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Raymond Blais

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Should we bomb Syria?

Without any precursor lets see what the Ted community has to say.

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    Sep 6 2013: I think the circumstances in Syria warrant intervention by the United States.

    We should send Congress to Syria.
    • Sep 10 2013: (laughing) Yeah, and John McCain can lead the charge!
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    Sep 5 2013: Why what would it achieve ??? Except misery for the innocent population "collateral damage" as it so eloquently put.
    Nothing really happens to those who are the cause until a large amount of their people suffer or die first through no fault of their own except being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Its time for the League of Arab States to sit down and solve the problems in their own area and take the responsibility.
    Here have some of the wealthiest nations in the world but they still come to the UN to ask for help to solve the problems of the area and then the Western Nations that have come to help are then marked as the bad guys.

    This is the 21st Century it's time to start To Solve, Agree, talk, understand, invent, research, and move forward for the betterment of humanity not try and destroy it through intolerance and lack of understanding.

    oh well wishful thinking
    • Sep 5 2013: Morgan, don't give up.
      Even if Obama does do this despicable act.
      We have to stand up and shout our disapproval.

      He lied to us all. This is not change we can live with.

      Wishful thinking yes.
      ...I think we need more.
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        Sep 5 2013: Not giving up Frank,

        But the time has come to allow the nations of the areas involved to start to solve their own crises. These are the Nations that are more intune with the people, religions, cultures, politics and History.
        What we in the West would of called 3rd world Countries less than 20 years ago are now financial Powers within their own right.
        It is now their time to show the rest of the world that they can govern fairly and afford basic human rights to the people of the area. the Basics Food, shelter , access to decent health care and education (for all not just specific genders)
        These countries, these days have the resources and a lot of their leaders have been educated at some of the most prestgious Schools and |Universities in the Western World so to be honest there is no excuse. The Day of the Dictator and Despot are over.
        I love the irony though of these countries suceeding from from the Western powers (mainly England and France) but still call on them to get them out of trouble.
        • Sep 5 2013: Morgan, you are right.

          These nations can handle their own mess.
          We should butt out.

          We know that.
          ...Americans know that.

          The problem is that we have a Government
          that has become too corrupt to function properly.
          ...A Military that has grown so Fat with Weapons
          that they must find release in continuous WARS.
          ...A Congress so Stupid, that they try to Oversee
          Secret Spy and Surveillances Agencies that can
          hoodwink them in secret sessions.
          ...A President that thinks his Popularity is an
          excuse to become a Stone Cold Serial Killer.

          Obama is not the Lone Ranger.
          ...Ask Tonto.
  • Sep 10 2013: I'm not sure if we is the right question. Bombing anyone is a horrific action but acting in a responsible effective way especially after the use of chemical weapons doesn't go hand in hand. What's more important to ask, is what would our kids want? If we can answer that question then maybe we should not be making the decision in the first place.
  • Sep 5 2013: Seeing as Obama has already committed to bombing Syria should they cross the red line of using chemical weapons, he must bomb, or seriously loose face in the area.
    As US and Western influence in general is already in decline in the Middle East, I'd say its within the US's national interest to bomb, seeing as the cost is rather minimal unless Assad decides to suicide himself by retaliating against Turkey, Israel or Jordan (which I predict he won't, as again, its pretty suicidal).

    Honestly, the West has lost enough face already by the UK backing out, and Obama going to congress. I suppose these politicians haven't heard of something called the element of surprise--deciding on military action through parliament is a crippling mistake.
    Think of the message sent to Iran: the West barks, it does not bite.

    From a purely humanitarian standpoint, bombing won't solve a thing. Once Assad is gone, the many, many militias that are now combating him will turn on each other, fighting for control. Bringing down Assad will not stop the war.
    Bombing may however, eliminate some of the weapons in the area, chemical and otherwise, and prevent them from falling into undesirable hands later down the line.

    Overall, I support the bombing, even though living in a country next door, I may well find myself in a bomb shelter to the background of air raid sirens for it.
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      Sep 5 2013: If in anger if I say I will kill a good friend of mine, do I have to kill him?
      • Sep 6 2013: As a regular citizen, no.
        As the so-called "leader of the free world", I'd say its imperative.

        Reliability is everything. If you make threats that you than do not act upon, no one will ever take your threats seriously. In the long run, this will force you into more military action to impose your will on the world (because simple things that could have been resolved merely with a threat of force will now actually require force), or to be forced to accept the fact that you just don't have that type of influence anymore.
        Unlike other things politicians promise and then conveniently forget, threats need to be adhered to.

        The West is currently broadcasting weakness.
        Its loosing what little influence it has left in the region.

        I live within range of Iranian ballistic missiles. If this is how the west is handling things, they'll have gone nuclear by the time Obama is out of office. Which will make everyone take the west even less seriously.
        Not to mention the fact that radiation levels might be rising in a crater near me.
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          Sep 6 2013: I think it would be a good thing if we lose influence over others. There are over 7 billion people in this world. Just about anything that you can imagine is happening somewhere. It would best if we do not look to some central authority other than the UN to resolve issuers.
      • Sep 6 2013: The UN is a joke.

        The security council is paralyzed by indecision unless you can get Russia, China, the US, UK and France to all be on the same page.
        Which is why, by the way, why we don't have a resolution to invade Syria, and the reason Iran's nuclear program is still going strong.

        In fact, the lack of an independent military in general means that the UN's decisions are nothing more than words on paper unless some country decides to back them up with force. All bark, no bite. The UN is more of a formality than anything else. Though sometimes its members use it as justification for things they'd have done anyway. Helps with PR.

        As for the US loosing its superpower status, remember that history abhors a vacuum. The Americans step down, the Chinese and Russians step up, not the crippled UN.
        Given the human rights record of the alternatives, I'd much rather have the US stay on top.
    • Sep 5 2013: Nadav Tropp, I cannot agree.

      Two Wrongs do not make a Right.

      The United States has been doing WAR to obtain Geographical Advantages
      for over 200 years. Their policy of making WAR upon other nation's shores is
      a poor one. They must borrow to do WAR. They roll the Bank Loans at every
      increasing rates of interest over lessor periods of times.
      They must borrow to do WAR again, and again. A never ending cycle.

      The Banks want their Principle paid down. But it seldom is. So they create
      Financial Disaster's that they can then use to raid nation's treasuries.

      After Syria's demise, the Bank's will replace the Syrian's different banking system.
      and only the Iranian and North Korea banking systems will remain to conquer.

      Killing innocent Syrians is not Right.
      • Sep 6 2013: Innocent Syrians? My understanding was that they want to make a precision strike on Assad's military assets. Especially the ones launching chemical weapons.
        There will probably be some collateral damage, that's unavoidable, but taking out some of Assad's capability may well save lives in the long run, even if it won't end the war. It'll also stop chemical and other weapons systems from falling into some radical militia's hands later down the line.

        As for the US and war, war is how you enforce your position as a global power.
        Without war, your influence is minimal. Going pacifist is essentially telling the Chinese and the Russians "alright, we don't want to be a superpower anymore. You two can go ahead and fill the power vacuum".

        I also remind you that there is still the Iranian issue to deal with.
        A pacifistic US means that the entire middle east and some of eastern Europe lives well within range of Iranian nuclear missiles before Obama is out of office.
        • Sep 6 2013: Nadav, thank you. Your wrote in part --
          "There will probably be some collateral damage, that's unavoidable, ...."

          It is only my opinion, but I think -- 200 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles
          will Kill and Maim innocent Syrians. Men, women, and wee babies.
          A bit more than just "some collateral damage".

          Then, there's the "Pin Point $Billion Dollar Bombers" with there
          Bunker Busting capabilities. Hopefully no janitors left in the buildings.

          And, the Aircraft Carrier, with it's Aircraft to be used to destroy Syria's
          Air Force. Falling planes from on high. Hopefully not over populated
          areas.

          Now, the French, "Boots on the Ground", "Population Control".
          Perhaps assistance with their Air Force, and Missiles too.
          OR, France may want to take the lead. Army, Navy, Air Force.
          Obama might just sit back and let them. hmmm interesting.

          And the other Partners? What are their roles?.

          And the Syrian neighbors? Those with Expansion in mind?

          See how it all works.
          It doesn't look good for the poor innocent Syrian peoples.
          They will just die, or live, in so many miserable ways.

          ps: I forgot the Submarines. Sorry about that.
      • Sep 6 2013: A bombing campaign will further weaken and destabilize Assad's regime, therefore shortening the war. You may very well save lives in this manner. This conflict has crossed the hundred thousand barrier a few months ago without looking back, and its only going to get worse. Anything to hasten an end should be welcomed--saving lives in the long run at the expense of immediate losses on the short term.

