‘Slippery slope to an unnecessary war’ — liberal groups muster popular opposition on Syria

Yesterday Adam picked up a report of the public mobilization against an attack on Syria, citing statements from Moveon.org and Votevets.org against such an attack. Both groups say that overwhelming percentages of their members are against a strike: 73 percent of Moveon’s 8 million members, 80 percent of Votevets’ 340,000 members.

What are their positions? Votevets argues against the strike on military grounds, saying that removing chemical weapons will necessitate ground troops. But first Moveon.org

It has taken the issue on fully, with teach-ins and a petition drive against an attack calling for political resolution of the crisis:

We urge you to show real leadership in protecting the people of Syria with a more creative, effective, and prudent approach than military action.

• Galvanize world leaders to demand a multilateral cease-fire…

Do not be fooled into thinking that war-making will protect or defend a population.

And here is Moveon’s initial declaration of opposition, three days ago, citing the members’ vote and calling a strike on Syria a “slippery slope to another ill-advised and unnecessary war.” From its statement:

“We will mobilize to make sure our members’ and allies’ voices are heard in Washington and will work to prevent this nation from getting on the slippery slope to another ill-advised and unnecessary war.  We will join with allies in holding national days of action, urge MoveOn members to contact their members of Congress to have their voices heard, and use a variety of other tactics, including paid media.

“We have seen the rushed march to war before. We cannot allow it again. Congress, and the nation, should not be forced into a binary debate over strikes or nothing.  In response to the tragic reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, the US needs to lead in the way in engaging with the international community, while rigorously exploring alternatives to military action, including negotiations, economic sanctions, diplomacy, and promotion of humanitarian aid.”

At VoteVets.org, the largest progressive veterans’ group, which represents 340,000 former troops, Jon Stoltz says that striking Syria isn’t justified on military grounds, but is an act of war that would likely drag the U.S. into the Syrian civil war. He says the goals of the action are unclear, and that preventing the use of chemical weapons will require boots on the ground. Stoltz has had to overcome the fact that two faces on the action, John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, were personal inspirations to him.

First, there is no doubt that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is a horrific tragedy, and a violation of human rights. But, I think back to Carl von Clausewitz, who we all study in the military. He said, “No one starts a war — or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so — without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.”

Missile strikes, as limited and justified as they may be, are an act of war against the Assad regime. Yet, I get no sense that the United States has any clear idea of our strategic or operational endstate. We want to deter the regime from using weapons but, according to the hearings yesterday, we don’t want to conduct decisive actions against Assad that could lead to his defeat by Syrian insurgents.

If our goal is to eliminate Assad’s chemical weapons cache, then missile strikes, alone, won’t achieve that goal. There is a 100 percent chance that we will not eliminate his chemical weapons. Using airstrikes on chemical sites can create disaster of its own, leaking the dangerous gases into the air (a possible root cause of Gulf War Syndrome in our veterans). But, it’s the ability to deliver chemical weapons that is critical. Missiles or artillery rounds could be used. These weapon systems are legitimate targets, but many could be deployed throughout populated areas as the Syrians prepare for an attack, making them extremely hard to target.

Therefore, ground troops would be required to seize chemical weapons, a consideration that is “off the table” (although we are currently building a large military installation in Jordan, that has parts of the 1st Armored Division’s staff deployed)….

In short, any military action without a decisive end, like strikes, further obligates the United States military to another war, either because the regime will continue to kill in large numbers, use chemical weapons again, or because we feel we must tip the balance of the war. Then, in the aftermath, we must deal with the post-Assad Syria, only without many of our allies. In Syria, where many of the rebels have ties to terrorist groups, the enemy of our enemy also happens to be our enemy. Both sides fought US troops in Iraq, and both sides would fight US troops in Syria.

I fully understand that President Obama has painted himself into a political corner, but VoteVets.org cannot support this rush to conflict. At this point, if we want to help without committing the United States to another war, humanitarian assistance to bolster a moderate opposition still represents our best course of action in Syria.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 51 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. MRW says:

    Phil, read this on moonofalabama this AM.
    “Senate Surrenders War Powers Over False Flag Incident”
    link to moonofalabama.org

    • American says:

      Important article also cited by a MOA commenter:

      link to bloomberg.com

      Kerry Urges EU End Israel Sanctions Amid Syria Push
      By Bryan Bradley & Nicole Gaouette – Sep 7, 2013 3:55 AM ET ..Q..U.S.

      two excerpts…
      (1)
      ”Secretary of State John Kerry is appealing to his European Union counterparts to end their restrictions on funds for Israeli organizations in occupied territories beyond its 1967 borders, according to a State Department official.
      Kerry is meeting today in Lithuania with EU foreign ministers, who remain divided over a strike against Syria. He’s also arguing that because Israelis and Palestinians are in direct talks for the first time in three years, countries with an interest in peace should support rather than punish them, said the official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. “”

      (2)
      ”The official also said the Palestinian group Hamas, which governs Gaza, has been weakened since losing the protection of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has been targeted by that country’s military following the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi. Israel and the U.S. consider Hamas to be a terrorist group.
      Hamas’s decline has strengthened its rival Abbas, making it easier for the Palestinian Authority president to engage in negotiations and stick with them, the official said. “>>>>>

      Related to no. 1….
      I still think Syria may be being used by O and Kerry as a ‘reward’ for Israel (and Saudi) to bring about some I/P settlement, no matter how half assed or unfair to Palestine just to claim it’s settled and over.

