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Reich writes: "We are on the brink of a tragic decision to strike Syria, because, in the dubious logic of the President, 'a lot of people think something should be done,' and American 'credibility' is at stake.'

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)


The True Test of American Resolve: Not Attacking Syria But Living Up to Our Ideals at Home

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

01 September 13

 

e are on the brink of a tragic decision to strike Syria, because, in the dubious logic of the President, "a lot of people think something should be done," and American "credibility" is at stake. He and his secretary of state assure us that the strike will be "limited" and "surgical."

The use of chemical weapons against Syrian citizens is abominable, and if Assad's regime is responsible he should be treated as an international criminal and pariah.

But have we learned nothing from our mistakes in the past? Time and again over the last half century American presidents have justified so-called "surgical strikes" because the nation's "credibility" is at stake, and because we have to take some action to show our "strength and resolve" - only to learn years later that our credibility suffered more from our brazen bellicosity, that the surgical strikes only intensified hostilities and made us captive to forces beyond our control, and that our resolve eventually disappears in the face of mounting casualties of Americans and innocent civilians - and in the absence of clearly-defined goals or even clear exit strategies. We and others have paid an incalculable price.

On Labor Day weekend we should instead be testing the nation's resolve to provide good jobs at good wages to all Americans who need them, and measuring our credibility by the yardstick of equal opportunity. And we should strike (and join striking workers) against big employers who won't provide their employees with minimally-decent wages. We need to commit ourselves to a living wage, and to providing more economic security to the millions of Americans now working harder but getting nowhere.

Mr. President, a lot of Americans do think something should be done - about these mounting problems at our doorstep here in America. We can have more influence on the rest of the world by showing the rest of the world our resolve to live by our ideals here in America, than by using brute force to prove our resolve elsewhere.


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+11 # fredboy 2013-09-01 08:52
I think our "leaders" have realized if we don't let our military attack someone else they will likely attack us. You can't be promoted to "flag rank" without a battle ribbon.
 
 
+26 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-01 11:19
TO:fredboy.
I think your post is satire? Hmm? Do you understand that the U.S. military has "bought out" their own doctors to misrepresent the very dangerous use of DU and its effects? Also known as "Depleted Uranium." Isotope 238 is removed from natural uranium. It is 60-70 % as dangerous as naturally ocurring uranium. The "bought out" U.S. military "professional" medical practitioners have publicly lied to the world, the American people about its health dangers. International doctors are saying- U.S, doctors, "lying." UK installed radiation detectors in their own lands and have detected nuclear radiation from Iraq. It is highly likely that the military will use DU in bombs. Why? That is what the military used in Iraq, in bombs. If, and we do not really know as the U.N. inspectors still do not know, who discharged the murderous gas and who caused Syrian deaths if Syrian deaths were actually caused as well as how many? What the Syrians get. If some of the citizens and military were gassed, the U.S. will deliver DU and cause the land and water to be nuclear hot for millions of years. So, a trade is made. Syrians get gassed and for that act, they then get nuclear radiation from the U.S. The Syrian incidence of cancer may be like it was in Iraq, a 7-10 fold increase. How might the Syrians pay back the U.S.? How about they "might" deliver a brief case size nuclear bomb to the U.S. You know, maybe stashed in a sea cargo container. Think 9/11 was an accident? Think it was payback?
 
 
+26 # tomo 2013-09-01 15:13
What Eldon says here about "depleted" uranium was said to me with great emphasis and frequent repetition by Marion Fulk in the last years of his life. Marion was a bio-chemist involved in things nuclear from the Manhattan Project and before right up to his death last year in his late eighties. What I as a layman garnered from Marion was that "depleted" uranium was remarkably busy--particula rly after it went into the form of a gas. He said it had a "wicked" capacity to penetrate the body's defenses, and that once taken in, it functioned to enable all kinds of cellular connections that the evolutionary history of us humans had no use for and very little defense against.
He felt sure this biological "dis-organizati on" was the physiological basis for many of the problems the military has finally and reluctantly acknowledged as PTSD.

So what? Well, we are justly outraged that some terrorists would set off bombs at the Boston Marathon, but we seem blissfully unaware that we have salted Iraq with the poison of DU--and now seem poised to do something similar to Syria.
 
