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Should the U.S. bomb Syria?

Displaying poll results.
Absolutely not.
  14835 votes / 48%
No, but there's a reasonable case to be made.
  7002 votes / 23%
I'm not sure.
  2738 votes / 9%
Yes, but there's a reasonable case not to.
  2194 votes / 7%
  1958 votes / 6%
Where is Syria?
  1690 votes / 5%
30417 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
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Should the U.S. bomb Syria?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2013 @11:01AM (#44797539)

    The situation is complicated: Syria shares a huge border with Turkey, our most important NATO ally in the region. Israel is not that far away. Oil runs through and under Syria, most of it not actually bound for the US. We also kind of set a precedent in Libya that if rebels cry enough, and more importantly bleed enough, they can call in international support for free*. (Terms and conditions may apply.) Chemical weapons have also been used, but by whom is an open question.

    The civil war in Syria has been a clusterfuck from the start. What began as peaceful protesters getting shot by security forces burgeoned into a full-blown revolution, with the Syrian army so hopelessly incompetent it can't even keep the equally incompetent rebels out of Damascus but equally powerful enough to keep them from winning. It's been a war of attrition for over two years now and shows no signs of stopping. The war would have ended a year ago if the rebels hadn't been given weapons by the West -- rebels that have been acknowleged to have links to every terrorist group you'd care to mention (this is more and less of a problem than you'd think: the terrorists also happen to be the only civilians in the Middle East trained to fight). Meanwhile Russia is giving Syria weapons too, so the whole thing is devolving into one of those Cold War African brush wars that were just proxy battles for foreign powers. It's kind of funny Obama decides now is the time to have moral outrage over the issue when Syria is not a signatory of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which means they can do whatever they want with the stuff. They're not breaking the law with chemical weapons. Chemical weapons are indiscriminate: everyone agrees how terrible nerve gas is but no one acted to stop Syria before they acquired one of the world's largest stockpiles of the stuff.

    On a humanitarian front, things have been equally terrible: refugees have been overwhelming nearby countries and that's really pissing them off. The suffering has been tremendous.

    Everyone agrees that the civil war has to end and soon, but no one is willing to do something to decisively end the stalemate. The US is proposing to resolve the question with military action, but as Congress has remarked, what good is an airstrike going to do if your end goal is regime change? They know that this is going to turn into something even bigger than Iraq, and even worse: Syria has allies. No one has really given diplomacy a chance, and all sides seem interested in letting Syria bleed even more while they hem and haw at the prospect of getting involved. The Saudis are even offering money to get this over with before oil prices rise to the point everyone switches to green power.

    Now that the US has proposed military action it can't back down without being completely humiliated on the world stage, and Congress is very much aware of the decline of American influence. I would not be surprised if the airstrikes are authorized, with the condition that no troops be sent to the area. Turkey is more than willing to take the fight to the Syrians, I say let them: give aid to the French, Turkish and Israeli forces and just let them have at it.

  • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Monday September 09, 2013 @11:56AM (#44798261)

    The problem with chemical weapons is that they are the start of a slippery slope. Sarin -> VX -> (bio or nuclear). Chemical vs conventional is an arbitrary line, but one that is pretty well accepted internationally.

    IF the UN weapons inspectors decide that the Assad regime was responsible for the chemical weapons use, then I think a punitive strike is reasonable. The goal would not be to help the rebels (I don't want the US involved in a civil war), but to punish the regime for using illegal weapons. I say this with the understanding that a US strike would not make things better - that isn't the goal, the goal is to prevent them from becoming worse in the future.

    IF the UN weapons inspectors do not conclude that the Assad regime was responsible, then I would not support a strike.

    If there is no strong response to the use of chemical weapons, then I would expect to see them used again and more extensively.

    Some people will object that past US actions show that we are no better. I won't argue with that, but form where we are now (absent time machine) we need to figure out what the best response is NOW. With Russia blocking any UN action, I don't see any other way to discourage future use of chemical weapons, and eventually worse.

    BTW: I support military action against ANY country that uses WMDs, even those that are nominally our allies.

    BTW: I do NOT support drone strikes, invasions, target killings etc by the US or allies. If I knew how to stop them I would.

  • Re:De javu (Score:5, Interesting)

    by M1FCJ (586251) on Monday September 09, 2013 @12:21PM (#44798645) Homepage

    Germany's Intelligent Agency has already proved that Assad himself had nothing to do with it, although others in the chain had a finger in the button.

    Of course, NSA's currently busy bugging our comms and they had no time to listen to Assad's own comms.

  • by dywolf (2673597) on Monday September 09, 2013 @12:25PM (#44798689)

    (the anti american /. crowd can sharpen their mod knives, it's ok, I've got karma to burn)

    This is my view as well. We used to take a moral stance against bad guys. Lately all we care about is ourselves. The ultimate hypocrisy is the large numbers of right wingers and conservative who were all jumped up to go into Iraq because of his "WMDs", because of how he treated his people, because it "was the right thing to do", etc etc. Simply put, America does not, or didnt use to, abide bullies.

    And now, they are completely against helping the Syrians. I am absolutely convinced its because there's a Black Democrat in office who says "go", and they feel they must oppose him in any and every way possible. That or the racism against helping brown people who worship the wrong the God (intentional phrasing).

    And it doesn't help that ignorant people are conflating helping Syria with helping Al Queda, ignoring that Al Queda is simply there to try and take over a weakened nation; they arent there to supoprt the rebels, they just happen to be fighting the same guy because Assad had the audacity to institute some secular and progressive reforms. Assad's mistake was begining a program of progressive reforms in some areas, without allowing his people the expansion of freedom. And then when they spoke up about it, his reposnse was give em a lead injection.

