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JoshuaBudden

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We don't need another war. We really don't need to go to war with an ally of Russia, China and Iran. 

Here are some petitions. Sign them all, and contact your congressmen.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/no-war-syria/QcTV4m0F

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/obama_syria/

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/president-obama-dont-18

swansok4

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Reply with quote  #2 
I disagree with the USA not getting involved in Syria. If Mr Assad or his representatives truly did use poisonous gas to attack and kill rebel, it is our duty to bring him to justice. The use of chemical weapons is a war crime. Sometimes, force, even deadly force, must be used to stop war criminals. I think the key is making 100% sure that Mr Assad's forces were responsible for the attack and not some rebel faction or terrorist group.
JoshuaBudden

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That's a big if.  And the US need to respect international law by proving theri case to the UN, rather than just saying they have proof.  If we attack without UN approval we undermine international law as surely as whoever used chemical weapons.

There are also serious problems with inconsistancy, as the US facilitated chemical attacks against Iran in the 80's. We then ignore genocide in Africa, and give aid to Israel who uses white phosporus on Palestinians.  We repeatedly enter wars over lies, and ignore humanatarian crisis.  Further we have not seriously persued ending this conflict through diplomacy, and our bombs will end all hopes of this ending through diplomacy.

One more thing:

Drew Voss

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Reply with quote  #4 

@swansok4: It’s good to know that I am not the only Justice Party member who is in favor of intervention in Syria.

I know that I am in the minority, but here is an attempt at the defense of my own stance that I hope you will give fair consideration. 

While I am not endowed with an over-abundance of trust in the current administration, I am inclined to believe the government’s analysis of test samples from the site of the attack. (After all, if they had lied, they would not get away with it, given that the UN will release their own independent results in the very near future.) I do not however believe there is any credibility to the claim that the rebels somehow stole Assad’s chemical weapons and used them on rebel and civilian targets in an elaborate ploy to bring in Western aid, as the Syrian-Iranian propaganda machines would suggest.

It had, at the start of this struggle, been my hope that the international response to Assad’s butchery could come through the institution of the United Nations. However, the UN’s continued lack of success, largely the fault of Russia, Syria’s longtime military ally, has decimated my confidence in what now appears to be a fundamentally broken system. And now chemical weapons have been used against civilians, with the Security Council trapped at a permanent impasse. 

I do not believe it is appropriate to set the precedent that being an ally of a superpower grants one license to use unlawful weapons to massacre your own people, without fear of international response. Certainly, if a US allied dictatorship used chemical weapons against civilians and our government had blocked retaliation in the UN, we would all be up at arms in outrage.

However, I believe the question of intervention ought to consider not only chemical weapons use, but also the larger humanitarian crisis resulting from Assad’s atrocities and the even greater crisis that could await us in the future. As for the general lack of desire to not get involved in another war if we can help it, which is certainly a sentiment I share, I would encourage perhaps a certain amount of reflection upon the long term implications of intervention and inaction. I do not believe that the question of intervention will change the fate of the Assad regime one way or another. No tyrant can stand against popular will forever. Intervention will only change two things, how much time and lives will the revolution claim and what will post-Assad Syria look like. I feel that these are questions that should concern us, both for humanitarian and defensive reasons.

There are I think two distinct elements of post-Assad Syria that deserve our attention. The first is the sectarian elements of the conflict. As I’m sure you all know, the Assad regime has maintained minority Alawite control over Syrian political and military institutions and has substantially favored the country’s Shi’a minority over the Sunni majority. The longer the war drags on without significant Western support, the more moderate elements of the opposition will be forced to the sidelines and extremist elements dominate the conflict. The concern is that once the Assad regime has fallen, these more radical groups could seek to punish the Shi’a and other minority groups with favored status for the crimes committed by the regime.

Similarly, there is the concern of radicalized Islam within the opposition. As time has passed, more and more foreign backed radical Islamist forces have become involved in the revolution. As the Syrian people lose faith in the willingness of the US and Europe to come to their defense, they will look increasingly to al-Qaeda linked forces such as the al-Nussra Front. Every day of Western inaction weakens the position of the larger moderate opposition and puts the extremists in a better position to fill the power vacuum that will result from the fall of Assad. The consequences of this happening are very disconcerting.