        The price of bombing in American lives is projected to be minimal. Syrian air defenses were garbage even before the war, and you can bet their situation hasn't improved since. Chances are you'll see more fatalities from accidents than enemy military action.
        While Assad does have capacity to threaten some of the neighboring countries with whats left of his military, doing so will be completely suicidal, and he knows it. A handful of symbolic terror attacks are more realistic, though again, actual damage is predicted to be in the double digits at most--about the death toll in Syria in a single day, and with none of refugees.

        As for the economic cost, that's the price you pay for having influence over a region.
        The US can easily choose to go back to its pre-WWII isolationist ways and thereby avoid this sort of thing, but that means giving up its position as a global superpower. As history abhors a vacuum, the US steps down, China and Russia step up. Given their shall we say "spotty" human rights record (Russia is actually selling weapons to Assad to give your their idea of the conflict), I'm not sure you'd want that.

        Also think of the message being sent to Iran.
        A west that barks but does not bite. Let me remind you that the nuclear weapons they're developing make the chemical stuff look like paint fumes.

        In short, the West washing its hands of the affair may appease its moral conscious, but its not a particularly smart thing to do.
        In the cold calculus of war, you may choose to sacrifice a few lives today to save a lot of lives tomorrow. Brutal, but ultimately better.
  • Sep 9 2013: Nadav,
    Iran's government is theirs. It belongs to them.

    The US tried to establish, what they called Democracy, installing the Shaw.
    The Shaw just greedily used the US for high-living and enslaved his people.
    Much like today's Afghanistan, US installed leaders never really work.
    The Iranian's learned the hard way about the United States.
    They revolted when the Shaw became bankrupt and weakened with disease.
    They threw the US puppet out. They went back to basics.

    Like Pakistan and India, China and Russia, North Korea, and the United States,
    now Iran and Israel will have bristling Nuclear Arsenals to threaten one another,
    and the rest of the world.

    And, I've not begun to mention Obama's Partners. Perhaps more deadly?

    As we bugs of humankind spread across the surface of our planet, lighting the
    nights, we bring a disease of the mind with us. We differ from Army Ants only
    because we can use technology. Otherwise, no difference at all.

    Nadav, You advocate WAR.

    But you want it spelled without capital letters.
    You insist that a limited engagement is possible.
    You want Assad and his Generals punished.
    You suggest, and demand conflict.
    Yet you admit.
    "A single nuclear warhead, and my county's finished."

    A man, with a briefcase in hand, is available to
    President Obama 24 hours a day, every day.
    The briefcase contains the WMD Nuclear Weapons
    codes that start Nuclear WAR.

    Do you really want him in the Middle East running a war?

    Could your evaluation be wrong? Just wrong enough to kill everyone?
    • Sep 9 2013: Iran's government can be theirs for as long as they like. I don't want it. What I do want is for them to stop developing a nuclear program.
      Did you ever once consider that these nuclear standoffs can perhaps be avoided before they ever begin? This type of Mexican standoff with the lives of everyone in two countries on the line isn't exactly an ideal situation. The cold war nearly turned hot more than once, over everything from malicious intent to mistakes of identification and accidents.

      Once a country gains access to nuclear weapons, there is no disarming it. It must be dealt with ahead of time, or you're stuck with them as a nuclear power.
      Assad actually tried developing a nuclear bomb--Israel turned his program into a smoking hole in the ground. That maniac has already used chemical weapons, do you honestly want him backed with nukes, especially with his government ready to collapse and who knows grabbs the arsenal afterwards?
      Was that bombing unjustified, I ask you?

      His Iranian handlers may not be in a state of civil war, but I don't want them to have nukes for very much the same reasons. Look up what they were responsible for in the Iran-Iraq war if you want their track record--it involves highlights such as using children to clear minefields, the hard way. I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm not--they call it Basij, its still operational today.

      I'm advocating war now to potentially prevent nuclear war later. You must understand that war doesn't deserve capital letters, though "nuclear" might. Completely different scale of things.
      Do I know with 100% certainty that the loss of lives today will save many more lives tomorrow? No, I don't. You can't know these things ahead of time. You just find the best gamble that you can, and go for it. There is no other way to do things.

      Going to war isn't a light hearted decision. However, if not going to war ends up killing more people, is their blood not on the peacemonger's hands? He could have saved them, after all.
      • Sep 9 2013: Nadav,
        We have a problem -- the United States has no standing with the
        Government of Iran. No standing. If we say no, they respond yes.
        Our Prior Administration's invasive practices against Iranians has
        boxed us out. The Iranians want nothing to do with us.

        They will continue to develop their Nuclear Weapons. Other than
        Economic sanctions, the US is helpless. We cannot afford to go to
        WAR with Iran. Nor should we. Nuclear Weapons is the Invitation
        to play with the big kids. Only those nations with Nukes are allowed.

        So, after Iran, North Korea, who's next. Because there will be a who !!!

        Eventually, someone will let loose a Nuclear Attack.
        With the advances in today's and tomorrow's weapons,
        10 Million humans will melt into dust.
        Sure as God made little green apples.

        Limited WARS only mean more young men with revenge in their hearts.
        Someone will let loose a Nuclear Attack. Perhaps, a young man with
        Revenge in his Heart?

        And Nukes are not the only Weapons of Mass Destruction.
        Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Fission, and Lasers, and, Star Wars?

        10 Million humans will melt into dust.
        Sure as God made little green apples.
        • Sep 9 2013: So your solution is to just let everyone develop nuclear weapons to their heart's content?
          As a test of a nations' maturity, no less.

          What can I say, that has got to be the single worst idea I've heard in a long, long time.

          There is nothing stopping the US from bombing Iran's nuclear program into dust. Iran can boast all it wants, but it has no real capacity to do the US any real significant harm; at least, not until its nuclearly armed, but then it'll be too late.

          Concerning WMDs, first let me point out some glaring errors.
          Fission is a type of nuclear weapon, Star Wars was a research program, not a weapon, and lasers are perfectly conventional--currently laser technology is actually more defensive in nature. Now that that's out of the way...

          Nukes may not be the only weapons of mass destruction, but there is a reason they're handled separately.
          Chemical is honestly not all that much worse than conventional bombs and artillery. A fair bit more damaging to soft targets, a lot less reliable, and of little use against hardened targets. Most modern militaries don't use it because its illegal, but because its ineffectual--better for killing civilians than fighting wars.
          Biological can be devastating, but only over the course of several months, and is even less reliable than chemical. It can easily make it back to one's own populace on top of that.
          Nuclear though, is in a class all its own. Instant destruction of a large area that is rendered sterile in the process, as reliable as any conventional system, and a nightmare to defend against.

          It makes the chemical stuff look like paint fumes, and the biological weapons like bird flu.
          It might be easier to disregard it on the other side of the Atlantic, but for those of us on the firing line... Forgive me if I'm not quite so relaxed about the theocracy wanting to get into the nuclear club.
          Again, look up the Iran-Iraq war, and tell me if you think this regime can be trusted with a pea shooter, never mind a nuke.
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      Sep 12 2013: "The US tried to establish, what they called Democracy, installing the Shaw."

      Woah there! The truth is even more interesting. The US overthrew the Iranian democracy after their Parliament voted to nationalize their oil fields. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_détat

      The US overthrew the democracy to instate a monarchy, which lasted until its overthrow in 1979.

      EDIT: You'll have to copy and paste the link.
      • Sep 12 2013: I see my boo boo sorry Fred.
        My fingers get ahead of my brain.
        I hope that is the problem. duh...

        Or my tang got all tungled up
        Or I was just testing Nadav to see if he would catch the error.
        Ok, I am out of excuses.
        Sorry.
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          Sep 12 2013: It's an honest mistake. The way Bush always championed spreading democracy, one might imagine that to be our mission... hand in hand with Saudi Arabia of course! :P

          Really, would the average American have believed it 10 years ago?
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    Sep 9 2013: Why are we discussing bombing Syria when the suggestion is to launch a limited attack against Syria's supply of chemical weapons? To me that is a great difference.
    Perhaps we should be asking why the ICC has not charged Assad with war crimes or crimes against humanity?
    • Sep 9 2013: Because the UN is weak and useless and can't do anything unless all the major powers decide it should be so, especially those with veto power in the security council. Russia and China don't want the UN intervening in Syria, so it doesn't.

