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Syria: a Defining Moment For Chemical Weapons?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the every-use-of-weapons-is-a-defining-moment-for-the-targets dept.

The Military 454

Lasrick writes "Oliver Meier describes the long-term significance (even beyond the incredible human suffering) of Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons on August 21, and outlines six major steps for response. Quoting: 'The attack in August is a historic event with wider implications. Its impact on the role of chemical weapons in international security in general will depend primarily on the responses. Looking beyond the current crisis, failure to respond to the attacks could undermine the taboo against chemical weapons. ... First, a unified response by the international community is essential. The strength of international norms depends primarily on great-power support. So far, such a unified response is sorely lacking. Judgments about how to react to the use of chemical weapons appear to be tainted by preferences about the shape of a post-war Syria. This has already damaged the international chemical weapons legal regime.'"

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I never understood the principle. (5, Insightful)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44723611)

weapons that deliver a chemical reaction causing eye, skin and lung damage are bad.

weapons that deliver a chemical reaction causing bits of metal flying through your eye, skin and lung are good.

Re:I never understood the principle. (2, Insightful)

mhajicek (1582795) | about a year ago | (#44723649)

Not that the US follows the Geneva Convention either. Depleted Uranium and white phosphorous are somehow excusable violations.

Re:I never understood the principle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723769)

Depleted uranium is not a chemical weapon, regardless of the ill effects that are comming up as a result of exposure. The whole point of depleted uranium is that it's high density packs a huge punch of kinetic energy.

Re:I never understood the principle. (2, Insightful)

boorack (1345877) | about a year ago | (#44723977)

Depleted uranium is used because of its pyrophoric properties (in addition to high density). No explosives are needed for it to explode when hitting target. But it is toxic and radioactive crap that causes cancers and birth effects. When oxided, it quickly finds its way to ground water, poisons and irradiates local population for a long time. Just check how Falujah suvrivors are doing these days: 12-fold increase in child cancers, lots of other symptoms remarkably similar to those in Hiroshima. Depleted uranium should be banned for good reasons but it is (still) allowed to use partly because of some technicalities in international law, partly because The Mighty US Army is not going to stop shooting this crap at "liberated targets" and there is nothing on this planet that can force those fucks to abandon it.

Re:I never understood the principle. (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44724003)

12-fold increase in child cancers, lots of other symptoms remarkably similar to those in Hiroshima

Any population would exhibit similar effects just from the increased medical scrutiny. Ie, if you start with a population for which no one is looking for such ailments, and then you start looking in great detail, you will find greatly increased numbers of those ailments. Observation bias is a powerful thing.

Re:I never understood the principle. (-1, Flamebait)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44724021)

idiot

Re:I never understood the principle. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724057)

Stop looking at syria then I guess.

Re:I never understood the principle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724081)

Child cancer doesn't go unnoticed anywhere. In less developed nations one might not bother with finding the cause of death after the illness have been untreated.
In any place that isn't Africa the cause of death or cause of illness is figured out and.
The extra medical scrutiny doesn't increase or reduce the number of reported cases of cancer. What it does is that it increases the survival rate by catching the cancer before it is too late to do anything about it.

I don't know shit about medicine, but you don't have to figure out that you are wrong.

Re:I never understood the principle. (4, Insightful)

_Ludwig (86077) | about a year ago | (#44723793)

I thought depleted uranium was used for its mass, not specifically for its long-term toxic effects. Lead is toxic also, after all. And white phosphorus just burns you up faster than conventional incendiaries, what’s the problem there? It’s preferable for people to burn more slowly?

Re:I never understood the principle. (5, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44723819)

I'm sure that the victims are comforted by the fact that their exposure to deadly chemicals was purely incidental..

Re:I never understood the principle. (1)

throwaway3637 (3036589) | about a year ago | (#44723831)

Nuclear weapons also just "burn" people. They are not used specifically for their fallout either. What's the problem?

Re:I never understood the principle. (1)

egamma (572162) | about a year ago | (#44723897)

Nuclear weapons also just "burn" people. They are not used specifically for their fallout either. What's the problem?

The problem is that nuclear weapons cause too much "collateral damage". As in, not only did the military base cease to exist, but the hospital and schools around it are gone, too. Don't forget the orphanage, the retirement home, and the church/synagogue/mosque/etc.

Re:I never understood the principle. (1)

throwaway3637 (3036589) | about a year ago | (#44723951)

This is blatantly misleading ... Micro nuclear weapons can be strategic and not cause "too much" damage and was ending WWII too much collateral damage considering whole cities were razed by conventional weapons and carpet bombing.

Re: I never understood the principle. (1)

t1oracle (1908404) | about a year ago | (#44724115)

There is no such thing as a micro nuke. The smallest nukes still have a yield measured in kilotons. The fall out from the blast is not discriminating it will children and soldiers the same. The is no precision with nukes.

Re:I never understood the principle. (1, Troll)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#44723837)

Not that the US follows the Geneva Convention either. Depleted Uranium and white phosphorous are somehow excusable violations.

You're missing the point; the US uses these weapons for good, Syria uses it on their own people.

Re:I never understood the principle. (3, Insightful)

throwaway3637 (3036589) | about a year ago | (#44723867)

If by for "good" you mean to secure access to things like oil and convert nationalised oil assets to assets for oil programs... then yes "good" is right.

Re:I never understood the principle. (2)

Creepy (93888) | about a year ago | (#44724055)

Unless you're eating the depleted uranium, you probably aren't going to be affected by it. Skin is pretty good at stopping alpha and relatively good at stopping beta radiation (like that stuff you get from the sun). Stomach linings and lungs are not.

White Phosphorus is actually not specifically banned in any treaty except for use against civilian targets. It is used extensively in signaling (i.e. flares), tracer rounds, and to produce large amounts of smoke.

Re:I never understood the principle. (2)

Aonghus142000 (908581) | about a year ago | (#44724073)

Are you being deliberately obtuse or are you just that ignorant? Depleted Uranium is by no stretch of the imagination a chemical weapon and the use of white phosphorus against a human target is a war crime in its own right.

The problem with chemical weapons (Lets call them "War Gasses" to avoid confusion,) is that they are not really effective against a military target. (They can degrade a military unit's effectiveness, but both sides get degraded.) They are, however, wonderfully effective against civilian targets.

The entire purpose of the Geneva Conventions (and the Geneva conventions to the Hague protocols, which are what actually outlaw "the use of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare." Was to avoid civilian casualties (what we call today collateral damage,) and undue suffering of soldiers.)

Re:I never understood the principle. (0)

etash (1907284) | about a year ago | (#44723655)

don't pretend to be dumb, it's the low cost, scale and easiness of chem/bio which makes them so awful.

Re:I never understood the principle. (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year ago | (#44723873)

don't pretend to be dumb, it's the low cost, scale and easiness of chem/bio which makes them so awful.

What's your point - war should be wage only using very expensive and difficult weaponry? Who does that benefit?

Re:I never understood the principle. (1)

throwaway3637 (3036589) | about a year ago | (#44723909)

Ultimately the question is of whether or not a State should be able to assert its authority over the rebels. Many Americans, if not most, are Statists in that they believe the right of their leaders to do that but have been coerced to think that they are the exact opposite which is not at all true. If Americans are not rebelling against their government then why they would support rebellion against another government. It's not as if rebellion will fix the economic problems of the country which is the root cause of the rebellion in the first place. If they are against a non-representative leadership, then if opinion polls are any indication their leadership is not representative of their opinions and ethinicities now is it?

Re:I never understood the principle. (2)

itsdapead (734413) | about a year ago | (#44723975)

What's your point - war should be wage only using very expensive and difficult weaponry? Who does that benefit?

The people who make money from selling "expensive and difficult weaponry", maybe?

Re:I never understood the principle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723973)

"don't pretend to be dumb, it's the low cost, scale and easiness of chem/bio which makes them so awful."

Ah the 'C' stands for cheapness. So it's so that poor States can't use Sarin against rich ones that use nukes?

Re:I never understood the principle. (0, Troll)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44723665)

weapons that deliver a chemical reaction causing eye, skin and lung damage are bad.

weapons that deliver a chemical reaction causing bits of metal flying through your eye, skin and lung are good.

Is this the reason the Obamanation regime is trying to bury the Benghazi fiasco?

Re:I never understood the principle. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723739)

Ben who? Ohh, that thing where 4 people died last year that one time.

I'm more concerned about the number of people crushed by vending machines.

Benghazi outrage is not happening GOP, it's never gonna happen.

Re:I never understood the principle. (2)

pianophile (181111) | about a year ago | (#44723811)

Benghazi outrage is not happening GOP, it's never gonna happen.

This. Talk about clutching at straws! Hey, GOP, your desperation is showing.

Re:I never understood the principle. (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44723883)

Given all the lousy things the Obama administration has done, and yet Obama's approval rating remains high, I don't think there's anything he could do to create outrage. In that way he's a lot like Reagan, the 'teflon president,' because no matter how many scandals they went through, people don't seem to care.

Re:I never understood the principle. (4, Insightful)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44724023)

The sad thing is that there's so much to criticize in this administration's foreign policy (e.g. illegal wars in Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, parts of Africa and the destabilization these wars cause, scandalous spying on our allies, etc.). The problem is that, with exceedingly few exceptions, prominent Republicans have no credibility to criticize the President on these issues. If anything, the old Republican establishment's complaint tends to be that the President was not aggressive enough in involving us in illegal wars. Because of this, they like their former presidential nominee have to inflate or even fabricate scandals (see the so-called apology tour in Egypt or the return of the Churchill bust).

