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Old 04-09-2017, 04:04 PM   #46
DanaC
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Onus was on the Russians. They promised the entire world that Sarin would be completely removed. If they lied, then good. That lie will be exposed - at major expense to Russians. But a dumb president got the Russians off the hook - maybe as Putin (or worse Asad) carefully strategized.

You say that like it is possible to shame Putin on the world stage - I don't think that's how it would have gone down even if they had managed to get absolute and incontrovertible proof that Assad retained stockpiles of Sarin.
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Old 04-09-2017, 04:08 PM   #47
tw
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Like UT says, that approach can't be used twice. It's a one shot deal.
It was never a one shot deal. Russians promised the entire world that all Sarin was collected and that Sarin ingredients would not be imported. Had Trump been smart, he would have railed at Russian lies. He didn't. He did not even blame the Russians - as if Russia was Great Britain. If Trump was truly the negotiator he claims to be, then his best arguments were powerful. An entire honest world would have to agree - Russia lied.

But those agruements cannot be used. Trump destroyed his own powerful position.

Furthermore, had Trump understood strategic military concepts, then he would have done what Clinton so successfully did in Iraq. If using military action, Trump should have attacked all Sarin facilities and warehouses. Since those are in bases even protected by Russian presence. Russians could not deny a massive Sarin cleanup and Sarin victims - of a chemical that Russia said did not exist.

Trump had two powerful options. He destroyed both by wasting $100 million on useless and irrelevant targets. Even that option is now gone - cannot be used effectively again. Since the Russians now have every right to (and will) install best protection from Cruise missiles. And will not monitor (and maybe harass) American warships. They now have the right to do so - because Trump screwed up.

Last edited by tw; 04-09-2017 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 04-09-2017, 04:16 PM   #48
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You say that like it is possible to shame Putin on the world stage -
Of course it is. Putin is playing a shrew chess game. He is playing from a position of weakness. And yet, well, he may even have material to blackmail top Trump officials. Its hard to believe Trump would have attack such trivial targets had he been listening to, well, Trump knows he is smarter than the generals - and everyone else.

Never assume the military option is an only option or is a good one. During the Cuban missile crisis, we know those who thought that way almost resulted in none of us existing today. Best solution of even this tiny event is shrewd diplomacy. Quiet talk with a big stick. A big stick that is only used when talk is not yet effective. Plenty of options existed - to even implement a second red line over the first one. Even that option no longer exists.

In these chess moves, Putin clearly won only because Trump used a worst possible strategy.

Last edited by tw; 04-09-2017 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 04-09-2017, 04:31 PM   #49
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For Obama, Syria Chemical Attack Shows Risk of ‘Deals With Dictators’


The New York Times By PETER BAKER

Although friends and foes alike faulted him for not following through on his threat to retaliate when Syria gassed its own people in 2013, Mr. Obama would counter that he had actually achieved a better result through an agreement with President Bashar al-Assad to surrender all of his chemical weapons.

After last week, even former Obama aides assume that he will have to rethink that passage in his memoir. More than 80 civilians were killed in what Western analysts called a sarin attack by Syrian forces — a chilling demonstration that the agreement did not succeed. In recent days, former aides have lamented what they considered one of the worst moments of the Obama presidency and privately conceded that his legacy would suffer.


“If the Syrian government carried out the attack and the agent was sarin, then clearly the 2013 agreement didn’t succeed in its objective of eliminating Bashar’s C.W.,” or chemical weapons, said Robert Einhorn, who was the State Department special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control under Mr. Obama before the agreement. “Either he didn’t declare all his C.W. and kept some hidden in reserve, or he illegally produced some sarin after his stock was eliminated — most likely the former.”

Other former advisers to Mr. Obama questioned the wisdom of negotiating with Mr. Assad and said last week’s attack illustrated the flaws in the agreement, which was brokered by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as a way to prevent the United States from using force.


“For me, this tragedy underscores the dangers of trying to do deals with dictators without a comprehensive, invasive and permanent inspection regime,” said Michael McFaul, who was Mr. Obama’s ambassador to Russia. “It also shows the limits of doing deals with Putin. Surely, the Russians must have known about these C.W.” ...

... Even before last week’s chemical attack, many veterans of Mr. Obama’s team considered his handling of Syria his biggest failing and expressed regret that their administration could not stop a civil war that has left more than 400,000 dead and millions displaced.


Many of them even praised President Trump for taking the very action that Mr. Obama refused to take four years ago, by ordering a cruise missile strike against Syria. “Donald Trump has done the right thing on Syria,” Anne-Marie Slaughter, the director of policy planning in Mr. Obama’s State Department, wrote on Twitter. “Finally!! After years of useless hand-wringing in the face of hideous atrocities.”


