The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The difference between Obama going to war with Syria and Bush going to war with Iraq

is that Bush had more respect for the UN, and more respect for Congress, getting from both something which could at least be called approval. Obama isn’t even bothering.

The similarity is that both wars appear to be based on lies: Iraq had no WMD (and was not involved in 9/11), and it is highly unlikely that Syria used  chemical weapons on its own people,  not because Assad is a nice guy (he’s a torturing scumbag) but because they don’t  need to, they’re winning the war.

Obama’s just another war criminal, like Bush.  The Libyan war, whether you agree with it or not, was a straight up violation of the Constitution and even the War Powers Act.  He kills far more people with drones than Bush ever did, and he claims rights Bush didn’t claim, like the right to, on his own authority, kill American citizens without them having a trial, facing their accusers and so on.  Obama has taken virtually every bad Bush precedent and made it worse.

This is a transparent “Gulf of Tonkin” style false-flag attack, flimsy on the face, with the majority of Americans, French and British citizens opposed to war,  and Obama and Blair will use it as their excuse for war anyway.

And to be really clear, this is the exact same crime that Nazis were hung for at Nuremburg: the crime of unprovoked warmaking.

(Edit: Removed Del Ponte quote removed, as it’s from May.  My apologies.  Nonetheless, I sincerely doubt that Assad used chemical weapons, as, again, he has nothing to gain from it.)


The Real Reason the US and UK will attack Syria


Twain’s War Prayer


  1. Peter Cowan

    I think you meant Obama and Cameron, not Blair, but same difference, right?

  2. Swopa

    Need to check your facts a little bit better, Ian. The Carla del Ponte quote — and, in fact, the entire original article in your link — is from May (about an entirely different incident, obviously):

  3. John Puma

    Assad IS a torturing scum bag, having sub-contracted such “service” for the USA/CIA.

    Perhaps Obama has decided to attack because the GAO has determined Assad’s torture fees were too high?

  4. Celsius 233

    @ John Puma
    August 28, 2013

    The U.S. has quite a history of using despots for their vile ways and then turning on them when they are no longer useful; Diem, Ortega, Gaddafi, Saddam, Assad, etc…
    I’m surprised anybody will work for the U.S. today; the odds really suck.

  5. Ian Welsh

    Thanks Swopa, corrected and annotated.

  6. Formerly T-Bear

    @ 233ºC

    That MO is ‘eliminating the witnesses’ to the crime.

    Its only solution is to curtail the criminal.

    Catching criminals is like catching birds, it is done by putting salt on their tails.

    Syria may well be the place that happens.

  7. Celsius 233

    @ Formerly T-Bear
    August 28, 2013@ 233ºC
    Catching criminals is like catching birds, it is done by putting salt on their tails.
    Syria may well be the place that happens.
    Indeed; I think this isn’t going to end well for the U.S.
    The player I can’t figure is Russia.
    There is a lot they could do and how far are they willing to go?
    Conversely there is much they cannot do.
    Does Syria have the advanced version of the S-300? A very capable system against drones, cruise missiles, and all aircraft, both fighters and bombers.
    Many questions and I think regardless; this won’t be forgotten or forgiven…

  8. Steve

    s/kill American citizens with them having a trial/kill American citizens withOUT them having a trial/

    unless my reading comprehension skills need coffee.

  9. Sam Adams meets Adam Smith

    War is hope.

  10. Formerly T-Bear

    If the claim that SARIN (weapons grade chemical battlefield substance) was used in the attack in Damascus, Syria, it should be noted that the toxicity of weapons grade would leave anyone not fully protected providing assistance with fatal exposure themselves to the substance. Look closely at the provided pictures and exposed skin is seen everywhere without noticeable effect upon the caregivers. There are commercial insecticides that contain organophosphates that have similar effects as Sarin upon the nervous system. Consult wikipedia for a full description of both terms and their effects to see the difference, mainly in toxicity.

    Remember that the United States has combat training units supporting the rebels only as far away as Jordan, nefarious Israeli military and intelligence supplies are even closer at hand. By refusing to wait until expert observation and investigation is complete is clear sign there are forces who already know whose fingerprints are all over these weapons and are willing to destroy the evidence, no matter how loudly they may yell and wail for action. Do how allow such factors to remain in any government service even if impeachment is unpleasant. This same tactic was used to initiate the crimes in Iraq.

  11. someofparts

    Maybe the Russians are busy with this –

    and have better things to do with their time/resources than flap around like fools.

  12. someofparts

    uh oh –

    You know, the Confederacy was sure it could win the war. Just sayin’ …

  13. amspirnational

    John Puma

    Assad tried to assist the US in this torture only due to the local threat from anti-Baathist jihadis, right? Not so much to appease the US government? Innocents doubtlessly suffered, but is it the same degree of crime as, for example the recent revelation that the US helped Saddam inflict nerve gas on Iranians in the Iraq-Iran war? On the one hand we have a local leader employing
    perhaps excessive force to stanch local threats. On the other hand we have an Empire extending its war crimes across the globe, to encourage Israel’s enemies to bleed each other by any means, for war profit, and for the sheer joy of imperialism having nothing to do with maintaining a decent standard of living at home.

  14. amspirnational

    Let me elaborate, if the subjects were people neither resident of nor near Syria, nor affiliated with any group which could be said to threaten Syrian stability, Assad was unquestionably committing serious unjustified crimes. The Canadian victim Arar certainly qualifies as an innocent.

    Ackerman in the Danger Room named a total of seven others “sent to Syria” without specifying
    where they were resident, nor establishing their political affiliation. So the volume of criminality here is unclear.

  15. KB

    Bush tried and failed to get UNSC approval, he rather disingenously claimed that an earlier resolution already authorized the invasion but then why ask for the second one? It is true though that Bush did at least try to pretend that he had UN authorization, Obama doesn’t care if he even has that much of a fig leaf.

  16. John Puma

    To amspirnational:

    I refer to information like this:

    In regards Syria’s role, i really don’t know, nor care about, who contacted whom first or Assad’s ultimate motivation for “participating” in the empire-sponsored program.

    I assume, as the article above, that the reported gas attack was “a transparent ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ style false-flag attack, flimsy on the face, with the majority of Americans, French and British citizens opposed to war, and Obama and Blair will use it as their excuse for war anyway.”

    It’s not at clear what your riff on “outsiders” is about. The whole “rebel force” is outsiders handled by the CIA and hired by local state enemies of Syria … and the US, too, I assume, but this will not be confirmed for years, probably on the verge of then current atrocity-in-making.

  17. Celsius 233

    Well, well, the last 48 hours has proved revelatory; both the UK and the US have had to tone down the rhetoric; the public won’t have it.
    And the assholes in charge know it!
    Now, I’m not an enthusiast, but it seems there may be a glimmer of hope…

  18. amspirnational

    John Puma

    I can’t find my use of “outsiders” so I am unclear as well about your meaning. The United States has no proximate threat, however, geographically. Assad might have calculated he did.

    Since I advocate the removal of US military bases in Europe and the Middle East, I obviously contrast the interests of the Nation with those of the Empire. Although I suppose you caould call me a theoretical “soft imperialist” in that if we left Europe and the Middle East, I would
    not argue against a presence in the Orient. Since, however, our ruling class is composed of
    people who have no intention of freeing Europe or Palestine, I would hope they lose it all.

    I agree completely with your characterization of the rebel force.

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