 
-2 # James38 2013-09-02 14:31
Bloedorn's statement "Also known as "Depleted Uranium." Isotope 238 is removed from natural uranium. It is 60-70 % as dangerous as naturally ocurring uranium" shows ignorance of the actual process.

DU is produced by various methods which remove U235, which is the most radioactive common isotope of Uranium, and is present in "naturally occurring uranium" at 0.72%

Since there is so little U235 in the first place, obviously the difference in radioactivity Between "natural" and "depleted" uranium is slight.

What is important is that "natural" uranium itself is only weakly radioactive. That is why so much effort must be made to produce a level of U235 that will work in a nuclear reactor or a weapon.

In terms of radiation, no form of natural or depleted uranium is very dangerous.

As a chemical in the environment, it is toxic, especially in high or frequent doses.

I checked the reference to Marion Faulk. His work has been co-opted by conspiracy theorists, and NO genuine scientific studies are cited in the references I found as relate to DU. What does exist are emotional and exaggerated claims referring to "nano particles", which is a popular pseudo-scientif ic buzzword that is overused constantly by propagandists. It has no bearing on the actual effects of any form of Uranium.

People reading this forum are responding with up and down votes based on emotion and misinformation, not actual study.

Repeating misinformation does not make truth.
 
 
+2 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-03 08:46
To:James38
You're lying.
 
 
+4 # tomo 2013-09-03 10:58
James38: Marion's last name was Fulk, not Faulk--a small point but perhaps worth making to one who is questioning the scholarly credentials of another. As for Marion's being co-opted by "conspiracy theorists," I wonder at the ease with which debaters try to dismiss opposition by use of this phrase--as if there were no conspiracies in the world. Regarding the "co-opted" part, if, say, I say something critical about capitalism and some professed Marxists agree with me, would that mean I had been "co-opted by Marxists"? Surely what is being attempted here is the fallacy of "guilt-by-assoc iation." Moreover, I've seen Marion resist the notion of conspiracy over the falling of the twin towers. Whereas the other party kept arguing that steel buildings don't just melt like that, Marion kept responding that this friend needed to factor in what kinetic energy is capable of. Marion struck me at all times as wonderfully conscientious in his thinking and speaking. Acquaintance with him tended to make one more meticulous about what one said.
 
 
+72 # Milarepa 2013-09-01 09:10
Agent Orange, napalm, white phosphorous, depleted uranium - need I say more? The proposed strike on the poor people of Syria is meant to protect the poor people of America, is that what Mr. Obama is saying? This sounds like casual insanity to me.
 
 
+19 # mra500 2013-09-01 23:45
"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Most people do not realize that chemical warfare is nothing new to the United States. In fact, we are old hands at it.

Between 1961 and 1971, the U.S. spray-bombed 20,000,000 gallons of an extremely toxic chemical all over Vietnam - known as “Agent Orange."

Agent Orange was supposed to kill foliage that was hiding communists the US was fighting. Unfortunately, when you spray toxic chemicals from airplanes, you also spray it into the lungs and bodies of everyone in the area - children, farmers, everyone. That is chemical warfare, and the United States was guilty of a massive use of it.

The government of Vietnam says that approximately 400,000 people were killed or maimed because of Agent Orange, and 500,000 children were born with birth defects because of its use. In 2011, The Red Cross of Vietnam said that as many as 1 million people are still suffering from serious health problems due to Agent Orange. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_Orange)

Apparently, President Obama is unaware of our infamous history of using chemical warfare. He is ready to start a war because of the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria that may have killed 1200 people, because that’s “crossing the red line.” But he’s not 100% sure that those chemical weapons were even used in Syria.

What right does the US have to punish others when the US is the guiltiest user of chemical warfare in history?
 
 
+61 # mdhome 2013-09-01 09:15
Robert Reich for president
 
 
+4 # mra500 2013-09-01 23:54
You said it!

Watch for the movie about Robert Reich called "INEQUALITY FOR ALL."
 
 
+28 # Merschrod 2013-09-01 09:22
Fred is too cynical, Bob, has an excellent point - I'd fill in the details for implementation of the war crimes approach. With our great intelligence service - document the names of the troops and the officers who gave the command and immnediately turn over the case to a war crimes tribunal while publishing the names and putting them on an interpol list.
 