      Related to no. 2….
      I also think that my theory on Egypt coming down on Gaza and Hamas being also Saudi induced to remove Hamas as any stumbling block/power in a I/P settlement in order to finally get rid of I/P thorn in it’s paw- the Arab street resentment of this —is valid or at least possible also.

      This is exactly the kind of crock of sh-t a US adm would cook up with Isr and Saudi. They satisfy Israel and domestic US Lobby politics, satisfy Saudi oil barons status quo, get to position Syria as a ‘moral imperative’ to cover their ass, and think or hope it also leads to being able to claim ‘they’ settled the historic Isr-Palestine conflict.
      I just wonder if this plan, if this is their plan, also includes some plan for Iran in the Syria deal or if Iran is to be addressed later.

    • Hostage says:

      Phil, read this on moonofalabama this AM.
      “Senate Surrenders War Powers Over False Flag Incident”

      The author is incorrect on a couple of important points.
      *Section. 2. of the Authorization specifically limits the use of armed force to “legitimate military targets in Syria”.
      *The resolution also stipulates that: “Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.)”.

      50 U.S.C. 1541, paragraph (c)(3) already notes the fact that the President has authority under the Constitution to use force in order to defend the national security interests of the United States in many situations, including an attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces. None of those apply to the situation in Syria at the moment, but this is an authorization which will understandably raise the prospect for such attacks by legally transforming the situation between the two countries into an international armed conflict.

      It’s tendentious to argue that the Senate has ceded new war powers to the President by alluding to his existing powers without any elaboration, while stipulating at one and the same time that nothing in the resolution supersedes the requirements of 50 U.S.C. 1541, et seq. in that connection.

  2. W.Jones says:

    So is this a go or is this a show?

  3. American says:

    My fear is that regardless of what congress votes O may hit Syria anyway.
    And if he does Israel will make certain that it does morph into a wider regional war to draw in Iran and Hezbollah.
    This becoming ‘it’ for Israel—they wont want to face the same US public opposition to a hit on Iran.
    So if O does it, I think we will have another ME war on our hands.

    • doug says:

      Your concerns are justified:

      link to turcopolier.typepad.com

      I am told by current intelligence officials that President Obama intends to bomb Syria in the coming days–with or without Congressional approval. With the whip count in the House of Representatives looking worse and worse for the war party, the White House is pressing Harry Reid to rush the Senate vote, perhaps as early as Monday evening, Sept. 9, the day that the Congress returns to Washington and the debate is scheduled to begin. If Obama can get a Senate majority, sources close to the White House say that he will order strikes before the House can get started.

      • MRW says:

        @Doug, here’s why that might be true. It’s on page 3 of the AUMF:

        “Senate Surrenders War Powers Over False Flag Incident”
        link to moonofalabama.org

        The Obama administration asked the Senate for an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) in Syria over an alleged chemical weapons attack. That AUMF was already worded incredibly wide and would have allowed the president to wage unlimited war over all the Middle East and beyond.

        But the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which was first to consult over the AUMF, partially made the already wide language of the Obama draft AUMF even wider and worse. It effectively surrenders all war powers to the office of the president.

        While on first sight the body of the new AUMF (pdf) seems to limit the president’s ability to wage war, a huge “Easter egg” was put into the preambling Whereas clauses. Here are the three critical ones which have to be seen in combination:

        Whereas in the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 (Public Law 108–175), Congress found that Syria’s acquisition of weapons of mass destruction threatens the security of the Middle East and the national security interests of the United States;
        Whereas Syria’s use of weapons of mass destruction and its conduct and actions constitute a grave threat to regional stability, world peace, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners;
        Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to use force in order to defend the national security interests of the United States

        That last whereas clause contradicts the constitution as well as the War Powers Resolution of 1973. It gives the president unlimited power to wage war anytime he finds the wobbly defined “national interest” of the United States endangered. It is huge blank check.

        See the original for the links and more info.

        • Hostage says:

          Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to use force in order to defend the national security interests of the United States

          That last whereas clause contradicts the constitution as well as the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

          It does no such thing. Note that the “limitation” in item 3 has never required any Congressional approval, at all, and that no such list of limitations exists in Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution.

          So, no President has ever agreed that the “limitations” in 50 U.S.C. 1541 (c)(3) have a constitutional basis in the first place or that the list of situations in (3) is all inclusive or exhaustive, i.e. Joint War Powers Resolutions are not listed in Article 5 as a method for amending the Constitution.

          50 U.S.C. 1541, paragraph:

          “(c) Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation

          The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to
          (1) a declaration of war,
          (2) specific statutory authorization, or
          (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

        • ritzl says:

          @Hostage This is obviously way above my pay grade, but it seems to me that this situation is different than the straight contention between branches on war power in that Obama asked for Congressional approval. That puts a different cast to it because, to me, the asking seems to be a deferral to the War Powers Resolution and its “pursuant to” wording.

          So any Congressional language in response that obviates or mitigates the War Powers Resolution sequence for entering hostilities does cede Congressional claims on war-making authority. I think that third finding/whereas does exactly that.

          Having said that, I don’t know that findings are actual law, so that “Whereas” clause would serve only as an aid to interpretation and may therefore be less significant than MoA/b claims. Though “less” is certainly the stuff of much meaningful debate, both before and after the fact (of military action), and certainly could be enough of an”cherry-pickable” seam in the language for this or the next admin (which is a whole other story…)

        • Hostage says:

          @Hostage This is obviously way above my pay grade, but it seems to me that this situation is different than the straight contention between branches on war power in that Obama asked for Congressional approval.

