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Boardman writes: "President Obama is apparently wobbling on the edge of committing an impeachable offense, specifically a military attack on Syria without the authorization of Congress, without the approval of the United Nations Security Council, and without any imminent threat to the United States."

President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina 10/19/08. (photo: Jim Young/Reuters)
President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina 10/19/08. (photo: Jim Young/Reuters)

Jumping the Shark Over Syria

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

29 August 13


resident Obama is apparently wobbling on the edge of committing an impeachable offense, specifically a military attack on Syria without the authorization of Congress, without the approval of the United Nations Security Council, and without any imminent threat to the United States.

The president finds himself pressured on one side by his own rookie mistake on August 20, 2012, when he said at a press conference, in answer to a question about the civil war in Syria, "We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation."

To judge from the wording of his answer, the president seems to have been trying to not box himself in. He not only failed then, he has failed since to roll back political and media baiting over his supposed "red line," giving it more symbolic authority each time. Now he's caught in his own trap.

After several real or apparent earlier uses of some chemical weapons by somebody in Syria, the most recent alleged chemical weapons attack has some Washington officials reacting hysterically on the basis of limited uncertain information that, they argue, is sufficient basis for the United States to launch a limited but certain military attack on somebody.

Gas Over Syria Mostly Smoke Blown by Politicians With Hidden Agendas

With his secretary of state ranting in high-pitched tones about this "moral obscenity" and that "cowardly crime" committed by the Assad regime, the president seems weak and vacillating. The lawyer who is president might remind the lawyer who is secretary of state that evidence usually precedes judgment, not only in court but also in the process of mature statecraft.

Carrying on as if he thought he was the real president, Secretary of State John Kerry blathers with a fatuous pomposity worthy of a caricature head of state, as he jingoes up a war with demagoguery about the would-be enemy:

"Our sense of basic humanity is offended, not only by this cowardly crime but also by the cynical attempt to cover it up. What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons, is a moral obscenity. By any standards, it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable."

The irony is overwhelming: Kerry has accurately described the American use of depleted Uranium weapons that continue to kill men, women, and children every day in Iraq. Depleted Uranium is a chemical, a deadly toxic heavy metal with the added benefit of also being radioactive for billions of years.

The chemical weapon apparently used in Syria kills quickly, and using it is a widely-recognized war crime. Not so widely recognized, but just as much a war crime, using DU WMDs not only kills some victims quickly, but goes on killing others slowly, for generations.

Why Is Washington So Hot for War Before the Facts Are Known?

Kerry was once perceived as a moral man, protesting another immoral American war, in Vietnam. But that was a long time ago. Although he opposed the 1991 Gulf War, he raised no outcry against the criminal use of DU WMDs that mercilessly slaughtered Iraqis and infected the country with toxic air, water, and dust. By 2003, Kerry swallowed whole the lies that supported the Bush administration's lust for war in Iraq. Kerry's rhetoric then was like his rhetoric now:

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator; leading an oppressive regime he presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real."

He was fatally wrong then.

Just as wrong in 2003 was Senator John McCain, another enthusiastic booster of the Bush administration's lying the country into war. Now the Arizona Republican is not only eager for America to take unilateral military action, he's busy blaming the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, for not being an equally avid warmonger.

The Senator Takes Offense at a General's Prudence

McCain is mad at Gen. Dempsey for his answer to an inquiry from New York congressman Eliot Engel, a Democrat, who wondered what might be the best course to pursue in Syria. The general's rational and careful response on August 19 said, in part:

We can destroy the Syrian Air Force. The loss of Assad's Air Force would negate his ability to attack opposition forces from the air, but it would also escalate and potentially further commit the United States to the conflict. Stated another way, it would not be militarily decisive, but it would commit us decisively to the conflict. In a variety of ways, the use of US military force can change the military balance, but it cannot resolve the underlying and historic ethnic, religious, and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict.

Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but rather about choosing one among many sides. It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their favor. Today, they are not....

I believe we can assist in the humanitarian crisis on a far more significant scale. We could, if asked to do so, significantly increase our effort to develop a moderate opposition. Doing so, in combination with expanded capacity-building efforts with regional partners and a significant investment in the development of a moderate Syrian opposition, represents the best framework for an effective U.S. strategy toward Syria going forward.

Outraged by this almost non-military posture, McCain claimed that it was Gen. Dempsey's fault that Syria used chemical weapons. According to McCain, "General Dempsey has to be embarrassed," because his letter opened the door to chemical weapons:

Dempsey made an incredible illogical statement and then a few days later we saw a massive use of chemical weapons. I'm sure that Bashar al-Assad paid attention to the top military man in America's words that we were not going to get involved....

I would expect Assad to continue to use these weapons. And other Assads around the world will now not hesitate to use these weapons and sooner or later they may be used against Americans.

Senator McCain Embraces the Fallacy of post hoc ergo propeter hoc

So McCain is also blaming the general for future war crimes committed by others, using his own illogical argument. McCain argues that the letter that preceded the use of chemical weapons therefore caused the use of chemical weapons – an elementary logical fallacy. But it's also obviously nonsense, since chemical weapons were used in Syria before the letter as well.

And McCain has yet to object to his country's 20 years of using depleted Uranium weapons on mostly defenseless targets.

Not to be left off the public hysteria bandwagon, Vice President Joe Biden, who offered no more evidentiary support for his claims than any of the other manly blitherers, told a Texas audience:

There is no doubt who was responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria – the Syrian regime – for we know that the Syrian regime are the only ones who have the weapons, have used chemical weapons multiple times in the past, have the means of delivering those weapons, have been determined to wipe out exactly the places that were attacked by chemical weapons.

Little of the Biden riff is demonstrably true, but then he added an outright lie about the Syrian government, accusing it of not cooperating with UN inspectors: "... the government has repeatedly shelled the sites of the attack and blocked the investigation for five days."

