RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Boardman writes: "There were no official war bulletins about Syria from the White House last week, but the news is just as official as if there were: the United States is now in war in Syria."

Syrian rebels attend a training session conducted by US intelligence officers in Maaret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria. (photo: Muhammed Muheisen/AP)
Syrian rebels attend a training session conducted by US intelligence officers in Maaret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria. (photo: Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

Our Syrian War

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

27 March 13


In deepening Syrian quagmire, U.S. seeks both allies and enemies

o Declaration of War Needed, Times Makes Official Announcement

There were no official war bulletins about Syria from the White House last week, but the news is just as official as if there were: the United States is now at war in Syria.

In fact, the United States has been at war in Syria for quite awhile now, but it wasn't until March 25, 2013, that the New York Times made the official announcement under a page one headline:

Arms Airlift to Syria Rebel Expands, With C.I.A. Aid

The sub-head explained that "Lethal Assistance Reaches Assad's Foes on Jordanian, Saudi and Qattari Planes," while the body of the story went on to say that the C.I.A.'s role consisted primarily of shopping for the weapons and choosing who among the fractious rebel groups should get armed with U.S. help.

At this point, the U.S. is only at war in Syria, not at war with Syria, nor at war with anyone else, outside of Afghanistan - and even there the enemy is hard to specify, which leads to the kind of random killing that fails to endear us to the local population.

Congress's Role Is to Have No Meaningful Role

Congress has not acted with regard to Syria, but as Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said a few days before the Times announcement, he hopes the President would consult with Congressional leaders before taking any military action, apparently unaware, or unwilling to acknowledge, that the country is already in a war in Syria.

Not that Congress shows much reluctance to get in on the fighting in Syria, as several members used the wholly-unconfirmed rumor of Syrian government use of chemical weapons as an opportunity to make bellicose noises, while at the same time complaining about the way the President all but ignored them when he involved the U.S. in the Libya hostilities.

On March 20, Senator John McCain and five others offered a Senate resolution outlining the approach the Obama administration should take in the war in Syria. The resolution included support for sending weapons to unspecified segments of "the people of Syria" while also cautioning against letting weapons or other support go to unspecified "individuals in Syria who are aligned with al Qaeda…."

Four days later the senators could read in the Times that their advice had already been carried out, for more than a year.

2001 Vote Gave President Permanent War Power

The vagueness of the Senate resolution underscores the nature of the military opportunities inherent in involving America in war in Syria, because of so many possible sides to be on within a relatively small area, and no compelling reason to take just one side.

The problem for Congress if it wants to be involved in American war-making as anything more than cheerleaders (and a few opponents) is that, institutionally, Congress abdicated its constitutional authority on September 14, 2001, and has made no serious effort to correct the decision since.

Acting in an atmosphere of unthinking panic three days after the World Trade Center collapsed, Congress passed the "Authorization for Use of Military Force" that has paved the way for the United States to make war pretty much at the president's will, from Afghanistan to Libya and Yemen, and now to Syria. The bill provides, in its primary section:

That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

A second, also short section provides pre-authorization for all circumstances in which the president might decide to use military force, thereby satisfying in advance the terms of the War Powers Act that was passed in hope of keeping future presidents from lying us into war as they did in Viet-Nam.

Congressional Abdication Continues Unchallenged

Congress almost unanimously abdicated its constitutional authority to declare war. The vote in the Senate was 98-0 (with Jesse Helms and Larry Craig present but not voting). In the House, where ten members didn't vote, the bill passed by 420-1. Only Barbara Lee, D-Calif., voted Nay.

And now the U.S. is in a war in Syria, to no apparent stated purpose, but within constitutional parameters established by Congress more than a decade ago. And the U.S. has been at war in Syria at least for 15 months, according to the Times, providing lethal aid to our hand-picked recipients at the same time the Obama administration assured us we would supply only non-lethal aid.

