Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 and the continuing War on Terror

It has been 12 years since the day we will never forget. The catastrophic events of September 11 2001 will be forever remembered throughout the free world and commemorated again today in New York with the official ceremony of the reading of the victims’ names. And there will be a laser tribute, shining brightly into space. This is the United States of America, and its light of its liberty will never be extinguished.

His Grace has received an email from The White House of President Obama's speech justifying military action against Syria. It is agonising in its decisive indecision. The President who was elected to end war - and, indeed, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize days after taking office for no other reason than that he was not that evil warmonger George W Bush - is paralysed by Syria. The speech is reproduced in its entirety:

From White House Office of Communications
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 10, 2013


East Room
9:01 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk to you about Syria - why it matters, and where we go from here.

Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war. Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement. But I have resisted calls for military action, because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening: Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas. Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk. On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits - a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war.

This was not always the case. In World War I, American GIs were among the many thousands killed by deadly gas in the trenches of Europe. In World War II, the Nazis used gas to inflict the horror of the Holocaust. Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them. And in 1997, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity.

On August 21st, these basic rules were violated, along with our sense of common humanity. No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria. The world saw thousands of videos, cell phone pictures, and social media accounts from the attack, and humanitarian organizations told stories of hospitals packed with people who had symptoms of poison gas.

Moreover, we know the Assad regime was responsible. In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gasmasks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighborhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces. Shortly after those rockets landed, the gas spread, and hospitals filled with the dying and the wounded. We know senior figures in Assad’s military machine reviewed the results of the attack, and the regime increased their shelling of the same neighborhoods in the days that followed. We’ve also studied samples of blood and hair from people at the site that tested positive for sarin.

When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it. Because what happened to those people - to those children - is not only a violation of international law, it’s also a danger to our security.

Let me explain why. If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them. Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield. And it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons, and to use them to attack civilians.

If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction, and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran - which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon, or to take a more peaceful path.

This is not a world we should accept. This is what’s at stake. And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.

That's my judgment as Commander-in-Chief. But I’m also the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress. I believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress. And I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together.

This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the President, and more and more burdens on the shoulders of our troops, while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.

Now, I know that after the terrible toll of Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of any military action, no matter how limited, is not going to be popular. After all, I've spent four and a half years working to end wars, not to start them. Our troops are out of Iraq. Our troops are coming home from Afghanistan. And I know Americans want all of us in Washington - especially me - to concentrate on the task of building our nation here at home: putting people back to work, educating our kids, growing our middle class.

It’s no wonder, then, that you're asking hard questions. So let me answer some of the most important questions that I've heard from members of Congress, and that I've read in letters that you've sent to me.

First, many of you have asked, won’t this put us on a slippery slope to another war? One man wrote to me that we are “still recovering from our involvement in Iraq.” A veteran put it more bluntly: “This nation is sick and tired of war.”

My answer is simple: I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo. This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons, and degrading Assad’s capabilities.

Others have asked whether it's worth acting if we don’t take out Assad. As some members of Congress have said, there’s no point in simply doing a “pinprick” strike in Syria.

Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver. I don't think we should remove another dictator with force - we learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next. But a targeted strike can make Assad, or any other dictator, think twice before using chemical weapons.

Other questions involve the dangers of retaliation. We don’t dismiss any threats, but the Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military. Any other retaliation they might seek is in line with threats that we face every day. Neither Assad nor his allies have any interest in escalation that would lead to his demise. And our ally, Israel, can defend itself with overwhelming force, as well as the unshakeable support of the United States of America.

Many of you have asked a broader question: Why should we get involved at all in a place that's so complicated, and where - as one person wrote to me - “those who come after Assad may be enemies of human rights?”

It’s true that some of Assad’s opponents are extremists. But al Qaeda will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death. The majority of the Syrian people - and the Syrian opposition we work with - just want to live in peace, with dignity and freedom. And the day after any military action, we would redouble our efforts to achieve a political solution that strengthens those who reject the forces of tyranny and extremism.

Finally, many of you have asked: Why not leave this to other countries, or seek solutions short of force? As several people wrote to me, “We should not be the world’s policeman.”

I agree, and I have a deeply held preference for peaceful solutions. Over the last two years, my administration has tried diplomacy and sanctions, warning and negotiations - but chemical weapons were still used by the Assad regime.