 
+61 # stoher9 2013-09-01 10:51
Everybody is making a big deal about several hundred people being killed from what may be chemical weapons. That several hundred people have been killed is a big deal. How they were killed isn't. We & the rest of the world have sat by while 100 thousand Syrians have been slaughtered. Men, women & children. Does anyone think it matters to the dead how they were killed, whether by shrapnel, landmines, bullets, rockets, artillery, beatings, torture, depleted uranium residue or chemical weapons. Just like the 100's of thousands of Iraqui's, Afghani's & Libyan's. They are still dead! And nothing we do will bring them back.
With every intervention in the Middle East, the US just ratchets up the level of hatred & violence there. We create more enemies for ourselves and our allies.
Poverty & oppression is what drives the permanent unrest in the Middle East and adding more firepower to that already boiling cauldron of hatred & hopelessness will not solve anything.
When the US brings its own War Criminals to justice, then we may have a moral leg to stand on about what any other leader in the world does. Until that time we should just shut up and try to improve the lives of the people who live in the Middle East through job creating & the suppression of inequality. Come to think about it, that might be a good thing to start at home as well!!!
 
 
+7 # Michael Lee Bugg 2013-09-02 22:01
Stoher9, yours is one of the best comments ever on this subject! 100,000 killed by shrapnel and bullets and falling buildings, and now we are righteously indignant about 1,400 killed by chemicals! How many people have we killed since the start of the first Gulf War in 1991 by warfare and deprivation through sanctions for no justifiable reason? No wonder so many foreigners, particularly Islamic people, see US as complete hypocrites! Before we condemn Asad, let's prosecute Bush 43, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Feith, Wolfowitz, et al!!!
 
 
+66 # Yakpsyche 2013-09-01 09:40
"Our leaders" are our masters. They are the shills of the plutocrats who are not interested in American prosperity, only their own poly national financial gains, which are already so bloated beyond rational need that they they have become a cancer on world society.

Militarism is a necessary part of this, not only because it is immensely profitable, but principally because it divides people against each other, making the plutocrats' consolidation of empire more easily realized.

Thus, our "leaders" are not really interested in American credibiliity, any more than they are interested in exporting freedom or democracy. These words are merely emotionally inspiring excuses to carry out their real agenda. At this point, it is to spread "our" military presence through an increasingly fragmented and chaotic Middle East.

Do we really want an "American Empire"? Are we so eager to close our eyes to the rest of the world due to our vulnerability to their repeated use of the "fear button", that we will allow the plutocrats to break societies around the world, now in the name of "American credibility"? Who do we think we're fooling?
 
 
+15 # Maturus 2013-09-01 09:43
'Learning from past mistakes' is not something that politicians readily understand because they all imagine that they know how to produce a different result to their predecessor. All politicians seek to achieve, and retain, power by whatever means are available and, in a state with a form of democracy, that tends to demand populist words and actions - and nothing comes cheaper than nationalistic fervour. When a politician who understands the difference between dominance and leadership emerges, you might get some change.

As to beating on the door of good intentions: forget it, it's just posturing and lazy. Corporations are run according to the rules and their objective to to maximise the return for investors - and why not: profit, per se, is not bad. However, some of us don't like the balance of outcomes and if we want to change them we need to learn from experience - stop beating on the door and change the rules.

Firstly, corporations pay tax on profits so make the rate of that tax be a function of the profit:turnover ratio. Let the companies decide what's best for their investors: a better-paid and motivated workforce or a larger sliceof profits paid to federal government.

Secondly, some people are paid huge amounts of money - get over it! If a football player can be paid millions of dollars a year, why not a corporate executive? But increase their tax rate accordingly ( I know, easier said than done).

(cont)
 
 
-13 # brux 2013-09-01 09:45
There is no doubt that Syria's people would be better of without the Assad government. It's the same with Egypt and Libya ... it may take all of them a while to find a workable system of government but at least the process is started, and the rest of the Islamic nations are on notice. It's called progress and sadly it is very very slow.
 
 
-15 # brux 2013-09-01 09:47
Robert Reich is right ... but in a lot of cases these new governments can serve as models for us as to how to re-invent democracy, because we seem to have lost the democratic ideal and how to gain it back.

Look at every other developed country and how now they have entered modernity and have worker rights and universal health care, and now the US is falling behind, just as Reich implies. Still, helping Syria overthrow Assad will be a good thing for all democractic nations in the long term.
 