Outside Syria, the U.S. has now aligned itself with thuggish regimes in Saudi Arabia and Qattar, as well as a Jordanian monarch who went to Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts.

The U.S. rationale, of course, is that Americans need to thwart Russian and Iranian support for the thuggish government of Syria, although it seems Iranians and Iraqis at least have also chosen some factions to support among the rebels.

At the moment, it seems impossible to know in any comprehensive way what countries outside Syria are supporting which faction or factions, including the government and its factions inside Syria, to what extent with what means.

What does seem clear is that Syria's multi-faceted civil war offers a ready-made quagmire surrounded by dominos ready to fall in all directions.

It's a catastrophic situation, but there are forces on all sides who should be able to make it worse. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

-12 # kitster 2013-03-27 09:26
i have it! let's have the cia send assad a box of exploding cigars. war over...rebels americans killed in the prosecution of this war!!!
+9 # wantrealdemocracy 2013-03-27 11:32
I have a better idea. Congress voted to allow our "Commander in Chief" to start all the wars he wants and use all necessary and appropriate force against the terrorists and anyone connected with them in the attack against the World Trade Center in New York City on 9/11. Well, who did that dastardly deed? The FBI says they have no evidence that Osama bil Laden was involved. There is evidence that there were explosives in the buildings that day. There is evidence of multiple explosions, some BEFORE THE PLANES HIT. Building 7 fell at free fall speed and it was not hit by a plane. There are questions about what hit the Pentagon---a very large jet liner or a rocket that could fit through the hole in the building. And there were no bodies found in the pile of trash in that field in Pennsylvania. HOw many wars is it now? add Syria to the list. How much will this cost in lives, damage and destruction and in tax funds? Be much better to have an independent investigation of what happened in New York on 9/11. The 'official story' must be investigated to determine if it is the truth.
+7 # intheEPZ 2013-03-27 14:27
Sorry I hit the down thumb instead of the thumbs up. Three thumbs up on this comment for me. I totally agree. In just one decade we've become a war economy benefiting only the richest of the rich based on a bunch of (probably treasonous) lies from a couple of wannabee dictators. Strange, isn't it? And no one's asking questions? Obama just wants to keep moving forward? Moving forward where, to the feudal age?
+3 # aaheart 2013-03-28 02:56
We now should be able to determine who the terrorists were. George W. Bush said of the terrorists, "They hate us for our freedoms." We've now been able to gather quite a bit of evidence of just who it is that hates us for our freedoms! Did Osama bin Laden take away any freedoms? Did Osama bin Laden or any foreign Muslims threaten to take away habeas corpus and due process, or threaten indefinite detention? Did Arabs take away our freedom of speech? Are Arabs trying to confiscate our guns? Welll... who IS doing all that? Now you have your answer about who did 9-11. You'll find them in the Congressional Record and in the Federal Registry. They are the Board of Directors and the President/Dicta tor.
+2 # mjc 2013-03-27 14:01
Because this is too easy, our military decided to invest in a lot of satisfy the last part of your sentence..."no americans killed in the prosecution of this war!!!" That should fix the liberals, peace activists, etceters. The other necessity is to let the American people know that we aren't at war...haven't made up our minds about it and cite the various problems with arming so-called rebels...some of which we cal Al Qaeda and are SUPPOSEDLY attempting to wipe out...the last vestiges of this difficult to pin down organization. Yep, we Americans sure know how to conduct these more modern wars...just don't look too hard at the situation in Iraq OR in Afghanistan. But we've solved the problem of American lives being lost in these wars.
+5 # RMDC 2013-03-28 04:31
Why not send that box to Obama and his new Dr. Death at the CIA. Then a lot of wars all over the world would end.

Leave Syria alone. It is a sovereign nation and has the right to be left in peace.
+19 # 666 2013-03-27 09:26
Technically and most recently speaking, congress (unconstitution ally) gave up it's testicles and authority to declare war in the 1964 gulf of tonkin resolution (later repealed & signed by Nixon) & the 1973 war powers resolution.

