Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Five Misconceptions About Syria

The article's title says "FiveStupendous Lies" but I'd prefer not to use that word. Lying infers someone is deliberately gives false information. I don't think most within the War Party lie about their motivations for military intervention. 

As we've seen in comments here, many really believe even worse things will happen if we don't become militarily involved in every squabble across the globe. That's not to suggest lying doesn't go on, but that most believe what they say about Syria and many of those that make the claims listed below really do believe them.  

The Huffington Post seems pretty spot on with the misconceptions they list. The author elaborates on his points in the article:

1: The world will not forgive us for inaction in the face of mass atrocities in Syria.

 2: The carnage in Syria would be diminished if the United States provided military assistance and intervened on behalf of moderate Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, the Russians, and Hezbollah.

 3: Russia will gain at our expense.

4. If Aleppo succumbs to President Al-Assad and President Putin, international terrorism against the United States will spiral.

5. The credibility of the United States as the leader and defender of the free world will be devastated.

Hat tip to antiwar.com for the link to the story.


At 9:36 AM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

Fred, do you think the US should never attempt to help innocent citizens in other countries who are being killed by their government or by some military type operation?

If you think there are some circumstances where you think we should help can you describe your dividing line between helping and not helping?

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

If you believe whoever's telling the stories, maybe, but as my older brother- an anti- war activist back in the '70s used to say "killing for peace is like balling for chastity".

It seems to me we just increase the killing, rather than stopping it.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

I don't see an answer in your comment. Let's try some specifics.

Had it been very clear that Hitler was killing millions of Jews, Romas, gays and disable people would you have supported using force to stop him?

Had it been very clear that Pol Pot was killing millions of Cambodians would you have supported using force to stop him?

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I'll admit I'd likely not believe those stories. Never mind that some people need to defend themselves rather than expecting others to.

If we had gone after Pol Pot, we'd likely still be occupying Cambodia today.

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

You did not answer the questions, Fred.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

I'm trying to figure out where your personal limits are, Fred.

I assume there is another person in the world that you care a lot for. If you saw that person in mortal danger from an attacker would you go to their defense?

If someone attacked you with the intent to kill you would you defend yourself?

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

"I assume there is another person in the world that you care a lot for. If you saw that person in mortal danger from an attacker would you go to their defense?"

I'd like to think so.

If someone attacked you with the intent to kill you would you defend yourself?"

U Yes. the conflict here is you seem to take most, if not all things, you read in the paper as being true and that the only time we attack other countries is because they brought it on themselves. I disagree. For instance, if one side in Syria wasn't attacking the other, that other side would likely be doing the same thing to them.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I'll admit I'd have a hard time establishing a "dividing line" if only because I don't trust accounts I read in the paper. I figure those accounts usually come from one side that's probably as bad as the other, but wants the U.S. to do their dirty work for them.

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

OK, so now we've established that you are not 100% non-violent. Let's push it back a level.

Please answer these questions. Please do not "reinterpret" the questions. Answer them as they are written.

1) Had it been very clear that Hitler was killing millions of Jews, Romas, gays and disabled people would you have supported using force to stop him?

2) Had it been very clear that Pol Pot was killing millions of Cambodians would you have supported using force to stop him?

At 7:46 PM, Blogger gabriele gray said...

Bob Wallace:
I'm not replying for Fred, but for myself because I see these arguments on other forums and they presuppose knowledge and conditions which did not exist at the time you are talking about.
At the time prior to WWII the US was detached from European affairs and the government and citizens wanted nothing to do with events in other countries.
Do remember also that there was a strong lobby FOR support for Germany in the US and people such as Charles Lindbergh were pro-German. The propaganda was strong and constant. The German citizenry were either supporters of the Third Reich, afraid of it or just went on living their lives because they hadn't really known what it was to live in a democratic society for two centuries. Germany put on a very positive face toward the world and few people bothered to look behind the mask...if they even perceived it as a mask.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger gabriele gray said...

Part 2
If Mr. Fred were in Germany and with a button he could press to eliminate Hitler back then, how would he have known? Who would have told him and what sort of proof or authority could he have recognized and accepted?
What we know now of the German Reich and the extent of its villainy is very different from what could be known then. That is one reason they had the Nuremburg Trials so all the actual criminals could be accused, have their guilt proven, and then judged and sentenced.
Look into the history of the work that went into the preparation of the documents for those cases. Most of the documents came from the accused's files.
So unless Mr. Fred received some divine instruction which he so trusted and believed that he felt a moral obligation to press the button, I think we must acquit Mr. Fred from not answering your question in such a way as to satisfy your demands.

At 7:48 PM, Blogger gabriele gray said...

