Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christians

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Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christians

Post by TimothyC » 2013-06-13 07:29pm

'Cause if he isn't clueless, he's complicit.
Steve Chaggaris, Stephanie Condonfor CBS News wrote:U.S.: Syria used chemical weapons, crossing "red line"

Updated at 6:38 p.m. ET

The Obama administration has concluded that Syrian President Bashar Assad's government used chemical weapons against the rebels seeking to overthrow him and, in a major policy shift, President Obama has decided to supply military support to the rebels, the White House announced Thursday.

"The president has made a decision about providing more support to the opposition that will involve providing direct support to the [Supreme Military Council]. That includes military support," Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes told reporters.

President Obama has repeatedly said that the use of chemical weapons is a "red line" that, if crossed, would be a "game changer" for more U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war.

"The President has been clear that the use of chemical weapons - or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups - is a red line for the United States," said Rhodes in a separate written statement.

"The President has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has," he continued.

In terms of further response, Rhodes said, "we will make decisions on our own timeline" and that Congress and the international community would be consulted. Mr. Obama is heading to Northern Ireland Sunday for a meeting of the G8 group of nations; Rhodes indicated the president will consult with leaders of those countries.

"Any future action we take will be consistent with our national interest, and must advance our objectives, which include achieving a negotiated political settlement to establish an authority that can provide basic stability and administer state institutions; protecting the rights of all Syrians; securing unconventional and advanced conventional weapons; and countering terrorist activity," Rhodes said.

To date, the U.S. policy on Syria has primarily focused on offering the rebels nonlethal assistance and humanitarian aid.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who met with the rebels last month and has been a vocal critic of the president's Syria policy said in a joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: "We appreciate the President's finding that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on several occasions. We also agree with the President that this fact must affect U.S. policy toward Syria. The President's red line has been crossed. U.S. credibility is on the line. Now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. Now is the time for more decisive actions."

"A decision to provide lethal assistance, especially ammunition and heavy weapons, to opposition forces in Syria is long overdue, and we hope the President will take this urgently needed step" they added. Former President Bill Clinton this week, at a private event with McCain, also ratcheted up pressure for the White House to increase its support to the rebels.

However, Rhodes would not detail the type of military support the administration intends on providing. He said helping the opposition improve their effectiveness as a fighting force means helping with "nonlethal assistance" such as communications equipment and transportation. "These are things that allow them to cohere as a unit," he said.

He added, meanwhile, that no decision has been made about enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria. "A no-fly zone... would carry with it open-ended costs for the international community," Rhodes said. "Furthermore, there's not even a clear guarantee that it would dramatically improve the situation on the ground."

Rhodes laid out the intelligence assessment that led to the president's decision saying the U.S. intelligence community determined "that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year."

Rhodes added that "the intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete."

Although that is a small fraction of the more than 90,000 who have died in the civil war, Rhodes said "the use of chemical weapons violates international norms and crosses clear red lines that have existed within the international community for decades."

"We believe that the Assad regime maintains control of these weapons," Rhodes continued. "We have no reliable, corroborated reporting to indicate that the opposition in Syria has acquired or used chemical weapons."

The conflict in Syria has raged on since March 2011 when Assad began cracking down on protesters inspired by the Arab Spring. The war has fallen along ethnic lines, between the Sunni rebels and Assad's Alawite-dominated regime. Rhodes said today that the use of chemical weapons adds an element of urgency to the situation, as does the influx of foreign pro-Assad fighters from Hezbollah and Iran.

While Mr. Obama has said unequivocally that Assad must go, the administration has said it's still aiming for his regime to engage with the opposition to reach a political settlement. In the absence of a political settlement, Rhodes said Syria would be left with "for all intents and purposes, a civil war" that Hezbollah and Iran would jump into. Syria's position in the heart of the Middle East makes the scenario particularly unpredictable.

Rhodes further added that the end of the Assad regime should not have to necessitate the disillusionment in all elements of the state. "There is a future for those in the Assad regime who are willing to accept the end of Bashar Assad's reign but are willing to work for a better future for Syria," he said.
As for the title, I'm talking about this report from FARS.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Raj Ahten » 2013-06-13 08:47pm

I can't say I think arming rebel group will improve the situation in Syria. The possibilities for blowback are immense. I guess the days of proxy wars with Russia aren't over after all. I wonder if the heavy Iranian support of the Assad regime has anything to do with this decision. Perhaps weaken Iran via proxy war in punishment for their nuclear program? Or just a ham fisted attempt to be seen as "doing something" after the Red Line pronouncements?