At this point, all congress can do is grow a (new) pair, repeal the 2001 AUMF (subject to a presidential veto and override vote) and/or impeach the president for violations of the constitution and oath of office (i.e. for high crimes). Either one would create a constitutional crisis that would shake the bastions of power in our country by risking a movement away from authoritarianis m. It might even cause the supremes to have a collective stroke (not necessarily a bad thing)...

That's not likely to occur, since what the MIC really needs is a constant source of profit from arms sales and govt defense welfare (def-fare??). They keeping buying congress, congress keeps them happy, & the people get screwed.

In essence, this is just further evidence that all 3 branches of government are increasingly illegitimate (to judge them by the constitution and their oaths of office).

Out with them all! Liars, cheats, and crooks.
+2 # aaheart 2013-03-28 03:37
They've got you fighting to understand how the Board of Directors can fail to keep the President/Dicta tor in line. Have you noticed that every day that our government is morphing into something from a sci-fi movie, like "Predator"?

Aristotle warned to beware the clever politicians who will keep the form but hide a different function within the form.

They aren't shape-shifting. The government has been a dual government since 1871. The private corporation has been fitted into place through Article I, Section 9 to rule the Federal Territory. They have gradually established rules and tools to usurp the government of the united States of America to control the people in a crazy madhouse.

You’ve grown up with a predatory monster developing under your very nose. Mine, too. Slick and clever. Who would think that there could be two flags, two governments residing in the same constitution; two governments with different functions?

Slowly the alien creature inside the Constitution has become more noticeable. Can you act before the Predator has thrown off all illusions of the Original Constitution and activated all of its misanthropic powers? Rethink everything you’ve even imagined. Who ARE you really? What are you NOT? You DO hold common stock in the corporation that rules you. How would you redeem your shares? You ARE an owner... urnowner. Come on!
+13 # Wordslinger 2013-03-27 10:11
I'm joining the parade: "Out with them all! Liars, cheats and crooks!"
+11 # Carrol 2013-03-27 11:25
Quoting Wordslinger:
I'm joining the parade: "Out with them all! Liars, cheats and crooks!"

Tens of Millions of Americans, like this writer, passively believe that the the U.S. should stop its endless war. Unfortunately, those same believers do _not_ (on the whole) realized that only mass social movements _outside_ the electoral process, can ever bring this about. I call this spectator politics

In almost every locality there exists _some_ local group that (more or less vainly) is attempting to mobilize opposition to this war or to the domestic war (labelled Austerity) which is actually the same war. The only anti-war opinon that counts is opinion that mafifests itself through becoming an active participant in some such local group.
+3 # Douglas Jack 2013-03-27 20:21
Carrol, Moving from reactive-passiv ity to active creation. Mohandas Gandhi mobilized India economically with 2 main practices of communication & action:
1) 'Satyagraha' (Hindi 'truth-search') was a process of bringing diverse perspectives together simultaneously with the question to all sides, "What are your best intentions & how can we help you achieve these?" All were included in this process of listening to each other's best intentions & expressing one's own. Gandhi understood that the human mind & body could become incredibly perverted, dysfunctional & evil, but he also realized that engaging the higher spirit within each & all enabled a movement to grow.

2) 'Swaraj' (H 'self-sufficien cy') involved inspiring each person to join with others economically to produce all essential goods & services together according to Indian capacities. Gandhi expresses 'swaraj' as "Become the change you want to see in the world". Economic self-sufficienc y & welcome for all enables us to engage our own resources, disengage from their perverted control & attract each other to work together apart from empire.

Compassionate communication & action which Gandhi expressed during his time are ancient 'indigenous' (Latin 'self-generatin g') worldwide practices, which kept humanity in abundance & balance for hundreds of thousands of years in mutual aid, universal participatory ownership & without war.
+1 # cmp 2013-03-27 11:50
I just got in from the backyard where I was training my Terrier in Home Land Security and the implications of Drones circling our house like Seagulls..