I say this as a lifelong Republican: the GOP is currently dominated by short-sighted fools who are completely out of touch with the people, with what it means to govern, and with the real costs of violence. They've forgotten what it means to defend the Constitution, the country, and the people. They recall well, however, the support they receive as faithful supporters of the Military-Congressional-Industrial Complex. Therefore, when the same complaints can be made against Obama (and they can--he was a real coup for the MCI Complex, whether or not the administration sees it in their interests to define a coup), there's no opposition with the credibility to make them.

Re:I never understood the principle. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723741)

There were many more embassy attacks and many more dead under Bush than Obama, but you Republicans didn't care then. Probably still don't beyond politics. Which is likely considering you guys decided that there shouldn't be increased funds for embassy security.

Re:I never understood the principle. (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44723925)

Well, if Bush does it, then it must be ok. I however can't help but not a key difference between those attacks [policymic.com] and Benghazi. Namely, that those attacks were much smaller in scale, were over quickly, and for which the US has considerable local protection.

For example, the most similar of the Bush-era attacks involved five gunmen breaking into the consulate [theguardian.com] at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and were quickly counterattacked by Saudi "security forces". The Benghazi consulate attacks reported involved hundreds of attackers with no support for US staff from local authorities for about seven hours. And that outcome turned out as uneventful as it did, because someone in Tripoli apparently decided on their own initiative to commandeer an airplane and fly into Benghazi and organize a rescue effort.

Afterward, the Obama administration took it upon itself to blame the Benghazi attacks on a rather offensive YouTube video, but one nobody had heard of before. That was probably because the attacks occurred before the upcoming November elections in the US.

So what makes Benghazi special is the weak tactical situation, the large scale of the attack, and most importantly, the tepid and politically self-serving response of the Obama administration to the attack.

Re:I never understood the principle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723759)

Obamanation = abomination?

Re:I never understood the principle. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723673)

People that lead others simply because they are born into a family that has control.
People that kill others just because they don't believe the same crazy shit.
People that think they are better than others because of money or political power.
With so much better things to do why is the world is still fucken nuts !

Re:I never understood the principle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723719)

I don't understand why all countries don't just sign a treaty banning all killing during war.

Re:I never understood the principle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723775)

First: These weapons do a lot more that eye, skin, and lung damage.

Second: Bombs that unleash pieces of metal are usually used for specific targets not large populations.

Hope that helps you understand a little better.

Re:I never understood the principle. (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44723959)

Second: Bombs that unleash pieces of metal are usually used for specific targets not large populations.

Dresden? Tokyo?

Re:I never understood the principle. (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44724091)

Dresden? Tokyo?

; Note he said "usually". And note you give examples that are almost 70 years old. Who's been carpet bombing population centers since? Only example, I know of was during the Vietnam war (technically the Second Indochina War), but that turned out less effective than guided bombs.

Re:I never understood the principle. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44724145)

Second: Bombs that unleash pieces of metal are usually used for specific targets not large populations.

Coventry, London, Berlin, most German industrial cities, virtually EVERY city in Japan other than the five set aside as potential A-Bomb targets (yeah, we put Hiroshima and Nagasaki, among others, on a NO-BOMB list, so we could evaluate the effects of the a-bomb without having to account for the effects of previous bombings).

Re: I never understood the principle. (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#44724013)

It's because chemical weapons are only effective against civilian populations. Any well trained military unit will be trained and equipped to deal with them. But it's a horrific way for dictators like assad and hussein to punish unruly subjects.

Re:I never understood the principle. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44724033)

It is the scale.
Chemical weapons can be taken by the wind and dispersed miles and miles away in any random direction. Killing and maiming everything in their path. And can get into water supplies, and poison stuff for generations.
tactical missiles and grenades will kill indiscriminately for a few meter radius, and as soon as they explode they are not not any more dangerous or bad for the environment than a few plastic cups strewn around.

Re:I never understood the principle. (2)

Peter H.S. (38077) | about a year ago | (#44724037)

It is indeed a very complex issue to which there is no easy one line answers. But there is a sort of logic behind why some weapon systems are banned, and others not, or how even legal weapons can be used in an illegal way.

It is not about some weapons being good or bad, or even the amount of suffering they cause at the individuals affected by them. It is all about keeping military actions under control causing the least amount of suffering among soldiers and civilians in relation to the objectives of the military action. A main reason behind this is the axiom, that war directly targeting civilians is illegal.

The problems with weapons of mass destruction, like chemical weapons, are that their effects can't be controlled; they go where the wind blow. Furthermore, they tend to affect civilians much more than soldiers who often are protected against NBC attacks. All in all, using chemical weapons in a city is effectively targeting civilians, not soldiers.

It is in fact difficult to imagine any war, where the use of chemical weapons wouldn't cause disproportional losses among civilians, so returning to the axiom that wars and military actions directly targeting civilians are illegal, it has some kind of logic, that chemical weapons are banned, while targeted weapons like bombs are not.

Re:I never understood the principle. (4, Interesting)

Jessified (1150003) | about a year ago | (#44724125)

Not to mention, we don't seem to have any problem shedding the taboos against torture and killing first responders (Guantanamo and US drone double tap strikes).

