Stubborn Things Pub Chat–Should We Go to War With Assad?

VoltaireThumbby Monsieur Voltaire
What do my friends/co-authors on ST think about this issue? I am against it, because 1) we’ve seen how Egypt and Libya went, 2) it’s not in our National interest, 3) it’s (I suspect) a wag-the-dog operation to get more of O’s domestic agenda passed.

Oh, and one more thing: McCain is for it, as well as John Boehner. Not to mention al Qaeda being in the opposition we’d be helping, and the fact that after bombing Assad and splitting, we’d be looking weak and ineffective. Anyway–interested in what my colleagues think. • (1638 views)

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25 Responses to Stubborn Things Pub Chat–Should We Go to War With Assad?

  1. ladykrystyna says:

    This is easy. I’m against it for all the reasons you just set forth.


  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I was reading an article the other day at NRO from Yoo or Woo or something like that. And it was the near perfect example of what they call a “neocon.”

    My older brother asked me about this today. And I told him the very simple truth: Both sides are horrible. You have either Assad or Islamic extremists masquerading as democrats.

    And if pictures of murdered civilians disturb us — and it should — then we should be interested in a solution, not simply “do something, do anything.” And the only long-term solution if we want to intervene is to take over the country and convert them all to Christians. That would be the only thing that would stand a chance of actual reform.

    • CCWriter CCWriter says:

      “take over the country and convert them all to Christians”

      How exactly is that done?


        Brad may have been slightly facetious. But he’s right – the only way the few good guys in the Libyan civil war could come out on top would be for us to intervene with ground troops and take over the country, after which we would have to dis-empower Islam (which Brad suggests would require converting the Syrians to Christianity). The only way any Islamic country will ever be free would be to de-Islamify it, or to put it another way, the political power of Islam would have to be Constitutionally broken – if that’s possible.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Welcome, Nahalkides….

          Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational StubbornThings!

          As I have told Nahalkides through back channels, this place was built with him (or people like him) in mind. I hope he is up to it. It’s great to have you here. A quick tutorial:

          We’re not here to bicker and argue over ‘ho killed ‘ho. This is supposed to be a ‘appy occasion. In other words, this is not National Review Online lite. Have you seen that place lately? Good god, look at all the rubes who want to go to war to support radical Islam.

          And the comments section. That’s just not healthy. That place is filled with the ranting equivalent of second-hand smoke. We can do better. And maybe Faba will try to do better.

          I want everyone to think outside of the box. You’re Americans, for god’s sake. As I have said before, anything you write that in any way highlights and furthers the best of America and Western Civilization, do it. I don’t care if it’s your recipe for apple pie. Do it and supply some pictures along with the recipe.

          What I would hate to see is people (not mentioning any names, Faba) fall into the same old habits of truly pointless gainsaying. Surely each human soul offers something special and unique besides that.

          Here’s your venue. Yes, freedom is a scary thing. But as conservatives, we should be well aware of that. But you have it. Use it. And let’s see where this site can go. If we build it, they will come. And if they don’t, the hell with them. We’ll maintain what wattage we can in the window of the house in the shining city on the hill.

        • CCWriter CCWriter says:

          Yeah, I have to take the remark as rhetorical then, though I’m not sure to what purpose, as it is illogical.

          You can dis-establish a religion (as in the American constitutional system) or encourage its dis-establishment, and that would be nice to see happen. Other countries have done it, even in the Middle East.

          But you can’t convert anyone from any belief to any other belief. Each person has to convert himself or herself, or it doesn’t count, and in fact it would fly in the face of dis-establishment. (Otherwise we’re no better than the Islamists, right?)

          Sure, it would be nice if you could push a button and just unindoctrinate the populace and leadership who don’t understand or accept dis-establishment. The moment you get a functioning prototype machine ready to try out, you let us know! Because I’d like to use it on a few people in America.

          P.S. Yes, Welcome Nahalkides.

