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Boardman writes: "When a president in his second term is suddenly revealed to be snooping into everyone's business by every electronic means available, the natural reaction might be to try to change the subject."

A member of the Free Syrian Army waits as gunfire is heard in northern Syria, 11/25/12. (photo: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)
A member of the Free Syrian Army waits as gunfire is heard in northern Syria, 11/25/12. (photo: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)

Syria Awaits US Intervention

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

13 June 13


Tired of spying on Americans? Why not go bomb Syria?

hen a president in his second term is suddenly revealed to be snooping into everyone's business by every electronic means available, the natural reaction might be to try to change the subject.

Trial balloons promoting U.S. military action in Syria started popping up yet again on June 10, as media from one end of the political spectrum to the other quoted mostly anonymous sources from the Obama administration and elsewhere, with reactions to proposed violence ranging from enthusiasm to dismay.

The most widely-reported options for the nature of an American war in Syria include:

  • U.S. may send troops
  • U.S. may establish no-fly zone over Syria
  • U.S. may send lethal weapons support to "vetted" rebels
  • U.S. may support rebels in peace talks
  • U.S. may do nothing
  • U.S. may attack Iran

At the same time, Secretary of State John Kerry and others have spoken on the record in favor of the June peace talks that are now scheduled for July. The Russians, as a longtime Syrian government ally, also support peace talks (while joining with China to keep the UN Security Council from acting, although it's not clear what the council would do, or even if it wants to do anything).

The Russians have also been sending surface to air missiles to the Syrian government for "defensive" purposes, which the Israelis have found offensive. So far, the Syrians don't seem to have shot down anything flying over Syria.

But those Russian missiles would complicate any plan for a no-fly zone.

Obama White House Sees Arming Syrian Rebels as Some Sort of "Compromise"

The "Syrian rebels," a rubric with apparently no precise meaning, are threatening to not join peace talks unless they get more lethal weapons. At least some are making that threat, and they're the ones we seem to think of most highly. Other rebels, more aligned with Iran or al Qaeda, may well be threatening to attend the peace talks if the American-favored rebels get more weapons and they don't.

There is another bloc of more or less Kurdish rebels in western Syria.

They don't get much coverage, but they're apparently in charge of significant territory, to the displeasure of Iraq and Turkey, and they seem content to sit tight rather than go to peace talks.

The White House is pitching the "more lethal weapons" as a "compromise" - between sending troops or establishing a no-fly zone and the apparently unthinkable option of just not getting further involved with the Syrian tar baby.

Meanwhile, in what appears to be a branding move, al Qaeda in Iraq has a spokesman saying that it no longer has any connection with the Nusra Front for the People of the Levant [Syria], often referred to as an extension or affiliate of al Qaeda. Ayman al-Zawahiri, often reported as al Qaeda's top leader, went on to tell the Syrian faction that, in any event, none of them should be harassing other muslims.

Whether these or other rebel "groups" actually exist, never mind exist in meaningful numbers, is a question without a known, reliable answer. There is near-consensus that Syrian rebel groups are numerous and volatile and often at odds with each other, even when they seem to be on the same side of any given rebel fault line.

Complexity Can Be Ignored by Fanciful Thinking

Illustrating that problem brilliantly, albeit perhaps inadvertently, Senator John McCain slipped into Syria on May 27 and met with rebels, including rebels who were kidnappers. (He both denied that and said it was inadvertent.) The point was that he didn't really know and had no way of knowing, but was still an advocate of providing lethal weapons to those rebel groups that we had "vetted," having just shown how impossible it is to vet much of anything in Syria these days.

The senator's solo diplomacy on behalf of no identifiable government has produced no clear results, unless McCain deserves some credit for the Syrian government's recently improving military position in eastern Syria.

Undeterred in his promotion of military intervention, Senator McCain told the Hill on June 8 that, with regard to his own favored rebel group: "The Obama administration has said it supports General Idriss and his fighters. Now is the time for them to prove it. If they delay any further, it will be too late."

We can hope.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+9 # Activista 2013-06-13 17:12
White House: U.S. to give Syria rebels military aid after chemical attacks

Such a dirty war scheme by Israel and their puppet Obama - worse lies than Bush re Iraq. Syrian government did NOT use chemical attacks - it was just opposite - US rebels use Sarin U.N. has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator ...‎
May 5, 2013 – GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria's civil war and medical staff indicating ... US-Israel war on Iran can escalate into World War III.
But right now with Obama arming Syria terrorists, Americans are paying for another was Made from/by/for Israel, NOT American people.
+4 # RMDC 2013-06-14 04:57
The Syrians must know that all out war is coming. They've seen what happened to Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and other places. They know the intentions of the US/Israel.

I wonder if they have any defense plans. Libya and Iraq certainly did not. I remember a few years back when Achmadinejad made a speech at the opening of the UN geneal assebly session and he asked what smaller targetted nations can do when the super powers are determined to start a war against them. He appealed to the general assembly to take the UN charter seriously. The US/Israel and their clients walked out on the speech. But he was right. The UN has become an instrument of US/Israeli policy. It cannot consider the prevention of wars of aggression because the super powers will not allow it.

