The Words That Kill
Last comment by 22 7 months, 1 week ago.

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The last few months we have heard quite a lot about red lines and leading from behind but very little thought has been given to the consequences that would necessarily follow from these homely,seemingly neutral phrases.This is not mere quibbling. The drawing of red lines casts diplomacy to the winds and severely restricts all actions short of war, not a problem for the John Boltons and the Irving Kristols but a very real problem for those who would actually be called upon to prosecute the no fly zone, to inact the surgical strikes or whatever euphemism that serves to blur the reality of state sanctioned killing.We are asked to believe that killing is somehow a humanitarian gesture --- 0rwell is probably spinning in in his grave. We are also asked to discount the very real possibility that the FSA or Al Queda or Mosad or any of the many militant groups in Syria were the actual perpetrators of the Sarin attack. Assad is probably the devil in human form ,but he is also no fool and since he knows that the use of poison gas would invite foreign intervention, it is doubtful that he would risk the endgame for limited tactical gains.And what of red lines anyway? The term was first popularized by Nenjamin Netanyahu of the far right Likud party to serve Israeli interests and not American interests. The very notion of red lines is predicated upon American military support, American blood ,American treasure. And this very same red line which seems to disable logic or national interest or the will of the American people,or considered military opinion only underscores our unhealthy relationship with Israel and the power of AIPAC.

Syria is not Iraq or Libya or even Kosovo so we cannot expect an easy victory. We will not be bombing a dispirited rabble without an Air Force as in Libya. we will not be bombing a demoralized conscript army armed with Soviet castoffs as in Iraq, we will be fighting an enemy backed by the Russians,the Chinese, the Iranians, and the Shia crescent. We only succeed in deepening the newly emerging Cold War and we will add to a growing list of enemies eager for our destruction.

If other arguments fail, the economic arguments should be persuasive. Each cruise missile we fire will cost one and a half million dollars. We will fire missiles at abandoned warehouses, at telephone poles camouflaged as missiles, and some at nothing at all. The Syrians are not fools and will have ample time to move valuable assets and advance warning from the Russian and Chinese warships in the Mediterranean. New war will cost additional billions-- money that would be much better spend reversing our painful slide into the Third World.

Finally, if we are to claim American Exceptionalism, we must act accordingly.The Syrian adventure which is rapidly unfolding , our drone war in Pakistan and Yemen and our ill-conceived wars in Afghanistan and Iraq resemble naked imperialism more that nation building or any of the other euphemisms the Neocon pen. Sometimes the best use of power is the restraint of power. The President should lead from behind if that means forsaking pointless war.


Latest Activity: Sep 06, 2013 at 7:17 PM


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Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Friday, Sep 06, 2013 at 19:26 PM

some good points, some not so good. I will think on this.

Passinthru commented on Friday, Sep 06, 2013 at 23:12 PM

International crises should not be treated as a poker game, waiting for one side to blink.

Well defined red lines are essential to enable a pause in the escalation of a crisis to determine if war is avoidable or inevitable, e.g. the invasion of Poland was the red line that Germany crossed in 1939.

theflyonthewall commented on Saturday, Sep 07, 2013 at 08:02 AM

The Cold War was a very long poker game. Replace " weapons of mass destruction " with "red lines" ,and you have written the sequel for Rise of the Jingos: Iraq Pt II -- maybe we could get Sylvester Stallone to play the part of John McCain.

Passinthru commented on Saturday, Sep 07, 2013 at 10:57 AM

The Cold War was no poker game, the nuclear red line was drawn by both sides and neither side stepped over it.

A classic example of how red lines should be employed in order to avoid war.

theflyonthewall commented on Saturday, Sep 07, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Nuclear weapons were never used because they simply are not practical weapons just as the Germans did not use poison gas in WW II. Had the Russians not stepped back from their red line during the Cuban Missile Crisis my theory would have been tested.

The Domino Theory is yet another example of how inflexible dogma can lead to war. We should have passed on both Korea and Vietnam, given the inconclusive results of the Korean War and the fact that nationalism has proven to be stronger than communist ideology , as evidenced by the Vietnam/China war in 1979 .

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Saturday, Sep 07, 2013 at 14:50 PM

Fly, I disagree with your assessment of Korea and Vietnam. The Truman Doctrine was good policy. It showed our resolve to resist communism. To have 'passed" on those wars would have been a mistake.

Passinthru commented on Saturday, Sep 07, 2013 at 19:34 PM

theflyonthewall, nuclear weapons were considered practical enough in 1945 when they brought WWII to an end – and, what?? the Germans did not use poison gas in WWII?? Maybe you did not hear of Auschwitz.. Treblinka.. Sobibor.. Buchenwald..... ??

And during the “Cuban Missile Crisis” the only thing that prevented the unleashing of MAD was the red line drawn by the US. (By the way the Russians did not “step back” from “their” red line but chose not to cross the one drawn by Kennedy - a demonstration of how the red line principle works when backed up by a strong President).

theflyonthewall commented on Saturday, Sep 07, 2013 at 20:24 PM

Everyone knows about the atrocities committed by the NAZI's. I was not referring to that , and you know it. I was referring to the use of poison gas as a weapon of war.

Kennedy was quite reckless and overreacted in order to appear strong after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. We came within a hairs breath of a very hot war over something that was best left to diplomats -- withdrawing nuclear weapons from Turkey which was done anyway after all of the saber rattling histrionics.

WW II was the last war In which nuclear weapons made any sense at all. The impracticality of the tactical use nuclear weapons has also occurred to Pentagon planners and that is why weapons such as Atomic Annie ( nuclear cannon ) and the even more absurd Davy Crockett ( nuclear tipped 75 mm recoilless rifle) were shelved long ago.

And ,of course, there is always the element of irrationality frequently fueled by red lines or other intellectual straight jackets. Thank God that we have had enough sense to put aside the proscribed thinking that is a part of the red line metaphor and have been able to avoid a nuclear exchange.

theflyonthewall commented on Saturday, Sep 07, 2013 at 20:48 PM

Breadth Sheesh! I 'm sure tired of fighting with this blasted machine!

22 commented on Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 15:37 PM

Fly here are two words that I feel are very important to why we were held off in Iraq, Korea, Vietnam etc.. "Limited Warfare"

22 commented on Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 15:45 PM

I can think of one word that is the greatest weapon in gorilla warfare "Diplomacy"

22 commented on Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 16:02 PM

I feel Russia and China view Syria as another theater of "agitation and propaganda"

22 commented on Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 16:16 PM

The only thing that motivates these two countries action in the middle east is power or "oil" it has nothing to do with diplomacy. The communist agenda consumes the very innocent of it own people. If they treat there own people as slaves and machines then who are they to be diplomatic? There diplomacy is nothing more than a looming threat. Only emotionaly moved by force unlike the USA who are emotionaly moved by Oprah.

Passinthru commented on Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 20:11 PM

Trying to remember the last time we were involved in gorilla warfare, must have been some time ago.

22 commented on Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 21:19 PM

It happens.

Passinthru commented on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 09:24 AM

Maybe the “Planet of the Apes” crisis?

22 commented on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 19:50 PM

Garrila* it happens, call it experience I do...


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