America: Thug or Conscience in a World Gone Mad?

syria01One of the more jarring transitions that an American makes in coming to the Philippines is understanding the deep-seated resentment that some Filipinos carry toward America. The foundations for a lot of the angers and distrust are understandable: a racist America brutalizing its way across the Philippines in the Philippine American War, a brutal American bombing its way across Manila at the end of World War II, a hypocritical America coddling a dictator, a negligent America leaving Subic and Clark polluted, an arrogant America imposing a Visiting Forces Agreement on the Philippines that favors wayward American soldiers and insults the Philippines.

With that framing, it is easy for Filipinos to cast other actions of America as thuggish and imperialistic. It does not help when President G.W. Bush, not wanting to be seen as impotent in the face of a terrorist attack on New York and Washington DC, decides to fabricate a reason to invade Iraq. Or that an American ship runs into a precious Philippine reef and won’t allow park rangers to board the vessel.

And Filipino leftists, by dint of an ideology stuck in the 1950’s, hoist America up for a general flag-burning or a march down Roxas whenever there is an issue to inflame.

So it is easy to cast America as a villain.

My response to the generalized painting of America as a nasty cat is to break the argument down to the specific issues and deal with them in a proper context. When that is done, the “nasty cat” argument generally falls apart, because America’s actions are by and large good for Americans, and good for a great many non-Americans.

We now have a case in point. Syria.

President Obama has tried mightily to keep America out of the fight. Mainly because there is no side to be “for”. The established government has terrorist tendencies and the rebels contain large terrorist elements, Al Qaeda, for instance. Al Qaeda thrives on unstable situations and views them as a welcome mat for sowing terror and moving to power. There is no upside for America in Syria.

But when Syrian forces use chemical weapons on her own civilians, the mathematical calculation changes.

That DOES affect America’s interests directly because:

  1. America is the target for terrorist activity, with gases or nuclear weapons among the most feared, and
  2. America cannot roll over and get pilloried without weakening her global presence and inviting adventurism from other malignant states like North Korea, Iran and China.

To permit the use of gas weapons renders meaningless the global ban on such weapons. It is a crack in the tit for tat, the balanced position, the cold war position that it is not wise to push the button because Hell is just a few more buttons away.

The Assad government has pushed the button.

The United Nations is not united and has an everlasting split among the big power mongers as they monger for more power; in this case, Russia and China are close to Syria, and the moral offense of use of gas weapons is not enough to upset their cozy relationships. Their gross denial of the facts inserts a mad surrealism into the debate.

So the “big thug” America once again must rise from the arm chair of peace as the conscience and hope of many for a little bit of sanity in a world gone mad. Particularly in the Middle East.

And in doing so, America subjects herself to the complaints of “nation building” or “imperialism”.

The global discussion about Syria is fascinating. Great Britain demurred, much to the frustration of her Prime Minister and those who want Great Britain to remain relevant to global issues. Many Middle Eastern states want Syria brought back into line, but they fear a spreading of war in the region. Canada and Australia wish to remain on the sidelines. France, a nation that ruffled American feathers by opposing the American adventure into Iraq, supports the American initiative to punish Syria with missile strikes.

Syria and her partners Iran and Russia have responded to the impending punishment with a wide variety of threats. And it is possible to imagine what they might be. Worst case, more gas attacks upon civilians in Syria. Or gas attacks into Israel or even Europe. Would Iran take up arms directly in support of a quick end to the Syrian rebellion? Would Russia?

Will we once again see nuclear states standing toe-to-toe across a very thin line?

All of that is within the realm of reason.

And if nothing is done? If the American Congress declines to support her President’s decision to punish Syria?

Will gas become a weapon of choice elsewhere? Will the global ban on such indiscriminate weapons be overturned by a “failure to enforce”?

That, too, is within the realm of reason.

Iran. North Korea. China. These are states without conscience.

The last case ought to give Filipinos the heebie jeebies.

So let me drop off a link to the American assessment of the Syrian gas attack, thanks to Rappler and Scribd. I hope you will take the time to read it. Click the Scribd link for a direct connect to the document.

If you were a member of American Congress, how would you vote?

For a punitive strike, or against it?

I’d vote for it. There must be lines. There must be punishments to assure we stay within the lines.

If Hell results, so be it. Hell would be assured if we allowed wanton murder of civilians to become acceptable.

To me, voting “no” would be as if I were walking down the street and saw a young girl being raped.

And kept walking . . .

And most assuredly, for many, Hell exists, now, real time, right here on earth . . .

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Comments
87 Responses to “America: Thug or Conscience in a World Gone Mad?”
  1. begalon says:

    Yeah, Syria must be punished, but how?

    Economic sanction works very slowly and kills the population even slower. Military solution should be considered seriously in removing Assad as well as the al qaeda.

    • Joe America says:

      Wait just a second . . . let me channel my brother Barak here for a moment . . . ommmmmm . . . ommmmmmmm . . . .

      Okay. What will happen is that: (1) the U.S. will put three days of cruise missiles into Syria, (2) will hunt really hard for a rebel group that has good values and start posturing them as the future of Syria, (3) start feeding arms to rebels deemed reliable, and (4) try to put Assad in a box like Hussein and Kadhafi.

      Meanwhile, Iran will push arms and even soldiers into Syria, will test Israel and find Irani and Syrian forces sent home in boxes, and it will be bloody messy for about three years with every journalist in the world looking greedily about for a hook to sell newspapers on, either for or against.

      In the end, Assad will fall because the U.S. really does not like it when children are gassed.

      • begalon says:

        Cruise missiles attack not gonna happen. It is a weak response and easy escape. This is what Clinton had done in Libya and in Afghanistan.

        I will wait what will brother Barak will do.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, we should know in about a week. But I think the cruise missiles are just the beginning of a goal to try to figure out how to get the murderous Assad regime out, rather than stand by passively, as Obama has done to this point. Clinton was using them to attack terrorist camps. Obama wants to make the simple statement to Assad and others that if you don’t follow international convention, and you murder innocents indiscriminately with banned weapons, you MUST pay a price. Different reason for using them. So Obama is making two decisions, basically: (1) punish, and (2) become active to overthrow Assad.

  2. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    America is a thug! America has no respect of United Nations. No respect of Pope Francis. No respect of its own people. America prefers Assad kill his citizens with bullets instead of chemical weapons. America wanted to punish Syria for using chemical weapon instead of bullets. Syria and Egypt do not meddle in how America kills its prisoners: Electric Chair and Chemical IV. No they do not. What is in Syria that America meddle in? Can’t America learn from history that Syria and Egypt are muslim countries. Muslim countries has not changed to this day unlike Christians. No matter how America bomb these Muslim countries they remain muslim forever. They’d rather be bombed into stone age than give up their religion. These are sick people. These people cannot be punished nor learn a lesson. America should back down. Syria are not killing us. They are killing their own people. Let them be.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m with you, except that someone needs to stick up for the kids. They are not Americans or Muslims. Adults should treat them better. If those adults can’t do that they need about a billion dollars worth of cruise missiles rammed down their inhumane throats.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      America attack Syria. Syria weakened. Rebels wins. Since this is Muslim country there is no Human Rights of surrenderees Rebels kill and kill making Syrians practice target. Will the great America come in the aid of Syrianese the very same Syrianese that America bombed? Isn’t that funny? I thought Philippines is the only funny nation on earth.