The truth is that the UN delivered its inspection request on Saturday, August 24. The Syrian government approved the request on Sunday. The inspection team went to work on Monday.

"Those who use chemical weapons against defenseless men, women and children should and must be held accountable," Biden told his Houston audience, without mentioning American use of DU WMDs.

At the United Nations, Calmer, More Rational Heads Prevail

At the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon maintained a more diplomatic composure. In a statement about the UN investigation headed by Under-Secretary General Angela Kane, he said:

The Secretary-General now calls for the mission, presently in Damascus, to be granted permission and access to swiftly investigate the incident which occurred on the morning of 21 August. A formal request is being sent by the United Nations to the Government of Syria in this regard. He expects to receive a positive response without delay.

In a second statement, regarding the use of chemical weapons as a violation of international humanitarian law, the secretary general concluded:

"The Secretary-General reiterates that any use of chemical weapons by any side under any circumstances would violate international humanitarian law."

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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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.

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Founder, Reader Supported News

+47 # indian weaver 2013-08-29 13:40
This is a good article to mail to McCain, Kerry and Biden. I will highlight each section that applies to each of these 3 homicidal, hypocritical maniacs. I mailed a huge collection of similar articles to the liar in chief Obama yesterday, along with my editorial comments written on each article. I'm sure these empty suits can't read, or at the minimum cannot understand English, but maybe someone on their staff can?
+11 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-30 00:37
Some Syrian citizens were gassed. That is horrible. Why is it that the U.S. military, if there is an air strike, will undoubtly use D U, and thereby dousing Syria with nuclear radiation causing untold cancers now and for future generations is a legitimate and moral way to "settle the matter once and for all?"
+8 # Act of Defiance 2013-08-30 08:08
"Why is it that the U.S. military, if there is an air strike, will undoubtly [sic] use D U . . . ."

Eldon, just once try to say it like it is: Why is it that the U.S. military, if OBAMA ORDERS an air strike, will undoubtedly use D U . . . .

Don't you know such acts require a decision at the very highest level? Why hide the fact? Why do you keep giving Obama a free ride?
-1 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-30 09:34
I see the moral cowardice of dousing Syrians with a nuclear human pesticide. We all know who may give the nuclear pesticide order. Why stir up hatred? The cause and effect is there.
+6 # Cougar27 2013-08-30 10:15
That's not an answer. The question was: Why do you keep giving Obama a free ride?

Over the past month or so, you frequently preened and postured, ostensibly in support of Manning, but never once faulting Obama for his key role in that obscene proceding. Obama, who long before the trial, pronounced Manning guilty.

Likewise here, you just cannot come to terms with the fact that Obama is central to this issue, just as he is to almost all the problems that concern RSN readers. He is the one who will order the bombing. No one else. How is stating this fact clearly and unequivocally likely to "stir up hatred?"

And if it does, so what. It's hatred at least directed where it should be and not at some amorphous, ethereal shadow.
-11 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-30 17:57
To Cougar 27:You need a mental bath. Get rid of your hatred. Go get a job at McDonald's or something, OK?
-11 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-30 18:11
To Cougar 27 I quote you, How does this fact clearly and unequivocallu likely to stir up hatred? And if it does, so what. It's hatred at least directed where it should be........................"
You are not a wise man. Directed hatred never solved anything. But, since (you) want to direct hatred, that "makes it OK." You guys just hate Obama. Get some psycho help, OK? I don't like lots of things he has done, but I'm simply not going to bask relentlessly in hatred like you guys. Christ, get a life,
+8 # WBoardman 2013-09-01 12:36
Holding a president accountable
does not strike me as hatred.
+7 # Firefox11 2013-09-01 23:25
Totally. And some of us who voted for Obama twice were hoping that he would actually act like the Progressive candidate, no more war, that he was as a Senator.
-7 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-02 14:07
Unfortunately, he got "sucked in" by the military/indust rial complex. Very sad.
-6 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-02 14:05
This is true. But holding a president accountable with hatred is not a solution either. Hatred and misinformation starts wars. Bush? Cheney?
-3 # James38 2013-08-30 20:10
Do you folks know what DU is?

An air strike on Syria is unlikely to use much DU, which is a very dense metal used for armor piercing projectiles. It is toxic when it is pulverized into dust, but is hardly radioactive at all.

Get some real information.

Fast neutron reactors can burn DU (which is mostly low radioactive U238) as fuel, eliminating the problem, and creating a lot of electricity.

On the political side of Syria:

Here you have a video of a Syrian city that has broken away from Assad.
-2 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-30 20:52
To:James38 Don't know where you received your training in physics, chemnistry. D U is a removed isotope from naturally occurring uranium. Why is it removed? Makes the other isotope (actually there are three isotopes) "enriched" and suitable for nuclear reactors, atomic weapons. DU is 60-70% as radioactive as naturally occurring uranium. Medical records have been kept and analized by several international organizations. The increase in cancer incidence in Southern Iraq is 6-7 times (not %) of what it was before the Iraqi war. This board is supposed to be for imntelligent discussion. What you say about D U is very very misleading to lots of people who want to know. Servicemen and women who have been exposed to DU return home, marry have children. DU radiation dust has settled into their male and female reproductine organs. Lots of incidences of children being born with arms crippled, disfigured. Children born with one eye only. Several other bodily birth defets. You really need to do your homework and understand the nuclear radiation sickness called the "Gulf War Syndrome." DU is also used in bombs, not just rifle ammo. Southern Iraq will be nuclear hot for millions of years. Bush and Cheney, during the war, were laughing all the way to the bank.
-2 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-31 10:09
TO: James 38 Did you get your degree (?)in physics and chemistry from Disneyland? DU is a horrible weapon of mass destruction. Even worse than Agent Orange which was used in Viet Nam. DU is 6o-70 % as radioactive as naturally ocurring uranium. The reason it is called DU is to psychologically classify it as a "harmless substance" as was done with Agent Orange in Viet Nam. The incidence of cancer rates in Southern Ieaq has increased 6-7 fold since records were kept before and after the war. Wikipedia, the enclyopedia where anybody can "put in their two cents." sort of like the neighborhood girl, "everybody got a ride." Further, Fast Breeding Reactors are still in the experimental stage. Too costly to operate on a commercial basis. You say, "it is toxic when pulverized into dust but it is harly radioactive at all." That is reckless misinformation. Please define what "toxic" means to you. When a DU projectile slams into a tank, pierces armor it starts on fire, creates more fires, releases a deadly environment of radioactive dust. Gets carried by the winds, ends up in the former potable water supplies. Inhaled by service men and women. If the tank operator is not instantly killed, upon discharge from the military, returns home. If he chooses to marry, have children, the biological deformity incidence is very high. Children are born with horrible deformities. One eye, disfigured limbs, not unusual. Why? DU settles into male and female reproductive organs. Horrible!!!!
+5 # WBoardman 2013-09-01 12:39
to James38 --