Both are war crimes and both are carried out knowingly and intentionally. At this point it would make more sense for Russia to be the human rights watch dog of the world.

Re:I never understood the principle. (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | about a year ago | (#44724133)

weapons that kill your own citizens are bad

weapons that you can make a snarky comment on the internet are good.

How about no. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723637)

Lets just stay out of this fight. For once. Just once. let the rest of the world deal with it.

We have nothing to gain. And trillions to lose. again. and too many dead soldiers already.
No matter how it turns out this country will continue to hate our guts. Rightfully so maybe.

Lets just stay out of it. Time to watch a war on CNN we don't have a stake in at all.

Sometimes the only winning move is not to play.

Re:How about no. (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44723815)

um, if you stay out of the fight then you lose to Russia. Do you really think that's going to happen?

Re:How about no. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723885)

Thank you. Exactly. The only reasonable response is to either stay out completely or do something that is illegal under US law (find out who authorized the chemical weapon strike, go in and assassinate him, then leave). Since we aren't allowed to do that, we should do nothing. It is stupid to talk about attacking (whether missiles, bombs, soldiers) as that will kill a bunch of innocents when the issue is really a few in command / power.

Re:How about no. (0)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#44724049)

If we stay out, then all the other nations will be pissed at us because the U.S. is expected to be the police force of the world and we are expected to spend our money, troops and resources to fix everybody else's problems.
If we go in, then all the other nations will be pissed at us because the U.S. doesn't keep it's nose out of everybody's business.
Of the two, I prefer first one, because even though everyone will hate the U.S. no matter what, at least in the first case, we didn't spend any more money that we can't afford to be spending right now.

Syria: A shit hole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723639)

A shit hole full of people saying: "Hey we don't want to be a shit hole anymore!"
A shit hole government saying: "Well, you are a shit hole, just take a look at all this gas! Clearly these are properties of a shit hole."

War should Suck (4, Interesting)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year ago | (#44723663)

If we make war clean and tidy then where is the motivation to avoid it? The Star Trek episode, "A Taste of Armegeddon" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Taste_of_Armageddon) portrays two planets who've been at war for centuries. It was really "modern" where planets would launch simulated attacks which caused no collateral damage and computers would calculate the death toll. "Victims" were then calculated and selected via lottery. They'd report to the disintegrators for a painless death. It was so "humane" that the planets never had any motivation to end the war.

My point is that we should allow anything in war with the knowledge that the more horrific the weapon the more prompt and determined the response to it by the rest of the world.

Re:War should Suck (2)

throwaway3637 (3036589) | about a year ago | (#44723761)

The point is not to eliminate violence, only to organize it to serve the interest of the empire. Violence is a powerful too that can be used to justify all sorts of horrors in order to stop it. The US and the CIA lit the fuse, now they're going there to put out the fire.

Re:War should Suck (5, Interesting)

Kilo Kilo (2837521) | about a year ago | (#44723803)

The first machine guns were thought to be so awful that they would act as peace-preservers." [wikipedia.org] That didn't work out so well. It might seem ironic trying to impose rules in warfare, but anything that can lessen the damages should be encouraged.

Re:War should Suck (3, Insightful)

killkillkill (884238) | about a year ago | (#44723923)

I know hippies hate the mutually assured destruction idea... but it works. When in history have two empires struggling for more global power stood nose to nose with such little violence as with the USA and USSR? If you have more to lose than gain, even if you 'win', your perspective changes and you take a step back, or at least won't step into the fight. There is a line where we would be willing to step into a bar fight. There's a line much farther away (probably along the lines of someone attacking you first) that would need to be crossed to get us in a fight with someone with a knife in hand, even if we have a knife of our own. Most people/nations aren't completely irrational and operate off of general survival instincts.

Re:War should Suck (3, Informative)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44724065)

um, you do know the USA and USSR just moved the violence and destruction to other countries right? Perhaps the world would have been better off for the last 70 years if they just took it out on each other and not played their stupidity out on the world stage.

Re:War should Suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723927)

When war is excused, for any reason, it is a sign that civilization is failing. It's the exact same thing as college sports.

If so-and-so school beats so-and-so school in the game, and in a very questionable way, then there may eventually be a rivalry. Once there's a rivalry, the game is more interesting to those that give a shit. However, those people's kids will be raised to know that so-and-so school is the big game of the year, and all the adults get together and party and get very emotional about the game. Those kids will grow up with less understanding as to why the game is so big, but hey, party! After each game, the winning side will rub it in, only furthering the excitement for the next game. Before you know it, people are playing for their team, and can't wait to smash the other guys (as in hurt the people on the other team).

The problem with this, in my opinion, is that it causes each person to look at the other people on the other team as, not people, but rather a part of "the problem". From here it goes right into "getting pleasure form another's pain". The school that the team represents is meaningless in this mindset. The school is making waay more money for it's game program than it is it's ability to teach people how to go into the future.

Now re-read all of that and replace the word "school" with "country" and replace "game" with "war".