          The Senate didn’t adopt the draft resolution that was proposed by the President. In fact there isn’t a Whereas clause or other reference in this Joint Resolution which even acknowledges that the President has asked for Congressional approval. The text indicates that the Congress is acting on its own initiative (proprio motu).

          The version adopted by the Senate Committee explicitly stipulated that no provision in the current resolution supersedes the requirements of the existing War Powers act. It also incorporated a final Section 8, on the Rule of Construction. It makes it perfectly clear that it only contains a conditional, specific, and limited delegation, not some sort of new and permanent cession of war powers to the President.

        • ritzl says:

          OK. Points taken. I think that the fact that the President did ask means that he is bound by this Resolution. That’s a change in context that may not mean anything ultimately, but could mean everything (if this action happens and it doesn’t stay limited). Small point.

          But here’s another question (please forgive the subject change). Even though this Resolution says specifically it doesn’t supercede the War Powers Resolution/USC, isn’t the current Resolution, taken as a whole, an invitation to meeting the requirements for complete deferral to Presidential discretion on the use of military force?

          Given this the USC cite you gave above, and assuming Syria lobs a rock at us as we’re bombing them, isn’t this Resolution an entré to para (c)(3) :

          50 U.S.C. 1541, paragraph:

          “(c) Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation

          The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to
          (1) a declaration of war,
          (2) specific statutory authorization, or
          (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

          I wouldn’t know any of this if you hadn’t provided the info, so I’m just curious (before the fact) about your take on how these types of processes work as a method for someone to get legal cover to do what they want.

          The more I read this stuff, the more I really wish I hadn’t. Too many permutations to consider. TiA.

        • Hostage says:

          OK. Points taken. I think that the fact that the President did ask means that he is bound by this Resolution.

          No, this is still a legal nullity. It’s not the resolution that the President requested. Although it has been drafted as a “Joint” resolution, the majority of the members of the House are still opposed. So it’s not likely to be adopted in its current form.

          isn’t the current Resolution, taken as a whole, an invitation to meeting the requirements for complete deferral to Presidential discretion on the use of military force?

          No it still contains explicit requirements for the President to certify that he has exhausted all other means of resolving the situation and to submit the periodic reports mentioned in this resolution and the War Powers act for Congressional oversight.

          Given this the USC cite you gave above, and assuming Syria lobs a rock at us . . .

          The President already has the constitutional power to conduct reprisals. In fact, Article 1, section 10(3) of the Constitution explicitly provides that the armed forces of the individual States have the power to engage in war without consulting the Congress. They can even act preemptively before an invasion or attack if they are “in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay”.

          After the congressional shit storm over the attack on the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi, you can rest assured Obama won’t wait to respond to any Syrian who lobs a rock at our armed forces.

        • ritzl says:

          After the congressional shit storm over the attack on the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi, you can rest assured Obama won’t wait to respond to any Syrian who lobs a rock at our armed forces.

          I guess that’s my “concern” in this, and the opening. Syria hasn’t done anything to us, yet…

          As always, thanks. You’re amazing, in your knowledge if not your bluntness. :)

      • lysias says:

        If Obama does that, what’s to stop the House from voting articles of impeachment (on an issue on which they would have popular support)?

        • Hostage says:

          If Obama does that, what’s to stop the House from voting articles of impeachment (on an issue on which they would have popular support)?

          Nothing stops the Congress from impeaching the President. But the case for claiming that engaging in war without congressional approval is an impeachable offense is a pretty weak one after looking at all of the past examples in lists like this one: link to en.wikipedia.org

        • JennieS says:

          “Nothing stops the Congress from impeaching the President. But the case for claiming that engaging in war without congressional approval is an impeachable offense is a pretty weak one …”

          Obama has asked for congressional approval. If he fails to get it and then attacks Syria anyway would that strengthen the impeachment case?

        • Hostage says:

          Obama has asked for congressional approval. If he fails to get it and then attacks Syria anyway would that strengthen the impeachment case?

          Sure, but not enough to make much difference. If the Congress wants to deny the President the ability to engage in war without its consent, then it should go ahead and start the process to amend the Constitution. It really can’t unilaterally add permanent limitations to Article 2 using stop gap war powers legislation.

        • lysias says:

          The U.S. Constitution as it currently stands is pretty explicit in giving to the Congress alone the power to declare wars.

          As for previous contrary precedents, this would not only be a case where the President went to Congress for permission and failed to get it, but also a case where the war, if it occurs, would be extremely unpopular with the public.

        • Hostage says:

          The U.S. Constitution as it currently stands is pretty explicit in giving to the Congress alone the power to declare wars.

          You’re missing the point. Article 1, section 10(3) is equally explicit in giving others the power to engage in war without a Congressional declaration. 50 U.S.C. § 1541, (c)(3) explicitly states that the President has that same constitutional power (although the Constitution actually is silent on that subject). U.S.C. § 1541 contains another innovation: limitations on the President’s constitutional powers as the Commander-in-Chief that do not appear in Article 2 of the Constitution.

          If you could abolish Executive practices or powers mentioned in the Constitution with a joint resolution, then we could have ended slavery without the 13th and 14th amendments.