 
+45 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-01 11:26
Interesting. Here in America, there are those who want to "overthrow" Medicare, Social Security, education, clean water, rebuilding our "D" rated infrstructure. The list is long. Our students rank 25th in the world in math and science based on the upper 25 percentile. But, "we" have the money to overthrow another government. George Bernard Shaw:"the longer I'm here, the more I think this planet is used as as an asylum for the insane."
 
 
+2 # tomo 2013-09-01 19:50
Eldon: You had a great remark on "depleted" uranium; but now I can't find it.
 
 
+2 # tomo 2013-09-01 21:06
It's reappeared, Eldon.
 
 
+2 # Doubter 2013-09-02 10:03
Criminally insane.
 
 
+1 # brux 2013-09-07 22:57
I lament the problems of America, but there is no indication that radically changing our foreign policy has anything to do with where we stand in education. I think a lot of the education problems result from a culture of advertising that makes stupidity and loserdom a desired product that people seem to buy into.

It's not cool to be a good student, and our media, movies and music scream this at our young people day in and day out - especially in the free media, like TV and radio. We actively engineer a society of ignorance ... that needs to be recognized and stopped before we can spend more money on schools.
 
 
+20 # Maturus 2013-09-01 09:53
(cont)

Thirdly, everyone strives to put together a little something while they're on this earth but no one gets to take it with them. If we have children we try to provide the best for them that we can but our provision ends at the grave. And so it should. Why do our rules allow the mega-rich to pass wealth on from generation to generation? There's a Yorkshire expression 'clogs to clogs in 3 generations' which describes how the first generation leads, the second builds and the third dissipates. The use of 'trust' funds allows the wealthy to avoid death taxes and protects the income of successor generations. I would argue that this prevents the redistribution of income and should be stopped.the children of the wealthy benefit in all manner of ways and receive a 'head start' in life; it should be reduced on the death of each generation.
 
 
-56 # grandone@charter.net 2013-09-01 09:55
We cannot claim to be the world leader, the world's largest economy, the only superpower if we act like irresponsible children on the world stage. It is time for the grown ups to discipline the bully in Syria who has committed murder of a thousand four hundred people including 400 children. Where is the outrage? Where is the responsibility that goes with the privilege of leadership? Have we lost our will and our values to allow a mass murderer to escape punishment? I hope not. Now, pull it together America. This is the face of evil. Chemical weapons have no place in civilized society and if we can stop them now, we can avoid having to regret not doing so in the future.
 
 
+34 # reiverpacific 2013-09-01 13:20
Quoting grandone@charter.net:
We cannot claim to be the world leader, the world's largest economy, the only superpower if we act like irresponsible children on the world stage. It is time for the grown ups to discipline the bully in Syria who has committed murder of a thousand four hundred people including 400 children. Where is the outrage? Where is the responsibility that goes with the privilege of leadership? Have we lost our will and our values to allow a mass murderer to escape punishment? I hope not. Now, pull it together America. This is the face of evil. Chemical weapons have no place in civilized society and if we can stop them now, we can avoid having to regret not doing so in the future.

So how about DU -WMD's, still poisoning wide areas an their peoples long after their deployment at which time which the handlers and launchers suffer toxic exposure also?
And if you want to talk about the "Face of evil" start with Dick Cheyn-gang, Dimwits and all those dedicated to the 'New American Century' concept of global totalitarian imperialism and 'Pax Americana' -which means war for everybody else.
 
 
+24 # Malcolm 2013-09-01 15:54
" Have we lost our will and our values to allow a mass murderer to escape punishment? I hope not. Now, pull it together America. This is the face of evil. Chemical weapons have no place in civilized society"

Oh, so true. Would you agree that mass murderers using drones have no place, either?
 
 
+35 # Inspired Citizen 2013-09-01 09:58
We need to be very clear about this. America's credibility is NOT on the line. Obama's credibility is on the line because he's the one who foolishly drew the red line and now finds himself painted into a corner. I have to wonder if he doesn't hope this fails in Congress to get him out of the corner he finds himself in.

An attack cannot but escalate violence in the Middle East and most likely widen the conflict there. It will marginalize the new leader in Iran who is trying to establish a dialog with the West.

Reagan, for all his faults, did not feel the need to punish Saddam for using chemical weapons, and neither should have Obama. But he did, and only our Reps in Congress can get Obama out of this corner.
 