I hope Syria is having talks with the Russians and Chinese. I hope there is a defense pact among these nations. Russia and China could checkmate the US/Israel -- but it is a very weak hope to think that they would actually do it. They would pay, too.
+1 # Activista 2013-06-14 12:13
I would not put much hope in Russia or China -- Russia (Putin) want to maximize the price of oil (their main revenue) and war/sanction again Iran support it.
China is all about money ..
Both of them are laughing at US NEOCONS destroying the America via militarism.
+1 # Kwelinyingi 2013-06-15 06:24
Right on the money, Activista. Our nation is a puppet whose strings are being pulled by Israel. Never in the history of humanity has a nation so small like and criminal like Israel so completely controlled the foreign policy of a nation so powerful like ours. And no elected leader dare utter a word, lest they lose their funding and elected office. The Z word is more feared than the N word for sure.
+7 # Activista 2013-06-13 17:24
what a coincidence - and sick US WAR propaganda:
A deputy national security advisor has announced that the White House believes the Bashar al-Assad regime used chemical weapons against the rebels in Syria.
The Pentagon has proposed a plan that would arm and train the rebels, as well as instill a limited no-fly zone over Syria.
And 4,500 U.S. forces are a stone throw away, in Jordan, conducting a training exercise with Jordanian forces...
his comes three days into a 10-day military training exercise in Jordan that has 8,000 American troops, including a detachment of Air Force F-16s and Patriot missile systems within striking distance. The U.S. TODAY committed to leaving the aircraft and Patriot missiles in Jordan after the conclusion of the exercise.
One of the hardest things about any large-scale military operation is moving assets into a strategic position. With Operation Eager Lion underway in Jordan, that seems to be taken care of....
+18 # Activista 2013-06-13 21:01
"The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact." -- George Orwell
aka we need to maximize US terror to create more terrorists and keep the "WAR ON TERRORISM" - the fastest road to totality permanent .. what happened in Syria today is the start of PERMANENT war on Iran - till the "accident" happens and we destroy the Earth.
+4 # DaveM 2013-06-13 22:07
"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." --Revelation 6:8
+13 # Smiley 2013-06-13 23:39
Intervening in Syria is not just stupid, it's insane.
+6 # wrodwell 2013-06-13 23:44
The President seems to be at a crossroads on several fronts. Regarding Syria, he drew a "line in the sand" about two months ago which seemed to imply that if Syria was found guilty of using poison gas against any segment of its population, doing so would provoke an as yet undefined American response.
On the domestic front, the President gave an important policy speech a short time ago informing the American people that it was "time to wind down" the seemingly endless "Global War on Terror" which we've been obsessed with since 9/11. While this was encouraging news, it doesn't square with the recent bombshell revelations regarding the NSA's long time secret surveillance activities that have targeted and collected enormous amounts of data ensconced in the private phone and email messages of the majority of American citizens. Therefore, The President now needs to explain why he's winding down the "war on terror" abroad while exponentially increasing surveillance of American citizens here at home. Do these revelations mean that our own government considers its citizens to be its most dangerous enemy?
The Obama Administration' s jarring policy contradictions are best described as "forked tongue" politics.
+2 # WBoardman 2013-06-14 10:27
That wasn't a "line in the sand,"
it was a "red line"
and the choice of cliches might be important ;-))))

As for Obama's speech on endless war,
not everyone thought he was ending anything --
+2 # Activista 2013-06-14 12:18
"When a president in his second term is suddenly revealed to be snooping into everyone's business by every electronic means available, the natural reaction might be to try to change the subject"
old trick of dictators to cover problems with WAR
+3 # cordleycoit 2013-06-13 23:57
"When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles scream and shout." Is Obama doing the W's dance?
-4 # 2013-06-14 00:12
What is this? The battle of the fuzzy-headed propagandists. Activista is literary but unable to compensate for shallow thought and worn catch-phrases. Bill Boardman, on the otherhand has written an article about the Syrian conflict and options for US intervention that is largely speculative, but strangely throws in a swarmy comment about President Obama and the NSA run national electronic eavesdropping program. Unfortunately, that NSA program is clearly a child of our Congress, the Patriot Act and the spooks who ran the Bush White House (Rumsfeld, Cheney and comany. Where do you suppose they are getting the funds to build that huge electronics media storage facility. How much Obama is into all of this is yet to be seen. But blame where we already know blame belongs, please.
+5 # WBoardman 2013-06-14 10:33
One person's "smarmy" is another person's "context."
And it was written before it came true, which I regret --
the coming true part.

As for the speculations -- it's important to understand
that they are not my speculations, but the documentable
speculations of others --
and might better be called trial balloons in service of
a not-very-well-h idden agenda
of more endless warmaking....

And as to the NSA, it's been spying on Americans for decades,
not just years, and ownership rightly belongs
to what used to be called the "permanent government."
As far as Obama goes, after almost five years
of hope and change, he owns it, too.
+2 # Activista 2013-06-14 12:26
"Activista is literary but unable to compensate for shallow thought and worn catch-phrases"
and options for US intervention that is largely speculative ... US war on Syria is a proxy war on Iran ... hot war started 2 years ago ... after Obama/Clinton destroyed Libya
sorry Jeff - please refute facts - what you are doing is projection .. your propaganda on others
-3 # James38 2013-06-15 01:51
"Obama/Clinton destroyed Libya"???

Could you explain how that makes sense?

Gaddafy was removed from power by the people of Libya, assisted by an air campaign that was reasonably well controlled. Once Gadafy was ousted (and not surprisingly executed by very angry people), the struggle to create a coherent society began - and continues. Nobody thought it would be easy, if even possible, but at least the Libyans now have the chance.

Someone said Libya was better off under Gadaffy. Well, better for Gadaffy and his family and cronies, for sure. They were systematically ripping off the country for its wealth. The people received little benefit - unless you want to consider an education system designed to create a cult of personality around Gadoofy as a benefit.

Neither the US nor any other country has invaded Libya.

What are you saying?
+2 # Activista 2013-06-15 11:48
Neither the US nor any other country has invaded Libya?
Libya S.O.S.: NATO Bombing Of Libya Seven Times Worse Than ...‎
Nov 2, 2012 – NATO Bombing Of Libya Seven Times Worse Than Hitler's Of Europe, $150 Billion Stolen.
+2 # RMDC 2013-06-14 04:50
There's no doubt that presidents start wars in order to distract the population from a domestic scandal. And surely Obama is trying to wag the dog yet another time.