          FYI, it would be possible to simply cite ratified treaties, including Kellogg-Briand, the OAS Charter, and the UN Charter to impose those limitations on Presidential power under the guise of adopting “enabling legislation”. But that would require explicit references to the treaties and they also require the Congress to surrender its power to declare offensive wars. That’s the very power that Obama is trying to exploit by going to the Congress. U.S.C. § 1541 et seq. does not prohibit wars of aggression.

          Since the government can withdraw from treaties and simply pass new war powers resolutions that overturn voluntary limitations, the only way to solve the problem is through an amendment to the Constitution.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          ” Article 1, section 10(3) is equally explicit in giving others the power to engage in war without a Congressional declaration. ”

          Nonsense. It permits the states to defend themselves from invasion or a specific form of imminent Danger. You can argue that this also attaches to the President as CinC of the Militia, but that simply is not a grant of power to initiate a War, whcih is what we’re talking about. The power to initiate War is granted exclusively to the Congress.

          And if the War Powers Resolution states that the President has that same power conferred in Art. 1, Sec. 3, great. That provision is absolutely irrelevant here, because that situation does not exist. There has been no attack on the United States nor imminent danger that does not “admit of delay.”

          There is nothing which would prevent the House of Representatives from concluding that the initiation of military action by the President, in the absence of an attack and in the absence of an imminent danger, done after the Congress rejects a resolution authorizing the use of force, is a usurpation of Congress’s Article I power to declare War and thus, a high crime or misdemeanor worthy of impeachment. It would be up to the Senate to convict or not.

        • lysias says:

          Article I section 10(3) reads as follows:

          No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

          It does indeed explicitly empower states to engage in war without the consent of Congress, but only if they are actually invaded or are in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay. I suppose it could be interpreted to imply (not explicitly) that the executive branch has a similar power, but only under the same circumstances. It is just as reasonable to infer from the clause that the executive branch, like the states, has no power to engage in war without the consent of Congress where those circumstances (actual invasion or such imminent danger as will not admit of delay) do not apply.

        • Hostage says:

          I suppose it could be interpreted to imply (not explicitly) that the executive branch has a similar power, but only under the same circumstances.

          Well that’s where all the arguments about inferences, imperfect declarations of war by the Congress, and Executive war powers break-out. The Constitution doesn’t proscribe offensive wars or wars of aggression.

          The Constitution simply says that the states can only engage in wars of necessity. There is no such limitation mentioned in Article 2, which says that 1) all of the Executive powers of the United States government are vested in the President; and that 2) that he alone is the Commander-in-Chief, as well as the Commander of the Militias in question. The Congress has historically applied limitations, like those on the States, in legislation on the Presidents power to call forth the Militia or employ the standing armed forces.

          I’ve mentioned Little v Barreme here in the past. The Supreme Court ruled that the Congress had adopted a number of statutes that amounted to an undeclared war against France. They and the Executive have done something exactly like that by declaring Syria a State Sponsor of Terror; signing into law various sanctions against Syria and its allies, and adopting measures like the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003. So a missile strike would really only be yet another act of imperfect or undeclared war.

          In the Little case, the Supreme court held that President Adams had exceeded his authority; and that Capt. Little had obeyed an unlawful order and was thus liable for payment of damages.

          Ever since the Senate ratified the UN Charter, the President or our representative on the Security Council has the power and means to initiate hostilities or wars without consulting the Congress (or necessarily using the armed forces of the United States to accomplish the deed). The UN Charter has senescent provisions, Article 106, by which the Congress had already agreed to provide armed forces in any event. Of course that doesn’t apply to the case where the President works outside the framework of the Security Council.

        • Hostage says:

          ” Article 1, section 10(3) is equally explicit in giving others the power to engage in war without a Congressional declaration. ”

          Nonsense.

          It isn’t nonsense, because it says the States can’t engage in war without the consent of the Congress, unless in their opinion they are in imminent danger. When that is the case, they can launch a first strike and wage an offensive war before they are invaded or attacked.

          The Congress has no executive powers to call out the milita. It simply has the task of defining how the President, acting as the Commander of the Militia, per article 2 calls them forth into national service. Ever since 1792, they have adopted standing legislation which acknowledges that he has the same power in that capacity to engage in war, under the same exigent circumstances. link to constitution.org

          But the bottom line, which I pointed out, is that the War powers act itself admits those are the constitutional powers of the President that do not rely on any statutory authority. This is not guesswork or my over active imagination:

          (c) Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation
          The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to
          (1) a declaration of war,
          (2) specific statutory authorization, or
          (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

          link to law.cornell.edu

          That provision is absolutely irrelevant here, because that situation does not exist.

          There are already half a dozen standing resolutions and treaties which interpret any attack on our allies as an attack on the United States. There are also resolutions which interpret any attack by Israel on Iranian or Syrian weapons or weapons manufacturing facilities as self-defense and authorize the President to use military force to assist our ally in such situations. Israel has launched attacks on several Syrian targets and is issuing gas masks and publicly begging for US air strikes. People along the borders and DMZs in Israel, Turkey, and Jordan have been dealing with errant mortar and artillery fire for months.

          In addition, the Syrians have flooded our Jordanian ally’s territory with refugees to the point it’s on the verge of economic collapse. These refugees and the ones in Turkey have been fleeing conventional and unconventional attacks since last January. Syria also shot down aircraft belonging to one of our NATO allies, Turkey. So yes, the President has already ignored several provocations that could have resulted in a warning strike. I realize that the public is against another war, but the bottom line is that nobody has ever successfully used the war powers act or the Constitution to prevent the President from initiating a war or a quasi-war or undeclared war using treaties and congressional resolutions.

        • Hostage says:

          P.S. I don’t see anything that Obama wanted to do that isn’t already covered by Executive agreements and the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003. Any attack on civilians in Syrian held territory using chemical weapons by any group can be, and has been categorized as an act of terror. The sense of the Congress is that the Syrian government should be held accountable or responsible for any harm and the stated policy is that its acquisition of weapons of mass destruction “threaten the national security interests of the United States.”

          Nothing has legally stopped the President from holding Syria accountable and using military force as needed to protect the national security interests of the United States ever since the day Bush signed the act into law. It’s a classic example of Congress authorizing a quasi-war or undeclared war:

          SEC. 4. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

          It is the policy of the United States that–

          (1) Syria should bear responsibility for attacks committed by Hizballah and other terrorist groups with offices, training camps, or other facilities in Syria, or bases in areas of Lebanon occupied by Syria;

          (2) the United States will work to deny Syria the ability to support acts of international terrorism and efforts to develop or acquire weapons of mass destruction;

          (7) Syria’s acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs threaten the security of the Middle East and the national security interests of the United States;

          link to govtrack.us

  4. I read where Hollywood was laying low on the “Bomb Syria” question. Ed Asner said it was because they didn’t want to be seen as hurting Obama because he’s black.

    Wouldn’t be because Hollywood is owned by Isaeli firsters would it?

    • Ed Asner said it was because they didn’t want to be seen as hurting Obama because he’s black.

      do you have a link for this absurd allegation? that wouldn’t happen to impact the general distaste hollywood entertainment journos had for harsh critiques of jon stewart now would it? link to mondoweiss.net

      • ToivoS says:

        Asner did say it but as Hostage points out context is everything here. What Asner is saying is quite correct. But it is not just Hollywood but it is a large number of so-called liberal Democrats that can’t criticize Obama.

        If you want a could example, go over to TPM and try to criticize Obama’s handling of the situation in Syria. Recall, this was a very antiwar site when Bush was making war. Today if one tries to attack our current war policies you will be accused of racism or of being tea party supporter or any of a number of nasty insults. These people doing this all consider themselves liberal Democrats and very likely had strong anti war views when Bush was president. Today they are so in love with Obama they have become pro-war hawks.

        This site reflects the politics of Josh Marshall who once supported the Iraq war but joined the anti war movement once the entire grass roots of the Democratic Party turned against it. Today he leads the Obama love movement. I think Asner is being way too cynical today. The Obama love crowd is dwindling fast and only the most dedicated cultists are going to the trouble attacking those of us who oppose war against Syria.

    • American says:

      Speaking of Racist ……the 1% is not all that bright.

      .MJ Rosenberg
      HomeAbout
      Mayor Bloomberg Says It Is “Racist” For White Candidate To Feature His Mixed Race Son in Ads.

      The corporate crowd really goes nuts when it is about to lose a little power.

      Mayor Mike Bloomberg ($$$-Wall Street) is upset because his likely successor, Bill Di Blasio, a progressive, is likely to win Tuesday’s Democratic primary in part because he has a beautiful mixed race family that he features in his tv spots.

      Bloomberg says that it is this ad (which New Yorkers seem to love) that offends his plutocratic heart.

      In the interview, with New York magazine, Mr. Bloomberg said that he considered it racist of Mr. de Blasio to promote his mixed-race family. Mr. de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, is African-American and their teenage son, Dante, has appeared in his father’s campaign ads.

      Asked what was racist about the campaign, Mr. Bloomberg said: “I mean he’s making an appeal using his family to gain support. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing.”

      At an appearance in Brooklyn on Saturday with his wife and daughter, Chiara, 18, Mr. de Blasio called Mr. Bloomberg’s remarks, “very, very unfortunate and inappropriate.”

      “I’m exceedingly proud of my family,” he added. “I hope the mayor will reconsider what he said. I hope he realizes it was inappropriate.”

      Words fail.

      • RoHa says:

        Asked what was racist about the campaign, Mr. Bloomberg said: “I mean he’s making an appeal using his family to gain support. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing.”

        Wow. Never heard of a politician using his family to gain support before.

        Bloomberg seems to be claiming that demonstrating that one is not a racist is an appeal to the concept of race, and that such an appeal is racist.

        So this amphiboly.

        The standard definition (Oxford English Dictionary, of course) is:

        1. the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races:
        2. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

        And this is generally thought of as a Bad Thing.

        Bloomberg wants to associate the negative connotations of the standard definition with his own eccentric definition:

        racism – refer to the concept of race.

  5. Hostage says:

    that wouldn’t happen to impact the general distaste hollywood entertainment journos had for harsh critiques of jon stewart now would it?

    No, Asner is on the advisory board of JVP. He has been highly critical of Israeli policies, the Lobby, & etc. – and has been at it a lot longer than Jon Stewart.

    He is reportedly saying that Obama will bomb Syria before Hollywood ever gets off their asses. He says people are remaining silent because they are afraid of being called racists. One report mentions “anti-black”, but I’m sure Asner is used to being called a self-hating anti-Semite by now too:

    Also, said Asner, unsuccessful efforts to prevent war in Iraq led to complacency among left-wing activists.

    “We had a million people in the streets, for Christ’s sake, protesting Iraq, which was about as illegal as you could find. Did it matter? Is George Bush being tried in the high courts of justice?” asks Asner. “We’ve been so God-damned stung in this country by false wars, repeatedly, that, how can you believe in any just war with the history we have had?”

    Another reason some Hollywood progressives have been reticent to speak out against war in Syria, according to Asner, is fear of being called racist.

    “A lot of people don’t want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama,” he said.

    Asner said Hollywood activists should read a Huffington Post blog item by Dennis Kucinich, where the former congressman lists the “Top 10 unproven claims for war against Syria.”

    “Whether it’s a Republican or Democrat president, or Republican or Democrat Congress — and it doesn’t make a God-damned difference — it behooves us to get off our ass and ask these questions,” Asner said.

    Farrell and Asner both say that beating the war drums on Syria is one of many mistakes Obama has made.

    “I voted for him, but I’m not proud. He hasn’t thrown himself on the funeral pyre. I wanted him to sacrifice himself. Instead, he has proved himself to be a corporatist, and as long as he’s a corporatist, he’s not my president,” Asner said. “A lot of people have lost hope — with the betrayals, the NSA spying … People aren’t getting active because ‘Who gives a shit?’ is essentially the bottom line.”

    link to hollywoodreporter.com

  6. One can assume an ill-considered US missile attack on Syria will lead to much larger military intervention. Not a good thing, inb my view.

  7. Citizen says:

    Look like AIPAC propaganda echoed by some congress critter is gaining momentum. MSNB is showing a poll indicating 51% of Americans don’t want to strike Syria, and 31% do, with the rest saying they don’t know. Many Americans are moved by the pics of Syrians claimed to be in their dire physical state due to Assad. US government won’t let the public in on its classified evidence Assad did it. Nor have I seen any response from Obama concerning Putin dissing that evidence. OTH, the video of Syrian rebels executing bare-backed Assad troops makes a counter impact.

  8. eGuard says:

    dunno if this site is allowed, but for fun it could be:

    14 Principled Anti-War Celebrities [in 2009] We Fear May Have Been Kidnapped

    link to buzzfeed.com

  9. RE: ‘Slippery slope to an unnecessary war’ — liberal groups muster popular opposition on Syria

    TAKE ACTION! ! ! TAKE ACTION! ! ! TAKE ACTION! ! !

    ● FROM CodePink4Peace.org: Diplomacy and Aid for Syria, Not Military Strikes
    Send a letter to your members of Congress calling for peace not war on Syria! We plea with President Obama and Congress to seek an immediate ceasefire, begin regional peace talks and provide humanitarian aid to the over 2 million refugees fleeing the violence.
    LINK – link to codepink.salsalabs.com

    ● CONGRESSMAN ALAN GRAYSON’S PETITION
    Tell Congress: Don’t Attack Syria
    We have already delayed an attack on Syria, and forced the President to ask Congress for authorization. The next step in preventing war is to get Congress to deny permission for war. Add your name to this petition, and I will deliver it to your Member of Congress. Your voice matters.
    TO SIGN – link to dontattacksyria.com

    ● FROM credoaction.comTell Congress: Don’t Bomb Syria
    To our Senators and members of Congress: Do not authorize the use of American military force in Syria. With civilians being butchered and refugees suffering immensely, it is horrifying to watch the brutal civil war in Syria unfold. But U.S. military intervention is far more likely to make matters worse, not better. The U.S. should not bomb Syria. The best thing we can do is commit to holding war criminals accountable, expand humanitarian aid for refugees, and maintain constant diplomatic pressure for a negotiated end to the conflict.
    TO SIGN PETITION – link to act.credoaction.com

    ● FROM MoveOn.org: Say “No!” to US strikes on Syria!
    TO SIGN PETITION – link to petitions.moveon.org

    ● FROM RootsAction.org: Prevent an Attack on Syria Now
    If you live in the U.S. and want to email Obama, your senators and representative, expressing opposition to an attack on Syria, please click HERE.
    If you reside outside the United States, you can still sign this petition by clicking HERE.

    ● FROM Avaaz.org
    To US President Obama and President Rouhani of Iran:
    As citizens around the world horrified by the slaughter of innocents in Syria, we call on you to put aside your differences and meet to find a diplomatic path forward that brings all parties to the table to negotiate a ceasefire and peace. You are in a unique position to help broker such a solution. There must be a bold diplomatic breakthrough. We are calling on you to create one and start saving lives.
    TO SIGN THE PETITION – link to avaaz.org

  10. P.S. FROM CommonDreams.org:

    Groups urging their members to sign petitions, call their representatives or take direct action against the war include:

    RootsAction.org
    Win Without War
    Credo Action
    MoveOn.org
    CodePink
    United for Peace and Justice
    Progressive Democrats for America
    War Times
    Iraq Veterans Against the War
    Friends Committee on National Legislation
    Just Foreign Policy
    Grassroots Global Justice
    Arab Resource and Organizing Center
    Veterans for Peace
    US Labor Against the War
    Middle East Children’s Alliance
    Avaaz

    Anti-war coalitions have also announced next Monday, September 9 as a national day of action against military intervention in Syria with United for Peace and Justice hosting this directory of local actions taking place nationwide.

    SOURCE – link to commondreams.org

  11. RoHa says:

    Not entirely off-topic. We have just had an election in Australia, and the Labor* Government has been thrown out and the Coalition takes office.

    This means we replace one bunch of incompetents, liars, frauds, half-wits, drunks, and unemployables who suck up to the US and Israel with a completely different bunch of incompetents, liars, frauds, half-wits, drunks, and unemployables who suck up to the US and Israel .

    (*No, I haven’t made a mistake. The Australian Labor Party can’t spell.)

  12. Why was the US a silent spectator to slaughter when IDF killed over 300 children under the age of sixteen, in Gaza, during the three blood-soaked weeks of Operation CastLead in December 2008?

    Why did congress remain silent when white phosphorus was used as a chemical weapon against a Palestinian school? Were these children of less value than Syrian children? Were they not human also? Do they not bleed?

    Or is it simply that the unelected and unregulated lobby, AIPAC, virtually controls congress, the White House and US foreign policy?

  13. NickJOCW says:

    Employing the word ‘war’ for these activities bothers me, it seems almost to dignify the mindless brutality of a bully.

    As for chemical weapons

    We can, however, have “high confidence” in our assessment that the US will use chemical weapons itself if it attacks Syria. At least three sources of American firepower potentially threaten to deposit a destructive payload of depleted uranium on Syrian society and soil should we attack. Destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean are likely to fire Tomahawk missiles, which have long been rumored to contain depleted uranium, either in their tip or wing. However, this has been disputed by the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). At the very least, Naval combat crafts are equipped with anti-missile Gatling guns that use shells with tungsten or depleted uranium. This has been conceded by the military itself. Likewise, A-10 anti-tank aircraft are known to use depleted uranium bullets.

    Depleted uranium, although not outlawed by the International Convention of Chemical Weapons (ICCW), are uranium wastes, the leftovers from the uranium that can be usefully enriched. According to Global Research, depleted uranium found its way into the American arsenal thanks to the fact that there are enormous amounts of it leftover from the enrichment process, and that it is cheap to produce. (There is something deeply ironic here, although I’m not sure just what.)

    But the primary feature of DU is its armor-piercing capability. Not only is it the heaviest of elements, DU bullets keep their shape on impact, thanks to their hideous “self-sharpening ability”, and the fact that they burst into flame on impact, generating radioactive dust. This naturally finds its way into the lungs of those nearby (who are perhaps lending “material support” to rebels, instantly nominating themselves for a double-tap drone strike should the DU not do its lethal work fast enough). Depleted uranium often produces radioactive poisoning, and potentially cancer, as former workers at a US arms plant unhappily discovered. It is also likely to generate deformities in the DNA of the local birth population, as Fallujah has lately experienced. This cruel fate is often referred to by the lovely phrase, “mutagenic potential.”

    link to presstv.ir

  14. bilal a says:

    Part of the support for Obama is sectarian, at TAC, Dreher mentions the J word.

    As everybody knows, Sen. Rand Paul is no recent convert to the non-interventionist cause. It’s part of his philosophical make-up, and he’s leading the charge on the Right for a more realistic foreign policy, versus what has become the GOP mainstream approach. Where he has drawn the ire of some liberals is his highlighting a fact that is ignored in the American discussion: the fate of Middle East Christians. For this, Julia Ioffe at The New Republic calls Paul a “Bible-thumper,” a liberal term of abuse for any Christian who speaks about public policy as a Christian defending Christian interests.

    Got that? Ioffe says that yes, the Syria Christians are in mortal danger from the Islamist rebels, and yes, Rand Paul is not an advocate for the Assad regime, but … well, the wrong kind of Americans are standing up for the Christians of Syria. Paul may not mean to, says Ioffe, but he is giving aid and comfort to the domestic political and culture forces that liberals despise: the Religious Right, and “Islamophobes” — this, even though Ioffe concedes that Syrian Christians have every right to be afraid of the Muslim rebels!

    Dreher /TAC’s faux pas here:

    I would remind Ioffe, whose parents came to America as Soviet Jewish refugees…

    link to theamericanconservative.com

  15. kalithea says:

    The Zionist-funded ex-President Bill Clinton warned Obama back in June of looking like a wuss and a fool if he heeded the polls when deciding what to do on Syria. Now he’s being condescending and patronizing supporting Obama’s decision and dismissing the opinion of the majority of Americans because he knows better and can see into the future, kinda like Diane Feinstein knows better.

    This is the same Bill Clinton whose judgment got him into serious hot water since it was so impaired by his crotch, he had an affair with an intern, risked being later accused of sexual harrassment, was in fact accused of such by another woman, and almost put his Presidency at risk lying under oath.

    Hello! And he dares to preach to us and dismisses OUR judgment. Maybe he should limit himself to humanitarian endeavors and if that doesn’t quite garner him enough attention, his other field of expertise might do it for him: womanizing cad.

  16. gingershot says:

    Israel must be shaking in her boots to contemplate trying to get the pig off the ground of her next attempted mousetrapping of the US into a war with Iran.

    Even though ‘Syria IS Iran’, in gossamer thin disguise, what if the unthinkable happens and the American people successfully resist this war with Syria? – how impossible will it be to try to immediately pivot and try to just pick up where they left off with the major thrust of Israeli policy to tripwire the US into an attack on Iran, after THIS failure?