However, over the last few days, we’ve seen some encouraging signs. In part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action, as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin, the Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons. The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons, and even said they’d join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.

It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies.

I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path. I’m sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart on Thursday, and I will continue my own discussions with President Putin. I’ve spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies, France and the United Kingdom, and we will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons, and to ultimately destroy them under international control. We’ll also give U.N. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st. And we will continue to rally support from allies from Europe to the Americas - from Asia to the Middle East - who agree on the need for action.

Meanwhile, I’ve ordered our military to maintain their current posture to keep the pressure on Assad, and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails. And tonight, I give thanks again to our military and their families for their incredible strength and sacrifices.

My fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements - it has meant enforcing them. The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world is a better place because we have borne them.

And so, to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with a failure to act when a cause is so plainly just. To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain, and going still on a cold hospital floor. For sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.

Indeed, I’d ask every member of Congress, and those of you watching at home tonight, to view those videos of the attack, and then ask: What kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas, and we choose to look the other way?

Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged.” Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria, along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the worst weapons will never be used.

America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

END 9:17 P.M. EDT



Blogger carl jacobs said...

Translation. He doesn't have the votes in Congress and he hasn't carried public opinion. He is asking to postpone the vote to avoid defeat. If he could win, he would pursue the vote regardless. He would be in a much stronger diplomatic position if he had the authorization on his pocket. This shows weakness, and not strength. He looks like a politician trying to save face with a lot of bluster.


11 September 2013 at 10:33  
Blogger meema said...

I apologize, Your Grace, I could not listen to therefore cannot read Community Organizer In Chief’s vacuous, empty words.

For those who soldiered through and now could use a stiff drink and antibiotic, might I direct you to Sultan Knish’s Blog - A September Evening.


11 September 2013 at 10:37  
Blogger IanCad said...

What's the betting that Assad, in a few months time, will begin to attract Western support?

11 September 2013 at 10:39  
Blogger Unce Brian said...

Your Grace, I think Obama ws right on three key points:

1. He was right to accept the Russian offer

2. He was right to remain sceptical about it

3. He was right to postpone the vote in Congress until it can be seen what concrete results, if any, the Russian offer may yield.

On the other hand, I agree with you that the speech itself was often unclear. Do you think he might have done better to postpone the speech, too, until there is some indioation of what the Russian talks may lead to?

11 September 2013 at 10:39  
Blogger Naomi King said...

For Islam, the game is zero sum. American civilization thrives, then their civilization is shadowed. If people are happy there, then they cannot be happy in Islam. If there are two towers in New York, that detracts from the glory of Islamic civilization. Islam is the bitter beggar forever looking to steal what it cannot have, worrying over the imaginary history of its own greatness and cursing the upstarts in the streets of a foreign city for taking the glory was rightfully theirs.

11 September 2013 at 11:08  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Well it is good that there looks like a diplomatic solution to this issue. What it does highlight is how badly Obama and Cameron do diplomacy. I guess that is the difference between a statesman and people who can do a good speech...

11 September 2013 at 11:09  
Blogger David B said...

To be fair, it is a terribly difficult situation.

It does look as if the gas can be laid on Assad's door, but then I remember errors coming, by accident or design, from western intelligence agencies before.


11 September 2013 at 11:50  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Has not Putin offered to cooperate with all sides to store the gas weapons beyond use, into a safe place ? If this is true, as I only read one mention of it, and if Obama's motives are truly about preventing the use of such mass murder ( which I doubt ) then that would appear to be a constructive, and hopefully achievable, way to progress. Then the two sides can slog it out using other conventional weapons.

I am very focussed on the fact that religious minorities, including Christians, will face a better future under an Assad victory than the alternative.

11 September 2013 at 12:24  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

In Syria, the War on Terror has become the War on Christianity, the United States allying itself with Saudi Arabia to remove a government protective of Christians. It is inconceivable that the opposition forces, on achieving power, would turn aside from being the persecutors of Christians and become their defenders. Saudi Arabia’s post-Assad Syria—‘In the future, Syria will be ruled by a moderate and democratic regime that will be directly sponsored by us’—will be as welcoming to Christians as post-Saddam Iraq.

11 September 2013 at 12:28  
Blogger Unce Brian said...

David Hussell

I am very focussed on the fact that religious minorities, including Christians, will face a better future under an Assad victory than the alternative.