But the war against Syria has deep roots in US/Israeli policy and would go on whether or not there was any scandal in the Obama regime. The timing is really not important. The policy is. The US/Israel regime of neo-cons is committed to a "new middle east." That new region will look a lot like the model states of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the rest of the corporate/fasci st states where the super rich hide their money and conduct banking in ways that are outside any laws. The people of this region will be kept in constant poverty, war, and factional terrorism -- all masterminded by the CIA.
+3 # Activista 2013-06-14 12:29
The timing is really not important ..
It is - Syrian government has support of its people and is cleaning out invaders ..
And OUR "rebels" are loosing ...
Also Turkey is in trouble and the US front is moving to Jordan ..
-2 # James38 2013-06-14 21:23
Turkey is in trouble for the same reason the protests started in Syria. The "leader" has proven to be dictatorial and high-handed. At least in Turkey there is some slight sign of sanity on the part of Erdogan - which signs were always lacking in Assad.

The Protests in Syria started entirely with local citizens in peaceful demonstrations. The violence came from Assad.

I never approved of US war in Vietnam or Iraq. I consider the presidents involved in those wars to be War Criminals.

We should be pushing for prosecution of George W Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and others as War Criminals.

In Libya the rebels were about to get hammered by Gadafi when the US and European nations stepped in. It was too late to avoid much damage, but just in time to help the people of Libya rid themselves of a dictator. Libya has been left to its own to work out a better future, and it is not easy for them. Nobody thought it would be.

We should have helped the people of Syria before al Qaeda and Hezbollah got involved, but we dallied.

No, I am not in favor of the weapons trade or the Military Industrial Complex. Yes the world should help the people of Zimbabwe and other countries such as Sudan where dictators are causing much misery.

I still have some hope that Obama, the French, and other countries will come to their senses and use minimal power to help the people of all countries.
+1 # James38 2013-06-14 21:28

We are facing a massive crisis from Climate Change. This is our worst problem, and we need to wake up globally and unite to correct the mess we have made on our only planet.

Fighting more wars is utterly silly, but the transition from the mess we have to a more sane society is not going to be easy.

During that process, a combination of negotiation and occasional force will take place. The necessity for force is a measurement of how far we are from sane as a world society. We need to all recognize that.

Basically we need to recognize that we could all perish if Climate Change is not dealt with. The question becomes, can we use the knowledge we have to survive, or are we suicidally involved in crazy competition?
-11 # James38 2013-06-14 06:08
Er, is anyone concerned about the 90,000 Syrians that Assad has murdered?

I was totally dismayed when Assad notched 4000 of "his" people. That would have been a good time for action. I suppose one can say "better late than never", but don't say it in front of the families and friends of the 90,000 (and counting).

Now that Assad has killed a couple hundred with poison gas, the situation finally merits US help? The logic of this really sort of escapes me.

How does the world (including the lunatics Putin and whoever in China) justify standing by while a total nutball kills 90,000 people? In 2013?

Perhaps Mr Boardman and Mr Activista could explain why their political ramblings are more important than saving many thousands of lives?

At least Obama finally is making a small move. He should get on to a no fly zone very quick. And where are the bleating crew who keep talking about the "US 'invasion' of Libya"?

I am amused to note that Obama's decision came only one day after Bill Clinton called him out for looking like a "wuss".

Our "theorists in chief" Boardman and Activista, should try wearing Obama's shoes for a month or so. They might sing a different tune then. Come on, fellows, what would you do in the real world?
+4 # Douglas Jack 2013-06-14 08:42
James, You have drunk the kool-aid of propaganda, oblivious. Let's start at the beginning. 40% of the US, Canadian, NATO & Israeli export economies are based in arms, munitions & security economy. For the past 20 years corporations from these imperial nations (with tacit but not explicit approval) have been exporting weapons to Syrian (+ another 80 countries worldwide) dissidents, waiting for the time when the national government would be weak enough to bring war.

The only way to imagine this is at home where foreign nations are arming your own local state yahoos & maybe even yourself with the most advanced weaponry. Syria's reality is mostly foreign rebel fighters. A recent poll by NATO reported in the World Tribune & others finds 70% of Syrians support Assad government.

The question remains about how does humanity get war-gleaning parasites, who live off of the proceeds of war off of TV couches & back to contributing to the real world biosphere. #1. Always listen to both sides. If your media isn't reporting both-sides of any situation such as the Syrian government position, along with that of the foreign (alCIAda funded & controlled), then you know media is lying to you.
+4 # geraldom 2013-06-14 09:14
Why are you concerned? You seem to believe everything you hear from the U.S. government, and I assume that includes the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.

I'm appalled to hear about the loss of human life anywhere, so, James, what about the over 2 million plus Iraqis that have died as a result of our illegal invasion of Iraq, innocent men, women, and children. And, what about the over half-million children (yes, only children) that had died as a result of the illegal sanctions that were laid against Iraq during the 1990s by both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton?

Why does it seem okay with you that civilian deaths, especially those of children, are just fine when the United States is at fault? How many civilians, most especially innocent women and children, have died in Afghanistan as a result of our illegal invasion of that country? How many hundreds of thousands of them have to die before you will condemn the United States for mass murder?

Syria is a sovereign nation and we have no right to interfere militarily in order to do what we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, put in place another dictator that will now answer to United States interests.
-3 # James38 2013-06-15 03:26
Mr Mencher, you seem to suffer from the delusion that only the US government has said that Assad has used chemical weapons.

Check the facts. Several nations have reported the same conclusion. The proof is overwhelming.

You also obviously have missed my comments on several RSN discussions in which I refer to Shrub's war as "The War Of Lies".

I have repeatedly called for the prosecution of Bush, Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz and others of that administration as War Criminals.

The Viet Nam war was another useless tragedy perpetrated by insanity in the US Government.

I have also repeatedly called Karzai a totally corrupt despot. I have wondered in various forums why the US has ever supported him. The US intervention in Afghanistan has been horribly mismanaged, and has largely ignored the real needs of the people there.

Calling Syria a "sovereign nation" is just plain stupid when a dictator (Assad) is murdering his own people wholesale. No government ruled by a dictator should be accorded the status of "sovereign". Assad, and all other dictators, should be reviled and condemned by the free world.