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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Block » 2013-06-13 08:52pm

Raj Ahten wrote:I can't say I think arming rebel group will improve the situation in Syria. The possibilities for blowback are immense. I guess the days of proxy wars with Russia aren't over after all. I wonder if the heavy Iranian support of the Assad regime has anything to do with this decision. Perhaps weaken Iran via proxy war in punishment for their nuclear program? Or just a ham fisted attempt to be seen as "doing something" after the Red Line pronouncements?
It can't just be that they have confirmed that the Syrian government did in fact use chemical weapons?

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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2013-06-13 09:00pm

Right, because the artillery shell fragment that turns your viscera into goo on the ground is totally not as bad as choking in the mucus of your own lung lining sloughing off. The latter totally magically makes you more dead than the former, so we must stop it! Oh, right, dead is dead...

Yeah, let's just give weapons to al-Qaeda to kill the secular people who sell liquor and let women go to the beach in bikinis. Totally brilliant idea from our supreme lord, Obummer. There's nothing quite so perverse as putting Vladimir Putin on the side of right and good and progress, eh? But that's what this obsession in the administration and government has produced (McCain is just as guilty, after all).

And of course we have evidence the rebels have been using captured chemical weapons themselves, and possibly used them first.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Gandalf » 2013-06-13 09:16pm

American military support! Proudly responsible for expelling those nasty Soviets and creating a free Afghanistan, liberating Latin America from nasty elected governments and... Vietnam.

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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2013-06-13 11:07pm

I may get trounced for this... But, well.. Libya hasn't turned out THAT bad..

I mean, for the most part we went in with pure air support, actively bombed "Enemy" forces. Let the Rebels win, and Libya hans't been all THAT bad since then.
I mean, if we had worked out some join thing with Europe and such, the whole thing might have ended before it got where it is today, where half of the "Rebels" involved are Jihadists wanting to install a Theocracy...

I am sure my thinking is wrong I just can remember where.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Mr Bean » 2013-06-13 11:15pm

To be fair Crossroads you are mostly correct about Libya and the same could apply in Syria. And by that I mean Assad has manage to hold on for so long because he has so many things to tilt the battlefield. The rebels being on home turf with friendly natives and the ability to deny land rather than hold it to weaken Assad are all great advantages. But Assad can counter with his own airforce, tanks and trained soldiers.

If the US was serious about dropping Assad with the fastest result lowest cost a twenty four hour bombing campaign to decimate Assad's advantages would do the trick nicely. If Assad woke up tomorrow minus two dozen military HQ's, his entire airforce and half his armor... things would quickly swing in the rebels favor.

Not that it would do anything to ensure the right rebel group takes control, or is smart long term... but from a military standpoint we've managed to build back up enough in the region to allow a few weeks of heavy bombardment if required.

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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Zadius » 2013-06-13 11:48pm

So what will be done to prevent Assad's chemicals weapons from getting into the hands of al-Qaeda? What will be done to protect the religious minorities from reprisal massacres? What will be done to protect the people from draconian Sharia being implemented in parts of Syria? At least two out of three have already started happening.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Dr. Trainwreck » 2013-06-14 12:36am

With Syria it was always a question not of if, but of who: either Assad would start killing anyone he thinks is a rebel, or the rebels would start killing anyone they think is an infidel. And as for the US backing them (either of them)... well, they have a history in massive failure. It might even come to bite them in the ass in a decade like it did in Afghanistan.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Ace Pace » 2013-06-14 01:56am

Zadius wrote:So what will be done to prevent Assad's chemicals weapons from getting into the hands of al-Qaeda? What will be done to protect the religious minorities from reprisal massacres? What will be done to protect the people from draconian Sharia being implemented in parts of Syria? At least two out of three have already started happening.
What precisely can be done? I'm not sure if you've noticed, but it's a freaking war zone. If you want to implement specific ideas, you're going to have to get involved personally. And no one in the United States seems to want another Middle East War.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Grumman » 2013-06-14 02:47am

