ugust 30, 2013
Crisis: Obama alone, Obama and Constitution, Chemical Weapons
  "Those who sacrifice liberty for
   security deserve neither."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
    "All governments lie and nothing
    they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.

Prev- crisis -Next

1. Will Obama Go Alone?
2. Obama, Syria & the Constitution
3. Are Chemical Weapons Reason Enough to Go to War?
About ME/CFS


There is little today about the crisis. Instead, most headlines are about the U.S.'s urge to somehow hit Syria.

So 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.

1. 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 paragraphs:
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.

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.

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.

(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 decisions.)

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 following difficulty:
A military 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 militarily.

But there is the following consideration:

3. Are 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:
The Obama 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.

[1] 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 government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
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 quote from is quite pertinent.)

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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