That treatment should also be heaped on Mugabe, among others. You are welcome to condemn mass murder wherever it happens, and the US has certainly been guilty of it several times. We all need to wake up and quit playing stupid greedy violent games.
+1 # geraldom 2013-06-15 11:44
No, James38, I do not suffer from delusions. You say that "Several nations have reported the same conclusion. The proof is overwhelming." What does all this mean. These are just words. If these other nations you refer to are close allies of the U.S., I trust them as far as I can throw my care. I want to see a completely independent entity state this, and I want to see the evidence, not hear that it exists, especially when it comes to the U.S. and its nefarious agenda of world domination, no matter what the human cost may be.

In terms of your call for the prosecution of the Bush admin for their war crimes and crimes against humanity, you failed to mention the crimes of the Bush senior and Clinton administrations for the unneeded deaths of over a half-million Iraqi children as a result of the illegal sanctions laid against Iraq in the 1990s.

I agree that Karzai is a totally corrupt despot and Maliki is not very far behind, but they're our despots, our puppets. The U.S. helped place them where they are, and they're our responsibility and we should be held accountable for their actions.

I am 69 years old, and in my whole life on this planet I cannot remember one instance, not one, where the U.S. illegally intervened in the internal affairs of other govts and where we overthrew those govts and replaced them with a benevolent and democratic one, and where hundreds of thousands of people did not die as a result.

- Continued in next comment -
+1 # Activista 2013-06-15 11:52
"suffer from the delusion that only the US government has said that Assad has used chemical weapons.

Check the facts. Several nations have reported the same conclusion. The proof is overwhelming."
Can you please point me to this OVERWHELMING proof? Even mass media admit that there is NONE>
+1 # geraldom 2013-06-15 12:10
- Continued -

You call me delusional. I could say the very same about you when you even imply that the U.S. had any benevolent purposes when they illegally invaded Afghanistan. You say that the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan has been horribly mismanaged, and that it has largely ignored the real needs of the people there, your very words.

If truth be told, James38, both the Bush & (apparently) the Obama admins didn't give a damn about the needs & the welfare of the Afghan people. We invaded Afghanistan for several reasons, one was to establish a pipeline to transport oil & natural gas to the Persian Gulf from the landlocked nations to the north that are now in U.S. pockets so-to-speak, and the other was to establish U.S. control over the region & to create additional U.S. military bases. Bush didn't give a rat's petuty about the Afghan people, nor did he give a damn about the Iraqi people when he illegal invaded & occupied both countries, and apparently neither does Obama. We didn't go into Afghanistan & Iraq to improve the lives of the indigenous people in those countries. That was pure unadulterated BS, pure propaganda.

Syria is as much a sovereign nation as the nations that make up Central & South America in which the U.S. illegally intervened & in which the U.S.-backed leaders of those countries slaughtered their own people while the U.S. had its blinders on. You can't simply isolate out Assad of Syria just because you don't like him.

- continued -
+2 # geraldom 2013-06-15 12:26
- Final -

In conclusion, the United States does not have the moral or ethical right to judge any other country for anything that we have done in the past ourselves and unfortunately continue to do even in the present.

And your statement that, and I quote, "... and the US has certainly been guilty of it several times," does not even touch the surface of what atrocities the United States has perpetrated in the past and continues to perpetrate. You make it sound as if the United States is only a minor player when it comes to crimes against humanity and war crimes. God, we are the biggest perpetrators in history.

Hitler murdered close to 14 million people when he achieved power in Nazi Germany, but when you consider the whole history of the United States, and I go back all the way to the American-Indian wars of the 19th century, if you really want to call them wars since the Indians never had a chance, and based on a very intelligent Norwegian peace activist, the United States has caused the deaths almost equal to that of Adolph Hitler.

Even during the Spanish-America n war when we illegally invaded the Philippines, we committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Filipino people. It's on record that an U.S. army officer ordered the killings of all male children and adults above the age of 13 or 14 whether or not they were carrying a weapon.

We need to stay out of Syria!!
+4 # WBoardman 2013-06-14 10:46
In the real world, the U.S. has no serious business in Syria.
There being no good answers, the wisest course is to
reject the question.
The sides in Syria are largely proxies for our enemies,
some of whom are also our allies.
Obama seems clearly to understand all that, but is unable
to resist the pressure of interventionist s,
especially when Bill Clinton piles on.

"Responsibility to protect" is a decent, moral doctrine,
but it also has universal application.
One should be careful not to use it as
a form of moral blackmail.
The unspoken, underlying assumption --
that the U.S. should be responsible
for everything in the world --
is a form of imperialism masquerading as humanitarianism .
(Would Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc., be better off today
without our "help" -- not at all clear.)

As the the 90,000 dead,
it's just false to lay them all at Assad's feet.
Assad is a monster, to be sure, but he is their monster
and there are those who still love him, as it were....

Another unspoken assumption is that U.S. intervention
would mean reduced bloodshed --
maybe, maybe not, and the recent record suggests not.
+3 # geraldom 2013-06-14 11:53
Quoting WBoardman:
....(Would Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc., be better off today without our "help" -- not at all clear.)

In answer to the above question, as bad as Saddam Hussein was, and he wasn't nearly as bad as the Bush administration and their cronies made him out to be, the Iraqis would have been better off if the United States had not illegally invaded Iraq for control of its energy resources and its government. When the United States along with its puppet armies from NATO allegedly vacated Iraq, well over 2 million innocent Iraqis, men, women and children, who were dead at that point, would still be alive today. And, as one can see today, Iraqis are still dying in large numbers as a result of our illegal invasion and occupation of their country. The dead still keep on piling up, and the Iraqis are a whole lot worse off economically now than they were under Saddam. Iraqi women, under Saddam, had much more freedom than they have now under Maliki.

I would also state that Afghans were better off under the Taliban, as bad as they were, than they are right now under Karzai who, like Maliki, is a U.S. puppet leader, and women have yet to gain their independence, equality and freedom under Karzai.