      Once America attacks, what is their exit strategy? They did not have one in AFghanistan. Nothing in Iraq. They left Subic in a huff blaming Mt. Pinatubo. Obama has no exit strategy. He just wanted to attack. He said he’d do it solo. When Cameron was denied the by House of Commons, Mr. Solo realizing no coalition of the willing brought it to congress so that Mr. Solo can blame the Congress. Nice Move Obama. I think that Filipina cook you have there must be whispering in your ear.

      America is a thug. Let them kill themselves to extinction. America should attack when attacked not implementing their principle of kill with bullets only.

      • Joe America says:

        Mr. Solo took it to Congress because it is the only way to possibly de-politicize an act of war. If Mr. Solo had gone Solo, he most certainly would have been skewered by the Republican extremists for political gain. If Congress backs him, Mr. Solo becomes Mr. President again. If Congress does not back him, the Democrats make political hay because Americans, in the main, do not like extremists or people who won’t be tough like the NRA. It is amusing that so many war-mongering Republicans on Iraq turned anti-war when a democrat was willing to push the fire buttons.

        I agree that America is a thug for American interests, as any nation would be, and due to the confusing, hypocritical, poisoned political well that is American government in action, those thuggish acts, even if done for high principle, get turned inside out.

        I tend to think Obama agrees with you. He got out of Iraq and Afghanistan as gracefully as he could to allow those two festering pits of anger, murder and self-rationalization kill themselves off. That’s why he was doing nothing on Syria. And why the position on Egypt is pretty quiet. But gassing kids . . . no . . . he won’t accept that, as a human of good heart.

        • begalon says:

          Wait a minute Joe, who is Mr. Solo you are referring to? I am so confused, unconfucious me. haha

          Gassing its own people with numbers of kids is unacceptable. UK thinks its intolerable. Gassing people is one of the reason that put Saddam in trouble where America used as a pretext and as an excuse to American WMD invasion of Iraq.

          What shall we do? Consult God perhaps what to do.

          • Joe America says:

            Ha! Mr. Solo is Barak Obama going solo without any international partners. We (I, anyway) shall trust the good Mr. Obama, and others may place their trust where they think it is best tended to.

          • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

            Mr. Solo was also from the TV series man from U.N.C.L.E. An acronym for United Network Command for Law Enforcement created by Sam Wolfe starred by David McCullum. This is what my father told me not the time I was born in. 🙂

  3. If I were an American congressman, i would vote NO unless i have stocks in drone-manufacturing companies and military suppliers HAHAHA. US gov’t found a convenient excuse to invade Syria due to the publicity of chemical attacks and bolster position in the Middle East. It’s not just about oil; it’s also about the rivalry between the military powers (US, China and Russia). Security, geopolitics and superpower ego. I highly doubt America will spare civilians. I have seen enough from documentaries. American soldiers don’t fight face-to-face, bombing helpless civilians from afar.

    Right or wrong, sovereignty must be respected. And America has fiscal problems so they might as well save.

    Still, I’m amused that you now have a better picture why some Filipinos hate the American government– BTW, love Marvel movies except Iron Man and Amber Heard and Amanda Seyfried and Kate Upton. ONLY THE GOVERNMENT AND POLITICIANS. It’s not envy, but the ugly face of hypocrisy and insensitivity.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      America is saddled with debts and unemployment going to war is really a bad idea. Most of all, America is meddling in country’s sovereginty whose people are violent by nature that kills us infidels because we do not believe in their religion.

      According to Obama it is going to be hit-and-run drive-by surgically precise shooting to teach them a lesson. I know what Obama wanted, he wanted to weaken Syria supported by Iranians and Hizbollah the nemesis of Israel. If Syria is weakened, Iranianand Hizbollah comes into the picture so is Israel. Once that sparks turn into fire America will get involved again. If I knew this, they should, too !!!!!

      It is better America stand down and let Assad fart gas on his enemies. This is not Americas problem this should be the middle-east oil-rich countries problems.

      • now i get the israel-and-conflict-in-mid-east connection. i’m not well read on middle east politics, but a iran/hezbollah (fundamentalist muslim, i think) occupied syria will alarm Israel, considering the proximity.

        On the other hand i expect America to stay and stabilize the situation for a while.

        still waiting for Joe to thumb my comment down. HAHAHA

      • Joe America says:

        @Mariano, if by “Obama” you mean the American military industrial enterprise, yes, there are some desires in play for the Middle East, and a weak Syria might be preferable to a terrorist Syria, but the HIGHEST preference would be for a democratic Syria or at least a reasonable autocracy. Assad started with great expectations from the west. A bright young guy, schooled in the west, not a lunatic. But somehow the power and the culture and the struggles to deal with sectarian divides made him a lunatic, which seems to be the norm in the Middle East. I believe Obama’s personal willingness to engage Syria has little to do with the military industrial enterprise, but with seeing innocents slaughtered. He has young kids and a large capacity for compassion.

    • Joe America says:

      If GW Bush were president, I would agree with your assessment. But I believe President Obama is not interested in nation building. Oil is irrelevant as the U.S. is almost self-sufficient. Contrary to common belief, the U.S. is not broke or bankrupt, financially, it is broke and bankrupt politically. America indeed tries to save its soldiers’ lives, but it does not intentionally go out an bomb helpless civilians. It is in a war. The war is against terrorists who hide amongst the civilians and try to kill as many innocents as they can, for that is their main fighting method. Terror. I think it is a huge mistake to see American fighting motivations or methods as being the same. But it is a war, no doubt. And war is unkind.

      • On the financial state of US. i suggest you read this:

        Five Mainstream Economists Sound a Warning
        http://www.lewrockwell.com/2012/09/gary-north/five-mainstream-economists-sound-a-warning/

        “It was written by five well-known economists. It warns readers about a series of highly destructive outcomes of the federal government’s present fiscal policies. The article says that these problems are close to being unmanageable.”

        anyway, i read that $100 M is the “limited”cost of intervention in Syria. That could be money for your state pensioners and safety net.

        War is unkind but it could be avoided. There are also psychological effects such as Syrians distrusting Americans, who unintentionally had to hurt civilians; Muslim fundamentalist targeting US cities and citizens; and the risk of creating a bigger trouble in the mid-east like what Mariano was saying. large-scale violence rarely has positive consequences.

        • Joe America says:

          Interesting article. But the conclusion is the same as mine, it is unmanageable because of politics, because politicians bear no pain for acting wrongly. The CAPACITY of the U.S. economy is huge, and if government functioned properly, hard decisions would be made to avoid the time-bombs on the horizon. The big problem is not the economy, but the people who manage it, and the political system that is built on the next election rather than taking care of the people’s business for the long term.

        • R.Hiro Vaswani says:

          Before putting a link as the source of facts should give someone pause… The issue of unfunded liabilities… If one were more versed in the issues hounding the U.S. one would not use unfounded theories…

          Firstly if the U.S. cost of health case were to match the rest of the major industrialized economies the U.S. would not have a deficit problem in the future. In fact they would have a surplus. Social security is not a problem for another 35 years but for sure rates will be tweaked.. The problem is health care costs which is almost entirely in the hands of private providers.

