peaceful soul force and we the people need to pull together on this, right now.

  6. LottaKatz,

    Thanks for the Wiki-refs. In Robert Baer’s book, “See No Evil”, he, a former CIA field agent; and sole reponsible for a team in Kurd/Iraq, tried to get Washington’s backing on a Iraqi insurrection initiative lead by a former Saddam General, and other power figures in Kurdistan with own armies. Timing was of the essence, but then read the book for the details……

    The responsible NSA in Washington the NSA man washed his hands giving over full responsiblity to the Kurds……”at your decision”. They did, but were not fully committed and lost.

    So there were earlier alternatives to 2003, in spite of what is said.

    If you’d like to see what we did to Iraq education wise, see:

    Wasn’t there an earlier blog here entitlled “the best education system in the ME”? Whatever the case, read this Iraqi professor’s paper presented at an international conference in Ghent, Belgium.
    From illiteracy 98% to 3% and back to 94%——from secular Iraqi dictatorship to US led nation destruction 2003–2011. Facts are facts.
    Note especially rise in women’s education, women’s professional employment, etc under Saddam and its fall under 2003-2011.

    Saddam, no! But there were other ways to do it without destroying the nation. As shown in Robert Baer’s book.

    1. Commoner,
      Check your Wiki reference again. Syria will run out of its meagerly oil supplies by the end of the decade. Their supply compared to Iraq and Iran are negligible. No one covets Syria’s oil, like they covet Iran’s.

  7. Nal 1, February 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Syria ain’t got no oil.
    Then one wonders how Syria has been exporting oil for decades now, mostly to Europe.

    It has natural gas too.

    It also has ports on the Mediterranean, a way around the Straits of Hormuz in a pinch.

    A nice way for Iraq (which borders Syria) to get BP’s oil out of Iraq without worrying about Hormuz.

    Besides, Syria already has millions of Iraqi’s who fled Sadaam Bush II after Paul Bremer (who now does water color paintings in the N.E.) did the Governor of Iraq thingy.

  8. lottakatz:

    I’ve heard Krauthammer enough to be convinced that he would favor occupying the entire Middle East were it possible.

  9. Bdaman: “Here’s Obama’s foreign policy. Charles Krauthammer said on Obama’s bloated budget bill he offered Congress that gives $800 million to Islamic spring countries.

    “The president knows were heading over a cliff and he just wants to get past election day…”

    Krauthammer, you had to bring him up.

    Krauthammer is slow on the uptake, we’ve been heading over that cliff since March of 2003 and Krauthammer supported that invasion of Iraq (from WiKipedia- easier than digging out his old columns)

    “He supported the Iraq war on the “realist” grounds of the strategic threat the Saddam regime posed to the region as UN sanctions were eroding and of his alleged weapons of mass destruction; and on the “idealist” grounds that a self-sustaining democracy in Iraq would be a first step towards changing the poisonous political culture of tyranny, intolerance and religious fanaticism in the Arab world that had incubated the anti-American extremism from which 9/11 emerged”.

    “In February 2003, Krauthammer cautioned that “it may yet fail. But we cannot afford not to try. There is not a single, remotely plausible, alternative strategy for attacking the monster behind 9/11. It’s not Osama bin Laden; it is the cauldron of political oppression, religious intolerance, and social ruin in the Arab-Islamic world—oppression transmuted and deflected by regimes with no legitimacy into virulent, murderous anti-Americanism.”[21] Krauthammer in 2003 noted that the reconstruction of Iraq would provide many benefits for the Iraqi people, once the political and economic infrastructure destroyed by Saddam was restored: “With its oil, its urbanized middle class, its educated population, its essential modernity, Iraq has a future. In two decades Saddam Hussein reduced its GDP by 75 percent. Once its political and industrial infrastructures are reestablished, Iraq’s potential for rebound, indeed for explosive growth, is unlimited.” ”

    As a learned, journalistic source for reasoned commentary on foreign affairs he leaves a lot to be desired.


    Also a few other bits from the new budget:

    “The proposed budget also contains requests of $3.1 billion in military assistance for Israel” (What? Are there two Palestinian homes left standing in the West Bank that require the security forces to evict the tenants for a new settlement? Is it for a coming war with Iran?)

    “A further $8.2 billion is requested to support “the extraordinary and temporary costs of civilian-led programs and missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.” (Merc’s, baksheesh, ‘other’ contractors, who knows?)

    Don’t worry, our imperialist friends and the hired thugs and corrupt partners in the area are going to make out pretty well in 2012, just as they have for the last 8 years- what’s Krauthammer bitchin’ about?

    Brietbart is on The Young Turks, gotta’ watch it……

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