When the only way to resolve matters is with bombs, then we're all going to die in a war. I don't understand why the US doesn't just impose sanctions on Syria. Seriously, wtf are they going to do, bomb the place(s) that are producing chemical weapons? I guess that's one thing they could do, but how about simply go in and try to talk it out? Or stay the hell out of the way? If the US puts itself into their war, then won't that make more people hate the US, and in turn, create more reasons for terrorists to try to fuck with the American people?

That's BS (0)

scheme (19778) | about a year ago | (#44724059)

When war is excused, for any reason, it is a sign that civilization is failing. It's the exact same thing as college sports.

...

When the only way to resolve matters is with bombs, then we're all going to die in a war. I don't understand why the US doesn't just impose sanctions on Syria. Seriously, wtf are they going to do, bomb the place(s) that are producing chemical weapons? I guess that's one thing they could do, but how about simply go in and try to talk it out? Or stay the hell out of the way? If the US puts itself into their war, then won't that make more people hate the US, and in turn, create more reasons for terrorists to try to fuck with the American people?

So you're saying that everyone should have stayed the hell out of the way in Rwanda when the Hutus decided that the Tutsis population didn't need to keep living. I think that the shame then was that the UN and international community waited 100 days and let over a million Tutsis people die before intervening. If you're going to call the intervention and subsequent war against the Hutu government a sign that the civilation is failing then you have no sense of decency. An analogous situation arises in the Bosnian civil war.

Economic sanctions don't always work and for some countries aren't effective. It's not going to hurt Syria if they don't buy anything from the US or can get what they need from the black market. Unless of course, you're suggesting that we blockade all commerce to Syria and slowly let the population starve.

Re:War should Suck (5, Informative)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#44724071)

"It is good that war should be so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it." -Robert E Lee

Re:War should Suck (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44724151)

If we make war clean and tidy then where is the motivation to avoid it?

Let's take this the other way. We could make wars deliberately ugly and high cost. But why would we think that would provide enough incentive to keep people from fighting them?

My view is that the only genuine way to prevent most war (between identifiable foes, that is) is to have a military force that will clobber anyone who starts such a fight. Change the strategic outcome of starting a war to always lose, and you end the incentive to engage in war.

Depleted Uranium (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723667)

It is worth bearing in mind that in the not too distant future the use of depleted uranium will be considered just as abhorrent as these so called chemical weapons. Enjoy your moral high ground while it lasts. It is likely that the west will shortly be found to be on the wrong side of history.

War stiffy for Meier (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year ago | (#44723677)

Along with pandering to the  Zionist **any Syrian damage is good damage** crowd, Meier has a major **war stiffy** pushing up his pant-leg. BOMB --STRAIFE -- NAPALM ... see him hopping about like a happy toad eating a cockroach! Happens to lib.coms all-the-time -- rice farmers in Asia,  banana-harvestors in Costa Rica, barley  peasants in Croatia and now .. sheep herders in the Levant. Makes a Christian wonder ... said many times ...  if Christ ever got nailed-up on the cross.

War Precedent (3, Insightful)

SpaceMonkies (2868125) | about a year ago | (#44723687)

"On March 17, 2003, Lord Goldsmith, Attorney General of the UK, set out his government's legal justification for an invasion of Iraq. He said that Security Council resolution 678 authorised force against Iraq, which was suspended but not terminated by resolution 687, which imposed continuing obligations on Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. A material breach of resolution 687 would revive the authority to use force under resolution 678. In resolution 1441 the Security Council determined that Iraq was in material breach of resolution 687 because it had not fully carried out its obligations to disarm. Although resolution 1441 had given Iraq a final chance to comply, UK Attorney General Goldsmith wrote "it is plain that Iraq has failed so to comply"."
-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction#Legal_justification [wikipedia.org]

I for one do not trust our governments to tell me the truth, or engage in wars unless necessary anymore.

Check out the new Slashdot iPad app [apple.com]

Re:War Precedent (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44724089)

I for one do not trust our governments to tell me the truth, or engage in wars unless necessary anymore.

Hey! Where's your patriotism? Remember the Maine [wikipedia.org] ! Remember the Lusitania [wikipedia.org] ! Remember the Maddox [wikipedia.org] ! Remember that Saddam was an evil man who had used WMDs [wikipedia.org] and since al Qaeda was led by an evil man it clearly follows that Saddam had ties to al Qaeda [newyorker.com] . Why would you ever doubt an administration's casus belli?

bullshit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723697)

There has never been a treaty, or International Law, that says there must be a military response by otherwise uninvolved nations whenever there is a chemical weapons attack. This should be handled just like any other war crime. Someday we will get you, and we will put you on trial. We're not going to launch a weak-ass cruise missile campaign that will last for a measly two days and accomplish nothing but unnecessary civilian casualties.

People aren't dumb. What's going on in Syria sucks. Our involvement will not make things better.