          However that is for another day as this is no place to educate people on the real problems of the U.S. fiscal and monetary policy…

          Please note that the largest creditor today to the U.S. is its own central bank, the Federal Reserve… But the probelm facing the U.S. today is still deflation and not inflation in spite of the massive money printing by the Fed…

          • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303561504577497442109193610.html#printMode

            I posted the original article.

            This line sumamrizes the point: “Today, government officials are issuing debt to finance pet projects and payoffs to interest groups, not some vital, let alone existential, national purpose. ”

            “The problems are close to being unmanageable now. If we stay on the current path, they will wind up being completely unmanageable, culminating in an unwelcome explosion and crisis. ”

            “Quantitative easing as a policy tool is very hard to manage. ”

            “Under the president’s budget, for example, the debt expands rapidly to $18.8 trillion from $10.8 trillion in 10 years. The interest costs alone will reach $743 billion a year, more than we are currently spending on Social Security, Medicare or national defense, even under the benign assumption of no inflationary increase or adverse bond-market reaction. For every one percentage point increase in interest rates above this projection, interest costs rise by more than $100 billion, more than current spending on veterans’ health and the National Institutes of Health combined.

            Worse, the unfunded long-run liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid add tens of trillions of dollars to the debt, mostly due to rising real benefits per beneficiary. Before long, all the government will be able to do is finance the debt and pay pension and medical benefits. This spending will crowd out all other necessary government functions.

            What does this spending and debt mean in the long run if it is not controlled? One result will be ever-higher income and payroll taxes on all taxpayers that will reach over 80% at the top and 70% for many middle-income working couples. ”

            i’m not an expert in econ even though I took some units in college, but i trust these economist because of their credentials.

        • R. Hiro Vaswani says:

          This is in reply to David Webb’s post 4th Sept. 4 at 2.03pm.. I really do not know whether to laugh or cry… George P. Shultz, Michael J. Boskin, John F. Cogan, Allan H. Meltzer and John B. Taylor are the expert supply sider’s and deficit hawks….They have no confidence in macro economics …

          No need to get complicated…. Using the numerator /denominator approach to measure debt service as % of total U.S.GDP.
          So what if interest rates rise and debt service rises to $700 billion..That would mean that demand for funds by business and consumers is on the rise… GDP grows and more revenue for government… U.S.GDP should hit $20 trillion in a few years… …So gross debt service as a % of GDP goes up from 1% to 4%. Then you deduct the interest payments that the Treasury pays the Fed for the U.S.treasuries they bought in their QE program which the Fed will return to the Treasury….

          Right now based on the Congressional Budget Office projections deficit as a percentage of GDP is dropping fast as the economy recovers and revenues rise… From 10% it is moving to 4%..That is another numerator/denominator approach …Let us apply the same approach to the Philippines.

          Total debt service as a percentage of GDP is around the 3% level of GDP. Php 300 billion out of a Php 10 trillion economy…

          When you post references from the WSJ please note that they will publish opinions close to their heart. They are supply side ideologues…

          Amongst the OECD countries both the U.S.and Japan have the lowest tax to GDP ratios… The U.S.had to run huge deficits to prevent total collapse of demand and save their economy from crashing… Under Herbert Hoover they followed the supply side liquidation policy… The rest is as they say is history…

          • time will tell. i guess i’ll just wait before i make my judgment on the success of QE. the more important question is: will the US return to pre-2008 unemployment level?

            http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000

            And oh! The congressional budget office projection is surely an unbiased source.

            • Joe America says:

              I think the failure to return to 2008 unemployment is only partially economic. It is partly technological, better use of that. And it is partly that the hard times forced the jettison of a lot of inefficient and unprofitable activities, so they have been removed permanently. It will take many years for the unemployment rate to grind its way down, and that may be a factor more of demographics than economic, as the baby boomers retire and move to the Philippines.

  4. edgar lores says:

    1. If a neighbour commits domestic violence and beats his wife and children:
    1.1. Should one intervene?
    1.2. If so, what form or level of intervention should take place?

    2. The answer to the first question is indubitably yes. It is ethical to follow the Good Samaritan Law.

    3. The answer to the second question is harder to form.
    3.1. The simplest action would be to call the police.
    3.2. But if there is no police, what then?

    4. In the absence of a police force, the range of alternative answers would be:
    4.1. Do nothing.
    4.2. Personally intervene and reason with the wrongdoer, and cause harm or damage to the wrongdoer and/or his possessions if he continues in his evil ways.
    4.3. Consult with other neighbors and come to an agreement on a united course of action.
    4.4. Create and organize an effective police force.

    5. Options #4.1 and 4.2 are out of the question.
    5.1. #4.1 because of #2.
    5.2. #4.2 because unilateral action would be unethical.

    6. The best course of action would be #4.4. For the Syrian situation, this would mean restructuring the UN in certain ways:
    6.1. Use some mechanism of majority rule in the 15-member Security Council to overcome the veto rule granted to the five permanent members. This can be done, for example, by an affirmative vote — unanimous or not — by the ten non-permanent members or by the General Assembly.
    6.2. Provide the UN with sufficient military power (equipment and personnel) to carry out decisions requiring the use of armed force.
    6.3. The UN should come up with a system of classification for intra- and inter- national conflicts, with preventative and prescriptive actions for each class.

    7. In the face of a dysfunctional UN, the next best course would be 4.3.
    7.1. Caveat 1: The US must act in concert with two or more nations from two or more continents.
    7.2. Caveat 2: The legislative power of each nation must approve of the concerted action.
    7.3. The approval of the UN is moot because of the insurmountability of the veto power.

    • 6.1 no way the permanent members will allow a mechanism to overcome their veto. they secured that permanent position and veto to further their interest. Why would they allow its removal or weakening?

      6.2 that would be heaven for New World Order conspiracists. countries, especially the rogue ones (e.g., NKor, Iran, etc.), might fear the one-government scenario and intervention by the UN. That could lead to more insecurity in the world.

      6.3. this one sounds plausible, but imagine the fierce debates and conflicting interests.

    • Joe America says:

      @Edgar,
      3.2 If there are no police, what then? That is the situation in a nutshell. Same with China camped on Philippine rocks. Very much the same.
      4. Ha! Works for the Philippine situation too!
      4.4 Correct for both situations, I think. Syria (U.S.) and China (Philippines).
      5. Yes. Both cases.
      6. There is a matter of timing to consider. The U.K. really blew things out of the water because the U.N. has no authority over deep disagreements, and a coalition of respected players is a good substitute. But Obama (Solo) needs his coalition NOW to try to prevent more uses of gas weapons. So he crafted a domestic version and is asking U.S. Congress to represent the moral authority Obama needs to act.
      6.1 No nation, today, will submit to U.N. authority, fully. No nation will submit to majority rule. They will back an independent U.N. military force, but how to get it deployed is the problem.
      7 Again, the matter is time. Canada and Australia are standing aside. And the U.K. If the U.S. had the time and inclination, the U.S. would create an “it’s on you” situation for each of those three nations. We will not act unless the U.K., AND Canada AND Australia AND France are with us. Further gas deaths are “on you”, Brits and Canadians and Aussies, if you are not with the French and U.S. Then see what kind of moral burdens the citizens of those nations are prepared to bear. Now it is too easy. They let the U.S. take the load and the heat.