      Aside from the UN though, bombing the actual chemical stashes isn't necessarily the objective anymore (its also not necessarily a good idea if they're hidden among civilians just to prevent them being bombed). Depending on what Obama decides, he may go after Assad's military or military infrastructure to allow rebel victory, like happened in Libya.
    • Sep 9 2013: The distinction deserves to be made.
      But I suspect the general sentiment among the American population is that bombing is bombing. I feel the presentation of this matter on national news has contributed to an over-simplification in this regard.

      It is possible that the case could be made to the American people that it is not only possible to identify chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, but to destroy them in a carefully targeted, well-defined campaign. Current polling results, however, showing the majority against "bombing Syria" (I believe) sufficiently demonstrates that the case - and the necessary distinction - has not been made adequately. Hence the reason for a discussion like the one we're having here.

      I also wonder whether Assad will eventually be charged with crimes against humanity.
      First, I suppose he must be placed under some sort of arrest... And the ICC would naturally need sufficient evidence of the allegations against him before his arrest or "capture" could be condoned... by either the ICC or the UN, or any other body...

      (sigh) I'm recalling the way Saddam Hussein's capture and trial proceeded on the world stage (cathartic it was not), and I can't imagine Assad's would be much better. So... maybe those two factors are the key to why he's not been charged with crimes against humanity (yet): there's not yet enough evidence, and there's not enough support, either. But maybe there will be, someday. Perhaps AFTER one or more nations intervene?
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        Sep 10 2013: Actually, this is a hotly debated issue right now. The American public has not been paying much attention to Syria and the plight of the 7 million Syrian effected by the fighting despite the fact that the US has provided a billion dollars in emergency aid. President Obama is to be commended for requesting that the Congress approve any action that the US takes, since it has forced a national, as well as international discussion of the problem.

        Currently, it does not appear that the Congress will give their approval of any military action against the Assad regime. There is no provision under international law that would allow the US to take such unilateral action without UN approval. But there is still hope that a peaceful resolution can be worked out regarding chemical weapons.
  • Sep 7 2013: Jason Huffman's comment in part taken from a TED conversation "What is Truth" by Susan Fudge.
    I've taken the liberty of yanking this phrase to declare Obama's problem. ---

    " - if murder is relatively acceptable for someone and that perspective must be respected by society,
    then expect a chaotic society."

    Jason then continues with ---

    "The rule of law inhibits those perspectives with good cause, as does society with certain norms.
    ...It is with the evolution of these laws and norms that a sensible society can sort through
    ...what rules should exist as being more probably acceptable and therefore more "true.""
    ===

    Think about it folks.
    Have we Americans lost our way?
    Has our Pied Piper?
  • Sep 7 2013: Which "we" shall we define as the ones to "bomb Syria"?

    The US? Other than acting as global police, no, this is a poor move. Limited bombing and shock and awe will do little to resolve the issue.

    France? Uhm, what is France going to do? No, really, what are they going to do?

    The rest of the MIddle East? If he MIddle East believes that Syria needs to be dealt with, deal with them. Launch attacks and send in ground troops. Deal with the problem in house rather than relying on Big Brother to come and bail you out.

    The issues with Syria will not be resolved by bombing and will only cause more issues if that is the sum total of the response. If you want Assad in prison, plan on going in and getting him. That means troops on the ground and proof of chemical weapons. If you are not willing to put men and women in harm's way, then do not plan on resolving the issues with Syria at any time in the near future.
    • Sep 7 2013: The French feel something of a responsibility to any area they've governed in the past, Syria included. With or without the Americans, they can actually muster up the firepower required to bring down Assad if they want to (or more precisely, hurt him enough that the militias outgun him).
      Turkey to Syria's northern border has even more capabilities (the proximity allows them to muster all their firepower, which is quite extensive), and have expressed a strong desire to join in on an American bombing campaign. If the US doesn't attack, those two just might independently.

      Israel and Jordan will probably also opt in if Assad is dumb enough to bomb either in retaliation. Again, both have the capacity to harm Assad enough that the militias take him down within weeks, without setting a single boot on the ground.

      Concerning the US, its not about being the world's cop. They have several vested interests to bomb in Syria.
      First, to prove that they can bite as well as they bark (Obama made a threat, so he needs to uphold it, otherwise his threats won't get taken seriously in the future). The general consensus in the middle east at the moment is that the Americans are all talk and no action--which leaves everyone very worried about a nuclear Iran.

      Second, help shorten the war and restore some stability to the region. You may even save some lives along the way.

      Finally, if America doesn't attack, you can be sure the countries bordering with Syria won't forget it. Turkey is already moving away from the west, Jordan is horribly destabilized by refugees, and Israel may well decide to attack Iran independently, causing a war to break out. And these are all countries the US is invested in.
      • Sep 7 2013: : I do understand the logic of the countries surrounding Syria considering attacking. They do have a vested interest in their own self-defense. Especially if Assad is actually using chemical weapons. They need to protect their own borders and a pre-emptive strike is not a bad solution in knocking out the capabilities of Syria before they can attack across borders. If he has used chemical weapons once, he is more likely to use them again.

        France often surprises me, as I don't actually know their military capabilities. And they are not often an aggressor nation in these instances. But that may be my own lack of knowledge of France.

        Obama backed himself into a corner stating that chemical weapons were a line in the sand. Any time you say that, you had better be ready to back it up with force. Otherwise you do look weak. That being said, the United States is tired of fighting and war. They are tired of seeing their soldiers come home wounded and disfigured after such a long and drawn out military conflict that doesn't seem to end. And, the conflict is in a part of the world that appears to have no interest to the US.

        The current strategy, bomb and shoot cruise missiles in a limited manner, may or may not have much impact. If intelligence is right, it could have a great deal of impact, if wrong, it could create another huge mess. And ultimately it does nothing to remove Assad. It only makes big explosions.

        If you are going to win a fight, put boots on the ground or arm the rebels who are fighting against Assad to protect the people.

        Better yet, arm the rebels and expose Assad for his attacks. People may disagree with attacking Syria, but they won't argue with hard evidence that Assad used chemical weapons. Expose every person involved in the attacks publicly and name them by name while supporting the opposition. That will have a greater effect long term in the region.
        • Sep 8 2013: Obama is most definitely in a hell of a bind. This was a minor issue before he inflated it with bad handling.

          He could have attacked already on any scale he wanted without seeking approval from anyone, or backed out the moment it was obvious the American public isn't behind him.
          Instead, he's going all in on this formally minor issue. No matter the outcome, he comes out looking weak and ineffectual to his country, and the world.

          Regardless of his intent, this is some extremely poor decision making.

          If this is how he's handling a small bombing campaign in a weak and fragmented country, I don't think he's capable of tackling Iran (which actually has some limited capacity to fight back), and the Iranians know it.
        • Sep 9 2013: I don't agree about the "boots on the ground", though. You had me up to that point.

          If anyone were making the argument for sending military forces (American troops) into Syria at this time, I would be wholeheartedly opposed. Including but not limited to the following reasons:

          1- let's NOT expose American troops to chemical weapons
          2- let's not invade to then occupy yet another Middle East nation, while we wait and wait and wait for the nation to stabilize; our troops may never leave!
      • Sep 11 2013: I am not in favor of putting troops in harm's way, nor is most of the United States I imagine. But to win a war with only limited attacks does not put one in a position of power. At some point, if a change in power is to take place, someone must be on the ground, as a military force, to take charge or fight the fight. Ideally, not US soldiers.

        Any attack on Syria though will cause the Middle East to blow up in unknown and erratic ways with a myriad of possibilities with no good outcome.

        From our experiences in ground wars in the Middle East, we would get involved with issues and entanglements that would never end.
  • Sep 7 2013: Maybe the Wife is at fault?

    Perhaps you feel that Killing and Maiming humans is justified
    as long as it protects others from being Killed and Maimed.
    Not much of an argument.

    The problem here is that the culprit hasn't had his day in court.
    He hasn't been arrested. He hasn't been arraigned,
    He hasn't been identified, only suspected, and denies doing it.

    There are others that claim that the "Other Dude Did It".
    the ole' ODDI defense.
    How do you disregard the other's claim.
    Are you a God?

    How can Obama ignore the UN Security Council? Is he a God?

    There was a time that the United States could demand Partners to
    stand and deliver. But since Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr. and now Obama
    have created such messes with 12 years of solid WARS, and now are
    using CIA assets aka: (Al Qaeda) Rebels to fight for them, any Partner
    has to look twice at the bottom line.

    France may want to reconsider.
    By the way, What is France's part in this tragedy about to happen?