Libya is a toss up, but I would state that, under the current conditions in Libya, the people are not better off than they were before the regime change. Whether or not they're worse off is a question that I leave to the rest of the world.
+3 # shraeve 2013-06-14 14:40
Libya is a toss up? Hardly. Before the NATO war on Libya, Libyans had the highest quality of life of any country in Africa. The life expectancy in Libya was 77 years, one year short of the life expectancy in the USA. Compare that with Zimbabwe, where the life expectancy is somewhere in the 30s. Why didn't NATO aid Zimbabwe dissidents, of which there are many? Possibly because Zimbabwe has no oil?

The Libyan so-called "rebels" couldn't advance a millimeter without massive NATO air support. It took six months and the deaths of 24,000 Libyans before the "rebels" were able to control Libya's oil, which was the objective in the first place. About halfway into the war, NATO announced the "good news" that the rebels controlled several petroleum-produ cing areas and were able to start selling oil to France and the UK.

The "rebels" were a group of people from Libya's oil-producing region (the northeast) who wanted that oil money for themselves, which is going to leave the majority of Libyans penniless.

The current government of Libya is a puppet government put in place by NATO. Those Libyans who fought against NATO were fighting for their country.
+2 # geraldom 2013-06-14 16:53
I couldn't give a proper answer on this because I didn't know all that was going on in Libya prior to the deposing of Muammar Gaddafi to compare it to what's happening today, but I do thank you for the information.
+2 # Activista 2013-06-14 23:34
News from Libya ... militias/gangs rule
-4 # James38 2013-06-15 06:29
Nonsense. Gadafi was a crazed egomaniac who ruled with an iron fist, and he and his family were stealing the country blind, living in palaces in the midst of deep poverty.

NATO has nothing to do with the selection of government in Libya. They are having enough trouble all by themselves, having no tradition or experience of self-governance .
+3 # Activista 2013-06-15 11:58
"palaces in the midst of deep poverty"
free medical care, free education, thousands graduate students in the USA (all paid by government)
Economy of Libya - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia‎
These oil revenues and a small population have given Libya the highest nominal per capita GDP in Africa. Since 2000, Libya has recorded favourable growth ...
and resistance to Al Kaida --- what htey have now ... CIVIL WAR Made by NATO ...
+1 # Douglas Jack 2013-06-17 00:49
James, To continue Libya was Africa's #1 Development Aid investor & donor in the whole world creating water systems, planting food trees, restoring deserts to biosphere, medical training & health programs. 3 Nobel Peace prize winners gave accolade to Gaddafi & the Green Movement of Libya. Here's a short compilation of articles.
+2 # David Starr 2013-06-14 15:19
Quoting Harold R. Mencher: " bad as Saddam Hussein was, and he wasn't nearly as bad as the Bush administration and their cronies..."

Correct. One reason being U.S. WMDs, as opposed to Hussein's "WMDs."

Hussein was courted by the U.S. under the Reagan regime, and received aid to make chemical weapons from it (I can still hear the hypocrisy from the Bush Jr. regime about condemning chemical weapons in Iraq.

How can one be so "brain-dead" if they think freedom and democray means: carpet bombing, suffering, toture, mass deaths, greed is good, imperialism, monetary empire, a perverted kind of patriotism?
+2 # geraldom 2013-06-14 16:48
Quoting David Starr:
Hussein was courted by the U.S. under the Reagan regime, and received aid to make chemical weapons from it (I can still hear the hypocrisy from the Bush Jr. regime about condemning chemical weapons in Iraq.

Who can forget that famous photo of a much younger Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein when he was our friend.

Prior to taking control of Iraq, Saddam was hired and used by the CIA to overthrow the current head of the Iraqi government at the time in the same way we overthrew Mohammad Mosaddegh, the democratically elected leader of Iran in the early 1950s.

If I were Bashar al-Assad of Syria, I would be having some serious talks with the Russians (and the Chinese as well) about what will happen to Syria if the United States succeeds in deposing him and putting in their own (puppet) leader as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I would tell the Russians (and the Chinese as well) to stop playing political hanky-panky with the United States and to start getting serious about protecting their interests in Syria and elsewhere in the middle east.
+1 # David Starr 2013-06-15 14:20
@Harold R. Melcher: Yes, Rumsfeld did. And it angered me when he kept trying to justify the Iraq War. Iraqis throwing flowers and chocolates (or was that Cheney's lie)at invading U.S. soldiers? His excuses became more Orwellian.

I don't know much about Assad. But, as you allude to regarding U.S. imperialism, a combination of countries-Russi an, China, etc.-would be encouraging with the idea of preventing another Iraq. I could actually call this a coalition of the willing, compared to Bush Jr.'s coalition of the coerced.
+1 # Douglas Jack 2013-06-14 12:55
WBoardman, The non-interventio nist thrust of your statement is laudable, but you are drinking too much of their Kool-aid without discerning sources. We (our war corporations) are the chief arms supplier for the past 20 years to all dissidents in over 80 nations worldwide. Destabilization is our business. Our corporations act independently & supersede government authority. This is one of many wars we have been waiting for because 40% of our export economy & 'making-a-killi ng' is dependent upon perpetual war. We have destroyed the abundant polyculture orchards of indigenous peoples everywhere so our only colonial option is war. RTP is a distraction for the weak-of-mind-&- heart. Imagine living in someone else (US, Canadian, NATO & Israel)'s shooting-galler y in your own home state. To understand war, we have to go deeper starting right where our feet are standing.
-3 # James38 2013-06-15 02:57
"In the real world, the U.S. has no serious business in Syria." Really? Whatever you think of Israel, it is consistent with US policy to prevent escalation of Hezbollah's war on Israel. Syria is the major conduit for weapons - specifically rockets - coming from Iran to Hezbollah.

(of course had the US left Mossadegh in power, the entire course of history would have been different.)

"As the the 90,000 dead,
it's just false to lay them all at Assad's feet."