DU may have a relative lo level of radioactivity,
but it also has a half-life of more than 4 billion years.

Inhaled or ingested, DU's alpha emitters
are toxic, as is the heavy metal itself.
-3 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-01 20:51
Access the level of radiation attributable to DU from sources other than the U.S. government or the U.S. military. Why? The government is "on the hook" for treatment of the poor bastards who were exposed to DU. The U.S. government wants to keep the costs of treatment to a minimum. Let the soldiers die a horrible slow death. Additionally, if the U.S. government can successfully supress the horrible truth about DU, then the costs for cleaning up Iraq is much more minimal. Really, how does anyone "clean up Iraq" when DU will be around for millions of years in their soil, water supplies, human bodies, plant bodies, animal bodies? Bush and Cheney, while civilians and soldiers die a slow and horrible death due to DU exposure laugh all the way to their bank. Eight billion dollars, sent to Iraq. Loaded on pallets, wraped in clear plastic. Just disappered. No official investigation of where it went, who "got" it.
+2 # tomo 2013-09-01 22:07
Eldon: You seem to have acquired a hooting section. I'm not clear what exactly you have said that can account for this. What I do know is that your comments on the toxicity of "depleted" uranium closely match the account given to me many times by Marion Fulk in the years just preceding his death last year. Marion had been involved in the Manhattan Project, and following WWII was a longtime employee as a bio-chemist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. What first called Marion to my attention was seeing his eyes tear up at a meeting as he was describing the effects of "depleted" uranium once it became a gas.
-5 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-02 11:52
When one posts researched truth, not opinion, there will be a rememberance of Sir Isac Newton's law, "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

In which case, when I post, I really do not know those personally and or professionally who are replying to my post. What their educational background is, what their motives are. A scientist recently remarked on bill Maher's show as regards a great truth being presented to the public, the stages. 1. "It is (the truth) definitely false." 2. "It is against the bible. 3. "We knew it all along." People react quickly to an impending disater. People react slowly to a slowly seemingly impending disaster, but a disaster none-the-less. Remember how hard the cigarette companies fought against the scientific evidence of the disastrous effects of smoking? Some many years ago, my grade school teacher would say after "The weekly Reader" was passed out, "we really do not know if tobacco causes cancer or the paper it is rolled in." Today, there are other truths being presented to the public such as climate change. How hard are the oil companies fighting this new truth? How much money have the oil companies spent to buy out our legislators with campaign contributions to fight back? How hard is the military, U.S. government fighting the truth of the horrible effects of using DU? Remember how hard the military fought back against the truth of using Agent Orange in viet Nam?
+17 # grandma lynn 2013-08-30 01:44
I make my comments fit on postcards, since I believe the mail in envelopes is still held back and tested for Anthrax. Nice thing about postcard messages is others can read them if they are handled sometimes by humans and not machines.
+30 # indian weaver 2013-08-29 14:01
To write and/ or send a copy of this article to these hypocrites, here are addresses of the guilty: Joe Biden, White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC 20500; John Kerry, US Dept. of State, 2201 C St. NW, Washington, DC 20520; John McCain, 241 Russel Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510.
+4 # 666 2013-08-30 16:31
Big brO's hubris has gotten him stuck yet again. His answer? the only way to stop/punish one crime against humanity is with a greater crime against humanity.

and while we're on DU, let's not forget about the drones... far more lethal to the innocents
0 # Firefox11 2013-09-01 23:32
Violence begets violence. A posting on fb this week featured a drawing of male figure with child bent over his knee spanking child with caption: this country does not need gun control-it needs child control.
+50 # nice2blucky 2013-08-29 17:04
Americans develop, sell, and use numerous chemical weapons.

White phosphorus, similar to napalm, except, in that, rather than burning as an incendiary, as napalm does, white phosphorus, burns through chemical reactions. It has been used by the US and its allies many times, burning flesh from the skin down to the bone, without affecting clothes, etc.

But I appreciate Mr. Boardman bringing attention to depleted uranium as a chemical weapon because, besides contaminating battlefields for many years, causing incredibly high infant mortality rates and deformaties, it is the likely cause of Gulf War Syndrome.

The US will not investigate this properly because if it can be proven as GWS's cause, the US would be liable for medical costs and damages. They would rather pinch pennies and avoid responsibility than take proper care of US soldiers/victim s. F the Vererans, eh.

They would rather give profits to death dealers of nuclear waste than come clean on yet another crime to humanity.
+19 # RMDC 2013-08-30 05:16
The US has never accepted the liability for the millions of pounds of Agent Orange it sprayed all over Vietnam. There's an estimated 3 million people in Vietnam with serious birth defects caused by Agent Orange. God only knows how many children have died because of their birth defects.