      • edgar lores says:

        8. If #6 is impossible per David, and #7 is improbable per JoeAm, then Assad will have his way.
        81. For #6 to happen, the current UN model has to be broken. It is dysfunctional.
        8.2. For #7 to happen, for the US to act as the policeman of the world is unfair and untenable.

        9. This means the world will always be in endless conflict with no viable resolution.

        10. The impossible must be made possible, and the improbable must be made probable.
        10.1. Otherwise, the only alternative left is for an inward revolution to occur, for people to change and treat each other with respect, for governments to change and to treat their citizens with respect, and for nations to change and to treat other nations with respect.

        11. Which is more impossible – #6, #7 or #10.1?

        • Joe America says:

          Let me make sure I understand 11, the options:

          6. Is a global police force to enforce global laws.
          7. Is neighborly consultation and agreement
          10.1 is inward revolution where peoples and governments would treat each other with respect.

          I think 6 is next to impossible because it means nations bow to a greater force. Military force.

          7 is done now in Europe and with like states (Canada and the U.S.). It is hard in the Middle East and Asia because respect for differences is underdeveloped and historical angers are deep-seated, bigoted and bloodthirsty.

          10.1 is what is happening in slow motion, but it runs into the barriers of 6 and 7, sovereign ego and misunderstanding of differences.

          I think the greatest optimism is to be found in Europe, where former blood foes now work constructively, in the main, with one another. There are occasional ripples (Gibraltar), but it is a civilized place. The U.S. demonstrates that such camaraderie can fall apart as poisoned partisanship suppresses rational kindness and tolerance for differences. China is an example of a nation that almost made it to civility, but fell back to natural ego and bigotry. So one step forward, two back . . . shows the path is likely to be red and painful before it becomes civil, in the superior way you envision.

          • edgar lores says:

            12. #6 is not impossible. It just takes a shift of view that nations are not in themselves sovereign and not answerable to anybody. That is the view of state federalism on a larger scale and the view of the regional federalism (like the European Union as you point out) on a larger scale, a world scale.

            13. If #6 is accepted, #7 becomes unnecessary. There is no need for unilateral or multi-lateral action against any state because the World Union (#6) will act for the whole.
            13.1. Rules for intra- and inter-vention will have to be worked out: WHEN to intervene, HOW to intervene, but not WHO.
            13.2. Obama has pointed out one criterion WHEN to intervene: when chemical weapons are used. MB has pointed out another: when internal genocide is occurring.

            14. It won’t be perfection, but the responsibility for dousing civil wars and world wars should not be “empire” (thanks R. Hiro Vaswani).
            14.1. I imagine the idea of a true World Union will not occur until WWIII occurs or until we are visited by ETs.

            15. #10.1 is really the way to go in the long run. This is where no external construct – nation, government, religion, institution – is recognized as having “authority” over “evolved” free men and cannot impose anything without the consent of their constituencies.
            15.1. I still have to define “authority” — and “evolved” as I have not reached that stage.

          • Joe America says:

            12. I said next to impossible. The probability of it occurring is less than 1%, both because of the difficulty of crafting the language everyone will abide by and a huge resistance to giving alien persons control over our nation. The gap from reality to ideal is simply enormous. So I can’t get to 13.

            I don’t have a problem with the ideal. I have a problem with the pragmatics.

          • edgar lores says:

            12. I concede the point and will not return with the analogy that “impossible” and “next to impossible” is akin to arguing that a man whose only covering is a fig leaf is not naked. 😉

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      If one intervenes on domestic violence the intervenor will have no peace with the neighbor.
      If one reports to police, it is easy to narrow down who reported it. Still no peace with neighbor.
      If one reports to police and police do nothing domestic continues and still no peace with neighbor.
      If neighbor talks to neighbor who talks to neighbor and as a community takes action it will be domestic violent perpetrator against community. This is one is goot. But America’s intent is suspect to world community. That is the problem of America. They meddle too much. And only for one purpose. OIL!

      • Joe America says:

        Oil is irrelevant. The U.S. is nearing energy self-sufficiency. That is a strategy that has been underway for years now, and it is succeeding. Faced with any crime, and the decision what to do, one always has to face oneself afterward. As the title of the article suggests, this is about conscience and moral fiber as much as anything. The U.S. has a big conscience and that leads the nation into other lands, and other fights, and accusations of nation-building and thuggery. You are arguing that it is best to close one’s eyes to rape and murder, or to come up with excuses as to why intervention is not necessary.

        • begalon says:

          Mariano baby, America is not a thug. America is protecting your FREEDOM. Imagine a world dominated by these thugs where women are treated much less than we treated our women. Imagine a world where your children are raped and prohibited to go to school.

          Which neighbor do you prefer? I would prefer America where my FREEDOM is secured. Periodico!

        • R.Hiro Vaswani says:

          The obligations of empire obliges the U.S. to act… Like the Romans before it, the solo all powerful military empire supplies the planet with two critical public goods. Security and its currency… One complimenting the other…

          America’s experience with the conquest, pacification and occupation of the Philippine islands was textbook… At that time genocide was practiced… But the U.S. was not interested in making the Philippines a state. They were more interested in China and Japan. China for the future and establishing a forward naval base v. Japan…

          T. Roosevelt was honored with the Nobel prize for negotiating an end to the Russo- Japanese war. At that time Roosevelt was aware of the special status of the Japanese among the coolie nations of Asia…It was the embryo of what would become the start of the U.S. empire. to replace the fading British empire and its navy…

          They had just defeated an all white navy in the Russian navy.. Restrictions on coolie labor
          v. the Chinese Filipino and Japanese were put into law.

          The Americans wisely organized the Philippine landed class into the Philippine assembly and gave them free trade privileges for their resource based products. That set up the landed status of the Philippine legislature that exists till this day…

  5. manuel buencamino says:

    Who put the white hat on the US?

    Are phosphorous bombs, defoliants, and napalm, to name a few, not chemical weapons?

    Why is sarin worse than any of those other chemical weapons? Would America continued to sit on its hands if Assad only napalmed the hell out of the rebels? Where is the line between acceptable and non-acceptable chemical weapons? Who draws that line?

    Is American exceptionalism in play here? Are you not looking at it from the perspective of who rather than what?

    By the way, was not Syria a rendition site for US terrorism suspects?

    When then is Syria’s behavior unacceptable, when it helps the US torture confessions out of terror suspects or when it gasses rebels? Is one form of inhumanity more acceptable than another? Does the US have the moral high ground to render judgment on issues relating to crimes against humanity?

    I say let the Syrians sort it out among themselves. The civil war seems to be pretty even at this point. It has been at a stalemate for some time.

    They say a hundred thousand Syrians have died so far but we don’t really know which side inflicted more deaths. I assume all sides are responsible for the innocent civilians killed.

    It would be different if one side was dominating the conflict and committing genocide. Genocide would require immediate intervention, by any country or entity willing and able to do it, with or without the consent of the rest of the world.

    Intervention may weaken Assad because it takes away his military advantage but who knows which among the rebels groups will become stronger as a result. What if weakening Assad brings a more brutal regime into power. And so who will America be really punishing?

    America threw out its constitution after the 911 attack. The attack justified an anti-terror law that justified torture and the indefinite holding of suspects for indefinite periods in inhumane conditions. But I assume you will argue that America has a right to use whatever means necessary to assure its survival. What is so different about what Assad is doing from what America will do and has done to ensure its survival?

