The Syria question

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  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    Aug. 31, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    Bottom line - an International law - outlawing the use of chemical weapons has been violated. Who is going to make the guilty pay for violating an international law? If such a violation is ignored and nothing is done, will the problem go away, without future consequences?

  • rnoble Pendleton, OR
    Aug. 30, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    I have wondered a long time why people don't push the fighters out of the neighborhood to avoid being the victims of strikes against the fighters. It must be because they have neither power nor will to do so. Thus it seems reasonable to decide that fighters are "hiding" in the neighborhoods as protection. Little kids do that all the time when they stand behind momma's skirts to peer out at the strangeness around them.

    So what can be done? Maybe the "authorities" should round up all the people and truck them off somewhere for safety because any that refused to go would obviously be fighters and as such "legal" targets. What an outcry that would cause.

    It is a war; unpleasant and undesirable but still a war. We should stay out of it and also quit trying to establish our version of rights. There is a legitimate government that is resisting overthrow and we needn't interfere in rhetoric or participation. Obama was wrong in establishing the "red line in the sand" and we would also be wrong trying to "enforce" that red line. The first was misguided rhetoric and what is being proposed is misguided participation.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 28, 2013 12:58 p.m.

    To "atl134" no, the liberals are not taking a stand against this. You are only posting because I have dishonored liberals by calling them out for saying nothing.

    If the liberals were reacting to this like they did to Bush and Iraq, there would already be at least 60 angry posts about Syria having done nothing to the US, how this is just for his oil buddies, or how Obama should be impeached for an illegal war.

    You have posted nothing like that. Nor have we heard from most of your ilk that would gathering pitchforks ready to head to DC looking for the President.

    You are wrong about what is about to occur. Kerry has already implied that the US may end up with boots on the ground. It will be Iraq all over again, except there is no faction that is fighting for freedom.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    @2 bits
    "What about Husein's chemical attack on the Kurds in Northern Iraq?"

    That was years prior to our invasion. We have an active situation in Syria.

    "Why are they not taking a stand against this?"

    They generally are. You can't get 9% approval in a poll question about a military strike against Syria without having a lot of liberals against it. We're generally convinced though that the strike would take the form of something akin to Libya that doesn't involve ground troops which is quite different than something like Iraq.

  • Mickey Kovars Tampa, FL
    Aug. 28, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    Given that earlier empires -- Roman, Ottoman, others -- went down the tubes because, among other things, they ran out of money, let me ask a simple question: can we AFFORD to get involved in Syria? It could get extremely expensive -- remember, Iraq came in at $1 trillion plus. We will run ourselves into the ground with projects like this -- if we haven't already done so.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 10:58 p.m.


    So liberals are hypocrites but conservatives that have done the same flip flop auppeoti g bush and now attacking Obama are not? I personally agree with Marxist we should not intervene with military for e as it is likely not going to actually being the war any closer to resolution. There really does not seem to be any easy or even right answers here.

  • Mickey Kovars Tampa, FL
    Aug. 27, 2013 8:15 p.m.

    The president may have drawn a red line, but that has already been found to be meaningless. Nothing good will be achieved by intervening in Syria now. A token intervention will just look silly, while a more meaningful intervention risks another Iraq.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 7:34 p.m.

    Unless Syria has attacked US, in the United States, we should stay out of it.

    We should only fight war for DEFENSE, never offense - no matter how noble the cause.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 6:11 p.m.

    It's kinda interesting and revealing to watch Sec Kerry setting the stage for war and justifying it to the American public, when candidate Kerry was all against every decision the Bush Administration made, and what's going on in Syria isn't all that different than what was happening in Iraq in the years before we got involved there.

    So if history repeats itself... we will have a quick surgical encounter with them (like we did with Iraq in Kuwait (see "Gulf war timeline Wikipedia). This was the 1991 war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait. Note this was way before the vilified George W Bush, before Clinton. But when we do quick surgical conflicts like this... they often simmer and eventually lead to bigger wars, like the war the left loves to hate (couched in pretend morality, but mostly for political reasons).

    I hope we find a way to stay out. We never seem to make the situation better when we step in (especially in the middle-east).

  • Kim Cedar Park, Texas
    Aug. 27, 2013 4:52 p.m.

    Excellent editorial DN. Foreign policy decisions are some of the most complicated difficult decisions any president will make. Sometimes you get it right, but in many cases you get it wrong. Everyone can point to the wrong examples and make a case that any intervention is wrong, but the US has learned the hard way that ignoring world conflicts can eventually lead to large conflicts that can engulf the entire world. The vigilance of the US after WWII against Soviet aggression kept Western Europe and much of the rest of the world free and prevented a nuclear WWIII. The US has made mistakes, but we can't let those mistakes prevent us from acting when a Dictator who only respects force decides to use horrible weapons second only to nuclear ones.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 27, 2013 4:38 p.m.