Although I would agree that on the whole, the threat of terrorism is drastically exaggerated for political reasons, I do perceive a significant amount of risk in the potential for a radicalized state with a population that views the west as having abandoned them in their time of need. Allowing Jabhat al-Nussra and other similarly aligned parties to emerge as the heroes of the Syrian revolution would essentially serve to set up the next great American war in the Middle East. And even if no concrete threat was to materialize, the war hawks would still very likely pull us into a conflict in post-Assad Syria for political reasons, especially given its proximity to Israel.

I would much rather offer strategic aid to populist revolutionaries who might finally bring democratic governance to a long suffering part of the world than wait five years and find the country bogged down in another long-term open-ended ground war against an Islamist insurgency among a hostile civilian population. (Sound familiar?) 

The issue of the Syrian revolution certainly presents considerable challenge to our party, as an American progressive movement. There is a strong temptation, as a result of our strong rejection of wars undertaken for unjust and sinister reasons and conducted without regards for the sanctity of human life, to fall into the trap of libertarian isolationism. We have heard enough lies spoken about “just wars” that in our not-unjustified cynicism, we begin to doubt that there ever could be such a thing.

But how can we claim to fight for the cause of justice here at home, if we lack solidarity with those fighting tyranny abroad? And how can we in good conscience fail to act when we can save lives in today’s conflict and perhaps avert tomorrows?

I have always firmly believed that it is the duty of the state to protect and defend the people, and not yield to the influences of self-interested institutions of power. It is this belief that brought me to the Justice Party and it is for this reason that Rocky won my vote in 2012. But it is this same principle that would be violated by inaction in the face of this current crisis. And I fear that in failing to stand up for justice in Syria, we substantially weaken our cause overall.

I understand that this view is likely not shared by the majority of the party and certainly by its leaders, and I respect that. But I felt that it was important to make clear that even among those of us who voted proudly for Rocky in the past election there is a certain diversity of opinion. This is a debate I feel we ought to be having, and I welcome the many impassioned distensions that this will likely earn me.

With respect,

Drew Voss, Nashua NH

JoshuaBudden

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Reply with quote  #5 
"I do not believe it is appropriate to set the precedent that being an ally of a superpower grants one license to use unlawful weapons to massacre"

Sadly that precedent has been set already by the US with their 40+ vetoes to resolutions against Israel.


"I am inclined to believe the government’s analysis of test samples"
 
I don't think anyone doubts that a nerve agent was used.  There are reports however that the rebels were supplied sarin from outside of Syria. And many have a hard time accepting the that Assad brought it UN inspectors just in time to put on a chemical weapon show for them.

At this time I have a very hard time believing the US and their allies can legitimately say what happened.  The US keeps reported 1400 dead from the attack, where even our most hawkish ally, France, reports under 300.  We need much more information on what actually happened. This should be brought to the ICC.  The only problem with this is that the US doesn't want to give the ICC any power as they do not want to end up being tried for their own war crimes.

"I do perceive a significant amount of risk in the potential for a radicalized state with a population that views the west as having abandoned them"

Greater than the risk of terrorists created by US bombs?  We keep making claims of no boots on ground.  No nation building.  We will still leave them with no government.  There will still be a power vacuum.

http://www.nationofchange.org/ex-world-leaders-urge-us-forego-military-attack-syria-1378566680
Drew Voss

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Reply with quote  #6 

@JoshuaBudden: Thank you very much for your reasoned and sincere response. I will try perhaps to clarify myself.


"Sadly that precedent has been set already by the US with their 40+ vetoes to resolutions against Israel"

This is exactly the kind of thing I am talking about. The message we are sending as an international community is that there are no consequences for a country’s actions, so long as they buddy up with a superpower, be those actions occupation and brutal repression of a neighboring state or the massacre of civilians with WMD’s. The system is broken, as much because of America’s abuses as Russia or China. And if we as a party are to take a strong stand against America’s illegitimate protection of Israel against consequences for their actions, we ought not to be accepting of Russia’s attempt to do the same.

 

"At this time I have a very hard time believing the US and their allies can legitimately say what happened. The US keeps reporting 1400 from the attack, when even our most hawkish ally, France, reports under 300."