Whose "feet" then? Did not the protests in Syria begin peacefully? Was it not Assad who escalated them into violence? Was it not then his only goal to remain in power? Is that not still his only goal, to remain in power no matter how many he must kill to do so?
-2 # James38 2013-06-15 03:11
And now we have this development:

"according to The Associated Press, Charge d'Affaires Khaled al-Ayoubi, President Bashar al-Assad's top diplomat in London (has) just defected to British Foreign Office, which put out a statement calling the move "another blow to the Assad Regime" (USA Today's Douglas Stanglin)
The British office writes that "Ayoubi has told us that he is no longer willing to represent a regime that has committed such violent and oppressive acts against its own people, and is therefore unable to continue in his position."

Also, "Turkish media reports that 73 officers, including seven generals, have crossed the border with their families and have requested refuge. In all, 202 people made the escape on Friday."

It seems, Mr Boardman, that more and more Syrians are unwilling to ignore the 90,000 and counting.

Your statement "In the real world, the U.S. has no serious business in Syria." is an excursion into "realpolitik" of such a heartless and coldly inhumane sort as to leave me incredulous. It is not only the business of the US, it is the business of every moral being on the planet.

Fortunately for Syrians and the future of humanity, numerous Syrian Generals and diplomats seem to agree.
+3 # Activista 2013-06-15 12:12
numerous Syrian Generals and diplomats seem to agree....
Most of the Syrian people support government and referendums - next year election - NOT foreign invaders killing and raping. 2013/04/16/syri an-refugee-wome n-murdered-rape d-forced-to-mar ry-in-refugee-c amps-in-jordan- turkey/
+2 # Activista 2013-06-14 12:38
"Now that Assad has killed a couple hundred with poison gas, the situation finally merits US help? The logic of this really sort of escapes me." .. do you really believe it - or got the latest from AIPAC/Clinton Foundation run by AIPAC?
... Come on, fellow, what would you do in the real world? ...
+3 # Activista 2013-06-14 13:00
Assad using chemical weapons is like propaganda as Bush requests "president "directed our intelligence community to further investigate" to find Iraq responsible for 911 and WMD and chemical labs ..
"as intelligence assessments about chemical weapons use became more firm. After an initial, inconclusive assessment in April, the president "directed our intelligence community to further investigate the use of chemical weapons and to seek credible and corroborative information," Rhodes said in a briefing for reporters Thursday afternoon."
I am sure that Tel Aviv will provide the evidence - like Golden Cake from Niger to build WMD in Iraq..
aka US has NOTHING .. evidence is being Made UP.
+1 # Anarchist 23 2013-06-14 12:45
Yes, the Assad governments, Father & Son are dreadful; so also were those of Papa and Baby Doc in Haiti. What do they have in common? The 'USA' supported both of those murderous regimes! Also the Shah, the Argentine Junta, Mubarak, the Greek Junta, Pinochet...Rios Mott.....the Al Qaeda mujahedin against the Soviets...and now Syrian rebels...I'm shocked! shocked! And look how much better things are now in all the countries we have been or are in..just ask your average Afghani or Iraqi!
-1 # James38 2013-06-15 06:25
Just in the case of the Shah, the US did much more than "support" him. The us installed him in the vacancy they/"we" created by removing the Democratically elected President Mohammed Mossadegh. Had British Oil and US CIA not done that, we would not have the present regime of Religiomilitary crazies running Iran.

Mossadegh was far to the left from what the US thought was acceptable, and when he nationalized the British oil industry in Iran, he signed his political death warrant.

Nobody in their right mind, with a modicum of accurate history in memory, would ever mistake the US for a sane society. We work with what we have. Obama is a big improvement over the disastrous Bush dynasty.

However, nothing in the past excuses present atrocities, and Assad is perpetrating massive murder on his own people in a frenzied attempt to stay in power.

Under Obama's leadership, the US cooperated with Europe to boot out the comic/tragic horror Gadafi, and there was no "invasion". The Libyans have the opportunity to do whatever they want with their government and society, free of the awful greed and avarice of the previous bloodsuckers. Hopefully the same result can be achieved in Syria.

I have no use for any religion that demands its followers believe in anything for which there is no proof, but that is a problem each society must outgrow. I hope we do not see any more religionuts in charge of countries. Are crazed murderous dictators better? Probably not.
+1 # David Starr 2013-06-14 15:10
@James38: Er, do your comments sound like more moral posturing from the right? It does. Shades of Iraq, Libya, and other countries on a long list of U.S. imperial war-making. (Democracy and freedom? Hardly.)

These remarks are typical of vague, condemnations against a foreign leader, regardless of his/her status. Just because U.S. polticians, especially GOP arm-chair warriors, want to "justify" more invading/occupy ing/bombing, the remarks amount to cliches without content.

Do I think Assad an evil-doer? I would have to do research to verify that; as opposed to mouthing ready-made cliches for "justification."

Your morality play is lacking in "cleaning up" your own "backyard" first. Vietnam: about 2-3 million dead, Korea: about 2 million dead, Iraq: about 1 million dead, the Philippines: about 650,000 dead, Central America: about 100s of 1000s dead; the list goes on.

I hope you're not going to blame Assad for those deaths.
0 # geraldom 2013-06-15 16:06
David Starr, I think a whole lot more than one million Iraqis had died at the point we (allegedly) evacuated Iraq.

I don't know exactly what year it was, somewhere around 2007 or 2008, John Hopkins Institute initiated a scientific survey to compute the approximate number of Iraqis, innocent Iraqis, who had died as a result of the illegal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

They did a large sampling of Iraqi families who had lost loved ones as a result of the invasion and occupation by the United States military. Their results were somewhat shocking at the time. They had come up with a number like 1400 thousand dead Iraqis. If this is reasonably accurate, then one has to wonder how many more Iraqis had died since the end of this study until we (again, allegedly) evacuated the country in 2011. That's why I am approximating the Iraqi dead at about two million.