Various Pro-Israel interests (1)

throwaway3637 (3036589) | about a year ago | (#44723701)

All these comments are from pro-Israel, anti-Iran interests that I am sure have the well-being of Iranians, Iraqis, and Syrians at heart when they beat the war drums. Chemical weapon use by the United States and its NATO allies in terms of white phosphorus and depleted uranium are common and justified as necessary for breaking the back of the opposition and "saving lives" of our beloved troops.

Re:Various Pro-Israel interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723751)

White phosphorus and depleted uranium are not chemical weapons.

Re:Various Pro-Israel interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723813)

You're right, this kid [blogspot.com] wasn't hit by a horrid chemical weapon, just a perfectly legal smoke bomb.

Re:Various Pro-Israel interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723879)

Agent Orange is, and people blame it for 400,000 civilian deaths 1,000,000 of people disabled or crippled and 500,000 children with birth defects directly linked with this shit. Not to mention that specifically targeting the civilian population (as in this case, where the main goal was to cripple the food production and starve Vietnam until they surrender) during an armed conflict is considered genocide and a crime against humanity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_Orange

failure to respond... (5, Insightful)

dnaumov (453672) | about a year ago | (#44723709)

... against whom? the rebels or the saudis?

Noone with half a brain believes Assad is behind the chemical attack because

1) He has nothing to gain by doing so
2) He has everything to lose by doing so
3) He is not a retard

Not to mention that the past 6 months have shown that Assad isn't exactly cornered, on the contrary, he has been pushing further and further back against the rebels.

Re:failure to respond... (1)

throwaway3637 (3036589) | about a year ago | (#44723717)

But the "evil regime" and the WMDs hiding in deep bunkers inaccessible only to secret intelligible sources whom when leaked get diplotmats killed under mysterious circumstances.

Re:failure to respond... (2)

_Ludwig (86077) | about a year ago | (#44723821)

Then why has he blocked inspectors?

Re:failure to respond... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723907)

Then why has he blocked inspectors?

Because he sees his country as sovereign.

Because the UN inspectors may lie, or have their report influenced by countries that want him out for other reasons.

Because the UN inspectors are only there to determine if weapons were used. If weapons were used by the rebels, the inspectors will report that. If they guess that he is responsible, he gets blamed.

If you were in his place, would you allow inspections?

Re:failure to respond... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723915)

Probably because a significant number of inspectors seem to have day job with the CIA ( or another US 3 letter agency )
and report back to their boss and probably give tendicious results to the UN.

Funny that C weapons are used when the imported terrorists ( financed by arab interests, an activity condoned or even egged on
by the US ) are loosing out.

Then, the original Syrian opposition seems have been complete removed from the conflict

Re:failure to respond... (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year ago | (#44724027)

Do you let police wander your house whenever they feel like it?

Re:failure to respond... (2)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44723835)

Or maybe he seriously doubts that there would be any retaliation. Seriously, the USA looks like a bully that's finally been called on their bluffing. That and he's probably smart enough to know that the USA has no ulterior motive to go in and they really don't do anything that they think won't help them in the long run.

Re:failure to respond... (1)

throwaway3637 (3036589) | about a year ago | (#44723841)

Yes because he's that smart. If there is one thing a rational dictator knows from Saddam's experience it is that you don't play chicken with the empire.

Re:failure to respond... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44723941)

except that those oil people don't care about securing syria, all they need is for the price of oil to go up, which it is.

Re:failure to respond... (1)

throwaway3637 (3036589) | about a year ago | (#44723997)

Yes except Syria is a domino that has to fall before Iran can be easily attacked. Those oil companies do care very much about those oil contracts that will come their way when Iran falls.

Re:failure to respond... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44723987)

The US doesn't have the support that it had for the Iraqi invasion. Whatever else you can say about G. W. Bush, he at least was able to get a lot of support for his invasions and keep those who didn't from interfering. Obama can't even get the UK on board.

And Russia and China both oppose any military intervention, Russia to the point of sending military support for Assad such as anti-air missile systems [upi.com] which aren't any good against rebel forces, but would be of some use against air strikes by the US.

Re:failure to respond... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44724079)

um, he got support by lying and trying to bully the rest of the world.

Of course Russia and China oppose, that's where the real war is.

Re:failure to respond... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724067)

Noone with half a brain believes Assad is behind the chemical attack because

And why exactly should we trust Noone With Half a Brain ?

Re:failure to respond... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724105)

Im sorry but how is this modded insightful?

Assad is a brutal dictator who is cornered who made a calculated decision. I am not sure how the poster thinks this is true that he has been pushing the rebels back. If you dont believe me, here is someone who his highly skeptical of making attacks and an expert in the region:

"Some have asked why the regime would risk using poison gas when it has been making gains against the rebels. But the regime’s advances are minor and tenuous. It only took the small town of Qusayr with Hizbullah help! And ‘advances’ in Homs were just scorched earth destruction of neighborhoods. They were offset by loss of a major air base near Aleppo, key for resupply of troops up there because roads north are insecure. The regime can only advance here or there, but doesn’t have manpower to take back substantial territory.

