Obama Reportedly Ready To Order The Start Of Syrian Military Campaign

President_Barack_Obama300px-Tomahawk_Block_IV_cruise_missile_-crop-1President Barack Obama appears poised to take the country into yet another military campaign, according to the Washington Post. With critics mocking him over his repeated references to “red lines” in warning Syria, Obama seems to feel compelled to now act even if it could result in an expansion of the war. He is reportedly considering a two-day cruise missile and bomber campaign to hit targets unrelated to the chemical weapons of the country. It will cost hundreds of millions at a minimum, but we appear now to be at perpetual war even as we cancel key environmental, educational, and scientific programs (including program cuts this week).

The campaign seems to be the result of public line drawing and face saving. Obama said early on that he would not stand for the use of chemical weapons. That was apparently ignored and now the U.S. must act to fulfill the threat. The question is why the United States must remain in a perpetual war footing to enforce such demands. China continues to avoid such military action and then in countries like Iraq, China comes in after we spend hundreds of billions to seize assets and contracts.

We clearly need to act in the wake of this chemical attack. However, given the recent disclosure our tacit approval of the use of chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein against Iran, we look hypocritical in using the weapons as the reason for a further entry into the Syrian civil war. If the world is unwilling to punish Syria through the United Nations, the question is whether we should continue to enforce our demands through military action.

Even before the U.N. report, Secretary of State John F. Kerry has already announced that the use of chemical weapons is now “undeniable.” Combined with Obama’s earlier “redline” ultimatum, that announcement would seem to commit the U.S. to once again launch large-scale military operations.

I previously represented members of Congress in challenging Obama’s intervention in the Libyan civil war without a declaration from Congress. In the case, President Obama insisted that he alone determines what is a war and therefore when he needs a declaration. Since the court would not recognize standing to challenge the war, it left Obama free to engage in war operations in any country of his choosing.

We all share the outrage over the use of chemical weapons and the need to seek sanctions. However, no one seriously believes that destroying facilities for a couple days is going to materially change anything in the country. It reminds some of Clinton attacking largely empty tents in Afghanistan with 70 Tomahawk missiles. These attacks will clearly have a greater impact than Clinton’s destruction of tents at the cost of over a $100 million. However, the question is what we expect to be achieved beyond sending the message that we are not to be mocked or ignored. With the long lead into the attacks, Syria has likely taking efforts to prepare for the attack and moved around assets. The danger is that we will cause an expansion of the conflict and push Russia and China to even greater support for Syria.

What do you think?

144 thoughts on “Obama Reportedly Ready To Order The Start Of Syrian Military Campaign”

  1. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon appeals for diplomatic solution on Syria

    By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, August 28, 5:07 AM


    THE HAGUE, Netherlands — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict, even as world powers appear to be moving toward punitive military strikes against President Bashar Assad’s regime for what the United States and its allies say was a deadly chemical weapons attack.

    Ban said Wednesday a United Nation team investigating the alleged chemical attack must be given time to establish the facts.
    Waura Indians wrestle during this year’s ‘quarup,’ a ritual held over several days to honour in death a person of great importance to them, in Xingu National Park, Mato Grosso State, August 25, 2013. This year the Waura tribe honoured their late cacique (chief) Atamai, who died in 2012, for his work creating the Xingu Park and his important contribution in facilitating communication between white Brazilians and Indians. Picture taken August 25, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino (BRAZIL – Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY)

    Photos of the day

    Brazil’s Waura Indians, U.N. inspectors in Syria, Las Vegas flooding, Japanese rocket failure and more.

    Monday’s Photos of the day

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    E.U.-China solar deal highlights tough climate for green jobs
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    Michael Birnbaum 6:47 AM ET

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    World Digest: Aug. 27, 2013

    AUG 27

    Top Iraqi court blocks term limits for prime minister, others; top security official is killed in Ingushetia.
    New Egyptian constitution may clamp down on parties
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    Howard Schneider AUG 27

    Restrictions of the type imposed by Mubarak are being pushed by the authorities as critical for stability.
    Unsettled, Chinese entrepreneurs start to demand political reforms
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    The recent execution of a property magnate fuels unease as many say it’s time to push for the rule of law.
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    Peter Humphrey and Yu Yingzeng are accused of selling private information about Chinese citizens.

    And he has urged the United Nations Security Council not to be “missing in action” as the Syria crisis deepens.

    Ban was speaking in the Great Hall of Justice at the Peace Palace in The Hague, which is marking its 100th anniversary.

    “Give peace a chance. Give diplomacy a chance. Stop acting and start talking,” he said.

  2. Look carefully at what FP is saying: ” Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services,”

    Question 1: When do they release the intercepts for independent analysis and verification.

    “…And that is the major reason why American officials now say they’re certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime — and why the U.S. military is likely to attack that regime in a matter of days.”