  3. Kung Fu Zu says:

    I’m with you. We should stay out. Syria is probably more complicated than Iraq was. Not only do you have Shia’s and Sunni’s. You have Alawite’s a sort of sect of a sect of Shia’s. You have the Druze another sect of a sect.

    The smallish Alawite group rules the majority Sunni’s, but since the pullout of the French, the Christians have been relatively secure from persecution by the Sunni’s due to the Christians allying themselves with the Alawite’s.

    A large part of the opposition to Assad seems to be Salafists so it is doubtful they would work for America’s interest if we help them.

    On top of that, you have a USA which is much less respected and feared than when we went to war with Iraq. And even if we get involved, everyone knows America won’t stay past a few years. So in the end all we do is disturb the local situation and leave it to deteriorate again once we pull out.

    By the way, I have friends from Eygpt who tell me that Obama has managed to piss off all sides there. That takes talent.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      And even if we get involved, everyone knows America won’t stay past a few years. So in the end all we do is disturb the local situation and leave it to deteriorate again once we pull out.

      That’s a good reason, along with one direct from Mark Steyn: We’re broke.

      I mean, seriously. We’ve become narcissistic as a nation if we think we must intercede everywhere. Who gave us god-like powers and that kind of responsibility?

      And yet, now you can understand the socialist/nanny-statist mindset that has been developing for decades now. I don’t doubt that there could be ulterior motives for Obama. That goes without saying. The man is a liar, even worse than Nixon.

      But the new ethic of the socialist/nanny-state is that all harm must be assuaged by the power of government to act. And if the government doesn’t act, we are complicit. It’s just not in the mindset (at least of the political class) to say “We can’t do anything there.” Or to acknowledge that some problems people just have to work out for themselves.

  4. RobL_V2 RobL_V2 says:

    Should we engage in Syria?


    I could write volumes why but at this point I’ll just defer to Napoleon.

    Never interfere when the enemy is destroying himself.

  5. Timothy Lane says:

    We have several choices in Syria. We can make a pretense of attacking to punish Assad for using chemical weapons. Since he’s had plenty of time to store them in places like hospitals (surrounded by human shields), we’re unlikely to degrade his capability. Or we can make a major effort and get rid of Assad, replacing him with a rebel group dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and supported by Al Qaeda. This seems a worse option than Assad remaining. So we should go with the third option, which is to do nothing and save our munitions.

  6. CCWriter CCWriter says:

    I’m not sure what to think.

    I lean toward not intervening, because even though I believe there is a case to be made for humanitarian intervention, foreign policy in this area has been so mismanaged that it will backfire on us. Which suggests a future course of action that will probably not be followed: If anyone truly wants to be able to rescue civilians from genocide, it’s incumbent on them to start arranging things so it will be possible (and please note I’m not even saying it has to be the US).

    Having said that, I will add that it also really bothers me when people on our side dismiss any argument simply because someone they consider insufficiently conservative made it. It bothers me almost as the rampant hypocrisy on the other side, where whatever Bush did was not OK and yet if Obama does it it’s different.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Many years ago, discussing the Iraq war, I came up with 3 rules for when a foreign intervention is acceptable. The first is legal authority, voted by both houses of Congress. (Very brief efforts, such as Grenada, Panama, or the late 1998 cruise missile attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan, are permitted by the War Powers Act, though I’ve seen claims that this only applies if there is a threat to the US. This probably means very little in practice, since nothing requires the President to be honest about such a threat. We used to have the same situation with the law requiring China to make progress on civil liberties each year to qualify for most-favored-nation status.)
      The second requirement is a legitimate casus belli. We had that in both Gulf wars, but it’s debatable if we have it in Syria (we don’t even have proof yet that Assad is the one who used chemical weapons).
      The third requirement is that the intervention must be in the national interest of the United States, particularly given the expense of any intervention. There seems no such benefit in Syria. (In fact, liberals seem to dislike intervening on behalf of the national interest.)

  7. pst4usa says:

    I am totally opposed to intervening in this conflict; it is not in our interest in any way other than to save face for Obama. He said that chemical weapons were the line in the sand, and since we do not even know which side used these weapons, who do we bomb anyway.