As far as Afghanistan is concerned, we invaded Afghanistan (I believe) in early 2002. It could have been late 2001, but I don't know. The war in Afghanistan has now lasted longer than eleven years. Afghan deaths have to be at least one million as a result of the illegal U.S. invasion and occupation of that country, and I do believe that I'm being extremely conservative on that number. I wouldn't be surprised if it were a lot closer to two million dead Afghans.hi

I use the term "allegedly" with Iraq in my statements because I still believe that the U.S. has covert forces in the country.
+1 # David Starr 2013-06-16 13:26
@Harold R. Mencher: Thanks for the additional info. I give the benefit of the doubt to the John Hopkins Institute. I'm sure the attempt was made for a thorough investigation.
+4 # MidwestTom 2013-06-14 06:58
Why don't we require that all Congress members must send their children of military age to distribute the US provided weapons and serve with radical fundamentalist Muslim al Qaeda rebels we are now arming. They can learn what t is like to kill Christians and all of the other educated people in Syria, all of whom back Assad.
+4 # MidwestTom 2013-06-14 07:06
Bush got us into Iraq because they were selling oil denominated in Euros, not dollars. We got into the Afgan war to supposedly kill all of al Qaeda members there, and to use up our older military equipment. Now Obuma is leading us into a war for is buddies the Saudi's, the most Fundamental of the Muslims. We are going in on the side of the uneducated Sunni masses against the educated Christians and Muslims in Syria. Yes Assad supported the education of women, which will cease once the rebels win with our support.
-4 # MidwestTom 2013-06-14 07:12
If anyone has any doubts that Obama favors Muslims, entering the Syrian war should remove all doubts. I am sure that Israel is not happy to know that fundamentalist Muslims will now have access to far more lethal weapons. The several million Christians in Syria must wonder if there are any Christians in America; and the Mosques must be celebrating their victory. Early in Obama's Presidency he raised the immigration quota from Muslim cu0ntries to 350,000 per year. Now we are sending Americans to a war that we as a nation have absolutely no interest in. If Assad was so bad, why is a major part of the citizens on Syria supporting him?
+4 # 2013-06-14 07:42
+1 # David Starr 2013-06-14 15:22 That does sound kinda anti-imperialis t. And that's good.

The UN is the most sensible and fair means of addressing the issue; as opposed to imperialism from a monetary empire.
0 # Lennie 2013-06-14 08:26
How do we really know that we want to be with the "rebels?" Assad is as bad as it gets, but WHO are these so-called rebels? Just cause they're against his tyranny, it doesn't mean that they won't impose their own tyranny? This is a really difficult one, and the idea that our politicians might use it just to distract us from other things is disgusting. And, poison gas is horrific, absolutely, but is it that much more horrific than people mowing down men, women and children with guns and more "traditional" methods of murder? This world is insane.
+2 # WBoardman 2013-06-14 10:54
Insofar as published reports go,
no one even seems to know
just how many rebel groups there are,
never mind their orientations.
+1 # Activista 2013-06-14 15:36
Haitham al-Maleh, a leading opposition figure in exile, said recently that a total of 12,000 foreign fighters have joined the rebels in Syria ..
of course also propaganda - but at least we have some boundaries ...
+6 # geraldom 2013-06-14 08:29
Why isn't Russia and/or China telling the U.S. to back off. What the U.S. plans on doing would be equivalent to Russia and/or China interceding in a local war in Central or South America arming rebels who are fighting a govt that we support. The U.S. has always been hard-nosed about things like this. We wouldn't tolerate it not for one second. We would set up an air & naval blockade challenging the Russians to break it.

The Cuban missile crisis was a good example. Russia supplied missiles to Cuba for their defense against a U.S. invasion of Cuba, and the U.S. was literally one button push away from an all-out nuclear war that would've obliterated almost all life on this planet.

Why are the Russians & the Chinese acting so weak in protecting the few allies they have left in the world, the ones that are situated very close to their borders. Both Russia & China have to realize that the U.S. agenda is to put in place in Syria and (hopefully) in Iran eventually, govts that will answer directly to the United States.

The U.S. doesn't care as to what the human cost would be in order to accomplish its nefarious goal of world domination. Between Afghanistan & Iraq, close to 3 million innocent people have died, men, women, (most tragic of all) children, as a result of the illegal invasions & occupations of these two countries. And that doesn't include the over half-million children who died in Iraq in the 1990s as a result of the illegal sanctions laid against Iraq.
+2 # Activista 2013-06-14 12:42
"Between Afghanistan & Iraq, close to 3 million innocent people have died, men, women, (most tragic of all) children, as a result of the illegal invasions & occupations of these two countries. And that doesn't include the over half-million children who died in Iraq in the 1990s as a result of the illegal sanctions laid against Iraq."
needs to be stressed/rememb ered - thanks
+2 # dbriz 2013-06-14 18:50

Perhaps Russia and China are not as weak as you surmise. I will bet you your favorite beverage that Obama is planning nothing in Syria that hasn' been run by the Russians.

Russia has no reason for concern over arms dealers making a few bucks in Syria as long as Obama keeps the boots off the ground. I doubt if you will even see a no fly zone.

It is quite likely that in return for allowing Obama to wag his doggy and get scandals off the front pages, Russia has been reassured that we will extend the clock on Iran. The JCS aren't thrilled with the idea of action against Iran anyway.

Bottom, line, Obama gets to appear tough in Syria and kick the Iran can down the road, the Russians can still monitor Syria while continuing to watch our regional muck ups with glee.
+2 # geraldom 2013-06-14 21:27
dbriz, I'm glad you posted this comment because, by chance, a new article came out on Yahoo! News. I give you the following news article:

dbriz, I don't like what the U.S. has become over the past several decades, but I have to give the U.S. some credit here over that of the Russians. Russia did show some huevos when it attacked Georgian forces that attempted to militarily take over the two separatist govts of South Ossetia & Abkhazia in 2008, but that was about the only time they showed any huevos.

Ever since Reagan became president, the U.S. was pretty much straight forward with our intentions. When we threatened, our threats were very clear. We rarely played the current game the Russians are playing with us on Syria. Instead of drawing its own line in the sand to tell the U.S. enough is enough, stay out of Syria, this is within our own sphere of influence, Russia is acting like a wimp giving us lukewarm warnings that the U.S. is completely ignoring.