    Are there really Chinese going ashore inside Syria today?
    Are the Russian's going to allow their peoples inside Syria, to be slaughtered?

    Obama might be wise to pack up and go home.
    • Sep 7 2013: You don't need to be god to ignore the security council. Everyone from two-bit dictators to world leaders do it all the time. Without any real power to enforce them, the UN's decisions are words on paper--you credit them with far more than they're worth.

      As for a trial, of course there's no trial. There is no international courthouse, and no way to bring anyone to justice without military action.
      I can however, tell you that Assad is responsible for the chemical attacks, and a fair bit of other atrocities. What's left of his army is currently the only faction in Syria that has those types of capabilities. The rebelling militias couldn't pull that type of crap if they wanted to. The evidence is there.

      As for the Russians, they've been selling Assad weapons for decades now, and have no intention to stop anytime soon. The Russians are supporting Assad because they want the influence in the region--slaughter of civilians is irrelevant as far as they're concerned.
      Look up their human rights record if you don't believe me. Its not a pretty picture.

      By the way, not all these so-called WARS (what's wrong with spelling it without capital letters, anyway?) have ended that badly.
      Gulf war 1 for example, went spectacularly well, even if invading Iraq for round two in 2003 was idiotic.

      Besides, what's wrong the the calculus of war as an argument?
      If I "kill and main" one person, and it saves five people from being killed or maimed later, didn't I come out ahead?
      I used to help make these types of calls in the military. Its dirty business, but if it can help save some lives (even if only by a net amount), don't you think its worth perusing?
      • Sep 8 2013: Nadav.
        I don't think I am conversing with someone who can see the future.
        You obviously disagree.

        The Russian government has a different mind-set than I.
        But they are no different than the United States government

        ALL who WAR with armed aggression are wrong.

        Nadav, If you could see the future, and your scenario was correct,
        you would be right. You cannot. Your scenario is an illusion.
        You are Wrong.

        Look up Clinton's shock and awe of Baghdad. Count the bodies.
        Multiply by 5. Find those saved.

        Ask the victim's who survived and their families, and the families
        of the dead, their view, of your calculus of WAR.
        • Sep 8 2013: I admit, I cannot predict the future.
          However, as overall cost of inaction can still easily be the worse one. There is no way to know for sure, but if you've condemned more men to death because you were scared of acting, is it any better then condemning them to death because you chose to act?

          Your own objective here is driven by your moral compass. Save a few lives, right now. My objective is to save as many people as possible in the long term. That requires thinking with your head, and telling your heart top pipe down--much harder on your sleep at night.

          Hind sight is always 20/20, but in the present, you just have to roll dice and hope for the best, even in the most difficult of matters.
          If the bombing kills 500 Syrians and shortens the war by 6 months, you're still ahead by tens of thousands.
  • Sep 6 2013: NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO !!!
    Syria is not America's Bombing Target.
    Obama is not God.

    The Syrian's thinking that Obama will start to Kill and Maim them
    may have started their own show of force, against American targets.
    Biological Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    I don't think that Obama is getting out of this charade unscathed.
    American Lives could easily be lost. And not just overseas.
    Most likely right here in the lower 48.

    So you hawks of War, -- Remember what you have started.
  • Sep 6 2013: the stated intention of the bombing campaign is to retaliate because of the use of chemical weapons and to limit the capacity for further use of chemical weapons in the future by the syrian government. there is also an underlying motive less clearly stated to weaken the assad regime and aid the rebel forces in toppling it. the potential for this to backfire on the administration lies in how certain we can be that it was the syrian government which launched the chemical attack and how syrias allies and our own might or might not react. if we wait for the u.n. to conclude its investigation it will help with the first point, while the second point relies on russia, israel and iran. all in all i am not sure if we will be able to accomplish positive results. when the syrian government falls the fighting is likely to continue as there is no ideological unity among the rebel forces. the destabilisation of the region will create further problems and it seems there is a greater and greater possibility that israel and iran will interact with potentially dire results.
    my own belief is that we should concentrate on no military solutions. i have read that drought was one of the major precipitating factors in the conflict in the first place. perhaps food, humanitarian aid could have a stronger effect on all sides than we are giving credit for.
  • Sep 6 2013: To the TED conversation team who removed my post.
    Thank you guys.

    I apologize and know that I go too far.
    I am full of feelings about humankind being mistreated.
    Sometimes I cannot stop from lashing out.
    I will try harder.
    Thank you.
  • Sep 5 2013: This will be my last stab at trying to stop the anticipated wrong-doing.

    After Obama and his gang, here is the list of the
    10 Senators voting Wednesday to authorize a Syria strike.
    ...They received, on average, 83 percent more campaign financing
    from defense contractors than lawmakers voting against war.

    10 Senators that hopefully will never again be elected to any office.

    Voting for the resolution.
    ...Voting to kill and maim innocent men, women, and wee babies.
    1. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)
    2. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
    3. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
    4. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
    5. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
    6. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
    7. Chris Coons (D-Del.)
    8. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
    9. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
    10 Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

    Voting Against. These Senators are Hero's.
    ...Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
    ...John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
    ...James Risch (R-Idaho)
    ...Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
    ...Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
    ...Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
    ...Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)

    Voting Present. This guy just won't get involved.
    ...Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
    ===
    The resolution could have been killed,
    ...here in the Committee.

    Now --
    All Americans need to watch
    ...what the Congress does
    ...when this comes to a vote in the house.

    God help the poor Syrians if our
    ...Congress buckles under.

    Pray for them folks. It might be all they get.
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      Sep 6 2013: Our politics is an evil enterprise that I try to avoid.
      • Sep 6 2013: The Politics are in the DNC & RNC "Candidate Selection Process".
        Our original evil enterprise, politically "Controlled Media Content".
        Voters have no idea how manipulated they have become.

        Raymond, we were warned by conspiracy theorists for
        many years. We laughed. But it has come true.

        Independent newspapers now leak the words. Police State.
        Both for the US and surprisingly to me, Canada.
        I guess I missed the signals on Canada.
        Reboot
        • thumb
          Sep 6 2013: I did not laugh. I will fight to build a more human society until I die.
    • Sep 6 2013: nice research. i haven't double checked but this is exactly the kind of thing people need to be aware of.
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    Sep 5 2013: Do you have any legal mandate to do so? And if yes, based on what?

    Syria has neither signed nor acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which makes it difficult to justify any military intervention to begin with.

    The 'weapon of mass destruction' argument doesn't work either, as the US refuses to sign the Nuclear Weapons Convention itself ever since.

    It remains to be seen how far the US 'national security' can be stretched geographically, or if the super-elasticity of the 'all purpose' terrorism approach will be applied here again.

    As we all learned from Rwanda, global military interventions need some additional benefit nowadays than just the life of some people. In this the US is not alone, unfortunately.

    And as brutal this may sound, we should be careful with the 'children factor' we get to hear in situations like this, as 'we', the western world, tend not to care for them either. Because if we would, the use of Uranium depleted ammunition and contact mines would be illegal already, as there is an ongoing body-count, especially of children, day by day, of all of our military 'left overs' ... It's just that those children die off focus of our mass media and that it doesn't really comfort our understanding of having brought 'freedom' ...

    I think it is about time, that WE make up our minds, once and for all, worldwide and without ANY particular geopolitical interest, such as political influence and the securing of resources to confess to our-selfs to protect the right of life and health for all people. And as long this isn't the ONLY guideline and legitimation for international military intervention by the UN towards any sovereign country, we should be careful not to misuse it to cover different intentions.

    So no, the US has no right to bomb Syria as no legal authorization has been given by the United Nations, as well as the United Nations haven't made up their minds yet to 'protect the right of life and health for all people' exclusively.
    • Sep 6 2013: Right and legal authorization are both nothing but words on paper.
      No one really cares for them, though you can bet the side they're convenient to will be quoting them to no effect.

      There is no international law enforcement that can convict nations for acting illegally. No enforcement means there may as well not be a law.
      In fact, Assad has proven exactly that. "What chemical weapons convention?" International law is meaningless unless some country decides to use it as an excuse to act (and its always an excuse, never a motivator)

      The Western world apparently doesn't understand how much face its loosing in the region by backing out. By barking and then failing to bite, it will be pushed further in the future. Think of the message being sent to Iran.
      • thumb
        Sep 7 2013: 'The Western world apparently doesn't understand how much face its loosing in the region by backing out.'

        One have to have some face left to be able to loose it and given latest interventions in this part of the world in recent years, I have my doubts that there is much to be at stake.

        And what message do you mean is sent to Iran? That the western world reflects its urge to bomb first and investigates afterwards?

