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Thursday, 06 April 2017

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Any options available and palatable to the Western mind set ended a few years ago with Red Line being erased. The horse has left the barn, the cows have gotten out of the fence and all that. Dealing with Assad will be like dealing with KimJong Fat Boy. Both need to die but the power vacuums will be perilous.

There is a theory going round that Trump planned to woo Putin away from Iran. It would be a good idea, though I've no idea how realistic it is. Maybe by giving Putin an excuse for distancing himself from Assad this will help in that endeavour.
Also how was Assad able to do this? Weren't we assured by SOS Kerry that he gave up all his chemical weapons years ago? Plus the death toll, first reported as 200 but the latest I've seen reported as 60 seems way low for a chemical attack.
Finally why do we get exercised about so and so "bombing his own people". Nobody castigates Lincoln for doing essentially the same.

The use of gas is considered particularly immoral because it kills indiscriminately and with little control ( https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/why-chemical-weapons-are-different/279482/ ). However, in a war in which atrocities against civilians and children have been committed almost daily, does the currently notorious gas attack video represent a significant change in the state of war?

During and after the presidential campaign Trump repeated that the Syrian civil war and refugees are not the problem of the US. His administration's faith in that idea will now be tested.

I've some thoughts on this, too over at The Diplomad, if you're interested. http://www.thediplomad.com/2017/04/syria-siren-song-of-war.html?m=0

"Nobody castigates Lincoln for doing essentially the same."
Lincoln did no such thing. Indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets was initiated by the Nazis when they bombed Warsaw, Poland to start WWII.

Why is it that I feel that all of this is manipulated theatre for the masses. Who is making the money? Who is up for the gain? What are we being distracted from ? Will accepting more refugees be more acceptable now? Politics is dirty rotten game.

Why not cut out the middleman? The Russians and Americans could just lob cruise missiles at each other.

That whole gas attack looked to me like a false flag.

I suspect Trump's motives for such a massive reaction have more to do with the Chinee than with the merits or demerits of an intervention in Syria.

I still think (hope?) that Trump is too street smart to get involved there.

Well it seems we launched some missiles into Syria. I’m not sure what was destroyed beyond an airfield. Syria is still a mess. The larger message is probably who else is watching. Iran and North Korea probably.

If USA throws its weight around then Russia and China might join up. They are both of the same faith and have lots of spare civilians. Whereas the USA gets faint if a dozen of theirs are killed.

Chemical weapons have been used in Syria, of that we can be sure. In case anyone reading this does not know it, chemical weapons are classed as weapons of mass destruction. Nerve agents such as Sarin and Soman are incredibly potent. I remember from my own NBC training that a drop the size of a pinhead on the naked skin is enough to kill. The death that follows is horrific; definitely not a good way to go.

All this is why the superpowers - notably America - have definite lines in the sand over this that must NEVER be crossed. Tragically, the line was crossed during Obama's term of office when Chlorine gas was used. Not only did Obama not do anything, but he even tried to re-classify Chlorine as not being a chemical weapon. All I can say is tell that to the poor bastards on whom the gas was first used on the 22nd of April, 1915. An account of this is given in Jeremy Paxman and Robert Harris's book 'A Higher Form of Killing' and it is one of the ghastliest things I have ever read. It literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Obama's lack of action sent a definite message out, that the line in the sand was no more and that chemical weapons could be used with impunity.

Now, chemical weapons have been used again, but this time nerve agent which is infinitely more potent than Chlorine gas. So who was responsible? Many people are arguing that there was no logic in Assad using them, but then logic and the Middle East do not exactly go hand in hand. Sarin is definitely not something that can be bought off the shelf. It has to be manufactured and stockpiled. A delivery system is necessary to use it. All this points to government, with Assad as the most likely culprit.

History may yet prove me wrong as thus far, the information placed in the public domain has been very limited. One thing I will say though. Trump's limited action has redrawn that line in the sand and whatever else you may think of him, that has to be a good thing.