The mention of chemical weapons is total hypocrisy. The US plans to destroy Syria as a nation, to reduce it to the same conditions that exist now in Iraq and Libya. All this is clear and has been for a very long time. Syria is a secular and modernizing state. The US simply will not allow that for Arabs. That's all. The decision to destroy Syria has long been made.

The wanton destruction of other people's nations is just sickening beyond what words can express. The suffering caused by Obama in Libya and now Syria is beyond criminality. We have been able to associate this level of malevolence with people like Hitler but even Boardman still that there is some morality in Obama, Kerry, and the rest. When the bombing of Syria begins, we will know that there isn't.
-29 # MidwesTom 2013-08-29 21:42
Is that a Nobel War Prize? Maybe Obama knows of a new prize he can win while supporting his buddies in the Muslim Brotherhood.
-2 # Billy Bob 2013-08-30 14:32
Who do YOU support Tommy? Do you support The Muslim Brotherhood? Or, Al-Quaida? You realize that they're enemies, right?

Do you support more military intervention the American people don't want? Or do you support letting Assad get away with the use of "WMD"s?

I'm sorry, but ANY choice you make on this issue, will invite republican criticism (IF, you're a Democratic president).

I'm not supporting Obama right now either. That's not the point. The point is that, once again, you find yourself just parroting Fox News.

I GUARANTEE you that, like in the past, regardless which decision the president makes, Fox News will take the contrary viewpoint, even if he decides to just leave Syria alone (like most Americans want).
0 # Firefox11 2013-09-01 23:38
Yes, Fox News has demonstrated that it will not report Obama accurately or fairly, as has been observed when reporting State of the Union in excerpts that are contrary to the meaning of said statement, something I directly observed after the first SOU by Obama.
0 # Firefox11 2013-09-01 23:36
This action, or any other in recent history, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, has nothing to do with the so-called Muslim brotherhood, who are most likely, as diverse as are other groups. BTW, Obama is not a Muslim, and the Muslims in this country who are American citizens do not generally support violence.
+19 # Bev 2013-08-29 22:13
There may be more to this than is now apparent. Russia currently supplies gas to Europe. Qatar has abundant supplies and is attempting to put a pipeline thru Syria to Europe.
Anyone have info about this?
+9 # tpmco 2013-08-30 00:05
Mike Malloy talked about this on his show tonight. You really have to look at a map to see the strategic importance of Syria's geographical location and the direct route to the Mediterranean Sea through that country. Malloy pointed out the several "eyes" on routes through Syria for hydrocarbon products.

Hydrocarbon producers should all be very interested in doing away with ocean shipping of their products through the Persian Gulf. Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq are key geographical entities. Iran, Saudia Arabia, Qatar, and Iraq are key producers.

There are a few consumers involved in the equation, some of them very large--Europe, USA, China. And the handlers wanting their handling fees, your friendly oil companies, the owners of the consumer's governments.

I wish I could wipe the oil off and just enjoy the pot.

Malloy can be heard on Tune-in radio. I listen to the streams on KXRA available on iTunes radio and the 1260 stream from Santa Fe on Tune-in radio.
+15 # grandma lynn 2013-08-30 01:47
It could again, you say, come down to energy companies' profits. We are so insane, aren't we? reliant on non-natural systems and then even pressing them onto people who have successfully lived without them. For my grandkids' sakes and their generation - I wish education would succeed in making us pay attention to cause and effect. If the effect of our "needs" is war and death, then those "needs" are ones to abandon.
+6 # JTHinSD 2013-08-29 22:15
I'm pretty sure only two of those three things listed in the opening paragraph are 'impeachable offenses..." that is, the UN ain't got nothin' to do with it. In fact, the "UN" should be dealing with the issue on it's own...maybe with Europe's cooperation. diff from W so you Dems who voted this charlatan into office can get off your high horse any time now.
+14 # grandma lynn 2013-08-30 01:49
I helped elect O., but let go of those illusions about year two.

Now I just returned his tiny bumper sticker, fundraiser envelope wherein he asks, "Have you still got my back?" with a big marking-penned NO on it, also my latest letter to the editor and latest postcard message to him. Use the pre-paid envelope. He won't see it, but someone will open the envelope.
+1 # WBoardman 2013-09-01 12:46
JTHinSD -- right, the UN is irrelevant to impeachment,
except for context.

Bur the impeachable offense is the attack,
not the three qualifiers.

The attack would also likely comprise
a war crime or several.

What's most relevant to impeachment is what
a majority of the House won't tolerate.
+13 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-29 22:20
All Biden, McCain, Kerry and others are saying is, "who needs truth? What you do not know can't hurt you. On with the war."
-2 # Act of Defiance 2013-08-30 07:53
Eldon, why do you continually neglect the pivotal part played in all these illegal, ill-advised, and stupid machinations by your Constitutional Lawyer-in-Chief , one Barack Hussein Obama?
-6 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-30 11:29
TO:ACT OF DEFIANCE I quote you, "stupid machinations by your Constitutional Lawyer-In-Chief , one Barack Hussein Obama." How about keeping hatred off the board, OK? People who use terms, like Hussein" are really very prejudiced toward blacks, hate them. Rather than use the "N" word, they say, "Hussein, Communists, Socialist, Clebrity, Muslim, constructed a fake birth certificate, born in Kenya. The list goes on and on.
+4 # Harbinger 2013-08-30 14:50
Well, Act, now you've done it. Only yesterday on another RSN article, someone was warning a poster to be careful criticizing MISTER OBAMA or Eldon would become so provoked that he "might even choose to infer (by some occult power known only to him) that you are from the South and therefore a racist."

As predicted, here's Eldon raging at you for calling the man by the name that appeared on the ballot and the name he used when sworn into office: "Barack Hussein Obama." I could understand Eldon acting like a demented eight-year-old if you'd said "Barry" or "Obomber" or "Obushma" -- pejoratives that have been used here and elsewhere. But to contend that using a man's legal name, one the man himself uses on formal occasions, is showing "prejudice towards blacks, hate them" is little short of insanity.