        If we agree on what you say that 'Right and legal authorization are both nothing but words on paper.', we could then just dump all of our internal legal systems by the daily proof, that criminals don't care for it anyway.

        Lets just dominate the world by those with the biggest weapons and highest military budgets. Unfortunately this sarcasm seems to have no basis anymore if we keep on acting 'our way'...
        • Sep 7 2013: In the internal workings of a country with a system of law enforcement and justice, I'd agree.
          Unfortunately, those don't exist on the international stage. I'm not saying I like it, I'm saying we need to stare the truth in the face.

          The West also has plenty of face left to loose.
          It has thus far shown itself willing to bomb targets in Libya, at the very least. Even without a single boot on the ground, this is significant. Now, its giving off the impression that it can hardly even muster up that little willpower.

          Given that Iran is currently developing nukes that make the chemical stuff look like paint fumes, I'm honestly worried. I live well within range of those, and it would seem the west isn't doing much about it.
      • thumb
        Sep 7 2013: Without doubt we have no legal system on international level - so why don't we just make one?

        Who is keeping the nations of this world to come together and to define the most elementary rules of humanity, humanitarian help and military interventions out of humanitarian reasons?We have installed all sorts of international trade regulations yet still haven't figured out the most important thing?

        The given precursor, the United Nations,doesn't seem to work properly and is easily paralyzed by single veto states...

        Thats not enough, it doesn't work when it is necessary and it isn't balanced due to the influence of 'elite nations', whose 'elite status is based on their military and economical power. In a legal system, those conditions are not tolerable, so its our obligation to reform it!

        I am against any nuclear weapon programs, and nuclear weapons in general, but I do not separate between states who should be allowed to have them and those who shouldn't, as this only perpetuates the ongoing international conflicts about this matter.

        If I have a gun and shoot my neighbor because he likes to have a gun too for self-defense reasons, who then is the bad guy?

        On this the USA already proofed its immaturity to posses those weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the whole cold war strategy of deterrence proofed that no nation was mature enough and none still is, because once a nation reaches this level of maturity, it won't have any nuclear weapons at all.

        So what makes you think, that Iran would use those weapons for aggressive reasons and not 'just' for its self-defense? Because it is no democracy? Or because 'they' are evil by nature? Well, this sort of argument goes both ways, doesn't it?

        Its sort of like if a smoking parent trying to discipline its child it caught smoking ... The chances of realization and understanding by this child are pretty low. Same mechanisms work on international level, as its seems to have not developed further than kindergarten. Its 2013!
      • thumb
        Sep 9 2013: 'Given that Iran is currently developing nukes that make the chemical stuff look like paint fumes, I'm honestly worried. I live well within range of those, and it would seem the west isn't doing much about it.'

        Since 1979 Iran is suspected to 'currently' develop nuclear weapons and 'just' 8 years in average to its completion ever since ...

        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/25/1233733/--Imminent-Iran-nuclear-threat-A-timeline-of-warnings-since-1979

        And as Stuxnet and sudden lethal accidents of leading Iranian nuclear physicists are of recent date, it is most likely that 'barking with the hounds' is going to take new breath for more years to come ...
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      Sep 6 2013: This is an issue for the UN and only the UN.
      • Sep 9 2013: I'm not sure this is what you meant, Raymond, but as far as "international justice" and "international governance", I've always understood this to be the general purpose of the UN. Obviously, the UN does not have the power to enact and enforce what may pass for "international laws" -- except in so far as members of the UN agree to act in concert with each other. That is, when member nations of the UN agree to lend resources, military or otherwise, toward enforcing UN resolutions by taking deliberate action. ...Spelling it out this way reminds me that the United States has a reputation, by now, of failing to cooperate with the UN.
  • Sep 5 2013: When? Why? Somehow rushing into something often seems not the smart way to operate.
    • Sep 5 2013: george, No one ever said Obama was smart.
      He is Photo-Op material.
      He is a good speaker.
      and, He can play basketball.
      But, smart. NO !!!
      • Sep 6 2013: Good point The man is a brilliant constitutional scholar Are you saying he is not so smart in other areas.? Makes sense to me Seems like a constant problem with leaders. Then- is his selection of advisors appropriate? P L E A S E run with this.
        • Sep 6 2013: Ok george, from the top of my head///

          Obama has replaced in the last 90 days of so, the Directors of the CIA,
          FBI, DHS, IRS, DOD, and a couple more. Leon Panetta retired earlier.
          His resume' is great, but I kind of know from memories he isn't a world
          record setter. I pay little attention to who advises the President.
          After seeing what George Bush had going for himself.
          And, the CIA's General Petraeus was a rerun of what happened to
          someone else years before.

          As far as being a brilliant constitutional scholar. Bull.
          His background is murky at best. Obama was originally hand picked
          by Bill Clinton. Bill shuffled the deck and moved a congresswomen
          into an ambassadorship, to open a slot for Obama's political training.
          Obama was a plain lawyer, had a friend who owned a bank. Obama's
          wife worked at her $300k job providing money for the family. It was
          I believe that she quit one week before Obama's 1st inauguration.
          The outfit she was employed by didn't replace her. Another VP added
          her work to his. Check out Obama's personal and legal association
          with the network known as Acorn. That will be an eye opener.

          Take a gander at Obama's Exec Orders. Start just after his 1st inauguration
          and shuffle in his matching Pres. Directives. Compare them with prior President's.
          You should understand Obama well, after you read his own dictation.

          Most of this you will not care to believe. But I run with it.
          I've never told anyone, but you, right here and now.

          What is really interesting is how much the world has changed,
          when you read real history.
          ===
          I started to investigate the NSA at the 1968 time-point.
          Research and Development, etc.
          As I followed the individuals from then until today.
          I ended up in the White House's xxx's.
          I didn't crack or hack, or break any laws.
          Interesting the threads I found, and, where it took me.
          It is all there for those who like researching live history.
          A fearless attitude helps
        • Sep 6 2013: Gee George, I just discovered you are a Lawyer,
          and a Good One.

          I hope the Grand Jury will be kind to me.
          I expected feed back from you.
          WoW, I wonder what kind.... shake shake
      • Sep 7 2013: But more than that we should always remember that whoever is President seems to have an almost impossible job.. To me My preferred choice in 2008 was Senator Dodd Looks like he got a better job.
        • Sep 7 2013: George,
          As I attempted to write a NY times comment, they were closed
          with but 921 offerings. Not a conspiracy, just my poor timing.

          Yes George, Dodd would have been a good choice.
          ===
          I feel that Obama is now a Failed President with far too much time
          left in office.

          We need a "Fang Remover" for quickly removing such people from
          office before they can do real damage. Trouble is, none available.
          The Congress is populated unfortunately only with the followers.
          ===
          This morning I awoke with both Syria and NSA situations on my mind.
          ...Seems "the America" we all want, has slowly disappeared.
          ...I kept thinking 850,000 Government Employees with Top Secret
          Clearances? How did that happen? 850,000? Why?
          ...Asking myself to name the reasons for all that Secrecy.
          ===
          I admit that I am a bit too far out there for most couch potatoes.
          ====
          George, what opinion do you have?
          Are you comfortable with the situation in Washington today?
      • Sep 8 2013: You or other Tedsters may like politicians more than I, but we have to remember that there are requirements to remain in office. We now hav Citizens United as the law of the land. The same wealthy few contribute huge amounts of money to political campaigns. They have an agenda that has resulted in the collapse of the wage structure of the United States. These giant bubbles are not going to be stopped any time soon. I guess if we look at Charles Mackay's two century old book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds we realize such poor judgment will not soon change. Even Jackamo Casanova pulled some big ones though he isn't in that book.
        • Sep 8 2013: George, your right I fear.
          My purposeful ignore of Citizens United has come back to haunt me as an education tool wasted.
          The collapse of the wage structure? Now there is something I do want to research.

          I have no love for politicians. Republican or Democrat.
          1. They control the selection of candidates and their eventual election.
          2. They professionally solicit monies and spend it to control media content.
          3. They use their 2 parties to split and run our government as they please.

          I have no love for Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Hedge funds, Larry Summers,
          Robert Rubin, The Fed, Timothy Geithner, and Real Estate Brokers, all of them.

          I despise, Educators who enslave and slow the growth of our unsuspecting youths.
          by indebting them for unguaranteed schooling.

          I hate the Lobbies who since 1974 have paid politicians throughout
          the 50 states and the federal government to slowly unwind legislations and steal
          our treasury.

          I know with a certainty that Regulators as members of the "good ole boys club"
          warp the protective laws of legislators.