    To "marxist" so where are your liberal allies? Why are they not taking a stand against this?

    At least you have a position on this that is not dictated by the wind.

    The problem with Syria is by backing either side, a dictator or totalitarian government wins.

    Since you are against this, are you going to start to call for Obama's impeachment like the liberals did during Bush's term with the Iraq war?

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 4:25 p.m.

    Syria is a deep seated religious conflict that goes back hundreds of years, it is a continuing civil war, and now rebel aligned extremists are threatening civilians supporting the current government with mass destruction and killings. There is no one in the country to support with out mass killings of the other side.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 4:07 p.m.

    Re: RedShirtMIT "This is quite interesting to see the lack of reaction from the left." Well, RedShirtMIT you raise some mighty interesting and troubling questions. You've forced me to take a position on this. I conclude that whenever the United States invades a country which has done nothing to us, it creates unanticipated blowback, which can be severe and long-lasting. For example, Iraq. Or for another example, the U.S. invasion of Russia following WWI. No, we should not take military action against Syria. By dribble and drams we are getting into middle east war #3.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Aug. 27, 2013 3:49 p.m.

    Lobbing some missiles at their military might make us feel better, but there is nothing short of another war that the US can do to truly punish Syria.

    Assad is the Russians' creature. Let them deal with the consequences of his use of WMD, or face the world's opprobrium for failing to reign him in. The last thing we need is further US intervention in the region unless vital interests are at stake.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    On the one hand I, like most people would like the U.S. to sit out this skirmish because not only does Syria have ties to Iran, but to Russia as well (and BO is doing his best to burn bridges with Putin...) Secondly, unlike Iraq or Afghanistan, the majority of Syrians don't like Americans. Perhaps intervening would help build stronger relations there, but any military campaign would have to be VERY carefully managed and executed. On the other hand, if we don't intervene, who will? Sure, the Europeans talk a big game, but besides the UK, no one else has shown their capable of responding effectively in these situations.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 3:10 p.m.

    I object to spending dollars we don't have and risking our citizen's lives in a conflict we do not understand which most likely has a lot of undertones and ethnic issues we cannot comprehend.

    These peoples, and they are peoples more than organized nations, have fought each other for centuries over issues we are ignorant of.

    We seem to have a reasonable relationship with the only democracy in the region, Israel, partly because most of them are of western heritage and have some history in parlamentary democracy. Israel is not our friend, as witnessed by attacks on USS Liberty, and several high profile spying episodes. We do not know of the ones not found, Duh.

    Nations do not have friends, only interests. We are not the world's policeman.

    The various Islamic nations and peoples are choosing sides, let them work it out. They don't like us and it is not worth it to intervene when we have no idea of what is going on.

    Oh, Kerry needs a haircut, or a spot in a Breck commercial.

    Aug. 27, 2013 2:31 p.m.

    search google for Was the Syrian chemical attack a false flag operation

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 2:12 p.m.


    What about Husein's chemical attack on the Kurds in Northern Iraq? This is from Wikipedia... "Survivors said the gas at first smelled of sweet apples; they said people died in a number of ways, suggesting a combination of toxic chemicals (some of the victims "just dropped dead" while others "died of laughing"; while still others took a few minutes to die, first "burning and blistering" or coughing up green vomit). Iraqi forces used multiple chemical agents during the attack, including mustard gas and the nerve agents sarin, tabun and VX; some sources have also pointed to the blood agent hydrogen cyanide.

    The attack killed between 3,200 and 5,000 people, and injured around 7,000 to 10,000 more. Sadam Hussein DID use chemical weapons on his own people.

    No slaughtering his own people in Iraq?
    This from Wikipedia, "Human rights organizations have documented government-approved executions, acts of torture and rape for decades since Saddam Hussein came to power in 1979 until his fall in 2003". So much for THAT false claim.

    It's going to be interesting to see how many people who criticized Bush at every turn are silent when Obama does the same.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:53 p.m.

    To "Gandalf" when has the Obama administration been right on the people they support?

    In Egypt they supported the Muslim Brotherhood, which turned out to be a group of radical islamists intent on setting up sharia law. That group also pushed to kill or drive out the Coptic Christians from Egypt. Basically they got rid of a secular dictator in favor of a radical islamic group that was worse than the dictator.

    In Libya they backed the rebels that were being supported by Al Qaeda. Why would the US support a terrorist group that wants to destroy the US?

    Obama backed Treyvon Martin, who it turned out was a thug with a chip on his shoulder.

    Obama threw the Cambridge police under the bus to support a self entitled professor. Turned out the Professor was out of line.

    It seems that whenever there is a conflict Obama will end up on the wrong side. What makes you think that he will get it right this time after exploring the terrible track record that he has?