    Although I do think we have some obligation to protect the office of the Presidency. When the leader of the free world says something it should have meaning, (even if he is a complete liar). This is a real consequence voting for the wrong candidate and not understanding what the job of the American President is.

  8. Kurt NY says:

    Seems to me it isn’t our job to make the world a better place for a bunch of folk who hate us anyway. The really amusing thing is all the folk who come out of the walls on issues like this prattling away about international law as if such a thing exists, and how that requires us both to intervene in Syria (because chemical weapons are so heinous, you know, which is why they’re illegal, so we have to uphold the law) and to seek permission from that collection of despots and thieves called the United Nations to act on their behalf against that terrible scourge.

    Of course, at least half of those whose permission we ask would use them themselves if they had ’em, and most of the others are so afraid of setting a precedent which would someday allow an outside party to put an end to their own little money making operations they have no intention of giving permission. And the legitimate democracies whose electorates are legitimately outraged by it all disarmed years ago to the extent that if they ever reared up on their hind legs and tried to do something about it, their armies would probably wind up being arrested by one of the local cops before they did anything.

    So no, we should not do anything in Syria. There is no side likely to be able to form a stable regime which is in any way in our favor. In fact, the probable worst outcome for us in Syria would be for Assad to collapse and the al Qaeda elements in the rebels get hold of his chemical weapons stockpiles, in which case we probably would have to intervene. But, in the meantime, we have no coherent goal, we have no strategy, and we are not willing to commit sufficient force for long enough to make a difference anyway. All we would do is add to the bodycount.

    • Monsieur Voltaire says:

      Kurt, I’ll say this on a total hunch–but I think the reason why O is dead-set on this operation is to distract the nation away from his domestic agenda-items, first of which is amnesty for illegals.

      A sudden bout of humanitarian concern from the longtime stewards of the second-most murder-ridden city in the USA would be quite laughable, if this administration didn’t have such a record for getting away with the unthinkable.

      Regardless, it’s quite humorous to see O do the red-line-dance. I can envision a cartoon: Mr. President, what happened to your red line? Uuh… dog ate it. Mr. President, what happened to the dog? Uuh… I ate it.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Seems to me it isn’t our job to make the world a better place for a bunch of folk who hate us anyway.

      So true. Rand Paul is looking like one of the saner politicians at the moment. And as someone observed at NRO, it seems absurd that we are outraged when hundreds are killed by chemical weapons but it’s okay for tens of thousands to be killed via conventional weapons.

      One thing is for sure, the United States (its people and its politicians) has lost a sufficient moral and intellectual foundation to make these kinds of calls.

      What would be more interesting than outlining the reasons for not going to war (which are extremely obvious) but investigating and understanding the real reason why anyone would want to stick their face into this meat grinder. That’s where we come to the understand perhaps of “How the Left makes everything worse.”

      Multiculturalism has surely had its say in this and the ability to judge right and wrong is eroded. And you have the effect of the wussified male, as demonstrated so well by Boehner. It’s extremely ironic or bizarre that in the past, if we got into wars that we really had no business being in, it was often out of a sense of male bravado. But now we have this nanny running around with guns. That is what we have been reduced to.

    • faba calculo says:

      “The really amusing thing is all the folk who come out of the walls on issues like this prattling away about international law as if such a thing exists”

      Speaking in general, international laws do exist, and those that are binding upon us are part of the supreme law of the land, trumping any state or local law or Constitution.

      Speaking more specifically, I think our obligations on Syria, even if they did use chemical weapons, are kind of vague.

      • Kurt NY says:

        International law exists because certain nation states choose to behave as if it does. If a nation chose to ignore any particular point, would police put it in jail? How does one compel obedience to the dictates of international law?