          I fear the path the United States has begun to follow.
          850,000 employees with Top Secret cryptographic clearances.
          A Congress feeding a Military unlimited funding grown from the original 1%.
          A Military, it's own Internet world-wide, in 150+ embassies and foreign bases.
          A Feeding frenzy of everyone's secrets and intellectual properties.
          Private prisons and torture. The inquisition's return without the church.
          ===
          I understand that I can only watch and throw vile words against their wind.
          ===
          But I still have time to play snooker 2 hours a day and bet the ponies.
          Not a bad life.

          And the beef sold in our supermarket may or may not contain horsemeat.
          something new to check out. Since France will not accept our horsemeat
          because race horses are all doped up. They've found a new marketplace.
      • Sep 9 2013: A discussion of the fall of the average weekly wage from some time back is in Ravi Batra's Pooring of America. This is also a government statistic that is fairly interesting over the last forty years.
  • thumb
    Sep 12 2013: Where's the money?
  • thumb
    Sep 9 2013: Show me the beef. I do not see evidence that completely eliminates the possibility that Al Qaeda is responsible for the gassing. No free thinking American wants any part of this civil war. Why would any American go out of their way to support intervention in a civil war continents away? Let the UN deal with it. If they don’t do what some people want them to do then so be it. Point your finger at them when you see the suffering. We did not elect President Obama as president of the world, we elected him president of the American people and he should act on their behalf.
    There are over 7 billion people in this world and their will be major suffering going on somewhere. We can help but not by military action which always increases suffering.
    • Sep 9 2013: That type of intelligence isn't available out to the general public, because than Al Qaeda would have access to it too.

      The current consensus in the intelligence community, which is available without the specifics of where they got the info, is that Assad is still in possession of his entire chemical arsenal.
      Its the single most heavily defended military asset in all of Syria at the moment. The US could bomb it without thinking twice if they know where it is, but its well out of reach of rebels and terrorists, who don't have quite so many military assets of their own.

      Again though, this isn't about chemical weapons. There have been more than a hundred thousand people killed with perfectly conventional means.

      Isolationism is a tempting prospect for the US, being isolated from most of the world by ocean. Isolationism will also lead to the US' decline as a global power. If that's what the American public wants, the Russians and Chinese will be happy to step up and take advantage of the power vacuum.
      Should the US wish to ebb away and become just another nation among equals, there is nothing stopping it. If it wishes to stay a global power, it occasionally requires exercising military power on the other side of the globe.
    • Sep 9 2013: As I see it, the question comes down to whether the proposed military strike will tip the scales against the Syrian government/military, effectively hobbling the Assad regime in such a way that opposition forces have the hope and opportunity to prevail.

      If the removal of the Assad regime is conceived of as a goal, one that may in fact be shared by many members of the UN as well has other nations -- it is pretty clear that inaction will achieve nothing.

      ...But then.... if this is truly a goal shared by many nations, why must the responsibility fall to the U.S. military? And I think the answer there is that it doesn't have to. It wouldn't even have been proposed, if the UN had resolved to take action. ...The fact is: our President and his advisers believe this action to be necessary, on a rather near time-frame. In the absence of any action on the part of the UN, the President is willing to act decisively, and act now -- which leaves the rest of us wondering "why?". What missing piece of this puzzle should we know, that we don't already know?

      I have not resolved whether I support the President's decision. I only call for more information on the subject. Someone make the case! I'm listening! ...and I hope: "We're listening".
  • Sep 9 2013: No.
    You're welcome.
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    Sep 9 2013: Where's the evidence?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Y5N0l5Sra4&feature=c4-overview&list=UU6ZFN9Tx6xh-skXCuRHCDpQ

    Sunday's PBS Newshour.

    What gets me is the commercial released for the limited strike? These commercials are very strange for those of us that live outside the States. I'm actually at a loss for words.
    • thumb
      Sep 10 2013: I hear you ken, tawdry stuff, which is typical for O.

      It occurs to me that this may be subterfuge to allow economic maneuvering.

      What is your take on U S imperialism?
      • thumb
        Sep 10 2013: My take on US imperialism? In todays climate and era? it looks to be more of a counter to the rise in China's imperialism or resource gathering but that's my small perspective which is taken from the bottom of the world close to the asiatic countries, you have to live here and in Australia to see how American culture has taken over here. I'm not against it but it is disconcerting to see my white british descended country men jump at it like drowning men scrabbling for a space on a floating log.

        It must be the loss of imperial power or a hold over from the break up that is affecting them across the generations, there is a definite feel of insecurity coming across that is quietly alarming.

        The fact is when was there not imperialism on the planet?

        That commercial PBS aired, to me is a slap in the peoples face, for a minute there while i watched it i was half expecting to see a " Brought to you by Sony, caring for your future"

        At this moment of typing this reply it is now my Tuesday and possibly your Monday so it is ancient news as the Russians and Assad has come running to the media table as well as Kerry making the statement of Syria handing control of any chemical resources over to the U.N.

        Interesting times.

        What do you think of this Pat, I just came across it.

        http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2013/09/09/video-illustrating-chinas-shadow-banking-problem/
        • thumb
          Sep 10 2013: China has cooked the books for a number of years they count as GDP things that have no value , literally empty cities, empty airports empty train stations that sort of thing so there GDP is specious.

          A problem will be if China's central bank lends money at a low rate to the losers. This is tantamount to our TBTFs

          On the other hand china has kept their money artificially low. So when it is returned to it's real value that will automatically erase some of the debt

          The main thing is that china creates value through it's manufacturing capability which has had a meteoric rise

          They are in way better shape than the U S...
        • thumb
          Sep 10 2013: I don't kmow if empire is necescarily bad.

          In the U S we are fed so much propaganda that I fear the U S suffers from the same myopic arrogance as the English.

          When I see O insisting we need to get involved in Syria it makes me ask WTF?

          Part of it is cronyism from the defense contractors. Part of it is imperialism.

          I think or have read that China and Russia are less imperialistic than the US.

          O making the emotional appeal based on 1300 people being killed is laughable as certainly many more would be killed by stray missiles or bombs. Rember 100,000 have been killed by conventional war in Syria in this civil war.

          I was reading how the US was an ally of Ho Chi Minh at the beginning of WWll . But in the late 50's the US turned on him in favor of presumably a more malleable (less principled ) dictator. The funny thing is Ho Chi Ming did not want to be communist and was enamoured with the US until the imperialism of I guess Kennedy
      • thumb
        Sep 11 2013: Pat, If we are attempting to be imperialistic then I submit that we suck at it. We really do not dominate, or control ... we do however, do a fine job of exploiting others in order to enrich a small handful of cronies, corporations, and politicians on both sides.

        The problem isn't that we are fed so much crap but that the media refuses to offer independent research, data, and editorial opinions without bias. Guess that is being fed crap ... Further that the politicians have become so elite that they now vote themselves exempt from the very laws they vote to pass for the general citizenry.

        The vote to "strike Syria" has nothing to do with Syria .. and everything to do with political funding in the upcoming elections. As you say 100K dead in a civil war was of little concern. Other countries worked for a diplomatic solution (no fighting) while our President continued to rattle his saber to the world.

        I admire how quickly Sec. Kerry caught on to diplomatic idioms. First he sought for talks by addressing the "thug and Murderer" to share dialog. Then when others found a means of resolving the issue he assisted in defusing the situation by stating ... they better hurry, we are not waiting long ... I am in awe of his elegance and mastery of diplomacy. Where is the Duct Tape. This guy will make everyone forget Benghazi and the Hilary screw ups in time for her run for the Presidency.

        I cannot wait to see the cartoons from around the world on how the USA and the "Prince of Fools" are being seen.

        Here is my concern .... while we all concentrate on Syria ... what has been occurring in the least transparent administration. I worry about misdirection from them like a cheap magicians trick .... watch Syria while I sneak something else through using Executive Orders.
        • thumb
          Sep 11 2013: What do you think of this article Rob?

          http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/09/07/conrad-black-syrian-slapstick/

          It's a few days old and the man has just been fined for fraud and barred from ever being made a director of a US company so he has a checkered past but he is first a journalist. Do you think he has a point or is his run in with the law influencing his article.
        • thumb
          Sep 11 2013: Thanks Rob, Yes, Who pulls the puppet strings? In a far smaller way my country is going through what yours is going through except we call our current leader greasy Keys, he's not as smooth as O or as politically experienced but for some reason i believe the two are similar.

