In a decision with potentially large ramifications, New York Federal Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall won't dismiss a libel suit against "Shitty Media Men" creator Moira Donegan.
Explaining, the judge says it is possible that Donegan created the entry herself. The judge believes that Elliott should be able to explore whether the entry was fabricated. Accordingly, discovery proceeds, which will now put pressure on Google to respond to broad subpoena demands. The next motion stage could feature a high-stakes one about the reaches of CDA 230.
Driving Blind: The Road to “Intervention”
James Mann in the New Republic can’t stand to see President Obama hesitate on war with Syria. “As for his ‘pivot’ towards Asia, all of Obama’s speeches meant to reassure our Asian allies of our continuing and revived interest the region would end up having little impact if our policies in Syrian make it appear as the United States is so wavering that America’s idealism and its power are both on the wane.”
Michael Ignatieff at the Boston Review looks at Syria through the prism of Bosnia and considers how the two calls for intervention compare and differ. “Such an analysis helps us to explain why the anti-Assad opposition has been unable to create a believable government in exile linked both to commanders at the front and to the municipal authorities in the liberated zones. Inside and outside, exiles and front-line fighters regard each other with suspicion. There is no effective national command of the insurrection and hence no shared political claim to defend together. In addition there are a number of fighters, the al Nusra Brigade being only one example, for whom the goal is not the defense of a multi-confessional Syria but the creation of an Islamic caliphate in Arab lands. As Western governments have considered their options since the uprising began, they have found it easier to identify those they want to lose than those they want to win.”
Shane Harris and Matthew Aid, in an exclusive report from Foreign Policy, detail the U.S.’s connection to chemical warfare a quarter century ago. “It has been previously reported that the United States provided tactical intelligence to Iraq at the same time that officials suspected Hussein would use chemical weapons. But the CIA documents, which sat almost entirely unnoticed in a trove of declassified material at the National Archives in College Park, Md., combined with exclusive interviews with former intelligence officials, reveal new details about the depth of the United States’ knowledge of how and when Iraq employed the deadly agents. They show that senior U.S. officials were being regularly informed about the scale of the nerve gas attacks. They are tantamount to an official American admission of complicity in some of the most gruesome chemical weapons attacks ever launched.”
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues at Foreign Affairs that the U.S. should leverage the use the off-shore missile strikes to force diplomacy on a political solution in Syria to move forward. “As the White House repeated this Monday, the conflict in Syria will only end with a political solution. In other words, the United States should use the leverage it has, in the form of continued pressure and looming military strikes, to help get all sides to the table. That could involve striking key Assad regime assets related to its chemical weapons program even while dangling offers of negotiations, in the hopes that a bargain can be struck between all the players and the war will end with a transfer of power — no matter how unlikely that may look at the moment.”
An interview with Noam Chomsky about the civil war in Syria from last June. “For a long time, the Arab world and other places have played host to stories and illusions about the supernatural power of the United States, which controls everything through complex conspiracies and plots. In this worldview, everything that takes place can be explained in terms of imperialist conspiracies. This is an error. Without a doubt, the United States are still a great power and capable of influencing events, but they are not always able to manipulate them by means of complex conspiracies: this really is beyond their capacities. Of course the Americans do sometimes try to do this, but they fail, too. What happened in Syria is not outside our understanding: it began as a popular and democratic protest movement demanding democratic reforms, but instead of responding to it in a constructive, positive manner, Assad reacted with violent repression. The usual outcome of such a course of action is either a successful crushing of the protests or otherwise, to see them evolve and militarize, and this is what took place in Syria. When a protest movement enters this phase we see new dynamics at play: usually, the rise of the most extremist and brutal elements to the front ranks.”
Fred Kaplan at Slate outlines the goals and limits of what the administration should hope for with a bombing campaign in Syria. “Given the threat, the humanitarian crisis, America’s standing in the region, and the importance of preserving international norms against the use of weapons of mass destruction, the best option might be to destroy huge chunks of the Syrian military, throw Assad’s regime off balance, and let those on the ground settle the aftermath. Maybe this would finally compel Assad to negotiate seriously; maybe it would compel the Russians to backpedal on their support (as NATO’s campaign in Kosovo compelled them to soften their support for Milosevic). Or maybe it would just sire chaos and violence.”
[UPDATE] — Gregory Djerejian for the Belgravia Dispatch writes, “In short, you might say I could be persuaded the risks of inaction (or, perhaps better stated, long-term implications of doing nothing) could be worse—or at least run neck in neck–with doing something, but I say this frankly extremely torn, very concerned and with tremendous humility looking at our misadventures since 9/11 in each of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and points beyond. This is truly a problem from hell, but I do not believe we can dither from the sidelines any longer, unless we are prepared to more or less wipe our hands of the entire sorry affair.” (H/T greginak)
From Juan Cole, “It is not clear what an American intervention would achieve. It is likely that Washington will conduct a limited punitive operation, perhaps hitting regime buildings with Tomahawk missiles. The latter would avoid the regime’s sophisticated anti-aircraft systems, which might be able to fell an F-18 fighter jet. It should be obvious, however, that any such strike would be a form of retaliation for President al-Assad’s flouting of international law. It would not actually protect Syrians from their government, and it would be unlikely to alter the course of the civil war.”