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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Assad regime: They're war criminals. Our main job is to make sure the rest of the world knows that.

The most comprehensive and pertinent suggestion about what to do concerning the use of poisonous gas in Syria is made by Thomas Friedman. He says Obama is taking the wrong tack.  I agree.  As with many people, I have found no option for action that does not embroil the nation in another costly, life-killing situation over we can have little control.  Friedman's idea answers the objections.

He acknowledges that Syria "is a wickedly complex problem."  But, he states:

...only America can spearhead a credible response: Russia and China have rendered the United Nations Security Council meaningless; Europe is a military museum; the Arab League is worthless; all others are spectators. We are out front — alone. We may not want to be, but here we are. So we must lead.  
 His plan:

We need to use every diplomatic tool we have to shame Assad, his wife, Asma, his murderous brother Maher and every member of his cabinet or military whom we can identify as being involved in this gas attack. We need to bring their names before the United Nations Security Council for condemnation. We need to haul them before the International Criminal Court. We need to make them famous. We need to metaphorically put their pictures up in every post office in the world as people wanted for crimes against humanity.
  The full explanation of his idea is at The New York Times.


Thad Wasson said...

Let Mr. John Kerry put his Navy whites back on and put his boots in theater, maybe he can win back the medals he so graciously returned to the U.S. of A.

M Larson said...

The only problem with putting it to the ICC is that in the end the court itself is a shell of what it needs to be to have any sense of effectiveness. I feel that calling Assad a war criminal is just one more thing he would laugh off as long as Russia has his back.

David Newquist said...

Yes, the fact is that we either choose to stand by idly and become complicit what Assad does or we take military action that is guaranteed to mire us down in futile war. Friedman's idea considers this. I quote further:

" Yes, there’s little chance of them being brought to justice now, but do not underestimate how much of a deterrent it can be for the world community to put the mark of Cain on their foreheads so they know that they and their families can never again travel anywhere except to North Korea, Iran and Vladimir Putin’s dacha. It might even lead some of Assad’s supporters to want to get rid of him and seek a political deal.

'When we alone just bomb Syria to defend “our” red line, we turn the rest of the world into spectators — many of whom will root against us. When we shame the people who perpetrated this poison gas attack, we can summon the rest of the world, maybe even inspire them, to join us in redrawing this red line, as a moral line and, therefore, a global line. It is easy for Putin, China and Iran to denounce American bombing, but much harder for them to defend Syrian use of weapons of mass destruction, so let’s force them to choose. Best of all, a moral response — a shaming — can be an unlimited response, not a limited one.

"A limited, transactional cruise missile attack meets Obama’s need to preserve his credibility. But it also risks changing the subject from Assad’s behavior to ours and — rather than empowering the rebels to act and enlisting the world to act — could make us owners of this story in ways that we do not want. “Arm and shame” is how we best help the decent forces in Syria, deter further use of poison gas, isolate Assad and put real pressure on him or others around him to cut a deal. Is it perfect? No, but perfect is not on the menu in Syria."

larry kurtz said...

Sen. Tom Udall is saying similar things, David: there is clearly a need for a policeman of the world.

don stevens said...

Obama threatened Syria, then backed away. Then Kerry spoke off the cuff and Foreign Minister Lavrov jumped on Kerry's remarks.

Things were so bad in Syria that by May, 2013 Russia was looking for a way out---i.e, Russia was ready to abandon Assad. Obama was about to rescue Putin from the Syria mess (yes, by killing Assad)----until Obama bungled it so badly that now Putin is rescuing Obama.

The USA shd have poured weapons into Syria early making sure the Free Syrian Army won before the fundementalists cd gain influence there.

don stevens said...

The USA now needs to rebuild its relationship with Jordon and Saudi Arabia. They think the president is ver naive and rather incompetant.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States