My guess is that rebels in Rif Dimashq in outskirts of the capital were making inroads toward Damascus itself. Defensive troops are off tied down in Homs. Since the capital is the real prize and end game, the regime decided to let them know it wouldn’t be allowed. It is the typical behavior of a weak regime facing superior demographic forces (the Alawites are far outnumbered by Sunnis) to deploy unconventional weaponry. Although there was a risk in using the gas, the regime may have felt threatened enough to take the risk, confident that it could muddy the waters afterwards with charges that it was actually the rebels who were behind it."

http://www.juancole.com/2013/08/signals-intervention-syria.html
 

We really have proof now (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723711)

We lied about our reasons for war every time, but trust is, this time we have proof. Think of the children.

Re:We really have proof now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723971)

Think of the children?
But you keep telling us that's immoral and illegal.
Why do you get to?

Hypocritical much (2)

palemantle (1007299) | about a year ago | (#44723721)

Not that I completely disagree with the sentiment expressed in the article but all the wide-eyed outrage coming from the government of the US of A is a tad laughable seeing how it's the only country in the history of humankind that's pounded other countries with both nuclear (see Hiroshima, Nagasaki) and chemical (see Agent Orange, Vietnam) weapons.

Re:Hypocritical much (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#44723939)

Not that I completely disagree with the sentiment expressed in the article but all the wide-eyed outrage coming from the government of the US of A is a tad laughable seeing how it's the only country in the history of humankind that's pounded other countries with both nuclear (see Hiroshima, Nagasaki) and chemical (see Agent Orange, Vietnam) weapons.

It's the only country to use nukes. But it certainly isn't the only to use gas. France, Germany and the UK all used it during the first world war. While Agent Orange was a gas, it was not believed to be toxic to humans At the time it was used in Vietnam. It was a defoliant used so the North Vietnamese troops couldn't hide under the forest canopy. Unfortunately Monsanto tainted it in production.

Why is it up to US to police world? (3, Insightful)

sinij (911942) | about a year ago | (#44723743)

There is UN, why is it up to US to police (and pay for) intervention? How does Syrians using chemical weapons against other Syrians is a US national security concern?

Re:Why is it up to US to police world? (1)

SylvesterTheCat (321686) | about a year ago | (#44723833)

There was an interesting op-ed in the Washington Post by Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro ("Attack without UN approval illegal"). I read a re-post of it in Stars & Stripes (Digital Edition, Main Edition, August 30, page 12). I cannot find a direct link to the Post and S&S uses flash, so you will have to dig it out yourself. It is worth reading.

Re:Why is it up to US to police world? (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44723851)

Probably because the US took on the police role to bully other countries, now they're just being called on their bully bluffs.

Re:Why is it up to US to police world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724069)

Well, the reports that I've seen reflect that the new government is taking barbaric measures to stay in power. Imagine the Wall Street protestors being shot by the hundreds. Imagine them being bombed with chemicals. Imagine now that all of that happened in regular neighborhoods, rather than on Wall Street.

The problem is that no one believes anything that any US leader says these days. So the instant that they want to go to war, we're all like, "Wooaa there..." Meanwhile, people are getting shot, wounded and killed for their political/religious patters, and they have no solution. I'm mixed on this until I see the US present the UN with the proof.

If you see a woman being raped, is it your duty to help her, or is it your duty to call the cops?

Re:Why is it up to US to police world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724119)

coz the US secretly loves sand niggers

Weapons of MASS destruction? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723747)

Are we talking of destruction of human life OR just property? It seems the line has become blurred. Yet it seems to
cover both. I prefer more precise terms. Syria and nearby regions are already pretty much torn up. Who would want
to live in such an area? Frank Zappa once was attributed with saying, "If your kids knew how lame you really are, they would kill you in your sleep". I may have misquoted that, but ...

'Unified response' (3, Insightful)

mvdwege (243851) | about a year ago | (#44723781)

A unified response is necessary, according to the analyst. Funny how that sounds like "too bad the House of Commons refused to be an American lapdog for a change".

Deja vu (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44723863)

Iraq: A defining moment for weapons of mass destruction

How many times people will buy remakes of The empire strikes back?

And, btw, is good to have backup of what newspapers said before media control, like when was disclosed that U.S. backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad's regime [archive.org] .

This is not about caring about Syrian people, at least, not the big majority of them, just about the friendly ones that will be put in control. Remember how much US cared about iraquis? Seem that they wanted exclusivity on killing them for fun [youtube.com]

Re:Deja vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724029)

The source for the archived daily mail article is infowars, a conspiracy theorist's website. The source for infowars is a hacker's supposed dump of a defense contractor's servers that supposedly included the incriminating email about US backing some chemical weapons plan. Except the emails were forged. See the explanation in the response to this reddit comment. [reddit.com]

This is not a defining moment (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44723869)

This is not a defining moment any more than Iraq vs Iran in the 80s, than the USSR in Afghanistan, than the US in Vietnam, etc.