 
+8 # bingers 2013-09-02 04:34
"Reagan, for all his faults, did not feel the need to punish Saddam for using chemical weapons, and neither should have Obama. But he did, and only our Reps in Congress can get Obama out of this corner."

Yeah, but Reagan was the one who supplied Saddam with the chemical weapons. Reagan was a nice man personally, but a destructive moron as president and is responsible for many of our worst problems now. Anyone who thinks Reagan was a good or eve, not so bad president has their head up where the sun doesn't shine.
 
 
+60 # inpectore 2013-09-01 10:00
President Eisenhower said,"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed". How much will this adventure cost?
 
 
+11 # Inspired Citizen 2013-09-01 11:30
Over $1 million/cruise missile plus all the time that the destroyers are out there waiting for Congress to decide.
 
 
+34 # shraeve 2013-09-01 10:05
I doubt the Syrian government is responsible for this chemical attack. Why would the government use chemical weapons? They were winning anyway. Assad was well aware that the USA was looking for any excuse to attack Syria. Why would he want to give them that excuse when he was winning?

Al Quaeda has every reason to want the USA to attack. Al Quaeda does not scruple to kill civilians.

The gas used was Sarin. Sarin is available to minor terrorist groups. It was used by thatn tiny nutcase group that killed those people on a Japanese subway. ASs well-funded as Al Qaeda is, it would have no problem acquiring a large quantity of Sarin.
 
 
0 # reiverpacific 2013-09-02 19:15
Quoting bingers:
"Reagan, for all his faults, did not feel the need to punish Saddam for using chemical weapons, and neither should have Obama. But he did, and only our Reps in Congress can get Obama out of this corner."

Yeah, but Reagan was the one who supplied Saddam with the chemical weapons. Reagan was a nice man personally, but a destructive moron as president and is responsible for many of our worst problems now. Anyone who thinks Reagan was a good or eve, not so bad president has their head up where the sun doesn't shine.

Quoting shraeve:
I doubt the Syrian government is responsible for this chemical attack. Why would the government use chemical weapons? They were winning anyway. Assad was well aware that the USA was looking for any excuse to attack Syria. Why would he want to give them that excuse when he was winning?

Al Quaeda has every reason to want the USA to attack. Al Quaeda does not scruple to kill civilians.

The gas used was Sarin. Sarin is available to minor terrorist groups. It was used by thatn tiny nutcase group that killed those people on a Japanese subway. ASs well-funded as Al Qaeda is, it would have no problem acquiring a large quantity of Sarin.

Or MOSSAD, or the CIA.
 
 
-61 # moafu@yahoo.com 2013-09-01 10:12
As appalling as the Syrian situation is, the problem is broader and deeper. America is not respected because this administration has backed down so many times in the face of jihadist threats and actions. This admin. has revised wording so that now a jihadist or terrorist is re-labeled a "freedom fighter".

Shameful how this administration and its Lefist followers represent this country to the world. They are not "Liberals" and they are not "Progressives", they are Marxists and Leftists with a situational ethics guide in their moral compass.

Fortunately, the American public will have the opportunity to vote them out of office soon !!
 
 
+10 # bingers 2013-09-02 04:36
Damn, that's so stupid I wouldn't know where to start answering you.
 
 
+48 # motamanx 2013-09-01 10:28
Robert Reich is absolutely right about this. Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, cannot in good faith praise the work of Martin Luther King Jr on the one hand, and do exactly what MLK would never do on the other.
 
 
+28 # Farafalla 2013-09-01 13:32
Robert Reich and Elizabeth Warren in 2016.
 
 
+32 # reiverpacific 2013-09-01 10:30
The "Ideals" our politicos, pundits and their press-patsy owner-media keep on hand-on-heart'i ng and flag-waving about, were provided by the only truly functioning universally 'Participatory' Democracy in the known populated world's history, the great Iroquois Six-Nations Confederacy, which was in a large part admired and adopted by Jefferson, Adams and Co, then promptly turned into an attempt at 'Representative ' democracy for a limited few White, property and slave owners, each slave or land-vassal representing a fraction of a vote for their owners, carried through and adopted to be the basis of the ludicrous 'electoral college' system which has given us so many skewed elections and incompetent presidents, the most recent being the appalling and worst-ever Dimwits and Co.
This lot squandered what little "credibility" the US had left in it's lying, war-mongering, cronyism-pollut ed, "homeland" economy-destroy ing, internationally ignorant Hubris.
If Obama/Kerry think that they are going to regain any measure of US "credibility" by attacking Syria, they must have been quietly taking Dick Cheney's correspondence course in how to fuck-up other countries and the US economy. If this -as seems almost inevitable- gets out of hand and spreads, sucking in so many other of Syria's neighboring nations in an already conflicted region at foreign hands, principally the US and UK, the impact on the US and global economies, will make the last "great recession" seem like small change!
 