Tom Malinowski, an assistant secretary of state for human rights for Mr. Obama, wrote in The Atlantic, “The lesson I would draw from that experience is that when dealing with mass killing by unconventional or conventional means, deterrence is more effective than disarmament.”

Mr. Obama spent much of his tenure grappling with Syria but resisted being directly drawn in, for fear of thrusting America into another Middle East quagmire without solving the problem. The most searing moment came in 2013, when Mr. Assad’s forces killed 1,400 civilians with chemical weapons, brazenly crossing what Mr. Obama had said would be his “red line.”

Mr. Obama prepared a military strike to retaliate, but hesitated amid domestic opposition in both parties and asked Congress to decide whether to proceed. When it became clear that Congress would not give its approval, he grabbed onto a political lifeline from Mr. Putin, who proposed a deal in which Mr. Assad would give up his chemical weapons arsenal. ...

... But from the start of the agreement, there were discrepancies in Mr. Assad’s declarations of his weapons. In February 2016, James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, told Congress that “we assess that Syria has not declared all the elements of its chemical weapons program.” ...

... Critics say Mr. Obama oversold the agreement with Russia. “The defense was that he got all the C.W. out, and now that defense is shown to be plain false,” said Elliott Abrams, a deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush. “If Obama administration officials knew that at the time, they were deliberately misstating the facts. I think Obama will never live this down, nor should he.”
[BOLD mine - for the hard of reading.]
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Old 04-09-2017, 04:41 PM   #50
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Old 04-09-2017, 06:39 PM   #51
tw
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Hindsight is 20/20... except for tw.
Obviously an interview with some low level former advisor who has no grasp of military concepts is not what Obama and his former senior staff think. Looking for something to support a naive belief is how extremists protect their beliefs.

We know this. Military is a last option; used when all other options are no longer available or have failed. Military must be implemented at real targets. Not irrelevant airplanes. Responsible use of military power would have taken out all known and suspected Sarin sites. And targeted top people responsible for its use. A responsible military response attacked Syria's presidential palace and Asad. If that is unacceptable, then a military response is unacceptable.

Idiots spent massively ($100million) to destroy some mostly old and easily replaced airplanes. A massive military response did virtually nothing useful. And destroyed most every other viable option.

When Reagan attacked Libya, did he only destroy some airplanes that might have threatened an aircraft carrier? Of course not. That would be counter-productive and only made things worse. Reagan went right after everything including the reason for confrontation - including Gaddafi and his tents. Reagan attacked everything relevant to the problem.

Only fools want big bombs to solve anything. All saw that bogus reasoning even in Vietnam. What happened? Only bad things. Actual problem was completely ignored. Problem was not targeted by a massive military response.

An attack on Syria did little useful. And destroyed everything accomplished by Obama's red line. Only reason to believe that military attack did something useful: emotions. Knowledge says otherwise.

No person cites a single fact that says a $100 million attack solved anything. That makes the stupidity of that attack obvious. What was accomplished. Even that airbase was operational in less than 24 hours. Nothing was accomplished. Even Sarin was untouched and ready for deployment.
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Old 04-09-2017, 07:20 PM   #52
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Obama was losing face after Assad thumbed his nose at him. Obama wanted to use military force; but, didn't have the intestinal fortitude to do it alone. He was afraid of Putin. Putin capitalized in Obama's weakness by offering Obama a political out. Obama would get to remove most of the CW so ISIS couldn't get trhem (also in Putin's interest) and in return Obama would look the other way when the evidence indicated that Assad had kept some secured for himself. The deal maker was that Assad wouldn't use them on Obama's watch.

Trump demonstrated that he's not going to be Putin's lackey like Obama was, by using the military option. All he needs to do for now is show them that he's willing and able to reach out and touch someone if CW are used again. The Russians can't stop it from happening. They can only retaliate which would be of no use to a defeated Assad. The US can do this in increments to have the least intervention effect on the civil war and give Russia the least provocation to retaliate. It's called strategy; but, has nothing in common with what armchair quarterbacks, who liken international relations to playing a game, call strategy.