War is hell. Someday if your country is in a brutal fight to the death, you may also insist that your country use them. Honestly, if you want to stop Assad, then stop Assad, but don't try to pretend it's some moral imperative based on chemical weapons.

They're already responding, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723949)

"no one will act" is exactly the response our government wants to establish at this moment.
Once we're sure that Russia, China and Europe won't hammer down on chemical weapons, we can start "we totally did not deploy"ing them again.
DOW is probably working on some brand new, very expensive recipes as we speak.

Setting or Following a Precedent? (1)

lubaciousd (912505) | about a year ago | (#44723963)

I may not be privy to the evidence that the authors of the article have seen themselves, but I've still yet to see the US claims of Assad-affiliates' guilt substantiated. Let's look at the major points they make:

1)Unified response is essential - This won't happen; Russia is quite comfortable profiting from the Assad regime and the fickle states of the world that once belonged to the Iraq-centric Coalition of the Willing remember the last time US evidence inspired "unified" action as an expensive misstep.

2)Future of chemical weapons must be deterred - If the Assad regime is definitely responsible, an attack may serve this purpose. If, as some people have suggested, a rebel faction used the weapons to garner sympathy/international involvement, engaging in any action will in some sense validate the tactic as successful.

3)The international community needs to clearly understand the circumstances about the use of chemical weapons in this case - I think they've hit the nail on the head here; everybody has an agenda and limits to their perspective.

4)International Assistance for Syrian civilians in and around Syria - This is one way that nations can uncontroversially take the problem seriously

5)Prepare for chemical weapon elimination in post-conflict Syria - I hope this can happen; it seems like the best way to make it happen would be to find an expert who is not from "the West" from a Syrian citizen's perspective.

6)Consider long-term legal consequences for regime - Absolutely give the Syrian people their day in court

Some thoughts:

I've noticed the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" has been 100% absent from the discussion about Syria, despite the fact that the kind of weapons that appear to have been used are among the kinds the US claimed and expected to find in Iraq pre-invasion. Unlike Iraq, the question is who used them, not whether they were initially present in the region, but unfortunately our hastiness in prior conflicts has erected a barrier to swift action particularly among former coalition members.

Yet again, unclear circumstances(based on the evidence I have been able to find) are being interpreted into an urgent call for military action by the US, and yet again, the evidence is not up for international scrutiny. I realize the US might actually be right in this case, as chemical weapons do seem to have been used, but the question still remains:

Why should the world believe the US military isn't the world's biggest hammer trying to see Syria as another nail?

Re:Setting or Following a Precedent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724001)

Because it's a crowbar, DUH.

Seriously though - we'll know if it was Assad who's got them by whether or not we go in full force.
Weapons of mass destruction were certainly in Iraq - but they'd expired about ten years earlier. We'd never have gone in there if we had reason to believe he actually had, or was about to have a nuke. Countries with nukes get talked with not invaded.

Chances are they were used, but it could just as easily be someone else trying to fan the flames, or a false flag operation on our own end. Right now it would appear we're all not certain, but once we are, we'll either know not to send troops in because he's got them, or Syria will become a new Iraq.

Re:Setting or Following a Precedent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724121)

Too bad that Assad lacks an important incident in his own experience: having survived as poison-gas attack. For all the ghastly non-restraint that Adolph Hitler exercised in WWII, that having been blinded by mustard gas in WWI kept him from using his stockpile of chemical weapons in battle. (Too bad that restraint did not apply to using chemical weapons on captives.)

Sorry for having ended this discussion, though.

The "chemical attack" was planned by the west (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44723983)

Source from Jan 29, 2013: http://news.yahoo.com/us-backed-plan-launch-chemical-weapon-attack-syria-045648224.html

Re:The "chemical attack" was planned by the west (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44724109)

Interesting if true.

Stagerring hypocrisy (1)

santosh.k83 (2442182) | about a year ago | (#44724053)

Staggering hypocrisy on the part of the US government. The same country which has used Agent Orange, Napalm, Cluster bombs, Nuclear weapons and depleted uranium shells, does not hesitate to talk about the horror of another country taking it's own baby steps after the footsteps of the founding father of modern warmongering. Estimates of up to 400,000 people killed or wounded by Agent Orange, 388,000 TONS of napalm dropped on Vietnam... Where is the accountability from the USA for these war crimes? On the other hand it does not even bind itself to Protocol III of UN CCW, nor sign the NPT. God I'm fed up with the moral high ground being claimed here. It would be better for the US government to flat out state it's ACTUAL geopolitical interests in this war and wade right in (which it'll do anyway). A modicum of honour in there in at least admitting to be bad. Right now I see no ethical difference between the leader of a supposed leading nation of humanity's best values and thugs like Assad, and that's frightening and sad. And don't forget that it is the "first world" countries (not necessarily the US) that supplied these bastards with all their arms and ammunition including chemical ones. Plain military power rules everywhere it seems. Fuck humanity, fuck ethics, fuck values.
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