Russia allowed the U.S. to violate the agreement made between Gorbachev & G.H.W. Bush in the early 1990s where the U.S. & NATO promised not make any attempt to encroach one inch into the new nations born out of the breakup of the old Soviet Union. Russia is literally surrounded now by all of these nations that are now controlled by the U.S.

Let's see what happens if the U.S. attempts to enforce a no-fly zone in Syria.
+1 # Activista 2013-06-14 23:47
Why should Russia intervene, prevent USA from self-destroying itself?
Collapse of Soviet Union was due to totalitarianism and militarism.
Collapse of United States is due to totalitarianism and militarism.
Compare the William Boardman INFORMATION to Karen DeYoung and Anne Gearan, The Washington Post PROPAGANDA.
Closed society like Soviet Union or United States can not survive for the long time.
+3 # David Starr 2013-06-14 09:57
U.S. "options" regarding Syria are sickenly familiar. The use of chemical weapons by the "evil doer" (U.S. accusations which I heard this morning [Friday] on the radio)? Syrian "rebels" being aided by the U.S.?

Who are these rebels? I don't see or hear that being brought up by the GOP. Libya is probably a sample, i.e., the "rebels" are religious fanatics. Al Queda operatives? Doesn't the GOP hate Islam?

As with Iraq and Libya, the excuses are so obvious, I find it hard to beleive that anyone in the U.S. would be so stupid as to fall for this again. BUT, political stupity, and deep denial abound within the GOP supporters.
+3 # Activista 2013-06-14 12:46
US rebels use Sarin U.N. has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator ...‎
May 5, 2013 – GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria's civil war and medical staff indicating ..
still can not find the evidence of "Now that Assad has killed a couple hundred with poison gas"
+1 # David Starr 2013-06-14 15:24
@Activista: I'm tired of the theme, as alluded to in my previous post.

Thanks for the info.
+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-06-14 10:24
& what of the not-so-assiduou sly-sought UN evidence that the rebels have been using poison gas, too? & present evidence based on a whole two samples; & we aren’t told about the security of the conditions under which they were collected. This egregious interference, from the nation that gave the world Agent Orange (Dioxin) & DU (depleted uranium, joyfully using both obscenities in warmaking? Supreme hypocrisy.
0 # C.H.Winslow 2013-06-14 12:27
I believe the best comments above emphasize how difficult it is for the Obama administration to make any "good" decision concerning Syria. Like all of the Levant, it has a long history of social fragmentation that would prevent outsiders from being able to end the violence even if Bashaar al-Assad were to leave. To be sure, many of Syria's minorities have supported the al-Assads because they fear Sunni Islamists (especially those of Tripoli (Lebanon), Homs, and Hama. Lots of bloodbaths could result from intervening to end the current bloodbath. Obama does not have a decision that will not simply get him into more trouble. No doubt that is why he is reluctant to make one.

His best bet is to squeeze the Assad regime until it begins to crumble while leaving it to the Syrians to find their own way. Unfortunately, this strategy involves a lengthy process and leaves many hot heads at large to launch the massive "fix" that turns out not to fix very much. Many see the President at the top of a hierarchy of decision makers. It is best to see him (game theoretically) in the middle between conflicters, a not fully competent shepherd rather than a wussy warrior.

By the way, the last thing Obama wants to do is to dominate the world. He would be quite content to manage global life for the modern world if such could be accomplished. It cannot.
+3 # Arden 2013-06-14 12:30
Boykin must be happy. Isn't he one of those "fundamentalist s" who believe that Syria is supposed to change sides in order to bring about Armageddon? Forgive me, because I don't keep up with all the distorted beliefs that exist out there. I just know I've heard this before. And people who want a war economy will use anything to create a war, apparently.

God is love.
0 # Milarepa 2013-06-15 01:12
I can't think my way through all of the above, including comments. I do know one thing with absolute certainty: President Obama is an incurable optimist!
+2 # Milarepa 2013-06-15 08:03
Oh, on second thought, Hitler was also an incurable optimist. Not only did he firmly believe he was right but he was convinced he'd get away with the particular way in which he expressed being right. Things haven't changed as much as one might think, have they?
+1 # Edwina 2013-06-16 09:55
Yes, there is no good solution in Syria. But there is plenty of evidence for what does not work. Iraq is torn by sectarian violence, as the government that we installed tries to consolidate its power along sectarian lines. Adding guns to the Libyan conflict escalated the violence there. We should have learned from European colonizers, primarily Britain & France, that intervening in a civil war does not guarantee dominance. So what's the motivation? To beggar all of the countries in the hopes that "our" corporations can extract something from the chaos? Or are our leaders, who are not stupid, just in denial about the U.S.'s standing in the world? Or is it that since we have a far superior military to anyone else, we believe we should be able to impose a military "solution" to any "problem"? Plenty of evidence that this is not so.
0 # mjc 2013-06-17 11:56
It has been a not-so-subtle hint that the decision to intervene NOW is based on the fact that the the so-called rebel groups have managed to show some strength and cooperation?? with each other; therefore, the US doesn't want to lose out on any influence with a "new" Syrian government. Certainly it is true that such action 18 months ago would have had a better chance of helping the civil war part of this conflict and the perhaps end the thousands of deaths by a very strong Assad military. Now it seems that the various rebel groups versus the Assad group have a stalemate which could be more difficult to overcome. But as McCain so bitterly charged a few more AK-47s is not going to get the job done, although he wants more than a no-fly zone for sure. It seems that if we turned our backs on 40,000 to 50,000 civilian casualties 1 1/2 years ago we will not do much for our humanitarian image there now with coming into this conflict when twice that number have been killed at this juncture. Also, a thought.., don't we have highly trained groups that could take out Assad and some of his immediate supportive generals? Guess like many here I worry about arming or helping resistance groups NOT Syrian but radicals disposed kindly to Al Qaeda gaining any part in that government.

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