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:Right, because the artillery shell fragment that turns your viscera into goo on the ground is totally not as bad as choking in the mucus of your own lung lining sloughing off. The latter totally magically makes you more dead than the former, so we must stop it! Oh, right, dead is dead...
While I can't say how accurate it is, one argument I've heard is that radiological, biological and chemical weapons tend to suck against anyone who is prepared for them, making them far better at killing non-combatants than legitimate military targets. They are bad for the same reason antipersonnel land mines are bad: because they're more likely to cripple or kill some innocent bystander than the person you're aiming at.
Ace Pace wrote:
Zadius wrote:So what will be done to prevent Assad's chemicals weapons from getting into the hands of al-Qaeda? What will be done to protect the religious minorities from reprisal massacres? What will be done to protect the people from draconian Sharia being implemented in parts of Syria? At least two out of three have already started happening.
What precisely can be done? I'm not sure if you've noticed, but it's a freaking war zone. If you want to implement specific ideas, you're going to have to get involved personally. And no one in the United States seems to want another Middle East War.
I think the US's first obligation is to not make things worse. Unless you can honestly say that the guys you are supporting are decent people who aren't going to go massacre some religious minorities after they win, you really should reconsider giving them more guns.

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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Ace Pace » 2013-06-14 06:51am

Grumman wrote: I think the US's first obligation is to not make things worse. Unless you can honestly say that the guys you are supporting are decent people who aren't going to go massacre some religious minorities after they win, you really should reconsider giving them more guns.
I'm not so sure about that. There's precisely one country who is enjoying the ongoing civil war in Syria, and that's Israel. For everybody else, it's far preferable that the war gets resolved one way or the other. I'm not optimistic for a stable Syria if any of the opposition groups win.

What I suspect the U.S. may be doing is giving arms to specific groups, or providing training and support equipment.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Irbis » 2013-06-15 04:47pm

TimothyC wrote:As for the title, I'm talking about this report from FARS.
Sorry to rain on your parade, but this report has been published by FNA, Fars News Agency. It happens to be located in Teheran, Iran. Who, guess what, is huge ally of current Syrian president. I wonder what interest these guys might have in making insurgents look bad? :roll:

And this is without considering, oh, following possibilities, that even if report was true, it could have been work of Assad forces to make insurgents look bad (or simple pacification of insurgent village), that it might have been done by insurgents but for war, not religion related reasons, or work of these insurgents financed by WestAlly4Life, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf theocracies, who look for most religiously crazy groups and shower them with money. Said groups growing in strength because it's about the only group with necessary funds and arms, West not giving a damn about secular groups, unlike they did in Libya, which as Crossroad pointed out turned out much better.

All in all, I'd be first to criticize any religiously motivated violence but this issue reminds me too much of upper class party where people wonder why these laid off workers with no work possibilities turn to theft to survive and why drug gangs who are only potential employer with money are gaining in popularity, then reaching conclusion drugs and poor people are genetically related. Have a very nice day.

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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Flagg » 2013-06-15 04:57pm

So can we get a title change to "dumb conservative gets suckered by Iranian Propaganda"? :wink:
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2013-06-15 11:19pm

Grumman wrote: While I can't say how accurate it is, one argument I've heard is that radiological, biological and chemical weapons tend to suck against anyone who is prepared for them, making them far better at killing non-combatants than legitimate military targets. They are bad for the same reason antipersonnel land mines are bad: because they're more likely to cripple or kill some innocent bystander than the person you're aiming at.
They've killed FAR more soldiers in battle than civilians, and the uses here were against insurgents who didn't have effective protective gear, which is both a military target and a very reasonable cause of employment (hey, those guys don't have masks...). So I don't buy that at all. I've never seen how you can possibly compare chemical weapons to biological weapons (which reproductively spread through the human population) and nukes (which cause actual mass death). Even radiological weapons being included as weapons of mass destruction is pretty retarded, but, you know, the only difference between the "chemical" in dynamite and the chemical weapon is that the reaction takes place outside of you in dynamite and inside of you with a chemical weapon. In both cases you die equally miserably and equally dead. Chemical weapons also rapidly disperse and are really hard to get into appropriate concentrations for death-causing. They're best used against very concentrated troops (i.e., WW1/Iran-Iraq War human waves) or totally unprotected troops. Yeah, you can gas civilians but I suspect using napalm on a Syrian city would kill mostly the same number of people.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Zadius » 2013-06-15 11:36pm

Ace Pace wrote:
Grumman wrote: I think the US's first obligation is to not make things worse. Unless you can honestly say that the guys you are supporting are decent people who aren't going to go massacre some religious minorities after they win, you really should reconsider giving them more guns.
I'm not so sure about that. There's precisely one country who is enjoying the ongoing civil war in Syria, and that's Israel. For everybody else, it's far preferable that the war gets resolved one way or the other. I'm not optimistic for a stable Syria if any of the opposition groups win.