Like you, most of us come here for intelligent discourse not to see Eldon coming unglued. Please, don't rattle his cage again.
-8 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-30 16:17
TO Harbinger and ACT OF DEFIANCE Ben Franklin: "Tranquility-be not disturbed by accidents or trifles, common or unavoidable." Both of you guys are merely a trifle or an accident. Beyond both of you, who cares? Frankly, I have learned to not like Obama. If it were possible for him to run for a third term, he would not get my vote. Now, if you trifles and or accidents want to enrage over soemthing, (what? he doesn't like Obama!!!) there is some red meat for you. Enrage away.
-9 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-30 18:03
"Me thinks, the lady (Harbinger) doth protest too much."
+16 # m... 2013-08-29 22:53
''President Obama is apparently wobbling on the edge of committing an impeachable offense, specifically a military attack on Syria without the authorization of Congress, without the approval of the United Nations Security Council, and without any imminent threat to the United States.''

Hmmm... I wonder if this also means that the White House finally got the WarMakers' Contractor Report on how they could make a decent profit off a limited strike and so, the lawyers and accountants have given the 'kegal-financia l' go-ahead for the lock key to be turned and the red button made ready for pushing... as assembly lines are cranked up to replace impending loss of expensive inventory.
It's an amazing and 'well greased' system...

History has often shown that following the money and the logos attached to it will often tell us just why some things actually happen.

Am I being too cynical..? In such times as these..???
+2 # carp 2013-08-30 09:31
as assembly lines are cranked up to replace impending loss of expensive inventory.
It's an amazing and 'well greased' system...

m.. that is exactly how I see it too. how can you be anything but cynical in times like these. Planned Obsolescence as a business model and it could not have been more evident during the War on Terror. more apt is the War of Terror fueled by planned obsolescence.
+2 # treadlightly 2013-08-29 23:00
I just listened to a recording that was taken at the Syrian hospital where the burn victims from the school were taken. The description by the reporter with people wailing in the background was beyond any horror I have ever heard.
How do people remain loyal to heads of state who resort to mass murder as a means of remaining in power?
Someone close to Assad needs to take matters into their own hands.
Even if it means sacrificing themselves.
+8 # Merschrod 2013-08-30 09:31
Tread, ok, we are all appalled by the horror of war, but we need ask who really did it, or Why is it that the head of state can;t protect his people from each other? Why can't a stable society be created? Or who is responsible for escalating the violence?

Sound question "How do people remain loyal to heads of state...?" Many former Obama supporters are no longer. So now we are stuck with a transition from Bush's wars to Obama's war as a continuation of US bi-partisan foreign policy.
+22 # PABLO DIABLO 2013-08-29 23:08
After Iraq, the cry of "WOLF" rings hollow. And, it was Robert Gates of CIA fame who sold chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein to gas the Kurds. My guess is either the USA or Israel sold the chemical weapons along with all the other weapons to Syria.
+3 # great_pumpkin 2013-08-29 23:14
And if he does attack syria, you can bet that once he's impeached, there goes the whole affordable care act, too. The GOP/Corporate powers will be thrilled for the opportunity. Please don't blow it, Mr. Obama.
+4 # 666 2013-08-30 16:41
he's not going to get impeached for this.
a) the war powers act has already abrogated the constitution without any legal challenge to the contrary. he can take any "limited" action he wants to...
b) this congress can't even agree on which toilet paper to use (other than the parchment on which the constitution is written). they aren't going to impeach him much less convict him.
c) obama has so violated the constitution, his oath of office, and committed numerous "high crimes and misdemeanors" as well as war crimes & crimes against humanity. if he hasn't been challenged (let alone impeached) yet, you can bet he ain't gonna be.
d) we can only hope for future justice for him, his ilk, and the bushies
+4 # asbpab1966 2013-08-29 23:31
The Repugs can impeach Obama, but, like the 1999 impeachment charade against Clinton, will never convict. It is mathematically impossible for the Rethugs to get the needed 67 Senate seats in the 2014 elections. And no Democrat will vote to put Bo(eh)ner one heartbeat, that of a very old Joe Biden, from the white House.
+10 # rogelio l. ordonez 2013-08-29 23:34
Well, Joseph Schumpeter (Imperialism and Social Classes) has already compared in 1919 the United States of America to Imperial Rome. Arnold Toynbee (America and the World Revolution and Other Lectures)also said so. The militaristic orientation of America is very clear as manifested by her military actions then in North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and other nations perceived by her leaders as threats to her national security and interests. It's no wonder her leaders are beating now the war drums as regards to Syria.
+10 # FDRva 2013-08-29 23:41
Nuclear war will be Barack Obama's 'legacy' if he attacks Syria.

And many of those nuclear weapons are apt to land in the USA.

So he need not worry about his legacy--it will die with him.
+13 # Milarepa 2013-08-29 23:49
Thank you for this excellent article. We should add Agent Orange and white phosphorus to the list of chemical agents routinely used by the US in its attacks on civilian populations.
+11 # keenon the truth 2013-08-30 00:42
I really can't understand what is going on with these people. I watched Kerry make the speech quoted above, and I later watched an American female ex-ambassador (sorry I can't remember her name) talking on BBC News. Do they actually know the hypocrisy they are spouting, but don't care as long as they can fulfill their agenda? Or have they managed to persuade themselves somehow that what they are saying is right? Are they just stupid? Are they psychopaths? I squirm with embarrassment when I listen to them. Presumably they are intelligent?
+10 # geraldom 2013-08-30 00:49
The news came out this evening that Russia is deploying two of their warships into the Mediterranean (I assume) to challenge the U.S. warships parked near the coast of Syria.