I'm just seething from the fact that whether on the phone, computer, shopping, public spaces or now, even my home (drones) me AND my 4th Amendment Rights, have been "bitch slapped" back in time, by about 250 years..

Didn't "the poodle," Mr Blair tell us about "Hard, Hard Power?" That, Mr Cheney was saying "Damascus, is next" Were we not "loosened up" with accusations of weapons sneaking out of Iraq and across "that border?"

And, what have the money hoarders (and their property of media and politicians) learned about committing their criminal activities on our credit card? "We just don't tell the wretched refuse anything.. Anymore.. Especially things, like war.."

So, the World's just a playground for those who have all the Rights and are above, all of the Laws..

Me, part of my "grand plan" is to be sure and take darn good care of my Terrier (Deacon) cause, he's been taking darn good care of me..
+2 # Activista 2013-03-28 23:55
Agree - I have Malinois - and the local police is scared - I am afraid that they could shoot them - make up some story.
The USA has so many laws for "protecting" US - worse than Fatherland Security ...
0 # cmp 2013-03-29 16:44
Ahh, the beautiful Belgian Shepard. A super companion and a great working dog! I love the working dogs. They keep us alert, honest, learning, interacting, communicating, fit, etc.. Love it!

Deacon is a Rat Terrier (15 lbs.) We have a an older rescued Corgi (Ted) too.

Yeah, Deacon will alert us any time anything is flying overhead. So, I thought I would throw that in as little humor and a little of the pragmatic. You know, the dogs know a lot of things long before we do. And, in the midst of everything else, let's try not to forget, all of those whom we love.

Great-great pic of your pooch! And, I do know what you mean. After the leash laws, I fenced a half acre so the guys could get their daily exercise. But, I still do not like fences.

By the way, I'm an engineer too. Thanks so much for sharing Activista.
+7 # James Marcus 2013-03-27 11:57
A Presidential Crime; A Congressional Failure. The President, now, together with a Majority of Congress (and Supreme Court, just in case!), are 'Campaign-Contr olled' by the Gangsta Bankstas. The CIA is THEIR 'Police Force'.
War is their Agenda, for 'Expending (Stealing) The Money'... and keeping 'Heads Down' whilst they do it!
+6 # jdd 2013-03-27 12:25
The Obama administration continues to ally itself with Al-Queda in Syria, just as it did in Libya, while continuing drone attacks against it in Pakistan.

Apparently Obama prefers a Whahabist regime in Damascus to the present secular state as long as it is unacceptable to Iran and Russia.
+2 # RLF 2013-03-28 05:56
What ever will keep the oil flowing and Israel safe. Barry the bomhma sstrikes again!
+5 # Vardoz 2013-03-27 13:52
We have enough money to wage endless wars that we have to pay for or that are not paid but we don't have enough money to bail out Main St, preserve our vital services,making sure everyone has health care, kids have WIC and HEAD START and make sure people can afford healthy foods. They have enough money to wage expensive wars but not enough to create jobs our means of survival, not enough to increase the minimum wage and make sure our safety nets are secure. We also have enough money to pay for the biggest for profit prison system in the world that costs tax payers 50,000 per inmate per yr! There is plenty of money to kill people overseas as our nation crumbles!!!!
+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-03-27 17:01
‘Congress abdicated its constitutional authority on September 14, 2001... The bill provides, in its primary section:
That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force...’