What I suspect the U.S. may be doing is giving arms to specific groups, or providing training and support equipment.
What I'm worried about is that we make the same mistake as in Afghanistan. I'm not referring to the cliché about how America helped create the Taliban either, I'm talking about the fact that we stopped having any involvement after the Soviets left. It was the ensuing civil war which empowered the religious fanatics. If we help the rebels topple Assad, we damn well better also commit to preventing the fanatics within the resistance from gaining power too, not just say "Mission Accomplished" after Assad bites the dust and then allow sectarian massacres and looting of armaments (which includes the chemical weapons). We couldn't stop those things even with troops on the ground in Iraq, so how are we going to stop it from outside? This is a much more sectarian conflict than Libya, especially now that it's developed for two years, and there will be continuation of the war after Assad falls which has great potential to lead to much worse outcomes than what we see now.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Irbis » 2013-06-16 08:57am

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:I've never seen how you can possibly compare chemical weapons to biological weapons (which reproductively spread through the human population) and nukes (which cause actual mass death). Even radiological weapons being included as weapons of mass destruction is pretty retarded, but, you know, the only difference between the "chemical" in dynamite and the chemical weapon is that the reaction takes place outside of you in dynamite and inside of you with a chemical weapon. In both cases you die equally miserably and equally dead. Chemical weapons also rapidly disperse and are really hard to get into appropriate concentrations for death-causing. They're best used against very concentrated troops (i.e., WW1/Iran-Iraq War human waves) or totally unprotected troops. Yeah, you can gas civilians but I suspect using napalm on a Syrian city would kill mostly the same number of people.
Chemical weapons disperse? That was true in WWI. Modern, thickened nerve gas agents can linger in ground for weeks or even months, contaminating environment in exact same manner as dirty radiation bombs. Not to mention the whole argument 'bullets kill, gas kills, what's the difference' can be used on allowing use of every other WMD. Seriously, yes, bullets kill, but they don't kill in far worse manner than most biological agents, like gas weapons, say by burning your entire skin or dissolving nerves permanently and indiscriminately harming everyone in vicinity :roll:
both a military target and a very reasonable cause of employment (hey, those guys don't have masks...)
Taliban fighters don't have WMD HAZMAT suits. Let's nuke them? :roll:

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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Broomstick » 2013-06-16 10:05am

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:Right, because the artillery shell fragment that turns your viscera into goo on the ground is totally not as bad as choking in the mucus of your own lung lining sloughing off. The latter totally magically makes you more dead than the former, so we must stop it! Oh, right, dead is dead...
Given that the US seems to tolerate a death toll via bullet that other nations find appalling, yet will shut down a major metropolitan area to pursue the perpetrators of another form of killing (the Boston Marathon Bombing) perhaps most Americans do make a distinction you do not. It may not be logical, but there seems to be a certain consistency at work.

Frankly, I don't know what's right or wrong in this instance. Partly, I've been preoccupied with issues in my own life that left me less time to follow world events.

I do think it was a mistake to state chemical weapons was "drawing a line", as that means if the line is crossed there is immense pressure to do something even if the least harmful thing is not to get involved. It also gives an incentive to use those weapons if a party wants to draw the US into the conflict. It was a dumb statement on Obama's part. Make no threats and no promises, that gives you more freedom to act according to events and facts as they occur.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2013-06-16 03:49pm

