Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chemical weapons will get the US military involved every time

Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Remember those?

Were they, or were they not in Iraq?  It didn't matter.  Even without proof, the US went in there and turned the country upside down.  When someone uses a biological weapon on planet Earth, the US military will track you down.  If you use it on your own people, you will probably try to use it in Times Square eventually.

The case can be made that the Iraqi situation was political..oil, carryover from 1992, etc.  But in Syria, there is no doubt the current regime used chemical bombs.  The NSA has satellite and video proof.  So get ready.

From Wonkblog this a.m.:

By Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas, Published: August 27 at 8:23 am
“Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”
That was Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday. His whole press conference sounded like that. As my Post colleague Max Fisher wrote, it was hard to find “a single sentence” in Kerry’s remarks “that did not sound like a direct case for imminent U.S. military action against Syria.”
“Military action” doesn’t mean war, of course. The Obama administration appears to be leaning towards offshore missile strikes, possibly as part of a NATO-led campaign. Air strikes are possible, too, but Syria’s been purchasing high-tech anti-aircraft defenses from Russia for years. Actual air strikes sharply raise the likelihood of U.S. casualties.
That’s not something the public wants. A Reuters/Ipsos online poll found that only nine percent of Americans want to see the Obama administration intervene militarily in Syria. When asked whether the U.S. should intervene in the event that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against civilians, only 25 percent said “yes.”
That could change, of course, if the media begins devoting more coverage to the atrocities and the Obama administration and key Republicans begin publicly making the case for intervention. But given that the public’s initial reaction is sharply against, any change in the numbers would be fragile — which is always a dangerous way to begin a military intervention. Particularly one that might quickly spin out of control.
“Syria has one of the biggest armies in the region,” says Heather Hurlburt, director of the National Security Network. “It has a lot of very expensive anti-aircraft material from Russia. It won’t be like Iraq or Libya.” And if nothing else, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, given President Obama’s “red line” rhetoric, suggests he’ll use anything he’s got to retain power.
Moreover, it’s not just Assad. “What’s missing from the headlines is that there are many different external actors with interests in the outcome in Syria that are funneling money and funneling resources,” says Leila Hilal, director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation. Iran is supporting the regime, in part through Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supporting the rebels.
If there’s a “good” outcome here, it’s the one mentioned by Slate’s Fred Kaplan: A bombing campaign convinces Assad he can’t win outright and he instead comes to the table for a negotiated settlement. That’s not necessarily a likely outcome, but Kerry’s press conference on Monday suggests the Obama administration has concluded a good outcome is even less likely if they do nothing.

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