"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin 
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
1. Will Obama Go Alone?
2. Obama, Syria &
3. Are Chemical
Weapons Reason Enough to Go to War?
is little today about the crisis. Instead, most headlines are about the
U.S.'s urge to somehow hit Syria.
I will follow that today, although I do not think it is very
interesting, at least not compared to all one's internet activities
being tracked by the U.S. government.
Will Obama Go Alone?
The first link is
to an article on Common Dreams by Jon Queally, who deals with a
question that lately has become popular, since Cameron lost the support
of the British Parliament about this:
Here are the first two
With a Thursday
night vote in Parliament restricting UK Prime Minister David Cameron
from joining the U.S. in a military attack on Syria, the question now
forefront is whether or not President Obama will ignore larger calls
for caution against intervention and launch an unilateral military
assault against the war-torn Middle East country.
There is a fair amount more in
the article, but it doesn't answer the question - which, as the last
quoted paragraph shows, is of some interest.
If he does so—and the
White House indicates the president remains undeterred—the U.S. will be
proceeding without a mandate from the U.N., a war resolution from
Congress, or even a NATO or broader international coalition designed to
legitimatize such an attack.
(I should want to make one point, though: The curious position of Obama
is due, in part, to the fact that he will not get close
to a real battle field. This indeed is the fact since George
Washington, so Obama is not special in that respect - but it does
make a difference of whether one may get killed oneself by one's own
actions, or whether one only deals out death to others by one's own
2. Obama, Syria & the Constitution
Next, here is a paper by David Cole, from yesterday, in the New York
Review of Books, for those who want some background:
This is mostly about the
intervention in Syria, even if it was confined to an unmanned cruise
missile attack, would unquestionably constitute an act of war. And
whatever the validity of such an act under international law, under the
US Constitution only Congress has the authority to authorize war or
lesser forms of military force. The Framers gave that power to the
legislature precisely because they wanted to make going to war more
difficult, and knew that presidents would be more inclined to
bellicosity than a multi-member legislature.
I agree with the Framers
on this issue, and indeed myself do not see what the U.S. can do in and
around Syria - and I know it is a horrible mess there, but I also do
not think the mess will get better if the Americans start to interfere
But there is the following consideration:
Chemical Weapons Reason Enough to Go to War?
One problem is that Obama
and his government have declared that "the red line" in the ongoing
civil war in Syria is the use of chemical weapons, and there are
indications this "red line" has been passed recently.
Here is a good article by
Dana Liebelson on Mother Jones:
It's first paragraph is as
follows and explains the background:
administration has moved a fifth destroyer containing cruise missiles
into the Mediterranean Sea and seems prepared to take limited punitive military action against Syria for
the presumed use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad's regime. The
White House is expected to declassify evidence today that will show
that Assad's forces launched a poisonous gas attack against civilians
earlier this month, killing as many as 1,300. A year ago, President
Obama set a "red line,"
noting that the use of chemical weapons would be unacceptable in the
Syrian civil war that has raged for over two years and killed over
100,000 people. But with Britain refusing to lend support for a
retaliatory strike, some members of Congress are wondering
whether the use of chemical weapons is an automatic rationale for
America to go to war. Here's a backgrounder on these nasty weapons, who
has them, what they do to the body, and how the United States has in
the past responded to their use.
After this, the article starts
giving the information on chemical weapons, which is well done. In
fact, it doesn't quite answer the question, though there is this bit:
"As far as I
know," the Arms Control Association's Kimball says, "this would be
among the first instances when a state's use of chemical weapons would
have prompted military action by the US or by others."
So by and large "the red line"
is propaganda, it seems.
Anyway... that was it for today. Maybe there's more tomorrow.
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, that the governors do not
rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
It is more proper
that law should govern than any one of the
citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the
supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to
be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I
from is quite pertinent.)
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: