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The burgeoning left-right antiwar coalition on Syria (and what it means for Iran)

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Let’s begin with the huge news out of England, and then move to the commentary which only continues to reflect the arc that began yesterday: Don’t let’s attack Syria.

First, of course, British PM David Cameron bows out of war party after his defeat in the House of Commons:

David Cameron indicated on Thursday evening that Britain would not take part in military action against Syria after the British government lost a crucial vote on an already watered-down amendment that was designed to pave the way to intervention in the war-torn country.

In a devastating blow to his authority, the prime minister lost a government motion by 272 votes to 285 – an opposition majority of 13 – after scores of Tory MPs voted with Labour.

The Obama administration is embarrassed, but it’s not backing down from its threats. It pushed its case with a conference call with congresspeople last night, which Politico says changed no one’s mind.

NPR says the evidence for Assad’s hand in the chemical attacks is “circumstantial.” And the Hill reports on a burgeoning antiwar left/right coalition:

“The opposition to President Obama launching unilateral military operations in Syria exploded on Thursday when dozens of liberal Democrats joined scores of conservative Republicans in warning the administration that any strikes without congressional approval would violate the Constitution.”In a letter to Obama, 53 liberal Democrats — including a long list of Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members — argued that, while the human rights atrocities being committed by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad are “horrific,” they alone “should not draw us into an unwise war – especially without adhering to our own constitutional requirement.”



MJ Rosenberg is joyous, predicts the war party will not get the war it wants with Iran. “Bravo Brits you killed chances for war with Iran,” he says, and hails the new coalition:

But even more huge is the precedent it sets for Iran. If a relatively small action in the Middle East is rejected out of fear of a larger entanglement, what are the chances that the British people can be led into an infinitely larger war in Iran? And what are the chances that the British government will even try?

This rising up against another Middle East war will also make it impossible for President Obama to drag America into a war with Iran. Yes, the Israel lobby, the defense contractors and the neocons will try, but no politician can afford to ignore strong opposition from the  public, especially now that the Brits have shown the way.

The British “no” could not have been sustained if many Conservatives had not joined with Labor to reject war. That phenomenon will likely also be replicated here. The neocon hold on the Republicans seems to be loosening, with Rand Paul leading the way. Add some Republicans to grassroots Democratic opposition to war and there is no majority for war.

Israel supporters worry about just this likelihood. At the National Interest, Dov Zakheim, former Pentagon official and committed Israel supporter, says we shouldn’t attack Syria, but don’t worry, this doesn’t mean we won’t attack Iran (Zakheim once likened Israel to his mother). Zakheim:

In contrast, Iran’s nuclear weapons program is very much an international matter. Tehran is perceived as intending to employ nuclear weapons not against its own people, but against the populations of other states, notably Israel. It is for that reason that the closer Iran comes to developing a bomb, the more likely it is that Israel, or America, or both, and perhaps with the assistance of others, would launch a strike against its nuclear facilities.

More on the antiwar coalition from National Public Radio: Robert Siegel interviews Mike Rogers, Michigan congressman and the Republican chair of the House Permanent Select intelligence committee, about the evidence on Syria. Rogers says that the president has to convince the American people.

ROGERS: You have to make sure that, in fact, if you believe it’s the regime, you have evidence to be able sustain your case that it is, in fact, the regime that has done it…. And part of that is there has been, unfortunately, no consultation or advice or consent from Congress on the way forward after this particular event. I think that is a very, very, very dangerous decision for the president to make if he continues to want to build support for this, number one.


SIEGEL: You’re saying there hasn’t been consultation on, to put it simply, the strikes that we anticipate now, the attack against Syria.


ROGERS: Well, the way forward, yeah, what are the actions? And I do believe that there are consequences for not doing anything just like I believe there are serious consequences for doing something. But that’s why I think the president – why I think he’s legally obligated, let alone morally obligated to consult with Congress and at least the national security committees. I think the president’s making a mistake by not doing that. I think he’s going to have to talk to the American people.

Simon Jenkins in The Guardian predicts a single burst of bloodletting so that Obama can save face, and questions making policy on the basis of bluster when there is very little that outsiders can actually do inside Syria:

Obama’s intention is currently for a “limited, tailored … clear, decisive shot across the bows” of the Syrian government. The tactical basis for this is obscure. It can hardly claim to deter a chemical attack, since the red line speech tried and failed in that respect. While Assad seems unlikely to repeat the outrage, the idea that he will roll over if bombed and stop killing his people is naive. As for “degrading” his arsenals, if this releases chemical clouds how stupid is that?

The likelihood is now of a single burst of destruction by US forces … and blood-letting, to assuage the do-something lobby. This can hardly alter the balance in the civil war, though it seems certain to increase the refugee flow, alienate Russia and its regional allies, and infuriate a newly moderate Iran. All this is to “punish a dictator” in what seems depressingly like a gesture to allow western politicians to strut tall and feel good.

Amos Harel in Haaretz also predicts that Obama will make strikes on Syria, but that Israel will stay outside the battle, and it doesn’t have a horse:

Israel’s policy remains unchanged: Not only does it not want to get dragged into Syria’s civil war itself, but it’s not even particularly eager to see the tyrant toppled. Netanyahu, to his credit, has thus far handled the Syrian crisis sensibly and responsibly, and if Israel can possibly remain outside the arena, it won’t be involved in any American strike on Assad.

Even Ynet in Israel is highlighting assertions that don’t get much attention in the US press, that the Israelis provided the evidence, such as it is, to the U.S.:

The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported that Israel gave Washington and European countries information that included documents and pictures proving that chemical weapons were launched from a Syrian army post in the vicinity of Damascus.

David Bromwich cites Israel’s evidentiary-custody in a superb piece up at Huffpo that begins by demonstrating how Obama’s stated claims that chemical weapons threaten the U.S. echo Tony Blair’s hollow claims on the same lines before Iraq. Notice the populism in his argument–

Or to put the new claim in familiar language: “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” President Bush’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice had a conscience as quick on the trigger President Obama’s adviser Susan Rice. But in the president’s own televised claim, the pileup of distortions was entirely worthy of the predecessor who hired the earlier Rice; for the “terrorist organizations” he was speaking of could only have been Hezbollah and its affiliates, the sworn enemies of Israel; and yet those organizations happen never to have attacked the U.S. or any of its assets on the scale of the bombings carried out by al-Qaeda in 2001. …

But again the question returns: will you lessen or heighten the risk by weakening the hold on those weapons by Syria and bringing them closer to the control of al-Qaeda?…

Well, we are worried, it’s true, and more than worried we are apprehensive and angry, because we remember Iraq. We suspect that any soldier who has suffered in a war, and any family that has seen its members decimated among the collateral damages of an American “surgical strike,” would grow angrier still at the sound of the anesthetic phrase tailored approaches.

Bromwich also notes the new coalition applying brakes on Syria:

Many left-liberals have been silent at this moment, and many right-wing Republicans, with voting records that attest their credentials as lovers of war, have risen to challenge the president. And so it is being said by some loyal Democrats that the questioners of the president — everyone from John Boehner to Ted Cruz — are cynical, and in that regard entirely unlike the well-meaning and sympathetic leader who got himself unhappily cornered by saying the words “red line” once too often. But a great fact about constitutional democracy is that the very structure of political opposition encourages bad people to do good things for the most ambiguous reasons.

Speaking of the liberal elite that is all for action, Laura Rozen of AlMonitor is hawkish. She tweets Roger Cohen’s op-ed saying that Assad should pay.

Very powerful oped by Make Assad pay. Strongly agree with every word

And she wants to put Labor leader Ed Miliband, who bucked Cameron in Britain, on the couch. His brother David Miliband supported the Iraq war as Foreign Secretary:

fighting his brother’s ghost on Iraq, by tearing US UK alliance. He tweeted today no time 4soul searcihng?!


Finally, this is uproarious. Yahya Abu Zakaria, a Syrian television commentator, on August 25, as translated by the pro-Israel organization MEMRI.

Zakaria begins, “Barack Obama, you American lowlife…. This is Syria, so lower your voice. You American low life, Syria is not the kind of country that can be invaded…” Later he says:

There is a principle I have learnt from working in the media for over a quarter century. The US is a lying, bastard country. When it talks of war it wants peace, and vice versa”

He states that speaking on behalf of the resistance axis, he can assure us that Assad didn’t use chemical weapons for the most logical reasons, he is saving them for Israel and America. And this racist swipe:

“As for David Cameron we should send him to Cameroon, to be eaten by a tribe of cannibals to relieve us of his evil.”

Guess they won’t be sending him off to the cannibals anytime soon.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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62 Responses

  1. seanmcbride on August 30, 2013, 12:25 pm

    What a farce Laura Rozen has turned out to be — I’ve been following her vacuous pro-Syria War drumbeating on Twitter. Apparently she’s a liberal Zionist in the school of Madeleine Albright, Susan Rice and Samantha Power. I would love to see her try to defend her views in an open forum attended by people who know what they are talking about.

  2. irmep on August 30, 2013, 12:25 pm

    If “Israeli intelligence” provided the pretext for US attacks, then there is no pretext.

    • yrn on August 30, 2013, 1:42 pm

      Turkey says that its intelligence agency has gathered solid intelligence that shows the Syrian government was behind the alleged chemical weapons attack this month.

      Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said at a press conference in Ankara Friday: “There is no doubt the Syrian regime was behind the chemical attack.” Davutoglu says an analysis of the launching point of missiles believed to have carried chemical payloads was conclusive. He did not say where the intelligence came from.

      No one in this nobel site will say anything about Turkey.
      The Hero Country of the Mavi Marmara.
      Let see you spew about the intelligence agency of Turkey.

      • Woody Tanaka on August 30, 2013, 4:18 pm

        “No one in this nobel site will say anything about Turkey.”

        Oh, nonsense. You zio cowards might make judgments based on whether your little apartheid state benefits (like how your stinking state didn’t give a damn about the Armenian genocide until it became politically advantageous…)

        The key sentence here is “He did not say where the intelligence came from.”

        I woudl say to him what I would say to Obama or your Tel Aviv criminals: if you want me to believe it: release ALL the intelligence, so I can decide for myself. If you’re asking me to trust you, I’ll say, no thanks. The world learned with the Iraq crimes what happens when you do that.

      • mijj on September 1, 2013, 5:35 pm

        > “I woudl say to him what I would say to Obama or your Tel Aviv criminals: if you want me to believe it: release ALL the intelligence, so I can decide for myself. If you’re asking me to trust you, I’ll say, no thanks.”

        You’re right.

        Requiring that no-one use independently verifiable evidence, and instead depend on the word issuing from absolute hierarchical authority – that’s essentially dictating a Religious Truth.

        Not different, in essence, to a religious decree that the sun revolves round the earth, and to use evidence to suggest otherwise is to be regarded as blasphemy.

      • Shingo on August 30, 2013, 5:47 pm

        What exactly is your point Yrn? Are you suggesting Isrsel did not attack the flotilla on international eaters and did not massacre 9 passengers?

      • Djinn on August 30, 2013, 6:30 pm

        You are so full of it you are in danger of choking.

        Plenty people here have criticized Turkey for a host of reasons, I’m one and I have never been howled down for my comments. You’re assertions are nothing more than figments of your imagination which are readily disproved by using the search function. Just who do you think you are fooling?

        Also Syrians in Ghouta claim Saudi supplied rebels were responsible for the infamous gas attack (as if death by gas attack is somehow worse than death by “regular” arms)

    • Krauss on August 30, 2013, 1:49 pm

      By the way, here’s Cohen’s latest rant.

      Some of the nuttiest things I’ve read, it seems he just started to spasm in anger because Britain isn’t willing to play the good little neocon whipping boy anymore.

      It’s also revealing by how he views Britain’s role.

      Apparently, the special relationship can only be counted in the amount of blood sacrificed by Britain.

      He neglects to mention that a vast majority of Americans have enormously positive feelings about Britain, certainly higher/stronger than they have for Israel. Only Canada and Australia can compete and to some extent Germany.
      Check the polling yourself.

      Cohen then diverges into bigotry as he cusses Britain for being ‘an angry state’, simply because it chooses independence concerning matters of war and peace, the most serious a state can decide upon.

      Cohen also reveals his own bias. He is at heart a liberal fellow-traveller to the neocons, whose prism looking through Britain-US is not by culture or shared values but rather how they can serve as intervening in other (Mideastern) states, preferably against Israel’s enemies.

      It’s at heart a neocon lite’s lament that Britain may be setting a precedent here. Cohen is fearful for the future of Western intervention when Israel’s enemies need spanking. If he was concerned about innocent lives then where has he been on Congo these past 5 years where more people have died than in Syria? Not even a word. Because Congo, unfortunately for it’s own sake, does not border to Israel so it merits not the attention that Cohen and other liberal Zionist fellow-travellers to the neocons have for states that do.

      Cohen’s Op-Ed was a very revealing article, but it reveals a lot more about him and people of his background and their deepest biases and fears and wishes than it does about the future of either Britain or America. Does he seriously think that the average American will judge Britain on a conflict most are either opposed to or deeply skeptical?

      Most Americans do not value Britain in terms of bloodshed but because they genuinly like the country and the people. Liberal Zionists like Cohen cannot understand this, as they see the world in the prism of Israel and in this world view an interventionist policy is necessary for the future security of Israel.

      US-British relations will continue to be most excellent. Despairing liberal Zionists and/or neocon fellow-travellers like Cohen have good reasons to be depressed.

      But good riddance to those bigots and lunatics. Who needs someone who counts friendship in terms of bloodshed?

      • seanmcbride on August 30, 2013, 2:18 pm


        I watched some of the debate in Parliament about Syria on C-SPAN yesterday, and I found myself thinking — I would love to be a Brit! Why can’t our own Congress conduct a policy debate on this level?

        I came away with a great deal of respect and affection for this culture.

        What has perhaps played the leading role in damaging the US/British relationship — Israel, the Israel lobby and neoconservatism. It is America, not Britain, that has gone off the tracks. We need to get back to our core values.

      • Woody Tanaka on August 30, 2013, 4:06 pm

        Cohen’s opinion is appalling. Especially considering that only 25% of the American people want this attack. So in his view, the UK should be damned for following the wishes of its people, in not agreeing to a US action that is being taken against the wishes of the majority of the US people.

        Why is this fool so damned set on yet another war by the US and UK?

    • Kathleen on August 30, 2013, 2:24 pm

      And all of this hooey that Israel is holding/hanging back….hanging back by providing questionable intelligence.

  3. DICKERSON3870 on August 30, 2013, 1:07 pm

    RE: “Speaking of the liberal elite that is all for action, Laura Rozen of AlMonitor is hawkish. She tweets Roger Cohen’s op-ed saying that Assad should pay.” ~ Weiss/Robbins

    MY COMMENT: OMG, I never thought I would say this: Perhaps Jonah Goldberg was right!


    . . . Umberto Eco’s 1995 essay “Eternal Fascism” describes the cult of action for its own sake under fascist regimes and movements: “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.” . . .

    SOURCE –

    And don’t forget to do the Tomahawk (Cruise Missile) Chop!
    An attack on Syria will at the least expend lots of Tomahawk® cruise missiles (and perhaps even some Hellfire® missiles). When daddy Bush launched a cruise missile attack on Iraq in the early 1990’s these missiles cost $1 million each (currently $1.5 million to $3 million each). The Pentagon used 100 of them in the initial attack of Operation Desert Storm™. McDonnell Douglas (now owned by Boeing Co.) had their factory in Titusville, Florida working round-the-clock to replace them.
    ● Braves vs Cardinals Tomahawk Chop Pregame [VIDEO, 01:21] –

    P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Operation Tomahawk with cheese”, By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, 8/29/13

    [EXCERPT] This deafeningly hysterical show of Syria as Iraq 2.0 is only happening because a president of the United States (POTUS) created a “credibility” problem when, recklessly, he pronounced the use of chemical weapons in Syria a “red line”.
    Thus the US government urgently needs to punish the transgressor – to hell with evidence – to maintain its “credibility”. But this time it will be “limited”. “Tailored”. Only “a few days”. A “shot across the bow” – as POTUS qualified it. Still, some – but not all – “high-value targets”, including command and control facilities and delivery systems, in Syria will have to welcome a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles (384 are already positioned in the eastern Mediterranean).
    We all know how the Pentagon loves to christen its assorted humanitarian liberations across the globe with names like Desert Fox, Invincible Vulture or some other product of brainstorming idiocy. So now it’s time to call Operation Tomahawk With Cheese.
    It’s like ordering a pizza delivery. “Hello, I’d like a Tomahawk with cheese.” “Of course, it will be ready in 20 minutes.” “Hold on, wait! I need to fool the UN first. Can I pick it up next week? With extra cheese?”
    In 1988, Operation Desert Fox – launched by Bill ”I did not have sex with that woman” Clinton – was designed to ”degrade”, but not destroy, Saddam Hussein’s capacity to manufacture non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Now, the deployment of those deeply moral Tomahawks is also designed to “degrade” the Bashar al-Assad’s government capacity to unleash unproven chemical weapons attacks. . .

    SOURCE –

    • DICKERSON3870 on August 30, 2013, 1:09 pm

      P.P.P.S. LASTLY, SING IT SPRINGSTEIN: Who will be the last to die for Obama’s “credibility” (i.e. int’l “cred”)*!

      * SEE: “We’re Going to War Because We Just Can’t Stop Ourselves”, By Stephen M. Walt, 8/27/13

      What is most striking about this affair is how Obama seems to have been dragged, reluctantly, into doing something that he clearly didn’t want to do. He probably knows bombing Syria won’t solve anything or move us closer to a political settlement. But he’s been facing a constant drumbeat of pressure from liberal interventionists and other hawks, as well as the disjointed Syrian opposition and some of our allies in the region. He foolishly drew a “red line” a few months back, so now he’s getting taunted with the old canard about the need to “restore U.S. credibility.” This last argument is especially silly: If being willing to use force was the litmus test of a president’s credibility, Obama is in no danger whatsoever. Or has everyone just forgotten about his decision to escalate in Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya, and all those drone strikes?
      More than anything else, Obama reminds me here of George Orwell in his famous essay “Shooting an Elephant.” Orwell recounts how, while serving as a colonial officer in Burma, he was forced to shoot a rogue elephant simply because the local residents expected an official of the British Empire to act this way, even when the animal appeared to pose no further danger. If he didn’t go ahead and dispatch the poor beast, he feared that his prestige and credibility might be diminished. Like Orwell, Obama seems to be sliding toward “doing something” because he feels he simply can’t afford not to.
      Sad, but also revealing.


      • DICKERSON3870 on August 30, 2013, 1:26 pm

        P.P.P.P.S. RE: “We’re Going to War Because We Just Can’t Stop Ourselves” ~ Stephen Walt (from above)

        SEE: “How the Power of Myth Keeps Us Mired in War”, by Ira Chernus,, 01/20/11

        [EXCERPT] . . . White Americans, going back to early colonial times, generally assigned the role of ‘bad guys’ to ‘savages’ lurking in the wilderness beyond the borders of our civilized land. Whether they were redskins, commies, terrorists, or the Taliban, the plot has always remained the same.
        Call it the myth of national security — or, more accurately, national insecurity, since it always tells us who and what to fear.
        It’s been a mighty (and mighty effective) myth. . .

        SOURCE –

      • DICKERSON3870 on August 30, 2013, 1:58 pm

        P.P.P.P.P.S. RE: “White Americans, going back to early colonial times, generally assigned the role of ‘bad guys’ to ‘savages’ lurking in the wilderness beyond the borders of our civilized land.” ~ Chernus (from above)

        AN EARLY SUMMER EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE, proudly brought to you by the makers of the new Über-Xtreme Ziocaine Ultra SR (Sustained Release) Transdermal Patch®: Let The Good Times Roll!™

        . . . Obama, Barack Obama, King of the Wild Frontier.

        He fought single handed through the Injun war,
        Till the Creeks was whipped and peace was restored.
        And while he was handling this risky chore,
        Made himself a legend, forevermore.
        Obama, Barack Obama, the man who don’t know fear.

        He give his word an’ he give his hand,
        that his Injun friends could keep their land
        An’ the rest of his life he took the stand,
        that justice was due every redskin band
        Obama, Barack Obama, holdin’ his promise dear!

        He went off to Congress and served a spell
        Fixin’ up the government and laws as well.
        Took over Washington, so we hear tell,
        And patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell.
        Obama, Barack Obama, seein’ his duty clear. (Serving his country well) . . .

        ● Fess Parker: Ballad of Davy Crockett (1955)
        [VIDEO, 02:15] –

  4. marc b. on August 30, 2013, 1:14 pm

    r.cohen. what a scum bag. yes, let’s throw a tantrum to ‘save’ US credibility, never mind the consequences for civilians of a so-called surgical attack, possibly on chemical weapons stores, on a country about the size of Oklahoma. (I don’t mean this rhetorically, but how do these people sleep at night?) as much as it pains me to say anything positive about a nyt analyst, bobo brooks appears to have a much more sensitive, nuanced grasp of the circumstances, and the potential long-term consequences for the region of an attack. as for cohen, some geritol and laudanum might be what’s needed to restore his credibility.

  5. doug on August 30, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Laura, Laura, Laura, I’m so disappointed.

    • American on August 30, 2013, 2:14 pm

      @ doug,

      I dont know why….Laura is very pro Israel—-I quit reading anything she published when she promoted and backed the author of the book about Islam taking over Europe…she very Muslim and Islamphobic.

  6. irishmoses on August 30, 2013, 1:27 pm

    I just listened to Secretary of State Kerry’s moving speech and I am now convinced that we do need to send troops to South Vietnam.

    • ritzl on August 30, 2013, 4:48 pm

      To paraphrase young Kerry on Viet Nam: How do you ask a man to be the first man to die for the President’s credibility?

      Original: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” (John Kerry, Congressional Testimony, April 22, 1971)

  7. Joeygee23 on August 30, 2013, 1:39 pm

    Dov Zakheim?….9/10/01 missing trillion$ from Pentagon…. Remote controlled planes for the “Pearl Harbour type event…’….he just needs needs to move to a settlement in “Judea” or “Samaria.” How can such blatant traitors have a voice?!

  8. American on August 30, 2013, 1:48 pm

    After listening to Kerry just now trying to have his “Churchill” moment on the stage—“US Morality Will Prevail for the Free World” ….Strike the evildoers!’….I am trying not to barf.

    • annie on August 30, 2013, 2:20 pm

      what does “our intelligence community” mean? who is that?

      • American on August 30, 2013, 4:13 pm

        Annie Robbins says:
        August 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm

        what does “our intelligence community” mean? who is that?>>>>

        Beats the hell outa me—–I dont see any intellgent ‘communities’ in our government , do you?
        He probably means the puppet masters in Israel.
        Yesterday Andrea Mitchell had ever single US Israeli on her program she could find to trot out for propaganda.
        And then Fox had every hypen-Syrian -American ‘Free Syria’ agent they could find to trot out for propaganda.
        And all the war pundits are enjoying their ‘expert’ moments in the limelight immensely.
        Too bad we cant gas all the gas bags.

    • seafoid on August 30, 2013, 3:04 pm

      US morality. Morality , along with justice, habeas corpus, journalism, citizenship, individual rights, intelligence gathering and sanity changed forever on 9/11. Kerry now plays whorehouse piano.

  9. American on August 30, 2013, 2:09 pm

    Where is the proof it was Assad? They said they would reveal ‘the evidence’.
    But so far as near as I can tell the only proof is Kerry and all ‘say so’ ..but it’s secret and they cant tell the american people .
    It’s none of the little peoples beeswax ‘how they know”.

  10. Citizen on August 30, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Well, it’s about 2PM EST, and POTUS has yet to reveal to the public the alleged myriad of pieces of evidence he has that Assad gassed his own people. Note also that the only piece so far made public by anyone that was not an assumption is the Israeli spy audio piece given to POTUS by Israel, which has been soft-pedaled in term of source by American officials.

    When John Bolton (always trotted out as the guru by Fox News, along with Krauthammer) says he does not favor striking Iran, what should we think? Did anybody catch Fox News’s Krauthammer–what’s he say?

    And why is France so eager to go on record as supporting a strike? What’s in it for France?

    And why so many Israeli officials staying mum on US strike, sort of like we don’t say yes or not, but we are not officially on board with US strike? Because, if AIPAC dittos this approach, as it significantly has, and OBAMA still strike Syria, and Assad backers strike Israel, this will afford Israel high moral grounds to attack with all its force big time, and set the stage of attack on Iran?

    • DICKERSON3870 on August 30, 2013, 2:37 pm

      RE: “When John Bolton (always trotted out as the guru by Fox News, along with Krauthammer) says he does not favor striking Iran, what should we think?” ~ Citizen

      MY QUESTION: Did you mean Syria instead of Iran?

      John Bolton: Israel should have attacked Iran ‘yesterday’ (7/17/13) –

      • Citizen on August 31, 2013, 9:21 am

        @ Dickerson3870
        Yes, my hasty bad. I did mean Syria. Sorry.

      • DICKERSON3870 on August 31, 2013, 10:06 pm

        No problem, I’m just glad that I don’t have to reconsider my visceral dislike for Bolton.
        There is a bit of a split among the neocons regarding Syria. I think that Bolton and a few others fear that if the U.S. were to get bogged down in Syria, that would be tantamount to the third strike (Afghanistan, Iraq & Syria); and the U.S. public would then oppose any “kinetic action” against Iran.

    • MHughes976 on August 30, 2013, 4:18 pm

      As to what’s in it for France – I remember 10 years ago, when I was about to visit family in Washington, and it seemed as if that if I wanted to order what we British call ‘chips’ I would have to call them Freedom (rather than French) Fries. I’m sure that the French are amused by the opportunity to resume their status as ‘America’s oldest ally’. Mind you, I’ve just heard an anti-Hollande French MP saying ‘Vive l’Angleterre!’ on television, which I never expected to hear.
      I think that we are in the unusual situation where those who favour Israel and even perhaps the Israeli government don’t quite know what to think. Is it best for Israel to remove Assad or imperative to keep the Sunni enthusiasts out of power? Luttwak’s article calling for indefinite conflict was perhaps less eccentric and more significant than most of us thought.

  11. Citizen on August 30, 2013, 2:25 pm

    Here’s a piece that explains France’s commitment to a strike: Syria is a former French colony, France has military assets in the region, including jet strike force and cruise type missiles, and no further buy-in by the French public is needed–they apparently don’t even count (much like America, it seems):

    Who’s the de facto monarchy, England or America? King Obama?

  12. hophmi on August 30, 2013, 2:29 pm

    November 10, 1938. Jews come to the US telling of concentration camps at Dachau and Sachenhausen. Kristallnacht has just happened.

    I think guys like you are on the radio with Father Coughlin accusing the Jews of wanting to drag the US into war. That’s sad.

  13. DICKERSON3870 on August 30, 2013, 2:53 pm

    RE: “The burgeoning left-right antiwar coalition on Syria . . .”

    ● FROM
    To email Obama, your senators and representative, expressing opposition to an attack on Syria, click HERE.

  14. Citizen on August 30, 2013, 3:01 pm

    More ado about the same, that is, Obama marching for Israel (via Syria, back door to Iran) First and Oil control second: It’s all about AIPAC et al and oil distribution control.

  15. phylliprezzel on August 30, 2013, 3:13 pm

    At times comedy can make a point quite succinctly.
    Check out Mark Fiore’s take on Obama’s dilemma:
    And Andy Borowitz:

  16. doug on August 30, 2013, 3:15 pm

    As I said a few days ago, I think this cake is baked. We have been fully in the sales pitch mode for the last couple of weeks. Astonishing that the large majority of the more liberal MSM is on board with this.

    I do hope this isn’t a cover for “doing” Iran or a FF operation. If Iran can be coaxed into entering this upon out forthcoming Syria attack so much the better it seems. If they don’t a FF implicating Iran will be widely accepted as fact.

    I am afraid this really is all about Iran but is the USG in on it?

    • Kathleen on August 30, 2013, 9:24 pm

      Rachel Maddow has been banging on the neocons Iran war drum for quite a few years. Hillary Mann Leverett refers to warmongers like Maddow,Ed Schultz, Martin Bashir as liberal Imperialist.

      • seanmcbride on August 30, 2013, 10:32 pm


        Rachel Maddow has been banging on the neocons Iran war drum for quite a few years. Hillary Mann Leverett refers to warmongers like Maddow,Ed Schultz, Martin Bashir as liberal Imperialist.

