On Syria


Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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9 Responses

  1. Avatar J. Otto Pohl says:

    The Obama administration has sped up the attack a new country every 10 years to one every year. In 2011 it was Libya, then it was Mali (granted the US only provided the transport for the French rather than bombed them ourselves), and now Syria. Next year it might be Yemen or Niger. I never brought the idea that “progressives” weren’t warmongers.Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:

    If not for Russia and its UNSC veto, perhaps the situation would be different, and I’d have to pull out my hair a bit more regarding what I thought “we” should do. Perhaps.

    So, the moral of this story is to always be in the good graces of at least one permanent member of the UNSC. Gaddafi’s mistake was break before make.

    I find it interesting that there’s a distinct possibility that the President may give the go order for a military strike on Syria and commemorate MLK, standing on the exact spot MLK stood – all within the same hour.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

      So, the moral of this story is to always be in the good graces of at least one permanent member of the UNSC.

      Which is one of the reasons why I find this reason to support – or to decline support – on the basis of UN “legitimacy” to be so strange.Report

  3. Avatar Creon Critic says:

    The answer to “what they would be for,” from those who promote intervention, seems disturbingly close to the so-called Ledeen Doctrine, which holds that the US should go to war with some far weaker power every 10 years or so just to make sure everyone in the world remembers it’s BMOC.

    If you put the most ridiculous and bizarre words in the mouths of people who disagree with you then of course you win the argument. Of course, Kerry woke up Monday and said, who can the US push around today – never mind the chemical weapons attacks last Wednesday and international humanitarian law – threw a dart at a map which landed on Syria. So let the cruise missile strikes begin.

    I’m fascinated by Suderman’s idea that the pattern of escalation of the use of chemical weapons (my words) means that we should not intervene at this point (his point number six).Report

  4. Avatar NotMe says:

    What is Obama supposed to do now? He mouthed off about “red lines” some time ago and then ignored the proof that the Syrian regime used chem weapons. That only encouraged Assad to continue using them. Now Obama must do something or look like an even bigger buffoon than he already looks like.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to NotMe says:

      Libya fit the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine in a way Syria doesn’t;

      Anyway, beyond the more legalistic reasons, I wouldn’t support an intervention for most of the reasons cited by Peter Suderman here. This one in particular … 5. There’s no endgame.

      So you’re distinguishing between Syria and Libya in two ways, but not explaining either of them? Is it your take that they’re self-evident?Report

  5. Avatar trizzlor says:

    Given that strikes are unlikely to completely eliminate Assad’s chemical weapons capabilities or end Assad’s capacity to slaughter through more conventional means, it’s not clear what they would be for.

    They would be for limiting his options on both aspects. If the chemical weapons cannot be eliminated entirely they can at least be curtailed; if the conventional means of slaughter are not eliminated they can be made less attractive (by threat of additional intervention). I can think if many military operations which did not entirely eliminate the attack power of an enemy but were still worth doing – the attack on bin Laden’s compound, for example. It seems unfair to skip over this fairly conventional justification and immediately assume that supporters of intervention are following the sociopathic Ledeen doctrine.Report

  6. Avatar Damon says:

    Responsibility to Protect?!

    There is no responsibility. There is no international law on point. There is only those who have the enought power choosing when and where to intervene and exercize it. Otherwise, some country might have already decided that American’s treatment of some minority group warranted a few cruise missles launched at Georgetown.Report