Irbis wrote: Chemical weapons disperse? That was true in WWI. Modern, thickened nerve gas agents can linger in ground for weeks or even months, contaminating environment in exact same manner as dirty radiation bombs.
Dirty radiation bombs aka radiological weapons to be technical are no big deal and neither are chemical weapons. Sure, they'll turn it into a superfund site but our coal industry has produced thousands of those in the US in regular civilian life. Once you plow the radiological material underground with a dozer run by some guy in NBC gear, radiological contamination is more or less a non-issue for short term use of the area and civilians can be relocated as required. Modern thickened nerve gas agents are not particularly worse than WW1 vintage mustard gas (yperite), also a persistent agent. Again topsoil removal and burial and demolition or fumigation of effected structures can rapidly clear the area and until Syria disintegrated into civil war it had functional army units whose sole job was decontamination, in the Soviet military model, just like the US does. These weapons are not a big deal and are quite legitimate when used against lawful combatants in my opinion. The efforts to ban them are simply twisting hairs without a good ethical reason.
Not to mention the whole argument 'bullets kill, gas kills, what's the difference' can be used on allowing use of every other WMD. Seriously, yes, bullets kill, but they don't kill in far worse manner than most biological agents, like gas weapons, say by burning your entire skin or dissolving nerves permanently and indiscriminately harming everyone in vicinity
Napalm, Willy Pete can burn your entire skin and getting your leg shot and bled out but saved because infection didn't set in can easily result in a dead limb with no nerve function. Heavy explosive bombs ALSO indiscriminately harm everyone in the area, as do firebombs, etc, you little twerp. And I said biological weapons were worse so I don't know why you bring them up. Gas weapons aren't biological weapons. And I never said bullets kill in a worse fashion, either! Oops, another red herring there. Let's see: I said that they were roughly equivalent, and it's true, unless you think laying on the ground watching your intestines spill out of your gut and desiccate on the ground as you slowly bleed out under the hot sun with some flies trying to get into your body cavity is magically "better" in any objective sense than having your skin bleached by chemical burns and start to blister off. I guess concussive shock from an earthquake bomb shattering your internal organs is much better than phosgene filling your lungs with liquid, too!
Taliban fighters don't have WMD HAZMAT suits. Let's nuke them? :
Why not? The problem with nuclear bombs is using them against civilian targets.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Terralthra » 2013-06-16 05:16pm

Using WP or napalm as examples probably won't help your cause, as the use of those weapons on civilians, or on military targets near concentrations of civilians, is prohibited by the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, agreed to in 1980. So yea, those weapons are equally horrible ways to die as chemical nerve agents...and are similarly restricted as tools of legitimate warfare.

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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Thanas » 2013-06-16 05:26pm

Broomstick wrote:I do think it was a mistake to state chemical weapons was "drawing a line", as that means if the line is crossed there is immense pressure to do something even if the least harmful thing is not to get involved. It also gives an incentive to use those weapons if a party wants to draw the US into the conflict. It was a dumb statement on Obama's part. Make no threats and no promises, that gives you more freedom to act according to events and facts as they occur.
I agree with the rest of your post but it is very unlikely anybody wants to draw the US into the conflict. Certainly not Assad.
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Broomstick » 2013-06-16 10:35pm

I could imagine a rebel group thinking if they could draw the US in the conflict on their side it would be to their benefit. I don't know if such exists but it's a possibility.
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Thanas
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Thanas » 2013-06-17 01:26am

So they'd gas their own people after somehow getting their hands on chemical weapons? How likely do you think that is?
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Grumman
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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by Grumman » 2013-06-17 05:45am

Thanas wrote:So they'd gas their own people after somehow getting their hands on chemical weapons? How likely do you think that is?
Why would it have to be their own people? If one of the rebel factions had the opportunity and the desire to perform this sort of false-flag attack, couldn't they aim it at one of the other rebel factions?

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Re: Obama the Clueless backs the murderers of Syrian Christi

Post by energiewende » 2013-06-17 05:52am

Whatever the idea, Obama's response on this has been very weak and since Cameron and Sarkozy didn't guilt him into doing something this time, so therefore has been the response of the whole Western world.

Of course, "We want nothing to do with this.", "The rebels are bad guys too." and "We have our own problems." are all potentially valid lines. But we haven't exactly taken any of them. By establishing "red lines" that can be crossed without consequence, drip feeding the rebels support as they start to lose more and more ground, isolating the Assad regime diplomatically, etc. we have indicated we support the rebels, and yet they will probably lose and we probably won't come to save them. This means that their defeat will be viewed as our defeat. From a strategic PoV, taking just about any stance other than the one Obama has taken (vascillation in the hope the issue will go away) would be preferable.

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