        1. Democratic neocons
        2. humanitarian interventionists
        3. Israeli ops in the Democratic Party
        4. Israeli ops on the left
        5. leftist neoconservatives
        6. liberal imperialists
        7. liberal interventionists
        8. liberal Zionists
        9. neoliberals

      • James Canning on August 31, 2013, 1:38 pm

        Many are “humanitarian interventionists” unless Israel objects to such intervention. Most, probably.

  17. Taxi on August 30, 2013, 3:56 pm

    Chemical shchemical! This “limited” attack is all about giving the takfiri terrorists in Syria a helping hand, as they’d hit a rapid deterioration on the battlefield just before this ‘chemical’ absurdity caught media fire. The WH would rather the takfiris did the dirty deed of finishing off Bashar; cheaper this way too. No doubt the “limited” attack would mostly target strategic Syrian army positions that would weaken their further advance against the takfiris.

    It is safe to say, therefore, that Al Qaida has finally acquired itself an air force of its own: The U.S. Air Force.

  18. ivri on August 30, 2013, 4:16 pm

    It`s probably true – Syria is just a phase. Hezbollah is next. And like in the movies – the real bad guy, Iran, is last. Now that Obama didn`t act, and likewise the UK, they have shown enough “moderation” so that next time around with Iran it will be easier. The Syria saga may provide in the end the needed excuse to deal with the real target, Iran, since it cannot allow its main anchor/ally in the region, Assad, to fall – they will lose all their game-plan if they did.

    • Taxi on August 31, 2013, 12:21 pm

      I see you’ve just had your zio shot of the day, intravenously. Enjoy your shiny-eyed hallucinations; and when you’ve sobered up, you’d better start praying that whatever happens doesn’t lead to a regional war, cuz if it does, tel aviv, within a handful of days, will start to look like downtown Beirut, circa 1978.

  19. HarryLaw on August 30, 2013, 4:37 pm

    The US would certainly be breaching the UN charter by attacking Syria, some say the doctrine of right to protect can be applied, not according to Professor Michael Mandel at Osgoode Hall Law School who states that the so called precedent of the Kosovo war was not accepted by the majority of states, the UN repudiated it in several authoritative documents here.. 1) A more secure world: Our shared responsibility. Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes (2004)

    203. We endorse the emerging norm that there is a collective international responsibility to protect, EXERCISABLE BY THE SECURITY COUNCIL authorizing military intervention as a last resort…

    2) General Assembly of the United Nations, Resolution 60/1, 2005 World Summit Outcome (24 October 2005)
    139. The international community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. In this context, we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, THROUGH THE SECURITY COUNCIL, in accordance with the Charter…

    3) Security Council Resolution 1674 (28 April 2006)

    The Security Council…

    4. Reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity;

    These are absolutely binding affirmations, signed onto by the United States and all the members of the United Nations. And that..
    “It is for the Security Council collectively, not the United States alone, to decide whether war was the answer. And that if the Security Council can’t agree on military intervention, then it does not happen”.

  20. American on August 30, 2013, 4:39 pm

    What I would like to see— (but dont think we will because Syria isnt that critical to Russia) —-is a MAD showdown.
    Why not ?..isn’t that what nukes are all about? To keep each other in line?

    “If not now when”.. I thunder in my best “Churchillian” tone.

    All these f”ing fops want to strut their egos on the world stage?———put them in the final act.
    Let’s see who wets their moral panties then.

    • Taxi on August 31, 2013, 12:29 pm


      I can’t tell you how many people have said the same to me all week. And they meant it. Levant Arabs are saying: “they’re picking us off in clusters here and there, we’re dying anyway, so let’s just go for it and go for crazy broke and completely derail the usa/israel/saudi train. If America attacks Syria and we don’t do this now, our grandchildren’s grandchildren will be living with even less independence and freedom than we have now.”

    • Taxi on August 31, 2013, 5:22 pm

      ” Syria isnt that critical to Russia”.

      Hold it right there, buddy. You’re sorely mistaken. Syria is Russia’s only gateway to the west. Consider this:

      Now look at a map of the world:
      Or any map site of your choosing.

      You can see on the map how, without full access to Syria and its ports on the Mediterranean, Russia is checked inside the domain of its Asia terrain by USA military bases that pepper the region, and also by Nato countries, thereby rendering Russia unable to extend its reach of influence westwards. In other words, Syria is crucial to Russia’s national security and also vital to Russia’s continuing ambition to undisputed superpowerdom.

      • James Canning on September 1, 2013, 1:38 pm

        The US and UK have made clear to Russia that its interests in Syria will not be injured, whatever the outcome in Syria. At least, there will be no effort to hurt those interests.

  21. James Canning on August 30, 2013, 5:45 pm

    I continue to think some of those who want a US war with Syria hope to wreck any chance of improvement of US relations with Iran under its new president.