 
+6 # modernjacobin 2013-09-01 14:00
They're taking the Dick Cheney correspondence course in how to fuck-up other countries because they've just aced the Dumbya/Hank Paulson 101 course in how to screw up the American economy.
 
 
+19 # karlarove 2013-09-01 10:46
This is just another example of how insane we have become. It's ok to murder people by ripping them to pieces with bullets or blowing them to pieces with bombs,but sarin gas is "abominable". The real truth I am sadly sure of is that the president's friends, the military industrial complex probably don't make as much money off sarin gas.
 
 
+6 # lorenbliss 2013-09-01 10:48
Are "surgical strikes" on Syria but practice for "surgical strikes" on our own nation? Are such "surgical strikes" part of some secret operations plan that would be activated in case of widespread, effective protest here at home? If so, this would explain the real message in why Obama insists on going ahead with the attacks despite huge opposition here and abroad.
 
 
+35 # michelle 2013-09-01 11:04
Some 1400+ Syrian people die of poison gas. That is a tragedy and an atrocity.

Some 40,000 American citizens die each year because they cannot afford health care. That is just the cost of doing business.

Should some other humanitarian country perform a "surgical" strike on America to stop this atrocity?
 
 
0 # reiverpacific 2013-09-04 19:13
Quoting michelle:
Some 1400+ Syrian people die of poison gas. That is a tragedy and an atrocity.

Some 40,000 American citizens die each year because they cannot afford health care. That is just the cost of doing business.

Should some other humanitarian country perform a "surgical" strike on America to stop this atrocity?

Great analogy and comment brudda or sistah.
 
 
-7 # Quickmatch 2013-09-01 11:07
I hate the idea of striking Syria as a punishment for Assad's killing his citizens with poison gas and, in the process, killing more of his citizens. Yet, after all the brouhaha surrounding the question, if nothing happens to seriously inconvenience Assad's government I'm certain he will feel that a repeat use of nerve agent, possibly at a more intense level, will be in his benefit. This is one of those occasiona that arise infrequently in which the president and members of Congress can--indeed must--be expected to drop their bickering, political posturing and self interest and do something to the best interest of the United States and her position in the world and history. Is it too late for this? Has America degenerated into a second class power, like Rome after the Caesars, ready to drop out of history as a force for good?
 
 
+3 # reiverpacific 2013-09-02 19:17
Quoting Quickmatch:
I hate the idea of striking Syria as a punishment for Assad's killing his citizens with poison gas and, in the process, killing more of his citizens. Yet, after all the brouhaha surrounding the question, if nothing happens to seriously inconvenience Assad's government I'm certain he will feel that a repeat use of nerve agent, possibly at a more intense level, will be in his benefit. This is one of those occasiona that arise infrequently in which the president and members of Congress can--indeed must--be expected to drop their bickering, political posturing and self interest and do something to the best interest of the United States and her position in the world and history. Is it too late for this? Has America degenerated into a second class power, like Rome after the Caesars, ready to drop out of history as a force for good?

Yep!
 
 
+22 # jwb110 2013-09-01 11:11
My credibility is just fine and I say, "Stay out of Syria!"
 
 
+10 # Misterioso 2013-09-01 11:32
For the record:

On Oct. 4, 1992, an Israeli cargo jet carrying three of the four components of the nerve gas Sarin, as well as other hazardous materials, crashed into an apartment building in Holland.

Dutch government officials mislead the public saying the plane was transporting flowers and perfume. In October, 1998, the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad revealed that "the cargo documents show that the aircraft carried dimethyl methylphosphona te (DMMP) and two other substances needed to make the deadly nerve gas Sarin. The DMPP was destined for the Israeli Institute for Biological Research (IIBR)."

