Nina Bobina

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Noface
Nina Bobina
Posted 7 months ago
Should we bomb Syria?
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".
Noface
Nina Bobina
Posted 7 months ago
Should we bomb Syria?
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?
Noface
Nina Bobina
Posted 7 months ago
Should we bomb Syria?
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?
Noface
Nina Bobina
Posted 7 months ago
Should we bomb Syria?
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!
Noface
Nina Bobina
Posted 7 months ago
Should we bomb Syria?
Public opinion should never be the only tool by which decisions are made. It remains a founding principle of democracy that the population has a voice in the decision-making process; it is not only right, but necessary that this continues to be true. However, the population entrusts elected and appointed individuals to make governing decisions on their behalf, precisely because not all decisions can be put to popular vote. It wouldn't be efficient, nor would it be right, in all cases -- but more importantly, it can be downright dangerous!! "Nothing is more important to a democracy than a well-informed electorate." (I'm quoting a fictional character, created by Aaron Sorkin. But the sentiment has its origins with Thomas Jefferson.) ...I don't trust that the American people are well informed enough regarding the context of this question (whether to intervene in Syria) to make the right decision on this gravely important matter. And I start from a place of self-criticism and skepticism, when I say so. I also distrust our news outlets; I don't expect any of the supposed "experts" presented on our news programs to help educate the American people in any significant way. Which is a shame; journalism is truly in a state of decline.
Noface
Nina Bobina
Posted 7 months ago
Should we bomb Syria?
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.
Noface
Nina Bobina
Posted 7 months ago
Should we bomb Syria?
I sometimes grieve how ignorant the general populace (American citizens) are about global geopolitics. Yet I admit a certain degree of willful ignorance, even on my own part... Can anyone clarify the relationships between Syria (Assad, the Syrian government, Syrian culture, and the Syrian economy) with neighboring countries in the region? or with Russia, China, France, and other UN Nations? Perhaps an historical overview? I, for one, would like to understand whether hobbling the Assad regime may have some positive/beneficial impact on U.S. and/or U.N. interests in the Middle East. Is there an anticipated domino effect, or anything? Long-term goals? (I'd like to see this discussion turn more toward an educational and rational purpose.)
Noface
Nina Bobina
Posted 7 months ago
Should we bomb Syria?
I think the assumed calculation at work here is such that.... 1- Hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians have already been killed by the Assad regime, and 2- Hundreds of thousands (if not millions) MORE Syrian civilians are in danger of being killed by the Assad regime 3- The use of chemical warfare has both immediate (suffering and death) and long-term (environmental contamination, negative influence on quality of life, negative influence on local economies) impacts that the world community would likely wish to avoid. versus 1- An estimated 10 - 100 Syrian civilians likely to be injured or killed by targeted bombings 2- An unknown estimate of Syrian military and government personnel likely to be injured or killed by targeted bombings. 3- "Fallout" from the proposed bombings will be relatively contained (will not spread contamination by wind, water, soil, or contagion), and local recovery may be possible within a relatively short time. Faced with those numbers, the argument "for" seems convincing. I find Nadav's comments on the subject enlightening (especially since he is writing from an international perspective, rather than from an American perspective, and also because he may himself be endangered by the threat of war in the area). But I can't deny having my share of reservations. I don't know whether I can support the idea of targeted strikes to Syria, because I continue to be concerned that after such intervention, our leaders may commit resources to "following through" in some way. I sense that the American people, my fellow citizens and myself included, wish to avoid repeating any mistakes of earlier Middle Eastern conflicts in which the United States has intervened... In wartime, there are no guarantees.