    FYI, you still have not answered the basic questions. What has Syria done to the US? Who are Obama oil buddies that will profit?

  • friend82 baku, 00
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:53 p.m.

    West never go to Middle East to correct anything. They never go anywhere to correct anything. Just take a short look on Middle East map. What was the result of earlier invasions? Are you going to add another ruined country on awards list?
    By any reasonable way of thinking, rebels used WMD in Syria, not Assad, just to give west a ridiculous and preplanned excuse to get in. The unfortunate thing is who gave rebels WMDs. West has waited two years to be sure that Syria is completely devastated, so why can’t they wait just one week for inspection of UN to see who is behind WMD use?
    You see, they only thing that has no value for nobody here is human-life.
    please urge politician to take their hands out of Middle East (and its oil!) and let them resolve their problems by their own. People are dying in Africa from hunger, go and take care of them!. They have no oil but they are also humans.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:46 p.m.

    Syria is actively slaughtering people and there actually is evidence of chemical weapon usage, neither was going on at the time of the Iraq war. Then there's the matter of what the US response would even be. I suspect the Administration would like to keep any intervention to something akin to Libya rather than a boots on the ground type invasion.

    Personally, I'd rather we not get involved in this mess. However, I feel like President McCain (guaranteed) or Romney (probably since his foreign policy team had a disturbing number of neocons) would already have us deeper in it so I mean... I wouldn't like the alternatives either.

  • jsgrahamus SARATOGA SPRINGS, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:38 p.m.

    I had a book once entitled Back to Basics. I think those 3 words are so fundamental, and not just for handyman projects.

    We supposedly are a government based upon the Constitution and in Article I, Section 8, it lists the powers of CONGRESS:

    To declare War ...

    It is not the President's job to declare war. Rather it is the duty of Congress to do so. Why then are they disobeying the supreme law of the land, which they have sworn to uphold. Why are We The People not expecting and forcing them by our voices, if nothing else, to do such. Why do we not scream to the House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against an officeholder who has so little regard for the office of President of the United States?

    It is not a small thing to start a war. I don't remember Syria invading our country. Why would we do the same to them? Why?

    Why is the newspaper of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints not demanding that they obey the document which is held sacred by the scriptures of the Church?


  • conspiracygirl FPO, AE
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:14 p.m.

    "The administration must find a way to act both meaningfully and in a way that minimizes bloodshed."

    It is always from this noble motive that brings about the folly of the Humanitarian War. Such wars are doomed by their own inherent contradictions.

    The author needs to google this article by Stratfor, Immaculate Intervention: The Wars of Humanitarianism

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:11 p.m.

    The Syria dilemma is a tough one for ANY President. But especially for one that blamed every problem he's ever had on the previous President's decision to intervene in similar circumstances.

    Remember... Sadam Hussein gassed his own citizens too. It's a documented fact. He also ordered mass executions of his own people (the mass graves were discovered and he was executed by his own people for it).

    So President Obama is going to have to do some fast back-peddling to sell any US Military intervention in Syria after all his criticisms of others who faced the same tough decision.

    It will be proof that the most rabid left's assertion that you can TALK your way out of ANY conflict (when it's a Republican President making a tough decision)... is factually false. Not when you have fanatics and terrorists on the other side of the negotiating table.

    I personally think he's going to have to intervene militarily (at least in a support role). Because they have crossed his line in the sand too many times now. And it's sad because more Americans WILL die. I hope he finds another way out.

  • Gandalf Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    RedShirtMIT, there are important distinctions between Syria and Iraq. Knowingly or not, the Bush Administration got public support for the Iraq war using inaccurate information (the old WMD line, among other things). I have a much higher level of confidence that the Obama Administration will 1) have greater (although not perfect) knowledge of what they are getting into and what justifies or does not justify intervention, and 2) will be more free of ideological or economic interests in the decision-making before committing to a course of action with regard to Syria.

  • conspiracygirl FPO, AE
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:07 p.m.

    Two things would be nice:

    1) If a media outlet owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints would proclaim opinions more in line with LDS scriptures and prophetic counsel: namely, to "renounce war and proclaim peace."

    2) If the president and other powers-tha-be would not be such slow freakin' learners. The concept of Humanitarian War is self contradictory and causes more problems than it solves.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 27, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    This is quite interesting to see the lack of reaction from the left.

    While Bush had our troops engaged in Iraq, the liberals were continually saying that it was an unjust war. One of their favored arguments was that Iraq didn't do anything to the US. Another one of their favorite arguments was that it was a war for oil.

    I now ask you liberals who support Obama, what has Syria done to the US to justify this coming war? Who are Obama's oil buddies that are going to profit from all of the cheap syrian oil that we can get after the conflict is over?

    Where are you liberals? Is it ok to attack countries that have done nothing to the US or not? Under Bush that was an impeachable offense, but under Obama you are silent.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 12:10 p.m.

