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No Intervention In Syria

14 May

No More Assad'sAli Gharib makes an articulate case against intervention in Syria – and, honestly, it breaks my heart.

The Libya example is in many ways illuminating: it was a classic case of the “slippery slope of escalated military involvement”—otherwise known as mission creep. The narrowly defined U.N. no-fly zone quickly morphed into offensive military airstrikes aimed at bringing down the regime. Qatar’s arms shipments ended up in the hands of extremists just as their arms to Syria were, until recently when the West—namely, the C.I.A.—stepped in to facilitate vetting. (“They say they’re able to get the humanitarian aid to the right people but they can’t get the arms to the right people,” McCain said on CNN. But of course the right targets of humanitarian aid are just people in general, extremist or otherwise, so long as they don’t hoard the supplies.)

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“A Big Mess Now”

3 May

tracey sheltonTracey Shelton and Peter gelling raise the issue whether the Syria government has deployed sarin gas or tear gas against civilians.

Looking at video and photos obtained by GlobalPost at the scene, experts say the spent canister found in Younes’ house and the symptoms displayed by the victims are inconsistent with a chemical weapon such as sarin gas, which is known to be in Syria’s arsenal. Sarin is typically delivered using artillery shells or spray tanks, not in the grenade-like device found in this Aleppo attack and in other similar attacks reported in recent days.

Watch the full, unedited video here

While analysts have not been able to identify the canister, they said tear gas, some kind of generated smoke, as well as any number of chemicals found in military munitions and devices, could also have been responsible. Chemicals used for riot control are not prohibited by the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.

In recent years, in other countries in the Middle East where security forces used tear gas on protesters, witnesses reported seeing victims foam at the mouth, convulse and twitch — the same symptoms seen in the Syrian victims.

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Bitches And Shills For Syria

2 May

Syria chemical weaponThe Onion is now America’s “bellwhether“.

…The Onion is not exactly becoming a comedic arm of Bill Kristol–style neoconservatism or the liberal interventionism of Anne-Marie Slaughter. Nevertheless, its shift on Syria is notable, if only because the publication often serves as a bellwether of elite attitudes. Its Syria pieces have been very funny and well executed, but the reason they pack an emotional punch is because they rely on the presumption of a shared belief—on the part of both the audience and the authors—that of course the United States should be doing more in Syria. As the administration reportedly weighs new steps aimed at ousting Bashar al-Assad, the question of how this decision is portrayed in mass-media outlets—even satirical ones—is very much worth watching.

Well, here’s how Jon Stewart portrayed it.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said Sunday that the U.S. should intervene because it has never sat back while thousands of civilians were killed by regimes.

“Thank you,” Stewart said sarcastically. “Well, obviously except for, you know, Rwanda. And Darfur, and Bosnia, and Cambodia — point taken, point taken. We as America have never let something like that happen before — in Syria with this particular Assad.”

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