    Question 2: Why is what American officials (anonymous of course) certainty about this taken at face value
    Question 3: Why is the military likely to attack? Is that the only option the US will take even though others are available?

    “But the intercept raises questions about culpability for the chemical massacre, even as it answers others:”

    Question 4: Does it answer others? What is the intercept? Has it been independently verified?

    “Was the attack on Aug. 21 the work of a Syrian officer overstepping his bounds? Or was the strike explicitly directed by senior members of the Assad regime? “It’s unclear where control lies,” one U.S. intelligence official told The Cable. “Is there just some sort of general blessing to use these things? Or are there explicit orders for each attack?”

    Question 5: Author assumes everything the US says is true, no question. Let’s assume these are the explanations. Which is correct? Why isn’t the correct interpretation contained in the intercepts? If the intercepts are so definitive, why don’t they know what was the case?

    Question 6: Since even FP has several guesses as to what happened, why are we going to war without those guesses turning into facts through the use of impartial investigation?

    1. Some may think me horrible for saying it but a bad death is a bad death. I’m sure nerve gas is a bad way to die. However, getting shot in your guts by an AK47 in Rwanda is also a bad way to die. Being starved to death in Sudan is also a bad way to die. Need I go on listing countries where many citizens meet horrible deaths to satiate the egos of sociopaths for power? The nerve gas stories are the propaganda used to justify yet another Mid-East excursion, as our “wise old men” of Beltway foreign policy get another war to play with. It’s “The Great Game” and countless will die in its being played out.

  3. Bron,

    Actually, the Russians may not be the problem. He’s been active in saying they are critical to the process of dealing with Syria. Right now, the Russians have virtually no presence in the ME after bailing out of Afghanistan. Although the Snowden asylum issue has raised tensions, Russia will likely go along if it means a chance to extend their influence in the region. The problem could be Iran if China decides to take an active role. They’re anti-intervention mainly because they don’t want other governments messing in what they consider their internal affairs. They could also get Iran’s nuclear program over the hump, either overtly (stupid) or covertly (many reasons for doing that). Perhaps a greater risk is Israel. They have nukes and if the practice of using chemical weapons spreads beyond Syria’s borders and/or gets into the hands of terrorist groups in the region, there is no telling what Israel under the Likhud would react to chemical attacks on their soil. My guess is freak completely out despite any leash pulling we might do.

    Regardless, this isn’t likely to be a UN action. Not so long as China has a veto on the Security Council. However, this kind of regional destabilization could indeed lead to a wider global conflict. I just don’t think Russia is going to be the problem at this stage. That could change.

  4. Obama is an idiot and this will lead to WWIII. What does he think the Russians are going to do? Sit back and watch a weak, incompetent man bomb their ally?

    And Biden, what a moron he is as well.

    Every dictator needs a world war and it isnt like progressives dont like world wars. Wilson, Roosevelt and now Obama.

    1. “What does he think the Russians are going to do? Sit back and watch a weak, incompetent man bomb their ally?”


      While I agree with your sentiments, I disagree with the above. The Russians are going to sit back and enjoy us making fools of ourselves with another foreign folly. After all it merely saps our strength further. As for “ally” that is just a meaningless propaganda term used to confuse us. Saddam Hussein was our “ally”, until he wasn’t. The same was true for Mubarak. “Ally” is a rationale to give more money to military contractors and bribe lesser nations for favors.

  5. Thank you Gene. The GB’s here have to be ever vigilant; one eye on the comments and one eye on the spam filter. The dedication is appreciated.

    1. “He spoke of red lines
      The crossing of which, he said,
      Would make him do stuff”


      Elegant. So simple. So descriptively non-descriptive. I echo LK’s sentiments.

  6. OT to lottakatz,

    Thanks for your comments. I used to have a more developed and organized web site with a prose essay section as well as verse and other projects. Unfortunately, it went down under a full-on hack-attack by some right-wing reactionary tolls who used to follow me around Internet bulletin boards like demented flying Dutchmen. Their method of attack consisted of overrunning the e-mail portal with up to four thousand “messages” a day. In response, I had to close off comments so that I could redesign the site. I managed to save most of my verse, but I lost many essays. The temporary “blogspot” blog that I also set up allows comments, I think. Anyway, I’ve started a complete redesign and can only say that as time permits, I’ll make it more open to interactive input. You can always send comments to if you want. I don’t feel confident advertising that on the site, but I check it regularly.

    Thanks again for your kind comments

  7. OTOT to Michael Murry, Visited your site and enjoyed the Fernando Po poetry that I read as well as some other series. I visited your ‘old site’ that had the intro to the Fernando Po series and the context it provided was useful when reading that series. I can’t comment while on your site but I intend to visit to read more of your work.