    I cannot abide that, and I will not change my stance simply because a different President said it, or a different group is the one suffering.
    Supporting the rebels is not supporting Al Queda. Dismissing it as merely a civil war, not our concern, etc, is hypocritical and un-American.

  • by cheetah (9485) on Monday September 09, 2013 @12:50PM (#44799051)

    "Gridlock" isn't the issue here, the public isn't behind this action. It's looking increasingly likely that this resolution will be defeated in the Senate(which is controlled the Presidents party).

    The House leadership has already said they will not bring a vote until after the Senate has voted. If the Senate votes "no" the House won't even bring this resolution up for a vote(as it will already be dead at that point).

    Far from being "Gridlock" this is looking like this will be VERY direct action from the Congress. It just won't be what the President says that he wants. I do agree with you, his actions really suggests that he doesn't want to do this at all... and it's baffling to me why he would spend the political capital to try to push this issue when he really doesn't want to bomb them.

  • Re:No. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2013 @01:45PM (#44799959)

    Benghazi? Oh you mean that totally made up crisis created by the republicans in an effort to create a controversy for the administration.

    If the republicans really cared that much they would have limited the US engagement to Afghanistan, not entered into an unneeded war in Iraq, and not perpetuate the idea that the US was having a war against Muslims which created the tensions that led up to Benghazi in the first place.

    On the other hand if the republicans really care that much about Benghazi then why the fuck are they more concerned about the deaths of 4 Americans that understood the risks, while doing everything they can to not mention the 4,400+ American deaths and huge amount of collateral damage to civilians from the Iraq war and the total lack of care for the returning veterans?

  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <> on Monday September 09, 2013 @02:28PM (#44800533) Journal

    Syria needs help, not a beating. What you said is fine as far as it goes, but you don't talk about why civil war has erupted in Syria. If we don't understand or care about the causes, then whatever action we take, if any, is very unlikely to accomplish anything good.

    Syria has had severe drought since 2006, possibly caused by Climate Change. They turned to irrigation from wells to wait out the dry spell, but that didn't buy them enough time. The water level dropped too low for more pumping. Crop failures are around 75% to 85%. Farmers had to do something. Many left their land and poured into the cities, where there were no jobs to be had. The Syrian government has done a terrible job of handling the crisis. Early in the drought, they sold a bunch of surplus wheat they had stored, wheat that they now desperately need to feed themselves. They treated farmers simply asking for help as subversive troublemakers, and have arrested many. That treatment is what touched off the violence.

    For an outsider like the US to come in and start moralizing over chemical weapons, threatening to lob a few bombs, is no help at all. The Assad government should get the boot, but that's the least of Syria's problems. They're vicious and incompetent, but they didn't cause the mess though they certainly aggravated it immensely. Suppose the US could surgically strike so well that we completely destroy all the chemical weapons Syria has, without killing anyone, and we did that. The civil war would barely notice, and would rage on. Same if US strikes managed to kill Assad and break his government's hold on power. And same if we established a No Fly Zone. What the world should do is either take over, send lots of food to stabilize things, then get to work on more permanent solutions, or the world should mind its own business. Apart from the likely insurmountable problem of coming to a consensus on how to run Syria, the first course of action is very costly, so it's not happening. Trying to stop the violence with threats or even action is not going to work.

    Regardless of what the world does in Syria, one problem we all should address is Climate Change.

  • Good campaign slogan (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Laxori666 (748529) on Monday September 09, 2013 @02:37PM (#44800661) Homepage
    "Vote for Obama! Slightly less hotheaded than his opposition."
  • Fucking Obama (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gatkinso (15975) on Monday September 09, 2013 @04:33PM (#44802267)

    I voted for this jack ass so that this sort of shit (my country bombing other countries) would stop.

    Silly me.

  • Re:They warned us (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <> on Monday September 09, 2013 @06:23PM (#44803317) Homepage Journal
    Thank God we have a Nobel Peace Prize winner in charge of such things.
  • by archer, the (887288) on Monday September 09, 2013 @09:35PM (#44804429)
    I think your metaphor may be a little off. With Syria, it feels more like I'm walking down the street and happen upon two adults duking it out. I call the police. Then, one of the combatants pulls out a gun. I also have a gun. Do I let the armed fighter shoot the opponent? Do I shoot the armed fighter? Either way, I do not know who the "good guy" is. If I shoot the armed combatant, the unarmed guy (who might be the real bad guy) might pick up the loose weapon and shoot me. If I leave them alone, the armed fighter could shoot his opponent and then me.

    I think I would be happy with Syria giving up its chemical weapons to international control.
  • Re:No. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ChrisMaple (607946) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @12:10AM (#44805025)

    Veteran care is something both parties fail at.

    Deaths of American soldiers, while bad, are part of the acknowledged risk that soldiers sign up for. The reasons that the 4 deaths in Benghazi are a scandal include that an ambassador and his staff don't sign up for life-threatening duty, and that there was a good chance that they would still be alive if Obama had acted. In fact, there's good reason to believe Obama wanted Stevens dead: Stevens was involved as an arms running agent for the US with Obama's knowledge, and Obama hoped the secrets would die with Stevens. That makes Obama guilty before and after the fact of first degree murder of a US ambassador, and guilty of treason.
    It appears that there was even more illegal and vile activity going on that remains hidden, and as bits of it turn up the issue will remain alive, and properly so.

In case of injury notify your superior immediately. He'll kiss it and make it better.


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