Yes, I'm sure you're right. Or as sure as anyone can be about anything in Syria at the moment.
On the other hand, to the extent that Assad has become increasingly dependent on Iran, even a post-civil war Syria still ruled by Assad would no longer be the same as it was before the "Arab spring" began.

11 September 2013 at 13:03  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Pussyfooting strategically towards war at all costs is how I read that speech.

11 September 2013 at 13:06  
Blogger Ivan said...

It must be wonderful to have a vacuous mind like Obama's. One day he's all ready to fight on the same side as the perpetrators of the 9/11 atrocities, and on 9/11 itself treat us to some bathos about protecting the children without missing a beat either way.

11 September 2013 at 13:21  
Blogger non mouse said...

Your Grace: I'm with meema on this. I cannot listen to this individual's voice - it carries something spiritually vile. The words it articulates, therefore, are polluted - whether on air, on MSw's cloud, or in material form.

If he manages to convert those words to US Action ... many in all places will reveal their true colours.

11 September 2013 at 14:16  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Obama said:
“Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war.”
Yes, you've been causing trouble for a lot longer than two years in that region. Why after so many years of relative peace there is there civil war? Who has been stirring things up in the middle east to obtain change that will favour what they, the Saudis and Quataris want? You Americans are known meddlers with your covert action teams and pressure bullies quietly stirring (and it doesn’t take much) the side you want to win to cause unrest, then arming them too.

Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement.”

Oh please spare us the hypocrisy! On the outside ever the do gooder whilst shaping a political settlement in favour of what you want on the inside.

“But I have resisted calls for military action, because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Good. Thrash out your oil and gas supply issues and your pipeline routing problems around the negotiating table.
Why would you want to solve someone else's civil war at all unless you had vested interests in changing things in their country? You helped start that civil war Mr Obomber without a thought of any of the consequences. Everyone in the world needs energy therefore I think all companies who mine it should be run as not for profit organisations to cover their costs and eliminate greed. God gave us the raw materials free for everyone.

“The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children.”

Who has the track record of using chemical weapons?
So it was OK for America to use Agent Orange chemicals to kill and disfigure millions of children in Vietnam then? Again the hypocrisy.

11 September 2013 at 14:25  
Blogger Preacher said...

Why is nothing said by Obama about the atrocities committed by Islamic radicals against Syrian Christians. The death toll has been mounting for decades in Syria & other Islamic countries.
The killing of women & children no matter what their beliefs, is evil. But the number of dead in the sarin attack is minute compared to those who have died without international condemnation, simply because they are Christians.

11 September 2013 at 14:25  
Blogger Ivan said...

I've been hearing about the over 100,000 dead under the dastardly Assad and decided to have a look. It turns out that dead Syrian government forces and allied militia themselves account for about 40,000 of the total. In any civil war we can expect a multiple of these as the accompanying civilian dead; which means that if anything Assad's own supporters account for significantly more than half the dead. Such simple maths is apparently beyond the idiots who turn in the intelligence reports and assessments. And Mekong Hat Kerry has not explained how he came up with the figure of precisely 1,429 dead in the gas attacks, when the French number is less than 500 and that of Médecins Sans Frontières is around 350.

11 September 2013 at 15:01  
Blogger Dr.D said...

The continued blathering of an IDIOT.

He has lost all respect in the US as well as the world. He is truly isolated now; everyone can see the emperor has no clothes.

It takes a real klutz to make this sort of mess, and O has done it with grace and efficiency. Between O, Biden, Clinton and Kerry, the US has never, ever, had such wishy-washy dumb foreign policy. We are in the hands of fools now.

God help us.

Fr. D+
Anglican Priest in the USA

11 September 2013 at 15:05  
Blogger Manfarang said...

"There may be an increased risk of anti-western sentiment linked to the possibility of military action in Syria. Keep up to date with developments, be vigilant and avoid any protests or demonstrations."
I just received this.

11 September 2013 at 15:10  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

“My answer is simple: I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. “

No of course you will use those already there on the opposition side namely Al-Qaida affiliate Al-Nusra and the Al-Arabia cannibals, and you can mobilise those old mujahideen lot from Chechen you trained up for a previous war furnishing them what's left of the weapons from Zagreb to back them up.

Excerpt from article by Johnnes Stern.