    Oink Oink – I just don’t think THAT pig is going to fly after this – and neither do the Israelis and AIPAC. This is the ‘catastrophe’ they are speaking about

    If your job was to sell this Iran-pig in a poke to the American people/American House of Reps – what likelihood of success would you assess your chances would be to make this sale in the next – oh say 5 yrs- before Israeli Apartheid collapses at the ICC AND intensifying BDS sanctions eviscerate it?

    Without Syria there is NO IRAN – Israel is betting the Apartheid farm on this one

    This is a real opportunity because this is a grave weakness – Israel and her Neocons MUST win this one and that is a weakness – and therein lies a golden opportunity to start dismantling Apartheid and AIPAC

    If the Republicans turn ‘Libertarian’/Rand Paul then even for the next Presidential election it will be Warmonger ‘Saban Forum-AIPAC’ Hillary vs ‘Rand Paul’/whomever and his legions of 50:1 Americans NOT BUYING AIPAC’s con job into 100x WORSE than Syria, an attack on Iran

    What’s Israel going to do then?- write ‘Death to America’ in Farsi on a Jericho missile and shoot it at New York?

    • ritzl says:

      Agree gingershot. There is ZERO chance of getting Congressional authorization or public support for attacking Iran, if Iran is the focus. It’s hard enough now, maybe, God willing, impossible, to get authorization for a “relatively inconsequential” police action in a small neighbor. So Israel-via-AIPAC creates this misdirection/boogeyman of Syria/Assad to mask intent and implications to get the broader legislation needed to authorize an attack on Iran.

      Israel-via-AIPAC may have overplayed its hand and may not succeed, but I think you’re right on the strategy and objective.

      Here’s hoping they don’t succeed… CALL Senators. MONDAY.

  17. flyod says:

    obama will pull the trigger. long before his presidency he had been groomed for this moment. this is the price he must pay

  18. HarryLaw says:

    Kerry announces on his departure from Paris that the number of countries supporting a strike on Syria has now increased to double figures, asked who they are, he said I cannot tell you, their Foreign Ministers have to consult with their respective Governments and those deliberations will be known within 24 hours. I can’t wait.

  19. American says:

    Who can answer the Trillion dollar question?

    ‘Obama Just Can’t Say It’
    Posted By Stephen M. Walt Monday, August 26, 2013

    Thomas Friedman’s piece in the Sunday New York Times was vintage Friedman: chatty, moderately insightful, and filled with quotations from his pal (and co-author) Michael Mandelbaum. The basic theme of the column was the limits of U.S. influence and U.S. interests in the Middle East. U.S. influence is down because the name of the game today is shaping the internal evolution of these societies, and outside powers will never be very good at that. U.S. interests are declining because the global energy market is changing and Middle East oil and gas are not as critical as they once were. As a result, what happens in the Middle East just won’t matter as much as it did during the Cold War or even over the past couple of decades.
    Fair enough. But here’s the line that caught my eye, near the end of the piece:

    ”’”Obama knows all of this. He just can’t say it.”

    Why in heaven’s name can’t he? What’s the big secret that Obama or his administration dare not speak of?”
    .continued..link to walt.foreignpolicy.com
    >>>>>>>

    So what is Syria (or Iran) to the US?
    A Obama-Kerry ego fart?
    The US trying to hang onto it’s World Superpower reputation?
    For Israel and the $-Lobby?
    For Saudi?
    For regime change for the above?

    Tell us something beside US morality cause only a retard would believe that.

  20. ivri says:

    I keep noticing a false assumption here that Israel and hence its supporters are KEEN about a Syria strike. At best it is seen from that angle as a lesser of evils type choice. The fear from Al Queida in Israel is real, so a delicate (and hard to strike) balance is necessary here between restraining Assad while not letting the other bad guys gain too much power. It could be a question of timing, namely not hitting Assad too hard too early, while the Al Queida guys have not been hit hard enough and then do that only when the moderate rebel groups seem strong enough.

  21. gingershot says:

    If you want Apartheid in Israel, then you also want to gin up an American war against Syria, and an American war against Iran as well.

    Simple.As.That.

    PEP Progressive Except Palestine, is taking on a richer meaning.

    Now, to ‘support Israel’, a politician like Hillary Clinton has to be in favor of a war in Syria, a war in Iran, and Apartheid in Israel.

    Oh yeah…

  22. American says:

    You can toss this into the pot also for additional Israel motives in fracturing Syria and Lebanon. Israel doesnt want to be challanged on ownership of maritime gas fields. Not only do they not want to be sued on the ones they are currently drilling they lkely want the additional gas fields that the US already decided do legally belong to Lebanon that contain billions more in gas reserves. Never Again is not the Zionist motto—their motto is Steal Everything You can Steal and Enough is Never Enough For Us.

    link to pbs.org

    SUMMARY
    Israel’s recent discovery of huge offshore natural gas reserves could mean a profound transformation for its economy and the region’s political stability. The basin is believed to extend into waters off Syria and Lebanon — a cause for concern, as Israel and Lebanon are technically at war and the maritime border in dispute

    link to haaretz.com

    ”Last August, Lebanon submitted to the United Nations its version of where the maritime border should be – the exclusive economic zone. In November, it submitted its version of its western border, with Cyprus.

    The Lebanese proposal does not include the large Tamar and Leviathan gas prospects, operated by Delek Energy and U.S. company Noble Energy. But the National Infrastructure Ministry found that the proposal contains reserves with a potential value in the billions of dollars.
    The Lebanese also sent their version to the United States, which conducted an expert review and endorsed the document.””