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Where Muslims are, trouble is no surprise. A Muslim saved is the same Muslim that kills because of our infidel-ity. They do not accept no other religion but theirs. They immigrate to countries and dictate countries what they can and should do. 2,000 years they have not reformed nor torrerate and live among other religion. It is always them.

      Religion makes people kill education makes them not. What education kills is religion.

      I have no compassion of Muslims like they do not have tolerance and compassion for our beliefs especially I who do not believe in religion, souls and spirit. What I believe is Bad Religion, soul music and spirit of absinthe. It killed Oscar, Vincent and Ernest.

      I am in favor of anti-terror justified torture which is more of a spank and pinch considering God’s cruel and unusual punishment in the Great Flood the first ever recorded wanton indiscriminate waterboarding, eternal fiery punishment in hell and “I am a sinner because Adam and Eve sinned”. When Obama tried to withdraw from Iraq, Iraqis begged them to stay because they cannot stand religious Iraqis torture chamber.

      But attacking Syria is not America’s business …. errrrr …. it’s the business of military defense contracting companies that feeds money to political parties and lobbyists.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Muslims do not have utang-na-loob gift of gratitude. They bite the hands that feeds them. They kill the people that help them. Iran. Iraq. Egypt. Yemen. Somalia. Palestine. Whenever U.S. oust their regime it is replaced by more repressive regime. These area is full of sick people. Their minds are poisoned by religion. Where else in the world they can blow themselves up and given 73 virgins as a gift? No wonder Roman Catholicism is losing membership to Muslims. And it is no wonder our virgin women go missing because they are made offerings to the Muslims bombers.

      • Joe America says:

        “Where have all the virgins gone?” Sung to the tune of “Where have all the flowers gone?” The latter is an appropriate song for this discussion thread, best sung by Woody Gutherie, I suppose, a gentleman war protester of your father’s time.

    • Joe America says:

      So much here, MB. You need to adopt Edgar’s enumeration technique so I can address points where I have some additional thoughts. I don’t have disagreements, actually, as I believe you fairly state the view of those American congressmen who will oppose the Obama planned missile strike.

      Any weapon is abhorrent, so that argument about napalm and agent orange will always exist. But that does not always make the need to fight abhorrent.

      And the notion for rules to warfare is itself rather funny, is it not? Rules for how to kill and not to kill. But we have them, and napalm (one of the most horrific weapons around) is not on the rules for banned weapons. I don’t know about phosphorus; it may have been moved to banned. But gas is banned because it kills innocent civilians indiscriminately.

      So do we say don’t fight because weapons are bad? Do we say anything goes because rules for fighting lead fighting nations into the realm of hypocrisy, and we ought not be hypocrites?

      I think everything is a gamble in Syria, either choice. Striking with missiles is. Not striking is. Both have really bad outcomes at the end of a certain logical thread. Russia is emerging to contest American ways through “in your face methods”. Do we, as leaders of the American nation which, in spite of your recitation of the flaws, represents a force for a certain good (and rich and healthy) order to otherwise chaotic world affairs, turn tummy up because Russia complains? Does that not embolden Russia, and where does that take us. So this overflows into a rats nest of ramifications.

      Obama has held the U.S. out of Syria for the main reason you cite. There is no side to be for. But the U.S. will defend her own people, whether through hypocrisy or bombs, and would be remiss to allow a guy like Assad to exist in power.

      It’s all speculation. Your framing is different than mine. You bet on the bay, I’ll take the big white stallion with the guy in a mask on it shouting Hi Yo Silver.

      As always, I very much appreciate the thought power you put into your arguments.

      • manuel buencamino says:

        By the way, Russia used sarin on that big hostage incident in a Russian opera house or theater several years back. I didn’t see any call to send a missile message to Moscow.

        1. There is a list of banned weapons. I presume the list is agreed upon by signatories to some kind of UN treaty. That means acting on a violation of that treaty would require UN sanction. Is it okay to cite a violation of a UN treaty as a justification to act even without a mandate from the UN?

        Those laws do not prohibit fighting. They prohibit certain weapons. They do not prohibit hypocrisy, either.

        2. “Do we, as leaders of the American nation which, in spite of your recitation of the flaws, represents a force for a certain good (and rich and healthy) order to otherwise chaotic world affairs, turn tummy up because Russia complains? Does that not embolden Russia, and where does that take us. So this overflows into a rats nest of ramifications.”

        Like I asked, who put the white hat on the US? Who put the US on a high horse?

        3. It is interesting that you argue morality in terms of national interest. I have no quarrel with that. Like you, I am a practical man. I am for VFA and for an expanded VFA because we are being threatened by China. But if it was the US threatening us then I would VFA with China.

        My problem is the US defines its national interests as it goes along. National interest justified working with Assad one day, rendering suspected terrorists to his prisons, and then calling him an abomination the morning after. That was the same with Iraq, Iran, and that Panamanian dictator who was also a CIA asset.

        4. And you bring up Russia. We ain’t gonna take no in your face bullshit from him. The big bad bear has to be put in his place. What is this a playground?

        • Joe America says:

          The intent of the Russian gas attack was to disable the hostage-takers but they got the dose wrong. It is rather like a bus incident where good intentions went awry. Very different fundamentals.

          Thanks for the enumeration.

          1.The U.N has no enforcement mechanisms so big states pretty much advocate for themselves, one set of values and self-interest against another.. It is why the Philippine UNCLOS appeal will mean nothing to China, and may even have the opposite affect than that intended, and incite China to be MORE belligerent toward the Philippines. Hypocrisy is a human condition I fear, but there is not a lot of it regarding the U.S. Different leaders have different ideas at different times and go against prior national policy. That is not hypocrisy, but a change in approach.

          2.There was no election. The U.S. just rather emerged as the global policeman after WWII, or counter-force to the REAL imperialists hereabouts, Russia and China. I think the world is a better place for that, but don’t mind you disagreeing. The U.S. is not perfect. Other states are much worse.

          3. Every nation defines its interests as it goes along, responding to what other states do that either threatens or helps them. The Philippines is for sure responding to what China is doing. The Philippines ejected Marcos then elected Ms. Marcos to the House. Talk about fickle. The idea that the U.S. should put each nation into a bucket, friend or foe, and support the “friends” even if they turn against the U.S., is rather odd. The world is dynamic, almost chaotic.

          4. The playground is the same one China is playing in, pushing for perceived national interests, pushing, pushing to the limits. Russia and the U.S. faced off against each other during the cold war and are edging back to that line. Again, if I were a neutral state, and I had to cast my fates to either Russia or the U.S., I’d pick the U.S. Others may prefer Russia. Good luck with that, and be sure not to draw a picture of Putin on the toilet.

          • manuel buencamino says:

            Joe,

            1. The UN Security Council was intended as the UN enforcement mechanism. It still is. Unfortunately, the UN Security Council cannot exercise its mandate because the five permanent members, the five with veto powers, cannot think beyond their selfish national interests.

            2. That the world is a much better place because the US never tires of trying to remake it into its image and likeness is a matter of faith, it all depends on where you sit.

            Post WWII, the US dominated one half of the world, Russia the other. After Russia imploded, the world should have become unipolar but it did not. Instead it exploded into a multipolar world. America may be the most powerful militarily but it does not run the world, try as it might. I doubt it will succeed because a new international paradigm is evolving and nobody has figured it out yet. America’s leaders are still stuck in the old paradigm.