A Christian inhabitant reported that he “saw the militants grabbing five villagers and threatening them: ‘Either you convert to Islam, or you will be beheaded.’” A Christian woman speaking to AP confirmed reports that the Islamists threatened Christian inhabitants with death if they did not convert.

Another resident told reporters that one of Maaloula’s churches, called Demyanos, had been torched and that armed rebels stormed and pillaged two other churches. Most of the rebels are not Syrians, he said, explaining that he identified various foreign dialects, mainly Tunisian, Libyan, Moroccan and Chechen.

One of the few who remained in Maaloula despite the terror, George, aged 73, told AFP by phone: “People are afraid, they are terrified. There is no one left in Maaloula, everyone has fled.”

A Christian woman who managed to escape to Damascus gave an interview to the BBC describing in tears that she had to leave all her belongings behind as the rebels who wore “free army clothes and had covered their faces” entered the town. “People left everything, they even were not able to take their money with them,” she cried.

She blamed US president Barack Obama and US allies for arming and financing the Islamist forces who brought death and destruction over her village. “We need Obama to stop sending the big instruments, guns… they have to stop sending it to the rebels because they are killing us,” she said in tears.”

11 September 2013 at 15:27  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Two points.
Firstly it is interesting, and heartening, how on this tangled web of issues we all seem to be on, very roughly, the same heading.
Secondly it reaffirms my conviction that the post-modern western political leaders, who are almost all unsupported by the Judaeo-Christian bedrock relied upon by their predecessors, are totally lost, and useless as practical leaders in a crisis. They speak with conviction usually when they undermine that framework that previously supported their society, Obama especially (and I have no wish to reopen the SSM debate!).
I take solace in the fact that, at least in the UK, the public has more sense than its "leader" Cameroon.

11 September 2013 at 15:35  
Blogger Peter David said...

I thought this comment from a reliable source might be of interest:
A Belgian writer named Pierre Piccinin and an Italian journalist named Domenico Quirico were captured and held hostage several months ago by the Syrian rebels. When they were finally released yesterday, they had devastating news to reveal: based on conversations among the rebels that they overheard, the sarin attack in Ghouta had not been ordered by the Syrian government, but was launched by the rebels themselves.
End Qte:
This was broadcast on Belgian television, no comment from other news services and definitely not from the BBC.

11 September 2013 at 17:00  
Blogger JimS said...

Syria, not being a signatory to the chemical weapons convention, is entitled to use chemical weapons internally if it so wishes. That is not against international law.

The USA, being a member of the UN security council, is bound by Article 2 of the UN charter. It is therefore illegal for the USA to intervene in the internal affairs of another member state and further illegal to carry out an attack on a member state.

11 September 2013 at 17:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Worryingly emotive, but reassuringly desperate in its plea. One is in no doubt that this ‘grasping at hope’ statement was the last thing he wanted to issue…

We must ourselves hope that Assad keeps his nerve, and survives to defeat Obama’s rebel chums…

Can anyone explain why this POTUS wants a hard line Islamic terror state bordering Israel ? And can anyone remember the last time a mere thousand civil war dead were valued in such an extraordinarily princely way. Both rhetorical questions, one suspects…

11 September 2013 at 17:32  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


It is therefore illegal for the USA to intervene in the internal affairs of another member state and further illegal to carry out an attack on a member state.

So .. ummm ... who do you expect will enforce that 'law?'


11 September 2013 at 18:35  
Blogger Albert said...


So .. ummm ... who do you expect will enforce that 'law?'

Vladimir Putin, apparently.

11 September 2013 at 18:40  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Just read O's soliloquy.* Ouch. Carl and have my sympathy.

so·lil·o·quy. Noun. An act of speaking one's thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers....

11 September 2013 at 23:26  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Carl neatly nails the myth of " International Law ".

11 September 2013 at 23:48  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


I admit it. I laughed out loud. I am not sure I should have, but I did.

Although to be serious for a moment, President Obama is limited not by Putin but by his political exposure. He has all the authority he needs to order a strike, but he wants political cover. It's the absence of that later that ties his hands.



12 September 2013 at 00:04  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

Time out,while sotero engineers another pretext to advance the brezinski plan for total American domination of the middle east,and everywhere else in the fullness of time.I expect that soteros masters are very upset that this fraudulent illegal alien has woken up the American people,so now there will be social consessions to lull them back to sleep,until the next time.