The airport Trump bombed was back in use yesterday. The bigger effect of the attack was to convince our media that, gosh, since he can order things to be blown up The Donald really is president. It probably won't last long as they are already on to wondering what's next.

One might also wonder why Trump found this particular gas attack so moving that he would, within the span of a day, completely reverse his long-time opinion that we should stay out of the Syrian civil war. There have been more than 40 reported, using various chemical agents, since the infamous Ghouta attack of August 2013:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_chemical_weapons_in_the_Syrian_civil_war#Incidents

Bob?

You are, of course, aware one of the signal promises of the recent presidential campaign was to, paraphrasing, "Get Americans working again!"

There was of course, focus placed on the Rust Belt of yore but, probably more "jobs deprived" are those in the region of the American South. So ...

http://www.magnoliareporter.com/news_and_business/ouachita_county/article_b6687b64-1b3e-11e7-9b32-ff2cea96a045.html

Heavens to Betsy, Bob, Trump changed his mind just like Obama did *after* he finished painting that red line of his! 'Whodathunkit?

And I suspect that there was more to it than just outrage (real or supposed) over the use of chemical weapons. Consider, what better time to suddenly unleash American missiles than when the Chinese President is in residence? Also, a useful marker for 'Vlad' to take into consideration.

JK, good for AR. I guess.

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David, the situations were not the same. In fact they were exactly the opposite. Obama decided he couldn't get support for military action from the war-weary Congress and American public:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/the-war-against-isis-will-go-undeclared/390618/

There are already congressmen from both parties complaining that Trump's attack was illegal:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/04/06/twitter-remembers-trump-called-out-obama-bypassing-congress-syria-attack/100153944/

No one can get intae the minds of Islamists. George Bush Jnr did say after 9/11 that this was the 21st century War. Trump did his best to keep the Islamists out of the US.

By the way David, you are now an honorary American Republican. You have correctly given the answer to any controversy about Trump: "yeah, but Obama" or "yeah, but Clinton" or "yeah, but [name of any other Democrat]".

Bob, please stop with the jokes, already! Obama never stopped issuing executive orders whenever he felt like it - 276 to be exact although not quite as many as Bill Clinton's 364! The fact is that he chickened out after painting his infamous red line. Now whether he was right or wrong, or whether Trump was right or wrong, none of us know for sure, it's all down to those wretched "events, dear boy, events".

Yeah David, darned tootin' as we say around here.

Now let me join you David in assuring Bob that, Trump's next move won't be like Bob was worrying about so loudly mere months ago - the EU has seen "the writing on the wall" so they'll be highly unlikely to do anything that risks a nuclear response.

Oh and Bob?

Get a grip.

Very good David. Next you should learn the blanket denial. Repeat after me: "alternative facts".

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JK, get a sense of humor. I'm fairly sure Trump would be sedated and spirited away to some luxury golf course to sleep it off before the secret service would let him nuke Europe. In fairness I will stipulate that the preceding contains humorous intent.

I anticipate being called something like "Putin's troll" but anyway...Why there is so much confidence the things happened like it's described in media and in officials' stamp-like statements? Colin Powell with fake beakers is still perfectly remembered.Needless to say about the video and the consitency of the eywithesses' evidence.

Alexy, good to have you back at D&N and you are absolutely right to remind us that there is still no absolute proof that Assad ordered the attack, although Assad has previous form in this sort of activity so he is naturally a suspect. Also, I read somewhere that the Russian forces have total radar plots covering Syria and should be able to prove, or disprove, Assad's guilt or innocence.

Many thanks, David!
As far as I am concerned the radar data won't be helpful on defining whether it was a gas attack or not (I heard nobody denies conventional bombing at the moment). Anyway the strike was done without any investigation and it looks no investigation is needed for the society, which is pretty pity.

Even so, Alexey, Russia is obviously a key witness and it is a little surprising that they have done no more than issue denials without some sort of supporting evidence, after all, Assad is their 'glove puppet'!

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