          Do you know what your countries security agency calls my countries security agency? "Our subsidiary" and our leader has taken to calling the States "Our natural ally" 30 years ago one of our prime ministers was forced to break the south pacific treaty alliance called "Anzus" to placate the rising antipathy towards anything nuclear and so we stopped being allies in a sense, our current government wants it back except there is no menace of the cold war and terrorism in the south seas is a joke that all islanders laugh at. When you live on an island you can't just rush off and hide in another country across the border plus there's nothing down here except fish and we fail at trying to preserve that resource for the planet terribly.

          My government is trying to spread the fear of terrorism on two islands, it makes people laugh.
      • thumb
        Sep 11 2013: Do you think we as humans are imperialistic in nature? That we inevitably create aristocracies and eventually emperors? It looks like regardless of how modern a group of people are that their basic nature leads them back to this system.

        EDIT

        I've listened to a few old kiwi's about how they at the time of the rising conflict in Vietnam, they honestly believed communism was marching it's way down to Australia and New Zealand and had to be stopped.
        • thumb
          Sep 11 2013: First, thanks for the article. I read up on Conrad Black also to be better informed. As he made a argument for the change in leadership and the lack of leadership in many countries he has expressed the same concerns of many journalists (with the exception of the the US who are owned by the administration). Therefore I think his point is valid. The respect given to the US has diminished and the fact that we are a diplomatic failure is wide spread. In years past few would have openly addressed the President of the United States as the "Prince of Fools". Kerry's past is questionable, and rightfully so. The marriage of two powerful families such as the Heinz and Forbes gave them instant status and wealth. However, that does not make him either smart of deserving. A few hours ago he also told congress that he would not allow Benghazi survivors to testify ... wow another political cover up so that Hilary can run for Prez.

          Dynamic speakers have always been able to sway those willing to be duped. The promise of things that cannot be delivered ... the threat to your safety / security ... Last night Obama mixed in what Americans wanted to hear with what they do not want ... the polls asked for responses that were favorable. Such as do you agree that the US should not be the worlds policemen. Are you against using chemical weapons on women and children. As a result 43% of the people said O was spot on. The combination of a confusing speech and the questions asked in the polls make him look good even though the straight question of "Should we conduct strikes in Syria?" was a resounding 7 to 1 against. That is not even close to the 43% in favor and 50% against poll after the speech.

          Between the media and the spin doctors Obama has manipulated the American public almost as well as Horney Bill.

          Question: Do you think anyone makes a decision or a comment without Obamas permission? Does O make a decision without George Soros OK?

          Thanks ... Bob.
        • thumb
          Sep 11 2013: Yes it is human nature

          The information about Vietnam was from an article by Rothbard available on the mises website and also from a friend who is a Vietnamese

          Edit

          I recommend this article:
          http://mises.org/daily/6520/The-Virus-of-Imperialism-Part-1

          The main factor in conflict is that it is created by someone other than the apparent enemies as illustrated by the article. It also indicates that the most likely instigator is the one making the instigations as with Johnson and the Vietnam war or Lincoln and the Civil War or Polk and the Mexican American War.
  • Sep 9 2013: George, sounds interesting, I'll read it tomorrow.
    thanks
  • thumb
    Sep 8 2013: Can we; please.
  • Sep 8 2013: Raymond Blais

    I note that the commenters at TED avoid controversial subjects.

    I'd think TED might want to do a study on this.
    It could be useful, although I don't know how.

    I believe that Controlled Content of the Media has birthed indifference.

    Adolph Hitler, both Bush's, both Clinton's and Obama have hit the nail on the head.
    People today, don't give a whit about anything other than feeling good.
    Elmer Fudd or Bugs Bunny could lead the nation for all they care.
    Americans are overweight and unhealthy. They don't care.

    Are they going to be surprised when they wake up !!!! hahaha
  • Sep 8 2013: Nadav, The reply button was turned off?

    I thought you might like this from the NY Times today.
    The NY Times appears to have been in a party mood and trying
    to adhere to the Democrat party line.
    ===
    "With the World Watching, Syria Amassed Nerve Gas ---
    The diplomatic cables and other intelligence documents show that,
    over time, the two generations of Assads built up a huge stockpile
    by creating companies with the appearance of legitimacy, importing
    chemicals that had many legitimate uses and capitalizing on the chaos
    that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    A Russian general responsible for dismantling old Soviet chemical weapons,

    ...who died a decade ago, who died a decade ago, who died a decade ago,
    ...who died a decade ago, who died a decade ago, who died a decade ago,
    (The multiplicity is of my own invention...)

    was identified by a colleague as the man who helped the Syrian government
    establish its chemical weapons program."
    =====
    Nadav, Your remark scared me....
    "If the bombing kills 500 Syrians and shortens the war by 6 months,
    you're still ahead by tens of thousands."
    Nadav -- I weep for your ignorance. If it doesn't shorten the WAR?
    • Sep 8 2013: In a worse case scenario, then you've traded 500 lives for none. In a best case scenario, you've saved hundreds of thousands.
      You can't know these things in advance. As nothing is certain in life, sometimes you must gamble even on the most important of things.

      I'd still advise the US to attack simply to maintain its influence in the region, though if they're clever, they'll also find a militia they like better than the others, and have it funded and trained for the inevitable continuation of the civil war when (and if) Assad falls.

      On another note, its only a matter of time until Assad's arsenal (chemical and otherwise) starts leaking out. Some militia or another will grab hold of it, and seeing as some of them are real nut jobs, I'd say its within everyone's interest to just take those advanced weapons systems out of the game completely by bombing them.
      Otherwise, you might find them turned on countries like Jordan, Israel, Turkey or what not. The civil war is already destabilizing all the neighboring countries. Lebanon is particularly affected--its actually seen some fighting on its territory.

      And again, there's the Iranian issue. If the US can't even commit to firing a couple of dozen missiles at Assad, an Iranian proxy, they'll never muster up the support to attack Iran itself.
      Which leads to a semi-stable country led by religious fanatics gaining access to nuclear weapons. What could possibly go wrong?
      • Sep 8 2013: Nadav,
        Present live human beings are not the same as
        future live human beings.
        They are not equal.

        Today's 500 lives are precious.
        Too precious, to be slaughtered for the ransom,
        of a promise to save future lives,
        no matter the number.
        ===
        You present a target of innocents. Why?
        Why not, a target of those guilty?
        Why not, just Assad, and his Generals?

        Is it that the job would require Killing up close and personal.
        Is it that an attack upon the person of Assad, would
        bring retaliation upon Obama himself?
        ===
        On another note.

        Where did you get your medical training to allow you to diagnose the sickness,
        "and seeing as some of them are real nut jobs," and to prescribe the medicine,
        "to just take those advanced weapons systems out of the game completely
        by bombing them."

        Nadav, " those advanced weapons systems" are not sitting in the sun as targets.
        ===
        Otherwise?
        Avanced weapons systems "might find them turned on countries like
        Jordan, Israel, Turkey or what not."

        Nadav, consider this -- Might NOT. Assad doesn't need more enemies.
        ===
        "The civil war is already destabilizing all the neighboring countries."

        Nadav, there is NO evidence of that occurring, only complaints that
        housing and feeding great masses of Syrian refugees is expensive,
        and the great efforts of neighboring nations require international support.
        ===
        "Lebanon is particularly affected--its actually seen some fighting on its territory."

        Nadav, there is NO evidence of any Syrian Soldiers or Rebels attacking Lebanon.
        ===
        "And again, there's the Iranian issue." -- "Assad, an Iranian proxy,"

        Not hardly. You wouldn't want Assad to hear you say something like that.
        ===
        Iran, "a semi-stable country led by religious fanatics gaining access to nuclear weapons."

        Nadav, You've been listening to the United States government's propaganda machine,
        again.
        ===
        "What could possibly go wrong? "

        Nadav, they could put you in charge.
        • Sep 9 2013: Now you're just talking nonsense. I don't mean this to sound offensive, but do some research.

          Assad most defiantly is an Iranian proxy.
          Hezballah (the large Lebanese militia that fought alongside Assad for some time now) actually directly takes orders directly from Iran. Involvement in Syria was a horrifically bad more for Hezballah, they suffered heavy casualties and earned the ire of their own countrymen for involving Lebanon in the war--but they did it anyway because Iran (their primary financial patron and military supplier) told them to.
          There has been fighting in Lebanon. Terror attacks and rockets mostly, but also a few skirmishes past the border. There was also a terror attack or two in Turkey linked to the civil war, and the occasional rocket fire into Israel from Syria.

