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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #58)

Thu Aug 29, 2013, 12:28 PM

114. Nice post. And a great example of how to be passionate and convincing without name calling.

"Ok, so Barack Obama seems poised to drag us into another military conflict. It's a bad idea."

I agree.

"The opposition to Assad is rife with al Qaeda/islamists. Shall we put them in power? If not, how do we prevent it?"

I suppose "rife" is a subjective term. Assad has from the beginning portrayed this as a "you are with me or the terrorists" choice, at the beginning when the protests were massive and peaceful.

What I read is that, aside from Assad's propaganda, the Al Qaeda linked Al Nusra Front numbers from 6,000 to 10,000 fighters and they are some of the best fighters in the opposition. That accounts for 10-20% of the total rebel fighters. That may qualify as "rife" and they are certainly a force that will have to be reckoned with in the long run.

"How many people will WE kill as a result of our military involvement? What of the Christian and Alawite minorities after the fall of Assad? What of the Sunni/Shia conflict after the Christian/Alawite ethnic cleansing?"

If we commit a war crime to allegedly punish a war crime, how are we any better than Assad? Is it possible to "punish" for a war crime without committing one ourselves? I suppose it is possible but very difficult.

I agree that what happens to minorities in Syria has to be considered, as does what has happened to the majority in past decades. In that way it is similar to the advent of majority rule in South Africa. Many whites were concerned that's majority rule would be very dangerous for the white minority. While about half of the white population has indeed emigrated from South Africa, the worst white fears were never realized.

"The President has said that it seems clear that the Assad regime used chemical weapons, but I don't believe him. I don't trust the people advising him. I don't trust the organizations in charge of providing the intel. I'm not saying the President is lying (per se) but I don't think he's actually telling the truth."

I think it is obvious that Obama is not itching to get involved in the Syrian conflict. If he were, as Bush/Cheney were in Iraq, he would have found a pretext long ago (or invented one as they did).

He knows the history of the intelligence communities mistakes and lies in the past as well as any of us and takes what they report with a grain of salt. That does not mean that he could never be convinced that Assad's forces used chemical weapons.

Many of us will not be convinced by anything we hear from Obama or any other American official. Even if the UN inspectors were to implicate syrian forces (hypothetical, at this point, but certainly a possibility), many of us would not be convinced. I suppose that is because I know that I support a policy of not intervening and ANY investigation by ANYONE that reaches ANY conclusion that lessens the likelihood of that policy being implemented is something I am going to have a hard time "believing".

I know the habit of choosing policy first then accepting evidence that supports it and rejecting or discrediting evidence that does not, is a common republican trait. They choose policies like smaller government, lower taxes and global warming as a hoax among many others. Then they latch on to any "evidence" that seems to support their chosen policy and reject or discredit all evidence that clashes with what "they know is the right thing to do". I do try to fight this habit; sometimes with more success than others.

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LineLineLineLineLineReply Nice post. And a great example of how to be passionate and convincing without name calling.
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