It will be interesting to see what happens. If Obama launches an illegal attack against Syria and the Russian warships do nothing but sit there, it will be a bad precedent for Russia. It will embolden the United States to be more aggressive in the future against other allies of Russia, the very few that they have left. It will also show that the United States can attack Iran without any concern that Russia will intercede.
+6 # Activista 2013-08-30 00:55
British Parliament votes against possible military action in Syria (blog) ‎- 3 hours ago
The nation loses a key ally in its consensus building efforts, as Britain's parliament votes against supporting any U.S. strikes in Syria....
So the Brits have bit more democracy than Americans - but would bet that USA congress under control of AIPAC would not vote another pro Israel war down.
So now it is AIPAC controlled US government and our "only" friend in the Middle East - US/Israeli trained commandos started their march from Jordan on Damascus - they need air support/US-Isra eli bombers to "liberate" Syrian people (aka Libya people) -
Report: Syrian rebel forces trained by West are moving towards Damascus
Jerusalem Post ‎- 6 days ago
... soldiers trained by US, Jordan, Israel crossed border to Syria on Aug 17. ... as well as Jordanian and Israeli commandos, the paper said.
+11 # MindDoc 2013-08-30 01:04
So nice to see this highlighted (Paragraph 2) - I believe you are spot on in stating how our President had painted himself into a corner with his very-public (very strident) pronouncement about a 'red line' being crossed. Which it then was. So, in his bubble, what is he to do now? (Whatever we may attribute to who he serves or what his core beliefs may be.) Well, he back-pedaled and nuanced/re-stat ed what we all heard, saying 'what I said was' that evidence of chemical weapons (not "WMD's") would now be cause to "change the equation".

Meanwhile (as I see it) the House is half-apoplectic about Obama's need to consult, while the other half wants to bomb away. Boehner asks "what's the legal basis?" McCain has returned to singing, "bomb bomb bomb...", while his party focuses on hanging any mistake on Obama, tit for tat for W and Iraq WMD's doublespeak.

Many of us have no memory or attention span, but those who do are aware of all these dynamics - domestic politics, international dynamics, not-so-distant history with getting involved in civil wars when we're not wanted, or sitting back when we are... Think!

Meanwhile, some ask, "What about the problems in America? Why can't we focus on our huge problems?" As to the moral imperative, again it's a mixed bag. Should we help? How? Should we stay away from stoking more hate and cycles of retaliation? Humanitarian aid? Or should we drop bombs to make some point, because of... the red line. If *we* say "attack", what next?
+4 # motamanx 2013-08-30 13:53
Any weapons strike, of any sort whatsoever, against Syria should be "off the table." It's not, and never was, our fight. We do not need another war in the Mideast, as they cause far more harm than good. Obama should live up to his Peace Prize, and walk the walk of peace that Martin Luther King told us about long ago.
+15 # curmudgeon 2013-08-30 01:13
What is driving murder over medication? horror over humanitarian?

Is it because of Israeli influence?

PNAC...or 1996 Israeli strategy report..all have to do with intentionally destabilizing the entire Middle East.
+10 # aljoschu 2013-08-30 01:16
It is about time that you, the American People, call back your bloodhounds Kerry, Biden and McCain. It is a shame that two of those are part of the current US Administration, anyway.
Go ahead, just like the people in UK are reining in "Kerry's poodle", David Camoron.
We are very close to avoiding a second Shock & Awe - this time in Syria. There are so many good-natured and reasonable people in the US - why do they always have to give in to these testosterone idiots?
0 # Firefox11 2013-09-01 23:47
Yes, why do they give in. Probably to avoid being seen as "weak". Here in the U.S. aggression rules, and the symbol is the American eagle. Football, a very aggressive and dangerous (to players) game, is the national pastime. Guns are prevalent, and fear is the national language.
+10 # ishmael 2013-08-30 02:30
Would be great if someone - anyone - would provide any manner of convincing evidence of just exactly which group(s) is/are using the chemical weapons.

No one seems to have a clear grip on who is responsible for what in that morass.
+6 # WBoardman 2013-09-01 12:57
Ishmael --

based on fragmentary reports of unknown validity,
it seems like all sodes in Syria, as well as others outside,
have chemical weapons.

Also that more than one entity may have used them
on different occasions.

Reporting on this is difficult and my sense is that few
reporters are even trying.
0 # FDRva 2013-09-21 00:43
This intell community veteran concurs with WBoardman on all counts.

Reporters are the laziest folks in the intelligence community.

They are the orifice from which the official 'cover story' is excreted & have little incentive to tell the truth.
+4 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-08-30 04:57
War, war, war for $$$$$ into the bottomless coffers of the evil villainaire rulers, so greed and power over all addicted and in obvious control over Oh Bomb Ah, is about to be hypocritically entered into once again. How so, on a hypocritical basis? It is the U.S. who used mass slaughter of innocent civilians in Japan with the king of all WMD's, the atomic bomb. And, far more recently, again it was the U.S. who employed chemical 'WMD's' during the Gulf War. And, here we go again, with this oh so obviously bought off pres., the killer by drone of countless innocent humans, about to enter this anything but democracy into yet another lied/manipulate d into war.

With a U.S. Pres., Andrew Jackson, and first prime minister of England, Sir Robert Walpole, hanging in my family tree, I declare Pres. Barack Obama the worst president ever, causing so many of us to declare: ASHAMED TO BE AMERICAN !
+18 # RMDC 2013-08-30 05:18
No US president has come close to being impeached for war crimes and crimes against humanity. That's what they are respected for.