  8. Gene,
    Edward R. Murrow and his “boys” would be turning in their graves if they could see this. It is a sad day for American journalism when we have to go overseas to sources like the Guardian, Al Jazeera, and the BBC to find out what is going on in the world.

  9. For those who remember President Clinton ordering the destruction of an aspirin factory in Africa — because of some chemicals reportedly discovered there — and then the entire “WMD” hoax perpetrated by the galactic dimwit, Deputy Dubya Bush, it looks like another deja-vu episode of:

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

    We heard complaints galore about
    Saddam Hussein’s grim views
    We heard he planned to strike at us
    We heard it in our news
    The only thing we didn’t know
    Was what he planned to use

    He didn’t have a plane that flew
    He didn’t have a boat
    He had no army worth a damn
    He maybe had a goat
    But still we heard the lurid tales
    Of plans he had afloat

    We only heard these stories, though,
    From our own government
    Our Yellow Press, of course, signed on
    To agitate and vent
    No other nation in the world
    Knew what the hell we meant

    We saw through every thing he did
    He lived within a glass
    We had inspectors prowl about
    Like ants upon his ass
    And still the only thing he passed
    Our CIA was gas

    But still a lack of evidence
    Of weapons in the skies
    Dissuaded no one our team
    From telling packs of lies
    If we found nothing on the ground
    We’d find it in his eyes

    But still he tried to play around
    He wiggled and he squirmed
    Which we interpreted as proof
    That his dark plans had firmed
    We saw in this a sign that our
    Suspicions were confirmed

    Our satellites had photos of
    Some trucks upon the ground
    Which one supposes is the place
    Where trucks are often found
    But Colin Powell said this showed
    Some chemicals around

    And not just that, this spokesman claimed,
    But trucks implied still worse
    They meant Saddam could move some stuff
    And use it to rehearse
    A dastardly attack or two
    Upon the universe

    This may sound histrionic and
    It even might sound mad
    But such insane proposals have
    Some precedents as bad
    Like each time that the USA
    Finds what no one has had

    It happened not too long ago
    In Madame Albright’s room
    Where midnight séances revealed
    Some Prozac in Khartoum
    Which meant that our cruise missiles had
    To make the pills go “boom”

    This raised some eyebrows, so to speak,
    Since those securely placed
    Asked what in Africa deserved
    To have itself effaced
    Explosively by surplus weapons
    No one else would waste

    The answer came, as one would guess,
    In euphemistic slang:
    The old word “pharmaceutical”
    Now means a deadly fang;
    A Weapon of Destructive Mass
    Which we must make go “bang”

    But some had doubts, as skeptics would,
    About these threadbare claims
    They pointed to a history of
    Of underhanded aims
    And said that the attack just smelled
    Of dying Empire games

    No one had seen much proof about
    The rumored, deadly stash
    But that did not deter the ones
    Who claimed with bald panache
    That evidence of nothing proved
    The presence of the cache

    Then someone clever at such things
    Devised a paradigm:
    Some smaller words that sound the same
    Make larger ones that rhyme
    In much the same way as ten cents
    Add up to make a dime

    Thus Hydrogen and Oxygen
    Combined in ratio
    Produce a simple molecule:
    Two “H”s and one “0”
    Or, “water” to those others who
    Their chemistry don’t know

    Thus one could argue plausibly
    (In the subjunctive mood)
    That these “precursor chemicals”
    If placed into our food
    Could then combine to do us harm
    (Or else do us some good)

    As Tweedledee once put the case
    In daffy logic fuzz:
    It would be if it were so; and
    It might be if it was;
    But as it isn’t, then it ain’t.
    So this means that because …

    Or as old Bilbo Baggins at
    His birthday bash observed,
    While Hobbits partied hard and as
    The cake and ale were served:
    He liked less than a half of them
    As well as they deserved.

    Or as the teacher said unto
    The student supplicant
    Who offered lame excuses and
    Got this mood-shifting rant:
    “You would have if you could have; but
    You didn’t, so you can’t!”

    Yes, any fool can argue that
    If-then leads to then-could
    And, yes, the dominoes could fall
    Like lifeless blocks of wood
    But that’s to beg the question of
    Just why or if they should

    Yes, one can make a larger thing
    From smaller things, that’s true
    And, yes, some hydrocarbons can
    Take life from lifeless stew
    (Just add some electricity
    To energize the brew)

    But arguing that someone might
    Have done a thing — or could –-
    Compels no one to reach for the
    Conclusion that they would
    Until they do, they don’t; and so
    Let’s get that understood

    But Boobies don’t like new at all
    They’d rather keep the old
    No matter how the hand’s gone bad
    They’d rather stay than fold
    They bet the farm and lost
    So now they live out in the cold

    With noses pressed against the glass
    They look in from outside
    And could come in the open door
    But for their wounded pride
    Which makes them easy marks for those
    Who’d take them for a ride

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2005

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