Part 3:

Pol Pot. I think the same restrictions apply here.
Also, there this funny little issue called National Sovereignty. Does the US listen when Amnesty International criticizes it for things which AI believes are against 'international law' or 'common human rights'? No. And AI knows they're not going to suddenly say, OMG, you're right, we were: just unaware/wrong/stupid/led astray/asleep/drunk or drugged. But those who follow the work of AI might pay attention and try to focus on the complaints and work WITHIN the US to get things changed.

The United States has a history of turtle-like, pulling itself back into its shell and trying to ignore what's going on around it. It takes something pretty big to bring us out of that shell and agree something not only should be done, but has to be done.
How long did President Roosevelt want to help England against Germany, but couldn't because Congress wouldn't let him? Remember the Lend-Lease Act? That could be done legally (well, quasi-legally) where outright military assistance could not.
What did it take to get the US involved in WWI? Supposed German activity against passenger ships with US passengers onboard.
When Spain was tearing itself apart in the Civil War American citizens went to fight but was it with US assent? No. And since the Left was a bugaboo in the US the fact that the volunteer brigades were fighting with leftists groups did nothing to make US interest in the war increase. Definitely a 'hands-off' situation.
Again, it was a struggle taking place WITHIN a sovereign nation and international law made that a no-no.

At 7:49 PM, Blogger gabriele gray said...

Part 4:
Times did change and while the League of Nations did not succeed, it was tried again with the UN. Some success, many failures but at least it has stretched the boundaries of what one nation might do IF the world body found such interference was needed. And UN Peace Keeping forces were formed although they, too, have failed at protecting those they were supposed to defend.

If you are going to talk about Syria then I think you need to take into consideration all that went into creating all the 'nations' which now exist but which were just parts of the Ottoman Empire. The UK was very involved in how things were divided and they were concerned with their own spheres of influence.
And what went wrong there was repeated in different ways in what used to be Yugoslavia. The hatred of one religious sect for another, one religion for another, one ethnic group for another, one national identity for another...and then see that each of those subgroups contains some of the other subgroups.
Anger, fear and greed. And payback. It's not going to stop because one outside group, whether troops from the US or miraculous aliens from space come down and stop the killing...people still aren't going to get along.
The old dictum of 'You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink' can be repurposed as "You can take a man's gun but you can't stop him from wanting to kill".

My brother served in the Army Survey Corp in Iran in the late 1950s. They lived as civilians and worked in the north east part of Iran (this was under the Shah) surveying all the mountains. He thought it was great. He loved being in the mountains, enjoyed surveying, they were provided a house with servants and given funds for living expenses. I was going to college where there were Persian students and later met some Persians in San Francisco. I learned from them WHY they would do anything to stay in the US (usually on student visas). One could not speak against the Shah. The Shah was a friend of the US, anti-communist (hence the surveying being done by US military in civilian garb). There was talk in the US about some of the excesses of the Shah's private militia...but there was always justifications, or so it seemed until he was overthrown and the truth was published.
I lost some innocence when I found out (from friends) how the Shah stayed in power because it benefited the US. Even that was only hinted at then.

At 7:50 PM, Blogger gabriele gray said...

Part 5:

Were you alive and old enough to remember when Kennedy was killed? I remember there were people who were afraid that the US would fall prey to chaos and worse. But the system stood up to the challenge and there was a transfer of power without conflict or chaos.

Now let's go back to Germany in the dark days. Don't you think that while Hitler led the country that there was already a plan for the transition of power? Yes, there was infighting between the various principal heads of government agencies but they commanded the loyalty and function of all those that served under them. The plot to kill Hitler (the bomb) would have lead to a certain group taking power and then trying to negotiate with the Allies. Who know how long it would have been before the knowledge of the death camps came out? The ones then in power may have known what the camps would have meant and destroyed them before outsiders could see them.
Killing one man, whether Hitler or Pol Pot will only mean one more dead body. What made people follow them, obey them, believe in them would not be purged from the world. The darkness is inside of us and demanding that someone else answer your questions about moral rights and wrongs does not advance one inch the need to deal with our own dark sides before telling others what to do with theirs.
Besides having read various popular newspapers (esp in the EU and UK) I also subscribe to a website which provides reports from academics with experiences which qualifies them to provide insights not found elsewhere. They offer reporting on various topics but here is the link to all the reports on Syria.
Anyone can subscribe-it's free (there is a choice of UK, US, Australia and France). http://theconversation.com/uk/topics/syria-592

At 7:52 PM, Blogger gabriele gray said...

Part 6:

And Bob, I have seen that argument about "would you kill to protect someone you love"? It's saying that in theory if you'd kill for this, then why not for that?
Yes, anyone can ask that question but no one has the right to demand an answer which isn't pertinent to the subject being discussed. It's a propaganda ploy, expressed =/= : One does NOT equal the other

At 7:58 PM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

gabriele -

Did you not read what I wrote? I wrote "Had it been very clear".

Please don't make up questions I did not ask and then answer your own questions.

In other words, butt out.

I'm trying to figure out how Fred thinks about the world.


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