I can’t give you a particularly convincing justification for the discrepancy in casualty figures. My best bet is that the US figure is a general figure for deaths in the area around the time of the attack while the French figure is a more specific count of confirmed deaths from the attack derived from specific on the ground or video analysis. (see article below) Or perhaps this is just the President exaggerating figures to try to engage the hesitant body politic. After all, just because I support intervention, does not mean that I trust this administration to act with any more honesty and transparency than it has on anything else.

 

“Greater than the risk of terrorists created by US bombs?  We keep making claims of no boots on ground.  No nation building.  We will still leave them with no government.  There will still be a power vacuum.”

In this, I fear, I have insufficiently explained my point. There will be a power vacuum after the fall of Assad whether or not the US intervenes. The question is who will fill that vacuum when he is gone. Will it be the LCCs and moderate revolutionaries who are friendly to the west and aim to establish a democratic Syria? Or will power be seized by foreign backed extremists like al-Nussra? I feel that this will largely depend upon the popular will of the Syrian people and their perception of the west and its allies.

I frankly do believe that we earn ourselves more enemies from inaction than from intervention. The Syrian people entered this conflict amid voices of American support for the Arab Spring and now see our hesitance to come to their aid as a great betrayal. Furthermore, our unwillingness to act justifies the arguments of extremists, who say that American rhetoric about fostering democracy is just a bunch of talk, that we are really just the imperialist aggressors they’ve always said we are.

Now of course all this is dependent upon what standard we hold ourselves to in a potential conflict. If we simply launch a drone strike on every civilian target that might harbor some enemy of ours without regards for civilian collateral, then of course the goodwill of the Syrian people will quickly dry up. Furthermore, we would be guilty of many of the same violations of principle of which we accuse Assad. That said, limited and strategic strikes to cut back Assad’s ability to strike, in concert with limited military aid and substantial humanitarian and logistical aid, would not engender all that much ill will outside of those fervent supporters of Assad who already view us as the enemy.

 

Again, I appreciate your taking the time to respond. It is always good to hear the other side to an issue, presented with both conviction and sensible reasoned argument.

Sincerely,

Drew Voss

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/02/french-intel-syria-attack_n_3856762.html

JoshuaBudden

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Reply with quote  #7 
I keep seeing coverage of the refugees, and just wanted to make clear that we should be crying out for action.  We should be crying out to doing everything we can to help the refugees.

"My concept of humanitarian aid is food, medicine, shelter, clothing, not bombs. The concept of a humanitarian war, humanitarian bombs, humanitarian missiles, is bizarre to me." - Alan Grayson



Also, I saw a congressman on TV using the argument that Assad had to of been the one to use the chemical weapons because his regime are the only ones in Syria that have the capability of delivering them without causing harm to themselves.  Interesting to know we can rule out Al Qaeda using suicide tactics.

Also, just read that it would take 75,000 troops to secure Syria's chemical weapons should Damascus fall.  However the US has ruled out striking or securing the weapons. 
Drew Voss

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Reply with quote  #8 
Certainly, on the tragedy of the Syrian refugee crisis, you and I are in agreement. I believe that the top priority in our response to Syria should be humanitarian aid to the refugees. Any military involvement by the US is a secondary concern. I believe this is both a profound moral responsibility as well as a critical aspect of national security. Strong humanitarian efforts are I believe the foundation of maintaining good popular relations with foreign peoples.

Also, I don't know if you guys have heard, but there have been some very interesting developments on the diplomatic front. In an attempt to avert a US strike, Syria may now give up its chemical weapons. While I still think that support for the revolutionaries is appropriate, this is certainly a positive development and perhaps calls into question the appropriateness of direct military action. A chance to guarantee that these weapons are neither used by Assad or fall into the hands of al-Nussra in the future is a good thing indeed.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/09/201399144556640217.html
swansok4

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Reply with quote  #9 
@Drew Voos, thank you for you thoughts on Syria. You did a much better job writing up exactly how I feel about the situation.

I did hear that we are allowing Russia to work with Mr. Assad to surrender all of his chemical weapons. Although I think this plan might work, I have concerns. Russia has been a constant ally of Assad's Syria throughout the whole conflict and before it started. Also Putin's Russia has constantly shown a lack of morals internal. What makes up believe that they will actuall work to find and remove all fo the chemical weapons in Syria? I don't think this stalling tactic by Russia and Syria should take direct military action off the table. If Russia fails to secure all of the weapons, we as a country need to be ready to strike.
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