        The fact is that Western nations choose to behave as if law exists because we perceive the benefits of doing so to all of us. But when a nation ignores it, such as by using chemical weapons, it is all meaningless since enforcing the law requires another nation to essentially go to war to do so. And since we are the only ones with either the desire or capacity to do so, for others to appeal to that law when they have absolutely no intention of doing something about it themselves seems puerile.

  9. lilbertymark says:

    For those of you, like me, who are marooned in the wasteland of Mexifornia, I just heard Dianne Feinstein say that all the communication from her constituents to her on Syria has been “No military action!” She then said, “But they don’t know what I know.” (Meaning her committee position entitles her to information not available to lowly Americans.)

    This is the epitome of Statism. In essence she has said, “You voters don’t know enough to decide what we should do. Only I and those in power like me can decide.”

    Voters: “Then tell us, Duchess, what we need to know to make a good decision.”

    Statist Dianne: “Oh, nooooo, I can’t tell you that, those are state secrets. You cannot know those things. Only the very privileged are allowed such information. ”

    This dialog in microcosm is why we are doomed, unless we somehow depose our rulers in DC. For they are our rulers. Statist Dianne, the lifetime Duchess of Cali, is by no means alone in her assumption of superior qualifications, in concept and in fact, to ignore the serfs of her Duchy.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      If there weren’t such tragic consequence involved, it would be funny seeing these liberal/Leftist peaceniks playing war hawk. They’re only against war when they’re not running them. Otherwise, as Jonah Goldberg adroitly notes in “Liberal Fascism,” they tend to love it because war is one of the areas where government flexes its muscles and often gets around things such as democracy.

      If any of the libtards who read this site could come away with one thought, it would be that your “trusted” politicians are all full of shit. Their “ideology,” that you are so much in love with, tends to be adopted by them as a matter of convenience as a way to power. They are playing you for fools.

      That obviously can happen on the right as well. In fact, ALL of these guys in politics are untrustworthy. Politics tends to attract busy-bodies, liars, and power-hungry narcissists.

    • faba calculo says:

      Certainly, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with her constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with her; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is her duty to sacrifice her repose, her pleasures, her satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to her own. But her unbiassed opinion, her mature judgment, her enlightened conscience, she ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These she does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which she is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not her industry only, but her judgment; and she betrays, instead of serving you, if she sacrifices it to your opinion.

  10. faba calculo says:

    Being a neoconservative’s neoconservative, I’d like to be for it, I really would. And if I thought that Obama had the follow-through to ride Syria the way Bush rode Iraq, thereby at least giving it a real shot at self-reform, I might very well be in favor. But I’m not, so, I guess I’m not.


    A few reasons not to go into Syria:

    1. We can’t assure the victory of the few freedom-lovers in the rebel coalition without a massive ground invasion followed by a prolonged occupation and a rewriting of the Syrian Constitution to break the power of Islam in the country (Islam being incompatible with freedom).

    2. It isn’t our job to sacrifice blood and treasure to save all the victims of tyrannies the world over – in other words, there is no “responsibility to protect” as Obama advisor Samantha Power and other Progressives believe. If it were, we would have to intervene in 70 or 80 countries around the world. Since no one is proposing that, there is no logical reason to single out Syria.

    3. It will tend to demoralize the military. They would know perfectly well that they were being sent in for no good reason and that they would have little support from Obama.

    4. The American people are already war-weary, and have little taste for yet another Middle East adventure with ill-defined goals. This is especially dangerous as Iran closes in on the nuclear finish line. The time may soon come when we either intervene militarily in Iran or live with the nightmarish consequences of Islamic terrorists armed with nuclear weapons, and it will be easier to persuade Americans to go to war in Iran if we have not just been bogged down for months with a useless war in Syria.

    5. If the purpose of the war is to punish Assad, the limited means proposed by Obama won’t accomplish that. War should never be fought with half-measures: if we have to go in someplace, we should go in whole hog until the enemy is reduced to submission and we can work our will on him. Obama wants to be much less hard on Assad than he is on his political opponents at home (like us).

  12. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Glenn Beck has a pretty good video on this issue. I couldn’t agree with him more:

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