12 September 2013 at 08:14  
Blogger Albert said...


I should add that, while I disagree with Obama on this, it give me no pleasure to see Russia deciding Washington's policy.

12 September 2013 at 10:20  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, last we chewed the bacon over this issue, you mistook my position. The grounds for a punitive strike against both sides should be with one clear aim only: to discourage use of chemicals as they are a clear and present danger to the US and its allies everywhere. Period. His Grace was totally correct in pointing out the immorality of intervening on behalf of Muslim victims, while ignoring Christian ones. Let the UN spend the next decade hosting junkets, investigating and dragging the issue through its pretend courts. Instead, your Obama waffled and speechified, turning himself into a mouth piece channeling an entire General Assembly gabfest all on his own. Even Hamlet knew when to shut up. How much better it would have been for the US to rough up the command establishment or the forces of both sides a little hours after the chemicals and then to send a box of chocolates in the form of aid to the civilians. Putin would have fumed like the impotent KGB mafioso he is, the UN would have sulked and struck dozens of committees in 5 star hotels over "intenational law" and by now it would have been over as anissue of substance.... except for the militants on both sides who'd be looking over their shoulders and voiding bowels with every sound of a cruise missile or drone from thereon. Instead, what we have now is a farce. A very dangerous farce which has set the US back and will cost so many more lives in the longer term.

12 September 2013 at 14:59  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Carl, last we chewed the bacon over this issue, you mistook my position.


The grounds for a punitive strike against both sides ...

I have heard some reports that the Islamists used gas. Nothing confirmed. I frankly believe the Administration has accurate intelligence and is telling the truth about its best judgment of who did what.

... should be with one clear aim only: to discourage use of chemicals as they are a clear and present danger to the US and its allies everywhere.

Well, two things. I admit that there is some level of increased risk if CW gets used. It is however a huge leap to move from usage to a 'clear and present danger to the US and its allies.' I don't see that at all. Saddam gassed his own people 25 years ago. No one did anything about it. Nothing terrible happened external to Iraq because of it. nevertheless, I grant that reasonable people can disagree about this aspect.

The second issue is more problematic. What do you do about it? A punative strike would next to worthless. What are the targets? How will destroying them actually achieve the objective of deterrence? I don't believe there is an answer to those questions that involves only cruise missiles.

It's possible that the US could affect the behavior of the regime by specifically targeting the leaders of the regime for assassination. I have never forgotten the effectiveness of one bomb strike on Khadaffi's house. If the leadership of Syria feels they might die as a result, then they would modify their behavior. So you could start dropping 2000 Lb bombs through the roofs of houses. That would probably work on the Syrian regime. Of course, Peter D is going to put on his Nun's habit, find a long ruler, and smack me with it for advocating the commission of evil for the sake of achieving good. the soultion, while effective, does have problems.

But what would you do against the Islamists? The only way to affect them is to kill large numbers of them. You would have to frustrate their military ambitions. A cruise missile is almost the wost possible weapon of choice to achieve this outcome. To actually hurt them, you would have to intervene in force, close with them and kill them. This is what the President has specifically said he will not do.

So I fear that any strike will be a display of weakness and not of strength. I fear it will demonstrate by example that there are no real consequences for using CW, and therefore make their use more likely.


12 September 2013 at 18:42  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


What bothers me is what perceptions does bombing without risk give out?

Would the US bomb China if China used gas on its people?

Would the US bomb the UK? Russia?

The perception is that the West are happy to use the tactics of the bully which is to fight only when you will not get hurt yourself.

That is a bad perception.


12 September 2013 at 20:20  
Blogger IanCad said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 September 2013 at 20:28  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Phil Roberts,

I rather suspect that Carl is being 'the devil's advocate' there... I suspect he is outlining for you the 'alternatives' to Obama- kicking ass should mean KICKING ASS- but anyways he is quite right in his implications.

I've said this myself that the 'west' ties its own hands by being 'liberal' when it comes to war,something which the Jihadists do not care aboutl they'd happily slaughter men,women,children by any means they can lay their grubby protrubrances on, but the west is limited to 'surgical' strikes. That is the thrust of his argument. I'd witter on, but I'd be called right wing or something...

12 September 2013 at 20:38  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 September 2013 at 22:14  

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