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Old 04-09-2017, 08:24 PM   #53
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It has our allies nodding, China reevaluating, and North Korea shaking.
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Old 04-10-2017, 06:44 AM   #54
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What kind of upside down pageantry is this, warning the Russians and leaving the runways intact?
The war-mongering press loves it, it gives North Korea an upset stomach, it doesn't actually kill any Russians (which honestly is better than Hillary would have done), it further muddies the water for anyone trying to understand Trump (hint: he loves muddy water), if it stops here no major harm done unless you're looking at a debt clock,

If this were part of a game designed to extricate us from the bottomless pit of international conflict we might have something here but at this point the machine runs itself, a couple publicly reluctant Presidents won't stop it.
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:50 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
It has our allies nodding, China reevaluating, and North Korea shaking.
Need we reargue lies that justified a bogus Mission Accomplished war? 'Big dics' used same bogus reasoning back then. Because emotion - not logic - justified their reasoning. It is called 'Wag the Dog'.

Military action requires a 'smoking gun'. If attacks were justified - if a smoking gun existed - then America attacked the presidential palace and Asad. And attacked all Sarin facilities. If people responsible for Sarin are not targeted (are not the problem), then a smoking gun does not exist. No smoking gun means military action was not yet justified.

No smoking gun is why irrelevant targets were attacked with very expensive weapons. Scary are so many enthralled by use of big guns; therefore do not see severe consequences.

We are now jumping into another hole of quicksand. Problem was 100% on countries in that region. Why did Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Gulf States, Jordan, Egypt and Israel do nothing - not even complain? Why did America not go after them for being irresponsible and remaining silent? They - not America - are responsible for their region.

Many Americans refuse to learn lessons from VietNam, 200 dead Marines in Lebanon, and Mission Accomplished. Too many Americans only understand 'big dic' thinking. So many never understand: a 'smoking gun' must first exist.

Last edited by tw; 04-10-2017 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 04-10-2017, 11:13 AM   #56
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Why did Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Gulf States, Jordan, Egypt and Israel do nothing
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:13 PM   #57
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Problem was 100% on countries in that region. Why did... Israel do nothing - not even complain?
..
So many never understand: a 'smoking gun' must first exist.
Israel did their part 10 years ago kemosabe, and it was bigtime; and given how events transpired, I think they did not just themselves, but the whole world, a huge favor. No smoking gun required.
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Old 04-10-2017, 04:19 PM   #58
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People have been convicted of violent crimes, including murder, even when no weapon has been recovered. No smoking gun is required when the implications of circumstantial evidence are beyond a reasonable doubt. This is how the real world works. Anyone who would say a smoking gun is required before taking military action is not grounded in reality.
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Old 04-10-2017, 08:07 PM   #59
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I think they did not just themselves, but the whole world, a huge favor. No smoking gun required.
Smoking gun obviously existed - but was unknown to us all because a responsible press (ABC, NBC, CBS, NY Times, etc) did not have the story until after the fact

Israel did not waste time or money on trucks or planes delivering construction supplies. They did not waste money attacking corn fields to prove to Asad that they could.

Israel and Syria were still at war. Israel's attack was just one of many - and neither difficult nor challenging.

Israel asked a mental midget president (George Jr) to do it. But Cheney's puppet had subverted the US military on a useless war in Iraq, then recreated that war, while turning support from Iran against us, while all but surrendering to the Taliban, and then going back to fight that war all over again. America no long had necessary strength nor desire to be involved. Meanwhile, George Jr, et al had also created what was beginning to look like another Great Depression. In part because almost $3 trillion had been wasted only on Iraq - with zero success.

Part of that Syria problem - and this was noted in the Cellar repeatedly in the early 2000s - is traceable to Americans who so foolishly advocated and loved a $3 trillion war. And the deaths of 5000 American servicemen because a braggart was a threat to no one. America was already deeply involved with wars that would not exist had responsible (educated) leaders existed in Washington.

Israel took care of their problem when fatigue and a shortage of military capacity keep Americans from doing another stupid attack. Fatigue to keep Americans from doing something stupid?

Israeli did not act stupid - as America has with Sarin. Israelis took out a containment building; not irrelevant targets. Problem and the people who created a Sarin problem remain untouched and unthreatened. Infighting in The Donald's administration (resulting in a completely NSA shakeup) may also explain that stupid military decision.

Israelis did not stupidly attack trucks and planes. When using military force, the actual problem must be completely taken out. America did nothing to address a Sarin problem.

Sarin is no longer Israel, Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, or Lebanon's problem. It is now 100% America's problem. We simply jumped into more Middle East quicksand. Thanks to another president who is all about himself - not about America.

Reminds me of Nixon who massacred tens of thousands of Americans in a war he knew we would never win - to protect his legacy. Nixon did not want to be the first American president to lose a war. Soldiers apparently were expendable to Nixon, George Jr, and now Trump.
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Old 04-10-2017, 08:24 PM   #60
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Smoking gun obviously existed - but was unknown to us all
I'm sorry, I was using your previous definition of "smoking gun", you know, the definition you've used for the last twenty-five years.
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