  22. HarryLaw on August 30, 2013, 5:59 pm

    Obama’s planned “limited” war on Syria is extremely dangerous it assumes the victim will not retaliate, if he does then escalation is inevitable [leading to regime change] how dare they try and sink one of our ships raining death and destruction on innocent Syrians. But that could be the plan, Kerry has just said the action is a shot across the bows of Hezbollah and Iran , It could be an excuse for the hot war against Iran the US administration feels is inevitable at some stage in the future, what price International law now that the US is again prepared to use force to achieve its aims in the middle east. What will Russia do? These are extremely high stakes decisions, Obama may think trashing International law is worth the destruction of Syria, Hezbollah and Iran, I don’t think he can pull it off.

  23. mcohen on August 30, 2013, 6:53 pm

    I say rock on bob marley,great lion of zion,dreadlock warrior,living in the heart of tel aviv.
    I say that assad can carry on with his evil deeds because he is anti israel and therefore pro palestinian
    i say he can kill everyone without american intervention because why waste bombs on arabs when they can bomb themselves back to the stoned ages
    finally i say
    bomb saudi arabia and remove forever the stain of the black oil on the white cloth of islam
    with an outstretched fist and a mighty roar
    Let the bear make war
    with your big stick and overflowing honeypot
    beat down the self righteous
    and take from them there treasures
    let the lion of africa break the chains of the slaves and free them

    3 companions will bring 7 falling stars 7 years of peace weapons laid down

  24. W.Jones on August 30, 2013, 7:03 pm

    Interview with the Syrian president from May 2013:

    At present, are you concerned about military action against Syria?

    This is precisely what Israel acted upon last week. It is always a standing possibility and occurs from time to time, especially when we continue to make progress across the country against the terrorist groups and shift the balance of power on the ground.

    The countries cited earlier delegated Israel to commit its aggression in order to improve the morale of the terrorist groups. These nations serve to prolong the violence and bloodshed in Syria in order to significantly weaken the Syrian state. Therefore military action against us is not an improbable scenario; it may transpire at any time, even on a limited-scale.

  25. mijj on August 30, 2013, 8:46 pm

    zero independently verifiable evidence, yet lots of assertions of “no doubt”.

    Preferable to adapting to actual reality via reason, empathy, etc is expression of Will through War.

  26. Nevada Ned on August 31, 2013, 12:20 am

    I just found out that Republican Congressman Joe Heck of Nevada has issued a statement that dissents from the stampede to war. His position echoes the position of John Boehner, alcoholic speaker of the House. Heck is a conservative but not a Tea Party loon. This is proof that it’s evidently smart politics for Republicans to oppose Obama’s threat to attack Syria.
    Whatever the reason, this is a welcome development.

    Maybe the Republicans, just out of sheer lame-brained partisanship, are opposing everything Obama proposes. Obama proposes war, so they oppose war. This is an argument in favor of lame-brained partisanship!

    As for what is really happening, it does look like a false flag operation by the Syrian rebels, who want the US to intervene in the Syrian civil war. I agree with the excellent article on Counterpunch by Diana Johnstone.

  27. gamal on August 31, 2013, 3:01 am

    As the Arab world lapses into widespread war and disorder, i link to two documentaries about the SA border war, American machinations, one is a near contemporary commentary and the other John Rockwell CIA in Africa. Its all so familiar.

  28. mcohen on August 31, 2013, 5:31 am

    There is a lot of talk about chem weapons but why has no one come to the conclusion that they might have come from iraq and hidden in syria before the us invaded iraq.
    it would have served several purposes to move the wmd to syria to be used in a future war with israel.
    the same forces that had trained with the weapons could have now moved to syria and activated them.this makes sense because handling wmd needs training and preperation and the iraqi,s were skilled in using chem weapons
    if ex iraqi military are operating in syria then the west has a problem.and so does israel
    the response to that threat is going to have serious consequences for syria and the region
    if the threat is solely against israel then that becomes a bargaining chip in i/p negioations
    why would assad use chemical weapons against his own people
    it does not add up
    no i think that those chemical weapons were either incorrectly handled without officer supervision or deliberately used to set off a retaliation by the west to further destablise syria and enable jihadi networks coming from iraq to move wmd closer to the golan area
    what is in fact preventing this from happening is syrian forces who do not want to see there country being used as a stepping stone on the advance towards the golan
    the other problem is that it might be impossible to hold iraq accountable through threat of retaliation.
    And it is quite telling that some western countries have backed down because they might be facing the same problem,especially european countries.
    wmd in the hands of a few well trained troops can have devastating consequences but it all comes down to short term sacrifices to achieve long term aims
    finding out what the long term aims are ,is more important than distrubuting gas masks
    however that might call for a strike on the not so obvious
    sooner or later our dependence on fossil fuels is going to lead to harsh decisions and now might be the time to stop the flow

  29. Citizen on August 31, 2013, 9:25 am

    Remember “freedom fries?” Well, now that Obama stands alone except for France as Western ally, Kerry made it clear we’re back to eating french fries, at least at the moment:

  30. James Canning on August 31, 2013, 1:41 pm

    @Citizen – – Yes, what utter stupidity! “Freedom fries”! Idiots in US Congress.

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