Regarding Israel’s Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW):

Israel signed the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), but didn’t ratify it. It never signed the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

In 1993, the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment WMD proliferation assessment included Israel as a nation having undeclared offensive chemical warfare capabilities. In 1998, former Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Bill Richardson said: “I have no doubt that Israel has worked on both chemical and biological offensive things for a long time. There’s no doubt they’ve had stuff for years.”
 
 
+6 # pagrad 2013-09-01 12:02
Oh, Yeah! ???

Where was the US in 1939, when the German government gassed its own people, for six years, and did nothing to stop it. The Second World War was fought to stop the German and Japanese aggression against other nations and not against the gassing of innocent civilians.
 
 
+2 # bingers 2013-09-02 04:40
Well, according to some of the higher ranking sergeants I served with who had been involved in the liberation of the death camps, we didn't even know about the gassing until the liberation of the camps had begun, so your post is irrelevant.
 
 
-5 # mighead 2013-09-01 12:25
These Syrian 'rebels' - AKA Freedom Fighters - are foreign born Al-Qaeda terrorist trained 'soldiers'. Al-Qaeda is hoping to take over the Middle-East by taking over - by terror - the weaker states like Syria. Once they can gain a 'base state' like Syria, they can use it as a power center in a bid for a terrorist takeover of the Middle-East. Supporting these guys is equivalent to supporting Hitler's brown shirts when they took over Germany and attempted their world takeover. They have taken over town after town - killing any 'dissidents' in the streets. They kill any farmers trying to get to their fields. They control the towns they take over with snipers who gun down any civilians they see. They are the poster child for 'Rule By Terror'. They must be stopped NOW by ANY MEANS. Why McCain and his cronies would ever support Al-Qaeda in their efforts to take over Syria is totally BEYOND ME!!!
 
 
0 # reiverpacific 2013-09-02 19:12
Quoting bingers:
"Reagan, for all his faults, did not feel the need to punish Saddam for using chemical weapons, and neither should have Obama. But he did, and only our Reps in Congress can get Obama out of this corner."

Yeah, but Reagan was the one who supplied Saddam with the chemical weapons. Reagan was a nice man personally, but a destructive moron as president and is responsible for many of our worst problems now. Anyone who thinks Reagan was a good or eve, not so bad president has their head up where the sun doesn't shine.

Quoting mighead:
These Syrian 'rebels' - AKA Freedom Fighters - are foreign born Al-Qaeda terrorist trained 'soldiers'. Al-Qaeda is hoping to take over the Middle-East by taking over - by terror - the weaker states like Syria. Once they can gain a 'base state' like Syria, they can use it as a power center in a bid for a terrorist takeover of the Middle-East. Supporting these guys is equivalent to supporting Hitler's brown shirts when they took over Germany and attempted their world takeover. They have taken over town after town - killing any 'dissidents' in the streets. They kill any farmers trying to get to their fields. They control the towns they take over with snipers who gun down any civilians they see. They are the poster child for 'Rule By Terror'. They must be stopped NOW by ANY MEANS. Why McCain and his cronies would ever support Al-Qaeda in their efforts to take over Syria is totally BEYOND ME!!!

Eh???
 
 
+17 # mighead 2013-09-01 12:31
Why hasn't there been nationwide non-partisan polls on this issue??? Nobody I know thinks getting into this mess is a good idea!!! And helping Al-Qaeda terrorists take over Syria so they'll have a base to train their soldiers so they can spread terror to other neighboring states would be a disaster for the Middle-East.
 
 
+7 # patw 2013-09-01 20:35
President Obama passed the decision over to Congress. Anyone who is not too lazy to make a phone call or send an email can contact her/his members of Congress: 2 Senators and 1 Congressman for each of us (in the 50 states), and "vote" for what kind of response s/he wants. Congress doesn't have a great track record for common sense or representing the best interest of "the people", but if enough of us make the effort and join efforts groups will undoubtedly organize for us, we will be heard. And then we can't blame Obama or Kerry or Republican leaders or anyone people love to hate and blame - we have only ourselves to congratulate or blame.

This could be an opportunity for creative problem solving - how can we, how can the world best respond to heinous actions like chemical weapon attacks? Careful, we need to take into consideration our own acts and those of our friends. I think this is right and good, especially if the American people can shut off their TVs and stop whining about "those people" and think creatively about what actions best protect the people of the world. How about grassroots house parties to brainstorm and followup outings to visit our representative' s offices? This is an awesome moment for us, what will we do with it . . .
 