            3. Yes, America defines its interests as it goes along. But you miss my point which is America must stick to its principles. You know what your country stands for, measure your country’s founding principles with its behavior. See if your country walks its talk. It does not matter whether China or Russia walk their talk. Both have stopped pretending to be what they are not. They do what they canto advance their national interest with none of the moral pretenses that America uses whenever it does what it can to advance its national interest.

            4. Might does not make America right. Might does not make America better. Might does not give America the moral right to decide the fate of other countries. Might does not give America the right to recreate the world into its image and likeness. Might does not give America the right to foist its religion (its principles) on any country other than America.

            It is up to other countries whether they want to be like America or not, but those who choose their own path should not be treated as threats to the well-being of America. There is no such thing as you are either with me or against me. America is big enough to contain all its principles and it is strong enough to keep out germs; it does not have to go and convert the entire world just to make Americans feel safe.

            I like a lot of the principles America claims to live by but I don’t like the way America sells them or itself. I can arrive at those same principles with or without American tutelage.

          • manuel buencamino says:

            You divined the intent of the Russian gas attack one way and then you divine the intent of the gas attack in Syria in another.

            First, no one is 100 percent sure who dropped those gas bombs so intent would be impossible to divine.

            Second, but let’s assume it was Assad. He may have very well intended to only disable the rebels but he got the dosage wrong. Or both Assad and the Russians used the gas with the intention of killing all the hostage takers and they were willing to take collateral damage i.e. innocent civilians. Or worst of all they saw the occasion as an excellent opportunity to test the effectivity of the gas.

            The fundamentals of your reasoning are the same. You made certain assumptions regarding the intent behind both the Russian and the Syrian cases.

            The bus hostage taking is different. The intent was clear. It was to save hostages. You cannot divine any other motive behind the rescue effort that went horribly wrong. Proof is nobody has come forward to even suggest that there was any other intent except to save those hostages.

          • edgar lores says:

            1. It is quite obvious that the structure of the UN is now outmoded. The UN charter was signed in October 1945 immediately after WWII.

            2. The permanent members of the Security Council are: USA, China, Russia, France and UK.
            2.1. Obviously the Axis powers were excluded, in particular Germany and Japan.

            3. In 2011, the Top Ten economic powers, in descending order, were: USA, China, Japan, Germany, France, Brazil, UK, Italy, India and Russia.

            4. The Top Ten military powers, in descending order, are: USA, China, Russia, India, UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Japan and Turkey.

            5. Based on the Top Five of items #3 and #4, the Security Council should be expanded to 8 members: USA, China, Russia, France, UK, Germany, Japan and India.
            5.1. In a certain sense, China and Russia are the most immoral of nations in terms of the suppression of their peoples.
            5.2. And China flouts international law in the matters of Tibet and the West Philippine Sea disputes.
            5.3. USA is not exactly pure with its adventurism in Iraq, its play of favoritism in the Middle East and its use of drones.

            6. The composition of the Security Council does not reflect current reality. The UN Charter should be made dynamic, with the composition of the Security Council reviewed every couple of decades.

          • Joe America says:

            @MB,

            1. Mankind is selfish. It is the natural order of things. To expect any nation to put the benefit of other nations ahead of the well-being of her own citizens is a little weird.

            2. “The U.S. never tires . . .” You speak as if the U.S. were a dictator. She is an accumulation of many voices that are based on laws, themselves based on certain principles, and her actions are shaped by variations of political belief within, and outside events that change with time. One leader is very different from another. There is no “old paradigm” to be stuck in.

            3. I can’t unwind this, that Russia and China are excused from walking the talk, but the U.S. is condemned for failing to walk its talk, because its principles are so high-minded, but she doesn’t live up to them. American principles are that every citizen ought to have a voice through democratic institutions and ought to be free within a set of rules that benefit the community. She is driven by an economic engine that is self-serving. You seem to expect something of America that is Godlike. She is just people dealing with situations as they arise. Fundamentally good people. Fundamentally good principles.

            4. I have no problem with what you say in these paragraphs, other than, again, you paint America as if she were a dictator having certain aims to impose upon the world. She is not. She is a large nation with a presence around the globe, and people touching her as much as she touches them. The U.S. was isolationist prior to WW II but got dragged kicking and screaming into the war. From that, a series of events unfolded in an integrated world that put America in the forefront, waging her principles against those of Russia and China and now Muslim terrorists. These are not devious actions. They are shaped as much outside the U.S. as within.

            Second note.

            I don’t “divine” anything. I give a view, a perspective. I laugh, because I caught Donald Rumsfeld on CNN last night. He was his normally quotable self, explaining the difference between “intelligence” and “fact”. It was classic. I miss the old guy.

            U.S. decisions and JoeAm perspectives are based on limited information which is oddly enough called “intelligence”, although it should more aptly be called “upgraded ignorance” or even a guess. We all live in our own self-developed haze of partial information..

            Fact is 100% knowledge, and your expectation that all decisions be based on 100% knowledge is, frankly, rather bizarre.

            Yes, I hold that gas in Syrian neighborhoods and gas in a Russian theater are very different, and, yes, I believe the photos I see when I google images for “Syrian gas attack victims”, and I believe U.S. intelligence findings are earnest not political, and I think Putin is full of shit when he says he does not know what happened. You are entitled to whatever “intelligence” you pull together, too. You are even entitled to hallucinations.

          • Joe America says:

            @Edgar,

            Nice synthesis.

          • manuel buencamino says:

            US intel are earnest not political…..

            How about the girl who testified before the US Congress recounting tales of atrocities by Iraqi soldiers in a hospital in Kuwait who turned out to be the daughter of a diplomat who was not even in Kuwait, courtesy of Hill and Knowles; WMDs; yellow cake from Africa; Tongkin Gulf; Mayaguez; and on and on and on.

            It seems that US intel is timely more than anything else. And time and again it has been proven fake, designed to provoke the anger of Americans against whoever is the security establishment’s flavor of the month

          • Joe America says:

            @MB, if you use the exceptions or the extremes to judge an enterprise as huge and far reaching and complex and challenged as American government intelligence, you can always find the faults you wish to demonstrate. It is the time honored technique of the Get Real analysts. The intel community has a job to do. Important. Tough. Dangerous. Sometimes desperate. I’ll choose to respect that there are a batch of earnest professionals doing their best to protect my family in the States, and acknowledge that their activities sometimes go over the line. I can’t explain the whys and wherefores behind each case. Sometimes it may be justified and sometimes not. Sometimes it is justified for the wrong reasons (torture). But America is not the same as a totalitarian state. You and Bello and others are free to believe it is.

  6. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Judicial thuggish demagoguery:
    Aquino never apologized for making Malacanang an escort service to scammers. In 1st world, Escort Service is actually high-class prostitute which is apt in the case of Benigno.

    Philippine Media, as predicted, did not attack the escort service, pimping and pandering to scammers.

    Aquino did not only do escort service but also delivered an overt implying message: This is my girl

    NBI chief “resigned” because he F’ed the handling of Janet but the escort service did not resign. He shouldn’t because he is the one and only straight despite a bit crooked and the Filipino people do not know it because they cannot afford internet and newspapers disenfranchising them in information on top of Philippine Media mum about it.