    Re: Anti Bush-Obama. In connection, I note with dismay that the Obama administration is taking steps to absolve Bush, Cheney, and Co from any criminal culpability in connection with the Iraq war. Maybe the old saying is true, the more things change the more they stay the same.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    Aug. 27, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    I told you from day 1 that Obama is nothing more than a Bush clone. We are seeing the same script that was used 10 years ago with Iraq. These guys do not swear an oath to the constiution they swear an oath to Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan

  • apm22 sparks, NV
    Aug. 27, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    Let me get this straight, the death toll in the Syrian civil war is between 80,000 and 100,000 and a few hundred die in an ALLEGED chemical attack (which is suspicious considering Assad was winning the war and did not need to wage any chemical attack) so now the United States has justification for waging yet another war in the middle east when US interests are not affected? If we think military intervention is warranted in Syria, we should be going into China, Saudi Arabia, etc., right? So many "evil" deeds done by "evil" nations around the world, why stop at Syria, or why stop in the middle east?

  • patriot vet Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 9:27 a.m.

    We have set 2 Red Lines recently in the Middle East: (1)Syria's use of chemicals on its citizens and (2) Iran's development of a nuclear weapon. These Red Lines are connected, since Iran is Syria's big brother and principal ally. What we do about the chemical use in Syria may well set the stage about what Iran does about developing a nuclear weapon.

    The chemical use in Syria is isolated and probably has no effect outside of Syria (other than violation of International Law).

    On the other hand, Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon is a diract threat to Israel. There must never be a nuclear weapon in Iran. That would pose threats from the Shiite regime and their surrogate terrorists toward Israel, as well as all the Suuni regimes over there: an unacceptable risk.

    So...we must respond directly and meaningfully to the chemical use in Syria.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    Military options as far as I can see. Air strikes, and or boots on the ground. It is said that no war is won from the air only. Do we really want more military being injured and killed in yet another Mid East war? Do the supporters of Obama, over Bush policy, want that? Will they stand by their man if he does it? If he does it, it will be his war, not Bushs'. If Obama strikes, will Obama supporters see that Obama is merely doing what every President since Jimmy Carter has had to do in his Presidency, namely, committ military power to the Mid East? And will Obama people finally see and admit the truth about their guy? And in the process be less hard on the Bushes, and or Reagan for their military interventions? We'll see.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 9:11 a.m.

    I am completely stumped as to the best course of action for the United States, but as for Ultra Bob's comment "As for the creditability (sic) of Present Obama, the United States of American, and its government, it’s hard to have any creditability (sic) when a large segment of our nation is filled with hate for the president himself and the government in general." Is this situation with Obama a whole lot different than with Clinton and the Balkans?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 9:03 a.m.

    We all make stupid statements at one time or another. President Obama is just like the rest of us in that respect. To start WWIII in order to prevent WWIII doesn’t make sense. Hopefully we catch ourselves before it’s too late.

    As for the creditability of Present Obama, the United States of American, and its government, it’s hard to have any creditability when a large segment of our nation is filled with hate for the president himself and the government in general.

    President Obama has be subjected to just about every form of discredit from his birth to the programs he intended to promote. If he scratches his nose, people argue about what it means if he uses his left or right hand.

    This loud and financially powerful segment of America even refuses to abide by a law passed by Congress, signed by the President and accepted by the Supreme Court. Some even call for the dissolving the United States.

    It would be helpful to us if we could actually know the particulars of the “American interests” in Syria. The notion that the anti-government people would go to war for humanity doesn’t make sense.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 27, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    No option I’ve heard discussed on dealing with the Syrian situation is without risk. None are sure to produce desired results. U.S. air strikes score big headlines at the outset but they often prove to be symbolic and inconsequential. Then what?

    After a decade of involvements in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American public has no political will for yet another U.S. military intervention that sucks us further in with no end in sight. The U.S. can't fix all of the world's problems. And putting together a multinational coalition that has Arab states playing a key role is no easy task either.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Aug. 27, 2013 7:40 a.m.

    I listened to a long discussion on NPR yesterday with varying opinions and everyone thought something was going to come from the US but no one thought it would calm the fighting. It's pure retaliation, and face saving. The core problem seemed to be there are 5 separate wars going on in Syria, and over 1,000 separate militias. Which war do you intervene in and on who's side?

    The article with it's simplistic red line theme is very disappointing and uninformed.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 5:56 a.m.

    Despite the apparent misuse of chemical weapons, the administration is right to be slow to jump into this conflict. Most of our interventions in the Middle East are pyrrhic victories at best. We can control the conflict only to have a large portion of the region despising us all the more. And when the expenses are paid, there's no gratitude there.

    One wonders if getting involved is wise, despite the obvious good that could be achieved if we could calm the fighting.