 
+7 # AndJustice4All 2013-09-01 13:53
We were handed this 'song and dance' before the Iraq invasion. The American people, the international community and most likely even the US Congress don't support a war with Syria. If King Barack goes it alone it will be because, "All wars are fought over natural resources."
 
 
+3 # michelle 2013-09-01 15:22
No, it's because all wars are fought over leaders' egos.
 
 
+21 # modernjacobin 2013-09-01 14:06
Funny how we're bitching about chemical weapons when we have the largest stockpile of such weapons in the world--or at least, according to Grayson, who, incidentally is circulating a great don't attack Syria petition on his website.

Funny too how we always have all the money in the war for military action, but not for social security, education, and public services. (Sorry, war does NOT as public service!) Not to mention that there will be a new debt ceiling debate.
 
 
+11 # DeadlyClear 2013-09-01 15:56
And while all this Wag the Dog crap is going on Obama is leaning toward Summers... Doesn't that tell you anything about who is really in control?
 
 
+3 # egbegb 2013-09-01 17:30
====
American "credibility" is at stake
====
Nonsense. America didn't draw a RED LINE. Obama did.
The world sees Obama for what he is and American's don't like what they are hearing from abroad and especially the Middle East. Recall, he was going to restore respect for America. Well, that's not happening and now he is embarrassed because he drew a red line publicly and can't enforce it.

Bombing Syria now is like bombing the barn door after all the horses escape. Absolutely pointless.

America should give Obama a "shot across the bow".
 
 
+11 # wrknight 2013-09-01 17:41
American vigilantism must stop. We didn't elect the President to be the self-appointed policeman for the world. If, as the President says, the world community has condemned the use of chemical or other weapons of mass destruction, then that community decision needs to be enforced by the community, not just us. It is up to the world community to take action. We should not be the vigilante force that rights all the worlds wrongs.
 
 
+13 # hbheinze 2013-09-01 18:53
One of my saddest disappointments is remembering Obama's statement in the 2008 campaign about "destroying the mindset that creates war...." That was the most inspiring thing I'd heard in years, & it's come down to this.
 
 
-11 # Patrice Ayme 2013-09-01 19:16
It would be a "tragic decision" to strike Assad? So happy, I guess that the tragic decision to strike Hitler's nerve gas machinery was never taken, Mr. Reich is?

It takes courage to tell the herd it's composed of ill informed cowards goose stepping to the slaughter house. So Obama was courageous.

That courage was lacking in the USA in 1939 and 1940. That's how Hitler's insane adventure could go as far as it did.

Even if one sticks to national selfishness, punishing criminals against humanity makes sense. True, World War Two, after 80 million dead worldwide, and not even half a million in the USA, had a profitable aftermath for the USA. But that was in a world where the USA was better isolated. Now the USA, as 9/11 demonstrated, is on the front line.

Anyway, not to worry. Even if the USA shrinks from its responsibility, the French republic, just as in September 1939, is perfectly capable and willing to attack infamy alone.

The lesson France got from World War Two is that it should attack early, strong, and not worry too much about what ill informed spineless short minded people and nations think and feel.
https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/peace-from-war/
 
 
+4 # Maturus 2013-09-02 07:17
And what did the French Republic learn in May 1940, Patrice? And what did the French Jews handed over to the Germans by Vichy French police learn? To compare the situation in modern-day Syria with the situation in 1930's Europe is not very profitable.
 
 
+6 # Selwick 2013-09-02 08:32
There is no money for education but plenty for war.
We cannot and do not want to educate our young people so that we send them to the battlefields to die and get maimed. We call them heroes then, because that is the only compensation we can really give them. (Their pay is ridiculously low).
That is very similar to other groups we call fundamentalists . We are no different than the ones we are fighting against, only we think we have Right or something called god or morale on our side. Despicable!!!
Next time you feel inclined to thank a soldier for his/her service, think what kind of job you could offer so that person can get out of the service. If we thank them for their service we are condoning them being sent to the battlefields. I do not want that on my conscience.
 
 
+3 # seeuingoa 2013-09-02 10:33
I hope he has the decency to return
the peace prize.
 
 
+1 # fiddler1 2013-09-03 09:42
Mr. Reich has hit it on the head. The rush to "punish" is ridiculous and accomplishes nothing useful. More innocent people die, and nothing good comes of it. Diplomacy has the better chance.
 

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