    The Escort Service is telling NBI, “Here I am President of the Republic of the Philippines is able to arrest Napoles!” Or, this one is goot, because The NBI Chief is looking for Napoles. And Napoles ran to his padrino who has 24/7 access to Malacanang.

    After Aquino presidentially escorted Napoles and the message was desiphered The Chief Justice acted in concert to have the deputies resign, too !!!! GOOT TIMING !!!!

    This is thuggery.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Remember, folks. Napoles was involved in Kevlar Scandal, too !!! Nobody prosecuted her because he has direct-connect instant access 24/7 to Malacanang. Who else? Benigno Aquino !!!!

      After Benigno Aquino did the escort service to his girl friend Chief of NBI resigned. deLima who has been quiet for sometime joined the chorus, asked the deputies to resign, too !!!!! So she’d look goot to Benigno Aquino.

      It is fun in the Philippines. Scandals like this pushes the cholesterol globules off my arteries to flow unmolested again. I am in goot health!

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      DISCLAIMER: Some of the facts are twisted to give it added entertainment value

      • Joe America says:

        Can I borrow that line? And the entertainment gives it more reads and more meaning, so we can therefore logically conclude that twisting facts is the way to enlightenment, and so politicians and lawyers and used car salesmen are ACTUALLY the best amongst us.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          Oh, please, help yourself, Joe, it is not copyrighted and patented.

          When you did an article about Rappler I checked it out. And say what, they put me back in again. I am not bannished. My punishment is over. I can post again. My life is resurrected.

          This what I noticed. Only very few comments. I wonder whatever happened to the rest. Definitely they were not ex-commed they just lost the entertainment value, maybe from me. Just the same Rappler is still run by U.P. journalism graduate who cannot know ethics from ethics of abroad where U.P. textbooks are coming from.

          • Joe America says:

            Congratulations on your resurrection. The comments on some threads explode, like the recent one where Miriam said senators should get a P500,000 salary. Maybe they get linked onto someone’s facebook or something. Many are empty, though, you are right. I notice that most of the commenters are young. Still, that does not stop me from flapping my keyboard, tossing random thoughts here and there hoping something sticks, and not too much stinks. I generally give myself a like rating, as those comments with the most likes move to the head of the thread.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          Philippine Media Moderators: Thuggery, lost conscience wayward reporting.

  7. J says:

    Well, the United Nations is supposed to play the conscience role. Unfortunately, its veto system prevents it from rising to the occasion.

    My take on this is posted on The Observers, by the way: http://theobservers.net/obamas-nuanced-approach-on-syria/

    I think Obama is trying to separate the issue of chemical weapons from the issue of whether Assad should stay or go. That could be asking too much, but who am I to tell?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, he is posturing what is likely to be a massive, powerful strike as something other than involvement in the civil war, but a global policing action against WMD. It is strikingly similar to Iraq but without the invasion. I do think the U.S. will start to pull together a group of “moderate” rebels they can back, because after the punishment is levied, the criminal must not be allowed to roam free.

  8. The Mouse says:

    Syria is a tricky situation. It’s no secret that Al Qaeda has infiltrated the opposition and should Assad fall, it is a possibility that they will rule Syria and exterminate the Shiites, Alawites, Druze, Christians, etc…(basically anyone who is not Sunni)

    On the other hand, what has the Obama administration done to help the refugees? Little help for refugees, more help for the AQ infiltrated rebels?

    The Syrian civil war, it seems to me, is actually a SECTARIAN war. Just look at the belligerents. Why does Iran and Hezbollah side with Assad while equally, the authoritarian and brutal regimes in Gulf support the “rebels”?

    In addition, there is a potential response from Iran and Russia…and while the US is busy with Syria, Russia, Iran…the Chinese will pursue their business of territorial grab in the South China Sea and may further provoke Japan to a stronger response.

    And if baffles me that Obama is acting tough now on Syria, he cannot do the same for Egypt. A coup cannot be supported by US aid per US law but Obama refused to at least suspend the aid to Egypt (the only think he did is cancel the F-16, but not the aid).

    • Joe America says:

      Many good points, for sure. It is a civil war, with intense regional interest. Obama has actually been very staunch to keep the U.S. out of the play, but he pays a big political price from the Republican hawks if he does not hold Assad to account. He has used up a lot of capital just holding the U.S. away.

      Indeed, a huge flare-up in the Middle East could embolden China, re. the Philippines and Japan.

      Egypt must be driving the U.S. bonkers. The U.S. went out on a limb to support democracy, even if led by people who don’t have the best interest of the U.S. at heart, and then found that democracy overthrown in a most undemocratic way. Even though the secular, military backed government is likely to be more aligned with U.S. interests (peace with Israel) than the democracy would have been. The U.S. has criticized the overthrow, and criticized the jailing of Morsi, and withheld some fighter jets. But there is no gas being used there, and it is a situation that is totally self-contained within Egypt. The secular set won’t countenance meddling by Iran or the U.S. or anybody.

      It will play out as it plays out, and I expect the U.S. will eventually re-establish aid and constructive engagement with whatever government emerges Give it a year or two.

      • The Mouse says:

        The US didn’t forego the aid despite what US law says. Per US law, US aid cannot be given to a COUP (and the supposed pro democracy demonstration was actually a coup). It just canceled the deliver of F-16(which is not the total aid and just a small portion of the aid). Now, that’s an issue of legality. Technically, the US should have suspended the aid when the coup happened — PER US LAW. Moreso, when the Egyptian army went wantonly killing unarmed civilians (now, the argument here is that, are unarmed civilians’ lives “less precious” than civilians killed with chemicals, that is does not warrant at least freezing of aid?). It is also worth noting that the Obama administration was silent when the unarmed Coptic Christians were massacred by the Egyptian army because they were protesting the burning and bombing of their church during….CHRISTMAS.

        Unfortunately, Obama is…inconsistent in the issue of “conscience”.

        I wonder what will he do and how the US will get stuck should Assad fall and Al Qaeda terrorists take over.

        But then again, damn the US if it responds, damn the US if it doesn’t and the rest of the Permanent UNSC gets away! And I think the US should put more responsibility on Israel as regards to MENA affairs. After all, they receive the biggest US aid.

        • The Mouse says:

          And one more thing I have in mind: Should Al Qaeda take over and seize Assad’s chemical weapons (before the US or UN gets to it…which is likely especially that Obama does not plan to put ground troops)….what now? That seems to be a scarier situation.

          • Joe America says:

            Very scary. Boots could hit the ground in that case. British, too, I would imagine. They are closer, proximity wise.

          • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

            @Mouse, you got my hair stand on end! That is scary scenario. Al Qaeda has already imbedded in the rebel group! If Mouse knows Obama should know better. Why would he want to go to war with Syria? Because Obama wanted Syria to be overrun by Al Qaeda so the world will become a Muslim Utopia be ause Obama is Barack Hussein Obama a in-the-closet Muslim

        • Joe America says:

          I agree with your conclusion. The situation is messy, and divisiveness in the U.S. political scene makes it ugly there. Given the animosities around the world to American ventures, it gets doubly messy globally.

          It is hard to wrap different events under one umbrella and claim they are inconsistent. Each action stands on its own time and circumstance.

          If laws were broken, I trust there are attorneys in the U.S. who will jump all over it for their share of a multi-million dollar penalty.