          Refugees also destabilize a country just fine if there are enough of them. They may not being doing anything but costing money to feed and house at the moment, but that changes at time passes.
          There is no way anyone can find a proper solution for so many refugees--they're counted in the millions. This leads to them being stuck in their temporary camps as permanent solutions, living in miserable conditions, and with all too many of them with nothing to loose. It doesn't take long for disease to spread like wildfire, and radical groups to start taking root.
          That's just the way of refugee camps, not perhaps at fault of the refugees, but fault is irrelevant.

          As for Iran, I'm listening to no one's propaganda machine. Look up their track record from the Iran-Iraq war if you want to get an idea of what they're willing to do. Its still the same regime--the elected government doesn't run the country, the Ayatollahs do.
          Its a theocracy with strong anti western leanings, and in development of a nuclear weapons program. You may have an easy time scoffing away at them on the other side of the Atlantic, but I don't have that luxury. A single nuclear warhead, and my county's finished.
  • Sep 8 2013: Is it Syria's or Russia's or China's or everybody's moral right, nay moral obligation to bomb Israel & the U.S. for using chemical weapons in Gaza and Fallujah?
    • Sep 8 2013: Actually, I was in the Israeli military around the time of the last two major bombing campaigns in Gaza. In one of the units that did a great deal of the bombing in fact. No chemical weapons in sight--unless you count tear gas I guess.

      I also rather doubt the US would use them in Fallujah. Chemical weapons are simply too unreliable--very dependent on the weather, and its easy for the wind to change and target something you didn't mean to. Honestly, there's a reason most modern militarizes don't use the stuff beyond morality or international law. High explosives and the occasional incendiary get the same job done in a more reliable manner.

      You'd honestly have to be pretty stupid to prefer chemical weapons over the conventional stuff--Assad only did it because he was trying to counterbalance Israel's unofficial nuclear deterrent. And it failed rather miserably at that; nukes make chemical weapons look like paint fumes.
  • thumb
    Sep 8 2013: Who is "we"?

    No doubt Assad deserves a response to the gassing of his people, as even the EU agrees. But US citizens have had enough of involvements in Arab wars, and Congress will rightly deny Obama the power to attack Syria.

    It is said, and correctly, that a rocket/bomb raid won't help to solve the problems of Syria. But it's interesting that Obama - who has been exceptionally clumsy in explaining his rationale - agrees with that, and does not offer the raid as a solution. Rather, he sees it as a punitive measure against Assad to show the world's condemnation of the use of chemical/biological warfare agents. He fears that if such an event goes unpunished, other repressive regimes will lose any inhibitions against using gas. Unfortunately, an attack by the US, which the rest of the world refuses to support, will hardly show the world's condemnation.

    The US role ought to be to get the international community to make a sharp reaction against Assad's use of poison gas, but a solo US strike should be off the table.
    • Sep 9 2013: As I recall Obama's statements regarding "credibility", there was an implication to his words that both the United States AND the entire UN were in danger of losing credibility UNLESS some intervention was made into Syria.

      And so.... I see the measures currently being debated (whether the U.S. should strike military and government targets in Syria) as a sort of concession. In the absence of UN approval or involvement, that is. I think President Obama believes the United Nations should be the body to take action on this issue, and he is only assuming responsibility for it because the UN has failed to do so.

      But he knows all too well the consequences military action like this can have within the U.S.. Therefore, he seeks approval -- from Congress and from the American people, both. This is tough stuff.

      ...Am I alone in this take-away?
  • thumb
    Sep 8 2013: try ,should we kill some lives ? without to tell *for to save some others ,especially don't tell me *who deserve it- plz ,the wrong still wrong and the truth it's always hard if only we say*it's wrong ,the truth save everyone anytime ,anywhere and it will never change.
  • Sep 7 2013: george, thank you
    Did you have time to look up some of those
    "off the top of my head" offerings?
    You might be surprised.

    Senator Dodd seemed a good choice.

    There just wasn't much to choose from, from either party.
    I don't yet see anyone on the horizon.

    Janet Napolitano will be shortly making her way into a campaign.
    I fear her. Just that. Strange to feel that way about anyone.
    I do not even know her. But shortly after she took over at DHS
    I read a notice from her office. It scared me. It really scared me.
    At first I didn't believe it, and then I did. I wish I could relate it to you
    but I cannot remember the content, only the occurrence.
  • Sep 7 2013: Nadav,
    Your scenarios assume we are at WAR.
    We are NOT AT WAR.

    Obama is trying to put together a Partnership
    to Start a WAR against Syria, when in fact he
    has been running guns to the Rebels and Training
    them in Weapons Tactics.

    The United States may use many of the designed
    WAR procedures you've outlined, but cannot do so
    without the United Nation's Security Council's approval,
    except in cases of Self Defense.

    Obama advocates Armed Aggression. Not UN approval.
    Surely Nadav, you know this. Why do you ignore it.

    If Obama, in some sort of desperate haste, decides to
    side step both the US Congress, and UN Security Council,
    he might find himself defending himself in a World Court.
    ===
    Our president was originally elected by a popular vote.
    ...He had no experience running any type of business
    or having conquered great problems.
    ...An On the Job Trainee. Long vacations and Speeches.

    Obama's job was to keep the seat warm until the nation
    had replenished the Treasury, and recovered from the
    Wall Street Banks and Housing fiasco that took down
    the world's investor base.

    After 4 years, He was re-elected by another popular vote.
    Not because of what he had accomplished, but because
    ...the other party had no one of value to oppose him.

    The On the Job Training didn't take. Sometimes it doesn't.
    Not everyone can be great at what they do. That is why
    ...many large businesses fail.

    Obama's ability to select the right people for the right job
    ...is suspect. He changes repeatedly.
    He also shows a lack of expertise in Foreign Relations.
    ...Great Britain just proved that by saying NO. Twice, NO.
    His Healthcare plan is full of holes and overly expensive.
    His NSA and DHS formula of spying-surveillances of citizens
    ...of the US and the World was until now, his biggest mistake.

    Today playing WAR Games will only kill and maim innocent,
    men, women, and wee babies, and cause the United States
    to become hated by all.
    • Sep 7 2013: If you scroll down and read some of what I'm replied other people, you'll find my opinion of the UN. The gist of it is that its weak and useless, passing resolutions that are no more than words on paper unless a superpower decides to enforce them. It also requires consensus from Russia, the US, the UK, China, and France for its security council to authorize anything--which makes it doubly useless. Again, the Russians are actually selling Assad weapons, to show how much they care for innocent lives.

      Obama doesn't need any experience waging war either.
      He has generals and an entire command chain full of officers for that--this isn't the classical era, national leaders aren't expected to be military commanders while running the country.

      This isn't about the US coming under attack and defending itself, true.
      Think of it like this. You're in your house, minding your own business, when suddenly you start hearing your neighbor beating up his wife, even threatening to kill her. Now, because the analogy is to the international stage, there is no police to call (the UN can do nothing but talk).
      Do you just stand there? Or do you take action? Neither is an act of self defense, you're not at war with him, as you've put it. The man was threatening his wife, not you.
      • Sep 7 2013: Nadav Tropp
        I answered your last paragraph last night.

        His wife may have started it. No matter what started it.
        Knock the door, and ask them both to be quiet.
        Action? Other than that, none is needed.
        If fearful do nothing.

        ...If the man or his wife Kill or Maim the other, the society
        ...in which you and they both live has rules to handle the situation.
        ...Rules determined by a rich history of similar issues.
        ===
        Would you Kill or Maim your neighbor?
        By what authority.
        Are you a God?
        ===
        With ...Rules determined by a rich history of similar issues.
        The United States is obligated to the United Nation's Security Council.
        They cannot wage WAR without United Nation authorization.
        Unless, of course, in self defense.
        To do otherwise would be armed aggression.

        That is why the United States has a Department of Defense.
        To persecute others in Defense against armed aggression.
        But unfortunately that Department has been co-opted to be
        ...used as a "Threat to further Political Designs of Obama and
        ...past president's".
        ...Illegal as hell is Hot.
        ===
        Obama has not passed his ON THE JOB TRAINING for his elected office.
        ...After almost 9 years counting his non-stop campaigning at the
        ...college and university levels, he still cannot pass.

        Obama has a rich history of changing his Administrators, and his Generals,
        and Admirals.
        ...Some of the reasons given, are re-runs of the past.
        ... It is like watching old movies.
        ===
        I agree with your one statement.
        "This isn't about the US coming under attack and defending itself, true."
        ===
        For the rest of what you write --
        ...Your thinking cap is on backwards Nadav.
        ===
        Nadav, Your first submissions were much better than these last ones.
        Are you the same person that submitted all the comments? I wonder.