To get impeached, Obama would have to do something that pisses off republicans -- like not show his birth certificate, pass a healthcare bill, get a blow job in the White House. This is what congress is capable of considering.
+10 # riverhouse 2013-08-30 06:11
We sit quietly while Israel uses white phosphorus to burn alive innocent and defenseless Palestinian men, women and children. We actually provide to Israel the mighty war machine by which they inflict a brutal and oppressive apartheid on Palestinians. I think it takes incredible hubris and enormous blindness to our own faults with depleted uranium use to attack a sovereign nation for what we applaud our erstwhile allies and ourselves for doing.
+20 # USA2012??? 2013-08-30 06:28
How is it we can't fund some of the most basic and fundamental necessities for the people of the United States, but there's always a way to fund conflict? From whom do the Presidents really take
their orders: obviously it's not the people of the United States?
0 # Firefox11 2013-09-01 23:48
Thank you for stating the obvious-the President and the Congress take orders from the plutocrats who make money from war.
+10 # listentome 2013-08-30 06:54
We don't know if was Asad or someone else
who knew that chemicals were the way to gain ground in the war, dummies! None of us have the evidence and even Boardman, as a master legal mind did not open up that possibility. You don't allow inspectors to expose you so easily.

Patience is not a common American virtue.
Let us cross our fingers that we will not bring about doomsday in that part of the world (which would likely reach us), will not occur during the lovely fall foliage season.
-1 # Act of Defiance 2013-08-30 06:56
+1 # Shaas 2013-08-30 07:07
Nobel Peace Price winner can do anything. He is holy.
+10 # kitster 2013-08-30 07:11
just what amerika needs...saber-r attling our way to another armed intervention. the people suffer high unemployment, a crumbling infrastructure, the return of financial flim-flammery, a do-nothing government and a failing education system. s-o-o-o-o, let's go off to war. that'll fix our, and the world's, problems.

is it any wonder the people believe in nothing anymore?

+1 # phrixus 2013-08-30 07:50
I'm starting to wonder if Cheney-Obama just enjoys killing people.
+12 # wrknight 2013-08-30 08:13
There is something unbelievable about this story. The presumption is that Assad's forces set off chemical weapons that killed and sickened thousands of people. But if one looks at the map to see where the chemical weapons were set off, one sees that they were set off in a suburb of Damascus which is not rebel held territory, but is in Assad's own back yard.

Now why would Assad, having heard many times about Obama's red line on the use of chemical weapons, set off chemical weapons in his own back yard where there was no immediate threat. This is something no rational person would do. (You can argue that Assad isn't a rational person, but for someone who wants to stay in power and is afraid to lose it, his behavior is completely rational.)

So, who really set off the chemical weapons (assuming that the intelligence is valid)? What evidence do we have that Assad's forces set them off and how do we know that Assad's opponents didn't set them off deliberately to drag us into their conflict? Clearly, Assad's opponents would have much greater motive to employ the weapons than Assad would have.

As the whole world has now seen, we are very adept at collecting data. But as in the case of the WMD's in Iraq, we seem to be lacking in analysis and understanding. The real problem we face is a loss of credibility in the American Intelligence community that has clearly demonstrated the lack of intelligence in its Intelligence.
0 # Firefox11 2013-09-01 23:50
The American Intelligence Community was co-opted by Dick Cheney years before 9/11.
+6 # reiverpacific 2013-08-30 09:17
Ob's really in it alone now, since the UK parliament rejected Cameron/Clegg's call to war just yesterday.
Maybe this will clear all the fug surrounding his self-generated "Line in the sand" not too long ago and will now resist the hawks and US Israeli/LIKUD loving lobbyist shouting "War!", "Death!" and "Let's do Iran while we're at it".
For a good current analysis read,, from the Guardian.
I'm also hoping that this will be a final, huge nail in the coffin of the already shaky Cameron/Clegg coalition, especially as Ed Milliband the Labor leader, has successfully led the move to put the brakes on the Tory/Lab-Dem' rush to conflict, Dimwits style in spite of Cameron's pathetic blkinkered, wantonly amnesiac statement that "This is not Iraq" with that master fink Blair nodding his approval from the sidelines.
This retreat from the barriers could have far-reaching repercussions in Britain, hopefully culminating in a vote of "No confidence" and early elections. This post hung Parliament coalition is only there by dint of Gordon Brown's needlessly self-destructiv e waffling and buttressed by the mainly thickly populated and densely packed Tory/Royalty-lo ving constituencies around greater London, the "Home counties" and S.E. England.
I suddenly feel British again!
+6 # geraldom 2013-08-30 09:25
I'm sorry folks, but I'll probably get a whole bunch of negative points here. At this point because of Obama's unwillingness to back off on an attack on Syria, I must once again bring up my past theory that the chemical attack in Damascus, if it were a missile, might have covertly been launched by the United States as a false-flag event to justify an illegal invasion of Syria just like 9/11 was a false-flag event perpetrated by the Bush administration to justify the illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the illegal drone attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen among other countries.

If it wasn't a missile strike that delivered the chemical weapon and it was delivered by a local source in the neighborhood where the weapon went off, then it was most probably the anti-Syrian rebels with the help of the United States who perpetrated this chemical attack.

Either way, it seems that the Obama administration does not want to waste this incredible opportunity to justify an illegal attack on Syria.

Be assured that the Obama administration' s goal is regime change in Syria in the same way we, the United States, implemented regime change in both Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention Somalia, where we successfully placed people to head these countries that represent our strategic and economic interests.

That's the only thing that makes any sense at this point.
+4 # Activista 2013-08-30 11:23
If it wasn't a missile strike that delivered the chemical weapon and it was delivered by a local source in the neighborhood where the weapon went off, then it was most probably the anti-Syrian rebels with the help of the ISRAEL who perpetrated this chemical attack.
Please read Israel press - Chemical Attack is made in Tel Aviv
+2 # geraldom 2013-08-30 14:15
Quoting Activista:
If it wasn't a missile strike that delivered the chemical weapon and it was delivered by a local source in the neighborhood where the weapon went off, then it was most probably the anti-Syrian rebels with the help of the ISRAEL who perpetrated this chemical attack.
Please read Israel press - Chemical Attack is made in Tel Aviv

Activista, give me a URL to go to. "Israel press" and "Chemical Attack is made in Tel Aviv" is not enough info to actually pull up the article you are trying to refer me to.