          The view that Egypt army wantonly killed unarmed civilians is a tough one. The fighting was evidently begun by the protestors and the military brooks no compromise, lest their authority be undermined. It is okay to condemn the military as long as one also condemns the protestors who tried to do harm to the soldiers. It seems that righteousness is in the hands of whoever is holding the gun at the moment. Morsi will be tried for inciting the conflict.

          I don’t know enough about the Coptic Church incident to comment. It needs its own space and analysis. I’m hesitant to issue opinions from a state of total ignorance. I wait until the half-way point to issue . . .

  9. manuel buencamino says:

    Principles, and by principles I mean good moral principles, and living by those said principles is what distinguishes a thug from the good guy with a conscience. So is America a thug or conscience in a world gone mad? Did America have nothing to do whatsoever with the world going mad? Let he who is without sin launch the first missile.

  10. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    I just gave up on Rappler. Their style is sooo confusing. I just realized I was not banned nor ex-commed I was the one that banned Rappler. They are just bunch of kindergarten drop-out who happen to write goot englischtzes. But, it is a goot project.

  11. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    God lives amongst us. God resides in our heart. If an American is a thug, therefore, God is a thug with no conscience !!!

    God doesn’t reside in my heart that is why I am an honest Filipino. Just imagine if I accepted God in my heart and in my body I WOULD HAVE BEEN THE CORRUPTEST THUG IN THE WHOLE WORLD !!!!!

    • Joe America says:

      How is it that I write line after line, paragraph after paragraph, trying to get a point across, and you nail it in a few words? If America is a thug, God is a thug with no conscience.

  12. Dear Joe America,

    Greetings from GMA News Online, sir!

    We are the go-to news site for Filiipinos everywhere. Our site averages about 1 million hits per day.

    We found this blog post titled most interesting and we would very much like to re-post the entry in its entirety in our Opinion Section (http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/opinion) to give your post a wider forum, and foster discussion about this subject, especially in light of recent events.

    We hope this article hasn’t been previously published in any major local paper or media outlet?

    We will provide a link back to its URL and indicate that the post originally appeared here. You may also contact me at karl.demesa@gmail.com and 0916-5935308 / 0919-6927048.

    Here’s hoping for your swift and positive response.

    Thank you very much!

    Sincerely,
    KARL R. De MESA
    Contributing Editor
    GMA News Online
    Opinion Section

  13. winky says:

    This is what I emailed to my US Representative:

    Please vote NO to any US Military intervention in Syria. We do not need to remove another “evil” dictator just to put into power the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. If we launch Tomahawk missiles, just to show the world that we can back up whatever “red line” our president announces, we will immediately see propaganda videos showing how we just bombed innocent little Syrian children happily skipping towards school. The price for saving face will be; an increase of hatred towards the United States, increase in recruitment of Islamic terrorists and violence, Iran stepping up Military action against the west and increased turmoil in the Middle East. We get absolutely nothing in return and this is not worth the blood we will spill and treasure we will spend. Syria is NOT a threat to the United States, it’s a Shia and Sunni war that has been going on for decades and we have absolutely nothing to gain if we get involved. Please vote NO to any US Military intervention.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, winky. You do a powerful job of pointing out the dangers of attack and why you would vote no. I also like that you went beyond words, to actually ACT on your belief.

    • winky says:

      My US Rep response:

      ” Dear Mr. XXXXXXXXX,

      Thank you for contacting me to share your views regarding the conflict in Syria. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this matter and welcome the opportunity to respond.

      Officially, Syria is referred to as a republic. In reality, however, it is ruled by an authoritarian regime that exhibits little sign of democratic freedom. In Syria, human rights and civil liberties are not protected and free elections do not exist. In 2011, anti-government protests broke out across the country calling for political reform, civil rights protections, and the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. In response, Assad deployed military forces to quell protests through the use of unspeakable violence. This violence escalated into an ongoing civil war between Assad’s regime and the Syrian opposition forces. During this conflict, it is estimated that over 90,000 Syrians have been killed and over 1.6 million hav e fled the country as refugees. Most recently , U.S. intelligence confirmed the regime had used chemical weapons against the Syrian people, an appalling human rights violation .

      Following a large scale chemical attack against the Syrian people in August 2013, President Obama announced he believes military action is necessary to 1) prevent Syria from making future gas attacks against civilians and 2) deter other countries from using weapons of mass destruction. The President is currently seeking Congressional approval for this use of military force. While it is important that the President is taking the proper, constitutional steps in seeking Congressional approval, more details must be provided to Congress and the American people. The Administration must provide a substantive report on all scenarios being considered and what they could mean for our Country. Currently, hearings are being held in the House and Senate to review the Administration’s plans . Please rest assured that I wil l keep your views in mind as a resolution granting authority for use of military force in Syria comes before the House for a vote .

      While Congress continues to review the Administration’s proposal, my support remains with the Syrian people. No government should be permitted to inflict such pain and suffering on its own people. That is why I supported H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act , which passed the House on August 1, 2012, to strengthen sanctions against the Syrian regime and crackdown on human right abuses in Syria. The Syrian people deserve a government that represents their aspirations and respects their basic human rights. It is my hope that the Syrian people will topple this repressive regime, and establish a new government that will create a framework for an emerging democracy.

      Once again, thank you for taking the time to get in touch with me. Your interest and input are valued, and I hope to hear from you in the future regarding other matters of importance. I encourage you to visit my website and sign-up for my e-newsletter at http://reichert.house.gov to learn more about other issues impacting the 8 th Congressional District and our nation. You can also follow my work online and receive frequent updates on legislation being considered in Congress by visiting me on Twitter ( http://www.twitter.com/davereichert ), Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/repdavereichert ) and YouTube ( http://www.youtube.com/user/repdavereichert ). ”

      My Response:

      Dear Mr. Reichert,

      I get that you’re against human rights abuse in Syria. If this is the case, then we need to invade North Korea, Sudan, the African continent, and we might as well go to war with China, Russia and Iran now. Sarcasm aside, my family members, coworkers, friends and I, really do not care about human rights abuse in Syria.

      Limited strikes, AKA cruise missiles will result in stepped up Military Aid from Russia, Iran and China for Assad. It will be a proxy war and let’s not kid ourselves, we’ve had a dismal record in fighting proxy wars. The notion that Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood representing a minority within the Syrian rebellion is ridiculous. How did the Arab Spring worked out? Libya and Egypt ringing any bells? Syria is just being Syria, much like the rest of the Middle East being the Middle East. We have our enemies fighting each other in a civil war, and we need to stay out of the way. We can continue to strike at Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations like we always do.

      I’ve served in the US Army for 10 years and I’m not a pacifist by any stretch. I’m all for decimating any country that will threaten the United States. But Syria is not a threat to the United States, just like the Republic of Congo is not a threat to the United States.
      You mentioned deterring other countries from using chemical weapons. Limited strikes will not accomplish this. Limited strikes will make things worse and will surely embolden and increase the ranks of our enemies (Expect video footage of dismembered 5 year old Syrian children on the web, blamed on US missile strikes). A Military invasion to remove Assad, to secure chemical weapons, or whatever we decide to call it, will be a PROXY war, which will most likely lead to a full blown war with Russia, Iran and China. All this because we want to remove an “evil” dictator in the Middle East?

      You will lose all support and votes from my family, friends, coworkers and myself, if you vote for any Military Strikes in Syria.

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