In just the same way the Roman Senate vacated its mandate to the first Triumvirate, & shortly to the Emperors. Don’t think it isn’t happening again.
+1 # chinaski 2013-03-27 17:02
Yeah, sure...why not. In lieu of finding something stupider to do, let's just go ahead and do this. We'll play it by ear, yeah, that's it, we'll wing it. You know, act on impulse and wait and see what shakes out and take it from there. Yeeup, that's the plan.
I was thinking of running for office, but I realized that I'm just not smart enough to go about doing this kind of good, so I decided to get high instead.
0 # Douglas Jack 2013-03-28 09:13
Chinaski, Be aware that the Finance-Media-M ilitary-Industr ial-Complex maintain a system of easily available consumer events-products , drugs & alcohol in order to overcome the cognitive dissidence which their war & ignorance based system runs upon. The complex wants you to get high because they don't want you to hone your knowledge through the contradictions, which they represent. Honing your knowledge requires that we maintain our solidarity with others in every moment & dollar which we spend. Honing knowledge requires we each connect with that core part of ourselves which we know is sacred, essential to life, connected to everyone, everybeing & everything, so as to temper our beings through the fire of experience.
0 # chinaski 2013-03-28 20:37
DJ, as a hardcore fanatical backsliding Buddhist I'm totally down with the illusion of separateness at play in the fields of the lord. A kind of a god hiding from god messing with god thing, so we can have a juicy and oh-so-fun soap opera here on the Physical Plane.
That said, The F-M-M-I-C you described seems to be providing the lion's share of the dramatainment here on the PP. I am endlessly tickled by the policy of 'let's aid a people who we don't understand with a policy we haven't thought through, watch the karma crash down on us later and then not learn any lessons from it'.
Now that's cognitive dissonance!
+3 # aaheart 2013-03-28 02:35
Don't kid yourself, Obama had War Powers without Congress because he is acting as Commander-in-Ch ief under Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution that establishes governance of a Federal District and all Federal Possessions. The Original Constitutional Republic has only been honored, somewhat, over the past century to keep the people from rising up in arms to take back their good ole American government from the private corporation that usurped power in a bloodless coup in 1871-78.

As far back as 1863 Lincoln ruled under War Powers under Martial Law and Obama has just carried on the tradition without artifice. He is accelerating the process of sweeping away the facade that has hidden the private corporate government that has slowly been assembled for nearly 200 years.

There IS a way through this mess, but it will not be gained by failing to recognize WHO we really are and what we really are NOT. We are actually shareholders in that corporation and we have even voted for the Board of Directors and the Dictator who runs the empire of Federal Territories. We can transfer our assets from the corporation to our own trust and we can create our own "church" and "nation" to regain our freedom and financial independence. Your are an owner. urnowner dot com
+4 # RMDC 2013-03-28 04:47
"What does seem clear is that Syria's multi-faceted civil war offers a ready-made quagmire surrounded by dominos ready to fall in all directions."

It is not a civil war. It is a proxy war against Syria being fought by the US and Israel. It is US propaganda that calls it a civil war in an effort to hide the US role and make the war appear as if it arose from internal strife.

IT is not a quagmire. This is media speak. It is a hot and active and terribly aggressive war of mercenaries, terrorists, al Queda against the people and government of Syria. The goal of this war is maximum chaos and destruction as the same forces (the US and its mercenary proxies) that destroyed Libya.

The US followed the proxy and mercenary war strategy in the 1980s in Latin America. We were told back then that these were civil wars. Some of us knew they never were. They were naked wars of aggression by the US against people and government it did not like in Latin America.

The US is a criminal regime. These terrorist and mercenary wars are fought against innocent civilians. the death toll of innocent people in Syria is horrific. Obama must bear the responsibility for this war of aggression.
+4 # Activista 2013-03-29 00:10
Agree - the USA crime is so obvious ... was in Guatemala during the "civil war" aka Genocide made in USA. The reality and Reagan/Bush propaganda/lies were the same.
Syria war is PROXY war AGAINST Iran.
Most of the "rebels" in Syria is import from "liberated" Libya. Hillary AIPAC is responsible.
What bothers me that so few people in the USA see it like RMDC above .. but NONE of them is able to challenge the government war propaganda (did not we learn ANYTHING last 30 years?)
-2 # rradiof 2013-03-30 17:04
Obomber, just another African dictator a la Mugabe, Bokassa, Amin, Mengistu, de los Santos, Taylor, Mobutu, Kagame, et al. Just sayin'. Over and out.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.