In any case, if it was Israel working with the rebels to pull off this false-flag attack in Damascus, then the United States would have had to be made aware of this by Israel. All that I know (or believe) is this. The United States would have had to be complicit in this attack in one way or another.

If the Russians did send a couple of their warships into the Mediterranean to back up Syria, I don't know how they could back up Syria if Obama does order a cruise missile attack into Syria without possibly inflating this situation into a world war.

On one hand, I would like the Russian warships to stop this illegal attack on Syria, if no other way by their very presence, but, on the other hand, this could very well escalate into a nuclear conflict, and it seems that the United States is playing bluff poker here acting crazy enough seeming not to even care what the Russians do if the U.S. does attack Syria.

This is totally insane!
+1 # Activista 2013-08-30 16:04
Chemical Attack is made in Tel Aviv - sorry Harold this is MY conclusion reading Israeli press war propaganda - lies. Like that it was Assad brother, that they intercepted communication (remember Iraq).
Russia will not start the Third World War because of Syria - they like when crude oil price is going up - they benefit.
+1 # Firefox11 2013-09-01 23:52
The foreign policy of the U.S. IS totally insane, thank you.
+7 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-08-30 09:45
America learns nothing from its crimes & disasters. How concerned was it with Iraq, then an ally, & its gassing of Hallabjah in 1988, killing thousands, not just hundreds, with US-supplied gas? The hypocrisy is acute, & accursed.
+13 # Sweet Pea 2013-08-30 10:19
What the heck is wrong with our government.Are they not aware that we have many people in this country that are having a tough time just feeding their families and paying their rent.
My grandma always said "charity (if you could call bombing charity) begins at home".Let's invest in saving our own people - -not destroying others.
+8 # aljoschu 2013-08-30 10:59
It is about time that you, the American People, call back your bloodhounds Kerry, Biden and McCain.
Go ahead, American friends, just like the people in UK, who are reining in "Kerry's poodle", David Camoron.
We are very close to avoiding a second Shock & Awe - this time in Syria.
What a turn to the better that would be!

There are so many good-natured and warm-hearted people in the US - why do they always have to give in to these testosterone apes?
+2 # reiverpacific 2013-08-30 15:29
Quoting aljoschu:
It is about time that you, the American People, call back your bloodhounds Kerry, Biden and McCain.
Go ahead, American friends, just like the people in UK, who are reining in "Kerry's poodle", David Camoron.
We are very close to avoiding a second Shock & Awe - this time in Syria.
What a turn to the better that would be!

There are so many good-natured and warm-hearted people in the US - why do they always have to give in to these testosterone apes?

Because "aljoschu" (interesting non-de-plume that) the US has no free press to speak of except 'alternatives' like RSN, public education has been under attack since Reagan and a large percentage of these good-natured and warm-hearted people which I experienced in plenty when I hitch-hiked across the country in 1972 before I ever even conceived of living here, have been turned into mean-spirited, often racist, fear-driven, distrustful and small-minded mules by the divide and conquer tactics of the Militarist-Corp orate State, it's lackeys in the wholly-owned government and it's mouthpiece media, which is where they get their information as empty stuffing between ever-longer commercials for stuff they don't need but are persuaded to want by electronic hypnosis, via the flick'rin' screen.
I don't know where you live but this is from a foreign resident who plans to leave after I accomplish a couple of things I came here to do (and married two American women -not at the same time BTW).
0 # Firefox11 2013-09-01 23:54
where are you going; just curious as to the better place that many would like to find.
0 # reiverpacific 2013-09-03 18:15
Quoting Firefox11:
where are you going; just curious as to the better place that many would like to find.

Back to Europe (I'm a British/EU citizen); either France, Spain or Scotland. I've also looked at Costa Rica and the Ecuadorean Andes (Cuenca or Riobamba), or Argentina. I loved Australia and New Zealand too but they're a bit off my beaten paths.
Somewhere with universal health care and in the case of Europe, a good, widely dispersed rail network.
I actually quite enjoy the area I live in at the North Oregon Coast but not too far from portland and I'm a group leader trying to get universal health care initiative approved for all Oregon but the path this entire country is sliding down scares me.
+14 # Milarepa 2013-08-30 11:15
Agent Orange, napalm, white phosphorus, depleted uranium ... I know I'm leaving something out.
+4 # Billy Bob 2013-08-30 14:35
I agree.

Of course, it seems that pointing out the obvious always falls on deaf ears. I had forgotten about the depleted uranium myself. That shows how good the MSM is at perpetuating the hypocrisy and manipulating the memory hole.
+3 # 666 2013-08-31 08:23
cluster bombs, drones, atomic bombs, carpet bombing, fire bombing, torture, rendition, terrorism, I know I'm leaving something out too
+2 # 666 2013-08-31 12:55
oh yeah, land mines
+4 # James Marcus 2013-08-30 12:10
Mind Your Own (Children Slaughtering) Drones.
Disgusting hypocrisy. The Kettle, calls the Pot, 'Black'!
....and 'Must Impose Morality'.... American Style'.
Give me a Break!
It's All about OIl, and Arms.
Steal the Oil.
Spend the Money , (U S Treasury; which is, really, Broke, by definition (They, have already stolen it all! So they lend the stolen money back to the Treasury, and steal it again! )... on Arms.
These are easily 'over-priced', to begin with (what Audit?), and, then, additionally part-Embezzled along the way!
Great SCAM! (gotta give credit. A very sophisticated 'Shell Game', for a naive public)
+6 # mdhome 2013-08-30 17:51
This is one war we should sit out and let those in the neighborhood take care of.

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